Tuesday, July 22, 2014

ohio beach volleyball

I got to play a sand tournament while I was in Ohio with my old partner Tiffany!  It was so much fun to play with her again and catch up.  The weather was also gorgeous...a great day if you don't count our actual performance.  We did okay, but it had obviously been a long time for us plus she had a baby recently, so it took us half the tournament to remember how to play :)

I asked Andy to take some pictures and he did the best he could (I don't have a great "sports action" camera and I forgot to tell him about the repetitive/burst setting).  So here are a few fun pics:

The two best action shots were the last two of Tiffany.  So next tournament I'm going to put my camera on the repetitive setting to see if we can get some action shots of me :)

Thanks for a great day Tiff...had a blast!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

linus' tree is huge!

When we were in Ohio, we drove by our old house to check it out.  We noticed that the tree we planed in the backyard was huge!  We call it Linus' tree because that is where we buried our kitty that died

To give some background, this tree is a dawn redwood, and I won it at a work event back in 2008.  This is what it looked like when I got it (pre-planting):

So barely taller than me, right?  So then there was an update on the blog two years later and this is how tall it was:

So we were amazed at how much it had grown since we moved out two years ago, not to mention in the four years since the blog update.  So I did what anyone would do....park in the church behind our old house, run up to the tree, and make Andy take my picture with it as an "update".  :)  It didn't appear that they were home, and I made sure no one was out there!  But here is the most recent picture:

I put the red arrow at the top of the tree so you could see where it was since it blends in with a lot of the other trees.  But isn't that mad crazy??

Friday, July 18, 2014

picnic and helping around the house

July 4th is a great time to visit the Holderman house because there are often other siblings around and visiting.  This means when a lot of the boys get together, Andy's parents get lots of help!  So there is help installing a new light...

Fixing the drain...

And of course the most important part...making the homemade ice cream!!

With all the family visiting I got to see Savannah...such a cute baby with more hair than I had at age three I think.  Andy took a picture of this because it's a rare sighting of me holding a baby!  HA.

Then it was time to play games like we usually do at the holiday picnic.  Mark brought some cornhole boards:

There were some really close matches and hilarious how we can all throw it in the hole and then on the next turn miss the board completely!

This was my "in flight" shot of Andy's mom throwing a bag!

The Holdermans also play a lot of croquet.  I've learned I'm not very good compared to the brothers.

But this time Andy and I each won a game!!  I never knew the rules or how to officially play until I started dating Andy....and then I learned how dangerous it is when Tim gets poison :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

ohio golfing

We went to Ohio over July 4th as we usually do.  That is the anniversary of our engagement on 7/7/07.  (I don't have a blog posting about our engagement to link to since I started my blog the month after!)  We visited Ohio for about a week, and I tried to be so good about getting some pictures.  I took some good ones, and then seemed to fail spectacularly during certain get togethers, go figure.

I did remember to take a few while we were golfing with "Brother Tim".  It's funny, that is Andy's brother and we always call him Brother Tim, even though we really don't talk about any other Tims on a regular basis...so it makes him sound like a monk :)

Golfing in Ohio in the 'country' is so pretty:

Here are the boys teeing off:

See I remembered to take pictures, but of course only on one hole.  Then remembered in the parking lot as we were done to get one more picture:

The miracle of this golf outing is that I won!  I don't usually beat the boys, but they struggled on a couple holes where I played decent so I barely won by two strokes.  Yay me!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

my new baby

No no, not that type of baby...it's my new bike!!  I got a new bike, triathlon specific, off ebay, used.  So excited, but sadly it arrived only 20 minutes before we left for our trip to Ohio.  So before we left, this was the only way I'd get to ride it:

We unpacked it real quick to make sure nothing was wrong with it, then left it like this as we drove off to Ohio!

But the good news is I could get it assembled, fitted, and then ride it when we returned.  Can't wait!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

carnitas for delicious tacos

The only way I ever usually cook a pork roast is in the crockpot.  I'm not sure why...it's not a requirement.  But I do love crockpot cooking and it is convenient to have supper basically done when work is over.  So I never purposely sought out another way of cooking.

But then Andy got me a dutch oven for our anniversary, so I scanned my saved recipes in Pinterest to find a recipe I could make with it, and up came a recipe for Crispy Pork Carnitas.  I love Mexican food.  In fact it might be the thing I miss most about living in San Diego...that or the weather.  In any case, I love any excuse for Mexican food.  So I was making pork tacos!

Isn't my red dutch oven just adorable?  Those are the carnitas after they were done, waiting for the rice to finish so we can assemble tacos.  If you look closely in the picture above you will see the spoon on the spoon rest with a nice chunk of pork on it.  That is the obligatory bite to make sure it's not poisonous.  Because the first four bites might not have been accurate.

Here is my sad excuse of a taco picture.  This was my second taco and I could barely take the time to make it let alone take a picture:

Didn't even have time to clean up the corn I had trailed on my plate.  All of this was just getting in my way of shoving that taco into my mouth!!  So in other words, I really loved this.  The pork was so tender, and it had a great flavor that I liked.  Add hot sauce and sour cream, and I was in love.  Andy thought it was okay (translation: he ate two tacos and thought it was decent, but didn't shovel it in as fast as possible like I did).  That does mean I get all the leftovers, which is great! 

So the verdict is I recommend you make this recipe for pork tacos.  Delicious!  Whether I keep it or not...well I can't decide.  I want to, but I also don't want to make an entire pork roast for myself if Andy doesn't really like it.  So I'm on the fence....but I seriously recommend.

Monday, July 7, 2014

my first beach volleyball tourney this year

Those of you who are regular readers of my blog (which I can count on my fingers and MAYBE branch out to my toes) are wondering how on earth I could come up with this title for a blog if I basically announced I was retiring from volleyball in November.  Um, yeah.  Because I love volleyball, and I have hopes I can play again on a semi-regular basis.  I played two indoor tournaments this winter on a girls net, and although I was sore, my knee survived.  So my hopes soared into thinking maybe I could play beach volleyball again!

Well the only way to test whether or not I can play is to actually play and see if it hurts my knee.  That is scary and not my ideal way to test my knees, but it's the most accurate.  My hope is that since losing 65 pounds and training for triathlons, I would hold up better than previous years.  So here I am at the tournament:

Andy was all day score keeper on our net (for which he got a free t-shirt, thanks Roman!).  So he couldn't take any action shots of me.  But I did manage to get a couple of a game on our net while I was not playing:

It was a queen of the beach tournament, which I LOVE.  You go without a partner, play with the other girls on your net as your partner, then the person with the highest record/point difference advances to the playoffs.  Then you do it again and rotate through the other girls as partners until the end and there is one winner, hence queen of the beach!  I usually do well at these tournaments because I'm what I consider 'a good helper'.  I talk a lot to my partner, I can play left side or right, and I am sort of a utility player. 

So the verdict was that I played all day, and was VERY sore for the next five days.  Not shocking.  My left knee (which is the one I hurt last year playing volleyball) was sore for a couple days, but I iced like a fool and kept it moving with swimming, walking, and running.  I also took lots of anti-inflammatory drugs, but not more than I should be taking.  In any case, a week later and my knee felt normal!  Which is great news for me, especially since I have two more sand tournaments on the books. 

The other verdict is that I was the queen of the beach :)  The most exciting part of that is not the title but the victory t-shirt and free prize ball!  I need a new ball since I have one of the old types, so that is most exciting!! 

You apparently can't take the desire to play volleyball out of the player.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

cornish game hens (aka tiny chickens)

I've always wanted to make cornish games hens because they are just too cute...like little baby delicious chickens.  So we bought two of them at the store and I wanted to make them as the debut recipe for my new dutch oven!!  So I found a recipe online that sounded good, but when I went to make it I realized it wasn't really for a dutch oven.  Oh well, I'm using it anyway!  So I used the original recipe and then made one tweak: instead of putting it on a rack in a roasting pan I just put it on some potatoes to 'elevate' it.  That's what chefs do, right?  So here it is pre-oven:

Aren't they just so cute?  I also did not truss them with twine because I don't have any.  I figured it wouldn't really hurt it.  So here they are all cooked and waiting to eat:

The bonus of potatoes is that we could eat those too!

The hole in the hen above is because that's where I stuck my thermometer.  And that is Andy's plate (hence the corn).  Here is mine:

He doesn't eat squash.  So what's the verdict, right?  Well here it is:

Okay, I can't tell you how much this picture cracks me up.  First of all, my husband is adorable.  Second, I handed him my plate and said "here hold this and do your 'whoas me' act" and he did it with no questions asked.  True love!

So the verdict is really that although this came out so pretty and it was done perfectly (not dry and very tender), it was too much work to eat.  Hence the exhaustion Andy is portraying in the picture above.  There is a lot of bone for the meat you get, so it's a lot of digging around the bones, which I know grosses some people out.  And there is no graceful way to eat this.  Lastly, the meat itself didn't have a whole lot of flavor.  Although I used the glaze in the recipe, once the skin was off the meat didn't have much flavor at all.  So we will pass in the future.  But I'm so glad I made them....check that off my list of fun things to try!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

best sweatband and headband ever

I've never been a huge sweater, so I never had to worry much about sweat in my eyes. But somehow in the last few years I started sweating more, and then riding a bike for triathlon training presented a sweating problem.  Wearing a helmet and sunglasses makes it impossible to wipe the sweat away before stinging my eyes.  So I did some research and asked some awesome facebook triatletes and came up with buying a Halo sweatband:

I bought the one that ties because I have a big head and have had to stop wearing certain headbands because they are too tight and give me a headache.  Well I wore this for my triathlon and it worked AWESOME.  Then I wore it for a beach volleyball tournament after the sweat dripped in my eyes the first game...and it also worked perfectly for that sport.  I've worn it for running too - always works great.

The reasons I love this headband include:
  1. it totally does the job of absorbing sweat and diverting any excess with a little rubber strip away from your eyes and toward the sides....it does the job so well I don't even think about it
  2. the headband ties to any tightness level you want
  3. it stays put so well - I am never fooling with it while I'm doing the activity
  4. it also covers my forehead to keep it out of the sun, which is great because I have melasma there (which in layman's terms is a condition that darkens skin in the sun so that it looks 'dirty', so the best solution is to keep it out of the sun
  5. it also functions as a great 'headband' to tame the crazy sneaky flyaways from my short hair.  
So here is an actual shot of me wearing it:

That was after running...here is one during a volleyball tournament:

It is wider than I had expected, but that is actually very helpful and helps with the flyaways.  When I take it off, my hair looks something like this:


You think I'm kidding, but it's not far off - with short hair and trying to get it out of the way with clips or tiny ponytails, there's a lot of room for crazy strays, especially while exercising.  So my new Halo band totally helps me with my hair.

And sort of makes me feel like a cross between a ninja and Ralph Macchio in his big tournament.  In any case, I highly recommend....I love mine and it was worth every penny!

7/10/14 update: my sister bought one that doesn't tie in the back, but she is already saying it's great! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

great summer wrap "recipe"

Pinterest is known for being a time suck, but I actually use it as a bookmarking service so to speak....and mostly for recipes!  So I pin a bunch of things I want to make in the kitchen, and then I keep them pinned until I make them, then delete them.  I haven't had great success lately with some new recipes, but I totally loved something I made based on Rachel Ray's simple wrap recipe.  Here is the stock photo from her website because I totally forgot to take a picture:

I put the word "recipe" in quotes in the blog title because it's about as loose of a recipe as you can use (so Jeph should love it!). So here is what I did:
  • mix two laughing cow cheese wedges (I've tried swiss or herbed) with diced cucumbers
  • spread onto a soft taco sized tortilla
  • add ham
  • roll up and eat!
See, that's why it's not a recipe.  But honestly it is so fresh and crisp and great for summer!  The first time I made it, I only used one cheese wedge and spread that on first, then I sprinkled the cucumbers on top.  Then when I ate it, the cucumbers fell out all over the place.  So I highly recommend mixing the cucumbers into the cheese and then spreading on the tortilla.  Much neater to eat!  This is a great wrap to take to work for lunch because nothing gets soggy!

If you love wraps and this isn't your cup of tea, try the hot  "stromboli" wrap recipe Andy and I love (which I have now made with these cheese wedges and ham instead of butter and parmesan cheese!)  And this is also for you, Mom, since you asked for this hot wrap recipe!