About Me

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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hula Pig Chicken

I've done it again - I've thrown things together and created something delicious. It's amazing what you can come up with when you think you don't have that much food and then you hunt around. This recipe involves chicken - which is shocking, I know. I should confess when I was small my Mom used to tell me that I was going to turn into a chicken tender. I'm a fan of chicken, therefore I cook it a lot. So if you are a fan of the bird, you should find plenty to like about the recipes I post. Onward to goodness!

Frozen chicken, frozen hams & BBQ sauce - only Sweet Baby Ray's for this girl!

Doesn't that look delicious?

That looks more like a homicide scene than food being cooked - oh well...

I knew I had some chicken tenders in my freezer and I'm trying to get most everything cleared out before I leave on Thursday going to Colorado Springs. I've cooked chicken in the crock pot dozens of times but I wanted to do something a little different. I found some leftover cubed hams also in my freezer and thought if I threw the chicken and ham together in the crock pot and put in barbecue sauce, it would probably be pretty delicious. So on Monday morning, I threw it all together and remembered to both turn on the crock pot and plug it in.

I told my parents on the way home Monday that when I walked in the door, I was expecting for my nose to be assaulted with delicious aromas. I was not disappointed and Watson immediately made a beeline for the kitchen to sniff the air and try to discern what I'd cooked up for "us" to eat. Silly dog.

Oh yes...this will be delicious.

I added pineapple as an after thought; to make it more like a Hawaiian dish...

I'll add pineapple at the beginning the next time...but this worked fine too.

How delicious does that look? Seriously - I want some right now.

Supper - not bad for a Monday!

I also discovered in making this meal that I have a dog that likes pineapple. Watson is not picky by any means; he will eat almost anything you put in front of him but when he doesn't like something, he lets you know. I slipped him a bite of pineapple with barbecue sauce on it and he was a bit hesitant but ate it. I gave him just a bite of plain pineapple and he inhaled it like it was a drug! I guess dogs have eaten funnier things, but I get pretty tickled knowing my dog gets excited about having pineapple and green beans. Little nut.

Don't you want a bite of pineapple? Watson might share...

Hula Pig Chicken

-7-8 boneless chicken tenders
- cubed hams, small
- Barbecue sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's is the best)
- 1 small can pineapple chunks

Throw all the ingredients into the crock pot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Enjoy!

Monday, August 26, 2013

....Title....

The award for the most original title this year goes to me - because really, it is Monday morning and I'm not completely functioning yet. I've only got about 4 ounces of coffee in me at this point and that really doesn't get much in the way of brain functions going. Only four days of work this week and I'm Colorado bound, but before I get ahead of myself, the past week in pictures and short stories.

I saw this online - it's so accurate that I can't decide whether I should laugh or cry. Maybe both?

Feeling colorful on Tuesday.

The crazy weather on Tuesday evening - sunny in one direction, rainbow in another direction and storm clouds brewing in another direction.

The weather on Tuesday evening was interesting - that's really the best I can think of to describe it. It was completely sunny on the way home and so I settled into the couch to watch my recorded episode of Under the Dome and eat some cereal before going to the gym. I was just watching TV, engrossed in my show and the developing drama when it thundered so loud that I almost came unglued. It obviously lightninged along with this because my TV snapped, popped off and popped on - the combination of the loud thunder and the TV antics made me jump. I went to the door expecting to see dark clouds encroaching but was shocked to see nothing but blue sky all around. It continued to thunder (loudly) for the next thirty minutes and on the way to to the gym, I saw blue skies behind me, weird teal/green storm tinged skies with a rainbow on my left and dark, churning clouds ahead. It finally came a monsoon while I was in the gym, but by the time I left an hour later, the skies had cleared and there was a beautiful sunset. Weather - why are you so weird?

And after Zumba - it was all cleared away...and looked gorgeous.

So foggy I feel like I stepped into a Twilight book...

So yummy. So, so yummy. I think I need another one now.

Jon Snow needs to skip the Night's Watch uniform more often if this is what his abs look like....

Shameless movie plug - shameless movie plug for a movie I didn't even know existed. I am a complete sucker for historical drama and if you add in an impossible love story, then I am all over it. I had no clue this movie even existed but apparently it will be centered around the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the love story between a slave and a noblewoman - it's called Pompeii. Which - the slave is played by Kit Harrington, who plays Jon Snow on Game of Thrones. He is usually buried under twenty layers of clothing on the show because his character is North of the wall; which basically means it is freeze your butt off cold all the time. I caught sight of this picture last week and almost hyperventilated - hello abs! Ha-ha! Once I saw the trailer, I knew I'd be into it. I take it from comments under the trailer that people think these types of movies are stupid, but I'm a fan, so I'll be ready to see this in February!

Coconut M&M's are the best. I had to hunt for these & I've been rationing them ever since. 

My couch potato, at it again. 

Thursday morning & this little guy has no intentions of getting up. At all.

Okay - so I have a confession. I keep seeing roaches in my house! What in the world is up with that? I've lived in my house for over 2 years now and I've never had a problem with bugs at all, much less roaches. I keep my house pretty darn clean (I am; after all, the child of Ginger Summerlin) and tidy. I spied one or two at the beginning of last week and immediately decided I needed someone to come spray the house. After calling around, the price I was getting was around $150 - and this girl does not have that kind of money to spend, especially not on bug spray! So I went to Wal-Mart where the very helpful salespeople (read: not helpful AT ALL) pointed me to the aisle where I picked up some Bug Barrier. I sprayed all over the house and so far...I'm not sure how well it worked. My parents say to give it a couple days, but I'm somewhat disappointed. I need the bugs to go away now!

This stuff better start working ASAP.

Thursday - ice cream run at the office. Yahoo!

Oh the gym - I'm really starting to enjoy it. Who knew?

TRUTH.
I stumbled onto this picture earlier in the week and I know exactly what that means. Granted, in my case it is no way related to school but my Monday - Friday involves a lot of people in positions of power treating me like I'm of less worth than the speck on their shoe. To say my job can be hard some days is putting it lightly. I won't really get into it too much, but if you randomly think of me during the week, I can always use your prayers where work is related.

The couch potato pup gets situated to watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He hasn't decided on his favorite character quite yet....but he does like Xander, so that may be the winner.

So lovey this week - too sweet.

Oh - have you heard? CBS (or NBC...can't remember) is remaking The Sound of Music as a live action performance just in time for Christmas this year. They revealed months ago that Carrie Underwood had been cast as Maria...which, okay. I suppose that's fine. They revealed this week that Stephen Moyer will be playing Captain von Trapp. Since I'm pretty sure no one that reads this blog watches True Blood, you probably have little to no clue that Stephen Moyer is best known for playing vampire Bill on True Blood and so when I read this, I was immediately tickled at the thought of vampire Bill dancing and singing. Apparently he has a theatre background...but still, too funny! I love The Sound of Music, so I'll tune in when it airs on December 5th...just to see how the new Captain & Maria work out!

Captain von Trapp & Maria...hmmm...I don't know if I see it yet.

Big Bold Bears - they are 4x larger than regular gummie bears. Sadly, they aren't 4x more delicious.

I live dangerously on Friday nights - laundry, pizza and Buffy.

Sitting on my leg is apparently very comfortable - for him. He has really bony elbows and they were digging into me! 

Friday night snuggles during our Buffy marathon!

Watson says "no more pictures please - it's late."

The glowy-eyed frog on the porch! I hate bugs, but I love seeing little frogs hanging out on my porch.

Saturdays are the best - especially when they involve getting to lay in the bed and sleep until the sun is streaming in the windows. Obviously, during the week I am up before the sun manages to shine it's way into my room, so I love to wake up on Saturdays and just lay in the bed and watch the sunlight stream into the room. There is something really peaceful about those first few minutes after waking up - I think it just has something to do with being warm and safe, which is a really good feeling. Not everyone in the world has that blessing, so I guess from time to time it is nice to remember that something as simple as having a warm, safe bed to sleep in and watch the sun come in the windows is a bigger blessing than we might realize.

Glorious sunshine!

Saturday night - the best friend, Mexican food and a movie. Good times.
After I conquered the lawn on Saturday morning - of which there is a whole post dedicated, I cleaned up around the house, made a Dollar General run, read, watched some TV and napped. It was a good Saturday, no doubt about it. Saturday night, my best friend David came over and we promptly went to the Mexican restaurant in Collinsville; the people there are going to start to recognize us, seriously. I decided to branch out and get something besides the combination platters - I got something from the quesadilla section of the menu that I couldn't even pronounce, but it was delicious. We watched the movie Contagion  after supper, which I think is fascinating. If you've never seen it, it is about the spread of an epidemic and the panic that it induces. I think it's really interesting, however when I asked David halfway through the movie if he wanted some M&M's, he said "no - ew, I don't want to touch anything. Everything has germs and is gross and I'll probably get sick and die. No." Hahahahaha! It should be noted he overcame his fear and ate some M&M's a little later. They obviously weren't contaminated with anything because I've already heard from him this morning.

Watching the weekend fade away on Sunday evening.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mowing, Music & the Inner Monologue

It isn't even noon and my grass is already cut - praise Jesus. I've only had to cut grass three times since I've lived on my own. Three times...and I do not like it. I've never been a huge fan of manual labor, the heat or sweat and mowing the grass combines all three into some giant mess of an activity that I despise. I'm ready for the time of mowing the grass to be done - whether that be because Autumn arrives early (everyone laugh with me, because we know that's not going to happen) or I get to move to Virginia...I'm just ready to be done with the yard work.

For whatever reason, it just occurred to me this third time that I should plug my headphones in so I would have music to mow by. And therefore; we have this post - the songs I listened to and the thoughts that went through my head - the inner musings of me, while mowing the lawn. Ha!

My foe - how I hate this stupid machine. I do love my yard once it's mowed though. *sigh*

Holy Grail - Jay-Z featuring Justin Timberlake
- Upon discovering that the lawn mower didn't seem to have grass - "maybe my grass isn't really THAT tall..." Looks around and decides that yep..."it is".
- Why is Jay-Z rapping about being famous & hating it? I mean, I'm sure it must be frustrating to be photographed all the time but you get paid millions of dollars and if people didn't like you/your music then you wouldn't have money. And we both know that would just kill you - I mean, you trademarked your babies' name for heaven sake. I don't know...famous people blow my mind.
- That being said, I really do like this song.

Diamonds - Rihanna
- I won't even lie, I was singing this song. Loudly. The beauty of it was that no one could hear me over the roar of the lawn beast.
- I wonder if Rihanna has ever mowed the grass? I mean, obviously she doesn't mow the grass now because she has people for that...but still...once upon a time?
- Also...if I could download the mash-up of this song with the Game of Thrones theme song, I would. Because it is awesome. See! Amazing. You wouldn't think so...but it works.

Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke
- Did you know that Robin Thicke is the son of the dad from Growing Pains? I definitely thought on that one while I cut grass...because, hmmm...who knew?
-  I've heard crazy stuff about this video, apparently it caused a major stir because...maybe there is nudity involved? I don't know...maybe I should YouTube it once I finish cutting all this grass.

Radioactive - Imagine Dragons
- I wonder how long it will take Pam to find Eric on True Blood next year? *side note - True Blood episodes are named for the song that plays at the end of each episode. The season finale was called Radioactive.* Eric is very much on fire on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere Sweden. Let's get that sorted out fast.
- Amazingly, my friend David & I both agreed this was a good song. We have agreed on...I think at this point 4-5 songs. We've been friends for 12 years. Granted, he said this song was getting old. I just found it two weeks ago. Whatever.

Season of the Witch - Donovan
- It needs to hurry up and be the "season of the witch" because then it will be October and I hopefully won't have to cut grass.
- Also, at this point the lawn mower died and I began praying there was still a small bit of gas left in the gas container because I wasn't done yet.
- Victory - I can finish cutting grass because I have enough gas! Small miracles!


You are excellent at this grass cutting thing Mom - but we need a riding lawn mower; it gets tiring running alongside you.

Breath of Life - Florence & the Machine
- I think my phone is being ironic now because even though it is only 10:30, the lovely Mississippi heat is taking a fierce hold and I'm starting to think I need more than one breath of life. I also need a bottle of water.
- CRAP! What just smacked me in the leg?!? Oh look...blood. Not much, but apparently a rock flew at just the right angle to smack my shin. Yahoo! How nice.
- Oh look...the lawn mower quit again. And this time I have no more gas - so I guess this means the party is over. Thank goodness the yard is cut...for the most part.

Yay - I love yard work! Also, I need to shave.

Look at the stupid dirt & grit on my legs. OK...you can't see it that well.

Well - there you go. Another grass mowing adventure done and over with. Accompanied by lovely, obscure thoughts. Have a lovely Saturday and may no rocks strike you in the shin! 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Where Has Time Gone?

So - this time next week I will be in Colorado Springs! Glory be! I look forward to Labor Day weekend always, because it means time off from work or in the past time off from school but for the past 4 years, it has also meant a trip to Colorado Springs and who doesn't love that? I know I'm a fan - especially since I get to escape the sweltering Mississippi heat for just a few days. I'm pretty sure when I fly out next Thursday, the temperature here in good ol' Mississippi is supposed to be hovering somewhere around 100 degrees. Ugh.

Labor Day weekend is also Parent's Weekend at the Air Force Academy. A weekend where family members can visit, go to classes with their cadet and attend the opening football game on Saturday. We've visited Colorado Springs quite a lot in the past 4 years anyway, much more than just Parent's Weekend - it's funny to realize that although I've never lived in Colorado Springs, I feel that I could pretty well find my way around if I needed to - because I have before. I've navigated 5 o'clock traffic on the interstate in an Expedition on a secret surprise mission. All that being said - next weekend will be the last Parent's Weekend for my family. Lindsey is a Firstie - which is USAFA code for a Senior. That means all the things we do in Colorado Springs this year will be the "last" time we do all those things. I feel like it was just yesterday that we started all this...and now it is almost over. I thought I'd step back in time a little bit and remember the last four years.

First time to see Lindsey in over two months. There were tears. My sunglasses conveniently hide my tears.

In the late summer of 2009, the four of us went to Colorado Springs to vacation and drop Lindsey off at the Air Force Academy. Her first year of school would be spent at the Air Force Academy Prep School. It was very strange to head home after a few days without my partner in crime but that is just one of the many joys of growing up - ha! When we went back to Colorado in late August, I have never seen so many people standing around waiting for just a glimpse of their kid. It was crazy...and we were right in the middle of the craziness. They made the cadets (that's what they're called...not students or whatever) march out and be so regimented...the waiting was insane. It's really hard to see the person you have been waiting to see standing just feet away and you can't run grab them up until the person in charge says so. *sigh* We all cried when the moment came though - because we are all such complete softies. Ha-ha!

Family picture on game day!


I suppose I will share my story of being truly graceful during our first Parent's Weekend visit. Each year there is a parade - although not the kind of parade you're probably thinking - and everyone sits in the bleachers to watch. The parade is held early in the morning and the metal bleachers were covered with a light dusting of dew...which made them a bit slippery. Can you see where this is going? Maybe so... Anyway, I wanted to go down to get a closer look at something and I just hopped on down...and it was all going smoothly until the bottom step when my foot hit a slick patch and my whole body pitched forward. As I mentioned - I'm incredibly graceful, so I grabbed onto the railing at the corner of the bleachers and somehow managed to do a semi-controlled spin/fall/dive toward the ground, recovering in mid spin/fall and landing on my feet. It was truly a thing of beauty - and I don't think my parents could contain their concern for my well-being, which was evidenced by how hard they were laughing when I looked back at them. Ah- the love of family.

USAFA Football - my very first game! Go Falcons!

Year Two - the year of the Surprise Attack! I wasn't certain I would be able to come until about three weeks out and once we sorted everything out, we decided that I would just play up being pitiful and pretend that I couldn't come. We got to the Springs on Wednesday afternoon and for a day and a half, I had to pretend I wasn't even in Colorado. I talked to Lindsey on the phone Wednesday night and pretended to be sad and pitiful...all the while staring at the Colorado mountains. Sneaky, sneaky. My parents had meetings on Thursday, so I went to the zoo and basically amused myself all day. When the time came to meet up with Lindsey, my parents left me in the car and once they were with Lindsey, they suggested she call me so we could all be "together" for a few minutes. Little did she know I was advancing on them with each word! It was definitely so much fun to watch her reaction - and I was so glad that I was able to be there!

The Summerlin ladies in front of Cheyenne Mountain

Surprise - I totally had you fooled! 

Going to class with Lindsey has always been especially interesting - Lord knows she takes some classes that would absolutely confound me at every turn. This has led to lots of pictures over the years of us acting goofy in her classes because I am completely lost...and sometimes she is a little confused, ha-ha!

What did you say the answer was? 

Falcons football game #2...this picture is starting to be a recurring thing...

Saying good-bye to our 4 Degree...known to all of you as a freshman!

Parents Weekend - Year Three! We have a 2 Degree now which = more freedom!

Another year, another visit out to Colorado Springs! The farther along your cadet gets, the more freedoms they have...which means as the family you also have more freedoms when deciding what you're going to do. We could take Lindsey with us sooner and for a longer amount of time during her 2 degree year. Lindsey also had more responsibility in her squadron (#16 - Go Proud Chickenhawks!) and we got to watch her "run the show" some while we were there. Classes, as always were fun. I discovered that Aeronautical Engineering is not even remotely my cup of tea - you can have that one Lindsey!

I can't even being to understand this...I'll just leave it to you.

Sitting CQ in her squadron. I was quite a bit of help - obviously. Ha-ha!

Falcon Football game #3 - we decided this picture must be a yearly thing. Also, don't let us fool you - we were freezing! There was a pretty stiff "breeze" coming off the mountains.

For our third year in the Springs, we actually decided to get out of the Springs a little bit and head into the mountains. I don't think my parents realized how far into the mountains we were really going to be because the cabin they chose to stay in was 45 minutes from the Academy. I wasn't sure about it at first, but now that I look back on it, it may have been one of my favorite places to stay while we were in Colorado. Especially when we had a cook-out and deer came right up to the cabin to visit while we were all eating. So cool! The views were beautiful and it was so nice to be able to explore the Colorado countryside - because almost everywhere you look in Colorado is gorgeous.

Feeding the deer some delicious bananas!

And then there was last year - the shortest Parent's Weekend I've experienced so far because I didn't arrive until Friday afternoon. No goofy class pictures because I didn't make class this past year; I was too busy zooming across the sky to the Springs. It's funny how even though the trip was technically shorter, it seems like we did so much more. The mystery of how time passes...always interesting.

The traditional picture - yet again. Only one more year to go...*sniff, sniff...tear*

Making sure we put the goofy in goofy golfing!

I think one of my favorite parts of last year's Parents Weekend was that we got to go to Jack's Valley, which is where Lindsey spent three weeks of Basic Training when she was just a little ol' Four Degree in training. I thought all the obstacles courses were so cool...because to me they looked like big playground equipment! Sadly, as Lindsey told us, that wasn't really the function they served. Boo!

Wait...so you mean to tell me that this isn't a swing?

Clearly I think this thing is some kind of sun tanning rack. I don't know...I'm a nut.

Another really cool thing about last year's Parent's Weekend? We toured the US Olympic Training Center - which was really cool! As with everything that Lindsey and I do, we added our own excitement to it just by being our goofy selves. I know my parents always appreciate all the crazy poses, dance moves and general mischief we bust out in public at random. What can I say - we just can't help it. :)

Go Team USA!

I think we'd make perfect additions to the Olympic Team, don't you?

My family is awesome - that's about all I know. Hands down, the best family. Ever.

So - somehow we've gotten to this place. I never knew that five years could pass so fast! It's funny to think about how much all four of our lives have changed in the past five years too! It's been so awesome to have this yearly get-together where all four of us can be together for just a couple days and I can't wait for next Thursday when I'm winging my way to Colorado Springs for the fifth and final year! Lindsey, you will always be my baby sister but in the past few years you have become such an amazing and accomplished young woman. I can't wait to see all the things you're going to do - you've already done so much and achieved so many dreams; the sky isn't even the limit for you - soon enough you'll be soaring above the clouds!

Four down - one to go! In about a week, we'll have competed the set!