Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Call it: Paying It Forward, Paying It Back, Good Kharma

Please check out the link above. 

Here is their vision:

"To bring about freedom and the full restoration of American girls from the trauma of sexual trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, a form of modern-day slavery."

And their mission statement:
"To rescue, rehabilitate and restore commercially sexually exploited girls by providing safe refuge and holistic therapeutic services."

If you can donate, even $5, please think about doing so.


Update: We made our 1st Q 2011 charitable contribution to Living Water for Girls.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Whew! Finally!

I have been feeling better for a couple of weeks, but just couldn't get my groove for blogging back.  We were hit with tons of snow and below-freezing temps and that just makes me want to hibernate.

Even tho I was ill, I did go to the HFC event and our Bowling for Birthdays.  I didn't feel myself at either, but I did my best to have a good time.  I really did enjoy the bowling and would love to do it more often: both just the two of us and with friends/family.

The snow did provide me with 2 snow days off from work!  WooHoo!  Of course, it meant Chris had to be out shoveling alot of snow ... often!  (We only have one shovel.  Weird, I know.  We seriously never think to buy a second one.  I would totally go out and help, especially with the tonnage of snow we got earlier this month.)  I have wanted to get a snowblower since we bought our house at the end of 2001, but Chris has been against it.  Fortunately, one of the times Chris was out there shoveling, at least a foot of snow, one of our neighbors came with his snowblower and got the huge mound at the end of our driveway caused by the snowplows when they are clearing our street.

Starting Saturday, we celebrated Chris's birthday for 3 days!  Day One was cupcakes and coffee at a local bakery Designer Desserts.  We like to try different cupcake flavors every visit.  This time, I got a Chocolate Hazelnut and Chris got Coconut Cream Pie.  Chris's was the right amount of flavor, not overwhelmingly coconut, and very moist.  Mine, on the other hand, was dry and the frosting was TOO chocolatey (and I LOVE all things chocolate!).  It was good that we had coffee because it countered some of the sweetness and I was able to eat almost all of my cupcake.  Plus, no hazelnut flavor to be found ~~ just some sliced and chopped hazelnuts covering the frosting.  Ahh, well .... I still look forward to trying more flavors!  Especially with our buy one-get one free coupon  ~~ everything tastes better when you get a good deal, right?!!!!


Day Two was our first ever roller derby!!!  That's right .... women's roller derby!  The Windy City Rollers compete at the UIC pavilion in Chicago.  There are 4 home teams: The Fury, Hell's Belles, The Double Crossers and The Manic Attackers.  We had no idea what to expect, but we had VIP seats along the track.  The nicknames are hilarious, like Yvette Yourmaker and Val Capone and, one of my favorites, Zombea Arthur!!!  Once I saw the orange & black colors for The Fury, I knew that was MY team.  Halloween colors and the best "uniforms" of the 4 teams!!!  And they have these orange kneesocks with "The Fury" on them -- would love to get my hands on a pair!!!  It wasn't what we each expected, but we did enjoy it!  We are thinking of going again, but we will buy the cheaper seats: to save money, to maybe even see things a bit better, to have a slightly more comfortable chair and we want to have friends join us (also for the opportunity to catch a WCR tshirt being thrown to the fans).

Day Three, Chris's actual birthday, which is Valentine's Day, he opened his gifts in the morning and we had dinner at the same Indian restaurant as last year, Taste of India.  This was Chris's pick and it did not disappoint.  We like to get a smorgasboard of things and share them.  Last nite's dinner included masala tea, vegetable samosas, aloo tiki, tandoor chicken, ground lamb sausage, lamb curry, another saucy veggie dish, rice, garlic naan, and 2 small desserts (the sweet dough balls and an orange sherbet).   Chris is having all of the leftovers for his lunch today (love you, honey!!!).

In other news, we have our plane tickets purchased and our lodging reserved for a trip to Boulder, Colorado.  We are heading out there to experience all the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains and to see if this is a place we might like to move.  We are both so looking forward to this new adventure!!!  We cannot wait to get out there and hike the mountains and the trails, visit all of the quaint shops, walk the grounds of the University of Colorado @ Boulder, head up to Estes Park to see The Stanley Hotel (I am a HUGE Stephen King fan) and see the Mork & Mindy house.  I just know we are going to fall in love with Boulder! 

Let me see how I have been doing on my 2011 To Do list:
-We are doing so well on our food choices.  We eat so many fruits and veggies (I am so crazy in love with roasted veggies!!  And I got this new spice jar from TJMaxx the other day that is so darn flavorful!!!)  We have different protein sources at every meal.  We continue to take our vitamins & supplements, including a separate Vitamin C in an effort to avoid me getting sick again (and Chris getting sick at all). 

-Not so great on the exercise front.  We are both still nursing some injuries.  I know I can and should do some workouts at home, even just using my little dumbbells.  We work really hard when we are in our classes, but I need to be more consistent with doing other types of exercise.

-We didn't get massages in January.  I cancelled the appointments we had because that was the first day I started to feel sick.  I tried to set some up for this month, but nothing was available.  I do have one for Chris the beginning of March.  I am going to get microdermabrasions instead and had my first one with a new esthetician last week.  I will go once a month for the next 4 months (buy three-get one free deal).

-We are moving along on our yearly vacation plans.  Boulder is vacation number one.  We are leaning towards NOT going to Mexico this year because there is so much violence from the drug wars.  New Orleans is now a top contender.  Maybe October for our first, and very long awaited, trip to this city so rich in flavor: food, music, people, history, architecture!!!

-I have tried my hand at several new recipes.  Two cookie recipes from blogs, a muffin recipe from a little Fall cookbook my mom sent me and a recipe I wrote down one day at work (who knows when???) that I kept forgetting.  I didn't love one of the cookie recipes ~~ sort of a chocolate macaroon by Angela of Oh She Glows, but Chris thought it was rather tasty.  I tweaked an oatmeal cookie recipe of Tina's of Carrots 'n' Cake by adding cocoa and Craisins ~~~ this is a keeper!  The pumpkin, cranberry, pecan muffins were THE BEST (I subbed pecans for walnuts)!!!  I am a sucker for baked goods with pumpkin anyway!  The last recipe was a baked macaroni ~~ not my finest attempt, but I think, should I make it again, I will use less bread crumbs, lots of creative seasonings, more cheese and add broccoli and chicken.

-We finally repurposed an old frame.  It once held some ugly piece of art, I believe, but we got rid of that awhile ago.  The empty frame has been hanging on our office wall, which is sort of a cool look, but I wanted to DO something with it.  We strung wire horizontally and bought little bitty clothespins from which we hung photos that Chris took of the old drive-in theatre where we spent alot of our early dates (and where we went very often as children with our parents and siblings ~~ a very cheap way for family's to go out together "back in the day," as they say).  We can change out the photos when we get bored and the whole "art" will look completely different!  I also removed some tea cups & saucers and tea pots from a shelf in the kitchen and found a "C" and a "J" at Michael's ~~ and in between the letters we placed a new wooden sign with the engraving "Happily Ever After".  It is perfect!!!

-We continue to have money transferred to our savings.  We don't eat out often or shop much.  When we do shop, we are really good about clearance sales, using coupons and hitting Goodwill.  Simply because we like the thrill of the hunt!

-Nothing on the house front right now because it is still winter, so our hands are a bit tied.  Yes, I know, there are things inside we could quickly and easily handle, but we are slackers!  :)  Guess we are just going to be procrastinators here!

-As for volunteerting at a local soup kitchen, Chris is going out of town at the end of the month to do a photography gig, so I was thinking about calling to see if I can help out on that particular Saturday (before I spend several hours working on our taxes).

Well, I had a lot of catching up to do here.  Hope I haven't put anyone to sleep!  Maybe I can think of a topic of importance, do a little research and then write a little piece....maybe.

Remember to share your love everyday, not just those "Hallmark" holidays! 

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