The Excellent Adventures of Kim and Kev

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Perfect Day - part one

Today is my birthday. Which is something I've always kept to myself as much as possible. In fact, until Facebook started announcing the date of my special day, hardly any one even knew.

So, as you can imagine, my day is usually pretty low key. I usually work. Or hide away in my bathtub until all the bubbles disappear.

But this year... well, this year was different. I decided during one of my long run/walks that I wanted to jazz things up a bit. By braving a hike. By myself. In a far away place. A place that I had to drive a very long way to. Like Cleveland, SC. Home of Caesar's Head State Park and the infamous Raven Cliff Falls.

And so the plan was made. And I kept it a secret. Until Thanksgiving. The way I see things is that if I had mentioned it sooner... voices would have gotten in my head trying to talk me out of it. Or I would have changed my mind. But I was determined. Determined to do something independent and exciting and dirty.

So, I woke up at 5:30 am. And dressed in my stealth/super hero/hiking gear. Which consisted of black leggings, black socks, black long sleeve shirt under a black short sleeve shirt, a black hat, black gloves, and a blue over sized rain jacket.

And the rain jacket was due to the fact that suddenly it decided to rain. On my birthday of all days. On the day that I was planning my big adventure. And I knew this going in to it. Because we had looked at the weather the night before and saw 100% precipitation every hour until 3pm when the lightening started and all heck would break loose.

But that couldn't stop me. I was determined, you see. And there was NO way that I could stay at home and then wonder all day if the rain really wasn't so bad and I missed out on an adventure.

So, at 6am I was on the road. To Panera and Starbucks for my favorite "to go" breakfast.

A venti iced black coffee ( straight up - no sweeteners) and a cranberry/walnut bagel.

And just a side note for you Panera fans - they have this new member card that you scan every time you go in - and I guess because it was my birthday... I was given the option to get a FREE bakery item ( but NOT a bagel) and a free smoothie ( but NOT a coffee). But the good thing about it is that I can claim these free items up until January 11th. So, that way I got my special favorite breakfast and didn't lose out on the free.

I just realized that I haven't even told you about one of the GREATEST parts about my birthday - because it is in an unfinished post that I haven't published yet - I GOT MY DREAM CAMERA THIS YEAR!! You know... the SLR Canon Rebel that I mention from time to time (every second) in hopes that Kev would buy it for me.
Well, he came through AS ALWAYS!! And surprised me with the camera two days before Thanksgiving. There were tears, and hugs, and screams, and tears, and some dancing around and just pure joy! It completes me - and will complete me more when I figure out how to work every thing.
So, the other awesome part about this trip was going to be that I could NOW take gorgeous shots of the hike and waterfall. But then the sun came up, and this was the only thing I could see up ahead....

Pure gray. And fog. And rain.
No worries. I kept on driving. And I learned that I have a pretty good sense of direction when I have to...... When I can't depend on some one else to help me. Because the directions from the website were a little different than what the signs actually said. So, I just licked the tip of my finger, held it out the window, and found my way.
I drove and drove up a winding road higher and higher - the rain falling harder and harder - and I could barely see anything in front of me.

And then I arrived at my destination. Raven Cliff Falls. I jumped out of the car. Grabbed my hiking registration. Jumped back in the car - SOAKING WET. And preceded to wait it out. There was no one in sight. No one was at the ranger's office. No one at the welcome center. It was a ghost town on the mountain.
But I had a pocket knife. For protection. So, I was still feeling good about every thing.

Kev suggested waiting for a little bit to see if it would slow down. I agreed. I had come all this way after all.
So, I decided to open up my snack. The one I had been saving for a special event. Just like this.

Now, I want to clarify that I am NOT a chocolate fan. I would choose fruit or caramel over chocolate any day. But something about the sea salt ( huge fan!) and dark chocolate ( considered a health food) mixed together had me intrigued.
And it was delightful. Sweet and then salty. PERFECT.
I only ate two squares and was happy and satisfied. The rest is in a zip loc bag being saved for another special event.
And then I gave up. I had waited an hour. Kev called to say that the weather was NOT letting up. And I just decided it wasn't worth it. Even if I hiked in the pouring rain - I wouldn't be able to see anything. Let alone take pictures. It just wasn't meant to be.
No worries. I went shopping.
My first stop....
And you probably thought I went real shopping. Like for clothes, or jewelry, or house trinkets. But my new obsession is food shopping. Organic food shopping. And I have been DREAMING about visiting Trader Joe's since the day I was born. So, it worked out perfectly that I was able to actually go on my birthday - and also the fact that they had just opened in Greenville. ( I stalk their website)
I was smiling from ear to ear. And called Kev several times to tell him. It was every thing I hoped it would be. PERFECT. I was able to stock up on some things that are hard to find in regular stores. And get some treats that I have never seen before.
Pure Bliss.
And then I went here...

Whole Foods Market. UM. Where have you been all my life? My eyeballs popped out of my head and jumped in to the hot foods bar. This is my new Disney World. Not to mention that when I walked in they were playing one of my FAVORITE songs of all times. A song that I have never heard on the radio - and only know of it because- for one month only-it was played over and over at work. I even made up a dance routine to it. It is just that sweet.
I tried to be very practical and not go crazy. Again, I only purchased things that I had been wanting and had been unable to find in Columbia. And maybe a couple of treats. That you will see later.
But one of the greatest things about these two stores were the people. They were so helpful, and friendly, and just genuinely seemed to love their jobs. So, me being in the retail world appreciated that more than you know. I felt like I was hanging out with a group of friends. They were just randomly suggesting items to me, telling me their favorites, asking me what I was cooking with my ingredients. And telling me to be careful out there in the horrible weather.
That's it. I'm moving to Greenville. If we can find a truck that can move our house. The funny thing is that I have worked on and off in Greenville for a million years. Just about every single retail job that I have had has had a store there that I have travelled to. I even commuted there every day for three months at one point. But I have never "enjoyed" it as much as I did today.
And now I can't wait to go back there.
Because then I went to this place...

Great Harvest Bread Company. And the NICEST man EVER told me all about their breads and how healthy they are. How they make every thing from scratch every day. I had been researching this place and knew exactly what I wanted to get. But the man working there ( I believe he was the owner) made me want to buy fifty loaves of bread and work for him part time with NO pay. He was just that nice and helpful. And insisted on me taking a sample slice of bread with me for my lunch. I chose cheddar/garlic bread. And I swear to you that it literally melted in my mouth. It was DIVINE!
Here is the bread I originally went in for....

It is high protein/low carb bread with walnuts and pumpkin seeds and a million other healthy delicious things in it.
I just had a slice and claimed it to be the best bread ever!
And then I started the drive home. All the while trying to figure out when I could return. Maybe I could make the trip once a month. Maybe I will just keep it to myself if I do - because some people may think I'm going a little crazy.
Even my drive home was incredibly fun. I sang my heart out to Patsy Cline, The "O Brother Where Art Thou?" Soundtrack ( it is fabulous, if you haven't heard it) and a little Christmas music ( which always makes me think of my friend Amy B. - especially when I listen to it in the Spring!)
I arrived home and unpacked all my goodies...

And then quickly put them away before Kev got home. ( When they are dispersed among the other food in the pantry - it doesn't look like so much)
My plan at this point was to take a shower and a nap. But some thing was calling my name. VERY LOUDLY. And that something was a Whole Foods cheese ball and some Riesling.

And it is probably pointless for me to say this....but THE CHEESE BALL WAS THE BEST I'VE EVER TASTED!! Just like every thing else I tried that day.
And now I'm off to relax until Kev gets home. I've got some fun plans for dinner and I can't wait!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fire and Lobster and Gamecocks... Oh My.

It has been a pretty eventful weekend here in the Snyder household. And it has also been my last weekend off until after the holidays. Hence the eventfulness. We had to squeeze every last bit of projects, rest, relaxation, and fun time out of the past two days.

It is important for my sanity.

And I don't think we could have gotten any luckier on the weather situation. It has been absolutely gorgeous. In fact, I will go ahead and say that the weather was perfection.

And I don't go around throwing out that word a lot. When it comes to weather.

Our weekend started off with the building of a fire. And a fire is one of my most favorite things in the whole entire world. In the fire place, of course. Or outside as a campfire.

I'm not crazy or anything.

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the sounds, the warmth, the beauty, and the smell. In fact, rumor has it that Bath and Body Works has finally answered my prayers and has created a candle with the campfire smell.

I am beside myself with delight. And must acquire a coupon in order to buy one this week.

Anyway, Kev sure knows how to make me a happy girl. Build me a fire and I will do ANYTHING you want. As long as it involves sitting on the couch, enjoying the fire, and eating a good meal.

I loved every single second of the warm, crackling fire. I even got down on the floor. Right in front of it. And stretched out as close as I could possibly get without my Dad ( Kev) telling me that I needed to back up and be careful.

Saturday, was filled with working on projects. Like cleaning out the garage. Cleaning out my closet. And working on a special project that I am devoting an entire post to - just because I think it is so darn cool.

I also managed to throw a little gym time in. I am down to blowing my nose only a couple times a day - instead of minutes, and managed to take two classes in a row. It felt really good at the time - even though I am super sore right now as I am typing this. I also think that I learned how to kill someone with my bare hands. Who knew that the combat class could get so intense. ?? I felt like I was fighting for my life.

Saturday night ended up back in the Lodge room. For another fire.

Yes, Please!

But this time, we decided to eat supper in there. While we watched the USC game. On our special Gamecock tv trays that we got for Christmas last year....

My supper plan for the night was to recreate "the Lobster Roll" from the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. You know, one of my favorite things. Except for that Lobster is EXPENSIVE. Like insanely. So, after I spent way too much time trying to find fresh lobster - that wasn't gator meat- that was already pulled off of the shell.... the "seafood" guy told me to buy a can of Lobster. On the canned meat aisle. It was the size of a small tuna can. And cost a million dollars. So, I only bought one and stressed over how I was going to make a decent meal out of a smidge of meat.

But then Kev suggested I get some crab meat and mix it with the lobster. And I jumped up and down and kissed his sweet head and told him that I owed him my first born child and bought a lot of crab meat.

And it worked perfectly. Along with onions, celery, green pepper, tarragon, salt and pepper, dijon mustard, and LIGHT mayo...

The flavors were incredible! I toasted some whole wheat buns and added some romaine lettuce. And squealed OUT LOUD with every bite.

Oh. And I made some home made potato chips to go along with it. They are baked in olive oil, salt, and pepper.
The Gamecocks won. Surprisingly. I've stopped assuming they will win and that way I will be pleasantly surprised. :)
Sunday was filled with finishing our projects. And then Kev offered to make ANOTHER fire for me.
Now if only I could get him to let me sleep in front of the fire.
And just because I blogged about doing it. And never followed up with how it all turned out... I wanted to tell you about my vegan/vegetarian Thanksgiving dishes. And the non-vegan turkey that I roasted.
Well, it was pretty good. The turkey wasn't the best and was a little dry even though I marinated it in soy sauce for like a million hours. Kev thought it tasted better the next day when it sat in it's juices over night. But the side dishes. HELLO YUMMY! I made green bean casserole - without cream of mushroom soup. And even found some organic, fresh fried onions to put on the top. Wow. I could eat it every day. And then there was the stuffing/dressing. Fresh sourdough bread, mushrooms, dried cherries, and a million other incredibly fresh ingredients. Where have you been all my life. Iloveditsomuch! AND didn't feel too full, or bloated, or got the "Thanksgiving sweats" after finishing this meal. It was fresh, and healthy, and just right.
And now I've added something to my bucket list. "Cooking a GOURMET, HEALTHY Thanksgiving meal". I would just love to prepare a feast of yummy fresh foods. And I would make every one dress as pilgrims and talk about things like travelling on large boats and throwing tea in the water.
Except for I can't remember for sure if it was the pilgrims that threw the tea in the water... or just another angry, fed up group.
History class was after lunch. Which meant nap time.
And now I'm going to enjoy the rest of my fire. Because tomorrow starts another week of work which will involve getting ready for Black Friday. Our biggest day of the year. And this may be my last night to relax.
And stuff my face with roasted marshmallows.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Random Things About Me

I'm still sick. And I've never been angrier than I am today about it. I just don't have time for this. And I'm going through gym withdrawals and have forgotten what it was like when I didn't have to blow my nose. Or breathe through my mouth.

Even though I do sound like Darth Vader. For any of you geeks out there.

So, I thought since I haven't been up to much.... I would just catch you up on my thoughts and experiences from the past week.

1. I FINALLY grew out my nails. I have been biting my nails since Spring of 1972 ( yes, that means it was when I was in the womb) and have NEVER been able to break the habit. But I finally did. And I like to paint them a dark shade of purple. It makes me feel a little rock and roll. And up to no good. Except for this whole "blowing my nose every second of the day" made me realize that nails are sharp and they can hurt you and the inside of your nose. Not to mention that I am the opposite of calm and dainty - so, I tend to scratch people just by walking by them. That means that - FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER- I actually trimmed my nails with something other than my teeth. And filed them down. I can now type, text, and stick my finger in my eye without horrible consequences.

2. McDonalds is offering FIFTY chicken mcnuggets for $9.99!!! Why aren't more people talking about this. I don't understand. Chicken McNuggets are only my FAVORITE chicken nuggets OF ALL TIME. I rarely eat at McD's - but when I do, the nuggets is what I get. With no sauce. I like them plain jane. They are a true comfort food. And now that I think about it - I only eat them when I am on the road travelling. They make virtually no mess in the car - unlike the nachos and pizza that I attempted to eat while driving with my knees. Not good. Not good at all.
But my point is that if I was not trying to eat healthy - I would be buying a platter every single day. I would have nugget eating contests. And would create an entire festival around it. With potato sack races and every thing.

3. I made my first spaghetti squash.
I cut it in half. And roasted it.

And scooped out the insides. It looked just like spaghetti noodles. Just like the book said.

And then served it with steak, fresh tomatoes, and feta cheese.

It was pretty good. Definitely healthy. And interesting. I could see it being more flavorful if I actually put it in a spaghetti sauce.
4. I have only been to the gym once in the last week. And it was last night. I decided to take a spinning class since I can go at my own pace and it is dark - preventing people from seeing snot dripping out of my nose. It was an awesome class. And I got a really good workout. But ended up feeling worse last night instead of better. My head is so congested.
Anyway, I sat behind some of the coolest people. Five middle aged men and women who "ride" together and cheer each other on. They even yell out their friends names as they enter the class. Just like Norm on Cheers. This is the first middle aged group I have ever wanted to be in. I will have to work hard to make a good impression.
5. I'm actually feeling pretty good about the holidays this year. I'm very organized and have all my meals planned out along with grocery lists for each week. I don't know what has gotten in to me. I also have a day scheduled to decorate. And a day scheduled to shop. I'm crossing my fingers it all works out as planned.
6. We've got a big celebration coming up. A fortieth birthday party. And I'm going ALL OUT. For the two of us. Because that certain someone doesn't want to make a big deal about it. Too bad for him - he married the wrong person.
7. And last but not least, I will be recreating my favorite "meal" from the Food and Wine Festival this weekend. That is if I can find fresh lobster. It seems that this request at the sea food counter results in puzzled looks. And an offering of gator meat. Yes, that is right. I asked for lobster and was told they had gator meat instead - "which should be about the same". I may live in Gaston. But I don't eat like it. :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I just made that word up. It is the best I could do on such short notice.

I'm at home sick today. I should really stop saying that I never get sick - because it seems I have some kind of something pretty often these days. Normally I would be fast asleep in bed trying to sleep my crud away.... but today we have a guy at the house working on stuff. Which means I have to look some what presentable ( thank you ball cap) and have to be sitting up on the couch ready to answer any questions he might have.

On top of my lack of energy and motivation, I have a list a mile long of things I needed to get done today. Like cleaning, laundry, painting, and working out. So, instead of doing any thing productive mostly because I am stuck to the couch, I decided to catch up on the blog. And I did manage to throw some yummy, healthy ingredients in to the crock pot for a pineapple soy sauce chicken dinner.

That should count for something.

Anyway, On Sunday, October 31st, we not only celebrated Halloween... but we celebrated the FOURTH year of owning our dream home/money pit. It is a pretty big day for us. Even though last year I was MIA due to my trip to Disney World. ( Kev never seemed to notice) This year I had all sorts of things planned. And wanted to make it extra special.

Just Because.

So, we started out our celebratory weekend by having a pumpkin carving contest. There are always two winners.... lucky for us. That way there is no fighting.

Kev just LOVES weapons and produce. It was almost too much for him to handle without breathing in to a paper bag.

And as a Snyder first, we decided to roast the seeds. I just sprinkled some Lawry's seasoning salt on them and tossed them in a bit of olive oil.

And then we decorated our front porch for the big day...

Now, I figure that the above picture deserves a little explanation. I carved the Mexican singer on top. And won the award for the "best carving of a pumpkin to resemble your favorite type of food". Kev carved the bottom one. And won the award for the "best reenactment of a Geico commercial". Get it? It is the "weeee weeee weeee all the home" pig. Complete with pinwheels.
We really had so much fun carving these pumpkins. And laughed quite a bit. Until I had to clean up my "station" and there was pumpkin goop ALL.OVER.THE.PLACE.
On the actual holiday, we spent the day reminiscing and laughing about all of the hard work, tragedies, and nonsense we went through to make this house a home.
Except for we really didn't laugh about it. It was so hard and stressful, folks. But totally worth it in the end.
And then I started my all day cooking extravaganza for our "party". We had bruschetta, hummus, honey chipotle chicken wings, and hoagie dip.
I made every thing from scratch. Except for the actual chicken pieces. God made those. I just bought them and whipped up a yummy sauce to cook them in. And I have to say that the hummus was divine ( I will make it every single week if I'm forced to) and the hoagie dip is a new favorite of mine. So yummy. It is basically everything you can imagine on an "all the way" Subway sandwich - but chopped up really small in to a dip. That you can eat with bread bites.

We loved it all. And ate WAY TOO MUCH! I mean, I was really feeling "food and wine festival full" that night. Which isn't a great thing. Unless you love the feeling of your stomach ripping away from your insides and catching on fire.
But it was worth it.
Here is a pic of the wings.... I sprinkled green onions and sesame seeds on top..
Then we sat around and waited patiently on trick-or-treaters. Except for we only had three. And they were all from the same car. What a huge disappointment considering I really took my time picking out the best candy and festive goodies. I had a bowl of spider rings, bouncy spider balls, stretchy skeletons, M &Ms, Snickers, and Skittles.
And I still have a TON of all of those things. I guess people don't really trick or treat any more? Or maybe it is the wall of trees that Kev planted to keep hobos out of our yard? Or maybe it was Kev's Halloween costume that scared them away....

He is always so festive.
No worries, though. Just be prepared that if you come to visit there will be a welcome bag for you with the above Halloween treats inside.
And I am still putting together a post of our Halloween party at the Magic Kingdom. But since my Mom is currently visiting DisneyLAND in California, I guess I will have to wait a little longer for pictures. She sure does live the life....
So, that pretty much wraps up my last vacation before the holidays. And I have to say that it was pretty awesome. And then I got sick. Maybe it was all the energy I had after eating honey... it just wore my body out. Speaking of honey, that sounds pretty good right now in a glass of tea.....
Here is to hoping that the man leaves my house soon so I can get some sleep.

Monday, November 1, 2010


It is my new miracle food. And I'm officially head over heels in love.

And I've got to tell you why...

Because yesterday I had an amazing day. And was able to get SO.MUCH.DONE. All due to the product of some bees.

Yesterday was my first day back to work after a wonderful vacation. I awoke at 6am and made a big breakfast of Fall with a drizzle of honey.

I then preceded to work a 9 1/2 hour shift ( which is always draining the first day back from vacation).

Then I ate this at 5:30pm...

It is plain Greek yogurt with a side packet of pure honey. You just open the container and fold the honey side over the yogurt side and mix. Except for the sake of time and the fact that honey moves pretty slow - I just stuck my spoon in and ate it. And then ate the yogurt.

And then I went to the gym.

I completed the entire Body Attack class. At full throttle. High knee runs and all.

At the end of class, I still felt great. So, I completed the next class. Body Pump. I worked out right up until abs. Because I had already done that in the first class and it was getting late.

I got home at 8:30pm.

And had more energy than a bear performing at a Country Jamboree.

So, I showed Kev some workout/dance moves I learned. ( He was thrilled)

I drank a protein drink.

Made a big batch of chicken and dumplings in my Dutch Oven. ( I hope Kev can eat all of it because I'm not helping)

Made sour cream/cheddar biscuits - from scratch.

Made chipotle butter for the biscuits.

Pack two days worth of lunches.

Showed Kev some more dance moves. And challenged him to a basketball game.

Did all the dishes. Some dishwasher. Some hand wash.

Cleaned the kitchen.

Showered. ( Finally)

Did some work. For work.

Watched two recorded tv shows.

Read approximately 36 blogs.

Blogged this story.

All because of some honey.

At least that is what I am giving the credit to. That is really the only thing different in my eating routine. Usually after I complete one gym class, Kev will find me face down in the front yard with a note pinned to my chest that says "Please keep bodies off of your front lawn! It takes away from the aesthetics of the neighborhood. Sincerely, the Gaston beautification committee."

Not to mention that I barely have the energy to cook. Let alone clean. The kitchen or myself.

But then again, I could have just had a lucky day. A day full of random energy. And then I will have to post again to tell you NOT to rush out and get some honey. And NOT to believe all my ramblings.

Not that you ever really take anything on this blog too seriously anyway. :)