Monday, December 21, 2009

Five Weeks Old!

video

Life has been a little busy with our new baby. I am enjoying each day with Elsa. She grows and changes and I feel so lucky to be a part of it. She has started to socially smile and engage with us. The exciting part is that it will only increase as she grows. With Christmas around the corner, it has been fun buying a stocking for Elsa and filling it with things that she loves. Her first gift from Santa will be a teddy bear and some new pacifiers. She LOVES her pacifier!

It is easy to only focus on Elsa, but we also have visitors coming for Christmas. Tim's parents and brother and sister-in-law will be joining us along with our very cute niece Leah. She is two and a half. We've been preparing for the visit and looking forward to some family time together.

I feel like I am physically getting back to normal. Today, I put on my pre-pregnancy jeans and they fit COMFORTABLY. I did not have to squeeze into them.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Go Vikes!


This has been an exceptional year for the Minnesota Vikings. We have been able to watch several games. We've gone some years with just one Monday night game. We celebrated another Vikings game on television with Elsa wearing Tim's Christmas Vikings hat. Poor Elsa...I have a feeling that she will be dressed up in lots of get-ups to entertain her parents.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Introducing...


On November 16, my daughter was born. We named her Elsa Maxine. Her first name was a name that I had for several years that I had always liked and her middle name is after my paternal grandmother.

I am amazed at the love and connection that I feel for Elsa. She already has a personality of her very own. She likes fuzzy blankets. She likes to stretch. She likes to face out and see the world. She makes really big burps.

We are still working out the difference between night and day. She likes to be held with one exception...she likes to swing in her swing. She is not a fan of getting her diaper changed.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Preparing for Baby

As promised, I am posting photos of our baby's nursery. We do not know the gender of the baby even though we tried to find out...it is modest. We went with a gender neutral nursery set. I knew we were not planning on painting the walls so I wanted bright colors. I left some spaces on the wall for future photos of our baby with his/her grandparents and cousins. I plan on purchasing letters for his/her name to place on the wall too. I want to give a lot of credit to Tim for preparing the nursery. He was handyman-in-chief!

If you know me at all, you know that I like to have things prepared and ready. Unfortunately, it comes from a controlling place, but what I have learned in preparation for the baby is that I really have very little control and will not have control for a very long time...or that's what people are telling me.

I am in my 33rd week of pregnancy and feel quite good. Turns out, no matter how good you actually feel, things can be going on inside your body that are not so good. I won't bother you with the details, but there is a good possibility that I will be going on bed rest and if that does not improve things, we will be meeting our lil' bundle sooner than expected.

Thank goodness for the Internet. I did almost all of my shopping for the nursery and beyond from the comfort of my own couch. I have always been a big believer in the Internet gods, but more so than ever. First of all, shop around. I saved $150 from the most expensive retailer to where I actually bought my nursery set (bedding, valances, etc).

Then, the car seat shop around saved me about $30 dollars from retailer to retailer. You must use the promo codes for discounts and free shipping. My plug of the day is diapers.com. I ordered my car seat and stroller at 6PM on a Monday and it was at my door step by Tuesday noon with free shipping.

This weekend was filled with even more preparation. I made a mammoth trip to Target to stock up on all items, household and baby, that I felt I would need for the next couple of months. It is true that I am within driving distance to several Targets and I do plan on doing some Target shopping after the baby arrives, but I like a stocked house.

I have been trying not to overdo my nesting and tire myself out. I have a grand plan, but remember, the plan doesn't always work out for reasons out of my control...UGH. Next on my to-do list is prepare some foods. I am going to make several casseroles, lasagna, and dishes so we can just pull something from the freezer and eat. We are happy with sandwiches on a weekly basis and I know that cooking will not come to an end once the baby arrives, but I know that this will comfort me in the early days of our new family. I should probably stock up on some take-out menus too!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Because You Asked For It...

Living away from friends and family means that they get to always envision you as you have always been. Well, I am a larger version of myself these days. With about two and a half months left until our baby arrives, I am posting a photo of my larger self because people have asked me to do it. This is the first "belly shot" that I have taken for the sole purpose of documenting the ever-growing middle section.

We've been busy making changes to our house to prepare for the baby's arrival. The office is now a nursery. The bedrooms have been switched around to make room for the stuff that was once in the office. We are crossing off the TO-DO list that we never really had a reason to finish. For example, we put off washing windows and now, the windows are done. I have put off backing up the photos on my computer, but now, that is done.

We have some names picked out, but we are still looking for one more boy name. We want to have two picked out and when we look at the baby, we'll choose from the two names. We do, however, have two girl names picked out. You can give suggestions for boy names if you would like!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Midwestern Movie: 500 Days of Summer

Before the hectic schedule of school starts and the official ending of summer happens, I was able to squeeze in one last summer movie. Thank goodness. I could not have chosen a better movie, 500 Days of Summer.

It is the story of Tom and Summer who meet and have a story told within 500 days. Normally, I do not love romantic comedy type movies, but I would not lump this film within the romantic comedy genre. There are definitely funny parts to this story about finding love, enjoying love, and losing love, but the emotions in 500 Days of Summer are so much more genuine than the generic romantic comedy.

If you have ever been in a relationship, on either end of the break-up spectrum, you can appreciate each of the characters. There are no bad guys in the end. Just two people who experience a relationship very differently.

Along with a unique viewpoint, the director utilizes an amazing soundtrack. The Smiths. Hall and Oates, and The Doves. Of course, I love a movie with karaoke and love a movie even more if they sing interesting karaoke like The Pixies. Find a theater and go to 500 Days of Summer.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

MIdwestern Movie: Julie and Julia


I have just returned from a Sunday matinee with my friend Laura. We saw Julie and Julia which is based on the book Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell. I have read this book and I thought the movie was great. It may not have been exactly as the book, but I thought it was even better.

The best part of the movie was Meryl Streep playing the gregarious Julia Child. Because the movie was also based on the Julia Child autobiography, My Life in France, the movie shared more about Julia child than the Powell book.

It is no surprise that Meryl Streep's story line of Julia Child was so entertaining. I could have watched an entire movie all about Julia Child and her life in Paris and beyond. I have always loved to cook, but the movie inspires me to cook more interesting meals and desserts. More than when I read Julie Powell's book, the movie makes it all look so easy, but we know that it is not.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Midwestern Recipe: Fruit Streusel Muffins

I don't have a picture for these muffins because I have already put them away and I cannot be bothered to take them back out for a picture. However, they are delicious and a yummy treat if you ever host a brunch or a special breakfast. My friend Cheryl gave me this recipe and I love the versatility of the flavors. Today, I used blueberries, but you could use sliced strawberries or raspberries. Your choice!

Muffin Batter:
1-1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1-1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 cup blueberries (or fruit of your choice)

Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tbsp. butter, melted

Combine the first four ingredients; make a well in the center. Combine the egg, milk, butter and extract. Add to the dry ingredients. Stir until moistened. Fold in fruit. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups - 3/4 full. Sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Clutter

I have been under some delusion that I do not have clutter in my house. What I have come to fully understand this afternoon is that I have well-hidden clutter. Behind closed drawers. Behind closed closets. Behind closed cabinets. I have often boosted about my lack of "stuff" with our four moves in nine years, but I found out in my office/soon-to-be-nursery that I need to throw away some "stuff".

Each spring and fall, I go through the clothes and purge myself of the wardrobe that was. However, I have not followed such a strict regimen when it comes to computer accessories, manuals, and general office supplies. If it were not for the arrival of our first born, who knows how long the hodge podge of office items would have stayed hidden in the drawers and cabinets?!

Then, there is the scrapbooking materials. I do not even know where to start with this collection. I think I have a plan. I will move it all downstairs into a waiting cabinet piece that we used when we had small apartment kitchens. It sits empty now and will soon house the scrapbooking items.

It is a process and I just wish there were some clutter fairy who could pop into my room and whisk it all away. I think a trip to Target for multiple size rubbermaids is in my future for all of those computer accessories. I have this feeling that Tim will think we MIGHT need them someday.

Monday, August 10, 2009

You Betcha, I'm From North Dakota

I went to a wedding on Saturday night. It was a very nice event. The kind of wedding where women wear a different dress to the ceremony and a more formal dress to the reception. I wore the same dress to both the wedding and the party.

Our table assignment was table 7. We sat next to a nice couple in their fifties and a couple with three young boys. The talk was small at first, but it went wide open when they found out that I was from North Dakota. Being from North Dakota and living in Philadelphia is either a conversation starter or stopper...depending on the audience.

The older man said to me, "You are the first and only person that I have ever met from North Dakota". I get that a lot. He made the mistake that most people make who are not from either North Dakota or Minnesota and said "South Dakota" a couple of times when he really meant the more northern Dakota.

The topics of North Dakotan conversation ranged from the weather to my thick accent. He asked me to pronounce a few words, most with long vowel sounds. Because this man was so friendly and not at all condescending like many people who want me to say things with that "funny Fargo movie accent", I played a long with it.

I always like it when the east coasters say, " you are not from around here, are you?" Is it that obvious? Is it the accent or could it be something else? Could it be that I wear the same dress to the wedding and the reception? Could it be that I have a more laid back sensibility about me.

Friday, August 07, 2009

All Good Things...

After eight states, 1500 miles and two days, we are finally back in Philadelphia. The summer in the midwest was exactly what I wanted it to be. We spent every weekend visiting our friends and family in the surrounding states of Iowa.

  • Baptizing our nephew Caeden - I spent about two weeks in Grand Forks over the summer where I was able to play and cuddle my nephew.
  • Baby showers - if you didn't already know, I am going to have a baby. My friends and family were kind and showered the baby with gifts galore. More than the gifts, I loved spending time with my family and friends as they shared the excitement of our new baby.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals - we enjoyed a perfect evening at the ball park with Joe and Ellie. The Cardinals won and I enjoyed my favorite ball park snacks. We also took in a little fair where our niece Leah enjoyed the rides and fair food.
  • Lots of lunches - during my time in Ankeny, I lunched and lunched and lunched with many of my friends from my days in Iowa.
However, it is always nice to return home from a vacation. Tim and I both commented this morning about what a restful night we both had. It could have been the 13 hours in the car, but I think it was being in our own bed and in our own home.

The first thing that I accomplished today was grocery shopping. I also experienced the sticker shock of the east coast grocery store prices compared to the low prices of the midwest. Oh well. I like nothing better than filling up my refrigerator with food and snacks and drinks. I stopped by my favorite produce store, Produce Junction, and stocked up on fresh cherries, peaches, blackberries and blueberries. Although we had our own apartment in Iowa, I wasn't able to cook like I enjoy. I was without a grill and many of my essential tools. I look forward to the cooking and baking in my own kitchen.

I better get cleaning my house. It is shocking how many cobwebs develop in just six weeks.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Missing the Midwest Already

  1. Farm fresh produce stands - I have enjoyed the best peaches and cream corn on the cob while living in Iowa for six weeks.
  2. Spending almost every weekend with my midwestern family and friends - It'll be hard not seeing my baby nephew until April. Thankfully, we'll get to see our lil' niece Leah in December.
  3. Enjoying happy hour at Sonic Drive-In - the cherry limeade is something very special.
  4. The midwestern nice - just the other day, I was in a store and was just about to pay when a woman came up to me and asked, "Did you spend over $50? I have a coupon if you did!" That nice Minnesotan lady saved me $12!
  5. The North Dakota weather - normally, people are not appreciative of the North Dakota weather, but June and July are the exceptions for me. It ranges between 70-85 degrees with limited humidity. Beautiful.
  6. Empty highways - I love to drive in Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota where you can go for miles with just you and few other cars, usually Buicks, on the road. Set the cruise and go!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Favorite: The Little Couple

I haven't met a reality show that I didn't like. However, most of the people who are on reality television walk the line between emotional instability and uncontrolable narcissism. These labels do not apply to my new favorite reality television family, The Little Couple. I love them. I wish they lived near me so we could be friends. Seriously.

Jen is a doctor and I can only hope that I have a doctor like her someday. She is so kind and warm to her patients and the families. Bill is the sweetest husband who makes coffee and dinner for Jen.

Of course, my hope and expectation is that Jen and Bill will not go down the same road that their TLC peers Jon and Kate Plus 8 went down. Ugly. Ugly. Ugly. I have faith that Jen and Bill have their heads on straight and have a clear vision of their life together.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June is Almost Over

June flew by. It seems like yesterday that I was in Pennsylvania, but now I am spending my days in Iowa. The best part about living in the midwest for two months is visiting friends and family. Last weekend, we celebrated with friends in Minneapolis and we are traveling to St. Louis for the Fourth of July. We'll see Tim's brother and his wife and our cute niece Leah. Of course, we'll take in a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. Life is pretty simple here and I like that.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson

This is the Michael Jackson that I remember the most. I remember laying on the floor of my basement with the double vinyl Thriller album wide open. I would listen to it while I enjoyed the baby tigers and Michael in his crisp white suit. I loved that record.

Just the other day, I was driving around with a four year old and I asked him he wanted to listen to some good music on my ipod. He did and I found "Beat It". When I asked the four year old what he thought, he responded with "I love this song. It's so good." I agreed. It is so good.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Iowa Life

Being back in Iowa, I am reminded of all that I know is true about Iowa.

First, I have "survived" two summer storms in Iowa. For those readers outside of the midwest or tornado alley, thunderstorms in the midwest are completely different than what I experience in Pennsylvania. When I hear thunder and see lightning in Pennsylvania, I do not even look outside. I know all is well. Just a little wet. However, in Iowa, when there is a thunderstorm and you are in the eye of the storm, the thunder is cracking and the wind is wicked.

On Wednesday night, we woke up at 2Am to see the tree outside our window bowing to the point of almost breaking. It passed after much thunder and much lightning. I was checking the news on television to make sure that I would "survive". As I walked around town the following day, there were lots of tree limbs down and things were messy. It wasn't a tornado, but scary.

Hardy life-long Iowans don't seem to worry the way I do about the summer storms the way that I do. They impress me.

The other thing that I know is true about Iowa, things are cheap. We enjoyed a movie for one dollar a piece. They have a theater where movies play that about a month or two old. We hadn't gotten a chance to see Wolverine and it was playing. We've enjoyed dollar sundaes too. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Life is good in Iowa. We are enjoying our time here even if the storms place me near the edge of crazy sometimes.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Granny's Place

I have made my return to Iowa. Well, at least for two months. We have rented a furnished apartment so Tim can complete a research project at Iowa State University. The last time that we rented a furnished apartment, we made the mistake of renting in campus town at ISU. It was loud and the apartment was very industrial. I am sure it was supposed to be hip, but to us, we felt that we were living in a warehouse.

Fast forward to today when I arrived at the apartment. Tim has been living here for two weeks. This apartment could not be more opposite of the former apartment at ISU. First, we are living in Ankeny. It is the suburb of Des Moines where we lived for two years prior to moving to Philly. The funny thing is...the apartment has the stylings of a grandmother's apartment from 1989. I really don't mind. It is for a brief time and it makes our life easy to have a furnished apartment.

Now that I have cleaned the apartment and put our clothes away, the rest of the summer awaits me. Let the midwestern adventures begin.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Midwest Adventure 2009 - Part One

I say this every year...I am so glad that I have a job that has a definite start and definite finish. After a successful kindergarten graduation, I jetted off to the midwest to meet Tim in Minneapolis for his birthday. Tim had been in Iowa for two weeks working on a research project so it was great to see him. Although I had envisioned a warm June day where we could spend the day downtown and walk to a great restaurant from the hotel, it was cold and very rainy. We walked to the restaurant anyway. We ate shepard's pie and beef roast at The Local. It was delicious and the perfect meal for a cold night.

After a cold night in Minneapolis, we drove to Grand Forks to spend some time with the family. Of course, I had to spend as much time with my cute nephew, Caeden. It has been a month and a half since I have seen him and he has changed so much. He is kicking and cooing and all the things that are so special when babies are three months old!

Tomorrow, I will drive to Avon, Minnesota to see my friend Sara and her boys, Sam and Lucas. After that, it is Iowa and the rest of the summer. We are spending two months in Iowa so Tim can continue his research project. I am not quite sure how I will spend my summer. I'll do my best to keep you posted.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cezanne and Beyond

Someone asked me why I do not blog as much as I once did. The answer is pretty simple. I just do not do as much as I once did. My life has fallen into a wonderfully comfortable routine with just a dash of interesting adventures every couple weeks. I was reflecting on who I was when I first started the blog and things have changed.

However, I won't stop blogging. It will just be less often.

Last week, I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to take in the latest exhibit called Cezanne and Beyond. Out of the exhibitions that have come to the museum since living here, it was my favorite. It shared the elements and importance of Cezanne in the lives of other artists and his influence on the great artists of modern art. Taking a Cezanne piece and placed it next to a Mondrian or Matisse, the museum described the influence of the master Cezanne to these artists. I loved it. It probably had something to do with all of the Matisse in the exhibit too. He's one of my favorites. If the exhibit comes to an art museum near you, take it in.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Star Trek


I have never been what one would call a Star Trek fan, but I married one. Surprisingly, I have seen most of the Star Trek movies. However, when I watch the television series, they might as well be speaking another language. I have no idea what they are talking about most of the time. All I do is ask, "Are they the bad guys, Tim?" He is so patient and answers with a simple yes or no.

So, I am sure that I will see the new Star Trek movie soon. Look at Spock. With that front bowl cut and the slanty eyebrows, I still think he is kind of handsome. This reveals nothing that I have not known for years. I like nerds.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Saturday Afternoon

Saturday afternoons can be a big win or a big loss. Today, it is gray and on the edge of rain. We decided to lay low and watch television. Today, the big win was finding What's Eating Gilbert Grape on cable. I am not the kind of girl who watches movies over and over again, but I love this movie. If you haven't seen it, put it in the netflix queue.

I think I have written about this movie before on the blog.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

It's Almost May

I have returned from a trip to North Dakota. While I was there, I met my new nephew, Caeden. I know it is not possible to tell you on this blog how much I adore him. His lil' face and his lil' hands and all that is lil' about him are so sweet. He is six weeks old and I am counting the days until I am able to see him again.

While I was in ND, I had several family tell me that they noticed that I have not been updating the blog. It's true. April was a crazy month for me. Excuses, right? My trip to North Dakota came at the perfect time for me. It was right after parent-teacher conferences and a bunch of other stuff that is too boring to mention. However, I hope to be back to normal blogging schedule.

I have 24 days left of kindergarten. It doesn't matter that I love my job and enjoy every day, I still count the days because I can't help but look forward to the summer. Most people already know this, but we are spending two months in Iowa this summer. Tim is working on a research project and I will be...well...well...I have no idea, but I know it will be relaxing.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Not-So-Big Plans

Tim and I have decided on a "staycation" for our spring break. It is the first spring break that we haven't hosted visitors to our home. Although we always welcome guests, I am looking forward to ten days filled with sleeping in, lazy mornings, day trips and relaxation.

Spring break is on the list of perks for my job. I love the break and usually feel rejuvenated to tackle all that the rest of the year has to offer in kindergarten. And because I am a simple girl, I have a simple list of things to accomplish during my ten day hiatis from kindergarten.

  1. Buy an ice cream maker for my Kitchenaid mixer.
  2. Make ice cream with my new attachment to the Kitchenaid mixer.
  3. Buy a new tv stand for the new tv that Tim bought for us.
  4. Cook a nice dinner at least three times.
  5. Start to clean up our yard. It is in need of some spring cleaning.
Well, that is about it. If I can get all of that accomplished this week, it will be time well spent.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Proud Aunt


My First Nephew
Caeden Michael
March 17, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Kate Walsh Downloads are Always Good


Last spring, my obsession with the singer Kate Walsh hit a peak when I went to her small show in Philly. Amazing. She is terrific on her CDs, but even better live. At the show, she sang several songs from her upcoming album. I obsessed over them and searched the interwebs for them without success.

That was until another fan sent me a link where I could find THREE!!! new songs from Kate Walsh. The three songs are downloadable to itunes for free, my friends!

It's true. She isn't for everybody, but she is definitely for me with her soft guitar and emotional lyrics. See...in my own life, I am pragmatic. I am reasonable in thought and emotion, but in my listening life, the more heart-wrenching, the better. Kate does heart-wrenching very well. I find her lyrics startling and honest. I find her voice honest and pure.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Snow Day Revisited

You might have heard earlier in the week that the east coast had a snow storm. Everyone back in the midwest keeps saying to me, "It must have been bad, huh."

Well...it was bad for Philly. I have to remember that Philadelphia is very big and isn't as flat as the midwest. People live up hilly roads and there is a lot of traffic. A snow storm just affects people and their lives a little differently here. It's true that what I know as a big winter storm is very different than what people who were born and raised in Philadelphia know as a storm. That doesn't make me dismiss this as a winter storm. There are just a whole different set of circumstances to consider when it hits a city like Philadelphia.

When you look at the photos, I know you are thinking, "That is not a storm. That is a regular day here in North Dakota or Minnesota," and you would be right. My memories of blizzards that covered a third of my house would make me question whether this is an actual storm, but the weather people say it is a storm.

I like the snow and in honor of our March storm, I would like to make a list...

Things I Like About Snow Storms...
1. I like to brush off my car. I find it very satisfying. I think I have above average skills when it comes to defrosting and cleaning off a car covered in snow. This storm wasn't even a challenge. My car had about 6-8 inches of snow on it. I have memories of needing a shovel to actually dig out the car before I could brush it off.

2. I like to hold up in my house and do cozy things. I made some banana crumb muffins on Monday morning because I had the time and because they were warm and cozy.

3. As much as I like to hold up in my house, I like to cruise around in my CRV and see how things look. I like to give Tim a commentary on the conditions while he questions my judgement for being on the roads. Don't worry. I stay close to home.

4. I like snow days. I like late starts. I like to check the website of the school district in five minute intervals waiting for the bold letters that tell me that there will be no school! And, I don't have to make up the days. Hooray!

5. It gives me something to blog about.

6. I get to be reminded of my hearty midwestern nature. I get to think about the days in the midwest when a blizzard would take out the power for two days and you'd be left doing little more than playing cards in about five layers of clothing. Really, those are rare storms, but it does happen.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The Midwestern Cook

I spend at least thirty minutes of every day reading cooking and baking blogs. Although I adore a number of cooks on the Food Network, I find that the recipes on the food blogs are so much more manageable. Along with the commentary and hints that they give, I find that the recipes that I try rarely fail.

I may regret this, but....I am starting a food blog. I have been working on it for a few weeks. Instead of posting my recipes here at The Midwestern Position, I will be posting recipes at The Midwestern Cook. I hope that you will bookmark it and visit as often as you visit this blog. My only concern for my food blog is being able to post as often as I should. I want to keep people coming to my blog and if I have a busy week and cannot post new recipes, they might abandon The Midwestern Cook.

Cooking and baking is one of my passions and I love to talk and share about it. So, hopefully, people will want to see what is cooking in my kitchen!

Oh, well, we'll see how it goes. I hope to discuss recipes, cooking gadgets, favorite ingredients, and more.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Nook

This is my new home office nook. It has been the mud room off of our kitchen that has done little more than store our bag of potatoes and step stool.

It is a small space, but when you think about, I think everyone should have their very own small space. Maybe it is because I grew up with my own room and could shut the door and just do whatever I wanted to do in that room, but I have always craved individual isolation in small doses. I like having a space to put things that are mine and mine alone.

I have my cookbooks, picture frames, and tech tools on the shelves. I have artifacts from my life mingling with the picture frames. Iris the ipod and Charlotte the Shuffle have their very own spot on the shelf too! When you walk into my nook, you will know that Sara lives here and checks her recipes, blogs, and more in this space. I feel blessed today.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I Believe...


  1. That a look at someone's ipod is like a window into his/her soul. (I posted a picture of my first ipod, Greta the Green. She now plays kindergarten music for five year old souls.)
  2. Personal rituals make life better.
  3. That the Oscars don't matter. It's just a place for rich, self-absorbed people to pat themselves on the back while wearing insanely expensive clothes.
  4. It is reasonable to buy the exact same Banana Republic white, black, and gray stretch t-shirt summer after summer.
  5. It's old timey and fun to keep money in a jar for something interesting on a rainy day.
  6. Peanut butter and sour cream are excellent foods...just not together.
  7. That I am not taking advantage of as many things as I should in Philadelphia. I need to get cracking on that.
  8. It's time to start wearing the puffy vests again.
  9. That I have the same haircut that she had when she graduated high school and I didn't even try to do it.
  10. A simple life is a good life.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Time Well Spent

President's Day weekend has turned out to be one of the reasons that I love working at my job. We get Friday and Monday off! I have made it a habit to travel and see friends during this time of the year or I like to plan for people to come and see me in Philadelphia.

This year, I traveled to Minneapolis to see some of my nearest and dearest friends in my life. So, in typical Midwestern Position fashion, I will give it to by the numbers...

2 - New babies born to my friends Jolene and Steve. Welcome to the world Lauryn and Emily! I am so glad that I was able to meet you and hold you in your first days.

5 - The number of Wall Street Journals that the man next to me read during the flight from Philly to Minneapolis. He insisted on reading it in the big, wide way...you know so his fist was in my face because he refused to fold his paper in half to read.

$140,000 - The amount of money that I won playing the DVD game of Deal or No Deal with five year old Julia. I thought that was pretty good.

10 - The number of children under the age of six at the Valentine's Day Dance Party. Very fun.

2 - The number of Caribou Coffee shops that I stopped at during my Minneapolis trip. I love the Caribou. I miss it.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Reading Twilight

I couldn't resist. I started reading Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. When someone handed me the book, I responded with, "I do not really like vampire books."

She asked, "Do you like steamy teenage love stories?" My response, was a simple "yes" as I grabbed the book from her hand.

I am finished with half of the novel and I wonder what is the matter with me sometimes. All I hear is how great the book is and how people beyond teenage girls love this book. There are grown women who love this series of books. The first three chapters were painful. The inner dialogue was cheesy and pretty typical. Without giving anything away, the main character Bella has this helpless, clumsy streak that makes Edward feel like he has to protect her. He reminds her to the point of nagging to "be careful" on every other page. This annoys me. I just don't empathize with Bella. If I had a guy telling me to be careful all of the time, he'd be history. Their entire relationship is so uneven. He has all of these reasons that he wants to be with her and she has one...he is dreamy.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Scammed at Starbucks


I have been accused of being naive before, but it was affirmed in midtown Manhattan on Sunday afternoon.

I was standing next to a man waiting for my drink at a Starbucks. When the woman barista asked him what he ordered, he replied with "Venti Caramel Machiatto".

In my mind, I thought, "ME TOO!"

So, the first Caramel Machiatto came up and he took it because he was there before I was. Then, a man barista asked me what I ordered. I told him and the barista said, "That guy just took your drink."

What? I realized in a half second that I was scammed. Or...Starbucks was scammed. Guys stand around and listen to orders and then belly up to the pick up counter and take other people's drinks. The barista stood there and I had a feeling like he was not going to make my drink so I had to explain to him that it is possible for people to order the same drink so it is not my responsibility to keep track of who ordered what. He made me another drink and I knew he would. It's Starbucks.

However, what is wrong with people? It's not like it was food. Maybe I would be more understanding if it was food and the person was starving, but it was coffee and a frilly girl drink at that.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cuba Libre

Tim and I rarely venture into the city even though we live about ten minutes from the center of Philadelphia. We tend to stay in our little nook of the suburbs. However, we went into Philadelphia to take part in Restaurant Week where upscale restaurants offer a three-course meal for $35. Our friends, TC and Laura, joined us for an evening at Cuba Libre, a Cuban restaurant that I have been wanting to try.

First of all, I love mojitos. They are the kind of cocktail that I like to enjoy at restaurants rather than make my own, but after enjoying a passion fruit mojito and a cherry mojito at Cuba Libre, I am inspired to make my own at home. We'll wait for summer for that.

My appetizer was a plate stacked with pork ribs! It was smothered in a guava BBQ sauce. Just like all ribs should be, they were cooked well and had lots of tender meat to pull off of the bone. TC, Laura, and I all had the ribs as our first course. I followed the ribs with a lime-garlic marinated chicken dish on top of a black bean croquete...I have no idea what that means, but it was like a black bean crab cake sort of thing without the crab! It was covered in a mango sweet and sour gravy.

Finally, my third and final course was the dessert. Normally, I do not get dessert at restaurants because I am so full from my dish, but it was part of the experience. TC and I enjoyed Tres Leche de Banana which is a vanilla sponge cake soaked in three different kinds of banana milk and a chocolate-banana mousse on top. It had caramelized bananas on the side too.

I realized on my trip to Cuba Libre that I really shouldn't wait until restaurant week to enjoy the yummy food that Philadelphia has to offer. I should make it a goal to go to the city at least once a month and try a new restaurant.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009

No matter your politics, today matters.

This is going to be good for our country on so many levels. There is nothing that I can say that hasn't already been said about this moment, but it matters to us all.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tales of the Grocery Store

Well, it is that time on Midwestern Position when I share my observations from the grocery store. I love grocery shopping, but my passion for groceries is slowly fading with my time in Philly. However, this morning was great. The following is a chronological list of events that took place at the grocery store.

1. A woman 'raced' me to the carts. I did not know that we were racing, but it was made clear to me when she put her hand on the cart that I had just grabbed. She said, "I'll take it."

What? Really? Okay. Because there are 35 more carts sitting here for me to take.

2. When I was choosing my bunch of bananas, a woman was muttering under her breathe about how they never have quality bananas. How "could it kill them to get the GD bananas out before they are all yellow?" I felt that she was addressing me, but I have always found it best to just walk away.

3. I was called "BABE" three times at the deli counter.
"What do you need, Babe?"
"Which turkey, Babe?"
"Have a good day, Babe."
I don't object to this term of endearment. It entertains me.

4. While waiting in line for my deli items, they had sample sandwiches on the counter. Even though I do not enjoy free samples of food at the grocery store, I observed a man eat three of them. Yes, the line was that long at the deli counter that I could see this man come back two more times for a sandwich while he shopped.

Midwestern Endorsement: William Fitzsimmons

My newest music obsession is a man named William Fitzsimmons. He is the kind of artist that one should listen to only if they are comfortable in the melancholy state. He sings songs about lost love, what could have been, and how it should feel when a person feels absolutely terrible with their heart cracking slowing. I love it. But, I am one of those people who enjoy a sad song more often than not. It is folky and nostalgic. Both things that I am prone to like. His story is interesting too. Now, I will stalk his website with hopes that he will make his way to Philadelphia.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Midwestern Recipe: Coconut Cake


I have tried many different recipes for coconut cake. I like my cake to be very flavorful and I think this recipe is the best I have tasted. I made this for a small dinner party on Saturday night and it was a crowd pleaser. I made it with two round cake pans, but it would be just as delicious in a 9x13, but you might not need to use as much whipping cream for the frosting.

1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 (14 ounce) can coconut cream
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoon white sugar
1 bag of coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.

In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, eggs, oil, water and coconut flavoring. Beat for 2 minutes and pour into 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

In a medium bowl, combine coconut cream with sweetened condensed milk and stir until smooth. When cake comes out of the oven, poke holes into it in even rows using a large fork or chopsticks. Pour milk mixture over, allowing it to soak into the cake. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Store in the refrigerator.

Rock Band

Check us out! We almost look like a real band, but not quite. We are doing our best playing Rock Band with my friend's Play Station 3. Unlike Tim, who was good at all of the instruments, I found my groove on the bass. I was kicked off of the drums more than once.

We invited Laura, TC, and Stephen over for dinner and Stephen shared his Rock Band with us for the evening. My favorite song to sing was "When We Were Young" by The Killers. Tim impressed us with "Blitzkrieg Bop" by The Ramones. Now, I am going to do my best not to run out and buy Rock Band and a system to play it on.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

101 Things

I am trying to think of 101 things to do in 1001 days. I know my friend Carmyn has developed a list, but there is something about right now in my life that inspires me to come up with this list.

It seems simple enough, but it has to be realistic. It has to be measurable. It has to be well-rounded. It can't just be all home improvement items. I am sure I could fill the list with that topic. I am afraid that if I write 101 goals on one topic, I will get bored. I do this every year. Last year, I had 12 goals in 12 months. I don't think I did any of them. However, I am ever hopeful and ever ready to attempt goals. AND...101 days is a long time. I have categorized it into the follow themes...

Home Improvement
Financial
Health
Food
Experiences
Relationships
Travel
Learning
Entertainment

With such a wide array of themes, it is important to have simple and more complex goals. Even though I have not completed the writing of the goals, I have started on my goals. The start date was December 13, 2008. The date for completion is September 10, 2011. Wow. That is a long time from now. I have already crossed two items off of my list.

9. Host a Holiday Party
12. Make a cheesecake.

Well on my way.