Monthly Archives: July 2013

Happy Two Years Together!

Yesterday my lovely friend Stacey posted that it was her two year wedding anniversary on facebook. I smiled, remembering how much fun that day was to see her marry the love of her life. Her in her beautiful gown, him with all of the love and adoration in his eyes and one heck of a beautiful and fun reception.

And then I smiled even bigger, because I remembered that meant that two years ago, I also made a giant commitment. Took a giant leap of faith. Did something extraordinary.

I bought my car!

Did you doubt that I would have taken a ridiculously cheesy "look at me" photo after the big purchase?! Silly you.

Did you doubt that I would have taken a ridiculously cheesy “look at me” photo after the big purchase?! Silly you.

I could tell you all about the car buying process, the debate about new v. used, the financing questions, the joys of licensing and paying taxes, the weird sales guy… but those aren’t the point of this post.

The point is, we had our two year anniversary and I realized that, in two years, I had put over 37,000 miles on my car.

What I see. Every day. Multiple times a day. Multiple miles a day.

What I see. Every day. Multiple times a day. Multiple miles a day.

Holy buckets.

I did the math. That means on average I’m driving 50 miles a day.

Now granted, I moved about 600 miles away from home this year. And I’ve made quite a few 1200 mile round trips. And I LOVE driving everyone everywhere.

But still, my mind is just boggled.

I have this perception that cars that get to 100,000 miles are really old really bad cars.

And I’m realizing I could potentially hit that in the next 3 years.

Which is crazy town to me.

So cheers to my wonderful car. Who has dealt with me for many many miles, carried so many friends, family, massive slobbery dogs, furniture, belongings and has managed to get me safely all around Nebraska and Colorado, as well as some trips to Kansas, Minnesota, and Iowa.

And cheers to myself for being grown up enough to have learned to purchase a car and deal with the oh-so-joyous monthly payments that come along with it.

Oh – and cheers to that lovely bride and groom, who, not only had a spectacular wedding, but chose a perfect date to have this occasion on so that I can selfishly remember when it really was that I purchased my car each year! Hugs and love to the happy couple!

My Wardrobe is a Problem

I’ve made some strange wardrobe decisions throughout the course of my life.

And my hair. And anything “fashion” related really.

Practical clothes seemed overrated. I wanted that peasant cropped top everyone else had. Which I appreciate sounds gross now, but really, I swear it was a thing, they were cool… You can’t explain fashion. And normal belt? Why would you buy a normal belt when you could buy a seat belt with soda tabs on it, because they were so freaking cool. Again, it was early 2000, I have no other excuse.

What brings this up? Why am I living through all of my fashion nightmares again?

Simple answer: I’m a hoarder.

For years, I’ve heard that I have plenty of clothes and I don’t need more.

For years, I have fought back. No way Jose, if there’s room in my closet, then there’s room for new clothes. I can buy another dress, what’s one more dress… every once and awhile… (ahem: read – weekly).

Then I moved states. And I had A LOT of clothes to get rid of, to finally say goodbye to, because a hoarder never gets rid of anything. Examples:

  • Things that I’ve had since college Betsy and let’s face it, I am no longer college Betsy. By size… or by style. Not even close (this is a good thing because no self respecting semi-professional woman wears sparkle sequin tube tops to work – don’t judge me).
  • Things that I’d gotten and worn once because they were hideous and I have no idea why I thought a see through hot pink shirt with a bow on it was ever a good idea even if it was on sale at Von Maur.
  • Things that had my sorority letters all over them. Specifically the ones across my backside. You only need so many pairs of sweat pants with greek letters across your rear… And shirts. And sweatshirts. And… on and on and on.

And I felt awesome. My closet was cleaned out. Everything fit into my apartment closet. Life was good. I officially am no longer storing that pop top belt and I no longer owned any more cropped peasant tops. Praise the Lord. Ain’t nobody need to see that.

And then I moved into a little house and life got real.

Because kids – apartment master closets aren’t the real world. Apartment closets are like this halfway place between normal world and utopia closet land. They are massive. And have lots of places for storage. And SO MUCH HANGING RACK.

Old little houses should be the standard. And what I now know is that Betsy’s clothes don’t even fit into… not one… but TWO old little house closets.

Oh, you’re wanting photo proof? Phew. Good thing I have a camera phone:

My bedroom closet. AKA The place where most of my normal clothes hang.

My bedroom closet. AKA The place where most of my normal clothes hang.

Then:

The other bedrooms (soon to be TV rooms) closet. Where all my dresses and costumes hang.

The other bedrooms (soon to be TV rooms) closet. Where all my dresses and costumes hang.

But because EVEN THOSE TWO CAN’T HANDLE IT:

My $10 clothing rack from IKEA. Now placed in my dressing room area where my "frequently used" clothing is hanging.

My $10 clothing rack from IKEA. Now placed in my dressing room area where my “frequently used” clothing is hanging.

Yes. It is all color coordinated and sorted by frequency of use. Which, I’m fairly proud of.

BUT IT’S THREE CLOSETS WORTH OF CLOTHES.

For one person.

I still have a problem. Maybe we consider it a ten step program and we just say I’m halfway there? Step five maybe? Improvements been made, but there’s still a looooong way to go. A hard road ahead.

So, if anyone’s in the market for a dress, turns out, I have one (or twenty) you could borrow… and then take. And never return.

Oh and if you’re looking for shoes… I might have a problem there too… but I suppose we could save that for another post…

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Martha Stewart in the House!

People that bake amaze me.

If you enjoy spending time mixing things, beating things, rolling things, testing things, watching the oven with one eye and then committing to making all of the perfect finishing touches using some sort of plastic bag full of icing – you are my hero.

One time, I made a pie  FROM SCRATCH and it took me multiple days and two trial runs to perfect it.  For a pie. That you eat. And then it’s gone. And after I made that pie, I thought “nope, I’m never doing this again, I will BUY a nice pie next time.” Which has been my general philosophy about baking since then.

Learn to make chicken? Sure, I’m game.

Try out a crockpot? Why the heck not, bring it on!

Set your apartment on fire trying to fry something? Sounds like fun!

But when it came to baked goods, I let someone else with patience and more mad skills than I possess try it out. Or I bought it. From the store. Because I’m fancy like that. Those little pre-cut pre-rounded cookies on a tray you just throw into an oven? I’m all over that. Those I can do. Thank you Pillsbury for understanding me and appreciating my need for cookie dough. I mean honestly, who just has sugar/flour/baking soda laying around their house?! (This is not a joke. For the longest time, I did not.)

And then, this week, everything changed, life was no longer the same. All because the amazing Chesemore family, got me an amazing gift… a Nebraska cookie cutter.

People – in case you don’t know me/haven’t met me/never been around me… my love language is gifts. You buy me a gift and I just know you love me.  And a Nebraska cookie cutter? That’s just the most thoughtful gift out there.

And if you give a mouse a muffin me a thoughtful gift, you’d better believe I’m not letting it go to waste. No way, no sir. So I did the only thing I could think of… I baked. I started by whipping out my baking cookbook (that was another great gift from my beloved Jillian Michaels), searching through it for a recipe for sugar cookies and then read up on all of the best practices about icing, rolling dough, etc. But really – the most helpful part? Martha Stewart was in town.

She mixes, she stirs, she bakes... She's basically the entire reason this post exists!

She mixes, she stirs, she bakes… She’s basically the entire reason this post exists!

No sillies, her name isn’t really Martha, but since she came to town and was game for my baking adventures, it’s going to stick as her blog name. So welcome Martha to the blog. M. Stewart is a former roommate of mine, a fantastic friend and a serious motivator and life encourager… not to mention, one of the Godliest woman I know. She’s just flipping awesome. I’m lucky to know her and super happy she came out to visit me!

Check out that cookie cutter. That's true love right there.

Check out that cookie cutter. That’s true love right there.

We followed the recipe, we let the dough chill, we baked cookies, I learned to make real frosting and then we decorated them all.

You have no idea how much food coloring it takes to turn white frosting into red. A whole bottle. For real.

You have no idea how much food coloring it takes to turn white frosting into red. A whole bottle. For real.

Boy oh boy did we decorate them. And who knew… I LOVE me a ziplock bag with some frosting in it! All those years of making locker signs really did pay off. Who knew that hours of cutting out construction paper, using puff paint and sprinkling glitter would come in handy sometime in my future adult life?!

I could not be more proud of myself. Selfish. I know. BUT LOOK AT THAT COOKIE!!

I could not be more proud of myself. Selfish. I know. BUT LOOK AT THAT COOKIE!!

I’d share the recipe, but they aren’t the best I’ve ever tasted… so consider me ‘on the hunt’ for the greatest sugar cookie recipe out there. Please feel free to share if you’ve got one you love!

Because I will try again. It was fun! It’s by no means a ‘quick solution’ if you’re just need to throw something together for a block party – but if you’ve got a little time in advance and you’re wanting to really wow the crowd, I could totally pull this off.  And really, who wouldn’t want to eat 100 cookies that look like this?!

The perks of having a short nickname... Can you imagine trying to get Elizabeth on that sucker?!

The perks of having a short nickname… Can you imagine trying to get Elizabeth on that sucker?!

Oh, just me? Whoops.

Chicken Spectacular

I was genuinely shocked the other day when I witnessed someone cut a chicken breast into cubes, season it and then cook it in a skillet.

Hello. Hold up. Wait a minute. That’s a thing? And it’s that easy?

Well helllllllllllllllllllllllllooooooooooo new brilliant way to cook chicken. Where have you been hiding this last 8 months I’ve been learning to cook?!

Then, that diced chicken turned into a chicken casserole.

Again, genius.

And that chicken casserole wasn’t too shabby. Plus, it only used four ingredients. Which is just impressive really. High five new guy* making me dinner, way to win me over with your cooking skills.

But that recipe made me really crave the chicken casserole of my childhood aptly named Chicken Spectacular.

So, I shoot a text (how handy) to my brilliant step mom and nicely ask for the recipe.

Be glad I did ya’ll, because boy oh boy are you going to want to try this one. And yes, this is exactly how I got the recipe – I just love that people know me well enough to give me stupid simple directions.

  • 3 Cups Cut-up Cooked Chicken (A grocery store rotisserie chicken works as a nice short cut. Just make sure your chicken is seasoned as you like and use as much as you want. Proportion it with the rice, depending on how much you decide to use.)
  • 1 Can (16 oz) Kitchen Cut Green Beans (You can also use French Style Green Beans if you’d like) or Peas
  • 2 Cups Cooked Rice (I usually end up using more than this)
  • 1 Can (10 1/4 oz) Condensed Cream of Celery Soup (I use any condensed soup I have, like Cream of Mushroom works well)
  • 1/2 Cup Mayo (I use Miracle Whip and generous with it)
  • 1 Can (6-8 oz) Water Chestnuts, drained (they are more for texture than flavor I always thought. Keeps life interesting!)
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Pimento (I use a larger jar or two of the tiny jars, love the pimentos)
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion (It’s hit or miss whether I add this, your call)
So, the cutting of the chicken is a little gross. But with super sharp knives, it's no big deal at all!

So, the cutting of the chicken is a little gross. But with super sharp knives, it’s no big deal at all!

Mix ingredients together and pour into a 9X13 pan. I started putting some shredded cheese on top before baking (Chef’s choice, I find myself using shredded cheddar). If you want extra cheesy you could put some into your casserole as well. If it seems dry when you combine the ingredients before baking, you can add more creamed soup and mayo or if you’ve added cheese into the casserole that will help as well.
So close... and yet... still so long to bake...

So close… and yet… still so long to bake…

350 degrees for approximately 50 to 60 minutes. Just until heated through and cheese looks great on top.
Deeeeee - lish!

Deeeeee – lish!

A couple of notes:

  1. I would highly suggest NOT using a pan on a skillet and the oven on a very hot day if your house doesn’t have air conditioning.
  2. This stores well and makes INCREDIBLE leftovers.
  3. Cheese on top = genius.

The other lesson I had learned (from admiring new guys cooking) was that you could BOIL asparagus. I’d only ever grilled it before. I did a quick google search, saw that it takes a large skillet, a little salt in the inch of water and 5-7 minutes of uncovered time and tada! cooked asparagus.

Salt, water, asparagus. Season to taste. 5-7 minutes of sheer perfection!

Salt, water, asparagus. Season to taste. 5-7 minutes of sheer perfection!

Again, genius.

Not to mention, for this meal, I was able to break out my pineapple slicer. Which, shockingly, you just don’t use that often.

Tasty delightful perfectly sweet pineapple!

Tasty delightful perfectly sweet pineapple!

So yes, I own a pineapple slicer… and no hand mixer. My kitchen is a very confusing place…

Moving on.

It was a wonderful well rounded (very tasty) meal. Totally felt like a mini victory. I can now check “casseroles” off my list of items to learn.

Annnnnnnd since I’m feeling pretty proud of myself, I’m going to attempt pretty sugar cookies. You know, the kind with the nice looking frosting that look like they come from a store. To be fair, I’m cheating a little bit, I’ve got a baker friend coming to town and a new cookie cutter I’m dying to use… so there may or may not be a little extra guidance.

So keep your fingers that works out for me.

Oooooor just know, you’re pretty much guaranteed a funny blog post next week!

*Here’s the deal. This blog started off with the purpose of being a happy space to talk about cooking, cleaning, organizing, funny mishaps, finances, random adventures and the likes. It’s also a place where people that live far away can come to check on me and see what’s happening in my life. Which I adore. Thank you friends. But what I’m realizing is, sometimes my posts may include a little personal aside about my family, my friends and in this case my dating life. Because those are the people that surround me and make my stories. So yes, I’m seeing someone new. He’s already inspired me to attempt pan seared steak, boiled asparagus and chicken casserole. Plus, he quietly ate my over-spiced brussel sprouts. He is wonderful, I am happy and I just wanted to let you know.

When pure practicality meets crafting…

The 4th of July has the ability to bring on a whole world of joy.

Star-spangled fun left and right. Flags, fireworks, BBQ’s, friends…

And the American Flag.

EVERYWHERE.

Good Lord I love that flag. Stars. Stripes. Happiness.

So you’d better believe I geeked out when I realized that stores were selling flag shorts. I needed those for my forth of July outfit (yes, you need a forth of July outfit, HELLO, ex-sorority girl here). They were practically a necessity.

Then I realized, that one pair of shorts, to be worn for 8 hours (or less?)… one time a year… is maybe not worth the money spent on them. You know, fiscally responsible Betsy knows better. Plus, I’ve got zero closet space and I’d just be committing to throwing something else out.

Sigh.

But what if I already had something I didn’t love… or um, that maybe had a hole in them… that I could just modify and wear?

  1. I wouldn’t have to buy a whole new pair of shorts. Saving money for the win!
  2. It wouldn’t take up any new space.
  3. It would be totally appropriate fitting for a small hole to be in pants you wear once a year.
  4. It would fulfill my dream of dressing to the nines for the forth.

And so after a Google search for a star shape (that I could cut out as a stencil) and a quick phone call to my craft master friend Niki (I mean, everyone needs someone they can call with questions like “If I was going to paint on my jeans… what kind of paint would I need?!)… I headed to Hobby Lobby. I used a 40% off coupon. And for less than $5 I had red and white acrylic paint!

Keeping in mind that you’ll need two days to complete this task so that your paint can dry overnight and then you can flip them and do the other side… here’s what I ended up with!

The front…

Started with star stencils and a pen and then just painted them in! The stripes were totally free handed!

Started with star stencils and a pen and then just painted them in! The stripes were totally free handed!

And the back…

I'd seen just the pockets done in my pinterest search and thought that was a genius and cute idea... not to mention a heck of a time saver!

I’d seen just the pockets done in my pinterest search and thought that was a genius and cute idea… not to mention a heck of a time saver!

I could not be more proud of these shorts.

They were perfect!

They were highly complimented!

And almost no one noticed the gaping hole on the leg.

I’d call that $5 well spent.

Happy birthday America!

 

You know those friends…

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The very best ones? The ones that always laugh at your jokes. They enjoy partaking with you in fun girly activities or just siting with you, lounging in comfortable silence. They know how to how to be classy – even at a dive bar and they know the exact right time and way to deliver compliments to you to touch your soul?! Really, these are the friends that just make your life better because they’re in it.

Well, those girls came to visit me this weekend. I laughed. Oh how I laughed. Hard, with gusto and a few really good snorts – the. entire. weekend. And throughout the whole thing, they just reminded me of how lucky I am to be blessed with some seriously rock star, fantastically wonderful, high achieving, amazingly talented friends.

We ate. We hiked. We ate. We dressed up. We ate. We shopped. We ate. We lounged. We ate.

And kids, we ate good.

Real good.

In an amazing geeky foodie way that I haven’t gotten to experience in a long time.

My goodness I love these friends.

I showed them around my new town. We saw the sites. They saw the new place. They loved on my pets. They were up for anything and everything.

And they brought me Runza.

RUNZA!!

And then they told my new friends all of the same things I’d been saying about my home state since I moved here:

  • Runza is great. If you don’t like it, we don’t understand you.
  • Nebraska IS a panhandle.
  • Chili and cinnamon rolls as a combination is legit.
  • People from a state should know geographically the border states and where they are positioned.
  • Elevation on a city sign is weird, it really should be population.
  • Measuring distance should only be noted in time… not miles, that means nothing to us.
  • Shopping is an art form.

Okay, that last one is maybe not a serious lesson, but it is true.

And these girls appreciate the beauty in that art form. 110%.

If you’re not catching on… long story short… I adore these girls.

And I already miss them like crazy.

And I love having visitors. And I blog about them. And I totally tour guide them around the entire city… You know… Just something to keep in mind…

So to my AMA ladies: I love you for visiting. I love you for listening. I love you for sacrificing time out of your crazy hectic schedules for our together time. I love you for being flexible and rolling with the punches. I love you for asking the hard questions. And I LOVE that you bring me so much joy.

And be ready for the “Girls on Rocks” 2014 calendar. It’s happening. And it’s going to be magical.

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