31 May 2010

memorial day dc style

Memorial Day Weekend canoeing with my Aussie friend Bethnie.  What I discovered: Canoeing with your girlfriend, although hilarious, is much harder than when with your husband (who apparently does all the work...who knew?).

This is where we decided to rest - in the shade of Roosevelt Island.  Good idea?  Well until the snake arrived.  Bethnie apparently has only seen a couple of snakes ever in her lifetime. 
"Oh my gosh, Julie, Julie, Julie, Julie..."  Followed by frantic shouts of "Help, help!"  And repeat. 
I also am not too fond of snakes, but this guy just slivered by us, so I felt pretty confident that we were in the clear.  The problem - our canoe was stuck in the mud.  No one wanted to get out and give the canoe a boost, so we decided to go with the wiggle method. We wiggled and wiggled until we finally broke free.  After all that hard work, we decided not 1, but 2 scoops of ice cream were in order!

The Engineer and I took a lovely walk (sans ice cream...) through Arlington Cemetery and caught the Changing of the Guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  How they don't passout every 2 minutes in this heat beats me.

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend as well!

27 May 2010

birth day

The most amazing moment in life, and I can 100% guarantee it trumps all the other days you've ever experienced (and yes, my wedding day is a ridiculously hard moment to top), is being part of the birth of a baby.  Going through the hours of laboring with this woman, watching her push and push and push some more.  And then magically in just a matter of seconds you go from absolutely no baby to this brand new, slimy life laying on mama's chest.  All the pain melts from mom's face and nothing but shear joy is left.  It's the most intense moment of wonderful emotions. 

Or maybe...I'm just an odd bird.  I do tear up at even a glimpse of a birth on t.v. with complete strangers.  Ok, I'm sobbing.  And the Engineer puts his arm around me and tries to avoid eye contact all at once, because he's about ready to get the "let's make a baby" look.  It's just so stinkin beautiful.

I had the opportunity to watch the birth of both babies of a close friend - yesterday being her beautiful baby boy's big debut!  Thank you, Kate, for letting me experience this magical moment with your family.

24 May 2010

nutella cherry turnovers

I need a fancy dessert.  "We have ice cream."  I don't want that - I want a pastry or fruit tart!  "You always want what you don't have."  That's absurd.  Fine, I'll make one.

And that's how we ended up with these little guys.

Julie's Nutella Cherry Turnovers
1 sheet of puff pastry (for 4 or 2 sheets for 8 pastries)
4 tablespoons Nutella
1/2 cup cherries (I used thawed frozen dark sweet cherries)
A handful of chopped hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut pastry sheet into 4 squares.  Spread 1 tablespoon of Nutella on the center of each square.  Place 4-5 cherries on top of the Nutella and sprinkle with hazelnuts.  Brush water on to the edges of the pastry square and fold over itself into a triangle shape, pushing the edges closed with your fingers or a fork.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

Now that, my friends, is a fancy dessert (or maybe breakfast?).

22 May 2010

my day off

Today began like normal days off from work for me... I was woken up by the Engineer's charming request of "Hun, can you come shave my neck?"  Good morning to you, too.  He is a slightly hairy fellow and I'm not picky, but I do strongly encourage grooming from the neck up. We've had to develop levels of hairiness: very-hairy, fairly-hairy, barely-hairy. So, I get up and do my wifely duties, happy that he's finally decided to get civilized, even if he picked 7am on my day off. Next, I lay on the couch with my quilt, my pride and joy, thinking about how much I love it when the Engineer is the one who has to get up before me. Is there anything better than hearing the alarm clock and remembering it's not for you, but rather your darling husband? I guess Saturdays when we're both off is better, but today is certainly a close second. I instruct the Engineer of his pre-packed lunch in the fridge (I'm such a great wife, afterall) and kiss him goodbye.

For the next item of the day, I almost end up in a tragic car crash.  The other driver's fault of course.  My heart was racing, but luckily I was to my destination - the LIBRARY. The library is a rarely used facility in our household, but I wanted to pick up some travel books and I hate investing in them since I know I'm barely going to use them. The library decided it was not going to give me a choice on this matter, because you see, apparently, I'm a delinquent patron. "You have some fines from last year." Ok, how much a couple of dollars? "No, they're pretty high." Did I forget to return my books? "You took out 8 books due on November 13th and didn't return them until December 4th. You owe $58." Um, ok I guess I won't be borrowing these travel books. And I proceeded with the walk of shame. Like when you ring up a cart full of groceries and realize, crap, you forgot your wallet. The other customers avoid eye contact with you and you have to tell the clerk you'll be right back, knowing full well you won't dare walk in there again for at least a week.

When did library late fees inflate from 10 cents to 5 bucks? Apparently I do not know how the library works anymore and, therefore, have no business using one.

I came home to see the hotel I had booked this morning for our travels did not go through. Is it just me or does it take days to research the perfect hotel? Trying to figure out the "it" location, read the reviews, find the best price. It's really just utterly exhausting.  Maybe it's the industry's way of making you NEED a vacation.

Next, I moved on to research a packing list. We're going on our first cruise in a couple of weeks and I always have one particular reoccurring dream of being in my pjs, unpacked, no passport in hand, and late to the airport. To compensate, the type A in me likes to prepare with a check list. I decided to just google the topic rather than trying to make it from scratch and I read this on a 'Packing for a Mediterranean Cruise' discussion board:
"Surprised that no-one has mentioned 'unmentionables' though. I bought 4 pairs of 'Tilley' underwear for our Medit. cruise...They were perfect, wash 'em in the sink at night, hang them in the shower and they're dry by morning. Four pair works well as you will want a couple pairs/day (one for day, one for evening). If you're really desperate you could wash them, roll them in a towel and then use the hair dryer and within 15 minutes they were ready to use."

Seriously? The last thing a girl needs on a smancy pants cruise ship is a bad case of stinky crotch.  I think I'd rather take out a pair of shoes, that should free up room for at least 20 pairs of undies.

And then the Engineer came home and said "I need a baby nap" (picture him holding his thumb and forefinger about an inch apart to emphasize his point). Like always I respond, babe, baby naps always turn into long naps. And like the good wife I am, I gave in and we took a luxurious evening nap.

21 May 2010

so that's what all those bottles on your counter are for...

There has been a request for my herb/vitamin routine to be shared with you all.  I know, life is clearly getting exciting when one wants to know what my supplemental nutrition might be.  I guess Dr. Oz did make it on Oprah a time or two to share his personal health choices.  Heart surgeon, lactation consultant, it's really all the same thing.  So here goes...

Daily routine for myself and the Engineer:
Children's gummy vitamin twice/day.
Fish oil.  The unstinky burp ones, that still give you fish burps, but just not as offensive as the full fledged burp ones.  Which makes me ask who actually chooses the burpful version over the burpfree version?  Are 13 year old boys really in the market for omega 3s?  Apparently I'm not down with the homeboys...
Red wine supplement.  Aka antioxidants.  Dr. Oz said you'd have to drink like 30 glasses of wine a day to get the health benefits of it, so he recommended this little pill, because what's a healthy heart when you now have liver disease?  And I want to stay young forever, FORRREVVVVER!  (think Sandlot).

Herbs we add to our food:
Shatavari Root Powder (go here for the full explanation on this one).
Cinnamon.  The Engineer and I pile this stuff on.  Specifically on Saturday morning french toast (I refuse to get out of bed until this is waiting for me.  Lazy?  Maybe, but you've gotta start these habits early.), also any brinner item, muffins, cupcakes, brownies.  Why so much cinnamon?  Well we love it, like more than each other, and it boosts the metabolism.  So you see, if you put an extra tablespoon of cinnamon in your cupcake then it's like you never ate the cupcake...  Oh yes, we did graduate sorta near the middle top half of our classes.  However, the other day my brother said too much cinnamon gives you cancer.  What?  Holy snikers.  I'm slowly poisoning the Engineer and myself with deliciousness.  Oh course he just laughs, because he's evil like that.  I demand of him this question: "Where did you hear such a thing, brother?"   And again Oprah was the culprit.  "Are you sure, b/c google uncovers none of this."  In his I'm over it tone (because Alex doesn't like to talk about such things for more than 10 seconds) he responds: "I don't remember.  Lady Gaga was on, that's the only reason I was watching Oprah."  I guess too much of anything will give you cancer even if that very thing prevents cancer too?  Idk, but I think I'll take my chances on cinnamon being a lover rather than a hater.

Julie's preconceptual care routine:
Chaste Tree Berry.  To regulate my period, decrease my acne, and maybe increase our chances of fertility.  All the things birth control took care of for me, well I guess except for the obvious one.  I'm still up in the air as to whether I like this one or not.
Folic Acid.  To compensate for my child vitamins.  I dread prenatal horse pills and will be saving them for conceptual care. 

Occassional supplements:
Acidophilus.  Whenever one takes an antibiotic it's a good rule of thumb to take a probiotic to replinish the good bacteria. 
Cranberry supplement. Urinary tract health.  No one likes it when their pee hurts, enough said.
Echinacea. Immune system booster.  This one is new for us - I'm going to try it out next time we travel.

And now as a public health person, I must advise you that preconceptual care is this totally under-rated step in pregnancy -  It's the "we're not trying, but I'm dusting off the womb and pituitary gland in preparation" step.  Ok, it's something that only a Maternal and Child Health person knows about and actually does.  You would ideally start exercising, limit your exposure to environmental contaminants (ex. fish high in mercury), limit alcohol consumption, stop smoking, doing drugs, etc.  But seriously, if you're a female, sexually active, and of childbearing age you SHOULD be taking FOLIC ACID!  Why before you're pregnant?  Well by the time you realize your preggers and start taking your folic acid some major brain development has already taken place in that unintended fetus of yours.  Studies show folic acid taken prior to conception and during early days of pregnancy prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.  So do your future "oopppss" a big favor, go to the drug store and spend $5 bucks on a bottle of folic acid.

So that, my friends, is what I pump my body full of - explains the muscles, eh?  Hope you all have a healthy day!

18 May 2010

tuesday trifecta: ice cream sundaes and such

It's Tuesday and Miss Wonderland, Mrs. Moose and myself are trifectaingit today (click on links to see their take on today's treat).  Liz has picked Ice Cream Sundaes, a rahter nice pick if I do say so.  Now I may have fudged a bit, but I had no choice.  You see, we were at Food Lion picking up some snacks for the Blue Grass Festival... Bananas, check. Water, check.  Gummy worms, check. JONES Cream Soda?  Where have you been all my life?  Seriously, we've been looking high and low for you for 2 years and now finally you are here before us waiting to bless our taste buds like it's baptism day.  So, I have NO choice but to make my ice cream sundae an ice cream float sundae.  Plus I think if you put a cherry on top it's technically a sundae.  It only makes sense. 

Julie's Cream Soda Ice Cream Float Sundaes
2 1/2 scoops of Vanilla Bean Light Ice Cream
1/2 can Jones Cream Soda
Reddi whip topping
1 Maraschino Cherry

Yummy yummy in my tummy!

17 May 2010

brother where art thou

Last night I saw this little band called Alison Krauss and Union Station. If you look really closely, squint and tilt, you can see the barn-like-pavilion.

We saw several bands actually, because we were at a festival.  A blue grass festival in historic Gettysburg, PA.  And do you know who goes to festivals?  Hippies.  The Engineer and his brother came to this conclusion last night.  The reason every festival sells tie die, creepy animal in the moon shirts, and mood rings is because hippies love festivals.  Where else can you roll around in the grass, twirl your flowy five different flower pattern skirt, and pee in the woods without getting judged?  But it's not so much that blue grass is a hippie thing, it's just festivals are a hippie thing.  Which made me mad for 2 seconds, because I wanted to wear my hippie shirt and the Engineer said "that's too hippie for a blue grass festival."  And then look what happened... 

The Engineer and BIL come to lots of conclusions, probably because they like to RANT.  Sometimes the Engineer gets in this mood where he wants to rant, so he starts playing devils advocate with me trying to push some hot topic buttons so he can stand up on his soap box and rant.  I like to keep the peace, so I'm usually questioning why he's trying to fight me.  "Can't you just be nice to me?"  And then the light bulb switches on and I realize he hasn't met his ranting quota for the week, so I need to indulge him even though I know I'm no comparison to the good rants he gets in with BIL.  SIL and I usually just sit there and roll our eyes at them and then talk about girl stuff.  Like babies, the in-laws, that adorable niece of ours.

We did enjoy a very relaxing day with BIL and SIL - reading, cards, sunning turned shading for those sensitive to sunning, funnel cake, good music and of course hippies.  

11 May 2010

tuesday trifecta: strawberry smoothies

Today I'm introducing the beginning of something new to you all.  It's called "Tuesday Trifecta: (insert food or topic)."  Basically my blog HOMEGIRLZ, Liz and Rachel, will be joining me in creating either a recipe or writing about a topic from each of our perspectives.  BRILLIANT?  I know!  Today were starting with an easysmeasy recipe, so here goes.

Julie's Strawberry Smoothies
1/2 cup 100% Apple Juice
3 large spoonfuls of Plain Fat Free Yogurt
1 Banana
5-6 Strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup Frozen Mango
1 teaspoon of Shatavari Root Powder (optional)*

Blend juice and mango, then add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.  That's it folks.

*Shatavari Root Powder (Asparagus Root) is an aphrodisiac and has calming agents - that's why we use it.  But it also prevents cancer, increases the immune system, helps with inflammation, keeps the liver healthy, and can help with a hangover.  I learned about it at a lecture on "Breastfeeding and Herbs".  And now the Engineer and I have a healthy dose of Shatavari with our smoothies.  And the Engineer now lactates...j/k.  No, but seriously, it's like your real life chill pill!

I keep it real simple with my smoothies.  And they always, always include frozen mango.  The best part about frozen fruit is that it makes everything cold, so you don't need to add ice.  I also love to use apple juice instead of milk/ice cream/or extra yogurt, because it adds tartness and sweetness.  And the best part - you can feel good about drinking these every day because there's nothing but goodness in them!

Now the only problem with this trifecta is that Liz and Rachel are both professional photographers with their fancy smancy cameras and me...well I've got my little mini camera that I sort of know how to use.  They're also really good at baking things.  Why exactly did they ask me to join them again?  So please don't judge.  This isn't a competition, you know!  Although if it were, I'd have to enter into the biggest category.  I'd go all Texan on them. 

10 May 2010

do i get a party and present too?

I'm not sure when summer begins, but in our house it begins tonight. Tonight marks the last day of finals for the Engineer and, more importantly, the last day of being ignored for me. I asked him to have a party for me and buy me a present since I've had it so rough this semester with the lack of attention and having to be quiet during commercials.

Well I'm not sure what kind of present the Engineer is getting for me or if he has my party planned (get ready for disappointment, I know), but I made him the best present of all the presents - a remote control holder. He wanted me to make him a hat.  A hat?  Is the kid crazy?  Sure, if you want to look Jewish.  Cause a yamaka is about all I've got at my skill level.  Although, I could beadazzle one of your ball caps for you, if you'd like?  He politely declined and offered "Maybe a shirt?"

I moved on to a surprise present, because even though the Engineer is smart, he just wasn't getting it. I've had this bad boy wrapped and sitting on the counter staring at him, motivating him to keep studying. I'm so excited to give it to him tonight.

Seriously, I'm such a good wife.  I made the Engineer these pancakes on Saturday morning and insisted he had a slow enjoyable breakfast with me.  Afterwards he wrote a 7 page paper in 3 hours.  That's like record time, in the history of ever.  It took me that long just to write one stinkin blog post and put the laundry in a huge pile on the living room floor.  I mean if it wasn't for all my distractions and motivations, I'm just not sure he could do it (ok, so really this is my self centered way to say I adore him.  He's really quite something, that Engineer!)

Remote Control Holder Directions (unfortunately, I made this one up, so I can't send you to a nifty blogsite that provides clear directions with pictures, although I'm sure they exist.):

Cut two pieces of fabric wide enough for your remotes and long enough to go over your couch or chair arm (give yourself an extra inch or two to allow for the seams).  These two pieces are sewn together, pretty sides in, so that you can turn it inside out and hid the seams.  Iron this flat and sew 1/4 inch around the perimeter to give it a crisp look.  I used red thread to give it my signature special touch...  Next decide on how many pouches you would like to have and what sizes (to be determined by size of remotes and/or objects you keep by the couch.  This fabric should also be cut with an inch or two to spare.  I lined my pouches, but you wouldn't necessarily have to.  I started with the bottom pouch.  Each pouch takes two pieces of equally sized fabric.  Put these two pieces pretty side out, fold the edges over and iron flat, and repeat, so all the exposed edges are nicely tucked in.  Finally, sew one of the folded sides to be the top open portion of the pouch.  Then sew the three remaining sides to the original large piece that was created for the arm of the chair.  Repeat these steps until you have all the pouches your little heart desires.  Do not worry about exactness and matching fabrics.  The un-uniformed looked makes it all the more special.  And now, my friends, you have your very own remote control holder.

Happy last day of your first semester, Babe!  Only 7 more to go...

08 May 2010

scaredy cat. who, me?

In an effort to tire myself out, you know to aid this sleeping problem of mine, I decided to go to the gym while the Engineer was off galavanting around at school.  I got all geared up, walked the whole 50 feet it takes to get to our gym (I know, it's sad we don't go more...), and hopped on to my machine of choice: The Elliptical.  This is the perfect machine for those who are a little rusty at 'gymingit'.  I figured it'd be the best way to boost the exercise-ego.  I began to make my selections: gluteal 2, level 4, time...60 minutes?  Why are the machines automatically set for 60 minutes?  Seriously, who works out on the Elliptical for 60 minutes?  Ok, how about 30 minutes.  I'm a bit rusty, after all, and I did eat 5 cupcakes in the last 24 hours.

(That's what happens when your blogger cupcakecutie friend comes to visit you. Might as well pull out the fat pants when they're in town!).

I get about 2 minutes into my workout and realize I'm the ONLY person in the gym, actually the ONLY person in this building, and all the machines face away from the door.  Of course, I have now created the perfect scenario for me to get kidnapped.  I get myself all creeped out, just like I do when I take a shower home alone.  You know how women are always getting dramatically kidnapped from gyms and showers in suburbia America.

I'm usually ok when I take a shower alone...if I don't think about it, that is.  But when I think about it I start peeking outside the shower curtain and listening for noises.  What I hate more than anything is when the Engineer comes home while I'm taking a shower.  AND decides it would be a good idea to scare me.  He has since retired this routine for two specific reasons:
  1. Last time I screamed.  It was my this is it, I'm going to die scream.  You know, the gut wrenching scream.  I'm pretty sure I scared the beegeesus out of him with my reaction.
  2. Over family dinner with the in-laws, we discovered that MIL and SIL also get a little jumpy about being scared while in the shower. 
Turns out I'm not the lone scaredy cat, so the Engineer has validated my fear and now introduces himself in his sweetest most gentlest voice "Hi hun, I'm home, it's me not Freddy Krueger" before barging into the bathroom and hearing my death shrill.

So, I decide to make a deal with myself - 20 mins, ok 15 mins and then you can be a SISSY and jet off this Elliptical located in scary, middle class, white collar America.  I looked over my shoulder 20 times to make sure no one is sneaking in behind me and turn my keychain mace to the "on" position.  Finally I've reached 14:59 and I leave lickety split.

Later that night I discuss the possibilities of me getting a body guard with the Engineer.  I tell him about how Kendra on E! looked into hiring a female body guard.  (Did you see that one?)  The benefit of a female is that she can act as your BFF and knows karate, so when the scary people come they're thrown off guard by your BFF turned NINJA.  I think maybe my childhood BFF Sarah could fill this role.  How are your ninja skills these days, Sar?

In order to make my showering and alone gym time more comfortable, I'm contemplating putting an ad out there: 

WANTED: BFF/Bodyguard to hang out with me 24/7 when the Engineer is absent.  Will pay in ice cream and baked goods.

P.S. It turns out exercise was all the Ambien I needed.  Why does eating right and exercising always have to be the right answer?

03 May 2010

unwind the mind: introducing miss daisy

Oh it's been a stressful week in la Casa de Oberholzer.  Work and finals.  Things we don't particularly like to talk about on here, but I thought I would take some time to introduce you to Miss Daisy.  She's pretty, don't you think?  The Engineer uses Miss Daisy to unwind his mind that is all jumbled with spreadsheets and accounting homework.  You see, he's married to Mrs. Excel, but Miss Daisy, she's his mistress.

My mind unwinder is facebook.  Incredibly lame and unworthy of writings.

Miss Daisy makes it all disappear for a moment.  She's kinda like the Engineer's Ambien.  Doesn't Ambien look magical?  I've been feeling like a 3 year old in the sleep department lately.  For some reason I no longer want to go to bed at our set bedtime of 10:30pm. (Because now that we're responsible adults, childless that is, we couldn't possibly function on less than 8 hours of sleep).  A sudden burst of energy and chattiness enters my system around 9:45 and I feel like having to go to bed in the next 2 hours would be the WORST thing in the world.  I BEG and PLEAD for the Engineer to tell me a story from his day...you know one from work, because that's for sure to put me out like log.  Sometimes he cooperates, but mostly he just says "nothing happened, I'm going to go to sleep now" and he falls asleep in  exactly 1.5 minutes every night *cue snoring*.  Leaving me to toss and turn and be bitter about his mad falling asleep skills. 

Do you know the other day at the grocery store a guy greeted me and asked me to enter a raffle.  "Is it free?"  "Yes."  Well that seems harmless enough, but as I was writing my name on the raffle ticket he oh so creepishly asked "Is it Julie or Princess Julie?".  What in the heck kind of 'director of the home' women are coming in to the store at 3 in the afternoon and falling for that?  "It's just Julie and no I do not want whatever it is you're going to try to sell me after that ever so slick line of yours."  No wonder I can't sleep at night...