Thursday, July 16, 2009

Harry Potter the Half-Blood Prince

Joe and I went to see the movie last night and it was AWESOME! I think it was my favorite movie yet. I usually re-read the books before the next movie comes out, but I didn't have a chance this time. That may have actually helped me enjoy the movie a little bit more since I didn't remember exactly what was in the book.

Joe mentioned this movie didn't have as much action and previous ones, and that was definitely true. Action or not, it was great acting. We've not only watched the HP characters grow up during the movies, but the actors themselves grow into their acting. Too me, that's pretty neat.

As a side note, I wonder how the directors feel about Harry's love interest being as tall or taller than him. I personally like how it's played out because I think more and more tall women are dating men the same height as them.

And another random thought. Each wizard's wand has the ability to kill another person with a spell. We've known that throughout. So basically--a wand can act like a gun. Is it really "right" to give seven year olds a killing weapon? (Yes, I know this is a movie and I'm thinking way too much about it.)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dad and Robby Visit!

It seems Dad and Robby have made it a tradition to drive cross country for a week or two over the summer. Joe and I are very glad this includes a stop over in Omaha. With more time on our hands this summer, Joe and I have been more homesick than usual. Dad and Robby's trip made our week! (Too bad they ate the crab chips before reaching Omaha, though).

When Joe and I went home for Kristy and Lucas's wedding in May, Robby creamed Joe in Call of Duty. Since then, Joe had been practicing his war tactics and couldn't wait to play Robby. As soon as we found out they were definitely stopping by, Joe ran out and bought a second controller.

Look at how happy they are!

And Dad was just happy to get some rest. I offered our bed, but he declined.

Unfortunately Joe had to work, but I took a day off from studying and we went to the zoo. I was amazed at how much Joe and I had missed from our trip there just two weeks ago. Omaha really does have a great zoo.

As soon as we walked into the desert we noticed these vibrant birds flying around. They reminded up immediately of the Baltimore Orioles. Come to find out, this little bugger escaped from his "home."

This picture is more grainy than I like. For some reason, my camera could not pick up enough light in the rain forest.

Robby's growing his hair out for the summer...

I know this one is a little blurry, but it's the only one I have of the two of us from the zoo. I think Robby and I are starting to finally look like brother and sister.

The next day, we walked up to the trains that welcome you to Omaha from the East. I couldn't get over how big they were. If I'm bored one day, perhaps I'll try photoshopping me into the picture with Dad and Robby.

Yes, Robby's almost as tall as me, and I'm 5'10"!

And as in all good things, their visit must come to the end (and I must return to studying). That's ok though, Joe and I will be in Baltimore soon enough.

Attempted to Run

Yesterday I thought I'd giving running a try again. I had no intentions of a long or fast run and realized I'm not in running shape. I mostly wanted to do a slow 20 minute run to see how my knee felt running. Yeah, umm...5 minutes later my run turned into a walk. The knee pain wasn't excruciating or anything, but definitely there. I didn't want to add too much inflammation and impede my PT progress, so I decided to stop and not just run through the pain.

That being said, I'm still noticing a difference since starting physical therapy. My left calf and quad used to be painfully cramped for about 2 days after any cardio--that is much improved! I'm still having pain with activity, but not nearly as much. I've been pretty diligent with my exercises and I hope they continue to pay off.

Second Attempt at Roses

Why the blue leaves? Left over icing of course! Since this cake is just for my practice I felt no need to make green icing.

Not your typical shell border, eh? I wanted to mix things up, and in the great fashion of being lazy, I made this border with the leaf tip.

Close-up of the roses. I didn't realize it, but I made my first rose with the tip facing the wrong direction, hence the thick petals. It looked funny with thinner petals next to a rose with thick petals, so I made the other roses in the same fashion. Plus, I found it slightly easier to make roses this way. I do want to learn the "proper" way though, and that requires practice, practice, practice! I also need to practice my rose buds some more. As Joe said, "what are the purple squigglies?"

For the "Lazy Daisy Cake" and icing, here are the recipes from a fellow nestie. I wasn't impressed with the cake at all. I think the best way to describe the cake is "chewy." I've never really had a chewy cake before, and I thought I might like it better the next day with a clean palate; but nope, still chewy. The chocolate icing...well that's another story. Delicious! I haven't had chocolate icing for a long time, and to Joe's disbelief, I didn't make the icing chocolate because I was mad at him (he doesn't like chocolate icing). I'll definitely be saving the recipe for the icing.

I used my new turn table for the first time to decorate this cake. It was so much easier!! Thank you Micheal's for your 50% coupon. I have to buy new 9x13 pans. Although my pans are Wilton, they're not specifically for cakes. Oddly enough, the pan's bottom was smaller than the top so when I stacked my cakes, the top layer had edges hanging over. Obviously that's not the side I photographed :p

Cinnamon Buttermilk Muffins

Dad and Robby were in town and I've been wanting to try these biscuits, so I thought, "what a great time to bake some." I followed the recipe from Annie's Eats.

Honestly, I doubt I'll make them again. The muffin tops were to die for, but the muffin itself was a little dry for my liking. The muffin tops do have me wanting to make some snickerdoodles soon though...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Year of Hair in Review

Please remind me to never dye my hair again. I like it at first, but I just don't have the time and money to maintain it. I've spent way too much of my time this year trying to get my hair back to it's natural color. So let's review the year...

June 2008 - au natural

July 2008
And here's my "married hair." This was my first highlighting job in years.

December 2008
And here was the "touch up" for the above highlights. I think they became a little too blond.

February 2009
And my first attempt to match the box. I thought I did pretty well until it faded and I noticed the below roots.

March 2009
This was at Kristy's shower. After this trip, tried box 2.

May 2009
After seeing this picture, I noticed roots (which were much more noticeable to me a couple months ago, than now...)

And so, after Kristy's wedding I decided I was tired of trying to match the box to my hair color. I thought I'd just do temporary dye until my hair grew out. That was until...

June 2009
I turned my hair red! I really don't know how "golden almond brown" made me
red. I thought it was no big deal since it was temporary color...well the picture on the right is after about 60 washes and it's still red!

That's when I decided it was time to pay my stylist to return to my natural color.

July 2009
It's definitely much darker than my natural color, but since we were covering blond, the stylist and I think it'll fade. I'm definitely still trying to get used to it. It's the darkest my hair's ever been. I think I'm done dying my hair for a while now.

One Day Late

It's amazing how time and age changes my perspective on things. This past cycle I was one day late. Although we're not trying to have kids, I was starting to get slightly excited that I could be pregnant. I even looked up when we would be due and starting thinking how I would change my schedule to be easier when the baby came.

No such "luck" this time. However, if I was that obsessed when we weren't trying to get pregnant, what am I going to be like when we are trying?

Monday, July 6, 2009

"Reason for Return?"

"Umm, because I spent too much money last month and I hadn't worn this yet and it still had the tags on it." How's that for an answer? I made some returns Friday and they showed up on my credit card today. Such a great feeling seeing my balance reduce =)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

First Attempt at Roses

Joe and I didn't have any plans for the 4th of July, so I decided to decorate yet another cake. I was exhausted by the end! The night before I baked a white cake from scratch using a recipe I love. I must not have baked it long enough, because if fell apart. Boo and such a waste of butter. The next morning I made yet another cake, but this time from a box.

I think I tried to "learn" too many new things in one setting yesterday. I wanted to make my shell borders two toned--red and blue for the holiday. Something like such from Le Petit Pieroti's Blog. Well, that involves parchment bags. I don't know why, but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to fold those darn bags. I'm sure you tube has a video, but I was too impatient to look for it...

After resigning to the fact that my shell border wasn't going to be two tone, I decided to give roses a try. Even though I added meringue powder to the icing, I think my icing still wasn't quite stiff enough because they kept tilting to one side as I turned the pin. I bet I attempted at least 20 roses to get the three I finally used, which still are wilting. I know, practice, practice, practice.

I'm also starting to think the buttercream icing is a little too sweet for my liking. If you're from Baltimore, it reminds me of Woodlea's icing. Don't get me wrong, I love Woodlea's icing, since I made three cakes this week, I'm sugared out. I'll look into another recipe that's not so sweet for icing the cake at least.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Work That Butt!

As I mentioned, I started PT for my knee pain again. Part of the program involves strengthening the muscles that help keep my pelvis and hips aligned so my patella can track properly. One set of these muscles is the gluteus medius, see picture. Man, we sure found an exercise to work them, my butt is so so sore. And no surprise, my left is weaker than right. So, since a fair number of ladies are always trying to "work that butt" I figured I'd share the exercise in case you want to try something new.

It's called "the clam," basically because you're moving your leg similar to how a clam opens its shell. The wonders of google images let to me these pictures for you from this site.

And the directions from their site as well:
a) Start position: lying on side with knees and hips bent slightly
b) Action: keeping feet touching, raise top knee, hold 5 seconds, slowly lower. Make sure not to roll hip/pelvis backwards. This is called cheating! I sometimes put my hand on my hip to make sure I don't feel it rolling backward. It is not necessary to move the knee upwards as far as possible, about 6 inches is plenty. You should feel the muscles in the outside and slightly to the back of the hip tightening during the exercise.

I'm starting with 4 reps of 15 on each side

Thursday, July 2, 2009

1 Year Anniversary!

Sunday, June 28th, marked one year of wedded bliss. Originally we thought about driving down to Kansas City for the day, but we realized we didn't want to spend 6 hours in the car on our anniversary. Instead, we headed to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, and it was about time, we've only lived here for 3 years. It was a beautiful day out and a great way to spend our anniversary.

Joe wanted to get me flowers for our anniversary, so after the zoo we head to Sam's club to pick up some fresh flowers, you can't beat their prices! On the way home we picked up Famous Dave's carryout and enjoyed a nice meal at home. The day was so "us" and we look forward to celebrating many many more.

Along with spending time with my dear husband at the zoo, I used the visit as an opportunity to play around with photography. So, here are a lot of butterflies (and others, of course) for your viewing pleasure.

Joe says Rhinos remind him of Jurassic Park

Joe caught the parrot pooping!

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