Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday Thoughts: To my cousin Melissa

I know you probably won't see this blog until weeks from now. I'm sure that whole "having a baby" thing will probably trump reading my blog. I am sure you are spending this last night as a child-less couple celebrating. Actually, I can imagine it being more like one last freak out moment to make sure EVERYTHING is ready. I know that is going to be me. I know sleeping probably isn't easy. It's like that "night before Christmas" feeling..expect instead of bringing home that baby doll from Santa you are bringing home a real life human..that you have to feed, bathe, educate, and raise. AHH. That is scary. I'm sorry you probably have thought of all of that. Let's just say I'm glad it's you and not me at this time. But all of that aside, I'm not writing this blog for scare tactics I wanted to write in honor of this significant moment in your life.

Many of my childhood memories include you. Staying the night at meme and papa's house, playing hairdresser, playing Nintendo, jumping on the trampoline, wearing your hand me downs {until I outgrew everyone}.. all of those memories seem like just yesterday. {It also reminds me how much cooler your house was than mine - for no wonder I was always there!} I'm sure you don't remember this - but I remember making cookies with you and telling everyone we made them from "scraps" instead of from scratch.

Now you are going to be a mom..... You spent many years bossing me around and watching after me and there is no doubt in my mind that you will be one terrific mother.

I cannot wait to wrap my monkey arms around that sweet baby. Also, I'm ready to know that baby's stinkin' name!

I love you and Ben. I am so excited to watch you raise this sweet little girl and the memories associated with that.

Love, Your "little" cousin Jenn.

P.S. Little Baby Girl Jenkins, enjoy your beautifully organized closet - that was all me! Your mom was always cleaner than me when we were I had to prove I grew out of my messy phase!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Trendy Tuesday: Selfishness

Selfishness trendy, what!?

The title isn't really reflective of what I'm talking about..well, not really. Lately, I've just felt very selfish. I've noticed that our world is very see what I mean..It's trendy. We are always thinking about ME. I'm preaching this to me. I get so caught up in what is going on in MY world I forget there are billions of other people in this world who might also be having a bad day.

Anyone else had this slap in the fact lately? You just need to hear- Hey, SLOW down. Enjoy life, look around, smell the flowers, and get to know the people around you.

What if being selfless became trendy. I mean, really think about it. Think how your grocery store trips would be different. Think about how work could be different. I mean, it could be LIFE changing. You know how we make this "trendy" starts with us.

I'm challenging myself to slow down and try to get to know people and look at their needs. I am going to challenge myself to not get so caught up in ME and try to focus on OTHERS.

I want to challenge you to look at it too. Maybe you are already selfless - if so I applaud you because its something I struggle with. I often expect my mom to just drop what she is doing because I have a major world crisis..(not really) and need her to talk to me..not thinking "oh yeah, she has 4 other kids and her own life."

So yeah, let's see how this goes.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Weekend Update: Catch Up

Well, I obviously missed a few posts. I have the book reviews written but I forgot to post them and I already have things to write about today so I will finish up the other book reviews later this week. Another post that didn't get posted was the yummy Oreo recipe. So I'll just hold off on that one until this Friday. 

But let's catch up with my weekend. I LOVE local businesses. Why, of course, I do...I work for one and spend all my time promoting one! I didn't intend to have a "downtown" day on Saturday but I stopped by two local eateries this past weekend and BOTH were wonderful. I am still stuffed from both. (Don't judge me by the amount of calories I inhaled this weekend!) 

My first stop was fairly new little spot in downtown Shawnee. If you haven't visited sips downtown kafe on main street..where have you been the last 6 months. This place is THE PLACE. They have a wonderful coffee selection. (to be honest, I'm not the world's greatest coffee connoisseur but I do enjoy some sugared-up, creamy coffee drink, you know the kind that really has no coffee in it!) They also have a GREAT lunch menu, I'm talking delicious paninis with yummy local veggies. I am making myself hungry just thinking about it! Although, I have frequented sips other times I have never tried their waffles. I honestly have no idea why. They were sooooooooooooooo amazing. 
Photo courtesy of Amanda Teape!
I shouldn't have eaten lunch on Saturday after such a big breakfast but I did...I stopped by another Shawnee local business. It has been open for a couple of months - Brickhouse Pizza. I had the pepperoni calzone. The waitress told us that this calzone would probably feed two people but me and Rachel decided to get our own. It was HUGE. I think 4 people could have eaten it. It made a nice meal the next day! 
So go support your local businesses. Go visit these two places and I PROMISE you will not be disappointed. 

Oh another note: You may have noticed I can find my way around a kitchen...well one thing I am going to confess to right now is that I couldn't make a grilled cheese without burning it. Not long ago I even had to text message my brother to ask how to make a grilled cheese...but guess what I did this week---PERFECTION.

I'm sure you all are starving now. I apologize!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games trilogy
This was probably my favorite book(s) that I've read in quite a while. Talk about being left on the edge of your seat. Whew, I could NOT put these books down. I really wasn't sure if I would like these books. They are "science fiction" which is normally not my fave. Bravo Suzanne Collins, incredible read. I cannot wait for the movies to come out. There are three books in this series, hence "trilogy".  I would say the first two books are my favorite of the three. The third is a little different paced and also the tone of the book has changed a bit from the first two. - Still a good read and you obviously can't just skip the last. You would be so depressed. They are set in a "post-apocalyptic" time period that is sometime in the future. I am just going to give a brief "need to know" synopsis to give you a taste but cannot say too much because I know I will ruin something for you. This book is so incredibly unpredictable. I think that is why I loved it so much. There were times when I would literally gasp because I was surprised by something. How often does a book make you do that. Pick these books up today.  I'm sure this little synopsis makes it sound very violent and dark but I promise it is creepy or anything. I guess it can be a bit dark but just remember it has to end good, right?..Maybe?
The Hunger Games are an annual spectacle in which a group of children are forced by the government to fight one another to the death on TV.  It is obvious that something has gone terrible wrong with humanity. The world is being ruled by a ruling city called the Capitol, which a luxurious place with fascinating people. Everyone else lives in 12 districts who are cut-off from the Capitol and from one another.
Life in the districts is very oppressive. Hard labor and terrible living/working conditions. If things couldn't be worse, each year each district is required to give up two children, chosen through a lottery and enter them in "The Hunger Games." The 24 children are then left in an enormous area with traps and dangerous hazard to fight for their survival. The last child left alive wins a lifetime of luxury and fame. Everyone watches the live broadcast of the games.  

Book Review: Murder in Manolos

Murder in Manolos:
First off, this is a special book. Why? Because I lived across the hall from the author in my freshman dorm. I was so excited to read this book. I know that Linsey worked hard and is incredibly talented so the book had to be amazing.
I was right. Murder in Manolos has the whimsical theme of a romantic comedy {that everybody every girl loves}, along with the suspense of a Nancy Drew mystery. You instantly fall in love with Heidi Hart, a recent college-grad {I can relate!} who is broke and jobless. She comes from a prominent family who want her to be successful and married {like all of her friends} Heidi wants to make it on here own and reluctantly takes a job as a nanny so she can pay the bills. Her life as a nanny is not what she expects it to be. She is a nanny, er companion, to a 15 year old girl and the nice quiet job turns out to be a lot more than she bargained for. She plays a Nancy Drew nanny helping her companion solve a deep family mystery. 

I don't want to give too much away. I do suggest this book to you. I felt like there were many parts of this book that I could relate to as fairly recent college grad. I like being able to relate to the main character in a book. I think that is why I enjoy reading, it's better than television/movies. You can picture scenes and really live in them. Linsey gathered first-hand experience being a nanny herself, which adds extra perspective to Heidi's character. Although, I'm not sure Linsey has been having to solve in crimes lately! 

The ere of mystery will keep you reading. It is hard {at least for me} to put a book down when I'm not sure what is going to happen next. No, I'm not a patient person. 

Congratulation Linsey on your first book. I can't wait for Book #2! 

Where I've Been Wednesday: Book Reviews

My dad has always said that I waste books. He may be correct, but I think he is just jealous that I'm a speed reader. I don't intend to read books in a matter of just happens. In a matter of a few days though, laundry multiplies like bunnies, blogs don't get written {oops!} and sleep becomes less of a priority. So for now I'm on a book fast. It's for my own good. So here goes - my book reviews. You will see why I have to "Just say NO to reading" for awhile now.

So to keep in the theme of my weird blog schedule -- where have I been in the last two weeks?---Oh, in a good book .....or seven. 
I'm going to write this in SEVERAL posts - I think it will be easier in the long run. 

So if you are looking for a summer read or a summer reading list - here goes. I highly recommend any of them. Each of them very different so there's something for everyone!
Enjoy. Let me know if you read them - I'd love to hear your opinions! 

P.S. Come back Friday -- I've got a recipe to die hint: it has to do with OREOS! ;) 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Weekend Update: Oh wait, It's Tuesday

Hey, I just sat down to blog and was going to write a little something about Monday--and realized it's Tuesday. 

I just wanted to say I'm alive - I hadn't posted in awhile because I was addicted to some fascinating books..which I will be discussing tomorrow. So - come back tomorrow for Trendy Wednesday: Book Reviews!

Seriously, great books..took up too much of my time. Kept me from sleeping..or delayed going to sleep at night. Yeah, some people read to fall asleep. I could put in a movie. I get hooked on books {not phonics! ;) }

I'm sure you are all anxiously awaiting to find out what books I'm talking about...until tomorrow y'all --enjoy this cute little face. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Trendy Tuesday: Happy Birthday Dad

Okay, so a birthday isn't exactly something you think about as "trendy" but hey people are having them everyday! ;) 

Happy Birthday to one of my favorite people, my hero, my dad!

I may look like my mom, but believe it or not I sure do act a lot like my dad. 

I love every moment we get to share with each other. I love that we share a similar sense of humor. I easily see that Jonathan and I are following in your footsteps. We know you were the original "business-kind of guy." 

Love you Daddy and Happy Birthday. You don't look a day over 30! Haha!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Weekend Update: Week-long Catch up!

I hadn't really intended on making a week-long hiatus. But, oh well, it happens. I actually met myself coming and going last that means--there's lots to share. 

Falls Creek. 
Oh, there are few places that are comparable to Falls Creek.  Falls Creek has been such a special place to me and my family for many years. Each of my summers growing up involved camp. My mom and I joked last week saying I was pretty close to a professional camper as a child. I attended Falls Creek with my dad years before I was technically supposed to be there. (Preacher's Kid Perks!) Falls Creek wasn't the only camp I attended, there was Super Summer and Southwest Baptist Assembly (oddly enough the smallest - but probably my favorite camp!) I would have happily been at camp every week of the summer. Which thanks to my networking skills as a young sap, I knew plenty of churches I could tag along with to Falls Creek. So enough back story, I was thrilled that my youth minister didn't mind me hanging out with them for 2 days. It is exactly what this former professional camper needed. There's just something about sweating to death and camp showers. (eek!)  But MRBC'ers - be warned - I plan on being there all week next year!

I got to spend 4th of July with some of my favorite people. My family. They are the craziest bunch of people, but hey, they are mine. Little Sister even declared the weekend as "Sister's Day" (The last time I was home it was Father's Day, she thought we needed a day to be honored as well.)  We are also probably some of the lamest people. We didn't really do a lot but after being at Falls Creek for just 2 days - I was exhausted and enjoyed the down time just relaxing with the crazy people I love. We didn't pop fireworks. 1. Because it is dryer than dry in southwest Oklahoma. The place is about to self-combust. You think I'm kidding..but it sprinkled that Saturday and my sister had no clue what rain was - because she hasn't seen it in her lifetime. (I kid, but seriously it is so HOT and DRY!)  2. We never pop fireworks. We are probably some of the cheapest people ever. We get it from my parents and honestly, none of us kids even care to waste money on fireworks! But I don't mind watching city displays! (Not that it's bad if you do, but we would rather do other things with that money!) 

In between all this traveling around I've been engrossed in a book series..but more on that another day. 

This last weekend I was at my bed, my couch, my kitchen, my yard. It was just splendid. The first time that has happened since Memorial Day. I plan on having some more lazy Saturday's in the coming weekends. This weekend we grilled out with friends. I hung out by the pool. I also made a slip n' slide and played Sardines (reverse hide-in-seek) and had a near broken bone experience. Pretty much a perfect weekend in my opinion!

I think that brings us to today. A full week back at work..this will not be easy. Yikes!

Oh and sorry for the whole - no pictures thing. I don't think I took a single picture in the last couple weeks. I stink, I know. My bad. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fat Food Frieday: Baked Parmesan Zucchini

  • This is a GREAT summer food. I tried it last week and YUMM-O!

  • I found this recipe last week when looking for ways to cook zucchini. I LOVE vegetables. If you aren't looking for recipes online - get out of the stinking stone ages. There are so many sites and blogs out there with tips and recipes. 

  • Of course, if you don't like trying new things maybe stick to the norm but if you are wanting to try something crazy--get to Google-ing! 

  • small zucchini, washed and halved lengthwise

  • tablespoon olive oil

  • salt & freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (I used minced garlic in a jar - it's what I had and I love easy!)

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Arrange the zucchini, cut sides up, in an ovenproof dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. Lightly brush with the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. In a small bowl mix the Parmesan cheese and garlic together, then sprinkle over the zucchini.

  • Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the zucchini are tender and the cheese is browned.

  • Tips - I normally use a baking sheet covered in foil when I'm baking anything. It makes for an easy clean-up! Also, I think this could easily be done on a grill. To be honest, I have no idea how to turn on my grill so I stuck with the oven. (Yeah, I'm a college graduate and don't know how to grill-get over it. My last name is Baker- not Griller, mmmkay!)