Friday, January 29, 2010

Crockin' it up!

Easiest and most delicious crock recipe I've ever made. 

I was watching Man v. Food and watched a diner make their chili and noticed that they poured the water and tomato paste in a big pot with the uncooked ground beef and flipped that pot of goodness on high for 80 minutes. So I got to thinking- what would be the difference if I put a pound of ground beef in the crock pot with an entire jar of BBQ sauce on high for two hours? 

I was interested enough to find out. Todd threw it all together for me while I was at practice last night and I came home to the house smelling of delicious barbecue. We spooned it over some Martin's Potato Hamburger rolls and chowed down. 

I love this method of cooking ground beef- normally when I brown the beef in a pan I have way too much going on in the kitchen and the beef all starts to stick together forming balls of meat instead of thinly broken up stuff. I don't feel like standing over it and breaking it up the whole time. BUT, a note about the crock method if you're trying to save the fat- this isn't the best way since you're just eating it all. I'm going to try cooking with a 90/10 mix rather than the 80/20 I used last night OR just buy cheaper sauce (or leave some left in the bottle), cook it so it absorbs it all (it made the beef REALLY tender and juicy), drain the stuff and then put new sauce on.

I know this isn't an earth shattering procedure but it was good. And easy. Five Netflix stars for both!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's knot what you think...

My back HURTS.

I have a knot below my right shoulder blade and so far no amount of massaging, chiropractic adjusting, yogaing or posture adjusting has done anything to fix it.

I even MADE a pillow to try to fix it. With sleeping positions getting more and more limited as I'm growing thicker and thicker in the middle...I'm trying to come up with creative ways to make this stuff relax.

Here's the pillow:

Here's a close-up.

It's a yoga mat, rolled with a package of batting wrapped around. I made a pillow case out of a yard of fabric, put ties in the end and voila.

Sorta works.

Except for the knot.

It's getting so bad I'm about to resort to soul selling or naming Fancy after whoever can fix it.


**UPDATE** slept with the pillow last night first starting under my hips (me on belly) worked. Woke up with pillow under knees (Me on back) also worked. Knot lessened. I'm gonna sell a million of these.

I married him for his humor and sweet calf muscles.


Dear Fellow Consumers,
Let me first congratulate you for opening this email.  I understand how busy everybody is and with the influx of spam received in email inboxes in today's economy, it is a wonder how anything gets read.  Currently, I have 308 unread messages sitting in my inbox and I do not expect to get to them in this lifetime.  I will try to keep this email brief and to the point so I will move on.  If you would like to unsubscribe from this email (expect 2 more similar emails in the next to months) please click repeatedly on the following and shout:
For those of you aware of my existence, you may know that I have spent 2009 getting back into the fine sport of running.  Running was a sport I (kind of) enjoyed during my high school days, but quickly gave up at the first opportunity.  Ten years later, I decided to get back into the sport because I have finally given in to the fact that I will never make it into the NBA and most likely won't make it into professional baseball or mixed martial arts.  Since I love sports I decided to get back into the easiest sport there is and run.
It's been about a year since I started to get back into running, and I've progressed pretty steadily I think.  At first I had difficulty running for 20 minutes, but I am now able to hit 15 and 16 miles at a time twice within one week.  Running a marathon, which seemed impossible to me 6 months ago, now seems like an accomplishable goal and as a result I have recently decided to spend a decent amount of money to register for the SunTrust National Marathon that will be held in Washington DC on Dan's birthday (March 20th).   The point of this email is not to remind you how awesome I am, but instead I am asking you to consider the following:
The Back On My Feet organization is a charity that is linked to the SunTrust National Marathon.  I am familiar with the organization since they originated in Philadelphia and they were featured in a Runner's World article at one point in the past year.  I'm going to recommend you check out their site ( for a better definition of what they do, but to sum it up briefly, they basically try to boost homeless people's self esteem by getting them involved in running.  At first, that probably seems completely idealistic and I can understand how there can be doubts in how a program like this could work.  However, in a short time, the organization has opened up a second chapter in Baltimore and are planning to expand to Washington DC and Boston within the next few months.  Sure the program doesn't work for everybody, as there are possibly as many failures as success stories, but I think that could sum up just about anything.  So I think it's worth checking out.
After discussing this issue with my wife and my liver-shunted cat (I don't intend to be Bono), I've decided to get a fundraising page going.  If you feel like helping Back On My Feet get their Washington DC headquarters established, please visit this link: .  If you're wondering how much to donate, I suggest donating the cost of two beers (nondrinkers, please donate the cost of three burritos).  If you don't want to donate, I suggest you just reply to this email and insult me mercilessly. 
Please feel free to forward this to as many frenemies as you want.
Take care,

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What a crock! (100th post!)

A crock of DELICIOUSNESS, that is.


Left over individual frozen chicken breasts from Target
Jar of salsa (in my case, two half left over jars of salsa)
Can of corn
Can of beans (kidney or black)
Block of cream cheese.

Throw everything in the pot on low except the cream cheese, go to work (I had a ten hour day yesterday, the chicken flaked apart but eight hours would've been better.) Half hour before serving, put in block o' cheese.
Stir, serve.

Uh ma gawd.

Cream Cheese and Crocks make the world go 'round.

I love Charlie.

60 pounds lighter using Nutrisystem. Go, Grandpa!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More food posts.


It's SO good.

I'm usually in charge of the G-shopping. I'm particular about my products and Todd doesn't do much cooking so it works out that way. This month with travel from work and other issues- it was getting to be about three-four weeks since my last full grocery shopping trip. In a fit of crying and panic last week Todd swooped in, said he make the run for me working off of a list and came home with this little gem.

In our house, the kids are going to LOVE it when dad goes shopping because he gets the frosted cereal or picks up some churned style moose tracks ice cream or other treats for us to munch on. Yay Dad!

I said ALFREDO, he heard MARINARA we were forced to make our own Alfredo sauce out of ricotta cheese, milk, butter and garlic powder (+ salt and pep to taste.)

I checked out Ragu's Alfredo sauce nutrition info and compared Sargento ricotta cheese (these aren't the brands I usually get but I didn't see the ones online...) and anyway- taste factor- A for the latter...AND about 50 fewer calories per serving- and since I RARELY eat the suggested serving size ONLY, this should save me about 150 units of energy expenditure.

I'm getting a whole shit ton of getting ready for the hospital emails these days. This one stuck out to me today: 

You've got the camera, toiletries and a nursing nightie. You also need:

Your birth plan/wish list
Prepaid calling card or cell phone and a list of phone numbers of family and friends

Um,  when was this written? 1998? I supposed having to pay for phone use in hospital rooms is a little expensive but, uh, DON'T FORGET YOUR CELL PHONE!!! Perhaps an update suggesting packing yer cell charger would be a little more appropriate. And uh, while we're at it, stop calling things nighties.

That word's gross.

Monday, January 25, 2010

And I STILL couldn't care less about Brett Favre.

...unless he retires for the third time opening up a space for Donovan to spend a few years in Minnesota.

I have negative time to blog so I thought what a better chance than to scribble down a few thoughts.

I did possibly the greatest this ever yesterday- turned a hard bound book into a spiral book. The book below was a mandatory purchase for my ongoing yoga training- put it didn't stay open by itself. My prenatal yoga training teacher told us Staples makes the change for about $5. He was right and it's awesome.

Lacrosse starts today- and with it comes my first panic attack about time: I have none and WAY too much to do. Updates may be brief and sporadic until I get back into the swing of things.

Here's to order and organization!

Friday, January 22, 2010

You love me! You really LOVE me!

You Clearly Rock!

"Why you ask? Because those fingers of yours have been on a real roll with all of the funny, useful and cool reviews you've been writing lately, that's why! Seriously, your reviews have been some of the best we've read in Philadelphia, and that's why we come to your inbox today, to make you an offer you just can't refuse. Well we guess you can, but where's the fun in that!! So here goes...

We'd officially like to invite you to join the '10 Yelp Elite Squad!

*insert crowd roar here*

That's right, we think you have exactly what it takes to be a part of the best and brightest on Yelp, and more importantly, to keep on doing it. We want you to keep those fantastic reviews coming in, continue to make your cool insider tips lists, get active on Talk and invite more of your friends to join in the fun! You can go here to find out a bit more:

As a member of the Elite, you'll be invited to attend exclusive parties and events that we throw at yummy local restaurants, bars, shows, galleries and boutiques all over town. As a result, you'll get a chance to experience new places and meet and mingle with other cool yelpers. You'll have that nifty red badge on your profile that you can brag to all of your friends about, and you can do so wearing your complimentary members-only, limited edition Yelp Elite T-shirt!

By accepting this invitation, you'll be one of the voices and faces of Yelp Elite -- in essence our ambassadors both on and offline - so all we ask is that you commit to keep "yelping" about your favorite restaurants and clubs, your doctor, your mechanic, your hair salon, or really anything that's local and would help others to know about! We want you to keep telling your friends about Yelp and encourage them to invite their friends as well (the more people yelping, the more useful and fun the site becomes). We also ask that you contribute positively to the site and do your part to set an example of what a stellar yelper can and should be.

If you're interested, just let me know, and I'll send along the request to Yelp HQ in San Francisco for final approval!

Until then, SYOY,
-monica s.

Messenger, National Yelp Elite Council

PS: You must be 21 or older to qualify

PPS: If you are interested in joining the Squad we will need you to use an actual photo of yourself and use your real first name and last initial. We ask this because Yelp is all about Real people Writing Real Reviews.

PPPS: If you are a business owner or affiliated with a local business (spouse, general manager, partner, etc.), we unfortunately can't invite you to join the ranks of the Elite because it presents a conflict of interest.

PPPPS: How did you hear about Yelp?"

To reply, click the link below:
Yelp Elite '10

See you on Yelp,

The Yelp Team

Real People, Real Reviews

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Right now you're about 24 weeks pregnant and your baby is as long as an ear of corn.

24 weeks o' baby.

I had class last night and all my buddies are CONVINCED I'm having a boy. Sounds good. I haven't seen these birds in a few weeks so it was nice to catch up but it also reminded me of how boring and symptomless my pregnancy is. I know, I know. I'm one of the lucky ones. I didn't have my head stuck in the toilet for the first ten weeks, I didn't have a crazy sense of smell, I'm not having cravings. Nothing. Nothing at all. I'm one of those people who wants the full experience though...if I'm supposed to have cravings- I WANT THEM! I want to be able to eat a whole pizza because "I can't live without it!!!" Nothing. I'm a little disappointed but I'm sure there will be plenty of times when I get my money's worth.

I had a stern talking to with Fancy this morning. I reminded him/her that although I'm very glad that s/he is quietly enjoying his/her time inutero to make sure s/he gets in line for brains, muscles and common sense. No one likes a dummy. His/her father and I have a VERY keen sense of humor so I'm pretty sure we'll be able to take care of that...but I don't want Sleepy Head to miss out on the important stuff.

Fancy shocked Todd last night. S/he's pretty active from 9 until about 11 and I was feeling some kicks to I put Todd's hand on my belly and s/he KICK REAL hard- he jumped. You could tell he had his first proud dad moment. It was cute- now he's been calling him/her Pele all day.

I had some frosted mini-wheats for breakfast this morning. Not sure why Madge didn't buy them growing up. Bananas and cold milk with cereal is always good. I'm bruising very easily these days (which I hear is a side effect of adding fish oil to yer diet and to fix it you have to ingest more iron- a pregnant lady needs 27 mg/day- and to help with the absorption of thaaat, you have to ingest more vitamin C.) Frosted Mini Wheat has 90% of a normal person's DV of iron. It has zero Vitamin C.

So I was talking with Madge yesterday for my daily Gram update- and it turns out when she fainted and fell two weeks ago because her ticker wasn't working, she broke two ribs. I've broken a rib once (from coughing when I had pneumonia) and it's awful. And ya know what the treatment is? Nothing. Not a damn thing you can do. Gram is a tough cookie.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

But I don't wanna...

Another day, another dentist appointment.

Nothing interesting to report. Most people would decide not to write anything on a day that their lives are boring. But me? Nope.

So let's talk about heartburn and bruising.

I have heartburn right now- but it's not the normal full feeling one normally might experience from over-indulging. Rather, it feels cool in my chest- almost like I swallowed some vicks vapor rub and it's just SITTING in my chest. I just ate a PB&J because I thought maybe I was getting heartburn because I was hungry.

Nope. Still feel junky.

In other news, I saw (didn't meet) Pat Croce today. He was at my place of business working on some plan to use our facility for something that would be mutually beneficial. There are a few things I like about Pat Croce:

1. He's the commissioner of Slam Ball. For those of you who aren't familiar, Slam Ball is full contact basketball...with trampolines. Do a little websearch and you'll come up with pleeeeenty of video. It's fantastic. It's hilarious. It's EXACTLY what the NBA needs. Todd went to what I've been calling Suckville 2010: a game featuring the Philadelphia 76ers and the New York Knicks- two terrible teams. I can't believe he had to pay for those tickets. I'll tell you what though- I think I would've gone to see it if trampolines were involved.
(side note: this makes me think. Pat Croce used to be the owner of the 76ers. The Sixers mascot is Hip Hop- a sunglasses wearing Bunny who uses his basketball skills and (wait for it...) TRAMPOLINES to get the crowd riled up. I bet Pat was sitting in his box one night watching HipHop bounce around and thought...this guy's onto something...)

2. He's a millionaire. A smart one. He founded and sold a physical therapy business- but what's funnier is that he is not the main "silent investor" of DIET WATER. People are dumb. Really. Diet water? Think about it for just a few seconds...what is it that we, as humans, need to do to make water diet? Water...calorie free...check- what else does it need?! I digress. People aren't smart- and I'm lumped into that category- I've bought it before.

3. He's a pirate enthusiast and owns and operates the ONLY pirate museum in the country. He has a tattoo of a skull and cross bones on the outside of his left hand. I need a new tattoo.

Whoops! The clock on my desktop is wrong and I'm late for class!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I made the wrapper for the favors for Lauren's shower. I hope she doesn't start reading my blog any time soon.


Blue Diamond in the Rough

After my little snit last night (which turned into a little bit of a cry fest in the dark with my cats) I decided that I needed to go to Walgreens to lift my spirits. I like to browse around the store and pick out a few things. I was listening to the radio and they were talking about seasonal affective disorder so I picked up a light bulb that simulates the sun for my office (I don't like the overhead florescent lighting that's provided), a package of chicken flavored Ramen and while I was checking out...I was tricked into buying some almonds by the register.

Not a bad impulse buy, if you ask me (instead of the $12 shimmering face stuff I was going to buy.) I just opened them...and I'm in love. Blue Diamond has come out with a line of bold flavors. Normally, I HATE things that are labeled BOLD or EXTREME or Ultimate but I LOVE salt and vinegar chips- so it only seemed natural to give the small envelope a whirl. UHMAGAWD they're so good.

Baby update: I have one item on my registry as suggested by Michelle. I don't have a ton planned for today so hopefully I'll have some time to scour my sister and sister-in-law's as well as Michelle's registries so I don't have to reinvent the wheel because I sure don't feel like it. My dad made a pretty good suggestion as well- register for all the diapers (two different sizes of 7 diapers/day X 90 days = 630 diapers!?) , Desitin, barf rags, onesies, bath supplies, and other essential baby gear that will last for three months so new mom and dad don't have to run out to the baby store if they don't need to. Dad, sometimes I question your motives...but this is a nice little gem.

Also- if you've checked, you'll see that I've listed the due date on there as April 20th (obvs, I think it's funny.) No, our due date hasn't changed but another little gem from sister-in-law was that similar to your wedding registry, BabiesRUs gives coupons to parents to buy the rest of the stuff on the registry but they don't often send them until AFTER the listed due date. We're still having our little nugget on or around May 8th...we're just trying to beat the BabiesRUs machine.

I'm well on my way to knocking out my seasonal blues...I'm sitting on a big ball with my Sun and Sand candle warmer on full blast and my full spectrum light shining. Good and good.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Yelping is just warming me up to get back to Blogger...

LOLcats are my only saviors. 

I've basically been away since Thursday, January 7th. Richmond for the weekend of the 7th for the field hockey coaches convention, home for a day and a half and then to Atlanta for the NCAA convention all of last week. I haven't been looking forward to coming back into the office because I knew I had about 200 emails in both my personal and work email inbox waiting for me to sort through it. I also knew there were a few blogs and a TON of yelping I wanted to catch up on (I've been eating out for the past 12 days, after all)...not to mention all sorts of online banking that needed to be done since I decided that this would be a good month to switch direct deposits.

In the past few hours, I got through it all and I supposed that it's time for me to head home...except I don't feel like going home since I know I'll have house-type work to do. I don't feel like going anywhere, really.

I'm in a funk today that's getting worse as I type and I'm sure it's because I didn't have many interactions with too many people since many of my gchat friends had off for MLKJr day and I was on email inbox clearout 2010...and the interactions I did have was spent dealing with rumor patrol with one of my teams.

I start lacrosse in just one week...I start the final eight weeks of my masters degree Wednesday- and I fear I won't get to enjoy the last three/four months of my pregnancy before Fancy gets here because I'll be wrapped up in all of this. My weekends are booked solid for months, I'm planning my own as well as my sisters baby shower and I kind of just want a beer.

In the 171 personal emails were about a week's worth of TMI "what to expect" kind of emails and now I'm afraid of getting hemorrhoids and I don't want my hands to go numb or tingly and the self-diagnosed symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) isn't getting any better- basically it feels like I got kicked in the crotch every time I walk, go up stairs or get out of the car...but apparently it's normal... and I feel like the broad on the right.

I'm hoping briefly writing about this junk will snap me out of my self-induced funk but...just as I never know how to respond to my friends blogs when they're having a rough day since I don't want to say the wrong thing, I'm sure that will go the same for the people who glance at you have a free pass.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Let's get it onnnnnn.....

For Dad: Enjoying Sex During Pregnancy

At this stage of the game your wife just might enjoy sex more than she ever has.
The rumors are true: At this stage of the game your wife just might enjoy sex more than she ever has. And go easy on those giganto breasts — they still could be very tender now, as they are stretched to their earthly limits.

Dear Soon to be Dads,
We know you want to have sex. We do. Really. And guess what? We do too. But there are a few things you need to know...

1. I don't feel very sexy all the time. Although sometimes I'm feeling like super woman because it's preeeetty cool that I'm making a belly is starting to pour over my pants. My clothes and favorite jeans don't fit. Wearing heels has a tendency to make my ankles swell. PLEASE, please, please try to gauge my mood before you try anything funny.

2. Please don't call my breasts GIGANTO. It's just not cute. 

Todd and I are driving down to Richmond tonight for the National Field Hockey Coaches Association's Annual Coaches convention. Anyone know anything about Richmond?

I'm excited to expand my Yelp horizon a little more. Todd and I saw Up in the Air this weekend and George Clooney is striving for this riderculos (I'm into misspelling/say things and adding the letter R to them recently. I think it's funny) goal of hoarding up 10 million frequent flyer miles with American Airlines- a feat that only 6 people before him completed. I was reading on Yelp has this little section for Elite reviewers. I just emailed them to be considered for their squad. Crossed fingers. Maybe I'll get a titanium card like Cloones.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Really What to Expect mo-rons?

What to Expect email today:
Thinking of stopping by your dermatologist's office for a fill (or a refill) of collagen, Restylane or Perlane? Here's a wrinkle in that plan. As with Botox, the safety of injectable line fillers during pregnancy hasn't been established yet.

People must be idiots. Each chapter mentions staying off the hooch and street drugs too. I don't get it.

This was after dinner last night. I must've gotten a good angle, because from my POV it looked more like a bowling ball.

When I have off from work, I don't normally sit in front of a computer all day hence the absence. In that time, I visited my family many times over, bought plenty of maternity gear (orange shirt pictured above) and made (and so far, have kept) my New Year's resolutions. This year I decided that Todd and I would have a joint resolution in preparation for Fancy pants. Every night we're eating at home (and when we're eating, period, for me) we're going to eat at the dinner table with no cell phones. It's been really nice. Usually, we plop down on the couch in front of the TV with whatever I whipped up and gorged quickly on our TV trays. Often, since we were already on the couch, the stove and sink stayed a mess from cooking and we were getting really lazy. Since the kitchen in on the way back to the living room, we almost HAVE TO swing by and tidy it up a bit. I don't like eye sores and since we pass by, it's not out of sight.

Also this week- grandmom had a few fainting spells. When my mom brought her to the hospital on Sunday, she was averaging only about 50 beats per minute (or BPM as we're educating our non-baby bearing friends.) Her ventricles and her atrium were not communicating and the ventricles were really slacking. It makes sense, honestly. She's 90. She's no spring chicken. So the docs at DCMH recommended a bi-ventricle pace maker and she's been up and running (her mouth) since it's installation on Monday at 1pm.

Remember that funny little story about grandmom "shoveling" her porch? She's a pistol.

Anything else to report? Hmmm...Fancy Pants is dancing up a storm. S/he chooses the hours between 9-11pm and 8-9am to be most active. Todd's gotten to feel a few kicks here and there so that's pretty neat. Oh yea, and I painted the room where the baby's going to sleep:

This is the room off of my bed room. I casually refer to it as the dressing room like I'm a high class, lady of leisure who has names for various rooms in her enormous house. One day...

Todd was going out to coach his 5th and 6th grade girls basketball team at St. Eugene's on Sunday and in the two hours he was away, I bought the paint, got back home and painted it all up. It's a small room- and only two walls really needed painting. I HIGHLY recommend buying a house with some external brick walls. Cuts painting time in a third.

I don't have much else to report. Too much time has elapsed and I'm starting to ramble.

Ahh yes- one last thing. Todd and I have decided while I'm planning Lauren't surprise baby shower that it's really too much running around for a fancy-schmancy party in a hall that costs too much.

So here it is (and expect Evites for this event unless you're over 50):

When: Sunday, March 28th, 1pm-7pm
Where: Casa Kurpel (Aston, PA)
What: Open House/Baby Shower/BBQ
Anything else: Registering at BabysRUs (we haven't done this yet)
Also, I'm happy to let people bring a plate of something if they like.