Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Candy Bandit

So, a little before Christmas we had a Cookies and Cocktails party at my house. Afterwards, there were TONS of cookies and candy left over. I packaged up the cookies and took them to the neighbors as Christmas happies, gave some of the candy away, and then put the rest, which consisted of red and green peanut M&Ms, a few Reeses peanut butter cups, and some small Krackel and Hershey's kisses and chocolate bars, in one of my favorite little Good Earth pottery bowls that I keep on an end table in our living room.

Since Christmas, the candy has been slowly dwindling. I wasn't eating it often--maybe a few M&M's one day a week, or one Krackel bar a week or something. And I was extremely proud of myself, mind you, for resisting the call of the chocolate! I viewed it as an exercise in willpower. Thus, I figured that Taylor had been giving in to the sweet tooth--especially when I saw that the Reeses were the first to go--those are his favorite.

So this morning I had to be at church really early for a sound check because I am on the praise team this month. I decided that I wouldn't make Sleeping Beauty (aka Taylor) miss any of his beauty rest, so he was just going to bring his own car to church at the normal time, and meet me there. As I was leaving the house, I looked down in the candy bowl and noticed that ALL the M&Ms were gone, leaving about six Hershey's kisses and five or so little chocolate bars. And thus I thought to myself, dang, Taylor must have really had a sweet craving yesterday!

Fast forward a couple of hours. When we get back from church, I pass by the bowl again and notice that it is EMPTY. So I thought, ok, I've gotta call him out, he's taking all the chocolate! I went back to our bedroom where he was and asked, "Taylor did you eat all the rest of the chocolate in that little pottery bowl this morning?"

"Um...what are you talking about?"

"You know, that little Good Earth bowl on the end table in the living room that had chocolate in it."

"I haven't eaten anything out of that bowl since before Christmas."

"Very funny."

"No, seriously. I swear. I thought you had been eating it."

I proceed to proclaim my certainty that there is a burglar hiding in one of our closets. Poor Taylor, familiar as he is with this, my particular choice ritual of insanity, walks around the entire house with me, checking closets (I checked under the beds too) to make sure Mr. Boogey Man had left the premises.

Once the burglar theory had been debunked, the answer was obvious.

There is a ghost in my house. Probably some poor teenage girl whose mother forced her to never eat chocolate, always be on a diet, and who is forever scarred and deprived, doomed to steal other people's chocolate forever and never have real satisfaction or rest.

Ok so maybe not. Rewind.

Once the burgler theory had been debunked, the answer was obvious. And here it is:



Oh sure, they look innocent. But innocent they are NOT! And truly, I think the real culprit is the little one. He's a bit mischevious. Wouldn't surprise me a bit.

In all seriousness though, I was pretty worried. Especially if Teddy had eaten it all by himself--he is a little guy--around 10 lbs, and I know that any chocolate at all is bad for them. We called the 24 hr emergency animal clinic, and they said that unless he starts exhibiting signs of illness or upset stomach, he should be fine.

Still though, I learned my lesson! No more candy left out in bowls around the house!

I think the funniest part about all this is that they A) they were very dainty about everything--they didn't knock the bowl, which is pretty small, off the table into a thousand pieces and B)they didn't eat it all at once! They just had a little sweet snack every day!

I think I've found my new calling--as a detective. Call me with any of your unsolved mysteries! :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


When the Saints Go Marching In (Who Dat version) | Upload Music

The Fat Lady Sings

....and the pigs fly, and hell has frozen over, people, the SAINTS ARE GOING TO THE SUPERBOWL!!! I would like to clarify--I have always been a football fan, and I've always been a fan of the Saints in some way. My Dad spent 3 years as a chemist in New Orleans before he went to dental school. I have always gone to New Orleans for fun girls' weekends, random shopping trips, etc. My husband Taylor's parents are both originally from Louisiana, and they certainly have black and gold in their blood. I have many happy memories in that city.

And--for some reason--this year, I have been bitten by a seriously infective football bug--and I don't think I'm ever going back! I've always cheered for my teams--the Ole Miss Rebels and, when I paid attention, the Saints. But now--and I want to make clear that I am NOT a bandwagon fan--I am obsessed! Taylor keeps wondering who in the world has taken his wife, and who this strange crazy football fan is who has taken her place!

I'm actually a little sad that I haven't paid more attention to football all along. It's so much fun! And then, I could have suffered more fully through the years of this:





















But I am certainly glad to be getting involved at such a fun time!! Here is an excerpt from an article from the Baltimore Sun:

"Lord, how I want to be in that number.

On a raging Sunday in the bayou, they marched, through 42 years of football misery, through the jagged remains of human tragedy, to a Super Bowl that will surely taste like gumbo and feel like salvation.

In a chilly and deafening building that a few years ago was a symbol of Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Saints finally came marching in to an NFC championship victory that seemed as much destined as deserved.

"This is for everybody in this city who's had homes who used to be wet," Coach Sean Payton shouted after one of the most memorable, meaningful games in NFL playoff history.

At this, 71,276 fans shouted back, again and again, the Superdome transformed from a place of mourning to a cacophony of joy."

For any of you to made it down to New Orleans in the wake of Katrina--I know it must be pretty amazing to see the one of the crown jewels of the city, the Superdome, go from something like this:


...a place of pain, fear, loss, and destruction...to something like this:

A place of rejoicing, unity, and renewed hope. The team means so much to the city, and I'm so glad that they can overcome and rise to the newness of hope and victory together.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pics of the Fairview Weekend

As promised, here are some pictures from the weekend! This is me with two of my sweet friends from dental school--I don't know what I would do without these girls! That's Lane on the right and Kerri in the middle.


My sweet husband is a GREAT cook...he has taught me a thing or two for sure! He cooked hamburgers on the grill and made some caramelized red onions to go on top...YUM.

Watching the Golden Globes!

Here's Kerri with my furry child, Teddy. He was loving all the attention! We have another sweet puppy--a border collie, Ruby, and I took some pictures of her too, but none turned out, so I will have to put some up of her another time.
Bo and Jonathan

You'll have to excuse my hair...I swear I had an electric current flowing straight out my head that night...it was so static-y!

Ted doing his best to look cute for the camera!

Treat, please, anyone? Treat?!?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bummin' Around

This weekend Taylor and I took our friends Kerri and Jonathan and Lane and Bo down to my parents' hunting camp, Fairview. Here is a picture of the camp:


It is a beautiful place that my family has THOROUGHLY enjoyed over the last several years. My old show horse and barrel horse (I grew up riding and showing horses all over the south) are there, fat and happy in the pasture. I get to ride them every now and then, which is wonderful!

This weekend we just bummed around, cooked hamburgers, and played THIS game:


..which is seriously hilarious. If you've never played, run on over to Target and pick it up for your next dinner party or any type of gathering. It's really fun for families too! I think there may be a couple of cards in the deck that have material that might not be appropriate for kids, but you can just skip those cards.

We rode around in the Jonathan's truck, checked out an extremely large, confused rooster that kept crowing even though it was wayy past dawn, and just sat on the porch enjoying the beautiful day. Ahhh relaxation.

Also, on Sunday, before we headed down to Fairview, Taylor and I had my family over for lunch to celebrate my parents' 30th anniversary! I am so thankful for the Godly example they have set for me, my sister, and my brother for a supportive and loving marriage. Congrats Mom and Dad!

Pics of the weekend coming later!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

You've Come to the Right Place

On Kelly's blog this week, she's spotlighting getting healthy in 2010--healthy tips, tricks, eating and exercise ideas. Well, sportsfans, you've come to the right place. I have run the gamut when it comes to health and exercise. I have been on both ends of the spectrum--very overweight, in my early teen years, a little too thin for me, the first year I did the Miss Mississippi pageant (if you're a new reader, don't be too influenced by that in either direction--I'm not a pageant person! Enjoy them, sure, but not one of those girls with the bouffant hair)--and now, I'm a little bit over my ideal weight--working on it though! Dental school sucks a lot of my energy away, but I find that when I work out, my energy is replenished rather than diminished further.

For the last couple of years Taylor and I have been doing a 12 week bootcamp in the spring and fall with a local exercise tycoon--and it kicked our butts!! My dad (who is a VERY young 60 years old) did it with us, and he is continuing this spring. Taylor and I are taking a break for this 12 weeks, honestly to get a little more sleep! The workout was at 6 am on the weekdays, and combined with our schedules it was a bit overwhelming. Totally worth it though! We are just taking a brief respite, and I'm going to start running more in the meantime.


Here is a pic of Dad and me with the trainer, Paul Lacoste:



A few tips I think are helpful for healthy eating and exercise:


1. Instead of thinking about what you can't eat, think about all the amazing nutrients you are putting in your body when you eat things like fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, and lean meats. It makes me feel good when I see how green and crunchy fresh romaine lettuce is, and how beautifully dark red a dried cranberry or fresh cherry is.

2. Try to keep meals at small portions, and eat 1 or 2 healthy snacks per day.

3. One of my new favorite things to do for breakfast is make a quick omelette. I pack my lunch for the day while the egg is cooking, throw a little shredded cheese in the egg, then fold over, wait a few more seconds, and enjoy. I've also started filling a small bowl with frozen berries, cherries, or mango before I start cooking the egg. By the time I sit down to eat my quick breakfast, the fruit has thawed just enough that it's easy to eat, but still has a little bit of that frozen treat-ish feel to it.

4. Try to eat plenty of vegetables at both lunch and dinner.
5. Take time to do a few sets of crunches each day. I find that if my abs are not necessarily sore, but they are reminding me that they exist!--then I will be more likely to pay attention to what I'm eating during the day

I was pretty affected by being overweight when I was young. I had achieved a normal, healthy weight by late high school, but while I was in college, I realized that I should do something to give back to the state I love so much, that is unfortunately highest in the nation when it comes to being overweight. I never talk about this stuff, really at all, and definitely not on the blog, because I don't like to really "plug" myself or anything I may have worked on. I mentioned it in the previous post, and that was really the first time. But as an almost business person--because that's what I will be, as well as a dentist, when I graduate--I guess I need to learn to advertise a little, and realize that it's not a non-humble thing to do. I am just trying to make at least a small difference in my little corner of the world.

Anyway--I wrote a children's book in 2004 called Anna's Choice that was illustrated by Gail Pittman and published by Quail Ridge Press.
It's available on Amazon and at bookstores around Mississippi and a few in Florida. Soon after this, my dad and I started working on a project called You've Gotta Move, which is a children's exercise DVD, much like a workout DVD, designed to be used in the classroom. It's fun and energetic, and set to original songs written by Randy Kline, a grammy winning songwriter and producer from NYC. The project was funded by the Mississippi State Legislature and copies of the DVD were sent to every elementary school classroom in the state. If you are a teacher in MS who happens to be reading this blog--please let me know if you've come across or used the DVD in your classroom! It's perfect to get those recommended amounts of physical activity each week in your classroom.
Currently I'm working with Chef Luis Bruno on a healthy and fun kids' cookbook, that we hope to make big progress on in the first half of this year. Stay tuned for updates!

Thanks for stopping by, and good luck with your healthy endeavors in 2010!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Am Slightly Obsessed....

....with Food Network. And HGTV. My obsession waxes and wanes from one to the other, depending on where I am in life, whether it's a senior in college with a final semester of 13 hours: weightlifting, aerobics, contemporary dance, and online musical theater. I kid you not. It was amazing. And just so you know I'm not a total slacker, I was also writing my thesis for the Honors College, acting as a Treasurer for Chi-O (which is a way bigger job than I thought it would be!), and working on the fighting childhood obesity DVD program my dad and I developed along with our producers and other talented folks. I'm not a complete bum. But I'm actually really proud of myself for chilling out a little bit in my final semester of college. I'm usually a burn-the-candle-at-both-ends kind of person, and I think that sometimes affects me and my relationships in a negative way--so i've been working on taking more time to stop and smell the roses. Anyway--sorry for the tangent. That final semester of college I lived next door to my dear friend Audrey in the Chi-O house. And she, SHE is truly a gourmand. A budding chef extraordinairre. She's always trying new recipes and entertaining. Even though I was sitting on my butt watching TV, I really did learn a lot that semester hanging out with her watching tivoed episodes of the Barefoot Contessa, Giada, etc in her room.

Then, my first year of dental school, I lived with my friend Mary Amelia, who really has a knack for decorating and arranging things in an attractive way. Taylor and I had also gotten engaged that July, so my brain was transforming into to the "nesting" stage that often comes along with marriage and starting a home together. I am not a creative person by nature, I'm much more by the book, so I again learned by watching some of those shows how to make a space feel warm, comfortable, and inviting. And I also learned more of what I like and don't like when it comes to houses and decor.

Since then I've gone back and forth...after we were married for a while, I switched back to Food Network, and now that we're in our new house and I'm in that mode, it's back to HGTV--somewhat of a mix really.

Some of my favorites from both: Divine Design, House Hunters, The Unsellables, Giada At Home, Barefoot Contessa, Iron Chef. If you're looking for inspiration in the kitchen or the home, and you don't watch these shows occasionally already, you should definitely check them out.

Last night I tried this recipe from Giada:


And it was delicious! It's Gorgonzola and Porcini Mushroom Risotto. Can you say YUM?? It was delicious and creamy and very satisfying. We just ate it with the leftover vegetable pot pie I made last night. The risotto by nature is a little time consuming (it takes about 30 minutes of TLC), but it's totally worth it! I used regular large button mushrooms instead of dried porcinis, because they are less expensive, and it turned out great.

Hope this inspired you!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Little Overdue

I meant to post these a couple of weeks back--but better late than never! They're just a few family pics from Christmas 2009. Here is Taylor with his brother, Travis:
Candace, me, and Erika. Candace is married to Taylor's cousin Brady, and Erika is married to his cousin Britain. Apparently the Sledge men like brunettes!
My two sisters. :) My sister Angie is on the left, and my sister-in-law April is on the right.



Taylor, me, and Ted. Ruby is a little less portable than Ted is, so we didn't take her over to my parents' house. Notice Ted's Christmas sweater! One dollar in the Target bargain bin, thank you very much. Although...it's actually a hoodie. Why a dog would need a hoodie, I guess I'll never know. A sweater, ok yeah maybe....but a hoodie? ?

My mama!


Dad in "the chair". His favorite place on planet Earth, I believe.


Ang, apparently making the list and checking it twice!


My youngest niece, Dorothy, acting coy. Pose for the camera!

Itchy, Stuffy, Sneezy

So I woke up this morning feeling like this:
You know those commercials where the lady's head gets bigger and bigger and bigger until it turns into a balloon? I feel her pain. I wanted to crawl back into the bed this morning and have one of those days where you do nothing but eat crackers and chicken noodle soup and watch Food Network. And drink hot tea. But--duty calls. The dental school does not believe in sick days. These are the people who told my class first year that missing class for your best friend's wedding or rehearsal dinner is a bad excuse. With which I concluded--they must not have any friends! All that to say--today has just been one of those days. And it's only 9 am. Geez.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bienvenuto!

So night before last, Taylor informs me that we are going to have "Italian night"! He told me that I wasn't allowed to come in the kitchen, that he would let me know when everything was ready. So he stopped by the grocery on the way home,walks through the door laden with Kroger bags, and says "I'm going to need an apron." So I hand him his KA apron (yes, he has an apron with his fraternity letters on it. I have no idea.), and he goes to work. I prop my feet up and watch some tivoed HGTV, all the while hearing the clinks and clangs from the kitchen, with the delicious aroma increasing by the minute. Finally he lets me come in the kitchen and help him finish up (ie taste the pasta sauce!).

I wish I had taken a picture! It was a delicious meal--caprese salad with fresh Roma tomatoes, basil, and real Italian mozzarella; whole wheat spaghetti noodles with made-from-scratch meat sauce with lots of fresh vegetables; and hearty whole grain bread with olive oil and sea salt, toasted. Oh my goodness, it was good. Then while we ate our meal, we watched Good Fellas, a movie about the Italian Mafia. It is based on a true story, and is told from the perspective of a former mafia member who has gone in the Witness Protection Program. For some reason, I can't get enough of mafia movies. Most are kinda violent, which I hate about them, but there is just something about the way that the mafia works, and the fact that something like that actually exists in real life, that is just so intriguing and crazy!

We had so much fun with Italian night that we decided to do a French one next week! And so on, and so forth, after that! Spain, Portugal (anyone know any Portugese movies??), Mexico, Germany, India, Greece, etc. I am so excited. I'm not sure what we'll have for French night yet...although since Taylor did everything this last time, it may be my turn to do the cooking. I kind of want to make some amazing pastry or something. Anyone have any suggestions? We are going to watch this movie with our dinner:



I have been wanting to see it for years--I'm not sure why I haven't yet. But this is the perfect opportunity! Courtesy of wikipedia: Amélie is a 2001 romantic comedy film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Its original French title is Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain ("The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain"). Written by Jeunet with Guillaume Laurant, the film is a whimsical depiction of contemporary Parisian life, set in Montmartre. It tells the story of a shy waitress, played by Audrey Tautou, who decides to change the lives of those around her for the better, while struggling with her own isolation.


I'm really excited to see it! For a couple of reasons--one, because I've been wanting to watch it for a while, and two.....because, in May, Taylor and I will be making a visit to see THIS!:

I am BEYOND excited!!! I have never been to Paris, and have desperately wanted to go for the last several years. This will be Taylor's fourth time (he's a well traveled kid!), so he will be able to play tour guide. Taylor's parents, Mark and Lisa, will be with us on the trip. Lisa worked as a flight attendant for many years, so she and Mark are also very well traveled--she is really talented at planning trips inexpensively and making the most of each day! We already have a day-long bike tour of Versailles planned, as well as a cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu. We will be staying in an apartment just down the street from the Louvre....and...drumroll please....right around the corner from that beautiful bridge where they kiss in all the movies!! Ha! I cannot wait. I really need to work on my French though. I know, oh ya know, like 3 words. No. Oui. Merci. I feel pretty intimidated by the language, honestly. I took 4 years of Latin in high school and 1 of Greek, followed by 2 years of Greek in college. I took Spanish once a week all through elementary school, which, surprisingly, when combined with the Latin and Greek, really sticks. I can stumble through a conversation in Spanish if I need to, especially if I'm listening more than speaking. I can also read Spanish somewhat. But French...it's scary! I guess because I associate the slight air of disdain that some Frenchmen and women have for Americans with learning the language. I consider it the most beautiful language of all though. I would LOVE to learn it. I think I'm going to download one of those free language learning programs from Itunes podcasts. To at least just listen to it. Maybe I'll try to watch some more French films as well.

So that's what's going on with us! Christmas and New Years were laid back and wonderful--lots of family and friends....and the Rebels winning the Cotton Bowl!! Hotty Toddy! I am back in the swing of things at school, which is both good and bad. I love routine, but wish that mine were a little more relaxed! I am working on two of my resolutions though--1)instead of freaking out when something goes wrong at school, trusting the Lord's sovereignty instead; and 2)looking at each day, appointment, encounter with a professor (even if the person is unkind)--as an opportunity and not a burden.

Cheers to 2010!