Posts filed under ‘Nights Out’

Seven Quick Takes

Every day I have anywhere from 4-12 people Google “rootsandrings” to come to my blog. I assume they are the same people, not 4-12 new people each day. My question is this, why don’t you just bookmark my blog? Or if you’re going to take the time to type in “rootsandrings” into Google every day, why don’t you just type it in the browser? My blog is

My mom’s dog is obsessed with Jansen. If you are holding Jansen, she’ll jump on your lap. If you walk away with him, she’ll walk with you. And if you let him sleep on the couch, she will also sleep on the couch.

It’s so fun to see blog friends in real life! As I mentioned yesterday, Darla was going to be speaking at a women’s event at much church. She was wonderful and it was so nice to visit with her. If you live around Houston and are ever in need of a speaker for your women’s group, I recommend her.

Want to know one positive thing about being a working mother? (I’m convince there is only one good thing.) When your child is constipated for quite some time and then poops 4 times in one day, you’re only around to clean one of those diapers!

Totally kidding. My baby is only 3 months, his poop really hasn’t reached the disgusting phase. I don’t mind it at all. Is that weird?

I have this teeny tiny bump on the inside of my mouth/lip. It’s harmless and painless… but I CANNOT STOP BITING IT. It’s driving me crazy. It’s like when you bite your tongue and you get a bump and then you continue to bite it over and over just because it’s there. Can anyone relate or is it just me??

I am going to dinner with some girls tonight while our menfolk play some poker. Jansen gets to join me. Don’t worry ladies, we’ll make him pinky swear not to pass on any secrets about what actually goes on at girl’s nights.

December 10, 2010 at 9:37 am 14 comments

Look What My Kid Can Do

Parents love to talk about their kids. We can’t help it. The second they enter this world, our lives change. We can no longer think about anything besides our baby, who just so happens to be the cutest, smartest, most amazing baby that ever existed. And that baby will turn into the cutest, smartest, most amazing toddler in the world. And so on. And while we try to hold our tongue so that we can still be proper members of society, every now and then we have to tell you all about what our kids can do.

Jansen had his one month doctor’s appointment on Monday morning. (He weighs 10 pounds 4 ounces now, by the way.) My mom came with us because 1) I had to carry a purse, a baby, a diaper bag, and I’m really not that good at it just yet, and 2) I don’t have a car and it’s a long walk.

So there we were, my mom, Jansen and I. Sitting in the waiting room watching 101 Dalmatians and mentally noting how much cuter Jansen is than every other baby there. A little boy was playing with a toy nearby. I’m not sure how old he was because I am new to this motherhood thing and pretty much all kids look the same. If I had to guess, I’d say about 14 months. He was playing with one of those doctor toys with the wooden beads that slide from one side to the other in weird twists and turns. Then he turned and saw Jansen. He was mesmerized. (I can’t blame him, I told you, cutest baby ever.) He walked over to Jansen’s carrier and looked at him. His finger started going toward Jansen’s head and his dad ran over to grab him. Just as he did, the little boy said, “baby.” He looked at Jansen and then up at his dad, “baby.” His dad looked up at us and said, “Oh my gosh. That was his first word. That was his first word. Baby.” Over and over he looked at his son and said, “baby” while pointing at Jansen. His son kept repeating it.

Then Jansen started fussing so they walked away. He carried his son to another family and just said, “He just said his first word!” and walked away. It was awesome. He was so proud! It totally made my day… until I tripped in the waiting room and fell on my butt. True story, ask my mom.

Over the weekend we went to a wedding for a family friend. I knew we had two weddings to go to in October so I ordered some onesies from Taryn’s Etsy shop, Cinnaberry (<– link). They are so cute and I couldn’t wait for Jansen to wear them.

So we went to the wedding and I was so excited to show him off. Sort of a: look what my kid can do, he can be cute! We showed up looking like this:

Aww, look at that. A bowtie!!

A couple hours went by and Jansen got tired of me showing him off. He was sick of all the fuss and didn’t want any more attention, so he did this:

Pee. All over daddy. So I took him to the bathroom and changed his saturated diaper. I brought him back out and we hung out some more. Then? Pee all over Gramps. Awesome.

Your kid can say “baby”?? Cool. Mine can pee a lot.

(FYI, we think the reason his diapers leaked were because they were too small. He’s now in size 1 and we haven’t had a leak since. I had no idea how big he’d gotten so I didn’t realize that the diapers had gone all fat-guy-in-a-little-diaper on us.)

October 6, 2010 at 7:30 am 13 comments

Four Strikes and He’s Gross

Baseball is kind of a big deal right now. The World Cup is over so all soccer chatter can stop, Lebron is done wasting everyone’s time with ridiculous ESPN specials, college football hasn’t started yet. Right now, it’s all about America’s Favorite Pastime.

I’m sad to say that baseball has taken a backseat in my life since I was in high school and college. Gone is the girl who’d watch every Astros game. Gone is the girl who memorized the University of Texas roster. Gone is the girl who could remember stats and heights and relationship status and socks up versus socks down. I’m no longer that girl. Life happened. A boy came along and took my attention, then work came along and took my free time.

Now don’t get me wrong. I still hold on to that deep love of the game. You can’t lose that. I still love the crack of the bat, the stitches on a ball, the contrast of the chalk line on the dirt. I love the game to my very core, I just don’t obsess anymore.

I come from a line of baseball lovers. My Papa loves the game and instilled that love to two of his three daughters… one of them being my mom. From a young age I loved watching baseball. Maybe at the beginning it started out more as a love for Sour Powers and snow cones during my brother’s little leagues games. Regardless, I loved to be at the game just like my mom.

Every year my mom buys about 4 tickets to a few Astros games throughout the season. Just enough to get her fill. I don’t know if you’ve heard or not but the Astros aren’t doing so hot this season. They lose a lot. So when she realized that she had tickets to the game last Sunday when the Astros took on the Cardinals, she decided she’d rather not go. So she gifted her tickets to her poor daughter.

I debated going. Do I really want to see Pujols and Holliday destroy my team? Not really. Do I really want to see Berkman hang his head after a disappointing at bat? Not really. But I went because I’m not a fair weather fan. Because even bad baseball is still baseball. And because I love ballpark food. After church on Sunday, we loaded in the car with another couple and headed to the Juice Box. (Our field is called Minute Maid Park… so it’s nickname is the Juice Box. Clever? A little bit.)

It was hot, I was hot. But we settled into our seats with our BBQ baked potatoes and throwback souvenir cups and enjoyed ourselves. It was an exciting game. Not because the Astros were on fire or it was a high intensity game. No. It was the randomness that kept us going.

Now I’ve been to several hundred baseball games so I’m no stranger to weird events and “Wow, that doesn’t happen often” plays, but even I thought this was odd. Throughout the 9 inning game, there were 4 broken bats. FOUR. And you better believe I yelled “CORK” after the first two broke. So the first one broke and it was cool. I love seeing bats break. Then another broke and I said, “Wow! Two broken bats in one game. That’s rare!” And then, the mother of all broken bats. Some dude named Jon Jay (who names their son that?) hit a ball and his bat broke in half. I imagine he was still holding the handle while the top portion flew off. Where did it fly? Into the stands. We were located behind the dugout along the first base line. AKA: The Death Zone. We see this giant portion of a bat coming our way, spinning and seemingly gaining momentum. First we see the dull end and then as it spins around, the sharp splinter. Over and over. It looked like it was going to spear someone.

Then about 20 feet in front of us, it stops. A mob of people had tried to catch it and someone got ahold of it. But not without a good piercing to the foot. We tried to concentrate the next two innings but it was difficult with the first aid people cleaning up the wound (that we never actually got to see). Several fans walked down to look and take pictures. My friends, it was exciting. Three broken bats and one of them came into the stands! And then, when we weren’t even ready for it, Lance Berkman is up to bat and he swings for the fences, misses the ball, and flings his bat into the stands. It flew up at least 20 rows. I’m telling you, next time I’m wearing pads to the game.

There was one more broken bat later in the game but we had a hard time focusing at that point. It was old news. Yeah yeah, so it’s a broken bat. Look how small those shards are! And they all stayed on the field. LAME. It would take much more to entertain us at this point. Thankfully I brought along my super observant husband to keep his eyes out. Guess what he spotted? (Click on the picture if you need it to be bigger.)

Do you see? Look right there between the girl in the white shirt and the guy in the Pujols jersey. See that man in the maroon? THE MOTHER OF ALL MULLETS. I have never seen a mullet of that size in real life. I am sad to say that he wasn’t wearing jorts, just regular dark jeans with no fading or wash of any type. I was in awe. I texted the photo out to a few people I knew would appreciate it. I stared. I snickered. I was thankful there was a buffer zone between me and The Mullet.

So I suggest you head over to your local ballpark and catch a game. Maybe your team is well below .500 and there is a slim chance they’ll show you a good game, but there are always other things to look for at the game. And we all know it would be a tragedy to miss out on a mullet like that.

July 14, 2010 at 8:57 am 15 comments

The Shortest Distance Between 2 Points Is Not A Line

I’m a fairly patient person. Not overly patient, but not too uptight. This is what I’ve realized, if I know that something is going to take a long time, I’m okay with it. But if I have to wait when something should be quick, I have a bit of an internal fit. For example, right out of college I worked for a bank. That brilliant bank decided to assign me to a branch that was on the other side of town from where I live. Every day I had about an hour and a half commute each way. I managed. Partially because I had no choice, but partially because I’d just come to accept it. It’s going to take me an hour and a half to get home. The end. On evenings that it would take an hour and 45 minutes, I’d get extremely grumpy and feel like crying.

The Houston Rodeo is popular. If you’ve never had the opportunity to go, you should put it on your bucket list. There’s a carnival, delicious food, a livestock show, a great rodeo, and then a show. I like to go to at least one show a year. Stephen and I have decided that we prefer to go to weekend shows because we aren’t quite as rushed. Leaving from work and fighting the traffic doesn’t leave anytime for anything besides the rodeo and show. But this year we had the opportunity to get free tickets to the Lady Antebellum show. We like them. We decided that since the tickets were free, it wouldn’t be so bad that we missed out on the livestock show and carnival.

Famous last words.

Our evening was not quite as good as it should have been. I left work at 5 to go to the bank and then pick Stephen up. We were headed toward the rodeo when all of a sudden I realized that I left our tickets on my desk at work. Queue: Freak out. Stephen stayed calm and said, “No problem, we’ll just go pick them up.” Here’s the problem. If the last person is gone then the alarm is set and there is no way to get in there until the morning. Since it was 5:45 I was thinking that everyone was going to be gone. I got grumpy and I started sweating. Luckily someone was still there and I was able to get in. Crisis averted. Although it did add a bit of time to our drive.

We headed toward the rodeo again. Traffic. Oh the traffic. People fighting to get in exit lanes, stop and go cars everywhere, even a fender bender next to us because a Hummer was being too ambitious. It was a nightmare. We finally exited and headed toward the parking lot. Lilnes after line of cars. A line to exit, a line to turn, a line to turn toward paid parking, a line at the lights, a line to enter the parking lot. On and on. Somehow we managed to find a lone spot in that lot. We parked, Stephen took his pants off in the back seat of the car so he could change into jeans, I watched and knocked on the window to annoy him, and then we loaded the tram.

And finally, we were there! My only request of the night was to get a funnel cake. It’s the one time a year I get a funnel cake. I decided to get some nachos at the carnival so that I had something nutritious in my belly before stuffing it with fried batter. After dinner we high-tailed it to the stadium to watch some of the rodeo, get my funnel cake, and watch the show.

We watched a couple events and then Stephen decided he need a pit stop and a trip to the funnel cake counter. About 25-35 minutes later he showed up empty handed with a scowl on his face. He’d stood in a very long line to get our funnel cakes and when he finally reached the front, they were out. I did my best to hold back the tears but my disappointment was obvious. We watched a couple more events and then Stephen decided he’d try to find another counter selling funnel cakes. My hero. It seemed like hours had passed before I finally texted him, “If you haven’t found them, come back. I feel like a mean wife.” His response, “OMG I’m getting a drink!” Turns out he’d check at the front of a counter to make sure they weren’t out, then got in the line, by the time he was at the front they were out. LAME.

So, no funnel cake. Wow, I’ve used 774 words to tell you that there was traffic and I didn’t get a funnel cake.

The rodeo was good, the show was good. Although I was not a fan of Hilary’s outfit. We left and headed toward our tram pick up. What do you know, a line. More accurately, a mob of people supposed to be in a line. A worker told us to split down the middle and form two lines. We made our way to our assigned spot. Oh lookie there, more people on the other side of the mob. Without drawing you a picture, this may be hard to explain. Basically, the line was being fed from both ends… but neither end knew that. So we somehow ended up in the middle (aka: the front) and promptly got yelled at by a drunk girl. We were accused of cutting and “obviously not being from around here.” Don’t get me started girlfriend. I am pregnant, I have pee, my feet hurt from my boots that SHOCKINGLY already don’t fit my pregnant feet, I’m tired, and you’re drunk. I ignored her. Another guy next to us said, “Uh, we’ve been waiting in line a long time.” I just responded, “I understand that but they told us to come here. They are feeding the line from both sides.” The tram showed up and put 17,000 people onto it and it was over. Or so we thought.

At this point it was about 10:15. Not terribly late, but past my bedtime for sure. We found our car thanks to my husband’s amazing internal GPS or the fact that he looked at the number on the light pole next to us. We got in and… nothing. Gridlocked. Not a single car was able to move. We were annoyed, but not as annoyed as we could have been. At about 11:15 we finally go out of the parking lot… only to see gridlocked streets. Stephen decided to take the path of least resistance and then figure out our way home from there. He did it beautifully. We pulled into our driveway about ten minutes after midnight. I was dead tired, grumpy, and seriously pissed that there wasn’t a funnel cake in my belly.

Yesterday morning I got a call from my brother asking if we wanted to go to the rodeo with them last night. Gary Allen was playing and they had tickets in a suite. TICKETS IN A SUITE. I was so tempted. Suites probably don’t run out of funnel cakes. But I ultimately said no because I kept replaying the view of tailights and drunk hoochie chicks. I just can’t handle it, the wound was too fresh. One more line would certainly send me straight to the loony bin.

But seriously y’all, you should totally go to the rodeo. It’s great.

March 18, 2010 at 8:49 am 18 comments

When Good Bloggers Go Bad

Many moons ago I wrote a post about visiting the local HEB and being shocked at how friendly the workers were. You see, I normally do my grocery shopping at Kroger. The lines are shorter, the aisles aren’t packed, I can always find what I need without dodging kids or 17 carts. But the people there… they aren’t very happy. They don’t love their job. They don’t talk to me while they are checking my groceries. In fact, they talk to each other about how tired they are or how they are so happy they get off work in an hour. Not my favorite thing to hear, but I choose that over the masses at HEB.

Yesterday I even told my grandpa about how grumpy the people are at my grocery store. He goes to a small family-owned grocery store where smiles are common. How nice would that be? Nice yes. But not at the cost of higher prices or mobs of people. No thank you.

I think the Kroger gods must have overheard me. Or maybe they read my blog. Last night I went to Kroger for my weekly shopping trip and I was pleasantly surprised. I was in the produce section and had just grabbed a bundle of broccoli. I fished into my purse to find my pen so I could mark that off my list. No pen. I dug and dug. Still no pen. I sighed and zipped my purse. A young man maybe 16 or 18 was unloading apples nearby. He smiled and said, “Looking for your coupons?” I held up my fistful of coupons and replied, “Nope. Just can’t find my pen!” And walked away. About 15 seconds later I hear someone behind me, “Here. You can have mine ma’am. Have a good evening.” I wondered for about 2 seconds what he would do if I started crying. I realized that teenaged boys don’t understand hormonal pregnant women so I just smile and said, “Thank you soooo much. I really appreciate it.” He made my night. And quite honestly, I think he made his own night. It always feels good to do something nice for someone.

I walked away thinking that I needed to write about this because at one time I talked about how none of them are friendly. My apologies, my dear blog, there is a friendly employee at Kroger. And that’s on the record.

I realize that may not be the only area that I’m a bad blogger. You know, besides my complete lack of substantial posts lately because, well, sleep pretty much trumps everything right about now. I had a fantastic weekend.

Saturday morning I slept in a bit. Stephen went on a bike ride with my dad so I was free to take up the entire king sized bed until I felt like getting up. Which, due to my ridiculous bladder that can’t hold liquid for longer than an hour, happened to be about 9:15. Then we got ready, packed up the car, and drove to Austin. We arrived at some friends’ house, changed clothes, loaded back into the car, and headed to a wedding. It was a beautiful wedding. Full of love, bursting with the true meaning of marriage, Jesus was all over.

The reception was in a hotel in Austin. It was gorgeous. The bride, the bridesmaids. Everything. I loved it. They even had a cupcake bar. Cute cupcake boxes were stacked on the tables. We could grab a box, head to the cupcake bar, and make our masterpiece. There were a few different kinds of cupcakes and scattered around the table were fun toppings. Strawberries, blueberries, oreo crumbs, chocolate shavings, M&M’s, etc. It was so fun! Unfortunately mine didn’t make it home with me. I ate it at my table.

We woke up early Sunday morning and drive back to Houston. More accurately, Stephen drive back to Houston while I slept and listened to him sing. We got home, changed clothes, and went to church. My sweet little niece was baptized! Stephen and I chose a prime spot in the pew behind them so we could stare at her anytime we wanted to. After church we went to my brother and SIL’s house to celebrate.

Good weekend. Very good weekend.

And like a good blogger, I’m telling you all about it. But like a bad blogger I must confess… I forgot my camera. No pictures of the bride or the cupcakes or the centerpieces. No pictures of my baby bump in a dress. No pictures of my niece in a long white gown or her little baby pearls. None of that.

So now I go hang my head in shame. And I’ll make sure to do some Google searches on how to be a better blogger.

(ToT questions will be posted shortly. They are a different group of questions. So my advice? Don’t participate if you aren’t feeling fun and creative!)

March 15, 2010 at 8:26 am 16 comments

That’s A Man, Man!

In October 2005, I developed a crush on a 21 year old boy. He was this goofy guy who had adorable dimples, a baby face, and child-like humor. We started dating. Two kids in college, hanging out. We were cute. We had fun. We laughed and played games together. That’s what life is about when you’re 21 years old.

On Saturday, that 21 year old kid turned 26. I am now MARRIED to a 26 year old man. I’m not sure how that happened to me. Just yesterday I was a child. Now I’m married… to a TWENTY SIX year old MAN. Oh dear.

What do adults do on their birthday? A couple years ago we celebrated Stephen’s old age by having an early dinner at Luby’s and then heading to the Bingo hall for a few rounds. (True story.)

This year we went a little nuts. We woke up early and went to a meeting at church. I wore my boots (proof to come). After our meeting we drove through Whataburger and headed into town to visit the Saint Arnold’s Brewery with some friends. They kicked us out at 3:30 so we headed home and did the absolute best thing we could think of. We took a nap. A glorious, brilliant nap. We set our alarm for 6:45 so we could wake up and eat a quick dinner of “things we could make in 5 minutes from the fridge.” At 7:30, some of his dude friends came over to play poker while I went to the back of the house to clean out the scrapbook room.

At the end of the night, we were laying in bed and said multiple times, “That was a great day!” And it was. A day with friends and beer and a nap? I’m really not sure how to top that. Stephen had a bit of an idea… at 1:30 in the morning just as we were about to go to bed he turned to me with sad eyes and said, “Do you want to play ping pong with me???”

Ugh. Sad to say, I said no. It was in the 20’s and regardless of what Stephen may say, just because the garage is protected from wind, it’s not protected from temperature. Plus, at that point his birthday was over so I didn’t have to do something so ridiculous. But the good news is that it was a great reminder that he’s still a kid. Even though he’s MUCH closer to 30 than he is to 20, he’s still fun and cute and he still has great dimples.

Happy belated to my husband. He’s one of the kindest, most thoughtful men you’ll ever meet. He’s a friend to all and he’ll put his life to the side if you need him to. He’s quirky and funny and he has the best place right under his arm to cuddle into. He makes excellent omelets and is shockingly good at reorganizing a room. Stephen, I love you and I’m proud of you every single day. I think God has awesome plans for you and me and I can’t wait to see what they are. Thanks for being a kid and for not taking life so serious. Sorry about all of my gray hair.

For those of you who live in or around Houston, I highly recommend a trip to the Saint Arnold Brewery (<–link). We really had no idea what to expect but we knew that if it involved beer, we could get on board. You just show up, wait in line, wait in another line, pay, and you’re in. You pay $7 for a cute Saint Arnold half pint glass and 4 bottle caps. Each bottle cap is worth a half pint of beer. So… 2 pints for $7. Crazy cheap. You basically go into this big warehouse looking room and hang out. People brought pizzas and games and just hung out. Luckily one of our friends had cards so we were able to sit on the floor and play spoons… only we had to use pennies because none of us happened to have that many spoons on hand.

Anyways, I suggest you go try it out. And call me when you do because we totally want to go again!

Check out these fun bottle caps.

And here is picture proof of my boots in public, again. They are making regular appearances.

By the way, that red brick-looking tile is the EXACT same tile we have in our living room and entry way. See why we want wood floors??

Happy Monday! Make sure you wish Esteban a happy belated birthday and if you haven’t entered the calendar giveaway, you can click here to do it.

**Ten on Tuesday questions are up!

January 11, 2010 at 9:48 am 28 comments

I Wonder How Many Lies Are In This Post

Last night I was watching that show on CBS called “I Get That A Lot.” It’s about celebrities taking “normal people” jobs and pretending they aren’t celebrities. It was pretty interesting. With the exception of Gene Simmons, all of the other celebrities were recognized almost instantly. A customer would walk into the store and immediately say, “Oh my gosh. Are you Rachael Ray/ Julie Chen/ Tony Hawk/ Snoop Dogg/ Paris Hilton??” Then RR/ JC/ TH/ SD/ PH would say, “Noo noo! But I get that a lot.” The customer would argue with them, “What? No. You are RR/ JC/ TH/ SD/ PH! You have to be! You look just like him/her.” And it would go on, “No really. If I were RR/ JC/ TH/ SD/ PH, do you think I’d be working here??”

It was fun to see how quickly people recognized them and how different people acted toward them. Living the life of a celebrity means that you get recognized everywhere you go.

I would know, it happens to me all the time. Just last week, Stephen and I went to a NYE party in Austin. The second I walked in and people saw me with my amazing boots on, they ran up to me and said, “Oh my gosh! You are totally that girl from Roots & Rings!” I denied it over and over but they just kept on. Begging me for my autograph, asking if we can be real life friends. It went ON AND ON. It was exhausting.

(If you’ll buy that, I’ll throw the Golden Gate in free.)

Friday night we went to a place a little more VIP, a place where my type would fit in. Darrell K Royal Stadium. Home of the University of Texas football team. Heard of them? They are playing in a pretty important game tonight. My cousin (also VIP) was having his rehearsal dinner there.

Talk about class, my friends.

I wish this photo was a bit closer. But this is me and my classy family. Check out how gorgeous the stadium is. And check out how gorgeous this baby is. This is Sophie, you’ve met.

So we had BBQ and listened to George. We felt like true, rich UT Alum.

Saturday night was the wedding. At the Four Seasons. I told you that we were a big deal. It was GORGEOUS. Absolutely one of the best weddings I’ve been to. The room was beautiful, the food was fantastic, there was a FULL BAR, the music was great, there were tons of people there, and I was surrounded by many of my favorite people.

This wedding was so party-for-the-rich-and-the-famous that there was a man in the lobby rolling cigars for party favors. Good times! The only thing missing was my brother, SIL, and Miss Avery. They stayed home because the paparazzi would have had a hey-dey with the little one!

And because I can’t pass up a good plug for something I love, let me share my Sunday with you. The family met up for brunch at a place in Austin called Zax (<– link). We’re VIP there too. (I know, you had no idea I was such a big deal!) Their food is fantastic. Their Migas, well, there are no words. I’m pretty sure when I’m pregnant, Stephen will be driving the 3+ hours to get their Migas for me. They are dream-worthy. The portion was huge but I ate the whole thing. I couldn’t stop. I even unbuttoned my skinny jeans on the way back to Houston. It was totally worth it.

So that’s it. That is a typical weekend in the life of Chelsea of Roots & Rings. Or maybe not. Whatever. Want to see Sophie again?

And life is good!

Get your horns up, y’all. If you don’t know how, my mom and her sisters will teach you.



January 7, 2010 at 9:42 am 26 comments

Like a Book

If you’ve read my blog for longer than 17 seconds, you’ve probably got me figured out. I don’t think anyone has ever drawn my name in a gift exchange and said, “Well crap! What the heck do you get someone like Chelsea? She is impossible to shop for.” Because I am not impossible to shop for. I’m quite easy to shop for. I’m quite easy to entertain and quite easy to please. Basically, I am easy to read… Like a book.

Tuesday was my 25th birthday. I’m not going to lie, 25 sounds *older* to me than 24. I know it is older, precisely one year older. But it just sounds like an adult age. I’m not an adult. But then someone posted a happy birthday message on their Ten on Tuesday that mentioned I am halfway to 50. Oh geez. (By the way, have y’all been reading and commenting on these ToT’s? Who knew that the whole world loves post it tab flag things?? I never use them. Apparently I’m missing out.)

Tuesday night Stephen and I went to my parents’ house. I originally thought that Stephen would make me dinner while I watched Biggest Loser and blogged. But schedules were a bit crazy for my family so we got together that night instead of our regular after-church lunch. My mom made TWO Pioneer Woman recipes! She made the Chicken Parmigiana and boy oh boy was it delicious! She made PW’s Tiramisu for dessert. I don’t think I’ve ever had a true tiramisu so I have nothing to compare it to, but it was delicious!!

Last night we went to Olive Garden with my in-laws because my stomach has been wanting salad and breadsticks for a long time now and since I am the birthday girl, they had to take me there. It was great. My mother-in-law ordered me this delicious strawberry cake with cream cheese icing from the bakery that her and my FIL’s wedding cake came from. So stinkin’ good. Of course I had to take a bathroom break two seconds after we sat down because my bladder is the size of a thimble. When I came back, this was sitting on my chair.

A scrapbook full of letters. From family, from friends, from many of you. What a gift! I was overwhelmed. See, I’m good at GIVING those types of gifts. I’m not great at getting them. So many wonderful things are on the pages of that book and I definitely don’t feel like a worthy recipient. As a “Words of Affirmation” and “Acts of Service” chick, my love cup is overflowing!

I’d like to show you a few pictures of the various gifts I received the past few days. If you’re anything like me, be prepared to be jealous.

That’s the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. I have never used this cookbook but my aunt loves it, and my aunt is a reliable source. And (WHOO HOO) Pioneer Woman Cooks.

Yes ma’am. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volumes 1 and 2. Even if I never make anything from this book, it’s a must have. My collection wouldn’t be complete without it. I may attempt a few recipes but, most likely, I’ll just read it like a book. I’m weird like that. There is also a smaller cookbook called Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom. I hardly think a publisher was able to capture Julia Child’s wisdom in that tiny book, but I’ll take what I can get!

I’ve read Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and Baby Proof by Emily Griffin. All were easy and entertaining reads. I’ve had Love The One You’re With on my “books to read” list for probably almost two years now! And lookie there, My Life In France. I’m going to be a Julia Child trivia beast!

Ignore the larger than life bridal portrait of me in the background, and my brother crossing his legs like a lady. Focus on the beautiful books in my hands. Swoon. Have y’all seen these? The clothbound Penguin Classics? They are beautiful!! I think they have 20 clothbound books released, I got 5! You can’t help but pet them when you hold them in your hand. I was reading a used copy of Wuthering Heights but I switched over to this one. I feel pretty classy when I hold this book!

Aahhhhh (angels singing), my very own Dutch oven! Stephen is celebrating the possibilities of what’s to come in that pot. I’m breaking a sweat just holding it up.

Stephen gave me some clothes from Old Navy (click here) (the other items aren’t online, I don’t know what’s up with that). He also sent flowers to my office. That really makes a girl feel special! My SILs both gave me Old Navy gift cards. I literally did a happy dance when I opened one of them. I just did a classy “whoo hoo” when I opened the other since I wasn’t alone. I don’t do dances in front of people. Happy or otherwise.

Also not picture is some Dove chocolate (delicious!), wine (also delicious!), shirts, and money to go toward my dining room chairs. Y’all, I’m one blessed chick! I think it’s funny how similar most of my gifts are. If you include the scrapbook as a book everything totals as follows: 8 books, 5 cookbooks, Old Navy gear, and food related items. So if you ever draw my name in a gift exchange or wake up just dying to buy me presents, you shouldn’t have any trouble coming up with something to get me. Although, after skimming some of the cookbooks, I’m thinking about editing my Christmas wish list to things like: a roast, wine, fine baking chocolate, and beef tenderloin. But I would be okay if you got me something you already know I love… like a book.

(That’s not a book. It’s cake. But it seemed like a good closing picture.)

November 19, 2009 at 9:33 am 34 comments

Budget Shmudget

I had a fantastic weekend. Friday night was our blogger meetup. We went to Gravitas. They were really accommodating and we had a great area set aside just for us with a fabulous bartender. With that said, if I’m going to give it a TRUE review, I have to tell you that it was a bit pricey. They had this amazing drink made with strawberry and vanilla infused vodka. It was incredible! Although it was also $9 and that hurts me a bit.

Saturday I dropped Rookie off at her grandparents’ house because I love free child care and headed up to visit Lauren (from Texas). Stephen was out of town on a bachelor party camping trip so she invited me to spend Halloween with her and her family. God blessed us with a BEAUTIFUL day so we spent the entire afternoon and evening outside. I got to meet her family and eat her dad’s red beans and rice. By this point in our blog relationship, you should know that I don’t eat any sort of tubed meats. To clarify, it’s not that I absolutely will not eat it, it means that I don’t really enjoy it. However, these red beans and rice had sausage in it and they were shockingly delicious. The flavor of the beans was out of this world. I had a great time hanging out with them and think her mom must have really wanted me to like her because she let me sit in front of a campfire and make s’mores. It worked.

I stayed the night at Lauren’s on Saturday night. On Sunday we sat in the kitchen reading cookbooks and working on our weekly meal plans while her husband watched football with their dogs. I realized that it’s fun to do meal plans with someone else. You get to try new recipes and get new ideas. If you’ve never done it, do it. Find someone with a similar cooking style. Oh and also, with the same food budget.

This is huge. Lauren and I both keep our families on strict budgets. We buy sale items and do happy dances when we find bargains. If you can’t relate, then it will make no sense to you when I say that I get a high when I think about saving money.

Stephen and I are pretty anti-debt. Not entirely, but for the most part. We know that there are a few areas of life that often require debt. Houses, cars, and college. But beyond that, no debt. So when we need something, we have to budget. My mom recently bought us a beautiful dining room table that she found at a resale shop. It is brand new table but the furniture store took it to the resale shop because there weren’t any chairs. It was only $100 and it is gorgeous. So we need to buy 8 pub height chairs and those are not cheap. The going rate for chairs is about $129-$169 for a set of two. Do the math. We aren’t talking pocket change here. So we’re saving. We probably won’t be getting them until the new year since this is such an expensive time of year. And we are okay with that, as long as we plan for it.

Stephen also has a desire to bike. He’d like to get a road bike and take this up as a hobby. He’s been casually saying this for a couple years and he’s finally decided he’s serious. We talked about it and decided we’d start budgeting to get him a bike. I don’t even want to tell you the price of bikes because if I type it, it might make it real. Little by little we are setting money aside for this. So every penny matters.

I have a couple ideas for Stephen’s Christmas present. His birthday is in January so I have to buy two gifts each year. I really think we should start celebrating his birthday on his half birthday so we can spread it out a bit. But whatever, nobody asked me. I was flippng though an ad on Saturday and saw that one of the items I was thinking about was on sale. I figured now was as good a time as any to go get it. (Sorry I can’t tell you what it is, he reads this. Check back on December 26. I’m sure the anticipation is killing you.) Not only was this item on sale, but there was a mail-in rebate as well. So I went to the store on the way home from Lauren’s on Sunday. I found my item and didn’t see the rebate form next to it. I went to check out and asked the lady if the form would print out. She seemed very unclear about what I was talking about.

This annoys me. I tried to stay calm but it really bothers me when people have NO clue what they are talking about when it is their job to help. So I explain… “This ______ is regularly $___ but it’s on sale for $____ and there is an additional $___ mail-in rebate. I need the form for the mail-in rebate. Do you have any idea where I get that? They are normally located by the product but it wasn’t over there. Did it print out when you finished my transaction?” Crickets. Ugh. She stared at me and said, “I think it’s in the box.” Umm, no. I told her that’s not how rebates work and I was 99.9% sure the form was not in the box. “I think it is. With that paper that tells you that it will work for a certain amount of time.” Oh dear. “The warranty? No. The warranty comes in the box, the mail-in rebate does not. Can you please tell me who to talk to so I can get this figured out because I don’t want it without the form.” FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER after she’s checked out 3 other people and talked to 2 people on her walkie talkie (“This lady needs her warranty-” “No, rebate.” “–Oh, her rebate.”) she tells me to walk back over to the product to find the form and Evelyn who is supposed to be helping me. I walked back over there… still no form. And I assume there was no Evelyn, although I wouldn’t know because I have no clue who Evelyn even is. I made my way back to my lovely cashier and she asked me if I found Evelyn. “Well, I actually don’t know Evelyn so can you just return this. This is getting ridiculous. I’ll go to another store.” And then Evelyn showed up with my form.

It may be important to know that the rebate was for $10. I told you, every penny matters. I will do anything to save a few bucks. Our budget doesn’t have much wiggle room so I think it’s important to do what we can to protect our precious budget. However, you can be as careful as you want but sometimes things come up. Sometimes something comes around and smashes your budget… and your husband’s nose. (Please don’t look at these photos if you have an issue with blood.)


bloody nose

The guys were riding ATVs over the weekend and Stephen hit a branch or a bump or a crater and hit his nose on the handlebar. The ATV didn’t care about our budget. Neither did the doctors.


Luckily the helmet took most of the blow. They said that if he hadn’t been wearing his helmet, he would have smashed his face in. Apparently he tore a lot of tissue in there. He has 8 stitches outside and “a lot” inside. Say a little prayer for him today, he’s in quite a bit of pain.


 It may not be necessary to say this but we definitely won’t ever be fitting an ATV into our budget.



If you are participating in Ten on Tuesday tomorrow, you can find the questions by clicking the “Ten on Tuesday” button on the right. Please don’t post them until tomorrow morning. I’m going to ATTEMPT a Mr. Linky so we can get all of your links in one spot so it’s easier for everyone to visit each other. Bear with me, I’m not good at this blogging thing.

November 2, 2009 at 10:08 am 31 comments

Seven Quick Takes (vol.11)

What a glorious Friday it is, my friends! Almost every minute of my weekend is planned, but I’m okay with that. Anyone else doing Seven Quick Takes? Make sure to add your name to Mr. Linky over at Conversion Diary.


Bloggers, be prepared to be jealous. Last night I had dinner with Kathleen from Kapachino and Lauren from, well, Lauren from Texas. Long story short, they went to the same conference and made plans to have dinner afterwards. Luckily they asked if I wanted to meet up too. Of course I do! So we had a great dinner. We talked about our lives, our blogs, how the non-bloggers in our lives think we are weird, and we talked about y’all.

Let me just say that I was quite naive when I began blogging. I thought I’d just write and maybe my mom and husband would read. I had no idea that strangers read blogs. Or that you get to know other bloggers via their blogs. Or that sometimes you actually meet them in real life. I didn’t know this. But its a nice surprise!

So… that balloon boy… yeah…

Stephen and I are having dinner with Lauren and her husband on Saturday. Of course we are thrilled because we just love them to pieces…. not literally, you know, like Lennie. Just metaphorically… We like them a lot. Anyways, if you don’t follow Lauren (you should), she recently got her wisdom teeth taken out. She’s still in a lot of pain so we aren’t quite sure what she’ll be able to eat. I’m bringing dessert and a side. I’m bringing PW’s roasted garlic potatoes. This is the third time I’ll be making them in ONE WEEK. I can’t help it, they are just that good. And easy. But the question is this: Is it cheating if I take dump cake and vanilla ice cream?



For those of you who don’t know what that is, I’m not talking to you. For the rest of you, what time is it?

I’ve only had two pumpkin spice lattes this season… both were the first week they came out. This is a travesty, I tell you! I think I’ll get another one sometime this weekend. I think I’d feel better about myself if I got one. It’s really a disservice to Autumn if I don’t, right?

When you have some spare minutes on a computer with speakers, visit this site: You won’t regret it. I haven’t watched them all but I’ve watched the one with Colt, Colt and Sam, and Michelle Aguilar (from Biggest Loser) and I’ve been thoroughly impressed!

Congratulations to the winners of the giveaways!! I wrote up all the entries, put them in a bowl, and Stephen drew two names. We took our jobs very seriously.






molly won the custom onesie! (Which is perfect since she’s pregnant!)
Southern Gal won the jewelry tote! (Which is perfect because she probably has some jewelry to tote!)

Email me to claim your prize!! chelsea.hurst (at) hotmail (dot) com

Visit these two Etsy sites when you’re looking for Christmas gifts. Apparently we had another issue with the text of the link being too close to the regular text. I’ll help you out: CLICK HERE to look at EdieCastle’s shop and CLICK HERE to look at Taryn’s shop. I hope you enjoyed the giveaway. That’s just a little preview of what’s to come in the next couple months! So stick around!!

Have a good weekend, y’all! It’s 9:18 and OU still sucks.

October 16, 2009 at 9:18 am 25 comments

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