Your Thoughts

I am up late working on something major. By major, I mean life changing. I'm too jazzed to sleep and poor Gary says he's staying up as long as I do. Looks like we'll both be dragging tomorrow. But seriously, it's worth it.

I have had this life-changing idea in my head for about a year now. It has gradually grown and I finally decided to look in to it a bit more.

What's this big idea? Well, I'm considering getting a license to teach. I have come to realize that child development truly amazes and fascinates me. I constantly am in awe of how children grow and learn and explore and create. They are so inspiring it's ridiculous. Why can't we all stay young forever? I feel like we'd accomplish so much more. Okay, maybe not. Also, I made it a commitment when we moved back to Decorah to pursue things that were meaningful and purposeful. This change would be both of those things.

I'm considering Luther's elementary education program with an math endorsement and/or a early childhood endorsement.  I recognize that this would be an incredible commitment, both financially, professional and personally. I'd become a student again full-time, have less time to work thus making less money, and we'd have to put off having children at least for a year or two more. Am I willing to do all of those things? Yes but only after some major thought.

I broke the news to my beloved husband at midnight as he was saying we should be going to bed. He said he'd support me in any decision I made and I love him for that. We will have further conversations about this of course, but his blessing is so sweet. He loves me :)

I also plan to talk to someone at Luther about this. An admissions counselor? An advisor? I'm not sure, but someone.

Lastly, what is your opinion? I'm open to it so give it to me!

Now hopefully, I can stop thinking about this long enough to fall asleep. I've got work, houses to visit, and a dinner date with a friend tomorrow!


Pixlr Fun - Oh My!!!!

I have been poking around pixlr/express for an hour or so and LOVE what I've done so far. Here are some of the photos I've messed with:



My Favorite Songs of the Moment

My two favorite songs right now are covers of two really good songs. I.Love.Them.Both. Equally? Probably not, but pretty close.


Somebody That I Used to Know.

Only Girl in the World.


Not-So-Content with Boredom

I was having a really weird night yesterday. Earlier in the day I was told that the event I was scheduled to manage was canceled so I had a free night (YAY!) Sadly, I was in one of those moods where I was so bored I didn't know what to do. Continue my Grey's marathon? Nope. Watch Armageddon? Nope. Go on the computer? Nope. Eat something? Nope. Go outside? Nope. You get the idea. Nothing sounded like something I wanted to do.

I was fine with all of that except "eat something". Gary wasn't feeling well so I knew we wouldn't be eating together, but I really wanted to find something good to eat. Ramen just wouldn't do. I spent hours and hours mulling it over and absolutely nothing came to mind. I wasn't craving anything specific, just something good. At about 8:45, it hit me. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese with tuna. Oh man that really hit the spot. Clearly, that was what I was craving without even knowing it. Luckily, I forced myself to put half of it in a container so that I could eat the leftovers tomorrow (and not completely stuff myself).

After I was finished eating, I decided that being content with boredom was no longer okay. I really wanted something to do, or think or decide. I somehow landed on my blog (even though I had nothing to write) and noticed for about the 3rd time that day a new blog post by someone I follow. As fate would have it, I clicked on the link and just about peed myself. This particular post was about a free photo editing software program that suits my needs EXACTLY. It's called Pixlr. There's apparently a full version as well that is a bit more like photoshop (and it's free too) but that's way too much work for me. I just need to start using my actual camera or buy a new one. My phone is nice, but the quality still sucks.

I call that a successful night off :-)


Goodbye, Grandpa. We love you!

My grandpa died on Wednesday, March 28. When I found out, I was at a Mayo Clinic Health System Public Affairs training in Rochester. Needless to say, it was quite a shock (I was not in the right frame of mind to hear this news) and was really upset for awhile. I was able to get out of work that evening to digest his passing and though it took a bit, I felt okay. This is what he had wanted for some time now and to know he was no longer in pain was really comforting.

A picture of me and my cousin Jared with Grandpa Oelrich - 1989 

A picture with Grandpa & Grandma Oelrich - 2011

The blessing from his death was the surprise visit from my entire family. We don't get to spend a whole lot of time as one whole unit anymore and with Arya in the picture now, it was amazing. She is an adorable little peanut that is so sweet and calm and doesn't mind getting passed from one family member to another. I'm so happy that Gary (& others!) finally got to meet her :)



What's for Dinner {7} - Anniversary Style!

I planned a really special dinner for our 1YR anniversary. I searched through so many recipes on the internet and on pinterest for months looking for just the right ones to use. I also knew that after an amazing celebratory weekend that this meal really had to shine to even compare. I am happy to report that it was AWESOME. I didn't happen to like one recipe (AT ALL) but Gary loved it so I suppose we can consider this "What's for Dinner" a raging success.  

Side-note: it was a bit chilly on Monday, March 26. As I was driving out of the Fareway parking lot with all my groceries, I captured this really funny picture:

Here are the recipes we ended up using:  

Side #1 - Herbed Cheese Straws

This was the recipe that I really didn't care for, but like I said, Gary LOVED these. He literally bit my head off when I tried to throw away the foil that had some small pieces of herbed cheese straws lingering. Lesson learned :)

* 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
* flour, for dusting
* 1 extra-large egg
* 1 tablespoon water
* hot sauce
* 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (make it a heaping cup!)
* 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
* 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced 
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

1. Lightly dust your cutting board with flour and unfold each sheet of puff pastry and place on top.
2. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water and a few dashes of hot sauce. Brush the surface of the puff pastry with this mixture.
3. Sprinkle each sheet evenly with 1/2 cup of the cheese, 1/2 tablespoon each of the thyme & rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and some pepper.
4. With the rolling pin, lightly press the cheese and herbs into the puff pastry.
5. Cut 1/2″ strips using a knife or cutting wheel.
6. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffed. Turn each straw and bake for another 5 minutes. Cool and serve at room temperature.

Side #2 - Sauteed Garlic Asparagus

Asparagus has been on sale for quite awhile now and we can't seem to get enough. This is a tried and true recipe!

*3 tablespoons butter or margarine
*1 bunch fresh asparagus
*3 cloves garlic, chopped

Melt the butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and asparagus spears; cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until asparagus is tender. If you like your asparagus well done, reduce heat and cook an additional 10 minutes.

The Main Event - Shrimp and Parmesan Steak

This was an amazing recipe already but I took it to the next level. Instead of the suggested steak, I opted for filet mignon. Oh yes.

* 2 10 oz sirloin steaks
* 2 cups heavy cream (or 16 fl oz)
* 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped (2 tsp dry)
* 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
* Salt to taste
* Pepper to taste
* 20 shrimp, tails and shells removed

1. GRILL steaks to medium rare.
2. HEAT cream in a sauce pan and lightly boil until it is half its original volume, being careful not to scorch.
3. STIR in Parmesan cheese, basil,salt and pepper.
4. SAUTE shrimp.
5. TOP steaks with shrimp and cheese sauce.

SERVE! Gary seems to believe his plate looks better than mine since he's got the cheese straws. I disagree.

Gary's Plate

My Plate

Our meal didn't end here (although it probably should have!) Our dessert course consisted of:  

Dessert Drink - Blushing Mimosas

This was the bomb! I couldn't find pineapple juice so I used a orange/pineapple juice instead.

*2 cups orange juice (not from concentrate)
*1 cup pineapple juice, chilled
*2 tablespoons grenadine
*1 bottle Champagne or sparkling wine, chilled

1. Stir together first 3 ingredients.
2. Pour equal parts orange juice mixture and Champagne into Champagne flutes.
***2 (12-oz.) cans ginger ale or lemon-lime soda may be substituted.

Dessert-that-we-realllly-didn't-need-at-this-point-but-still-really-good - Crockpot Chocolate Fondue

* 18 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
* 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
* 6 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
* 13 oz. can evaporated milk
* 1/4 cup powdered sugar
* 1 tsp. vanilla
* Fruit, cookies, and cake pieces for dipping

1. Combine all chocolates, milk, and powdered sugar in 3 quart crockpot.

2. Cover and cook on LOW for 45 minutes.
3. Stir well, add vanilla, stir again, and continue cooking if necessary to completely melt chocolate. This can be held on low for another hour.
4. Serve with dippers.

We also used bananas and strawberries. Yes, the strawberries were the best :)


Our first 2012 Whippy Dip Trip!

Sunday, March 25 was such a nice day! I didn't have to work and was determined to get outside even for just a moment. Gary wanted to have a lazy day but I didn't let that stop me. It took a little bit of pushing but he agreed to take a walk with me as long as it ended with something from the whippy dip. He wanted three walking tacos but that surely wasn't going to happen :)

Yay for sunshine-y spring days!