Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jacket for Two, Please

It's been a slightly stressful and very busy week, and with no time for blogging there's a lot I need to catch up on! First, I have to share a little about last night's activities, which involved driving to Overland Park to the Johnson County Home & Garden Show. I'm not much into home and garden shows in general, and especially not home and garden shows on Saturday nights, but I volunteered to man the booth for No More Homeless Pets KC at this event and got assigned to the 5:30-9:00 shift. I'd been wanting to volunteer with NMHPKC for many months now, and this was one of the first weekend opportunities available, so I took it despite the less than perfect hours.

Overall, my first NMHPKC event was rather uneventful, as the home show attendance really started to slow down in the evening, and the booth was manned with at least twice as many volunteers as it really needed. There wasn't really much for us to do, unfortunately. In my 3 1/2 hour shift, I talked to two interested people about the organization's low cost spay/neuter services, handed out a couple of brochures, talked to one guy about Petfinder, and received one donation of a few dollars. I guess maybe if two more unaltered animals get spayed or neutered or one gets adopted because of the education I provided, then my trip was worth it. Overall though, the experience wasn't quite as fulfilling as I had hoped.

Since there were so many volunteers and so little to do, we took turns walking around the booths at the show, checking out all that was available. At first I was a little less than impressed, as the first floor of the Overland Park Convention Center was filled with quite a few ultra random displays, some of which didn't really have much to do with homes or gardens (like the nail stamping lady that was across the way from us). When I went to the upstairs level, however, I was amazed at the crazy huge demonstrations! There were hundreds of vendors of every type--it would have taken hours to view everything. There were entire outdoor entertaining areas complete with fireplaces, huge gardens and landscaped areas, and entire kitchens, to name just a few. I quickly realized that the small room downstairs that we were in was clearly filled with the oddball products and non-profits that didn't really fit in with everyone else at the show! About the only interesting thing in our area was the booth of beautiful rescued, rehabbed birds from Operation Wildlife.

While the weirdness in our area didn't offer much in the way of useful education about your home or garden, it did offer a little in the way of entertainment. In one of my first tours around the area I saw this.

I really thought this was a joke at first, but then I realized that the "display" was sandwiched in between two serious vendors and was apparently completely real. There was no one manning the booth at all, which was nice for me because that made it easier to take a couple of pictures. Just as I was scratching my head and wondering about where in the world you and your loved one would wear such a garment, I realized that their info banner had answered all of my questions.

Wow. Just wow. As much as I love my husband, I cannot imagine any circumstance in which I would want to wear this monstrosity with him. Ever. Even if it wasn't completely ridiculous looking, it's the most impractical article of clothing I've ever seen. Plus, I just checked out the website, and it actually costs $140. Seriously.

So the evening may have been a bit of a bust with regard to my volunteer gig, but I think it was worth the trip just to have witnessed the Jacket for Two!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Snuggle Seat

On Tuesday, Chad made a quick trip over to Nebraska Furniture Mart to pick up our new chair and a half. We got it unwrapped and set up on Wednesday night, and I took a few pictures of the basement now that it's a little more complete. It's nice to have finally filled the big empty space that was in between the love seat and sofa, even though our new big chair isn't quite the perfect color. I had wanted something in a darker crimson, but since this one wasn't available in other fabrics, and since we'd been shopping for the perfect chair for over 6 months, we decided to settle for the not quite perfect chair. Thankfully, it was so inexpensive, we felt like even if we only use it in this room until we find one we like better, it will still be worth it!

The other thing that made this chair not exactly what we were shopping for was the fact that it's a sleeper. Sleeper sofas are always so ridiculously uncomfortable, and this one is so flipping tiny only a child could fit on it. Maybe it will be useful sometime when the nephews stay with us or maybe it will be totally useless. What won't be totally useless though is the ottoman, which has tons of storage inside! It's already filled with blankets!

So here's a quick slideshow of the nearly finished basement, including a couple of our Christmas gifts that were welcome additions to the room. Enjoy the virtual tour!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Best Friend Birthday (Belated)

Yesterday was a super important day at the Luce household, as my adorable and amazing and wonderful BFF/husband turned 38 years old. I can't believe I've now known him for over 26 years. Can that be possible? We've somehow gotten really old, really quickly. The good news is, neither of us really act our age. :)

Because I had my dance class yesterday evening, there was no time for blogging, which was kind of a bummer because I was actually excited to show off my hubby and the treat I made for his birthday. Those of you who know my husband know that he's not a huge fan of sweets--especially not cake, so baking him a birthday cake wasn't really ideal. However, Chad does happen to like pie, and his absolute favorite is cherry, which I've never once made for him in almost 16 years of marriage. What kind of horrible wife am I that I've never bake my husband his favorite kind of pie??!!

So after work and before dance class, I stopped by the grocery store and picked up some cherries and pie crusts (the kind that are refrigerated that you just roll out and stick in the pan) and came home and started making my first cherry pie ever. I had to use frozen cherries since they didn't have an fresh ones at the store, but at least I didn't use the canned cherry pie filling! The biggest bummer was that I had to leave for class before it came out of the oven, so I didn't even get to see it in it's finished state or to stick candles in it or to see Chad enjoy his first piece. Tonight, when he was having a piece after dinner, I just had to snap a few shots.

Can you see the heart I punched in the crust? There was another on the other side that got eaten the night before.

I don't even like cherries that much, but that looks darn good. I used a mix of sweet and tart cherries. My fluting didn't work too well though, and I realized after the fact that I'd never actually made a two crust pie before. In fact, I think pumpkin might be the only kind I've ever made!

My adorable hubby is awfully cute while eating pie! :)

Although I felt bad that I didn't get to spend the evening with my dear husband on his birthday, I was glad I got to at least do something a little bit special for him on his special day. He definitely deserves that and so much more! He's so incredibly amazing and I honestly don't know what I would do without him! I love you, CW!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Valentine

We had such a lovely Valentine's Day weekend I definitely didn't want it to end. After having Chad's mom Joanie and her husband Rory over for dinner on Friday night (after which Joanie and I beat Chad and Rory in a game of Pitch), Chad and I spent the rest of the weekend being superglue, which is our code word for spending every sleeping and waking moment together. Besides our separate workouts on Saturday, we didn't spent a minute apart, and it was wonderful!

After sleeping in, walking the dogs, working out and doing a little housework on Saturday, we decided we'd head to The Legends in KCK to do some shopping and have an early Valentine's dinner. Little did we know that half of the greater KC area apparently had the same idea. Wow. It was more crowded and crazy than we had ever seen it before. Chad was convinced that the shopping mayhem was clear evidence that our recession is completely over!

We went to Nebraska Furniture Mart first, hoping to find those final few pieces of furniture we've needed to complete the house. While we didn't find the perfect coffee table for our piano room that we've been searching for, we did finally find a suitable chair and a half and ottoman to complete the basement. I thought finding the piece of furniture specifically intended for snuggling was a perfect Valentine's Day present to each other! I'm anxious for Chad to pick it up tomorrow so we can finally complete the basement.

After shopping, we enjoyed a nice dinner at Granite City, where we watched the first half of the KU/Iowa St. game. We drove home after dinner and watched the end of the second half snuggled up in bed.

I woke up on Valentine's Day to find a gift from my dear hubby awaiting in the kitchen. Since we'd spent plenty on the chair/ottoman the day before he wasn't really supposed to get me anything, but along with some yummy body lotion, he'd picked up a pair of super warm and snuggly KU slippers that I'd tried on a few days before but not bought myself. They are super cute and ultra warm and I love them!

After church the next morning, we went downtown for a nice brunch at Ten, and then headed out to do a little shopping. A new shirt and some new shoes later, we headed back home and did a few more things around the house before snuggling up in bed and watching a movie. It was such a perfectly relaxing and romantic weekend!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gotta Love Google

Although I didn't watch the majority of the Super Bowl commercials on Sunday, my favorite of the ones I actually saw was the Google spot. I thought it was so sweet and creative and simple. In case you missed it, here it is.

Isn't that so cute? Maybe it just hit home with me since I'm pretty much Googling things nonstop. Ironically, a couple of weeks ago I had a Google incident that I actually meant to blog about because I thought it was so funny. The new Google ad was a great reminder to tell my story!

I was getting ready to give blood at our annual blood drive at work, and since I've had some difficulties donating in the past (I'm a slow bleeder), I thought I'd do some research to see if there were any tricks that would help my bloodletting go a little more smoothly. I started to Google "how to prepare for giving blood" but as soon as I typed the "how to" I was taken aback by Google's presumption. Below is a picture of the screen with Google's search suggestions. You'll probably have to click on the picture to make out the details.

Clearly, there are a lot of 10 year old boys using Google as a substitute for the birds and the bees talk and the uncomfortable lessons they'll soon be having in 5th grade health class. While I was slightly surprised by this, I wasn't surprised by a few of the other suggestions--how to lose weight fast, how to make money and even how to tie a tie seem like logical and normal commonly asked questions. Then there's how to cook haggis. Is haggis really so popular around the world that learning how to cook it is one of the top questions asked of the Internets? Maybe so, but personally, I'd be more likely to ask what is haggis, since I kind of think it's some gross meat dish made of sheep parts, but I'm a little foggy on the details.

Finally, we have the most bizarre of all questions: how to train your dragon. Um, what? I was completely freaked out by this at first, and then I was kind of worried it was a euphemism for something I didn't want to know about, and then I discovered that it was actually the title of a newly released movie. Now that the question makes a whole lot more sense and really isn't that funny at all.

While my blog post didn't turn out to be very funny, a recent one on the same subject from another blog I read is hilarious. You can find it here on 15 Minute Lunch. Beware though--this blog is definitely not intended for kids!!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Fun Footballs

Tonight we had a low-key Super Bowl party and about 10 of our friends came over to join us for the game. We rearranged the basement to create a little more seating, dragging the futon in from the other room and moving the bar table. No one even had to sit on the floor! I had a great time making loads of snacks--baked buffalo chicken strips, baked mozzarella cheese sticks, fresh guacamole and chips, cheese and crackers and venison sausage, cream cheese/sausage/Rotel dip (also known as crack dip) and another non-meat version with mushrooms, pigs in a blanket with turkey cocktail wieners, pretzels and mustard, a veggie tray with spicy peanut butter dip, and a fruit tray with fruit dip. It quite a load of food and it all turned out really good, if I do say so myself! For dessert, I made a recipe I found on, and I had to take a picture because I was so proud when I was finished. I should have gone to get the good camera though, because I don't think my iPhone really did them justice.

Can you tell they're supposed to be footballs? Several people had to do a double take before they realized what they were. They were actually peanut butter cocoa crispy treats with little icing laces. They were pretty fun to make and pretty tasty!

I didn't really watch the game that closely or even the commercials that closely since I was usually busy talking, but I did love seeing Peyton Manning lose and the Saints win! The Saints so deserve it! We had a few Colts fans in our midst, but thankfully there were no hard feelings with some of us rooting against each other. We had a great time hanging out with our friends, but if you can believe it, I didn't actually even get the camera out to take any pictures! What was I thinking? That's totally unlike me!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Spam Attack

I really hate to do this, and I apologize to my fives of readers in advance, but today I had to add some security to the comments section of my blog. Sometime during the last couple of weeks, a spammer apparently discovered my blog comments were open to all, so I've been getting multiple comments with random gibberish, sales pitches and inappropriate links every day. It's gotten to be a pain to delete them multiple times a day, so I'm hoping that turning on the word verification for my blog will help the problem. I'm also hoping that my dear readers won't be so annoyed by it that they won't leave me comments anymore!

Friday, February 05, 2010

End of Week Hoorah

Whew. That's all I can say about the last couple of weeks. They've been stressful, emotional, exhausting and rather busy, as you may have gathered from my lack of posts. We've been helping family members dealing with major issues, praying for friends dealing with major issues, and dealing with our own issues at work. It's amazing how tired emotional stress can make you!

Since Chad's been putting in 50+ hours a week at the office lately, I've been doing most of the evening dinner-making and dog-walking, which means that blog-writing has definitely been put on the back burner. I'm so excited to finally have an evening with nothing going so I can relax with my hubby, drink some wine, catch up on Tivo, and do some blogging! It's the perfect way to spend a Friday night, in my opinion!

I should have known today was going to be a good day as soon as I woke up, since I opened the door to let the dogs out and there was a couple of inches of snow on the ground with huge, beautiful flakes still falling. It snowed all day long with temps right at 32 or so, which was really about the perfect winter weather to me. My day only got better as good news just kept coming and coming! As I was still rejoicing over yesterday's news that my brother landed a great acting gig (more about that in a later post, hopefully) and that our little friend Gibson made it through his second brain surgery, I got news that 1) our friends James and Beth got their offer on a house accepted, 2) my friend Faith got engaged, and 3) my friend Cara's first niece was born and was named after her (welcome, Phoebe Louise!)! It was such a nice treat to receive all of this terrific news in such a short time--especially since most of these items were on our small group prayer request list. How awesome to get all those answered prayers in one terrific day!