January 30, 2010

pancake perfection finally attained!

Since I've been married, I have been trying desperately to make the perfect Saturday (or Sunday) morning pancake.

I've always envisioned waking up with puffy eyes and messy hair next to Husband, with the sun peeking through my window, and the sweet pitter-patter of little feet making their way towards my bedroom. I see little ones jumping on our bed and saying, "Mama! We want pancakes!" And then I would throw on a robe, make my way into the kitchen, and create the perfect, most pristine batch of pancakes one has ever imagined.

Fast forward through nearly five years of marriage. Although there are no kiddos yet (and I'm really okay with that), I have finally, on this day, found the perfect pancake.

This is a big deal.

In the past, I have tried making pancakes from scratch, using a mix, adding chocolate, adding cinnamon, adding buttermilk, low heat, high heat, big pours, little pours, clumpy batter, smooth batter, you get the idea.

Husband's response upon taking the first bite of every, single batch of pancakes I've ever attempted? "Eh, they're ok."

Noooooooo!!!!! "Ok" isn't good enough! "Ok" is not what I'm after.

But today, January 30, 2010, I have made the perfect pancake. I have found The Holy Grail. Husband's response this morning? "Man, these are good!" "These are the best pancakes you've ever made!" "Seriously, these are amazing." "Wow."

Where did I find this perfect pancake recipe, you ask? You guessed it...Pioneer Woman.

I stumbled upon this recipe while blog-surfing last night. I gathered all the ingredients, set them on the counter, and vowed that I would make them this morning. And I did. And holy moly, they are delicious.

If you've been searching for that Perfect Pancake, search no more. Once again, the Pioneer Woman delivers.

Is it weird to say that now that I've discovered The Perfect Pancake, I feel more like a woman?

Make these tomorrow. Or tonight. Or whatever. Just make them. And no substituting all-purpose flour for cake flour. I think the cake flour makes all the difference.

Enjoy!

January 29, 2010

January 28, 2010

bookin' it update.

As you can see, I have started Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. So far, so good. It's definitely NOT what I was expecting, but I am pleased with the book so far. Maguire is a brilliant writer and uses a very precise, almost difficult language that causes me to re-read sentences in order to make sure I understood what I just read. Not as bad as Shakespeare or the Canterbury Tales, but it definitely is challenging if you're reading it right before bed with your eyes half open.

Shifting gears here, I am going to add another book to my Bookin' It list for 2010. It's called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I came across this gem through the Real Simple No Obligation Book Club. It is their pick for February. If you're interested in this book, go ahead and join their online club. It's a lot of fun! And the book looks incredibly intriguing. However...

I am spreading myself pretty thin this month with THREE books to read. My squadron book club has chosen to read City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I'm not too excited about this book choice, but whatever. Click on the link. See? Totally not my style, but that's ok. I got it on half.com for $3.25 so if it's terrible, not too much money was wasted.

A final note about books: J.D. Salinger, author of Catcher in the Rye, has passed away. Has anyone read that book? I read it in college and loved it. Rest in peace, J.D.! Your book is amazing, even with all the "G-d" bombs.

January 27, 2010

an amazing giveaway!

Y'all, this jewelry is amazing. And the accompanying giveaway is equally as wonderful. Click here to visit Leslie Loves Veggies and see what I'm talking about! Wouldn't you love to own those rings??


alive and well (sorta).

Well, the surgery has come and gone. Overall, I am feeling pretty good, except for pain and stiffness at the incision point. My hips are sore and the muscles in my back ache. It sort of feels like I have a sunburn where the incision is located. But other than that, I am doing well.

Most importantly, I am experiencing zero nausea from the anesthetic -- hallelujah!

I didn't sleep much last night (what's new?). We got up around 4:15, drove in silence to the hospital (we're not morning people), and checked in by 5:21am.

I didn't have to wait long before I was escorted to pre-op. They took my blood, my vitals, etc. That was the part I was NOT looking forward to. And then I had to strip down and get an IV. Ugh. I sorta cried...a little. I was alone and that made it hard. I felt so much better as soon as Aaron walked into the pre-op room.

My nurse gave me my "morning margarita" and the details past that are hazy. Aaron said the doctor came in and I talked to him, but I have no recollection of seeing him at all. I remember being wheeled into the OR, looking at the nurses scrubbing in and cleaning the "tool box" of scalpels. I remember a blonde nurse with a pink cap saying, "I'm gonna move her over here." And that's all I can recall.

After the procedure, I woke up in a panic and was coughing like crazy. During the surgery, they had to put a breathing tube in my throat and the presence/removal of the tube consequently made my throat very sore - it still hurts. I was coughing and all the machines were beeping and nurses were running around like chickens with their heads cut off. I had no idea where I was!

"You just got done with surgery, Cassandra. You have just woken up from the anesthetic."

"Oh," I thought. "So that's where I am."

The next words out of my mouth? "I have to pee!!!!"

The nurse immediately placed a bed pan underneath me (TMI?) and I was able to...well, go.

It took me a while to come to, but I saw Aaron and that made me feel better. The nurse removed my IV, took my blood pressure, and then told me to get dressed. "We're going home already?!" I started to cry. I felt like I needed more time. I was positive at that point that getting into our truck would make me vomit. But the nurse was persistent; it was time to go home. So, I got dressed and she wheeled me out the door! And that was that.

Now, I recover. I came home, took some meds, and immediately went to bed. I woke up feeling a LOT better. My head is clear, my vision is good, and my tummy feels normal. I am so thankful! My back, however, is a different story. It is very stiff and sore. But that will go away soon, they told me.

The doctor told Aaron that everything went perfectly. Now it's just time to recuperate. Fun! How is my leg pain, you wonder? Non-existent! It's hard to tell at this point since my body is reeling and reacting to the trauma, but I am sure that this procedure took care of the problem and that I will never again have to deal with the pain that I've suffered from for 10 years plus. Was it worth it? Time will tell!

Thank you, everyone, for your prayers and well-wishes. I am hoping that this tenderness in my back will be much better by tomorrow. I will keep you posted. Love to all. Time to watch Oprah and a Netflix!

January 26, 2010

say a little prayer...

My surgery is tomorrow morning (Wednesday) at 7am. If you're awake at that time, say a little prayer or send some positives thoughts my way.

I go in at 5:30am, get prepped, and then start the procedure at 7am. They didn't tell me how long I would be in recovery, but I WAS told I will go home the same day.

So, that's that. Think of me!


January 25, 2010

what a wonderful world.

Some recents shots that remind me the world is still a beautiful place.






January 24, 2010

what would you do with a 100 bucks?

I know I would buy books, workout DVDs, and maybe a pair of Tom's shoes - if I had any money left over. Wanna win a $100 gift certificate to amazon.com?

chaos!

Sorry for the chaos that has been my blog lately. I am trying desperately diligently to make it look a little more...interesting? Ignore the next few short posts. They'll make sense later. However, I do encourage you to read the Bookin' It in 2010 post that follows the short, weird ones.

Things will settle down soon. I promise.

I hope.

crafty thangs.

This is a starter post for future posts under that label. Ignore.

let's get physical!

This is a starter post for future posts under that label. Ignore.

January 23, 2010

bookin' it in 2010.


The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.

I sort of stumbled upon this "challenge" through a blog of a blog of a blog of a friend's blog. I found this post rather intriguing and kept reading. I eventually decided that I, too, will "Book It in 2010."

Lord knows I have more books than the local library; most of them haven't even been cracked open. I am deciding to make reading a priority. Instead of spending so much time on the Internet, I will choose to read a freggin' book. It makes you smart, ya know.

TV. If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they'll have with twenty-six. Open your child's imagination. Open a book.

To keep myself accountable (and to get some use out of all the $ I've spent on these books), I've decided to post a list of books that I would like to read before the end of the year. Hopefully, I will have more to add to this list, but these are the ones that have been beckoning me from my bookshelf for quite some time. I'll strike through the ones I've completed and write a review for each one. And no, these aren't the most refined or intellectual books on the market. But does it really matter?

If you're interested, I challenge you to Book It in 2010. Your brain cells will thank you.

1. My Life in France by Julia Child

2. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire


4. Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan


6. The entire Harry Potter series. All seven of them.

7. Love and War by John and Stasi Eldridge

8. Eclipse and Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. I really need to finish this series, but am finding it very boring challenging.

9. The Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual for Everyone from Beginner to Pro. Why? Because makeup is awesome and why not learn how to apply it correctly from the Makeup God herself?

10. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

11. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

12. Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall

13. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

If you have any good book recommendations, please send them my way! I am especially interested in non-fiction books. I want to broaden my fiction horizon, but don't really no where to start.

You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.

January 22, 2010

my life in france: a quick review.

I stayed up late last night and finished My Life in France by Julia Child.

Overall, this book receives 4 lattes out of five. The beginning of the book wraps you in warm goodness, but it sort of fizzles towards the end when she painfully painstankingly describes her efforts to get her manuscript published. I found it a bit boring.

If you know French, you'll find this book a delight, as she incorporates the language on almost every page. This Texas girl who only knows English and Tex-Mex found it a bit frustrating and not worth the effort to Google all the French terms. I just sort of went with it and used context clues to figure out what she was saying. This was a successful method only about 25% of the time.

Very few books bring tears to my eyes, which is funny, since almost every television program brings me to my knees. I guess I'm visual? But this book, oh my, had me in tears while reading the last 10 or so pages.

Overall, I recommend this book to anyone interested in the life of Julia Child, fine cooking, or generally good reading experiences. Her voice is a delight throughout the entire book and I found myself smiling at her infectious personality and laughing out loud at the quirky statements and observations that are definably Julia Child and Julia Child alone. Oh, and you will fall in love with Paul, too.

I suppose I have an appreciation for this book as I am now dabbling seriously in the kitchen. Cooking was never an experience for me, but more of a chore. As I get older, I see now how therapeutic making a good meal can be.

I leave you now with an excerpt from the end of the book that put a little sting in my eyeballs:

"If one doesn't use the freshest ingredients or read the whole recipe before starting, and if one rushes through the cooking, the result will be an inferior taste and texture - a gummy beef Wellington, say. But a careful approach will result in a magnificent burst of flavor, a thoroughly satisfying meal, perhaps even a life-changing experience.
Such was the case with the sole meuniere I ate at La Couronne on my first day in France, in November 1948. It was an epiphany.
In all the years since that succulent meal, I have yet to lose the feelings of wonder and excitement that it inspired in me. I can still almost taste it. And thinking back on it now reminds me that the pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite - toujours bon appetit!"

it's go time!

McDreamy's hospital called me this morning and my surgery is scheduled for NEXT Wednesday, the 27th! I couldn't believe how quickly they got me in. I am so thankful!

The surgery is scheduled for 7am and I need to be at the hospital at 5:30am. Is it sad that that's the only thing bothering me about this whole thing? Haha...

So, continue to keep me and Doctor in your prayers. I want an easy surgery and an easy recovery. Oh, and I'm sort of nervous about the anesthesiology. I've never had that done before and I think that's frightening more than anything else. Knives and scalpels? No big deal! Drug-induced coma? Scary stuff.

It's go time!

the new 'do?

I wrote a post below this one, so be sure to check it out. It's about my visit with the neurosurgeon. Exciting, I know! ;)

On a different note, do we like the new look of My Cup? I think it'll work...for now.

January 21, 2010

blog and back makeovers.

I know, this place looks like crap. But I'm working on it, I'm working on it. Patience. That's more of a reminder to myself, by the way, not you, my wonderful readers. :)

So, today was the big day. I got a consult with the neurosurgeon! He was fabulous! I got to see my MRI scans and wow -- my disc is demolished! It is squished really nice and good into my spinal cord channel (??!?) and clearly is the cause of my pain. After giving me a few reflex tests and discussing options, we decided that yes, I will be having a lumbar microdiscectomy. That's a fancy way of saying he's going to cut me open a little bit and remove the portion of the disc that's pinching my nerve. Watch the video on the link. It's amazing!

And y'all...

I can't wait!!! This surgery doesn't scare me one bit! He said it's an out-patient procedure that takes about an hour and a half to perform. Unless something goes totally awry, I will be going home the same day. He cannot paralyze me, as the spinal cord stops before the disc that he'll be operating on. I will have no stitches, thanks to this medical wonder known as "glue." The chances of it "re-rupturing" are less than 5%, and my chance of success/freedom from pain is over 90%.

Other options included steroid treatments (no, thanks), and epidural injections three times a year. Uh....no!

His nurse is going to call me tomorrow or Monday to schedule it. Doctor said it should happen soon, as it's a pretty common and fast procedure. How many has he done, you ask? Over 4,000!

I'll have to take it easy for about a month after the procedure. But that's ok. If I can do a month and a half of extreme pain, I can do a month of reading books and watching TV ;)

Thank you SO MUCH for all the prayers and well wishes. I know they worked because this doctor was AMAZING and the confidence I have in him and this procedure is surely from above. So, thank you. Very much. Love you!

January 19, 2010

my latest hobby.

Husband thinks it's the most stupid waste of time and he likes to remind me of that opinion quite often.

I am a blog giveaway addict.

It doesn't really take that much time out of my day (so what that I've set a personal limit of only one hour?) and I am actually winning stuff!

For instance, I have won a $65 moisturizer, which has already come in the mail and is fabulous, I've won a wide array of Twilight swag, which I plan on sharing with my 17-year-old co-worker and another friend of mine, who isn't quite as young as my co-worker, but who's judging? And then this morning, I just learned a won a $50 gift card to 1800Baskets.

I think Husband will finally shut his mouth once he sees all the free stuff I'm wining! I think he'll be even more silenced when I decide to use that $50 gift card on something for him! That butt.

P.S. If you're interested, check out the links on the right side of my blog for the giveaways that I'm talking about. I don't enter all of them, as some of them are very tasking to enter and some of the stuff these people give away is just hideous. A tip: If you're going to enter a giveaway, make sure it's one where the giver says he/she will contact you via email if you win. I don't know about you, but I don't have the time nor the patience to keep checking back on random blogs. I'd rather enter, stand back, and either get my winning email or not. Have fun!

has anyone seen this?!

I get how it works, but could it be any more suggestive?! Husband and I have a pretty good giggle at this informercial...

P.S. Read latest private post here.


January 17, 2010

the book of eli.

Go see this movie. Give it a few minutes. It's bizarre at first, but stay with it until the end. There is some pretty bad language and some violence but the end of the movie makes up for all of that which might offend.

Go see it.

Now.

January 13, 2010

depressed?

I posted this on Facebook and sort of regretted it afterward. Perhaps some things should be left for a more private audience. But regardless, it's out there.

I'm depressed.

How do I know this?

I woke up at 1pm today...and yesterday...and the day before that, too. Granted, I don't have to work these days and I won't be able to do this again for the rest of the week, but still. Waking up at 1pm? That's never a good thing. I do have my reasons, though. My leg doesn't hurt as bad when I'm in bed. Why would I want to wake up, put my feet on the ground, and experience crazy pain within about 3 minutes after the blood flow shifts direction? Would YOU want to get out of bed knowing that's what awaited you??

Also, I have lost 3 pounds (!!!) since Sunday. How is that possible? I got on the scale, saw the number and thought, "That's not right!" I reset all the buttons, got on the scale once more, and yes, indeed, I have lost 3 pounds. I'm all for losing weight and all, but not this way! I thought back on the last few days about what I've put in my mouth and it really hasn't been much. I just don't have much of an appetite.

I don't have much of anything, really. No drive. No ambition. No willingness to get out of the house and do anything. It's not that my life sucks or anything, it's mostly because I can't stand up straight for longer than about 1-2 minutes before I have to sit back down again. Does that sound like a fun way to live!? I went to Walmart yesterday for three items. I waited in the Express Line for 5 minutes. I was in TEARS when I walked out because I was in so much pain. This is not normal, people.

I know you're probably tired of my bitching (geez, I'M tired of my bitching), but that's all I've got right now.

I know I'm probably supposed to be learning some life lesson during this season, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what that is. Patience? Rest? No clue.

I see the doctor in a week and one day. Seems like an eternity from now.

P.S. On a funny note, not only am I depressed, but I am also old. Why? Because my first issue of Good Housekeeping arrived in the mail today. Yes, I subscribed. And yes, I am excited to read it. Hehe.

January 12, 2010

not much to report.

The only thing I can think of to blog about is that I FINALLY have an appointment set up with a neurosurgeon. It's scheduled for January 21st. Yay!

January 10, 2010

i resolve to:

I didn't really have a particular resolution in mind for this new year. Part of me feels like the new year hasn't even begun because I've been too crippled to enjoy it. Despite all that, though, here is a list of things I would like to accomplish before the year's end. It will be nice to look back on this and see how far I got - if I got anywhere at all.

There are more things I want to add, of course. I just can't think of them right now. Ha!
  • Get my back fixed and get in tip-top health. I do believe this back trouble has been to blame for my lack of energy and overall discomfort for the last 5 or so years. I am ready to do anything it takes to have this all behind me.
  • Run a 5K. Just to say I did it.
  • Buy a rug for and cutesy up my laundry room. I don't know why. I just want to.
  • Purchase or create artwork for a very bare wall in my living room.
  • Complete the 30 Day Jumpstart Workout, which will probably be what I do after this back gets fixed. I bought the book yesterday. Thank you, Tyly :)
  • Complete my photography courses.
  • Lose some weight - duh.
  • Complete more sewing projects.
  • Start my Great American Novel.
  • Organize every room in this house, starting with the office. Namely, getting some shelving in the closet so I can keep my photography stuff nice and tidy instead of all over the floor.
  • Do the Adventure Boot Camp (when it's not freezing outside, of course).
  • Find a Big Girl Job that I love.
  • Make a Baby Webb. Thanks for reminding me, Kelly! ;)
  • Create my own website using iWeb.
That's all for now. Happy 2010!

January 5, 2010

the latest goings on.

This post will be a mess of thoughts thrown onto the monitor, k?

I am still in chronic pain. I got good drugs, but I think my body is getting used to them. Time. for. treatment. now. I am waiting to hear from the neurosurgeon about an appointment. Don't ya love paperwork? It is has so severely slowed down this whole process. But soon. I'll know something soon. I hope.

I am super-inspired by The Pioneer Woman and Kevin and Amanda. Like, I want to be them. I'm angry that I'm not. Super jealous of their talent and creativity. I have been praying (really) that God would inspire creativity in me. I feel a calling to write a book - we all know this. I just don't know WHAT to write about. I have ideas, sure, but honestly -- they're lame. I want a spark lit in me for something creative. Something I can be passionate about. Sigh.

Speaking of Kevin and Amanda, I have been inspired to create a rag quilt. I mean, really. How cute are these things?! I have all my squares cut out and plan on sewing them together tonight. Yippee! Oh, and I'm SO NOT a scrap booker, but if YOU are, please don't click this link. Her scrap booking room will make you sick to your stomach because it's so awesome and wonderful. Don't click it. Just don't.

Amanda has also prompted me to follow in her footsteps regarding her weight loss story. Y'all, this is something I think I could actually do. Dinners are always the toughest part of a diet for me and she has provided the solution! Once I get this back fixed up, I plan on hitting the gym, too. For now, I am doing my best to watch what I'm eating since I am pretty much rendered sedentary. Oh, and those gummy vitamins? Amazing!

I plan on wrapping up 500 a Day for 30 Days soon. Look for a post on there within the next few days.

So, that's kind of where I am right now. Aaron's birthday was yesterday and I'm a terrible wife who didn't get him a present or anything. I did make him a chocolate cake and we worked tirelessly in the kitchen making Beouf Bourguignon together. It was delicious. I'll empty out my camera one of these days (this chair in here really hurts my bum and I can't sit in it long enough to edit pictures right now).

I need coffee.
 
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