The Excellent Adventures of Kim and Kev

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Kooking With Kim

I'm not sure how I feel about that being the name of my cooking show. It sounds great but looks funny when typed. Why do you have to spell a word wrong to make it sound like fun?... and believe me - people from Gaston LOVE to have fun with their words! There was a sign down the street that said "Wormes for sale" (Yep, someone sells worms from his yard for $3.50 a bunch or Styrofoam cup- who knows, that is besides the point) and I laughed about it for a week until it was changed to "Worm's For Sale". The "e" was painted over and an apostrophe was added in! "Worms" is such a simple word to spell.. there should not be any over thinking or stress involved in painting a sign for your worm business. By the way, Kooking is pronounced "cook-ing". I want to make it clear that I am NOT referring to my crazy sense of humor which would make me a "kook" (pronounced coo-coo bird).

And... sorry to disappoint you but this story is not about cooking worms.... the worms were to simply explain my issues with misspelling and such... not grammar, though... because everyone knows I speak my own language.

So, in case you didn't know.... I HAVE AN OBSESSION WITH COOKING.... AND BAKING... BUT MOSTLY COOKING! You know how your parents are always searching for your talent and you can't sit at the adult table until it is discovered? Well, it was a long process with me... They tried everything to figure me out.... ballet, tap, scouts, piano, helping to raise millions of kids, cleaning, singing, basketball, cow tipping, and finally playing the jug in my high school band. (you country folk and A.J. will know what that means). I probably have one hundred hilarious stories to tell you about every one of those activities... but not right now. The only thing I will say is that after all that time and money.... I have super fast hands and can type and run register like NO other! That must have come from piano and not that I walked on all fours until I turned sixteen. Walking on all fours makes your fingers strong and agile... by the way. So, the talent I ended up figuring out that I had came later in life... and did not have to be paid for. Here is how it all began....

My experiences in the kitchen came at a very early age! I have a vivid memory (and picture to prove it) of me helping my Mom bake a cake. She asked me to get an egg out of the fridge... which I dropped and it made a huge mess .. and by HUGE I mean it's ONE egg- it couldn't have made that big of a mess... but I was devastated and I cried and cried. My Mom took a pic because she thought it was funny that I was so upset... Little did she know I would continue to become more and more dramatic over time. By the way, I drop eggs all the time now... and I LAUGH - I am an extremely messy cook... I just am and there is nothing I can do about it.

My Mom would always let me help her in the kitchen. She was so patient with me and would talk me through every recipe. I learned that the way to a man's heart was with food.... so, If I was going to ever get married... I better learn to cook. In Alabama, if you are not being "courted" by 10 yrs old and married by 12... then you are an old maid. And for the record, it does not even matter if you marry your brother or cousin. It is preferred! My Mom would sit down with me and help me plan a week of menus ..... she really did this - I am not joking! We would plan a meat, starch, vege, fruit, and bread. Now I was probably 10... so my meals were like.... hotdogs, Kraft mac n cheese, can of green beans, can of pears, and a roll. Sometimes I would cut up the hotdogs and mix them in to the mac n cheese.... Very gourmet! My parents were desperate to get me married....usually for your first born you get a cow or rooster as a trade. Do you realize what that would have meant? Cow and rooster meat for a month ( or a day if you are in my family)!

Cooking was a way of "providing". It was just something that the lady of the house did to take care of her family (for the record... I HATE being called a "lady" - because I am not and never will be!) You had to plan in advance, be thrifty, somewhat nutritious and on time. When I was learning this priceless information..... there were two things that I didn't plan for:

1. That I would become totally obsessed with cooking ... so much so that it has become a challenge, a thrill, and a hobby.

2. That I would only know how to cook in large quantities! I was always cooking for a family of eight..... it is impossible for me to cook for less than that. IMPOSSIBLE! So, thank goodness that Kev LOVES his leftovers.

When I was dating Kev, I would cook these big meals and take them over to his apartment. I strictly did this to "wow" him and let him know I could cook. I was desperate... I was 20 years old with no ring on my finger. I was running out of time! Now let me make something clear.... my food does NOT always turn out.... and it has definitely come a LONG way since I met Kev. I only knew how to make very basic recipes... there was no trying new spices, looking up new recipes, eating fancy foods such as salmon, mahi mahi, or canned tuna fish packed in water. My food was sometimes burned... ok.. mostly burned. But do you know the one ingredient that my food ALWAYS had in it..... LOVE! It sounds cheesy... but making something with love makes it tastes so much better.

And that takes me to what I learned about cooking from my Dad.... to be appreciative and eat what you are served! He had a rule that if you said you didn't like something that had been served.... then the joke is on you because you would get a second HUGE helping and by HUGE I mean HUGE! So, maybe I didn't like lima beans.... I would eat it anyway and say "thank you very much for my delicious lima beans". Sometimes you will be surprised and realize that you do really like something... you have just never given it a chance... like sweet potatoes! Every time my Mom would clean our ears ( every Tuesday since I was born... I got them cleaned last night)she would show me what came out and say that I had ears full of sweet potatoes. Well... that is just plain gross! I mean.... I know I was born in a garden... but still. Fast forward to 1992 and I am eating dinner at Kev's parents house. And I see sweet potatoes on the table! I had NEVER eaten a sweet potato strictly because I never had the urge to taste something pulled out of some one's ear. Thinking of my Dad's rule and not wanting to have to eat two.... I tried it... AND I LOVED IT! It is now one of my favorite foods! YUM! See sometimes my Dad knows what he is talking about.... sometimes.

Once when I was little, I had been playing outside and decided to come in for a while. I opened up the front door to this HORRIFIC smell ... and by HORRIFIC I mean worst smell on the planet I almost puked! My Mom comes around the corner with a gas mask on and hazmat gloves and happily states that she is cooking liver and onions for my Dad because it is his favorite. I thought I was about to die. Is my Dad Hannibal Lecter? Who would eat liver and onions when it smelled so unbelievably horrible? Now it turns out that that day was the last time my Mom made that dish for the safety of her children.... but the point of my story is that she made it with LOVE.... well, except that love didn't make it taste better... so forget this story.

What is the point of this post? Oh... my "kooking" show. I'll fast forward a little for you.... so, I get Kev to marry me with my delicious basic cooking skills. AWESOME! But it takes years and years for me to discover how much I love it and get creative. If you know me... you will probably find this hard to believe... but I made many Hamburger Helper dinners in my marriage. I cooked because it was something I was supposed to do. I was very shy about my cooking.... I would only cook for Kev and my family.... they are seriously happy with anything! I could serve a muddy boot for dinner and they would all clap and stomp their feet... unless of course, it has meat on it and then the vegetarians would get upset and create a picket line. Little by little, I started trying new things...... and we liked them... and it started getting to be fun. And then I met Melissa aka May May, Steve, and G ( If you have ever been lucky enough to have her cook for you... you are in for a real treat! She is VERY talented and is the reason that Northeast Columbia smells so good all of the time). She got me hooked on Paula Deen and I have never been the same again. That plus getting my dream kitchen has caused a cooking frenzy in my house! ( who knew how important it would be to have two ovens.... what did I ever do without them? I mean sometimes you have to cook something on 325 degrees and something on 350 degrees AT THE SAME TIME!).

I TRULY get so much happiness out of cooking for Kevin! I LOVE to recreate our favorites from restaurants, I LOVE to try new things to surprise him, I LOVE planning a week's worth of meals.. even down to what he will be taking for lunch each day. And he is the BEST taste tester! He is always so appreciative and excited about what is for dinner. It is music to my ears to hear "This is definitely a do again". He even watches cooking shows.. and gives me suggestions to try. Now don't get me wrong.... I still make a TON of mistakes. Most of the time if I am making something new... I have to show the picture of what it was supposed to look like before I show him what it does look like. AND I can't do anything like what they do on Top Chef. I have to have a recipe. But if I could leave work tomorrow... I would go to culinary school. That is what I want to do when I grow up..... and have a cooking show called Kooking With Kim. I practice my "cooking and acting at the same time" techniques every night that I cook. Basically I am teaching the woodland creatures in our back yard to cook... because they are always sitting on our deck looking through the window at me. (now that I think about it.... I did see a "Nuthin' but Nuts Bakery" sign hanging on my parent's old camper in the backyard with a line of turkeys waiting to get in... I guess they are paying attention.) I tell jokes, wink at the "camera", and go through the meal step by step. I REALLY do this.... in my head.

I just need to work on my "keeping the kitchen clean while cooking" skills. I find it impossible. I use EVERY single inch of counter space and then some. I was watching a cooking show the other night where they were being graded on how clean they kept their kitchen while cooking. I would have lost hands down... even if I had cooked the best meal. We run the dishwasher EVERY night..... for TWO people.... RIDICULOUS!

Well, my plan of typing shorter posts never seems to work... So, I will go ahead and "wrap this one up". I hope you got the point of the post.... #1 That I LOVE to cook #2 I LOVE collecting recipes .. so if you have some good ones.. please share. #3 I look forward to sharing some recipes/pics/taste tests with you. #4 Teach your children to cook at a young age #5 I hate liver and onions!

Happy Cooking!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Recovering From a Long Holiday Weekend.....

Ok... so I haven't blogged for a while ( just 6 days to be exact - but that is long for me since I have started this new obsession of telling you all about our lives)... but you have to understand how exhausting and insane it is to have THREE holidays in one weekend.. AND the fact that I DO have a job that I work very hard at (mostly). So, I know you know what three holidays I am refering to.. but just in case I will list them out...

1. Friday the 13th

2. Valentine's Day

3. President's Day

Yes! Friday the 13th IS a holiday! At least it is in my family... and I did write an entire blog about it. I didn't receive very good reviews... so, I'm thinking it freaked several of you out...especially Bethany. She apparently relived some torture from her youth. It was good to hear that my torture had been passed down throughout the years.

I don't know about you... but holidays are HUGE in my family.. and by HUGE I mean WE GO ALL OUT AND DECORATE INSANELY! Well, at least my parents do. I am not even joking with you when I say that my Mom celebrates EVERY single holiday (some real and some made up).... to the extreme. Growing up it seemed like every morning at breakfast she was telling us something we were celebrating. This celebration would include a "themed" meal, gifts, and stories. We would even celebrate things such as someone lost a tooth ( unless it was an adult - and then we would pray for them), someone got their first bra, or someone slept through the night without wetting the bed ( again with the prayers if it was an adult). I cannot even begin to count the number of celebrations we had when my Mom announced she was pregnant. ( I would usually hide under the table and suck my thumb) In Bethany's ( the youngest) case, we would have a party every month on her birthdate - the 18th - to celebrate how many months she was old. For example, she was 273 months old yesterday. Me and Kev celebrated at dinner last night even though she wasn't even here. It is not her fault that she is the favorite. :-)

And then there are the decorations.... we are not just talking about setting out a couple of knick knacks and calling it a holiday... no, that would be too easy. It is more like spending an entire day ( a week if it is Halloween or Christmas) decorating every inch of the house. My mom is extremely proud of her decor and will spend 30 minutes pointing out everything new that she has added that year. I don't know how she keeps it all straight. Once, my Dad was missing for a week. She had mistaken him for a tree and had decorated him in sequins, glitter, spandex, and tinsel..... now that I think about it... maybe that was the story they "told" us but he was really dressed that way for another reason.... you never know. A day in the life of my parents would be newsworthy for a hundred blogs.... and that is NO joke!

Have any of you noticed how difficult it is for me to stay focused? If you are ever talking to me and I start to ramble about something else.... a pinch will do the trick - it doesn't matter where.

Ok- As you know, Valentine's Day was Saturday. Now we don't usually do much for this holiday because we have birthdays, Christmas, and our anniversary back to back to back. We would go all out before we were married (on our first V-Day we worked at Little Caesars pizza -together-and Kev made me close my eyes and he surprised me with a box of chocolates - I'm sure I was in the middle of making a pizza -so, I apologize to the person who received the pizza that I made with my eyes closed)... and then after we got married we would just exchange cards.... until the Valentine's Day of 2003 when I rushed out to buy my last minute card amongst a group of a million other people that waited until the last minute. I finally get home with my card, walked in the door and Kev says "We don't exchange cards anymore for Valentine's Day - do we?" I said no and stuck it in a drawer. I remember the date because I still have it in the bag with the receipt. Maybe I could sell it on Ebay..... Anyway, back to the current V-Day. I offered to close on Saturday night so the other managers I work with could go out with their hunnies. See... sometimes I AM capable of doing nice things - but don't tell anyone. But just because I was did not mean that I didn't have time to do something special. One of the best ways to show your love is with food.... I apparently LOVE myself A LOT because I give myself food all of the time. So, I came up with the great idea to make pancakes... and not just any pancakes.. but heart shaped ones. I even got up super early to make them to surprise Kev on his way out to work. And if any of you have ever experienced me first thing in the morning... especially this early (8 am) you would understand the love that went in to making these. In case you are wondering.... it is the Bisquick recipe plus sugar and vanilla. I then dust them with powdered sugar, cut up bananas ( sorry Kamille) and put syrup on top.

Kev said it made him feel "all warm and fuzzy inside". He really said that.... I would not make that up. He was definitely surprised and it was a lot of fun. Who knew that eating pancakes in different shapes makes them even more delicious! I, of course, went right back to bed after he left.

On Sunday we went over to my parents.... and you are NEVER going to believe what we did there..... CELEBRATED VALENTINE'S DAY! We ate a lasagne dinner on china.... her wedding china... yep, holidays are a big deal! I could tell you a million times and you would not understand the extent of our celebrations! We all wore festive colors (like red and pink), opened presents ,told each other that we loved them, and participated in every day Switzer obnoxiousness. A good time in my book!

FINALLY we have reached President's Day! We decided to carry on my Mom's tradition of coming to dinner dressed as your favorite president. Kev chose Bill Clinton. A robe, a cigar and a Big Mac - easy and comfortable costume. I chose Jimmy Carter because we have the same big white toothy smile and we both LOVE peanut butter. You have to state three facts and three rumors about the president you are respresenting. We then say (in unison) every president in order they were elected. It may sound kind of boring.... but in all actuality it is fun and educational. Invite yourself over next year - we would love to have you!

I have definitely inherited my parent's love for celebrating holidays....especially now that we have the space to decorate and enjoy them. It is very important for me to not only keep some family traditions but to also create some of our own. Don't worry.... I will be sharing EVERY detail with you......

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jason came to visit! Jason Voorhees that is....I've got a pic to prove it!

So I've been really "off" this week..... grouchy, grumpy, no energy, and irritated. Kev would say that this is not being "off" but being my normal self.... but I can tell a difference. I lost my funny... the thing that makes me laugh throughout every day. Kev tried everything.... tea, telling jokes, tap dancing for me... but nothing worked - Until I figured out what was causing my funk. This was the week of Friday the 13th - besides me being VERY superstitious... Jason caused many a nightmare and fear in my household growing up and still to this day. AND it is not just any Friday the 13th.... his new movie is being released! I have had to put up with Kev singing Jason's theme song ( ha ha ha kill kill kill .... with a very breathy voice) and cheering his movie on nightly. All of that can really do a number on a person!

With anger I wondered how could he be back? Isn't he in space or something? Is Freddy Kruger coming back with him?.... they had a duel you know. How did he find a hockey mask at a summer camp on the lake..... Does that seem normal to anyone? Then I realized that the NEW Friday the 13th is a remake of the classic 1980's horror flick... and by horror flick I mean the movie that started my fears of being stabbed through the bottom of the bed while I am sleeping - which is why we have a platform bed so I can sleep in peace! I am not even joking -I have seen it happen before and it does not look like fun! If I am staying in a hotel, I have to check under the bed before I will get in and sometimes I run and jump in so my ankles won't be grabbed. It's a sickness - I know.

Now, I did not see this movie when it was released - I had just been born - kind of. I'm pretty sure that I watched it at a slumber party a couple of years later which I'm sure resulted in me sucking my thumb and hiding in the bottom of my sleeping bag. And then it just became an obsession - a way to be "cool" ( like my stirrup pants, leg warmers, and teased hair ). My friends and I would watch or rent every single horror movie we could get our hands on. I became afraid of camp, sleeping, opening a strange looking box, saying Candyman in the mirror, and playing with scary boy dolls ( or any dolls with creepy faces).....and I still have all of these fears!

I have watched many a movie from behind my hands, a pillow, a Wonder Woman mask, ski goggles or my computer. Even though I cannot see what is happening... I will still jump when someone screams or scary music starts to play. Kev on the other hand... can watch these movies without even blinking an eye. He loves them... thinks they are funny. In fact, we have an entire shelving unit dedicated to his horror movie collection. I could barely even organize them on the shelves without constantly looking over my shoulder. I probably should have just mixed them in with the comedies and Kev wouldn't even know the difference. Here is just a small ...and by small I mean hardly any ....of his horror movie collection. Notice the sequels - remember that makes for a great movie in Kev's book.

It is not just me.... most of my siblings are afraid of these things as well. Do you think this made us be caring and understanding of each others fears?.... NO WAY! This only added to the situation because we ( I ) did everything in our power to scare the other ones. I would put on a mask and chase the other ones around, turn off the light and close the door so it would be pitch black, jump out from behind furniture.... basically all of the things that if someone did them to me I would have passed out and had to be committed. I did not ask to be a big sister - the role was given to me and with that role came the responsibility to torture the others... it's a known fact. But don't you worry... I have received payback. Once when I was little my Dad was watching The Shining. He specifically told me that I was NOT allowed to watch the movie. Well when someone says "not allowed" - I say "I can do it if I want to". So, I watched from behind the couch. Well, he is smarter than he looks... and he knew I was defying him. Fast forward to Saturday morning.... I'm minding my own business... watching cartoons in the dark... and my Dad comes around the corner dragging an axe and saying "redrum". Nice! It DEFINITELY taught me a lesson.... I was scared to death! ... but it did not stop me from watching scary movies.. and because of it I jump at every noise. Kev can just walk in to a room to ask me a question and I will jump 10 feet in the air if I didn't know he was coming. I have to thoroughly inspect every room I am sleeping in. I ALWAYS have an escape plan. I sleep with a light on if I'm ever alone. You get the point....

So, it's Friday the 13th.... I've had a tough day.... I just want to get home, get my jammies on and relax. I know what you are thinking.... shouldn't we be having a "theme dinner" to celebrate Friday the 13th's release? NO WAY! First of all, we only celebrate things that we BOTH like and second of all.... what kind of food do you serve at a Friday the 13th movie premiere party?... eyeballs and guts? GROSS! So, I'm in the kitchen and I looked out the windows and I see something moving in the dark! I immediately hid behind Patsy Cline....( oh, I just realized I forgot to tell you about our newest addition... a palm tree named Patsy Cline - she takes up a ton of space but we love her anyway) and grabbed my camera - of course. And this was the picture that I took....

Jason was actually walking through our back yard!! Now my first reaction was to scream for Kev and run for cover.... but then I realized that I was safe because #1. I am not a camp counselor #2 I was not nude or doing anything inappropriate. He continued to walk through our yard and in to the woods... definitely on a mission. Hopefully he did not find what he was looking for! He did look quite sexy from the back, though.

Hopefully you all had a LUCKY Friday the 13th!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Our Latest Project - The Closet!

Those of you who have known us for the past couple of years.... are familiar with our decision to purchase a home in need of a COUPLE repairs... by COUPLE I mean MORE THAN YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE! You have been there through our ups and downs, contractor after contractor, Little Debbie snack binges, back yard tantrums, and finally ... our progress. It has been our biggest adventure so far... and one that I am extremely grateful for! Really - It was absolutely worth it and I have NO regrets ... by NO I mean I would have handled a couple of things differently but ultimately it's all good! For those of you who are contemplating a renovation I've got some words of advice..... DON'T DO IT!... unless you have Kev by your side. I'm telling you - he is the most supportive, level headed, patient, forgiving and hard working man you will ever meet. I am the complete opposite of everything I just said.... well except for hard working (mostly). He literally kept me out of prison - a place I would be calling home right now had I had my way with some of those contractors. Ok-because of my New Year's resolution to "let things go".. I am going to move on from this subject before I have to take a valium. Oh the stories I could tell about this process... and don't worry, I will... eventually. On with the closet....

Our closet was once a bedroom.... a bright yellow bedroom with shag carpet, bean bags, and hippies. (Don't worry... we did not kick the hippies out in to the streets... we just asked them to move in to my parents 1950's pop up camper - Please don't tell them.) Well, we did not need that extra bedroom... as you know it is just the two of us... so Kev came up with an amazing plan to transform the master bedroom in to a suite. The picture below is what the extra bedroom looked like if you were looking through a large hole in the wall from the master bedroom.

We re-designed the master bedroom to make the bathroom larger, the bedroom a little smaller, and a dream closet that we could BOTH use at the same time. Ok... so, why would we make the bedroom a little smaller... because clothes and bathroom activities are way more important than sleeping! Now let me just tell you that we have never shared a closet ( well, if you consider our first apartment/loft a closet - then so be it... well, actually it was the size of one. We had to take turns living inside of it because the two of us could not fit at the same time!). There are reasons that our closets were better off being separated....

1. we have different smells... should our smells really intermingle?

2. Kev has no idea how many clothes that I have.... I always had everything spread out among several closets. As far as he knew I only owned a pair of jeans, a jean jacket, and a dickie. I told him that LOFT was a grocery, he always assumed I was bringing home food.

3. I am MESSY... and he is VERY neat! I can't help it... I just can't!

Now, I grew up sharing closets with my sisters and my Barbies. We had a large walk in closet that not only held three girls clothes.... but had the largest Barbie city you had ever seen. I think that is how my parents would keep us out of their hair..... we would be lured in by Barbie and then SLAM!... the door would shut behind us. We would play Barbie all weekend until the door was opened for us to go to school. We never had to worry about food... Barbie had a McDonalds that made plenty of burgers and fries. Seriously, though, we could play for hours in there - sometimes even very late at night which would result in my Dad yelling down the air conditioning vent for us to go to bed and be quiet. We would respond by playing extremely quiet for 30 minutes and then the whole process would start right back over again. I don't mind very well... and never have. Anyway, I figured if I could share a closet with 20 other girls ( that count includes barbies- and they have a TON of stuff) then sharing one with Kev shouldn't be too bad... except for Kev is the one who received the short stick in having to share a closet with me.

So, up until now... we have had a closet full of boxes and roll bars ( that is a bar on wheels that holds clothes.. for those of you not in clothing retail). Now I wasn't complaining... at least I don't think I was... maybe I mumbled a couple of things in my sleep. It was hard for me to stop buying more clothes when I couldn't actually see what I already had. That excuse sounded good anyway. So, Kev began researching different plans so we could maximize our space and stop my shopping. And then it all just came together... we were fortunate enough to receive two shelving units... add a couple of brackets, bars, and shelves and you have a closet! We still have more work to do... like buying some dressers but for the most part it is organized and done.

Here are some pictures of my side....

Now that you have had the time to look at the pics... I will answer your questions as best that I can....
1. Yes, the Wonder Woman cape is for fighting crime and NOT for fashion. Please do not disclose this info to the media. It is hard enough living a double life when it is a secret.
2. Yes, clothes are organized by like items, colors, and sleeve length. They are also hung per the old school LOFT hanging standards.
3. No, this is not all of my clothes. Unfortunately due to my hobby of losing weight, gaining weight, losing weight and gaining weight... I have a clothing collection ranging in sizes from 2-14. I used to consistently give clothes away... but then when I would need that particular size again... I would have to buy more. Keeping everything solves that problem.
4. Yes, my famous jean jacket collection is being housed in another closet... as well as dresses, and summer tops.
5. Yes, if you see anything that you like.. you are welcome to make a bid on it and I will consider your offer.
6. Yes, I have always LOVED clothes and fashion... but working in retail for so long has caused this to happen... and by "this" I mean out of control, unnecessary clothing acquisition.
It is still a work in progress....but was great to get everything out and organized again. Now if I can just keep it neat...
Until next time....

Sunday, February 8, 2009

What do Mary Poppins, Harry Potter, and Tea all have in common?

Answer: They were all celebrated at the annual London, England dinner party hosted by Kim and Kev. Why weren't you invited? It's not because we are rude...... it's not even because we just mostly keep to ourselves... it is because we are afraid of your germs. Ok... I'm completely just kidding... about the germs part not about the dinner party. Yes, we (I) love to host themed dinner parties - and really Kev loves them too except for that if you asked him about it on the street - he would deny ever having eaten.

I grew up in "pretend you are eating somewhere else" land. I probably rolled my eyes a couple of times, threw my plate across the kitchen ( oh.. actually that was my Dad - he really did that once)and told everyone that my parents were crazy... but look at me now. Secretly, I loved it! And you can just add this to the "things that make me just like my parents whether I want them to or not and that I said I would never do" list. We would have Mexican food and my Mom would "set the scene" of us being searched at the border, afraid to drink the water, and smuggling "things" back in to the states - OUCH!. ( Well that wasn't my best example of a themed dinner that we had... but you get the idea) Ok.. here's a better one.. we would pretend that we were cavemen and we would capture neighborhood pets and roast them over an open fire. Still doesn't sound fun? I guess I'm not really doing that great of a job getting my point across that we had TONS of fun at mealtime - and by TONS I mean FANTASTIC MEMORIES.

In later years, my parents would just "pretend" amongst themselves.... WITH FOOD... I mean with eating food and having themed eating parties. I'm trying not to get/give a visual that you do not want. :-) Anyway, sometimes if you are very quiet and nosy..... you can sneak up on their front porch and look in to the window. You will probably just see them sitting on the floor in the den on a blanket eating a sandwich.... and think nothing of it. But if you are brave enough to call them on the phone... ask them what they are doing. They will probably tell you that they are having a picnic at the Eiffel Tower, or eating a picnic lunch at Dollywood ( Ummm.... my parents actually have an annual pass to Dollywood - is that really necessary?) or eating picnic food while standing in the gorilla cage at the zoo. OK - so all you can really " pretend" while eating a sandwich is that you are on a picnic... but see where I am going with this.... An imagination and some creativity make for excellent adventures.

We ( me and Kev) do dinner parties quite often. Kev goes along with whatever I plan... he is such a good sport. Sometimes it might be an afternoon brunch... where he has to drink from champagne glasses and eat lady food. Or it could be the season premiere or finale of LOST ( our FAVORITE dramatic show... I say that because The Office is actually our FAVORITE show). For a LOST party... I would just make things that you would eat if you were stranded on an island. Now on LOST... they do have more food than you would imagine... because of a lot of other stuff that happened... yadda yadda yadda... but we assume that they don't and therefore eat fish, pineapple, and coconut ( and maybe some rice... it could have washed up on shore)... but on with my story....

So, last night was our London celebration. My sister Bethany ( Beelzebub as I like to call her- for reasons I will not mention in this post) taught in London for a summer. She had such an amazing experience that should be documented for all to read - but isn't. So, when I went to visit her last September - in Disney World not London (yes, she now works in Magic Kingdom/Epcot... I know, I know... she lives the life) we celebrated her trip to London and she was able to give me some experiences that she had had even though I was in Florida. First of all, we went to TEA at the Grand Floridian. Now let me just tell you that this was SO much fun... for two reasons. #1 I LOVE LOVE LOVE tea. I like it unsweet and as strong as you can make it. I don't even think you understand what I mean by strong. I could literally chew on a tea bag and not get enough in my system. Every morning, I make a pot of tea with FOUR family size tea bags and three cups of water. Kev calls it my "mud tea"... it looks like mud, tastes like mud, smells like mud. Maybe I am a pig and I don't realize it. This tea is so strong that I have to eat a piece of toast before I can drink it or else I will get sick. But... boy does it make me light up like a Christmas tree. I will go from Monster to Monkey in a matter of seconds. If you are ever with me in the morning - please make sure I get my tea..... #2 I got to act ladylike! Now, those of you who know me KNOW that I am NOT ladylike. Even my Dad will tell you he cringes every time I open my mouth. I can't help it. I got to be dainty, polite, and treated like a princess. It was delightful and highly recommended. We drank tea from real (breakable) tea pots and ate tiny sandwiches and treats. My pics are on facebook... if you don't believe me.

Second of all, we went to a pub in London ( or Great Britain as they call it in Epcot). I have always wanted to try "fish and chips" - my whole life. I'll go ahead and let you know that "chips" are really fries. There was this song that we used to sing when I was little ( last year) called "Fish and chips and vinegar"..... maybe you have heard of it or maybe you haven't - but it is a good song. Anyway, I dreamed of it the whole trip... and screamed out my order to the waiter the minute he approached our table (his name was David - Beth had a crush on him... not because that is her brother's name but because he was cute and not only because he was cute but because he had a cool accent. I know we are from Alabama - but come on) Well, it was freakin delicious! I dipped my fries aka chips in vinegar, dipped my fish in tartar sauce ( that I have never had my whole entire life and I am not lying.... it is now my new favorite dip by the way) and smiled like the cheshire cat.

Trip over... back home... and all I can talk about is this meal and how next time Kev goes with me to Disney we are going to eat there. Then one day it hit me.... I realized that I can cook... and I love to cook... and I'm pretty good at it... so, why can I not make this at home. So I did... and it was a HUGE hit. HUGE enough that it made Kev's "I hope we have this again real soon" list.

And now to the point of my post.... I planned a whole evening out of our "fish and chip and vinegar" meal... and I have the pics to prove it.....

Well, I have a pic of the food... my plate is the one with less food on it :-) and sorry for the clutter on the island... I gave my cleaning lady (Kev) the day off .... not that I force Kev to clean by any means... I just don't have those skills.. so he kinda has to. What would I ever do without him?

We dressed as Mary Poppins and Harry Potter.... two incredible book series and movies. Sorry, I can't seem to find the pics of our costumes.... but believe me - we were looking good. You would be amazed how a couple of wigs, a wand, an umbrella and an English accent transform you into your favorite characters. We called each other "chaps" ( not pants that I wear to ride motorcycles - but a friend), told each other how "brilliant" the dinner party was, discussed how happy we are that our house is not infested with "lady birds" ( that is lady bugs in London speak - Bethie taught me that) and then played "London Bridges" until we were too exhausted to continue the party. Next we threw everything away in the "rubbish bin". Next time, Kev wants to be Jack Sparrow... besides being from England ... pirates are AWESOME! That probably means we would have to also drink rum and eat with metal hooks for hands. Sounds like fun!

Kev would like to end this post with a pirate joke: A pirate walked in to a bar. He was wearing his ship's steering wheel around his waist. When asked why he had a steering wheel around his waist.. he replied: "AAARGH! It's driving me nuts!"

My New Bike!

No need to be jealous of this beauty.... that's what you get for a dollar - literally- she is fresh from the Pawn Shop where dreams really do come true! She (it's really a boy bike but who really cares) was waiting for me in the garage when I got home last night.... and you can imagine my surprise and fear. For those of you who don't know... I have an issues with bikes. They have mostly been my enemies for as far back as I can remember.... and you better believe I'm going to tell you all about it....

It all started back when I was a kid... just a couple of years ago... we lived in Alabama and had finally moved to a neighborhood where the streets were safe for riding. Now I don't mean that we lived in an unsafe place such as "Mad Max beyond the Thunderdome"... but we lived on a HUGE hill and by huge I mean GINORMOUS. It was dangerous to ride bikes on - we could ride sleds, though... but that story is for another time. Anyway, we had just moved to Cobblestone Lane - the lane where some of the fondest memories I have were created. My Mom was determined to teach me how to ride - I was probably around 10 or so. It was such a stressful day as I am NOT coordinated - at many things such as tennis, volleyball, or kung fu fighting. But I remember my Mom telling me that I couldn't eat again until I had learned to ride. Sometimes that threat wouldn't be so bad ( even though I love to eat)... like if we were having grit soup or beets... but that night I'm pretty sure we were having good stuff because I learned to ride and would "brake" by rolling up in someone's yard and falling over.

I got better and better at riding my bike... except for when I would ride to my piano lessons ( a couple of streets over) and these two horribly evil doberman pinchers would chase me. Have you ever had your ankles bitten by dogs as you are riding for your life? I'm getting the shakes just thinking about it. I would have to call my Dad to come pick me and my bike up. We would ride back by the stupid dogs and call them names like "jerks and buttholes" - basically the names you would call people back in the day.

Fast forward a couple of years to THE ACCIDENT... the one that shook my brain around. I'm not sure if it had lasting effects or not. I could have been born this crazy. See, back then there was no such thing as bike helmets. I mean.... why on earth would I have wanted to hide my hairdo? So, I was trying to be a nice sister ( which was something I didn't do very often) and I was pulling a wagon behind me full of my sibs ( which seemed like I had millions). The wagon was tied with a rope to my back wheel. As the wheel turned, the rope got caught which caused me to fly over the handle bars into the pavement. Well, maybe I didn't fly... just fell off... but I have NO recollection of the accident so I can make up whatever I want. Ambulance, losing sight, crazy mumblings, regaining sight, concussion, and a hospital stay were all of the things that followed. Did I mention that my Mom had JUST gotten home from the hospital with sibling #25. How convenient was that? It is always a fight for attention in my family. Now you know why I have been shaky on bikes ever since....

Bike story #3... A couple of years ago we decided that we wanted to get bikes so we could ride together at the beach. Kev did all kinds of research on what would be the best bike for me. Well, I had to have a "procedure" done on my esophagus and Kev took the day off to be with me. He told me that if I was brave then he would take me to get a bike. Let me just tell you that I HATE hospitals and doctors. I especially hate the idea of being "put under" or drugged for any reason. I do not like having my private parts available to people I don't really know when I can't control myself. Kev says it really shouldn't matter because I won't know what happened anyway... so who cares. But I WILL know.... I just will. So... brave I was NOT. I cried and cried and cried to the point where I made myself sick. I think the doctor and nurses thought I was a looney tune and by looney tune I mean INSANE! I do have to say that they were all awesome and did a great job... in case you ever need your esophagus dealt with. Ok.. so procedure is over, I take a nap waiting for the medication to wear off, and then we are off to Target to get my bike. This trip NEVER should have happened. #1 I acted RIDICULOUS at the doctor's office. #2 I still had some medication in me and was not thinking straight. Kev shows me the bike he picked out and told me all the reasons why it would be good for me. And then I pointed to a shiny purple one and said "I like that one better". I truly picked it for color and not for quality. Of course, he got me what I wanted. We took it to the beach... I got on it for a second... I fell when I tried to turn it and I never got back on it again. Just for the record though... it was a pretty crappy, impossible to balance on bike. My brother even tried to ride it without much luck - and he is a MARINE! Kev sold the bike - for much less than we got it for - and I decided that I didn't like the color purple ( not the movie... I'm sure the movie is fine... just the color).

We are FINALLY to present day... I'm sure you are relieved. So, the bike is named "Ricochet" - sounds pretty cool. It is green ... a little rusted... and the gears don't work ( but who really uses the gears anyway). I took it out in the driveway and was shaking horribly as I tried to get on it. Kev actually held the bike and helped me get on. He was going to run behind me while I was riding it but everytime I would start to pedal.. he would start giving me pointers - meaning he was talking - which would make me nervous and I would stop. Finally we took it in the back yard and I got up the nerve to ride it around on the grass. There was a rule though.... No falling off and getting hurt because he did not want to take me to the ER while I was in my Mickey pjs. Yes, I was riding around on my bike in my backyard with my pajamas on. Give me a break... I live in the country. You can even swim/layout nude if you want.... I'm not necessarily admitting that I do that... but I could and maybe I will. Just make sure you call us before you come out during the summer... or you might get a surprise that you never wanted to receive. So, I had a really good time on the bike... and I kept riding circles around him while he was trying to work in the yard. I'm crazy like that.

On to the next adventure.....

Friday, February 6, 2009

Please Welcome Our New Additions to the Family!

So for 14 years it has just been the two of us on this excellent adventure of life... I'm a handful as I'm sure you can imagine. Don't get me wrong - we LOVE animals and we LOVE children but Kev has a strict policy that involves no chewing on things, no going to the bathroom on the floor, and no shedding of hair. I know what you all are thinking.. and you are right! How in the world does he let me live in the house when I do all of the things his policy won't allow. I guess it is just love... what can I say. Clearly, though, he can only manage it from me.

Living "in the country" we have had the pleasure to experience a wonderful array of woodland creatures. These sweet animals include feral cats ( feral means wild - I learned that last week), a fox, gray mishapen no feathered turkeys, an evil rooster, multiple birds, and our favorite - the squirrels. Of course we have named them all. The cats (Patches, Snowball, Midnight and Black/White)drink the water from the pool ( is that safe?) and sleep on the back deck. The turkeys ( The Turkey Lurks) walk through our yard every day around 6pm gobbling like the ladies on The View. They seem to always be searching for something... and I hope it is their feathers or spray tan or a coat to cover their scary bodies. I'm telling you - they are a sight to see. It is not safe to look directly at them!! They tried to sneak up on Kev once when he was working in the yard. When he turned around they started SCREAMING and ran for their lives. When/If you ever meet him - you will have to ask him to reinact the experience. It is quite hilarious! The fox runs through from time to time... I have never seen a fox running free before. We named him Todd ( Disney fans will understand that one). I always hope that he finds and "takes care of" the Rooster ( whose name I cannot say because it is inappropriate) that has NO business waking up so early! There are too many birds to name... except for one - Catbird. She sits on the edge of our house and actually MEOWS. It is the coolest thing and I'm sure you won't believe it until you hear her in person. And then there are the squirrels.... you assume they are sweet and innocent but are actually VERY mischievious. They have been known to throw nuts and pinecones at our heads!! I am not joking! If we ( Kev) are working in the yard and go near one of their trees... they attack. Until I see blood or injury... I will think it is cute and funny. My parents keep their 1950's pop up camper in our backyard... the stories I could tell on that... but it will have to be another time. Anyway, the squirrels filled the camper with acorns without us knowing. Last summer my parents went camping.... and I'm sure you can imagine their surprise to pop-up the camper and have it full of acorns! They were everywhere! We had some pretty pissed off squirrels this winter. Can you imagine if your entire pantry of food was stolen by some evil humans that wanted to sleep in your kitchen? Well, I can... it has happened to me before as well. Well enough about that.... on to the point of my post....

For Christmas I received three poinsettas.... Percy, Little Joe, and Gus.
The above pic is Percy, Little Joe, and Gus laying down. I am still learning my way around a computer... and can't seem to figure out how to delete this one.

We were thrilled to receive these poinsettas #1 because we love plants and #2 Kev wanted to learn how to take care of them so we could keep them for as long as possible. I didn't really give it much thought at first because we have never been able to keep plants alive.... but after a couple of weeks, I was a believer! The little ones look like they did when we received them. Percy has had a couple rough days but is a survivor. Due to their success we decided to try a couple more. Kev took me to Lowe's to pick some out. Now I have been wanting a puppy for a while now. I am finally feeling the need to take care of something else in addition to Kev. My thoughts are if I can show I am responsible and if the plants thrive then I can possibly have a couple of pups. In case you are wondering.... I want TWO black labs. You have to have two so they can be friends while we are at work. I want girls... and I will name them Lucy and Emma. They are going to wear black and white gingham bows ( to match my house) for most of the year and red bows at Christmas. They will have red puppy beds with their monogram on the front and will sleep next to our bed. We are going to get a family pic taken on our front porch for our Christmas cards. Now, Kev wants the dogs to live outside ( you know... IF we ever get them).. but I have solved that problem too. I am going to get them those silly disguises - the ones where the big nose, eyebrows, and mustache are attached to glasses. They can wear them in the house and Kev will just think we always have guests over. I know they will love it here!
See, I've got everything worked out just in case Kev surprises me with puppies. I guess I haven't really put that much thought in to it. :-)

Anyway, we are FINALLY to the point of the post where we picked out the sweetest, most well-behaved plants in the world. The next two are Cornelius ( on the left - he is a corn plant) and Snowflake ( on the right - a Tropic Snow plant). Red Dawn ( the next pic) was named after the famous 80's movie Red Dawn. If you are not familiar with that movie then you are too young to be my friend.

I get so much enjoyment out of coming home to these beautiful plants. There is something about them that make me smile. I know you already think I am crazy... so I'll just go ahead and tell you. I talk to them, pet them, and talk about them to Kev. Kev takes such good care of them and even takes them outside on pretty days to get some fresh air. I'm sure you have picked up on the fact that KEV takes care of them and such. I just talk to them and pet them.... which is what I would do if we had puppies.... which is probably why Kev wants to hold off for now because he will end up doing all the work. My parents will tell you the same thing about me... I have this thing about cleaning up poop. Not that plants poop... but you get the idea.

Long story short.... please welcome Cornelius, Snowflake, Red Dawn, Percy, Little Joe, and Gus to our family. I'll be sure to keep you updated on them.

We hope you all have a good weekend.....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

January 2009 RECAP

Ok - So I realize that I tried to get you all to believe that February is the real start to the year... but for those of you not in retail I figured I owed you a recap of January. That way you won't be sitting around all day wondering what we have been doing for a month.

The most important celebration for us is in January - no, it is not the month I got braces or corrective walking shoes- it is our wedding anniversary! We were married on January 6, 1995! It was not our intentions to necessarily get married so early in a year and so soon after the holidays... but it has turned out to be wonderful. There is something about starting a new year and beginning a new year of marriage - it just seems right. Anyway, for you math whizzes out there - that means we have been married 14 years! We've been together since December 1991 - but that is a whole other story for a whole other day. I was so glad to get rid of year #13. Not because it was a bad year by any means... but come on, the #13 is a nightmare. 13 represents unluckiness, that awkward age that starts your teens where you sometimes have a strange smell, and the embarrassing collection of dvds that Kev has - Friday the 13th! He told you in his profile that he loves any movie with sequels whether it involve roaches, aliens, pirates, or saws. Anyway, we celebrated this great day by getting take out from Bonefish Grill ( our fav - Bang Bang Shrimp) and Publix wedding cake. We DO NOT go out unless forced! There are so many reasons why take out is so much better than going to a restaurant....For the sake of time, I will only list a few....
1. You can eat in your pajamas, no shoes, even no underwear if you choose
2. You can be obnoxious at the table - laugh out loud, burp, spill things ( I realize that some people do these things when at a restaurant but it is completely embarrassing!)
3. You don't have to wait for your food, leave a tip, or wait for your bill.
4. You don't have to sit up straight - which I don't do anyway but some people think it's proper.

I'm sure you get the point..... long story short - it was a wonderful anniversary! My parents even had a anniversary party for us which was very sweet and generous. Mom and Dad made some super yummy recipes that they got when they went to Jamaica. It was wonderful to see everyone and we appreciate the love. I smell a trip for anniversary #15!

The other really cool thing that happened to us is that Kev surprised us ( well, I guess he didn't really surprise himself) with Blackberries - not the kind that feel like you are biting in to a roach when you put them in your mouth ... but the phone kind. That might not seem cool to all you hi-tech folks out there.. but we have been talking to each other through tin cans and a string for the past 5 years. Don't even think about asking if we could text. I have been wishing, dreaming, and dropping hints for about a year that I HAD to have a texting phone or I would not survive 2009.

Now Kev is the most thoughtful person you will ever meet. He takes incredible care of me and gives me constant attention ( I can only imagine how exhausting that can be). He always makes me feel so special - like a princess ( which every girl is, by the way). I could even go as far to say that He spoils me- ALOT! Sometimes I deserve it but mostly I do not. I am mischievious, sometimes moody, and usually involved in shenanigans. I can tell him that I want something and he will NEVER forget. It may take a year, a month, a day, 5 years... but he will get me what I asked for. I have learned to be very patient and also leave reminder notes in his car, on his mirror, and carved in to trees. I am working on hinting a couple of things that I want/need right now...
#1. an outdoor inflatable movie screen
#2. a quesadilla maker
#3. a dining room table
#4. a lemon tree
#5. a Wii fit
I'll keep you updated on the status.

Anyway, He surprised me with the phone of my dreams. He actually got it for me for Christmas - but it took me until January to figure out how to use it. Technology is way over my head.... if I could text someone by sending a carrier pigeon with a note tied to his foot - I would. I'm doing really well with it though. These are the things I can do with my phone...
#1. TEXT - especially to Melissa during conference calls at work... it is fun to make fun of what is being said
#2. keep a running grocery list
#4. Email
#5. Google
Having everything rolled in to one saves me a lot of time and I can keep in touch with people all day. There are some rules, though.... everything comes with rules. They are...
#1. No texting while driving
#2. No phones on the pool deck
#3. No throwing the phone across the yard when you get mad at a contractor
#4. No taking it with you in the shower
So far I have been very well behaved. I try not to make promises, though.... because sooner or later one of the above might happen.

So to summarize.... 2009 is off to a pretty good start in our little world and you haven't missed too much. Unfortunately or fortunately I have a LOT to say. I tend to go off on other topics and ramble- I get it from my Mom's side of the family. Going forward I will be posting as things happen so hopefully you won't have so much to read at once.

Happy February....

Welcome to our BLOG!

The day is finally here... the Snyder family has a blog! I (we) have been wanting to do this for a while now and made it my (our) New Year's resolution. So it's February... in retail that means it is the first month of the year which means that I am right on track with my resolution. I'm sure that you are wondering why we wanted to start a blog.... Why would we want the world to know our business? We seem to be pretty boring people and how could a couple with no kids and no pets have much to share? Well I am here to tell you that we have plenty of reasons... and for plenty I mean tons!

Here are a couple of reasons as I don't have time right now to list tons....

#1 We have thoroughly enjoyed reading the blogs of our friends! I know more about the lives of my friends from reading about them than when I actually visit them/work with them. It makes me feel connected to the people that I care about.

#2 My family is spread out all over the place and I know this will be a great way to keep up with each other.. ( I hope more of you jump on the blog bandwagon) "Blog Bandwagon" sounds like something I would see being pushed down the road in my hometown of Gaston.

#3 Most of you that will be reading this have never met Kev or even seen him in person! I feel like I have to do this to prove that he is not a mystery, my imagination, or a superhero. He is real and I will be posting pictures to prove it!

#4 Just because it is just the two of us doesn't mean that we are boring.... Every day is an excellent, exciting adventure ( hence the title - also a shout out to 80's movie Bill and Ted's excellent adventure). In fact... it is not just the two of us... you will be privileged enough to read all about our families ( whether they want you to or not) . That is a ton of people!

Hopefully that is enough reasons for now to capture your attention. I am not promising that there will always be good grammar, no run-on sentences, or proper spelling - but that is why I am NOT an English teacher and why I am thrilled that these posts will not be graded.

Not only will you receive updates on our daily lives... but you will also have the opportunity to hear stories from our past and future ( the stories from our future might be made up), renovation updates/tips, and recipes. That sounds like a show straight off of TLC, Bravo, or the Food Network - which, by the way, are OUR favorite channels. Right Kev?

Thanks in advance for reading.... We hope you enjoy!