November 30, 2012

The Brutal Blogger

Hi, my name is Kym and I've turned into a Brutal Blogger.

In my mind, and in conversation, I tell people that I love being a blogger because of
the support, the community and the friendships that I have formed with people all over the world.

But in reality, many of those said friendships were formed two years ago when I first started writing...back when I didn't care about the numbers or the "followers" that I had...back when I actually took the time to truly get to know other bloggers and the people who stopped by Travel Babbles each day. 

The fact of the matter is: Even though I interact with many of you - some of you even on a daily basis - I feel like I don't really know anything more about many of you other than your Twitter handles, your GFC pictures, or how cute your dog or child is.

So today, this post isn't about me, it's about you. And I want to know:

1. What is your name?
2. Where can I find you online? (Blog, Twitter, etc.)
3. Where do you live?
4. What are your interests?
5. What do you do for work/what are you studying in school?
6. Do we have anything in common?
7. Tell me something silly about yourself.
8. What is the last book that you read?
9. Where do you see yourself in five years?
10. What are you looking forward to this week?

If you're a lurker, it's time to de-lurk. If you've never left a comment here before, please do - I'm really looking forward to getting to know more about the people who come here, and I'll be replying to each of you individually so please make sure that your email address is attached :)

Have a great weekend!!

P.S. Did you enter the Group Giveaway? It ends on Monday! 


November 29, 2012

Are You Having A No Good, Awful, Very Bad Day? Good, I Am Too.

45 Life Lessons, Plus 5 To Grow On.
Written By: Regina Brett


1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. 
Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don't ask, you don't get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.


November 28, 2012

Food Porn.

TJ and I didn't actually get to eat our Thanksgiving meal until Sunday because he was road tripping, so I was looking forward to this meal alllllllll weekend.

Texas Roadhouse Rolls - This recipe yields 30 rolls, which I did NOT need hanging around the apartment because I have zero self control, so I divided everything by 4 and ended up with eight rolls.

My favorite food on Thanksgiving is Green Bean Casserole, however I married someone who is "allergic" (cough, cough, bullshit, cough, cough) to mushrooms and onions, so plain green beans it was.

I'm going to share with you some slightly embarrassing information: I had to Google how to make mashed potatoes for two. Don't judge me, I've always relied on the boxed kind! The verdict? I'm never making those flakes again. I followed this recipe and doctored it up with sour cream, a little bacon and some shredded cheddar cheese. Perfect.

The puppies on the right are what I like to call Stuffing Balls. They look fancier than stuffing in a bowl, don't they? I make Stovetop according to the directions, form the mixture into balls and pop them in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

If you've never had Jalapeno Creamed Corn you MUST make this recipe. It's simple and incredibly delicious. I promise that it's not hot like a jalapeno - in fact, one person who commented in the original recipe said that her young children love this corn. I found pre-sliced jalapenos in the pickle/olive aisle - one heaping tablespoon was enough - and I cut the recipe in half which was more than enough for the two of us, plus leftovers.

I challenged myself to make cranberry sauce (mmm hi, it's cranberries, sugar and water), but I doctored it up a little bit as seen in this recipe. I cut the recipe in half and added a half teaspoon of ginger along with a few shakes of cinnamon. Even in cutting the recipe in half, it yields a LOT of cranberry sauce (if you're only cooking for two), but I've been adding the sauce to my oatmeal in the morning and it's sooo good!

I like stuffing my turkey with orange, onion and lemon. I chose to make a Brown Sugar and Mustard glaze as seen on Martha Stewart. Meh, I won't be doing that again.

The Apple Crisp recipe that I used is appropriate for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or a late night me, we've tried it for all :) I followed the apple recipe exactly as it is, but for the oatmeal crumble I used 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of oats. It's delish.

What is your favorite dish on Thanksgiving?


November 21, 2012

Thanks. Danke. Merci. Gracias.

This blog post has been inspired by an article that I read 
about a couple who is celebrating their 80th wedding anniversary on Saturday.
80 years, can you believe it?
The article states that the cake baker for the special occasion called to double check, 
to make sure that the cake should read 
"Happy 80th Anniversary" rather than "Happy 80th Birthday."
The couple offered their advice for a lasting marriage,
(though I feel like their words can be applied to all relationships,
even the relationship that you have with yourself):
"Get along. Compromise. Live within your means and be content."
It sounds so....simple....doesn't it?
The couples daughter explained:
"They have this wonderful ability to accept life as it comes. They have a way of trying to look around at the things that they do have -- the family and the blessings. They came from a generation where there is such respect for each other and caring.

While this couple melts my heart, this story saddens me a little bit.
 It kind of puts life into perspective, doesn't it?

Why do we choose to complicate things?
And what happened to our generation?
Whether you celebrate American Thanksgiving,
whether you've been hit by the economy,
whether 2012 has been the worst year of your life,
we all have something to be thankful for.
While American Thanksgiving usually includes a coma-inducing meal,
The Macy's Parade, The National Dog Show, and The Football Game, 
I'm curious:
How many of you actually take a moment to give thanks on Thanksgiving
Tomorrows blog post will include a list of the things that I am thankful for,
 and it will also include a link-up.

I hope that in between cooking, television and conversation,
that you'll take ten minutes to focus on the blessings in your life
and that you'll come back here to share what they are.


November 20, 2012

The Future Is Unwritten, So Write It Well.

Have you ever found yourself thinking of a random person?
Like your fourth grade crush or someone who you chatted with once at a coffee shop?
It happens to me quite often...and I wonder what that person is up to RIGHT NOW.
Sometimes that person was a best friend who I unfortunately drifted apart from.
A song, smell, food, even something silly like a t-shirt will make me think of her.
Other times I find myself thinking of random people who I met once for an hour.
Where do they live now? Are they married? What are they doing with themselves?
And then I can't help but wonder ...
How often do I pop up in the mind of an acquaintance or friend from the past?
What reminds them of me?
What details do they remember about me?
What thoughts do they hold on to about me?
And are they good thoughts, or are they negative thoughts?
I can admit that I've said and done things to people in my past that I'm not proud of.
If I could apologize to each person individually, face to face, and make amends, I would.
But I can't.
So, if you're reading this and you're one of those people:
I'm sorry.
And if you're one of the people who made my life a living hell for a moment in time:
You've been forgiven.
Ever since marrying TJ I feel like I've grown by leaps and bounds.
The silly, drama filled moments of my life just don't matter any more.
The most important thing in my life is family -
and I've recently taken a step back from any and all things 
which could potentially disrupt that.
Did I finally grow up?

How do you know when you've grown up?
Do you just wake up one day and say "Okay, I'm a grown up!"


November 15, 2012

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes...

If there is one thing that I've learned in the past few months,
it's that no matter how much I paint this pretty picture in my head
of how I expect things to be,
I'm not in control.

I think I've realized
that I've been given a lot of silly little things to worry about this year
to better prepare myself
for the much more important things in life that are out of my hands.

After consulting with my blog editor/babymaking sexpert,
we've decided that I should write this out.

Because I know that at least one of you who reads this post will relate.

It should come as no surprise that TJ and I have been trying for a baby.

Since July.

I wrote somewhere in past wedding planning posts
that we wanted to start a family immediately after the wedding,
and that's exactly what we've been trying to do.

For the past three months.

And all of a sudden,
it seems like I'm the only female in Target
who doesn't have a bump or a baby sitting in her cart
and I mean that in the funniest way possible.

I'm not pushing the panic button quite yet.

Life has been crazy and stressful these past few months.

I have faith that when it's meant to be it will be.

But as I was watching some dingbat on 16 and Pregnant
hit baseballs at the batting cage yesterday,
I couldn't help but wonder
Why is it so easy for some women and not for others?
Is there seriously only a golden sliver of opportunity each month to conceive?
Why are we missing that opportunity?
And is this only the beginning of a fertility problem?


November 14, 2012

This Is Happening In My Life.

Teej is off to Timbucktoo Somewhere USA for a weekend of roadtrips and I'm so happy I could do cartwheels. For whatever reason, it's very difficult for me to focus on much of anything while he is here.

(It might be the NHL '13 or FIFA commentators constantly talking in my living room, but I haven't quite pinpointed the root cause yet.)

Brutus and I are excited for our weekend together, it's going to look a little bit like this:

Have you started to decorate for the holidays yet?
Do you have any plans for the weekend?


November 13, 2012

The People Have Spoken: Grilled Cheese Is Better Than Sex.

I was split 50/50 over what I wanted to blog about today until I asked Twitter:
Clearly, the people have spoken.

It has been freezeballs in Texas the past few days,
and nothing says "Warm me up!" like a grilled cheese sandwich.

Right? Right.

When TJ asked what was for dinner last night and I replied with
"Grown Up Grilled Cheese",
he inquisitively asked "What is a grown up grilled cheese?"

My answer:

"It's a grilled cheese sandwich. For grown ups. Duh."

Sourdough Bread
Crispy Bacon
Salted Butter
Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Avocado, mashed and mixed with salt, pepper and garlic powder

And, for the sake of allowing me to try out my new camera, in case you don't know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, I am here to help you:
1. Spread softened butter on one side of bread and mashed avocado on the other side

2. Assemble cheese and cooked bacon on top of the avocado

3.  Place sandwich butter side down on a skillet over medium heat - cook 3 minutes

4. Using a spatula, flip that sucker over and cook for another 3 minutes

5. Slice down the center with a knife to ensure that the cheesy goodness has melted

6.  Devour. I suggest tomato soup on the side.
Today, in place of the bacon and avocado I used shaved buffalo chicken and blue cheese, and added spinach and Franks Red Hot. It was amazeballs.
Do you use a special bread, cheese or other add-on for your grilled cheese?


November 7, 2012

Turning It On In The Bedroom

Working from home is amazeballs - it provides me with great freedom and flexibility,
but it also requires a high degree of self-discipline and motivation.

I don't have a 9-5 schedule, but I still have to put in a set amount of hours each day,
and I'm usually juggling three to four projects at once.

I should probably mention here that I get easily distracted, too.

Last night was the first time in 10 nights that I'd been in a real bed with my husband
and I found myself turning it on - the computer, that is -
as I had three hours of work to finish before midnight. 
I then woke up this morning, laying on top of my cell phone 
(It's getting really freaky in the Fox den, folks.) 
to find an email from my boss asking if I could put in an extra two hours today. 
My goal for today is to shut off both my computer and my iPhone alerts by six. 
As important as it is to return e-mails and to finish writing and editing each day, 
I need to find a balance between my work and family responsibilities. 
I've found that in making myself available to everyone 24/7 
I've made myself unavailable to the people who matter the absolute most. 
Do you ever feel like you're actually tethered to your phone or computer? 

They say that admitting that you have a problem is the first step. 
 I've admitted that I have a problem - can you?


November 6, 2012

Goodbye. Ciao. Tschüss. Adios.

Obviously Brutus had to photobomb.
Today, we say goodbye to our floor bed.
It's been real ... (insert four letter word)ing great, 
but this girl (and dog, and boy) are ready for a mattress.
Over the next few days, the probability of me flooding your Pinterest account is high,
as I'll be adding to my Apartment board, looking for ways to make this place our home.

After a crazy start to the hockey season,
I'm incredibly excited to finally settle somewhere. 
Usually this packing/moving/unpacking process is quite the adjustment for me,
but being back in the same city two seasons in a row is like hitting the hockey lottery.


November 5, 2012

Period Cookies

Originally this post was going to be titled "Cookies For Two". 
I was going to write about how I'd like to start testing and sharing dinner and dessert recipes that are intended for two people...but as I started pulling ingredients out of our pantry I realized that the only "two" these cookies were being made for were me and my period.
(sorry about that, and take note, husband.) 

I don't know about you, but when it's that time of the month I can't get enough salt, crunch, chocolate and sweet. This means that I ate an entire jar of pickles and a handful of chocolate chips for dinner on Saturday night. It also means:
(again, sorry, and take note, husband.)
When I started this recipe I was going to just whip together a basic oatmeal cookie (because adding oats to any type of butter/sugar cookie makes it healthy, right?), but then I quickly said "to hell with it," and that is when these babies were born.
Period Cookies
(aka, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies)
 5 tablespoons of softened butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 medium egg
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking power
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup uncooked oats
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup flaked coconut
1. Heat oven to 350F
2. Beat butter, sugars and vanilla until creamy
3. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt until well blended
4. Stir in oats, chocolate chips and coconut flakes
5. Form dough into 12 equal balls and place on cookie sheet
6. Bake 16-18 minutes until edges/coco flakes are lightly brown

These cookies were exactly what I needed. I can taste a slight hint of the salt, while the oats and coconut give them a slight crunch, and the chocolate and sugars obviously give them a sweet kick. Deee-lish. 
Ladies, what is your go-to when you have your period?
Males, THANK YOU! if you've read this far.
Is anyone interested in a "recipes for two" feature?
© Kym Fox | Our Fox Tales