Know Thyself. Then make hummus.

Thursday, April 30

Listening to "Dream" The Cranberries.

OK-- SEMESTER IS OVER!!! Woo-hoo!!!!

I love summer!! (But of course, I'm really excited for school to start next semester :). Mostly because I'm gonna be a TA. EEeekk!!)

So I learned a lot of useful things this semester, but one exercise in particular was fun: The Myers Briggs Personality Inventory. In my Public Administration class, we talked about organizational structure, communication, power, etc... and we even talked about the importance of personalities. I did a presentation about personality and the affects it may have on your performance in the workplace. To complete the report, I took the Myers Briggs.

What's Myers Briggs?
Now, some of you may have taken this before. It's a small, quick personality inventory that judges whether you are:

Extrovert or Introvert
Extroverts get their energy from being around people, groups, socializing; Introverts get their energy from being alone, contemplating, and are more introspective. This doesn't necessarily mean shy vs. not shy; it's more-- how do you best interpret information. Do you think better after being alone for a while? Then you may be more introverted. Need people/noise/social atmosphere to be happy and calm? You may be more of an extrovert.

haha... cute.

Sensing or Intuition
Have you been described as gullible? Or are you more pragmatic, never believing the results until you see some statistics? Sensing personalities rely on the five senses (sight, smell, taste, feel, hear) when making decisions-- they need tangible evidence. The intuition types do not necessary make choices based on the senses; instead, they use emotions or past experiences to make decisions or interpret information.

Thinking or feeling
Are you a logical person? Do you trust laws, rules, and justice above all else? Or, do you have trouble with laws and rules. Instead, are you always contemplating the individuals involved, not the rule or law involved. Thinkers tend to look at laws and rules, making detached decisions based on what's "right." Feelers tend to be more involved in the decisions they make, trying to empathize with the situation and basing decisions on those associations.

Judging or perceiving
This one ties together sensing/intuition and thinking/feeling. Do you enjoy being committed to a task, following the updates and progress, and completing work within the well defined boundaries? Or, do boundaries make you uncomfortable? Judging types typically like to work in settings where the boundaries, requirements, etc. are clearly defined and well understood. The perceiving types are less comfortable with those and view them as restrictions.

Important: Why does this matter?
Know thyself. If you know that you are an introvert, maybe that's why you have trouble during performance reviews. Your boss calls you into her office, throws some long-term goals and ideas at you, and you have trouble reacting. You leave the room feeling as though you performed poorly, but later (once you've had time to think) you come up with all these great "I should've said"s. You're an introvert! You need alone time to think. Changing the scheduling of this conversation, or how you receive her comments, could change your reaction-- and her interpretation of your performance.

Or, if you're an extreme sensing type, but your wife is not-- hey. Maybe that's why your arguments get so convoluted. You're trying to beg against her with facts and figures, but you're not getting through! She seems confused-- even offended-- by your argument. That's because you're not talking about the emotional issues that go along with the conflict, you're only talking about the facts. Her personality has trouble interpreting facts in an argument; she better understand emotions and feelings. Maybe you could change the way you discuss future plans.

Finally, let's say you're planning a family vacation. You're ready to lock in a date, plan out the hotel, and develop an itinerary. Your kids are ready to kill you. Well, you're a judging type. You want to be locked into this commitment, while they're young perceivers. They want to experience the thrill of the not-so-planned-out vacation. Maybe you could talk about that.

Knowing yourself, your likes, your preferences, your attitudes-- it helps you adapt to others, to make sure you're being heard, and to make sure you're listening.

So. Click here to take the test for free, and let me know what you think :)

In case you were wondering, I'm a slight extrovert. I'm completely balanced for sensing/intution and judging/perceiving, but I am an EXTREME feeler. I'm not even close to a thinking type.

Matt is a more intuitive thinker, but he's also balanced for sensing/intuition and judging/perceiving.

So, it's not about finding someone who's exactly like you. Opposites attract, remember? But knowing more about eachothers personalities can sometimes assist with the communication-- and everyone knows that's key.

Have fun!


Cooking Goals for this weekend:
-Egg salad for Matt (his request!)
-Hummus (Steph Chow's recipe)
-Maybe a dessert... haven't decided


Your personality-contemplating
New Girl Blogger.

A Mexican Food Celebration Weekend + Library Knitting

Monday, April 27

Here's how Matt and I play cards...

Me: [Laying down a Skip card] I'm going to skip Matt.

Matt: [Incredulous] What?!? But I'm in last place!

Me: I know, but you skipped me last time, so I wanted to get you back. Plus, [gesturing to the other two players, my Mom and Tom] they haven't skipped me yet. So... I skip you.

Matt: [Shakes head] That doesn't make any sense. They're beating me.

Me: But I don't want to skip them... they didn't skip me yet.

Matt: I'm never taking you to Vegas.

Me: What?!? Why?

Matt: Who knows what you'd do. You might skip on getting Black Jack because you feel bad for the dealer...

hahaha... fun. We were playing Phase 10. And don't worry, I'll get him to take me to Vegas sometime... I might stick with the slots, though.


Celebration Weekend!

-Margarita Mix
-Corona + limes
-Chicken Enchiladas
-Taco Bake Chip Dip
-Phase 10 Playing Cards
-NFL Draft 2009 + ESPN's all-day coverage
-The Office: Season 2

Was a great celebration weekend. Great.

I got the taco bake idea from Healthy Delicious!

taco bake chip dip
I adapted it a little so it would be the
chip dip appetizer I wanted.

My Taco Bake Layers:
-"Crust" layer: crunched tortilla chips mixed with a little bit of black refried beans (to stick it all together)
-Layer of enchilada sauce
-Layer of chopped up olives (yum! but next time will add onions to this layer to lessen some of the olive taste)
-Layer of ground turkey (seasoned w/ taco spices)
-Layer of black beans
-Layer of cheese

YUM. Dipped the chips right in while watching the NFL draft. Would have been great with a side of sour cream, but we were out. Next time I'll add a layer of salsa too...


Knitting Update:

So... I'm really bad with directions. I get lost easily, and I was born without that "cognitive map" that allows people to spatially consider and interpret geographic areas in their heads. I'm awful with direction. I'm also awful with math.

So WHY I think I can already write my own pattern for a little jacket... especially when I've never made a jacket... is beyond me.

writing the abby sweater pattern
Writing my own pattern...
already? I'll keep you updated...

I'm working on a little Spring jacket for miss Abby... unfortunately, the pattern isn't so great. I got it off Ravelry before I knew how to recognize a good pattern... and now I'm too invested in the idea of the jacket to move on to something else... so I'm trying to write an adaption on my own.

ALSO... I finally rented some knitting books from the library.

knitting library
Can't wait to celebrate the
end of my Spring semester with these :)

Blog News:

Thanks to Fidgeting Gidget for this great new award! I love it!

honest scrap award

Also, big thanks to ACE because I just found out I won one of her giveaways that I was talking about last post! I can't believe I won-- and I almost lost the win, because I haven't been on the computer all weekend and didn't notice! I need to go claim my prize!!!

Still figuring out the "music" section of my blog that I want to start... feel free to fill me in on any more must-have songs :)


Your knit-pattern-writing,
and yes, still-TA-smilin,
New Girl Blogger

Sharing the Blog Contest Love

Wednesday, April 22

Listening to "Little Miss Magic," Jimmy Buffett.

I figured... you guys have been so cool. Sharing the excitement of the roller coaster ride that was this past week's TA position decision. First I didn't get it. Then I did. And you were there for it all, with your nice comments, your inspiration and your congratulations.

So, what to do?

I know! Blog Contests!

There's so many great ones right now! So I thought by sharing the ones I was aware of, I'd be giving you the chance to get something great. So here we go!

Donna, FFW is giving away some really great cooking materials. All you have to do to get one entry is leave a comment telling her about your favorite, go-to appetizer recipe. Deadline is this Sunday, 4/26 @ 9pm!

Ace is giving away three homemade trinkets, crafted by her Aunt Nikki. Lots of ways to get entries, from comments to twitter. Deadline is this Saturday, 4/25 @ 9pm!

Mom on the Run is giving away a taste of some premium granola, for which she just completed a great product review, and there are three ways to enter! Throw your name in before the contest ends this Monday, 4/27!

Muffy Martini is giving away a great prize: a complete blog makeover by This, That and My Blog! Lots of ways to enter this contest, but be sure to do so by Sunday, because that's when the winner is going to be announced!!

Good luck everyone!

Blog News:

My next blog section will be about music.

I'm always telling you guys what I'm listening to... and I'd like to hear what you're listening to. Before I start my little music section (it's going to be playlists that suit certain moods...), PLEASE tell me your top 3, must-have favorite songs. Please :)

Cooking and knitting update this weekend :)


Your still-on-cloud-9,
New Girl Blogger.

After all that...

Monday, April 20

After all that disappointed hoopla I was subjecting you bloggers to...

I was awarded the TA position after all.

Someone said no to theirs. And now it's mine.

My tuition is covered, I don't have to be a nanny anymore, and lots of financial things...

but mostly, I got my dream. I got it. I'm going to be a lecturer at NC State, and I can't wait to cram grammar into the heads of English students. ME, a lecturer. EEeek!!

When I got the e-mail, I screamed and danced around... actually, it probably can't be called dancing. It was a freakout fit. I freaked out and called Matt... no answer. I called my Mom, she answered--


She thought something was terribly wrong.

I'm so happy I can't even believe it. Matt can-- he says he knew I'd get it. I didn't!! I'm kind of glad last week happened-- made me realize how important to me this is, sure-- but also made me see that even without this funding I could do school on my own if I have to.

So still, thank you so much for all your kind comments. Sorry I was pullin your leg the whole time. I had no idea someone would say no!

I'm going to go celebrate (by going to bed). But I just wanted to fill you in.

Also, as part of the weekend celebration...

I'm making these.


Anyone got a good, easy salsa recipe to go with that?


Your officially-a-ta,
New Girl Blogger

Cooking Update and Donating Life

Saturday, April 18

Listening to "If You're Gone," Matchbox 20.

I just wanted to say thank you for all the nice comments on my last post... I still get a little sad sometimes about the change of plan, but I'm getting used to it.

I have the choice to:
1. Accept the limited funding and no TA position, enroll in school as is and graduate by Dec. 2010 or, at the latest, May 2011.
Plus side
: graduate faster, stay in school. Negative side: Lots more loans, will have to find better job OR
2. Take a year off school, enroll again in August 2010 with the TA position, but put off graduation till May 2012.
Plus side
: no loans, maybe even make money. Be a TA! Negative side: WAY longer till graduation, what will I do in my whole year off? Will I end up going to school after a year off? Never know what could happen!


I'm pretty sure I'm going to stay in school, get a different job, graduate on time and try to be a TA while working towards my PhD. Everyone seems really supportive of my decision and I think it's what's best. But I'll let you know :)

Cooking Update:

Recipe Blogroll Experiment of the Week:
Mom on the Run's Shrimp Scampi:
  • Simple and Delicious Recipe
  • I didn't devein my own shrimp... I bought some frozen ones that were already like that. I know-- cheater!!

  • I added red and green peppers, only because we had them in the fridge and they were about to go bad. But even without it, would've been a great recipe...
because the shrimp were SO good!

Thanks, Mom on the Run! I'm happy to have enjoyed your recipe and happy to scratch it off on my Recipe Blogroll.

Finally, I just received this e-mail:

Marie is declining daily.

New symptoms this past weekend of bleeding and blood levels off have raised her score on the liver transplant list for a dead person's liver; however, she has thousands ahead of her. The doctor's at Duke assure me that if there is an emergency, they can complete the evaluations for Marie, Joe as the donor, get 2 operating rooms and staff, and maintain her for 3 days. They are doing the best they can.

People, pray that we never go there with an emergency. Marie is increasingly tired, frustrated and wants this to be over NOW. Please pray for peace and patience for Marie, clarity and wisdom for the doctors and staff at Duke, peace for Joe and Lydia, patience and strength for Brenda, and TIME!!!!!!!

Oh yeah, if anyone is TYPE A blood, would you consider donating blood in Marie's and Joe's name because we need to start banking some.

Love to all,

If you live in the NC area and would like to donate blood in Marie's name, let me know and I will give you this family's contact information.

Otherwise, bloggers, I had an idea-- something we could all do, no matter where we live.
donate blood

I know everyone has a story, or knows of a story, in which someone's life depended on other's donations of blood. It's the fastest, easiest, and most common way for us all to save a life. So, if you'd like, post a story and maybe even post this supportive button on your blog somewhere. You can link it to your own post about blood donation-- in the code below, where it says "PUT YOUR LINK HERE," copy the URL of your personal blog post about donating blood.

One small way we can all remind others about donating blood.

-Your coffee-sipping,
New Girl Bogger

Life's Disappointments, Marginalized. TA, VT, marriage and dessert.

Thursday, April 16

I'm not going to be a TA next year.

When I decided I wanted to go to graduate school (when I was like... 5), I made a plan. I sought out a program that fit me exactly, looked up their grants and fellowships, drew up a timeline and WHAM: my plan. It's been my plan for a long time. And I loved the plan.

Except it's no longer my plan. Because my plan was to be a TA. My plan was to do so well as an undergraduate that the grad school would be FORCED to give me a Teaching Assistantship, but they won't.

Not because they didn't think I deserved it... they don't have any left to award. They ran out of funds early this year, and they have none left.

So despite the GPA, the honors thesis, the extra-curriculars, the double-majoring, the internships, the awards, the recommendations... I'm not going to be a TA. Not because I'm not good enough, but because of the economy. Because of funding. The only way I'd get one now is if someone refuses theirs... if someone changes their mind and doesn't accept the position... and let's just say I'm not holding my breath.

So now I have to pay tuition. I have to work my way through school, bog myself down with loans, and accept that my hard work as an undergraduate didn't pay off the way I thought it would.

But it's ok.

Well... ok, it wasn't at first. I cried a lot. A LOT. Matt and I talked about it for what seemed like hours, going over plans and Plan Bs. I skipped stitch and bitch (AGAIN-- serious knitting withdraws, now!) because I was so upset... but it's ok.

Why is it ok? For three reasons.

1. Lemon Posset.

Please excuse the picture quality...
I was upset haha. Underneath those cut
strawberries is a delish lemon dish
dedicated to me by Rebecca. This is
the first successful dessert I've made since
starting this blog, and it was JUST what
I needed. One dish, two spoons. :)

When I got home from class, in profuse and pitiful tears, Matt was here. He let me cry, let me talk, offered advice without overdoing the optimism... AND... he ate dessert with me. Before dinner. Sitting on the couch together, splitting a stiff drink and a sweet dessert, I felt better. I love my boyfriend.

Thanks, Rebecca. It was just as good and just as easy as you said it would be.

2. Tom & My Mom

Tom and my Mom were married on April 16th (Happy Anniversary!)

3. The 32 of VT.

Two years ago, 32 innocent lives were snatched in a horrific tragedy at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. Our world stood in awe of the immense devastation that blanketed one unprepared campus (see B's chilling rememberance post-- she helped to remind me that today was this event's anniversary). Despite the horror of the event, the students unified, the nation empathized and today, the world recognizes that although time heals wounds it does not forget. We will not forget. Today, remember that we all live on as survivors of tragedies that our world subjects onto some; remember that others who deserve to live on are missed by families and friends; remember that when your life seems unfair it is still deserving of thanks and appreciation simply because it exists.

So, I won't be a TA...
... but I'll figure it out. I was heartbroken, and that's ok-- life can be heartbreaking sometimes. But... c'est la vie, and move on. One day, I'm sure I'll appreciate this turn in my life's events because it led me down some different, brighter path.

-Your hopeful, healing and appreciating
New Girl Blogger

Warning: EXTRA corny post about the boyfriend...

Tuesday, April 14

Listening to "This Year's Love," David Gray (one of those songs that reminds me of the bf)

Matt is coming home TOMORROW!

Actually... he's coming home today. Because, technically, it's morning. I can't sleep! Thought this would be an opportune time to (take advantage of my insomnia and) tell you more of this Mister Matt about which I keep blogging.

This is a new blog section is going to be called "How We Met."

How We Met

Let's be honest-- couples' stories are cute. Sometimes they're nauseatingly cute, but hey. If you have a story PLEASE share. We can't help it-- we all love reading a little mush sometimes...

And if you do share, feel free to add a little graphic and to let me know!

So, How we met...

~*~ August 2006 ~*~
Wilmington, NC

Crawdad Ct. is a strange name for a street. Still, when you're moving into your first off-campus house street names are the last thing on your mind. Unpacking is a joy, often paired with a beer, since adulthood springs from each hanger, each poster, each box. You blast music, dance through piles of unfolded clothes, and bask in the warm glow of a bed that will never have to be made. College is sweet.

This was my mood, overexcited and jumpy, as I entered into my new life on Crawdad. Fresh off an awful summer breakup (or just awful relationship) and riding the wake of ex-boyfriend hatred, I used each step into my new life and new house as one more push toward the classic you're-better-off-anyway attitude.

My new roommates were really nothing new: two adorable boys I've known and loved since the 8th grade. Dave and Taylor were as skeptical about living with a girl as I was living with two boys, but we were excited nonetheless. We were such old friends... what could go wrong? (More on that in another post.)

After being overloaded with rants about my sucky ex, my guy friends/new roommates forced me to shut up and go to a party at our neighbors' place. Now, don't get me wrong, I love people and parties and all... but I'm not really a party girl, and definitely wasn't an extreme one in college. I'll take a glass of wine and a movie over a party ANY day.

But... I was post-breakup and full of spontaneity due to my new life. So... not only did I go to this party... I went in a mini-skirt.

...And cowboy boots

YIKES! I know. What was I thinking. What would my mother have thought? Actually... she probably bought me that skirt. ANYWAY, needless to say, I was feeling pretty noticed in my boots and skirt. I easily slid into position on the beer pong table (usually takes a while at these college parties) and was enjoying some harmless flattery and flirtation...

UNTIL: this dark-haired boy shelled out something different. He made fun of me. Now... I don't remember exactly what was said. But it was about me not being good at beer pong, and it was paired with a sweet but taunting smile. I definitely remember being a little off-balance. All around were new, and more importantly-- not-my-ex, boys paying me positive, ego-feeding attention... and this guy was joking about my beer pong shot? I tried to brush him off...

I can still picture it. There I stand, outside on my neighbor's back porch at the end of some homemade beer pong table, skirt and boots and all, about to shoot a stupid ping pong ball at some gross beer cups... and there's this dark haired boy, fairly tall, nice eyes... standing off to the right...

Then... I feel it. Nerves.

I'm nervous?! I'm playing the dumbest games of all games, but I'm nervous about my next shot.

I end up missing, and the beer pong table is offered up to someone else. I walk inside, almost forgetting the whole thing, when--

Bam. There he is. Dark hair, fairly tall, playing darts. Winning at darts. We share a few flirty smiles, and he lets me throw a couple. With sheer dumb luck I hit a couple good shots. He's impressed, and I pretend not to be.

But he's pretty chilled out... not offering me any drinks, not offering up tons of conversation... as a matter a fact, he's not offering anything. He's very nice, not at all closed-off, but also doesn't seem interested in flirting like the other boys. He's an enigma.

In the end, I spend more time at the party talking to some other guy who thinks it's fate that he wore a cowboy hat to a party and met a girl with cowboy boots (...yea... original. Definitely don't remember his name.)

The next day, after much sleeping in, a friend of mine and I are walking out of my house and on our way to a dinner with some new boys we met. On the way--

"HEY!" says the front porch on the house two doors down. Bam. Dark hair, fairly tall, big smile. I smile back and try not to act surprised, but I am.

"You're still here?" I ask.

"I live here!" he says. "What are you doing tonight?"

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I met Matt. It's how I fell in love with my neighbor... how I went from being the girl-next-door girlfriend to the long-distance girlfriend and (now) to the live-in girlfriend... how a boy from Detroit found a girl in cowboy boots.

I still randomly thank UNCW, Crawdad... college parties... all the things that brought Matt and I together. Because since that party, for almost three years now, we've been practically inseparable. I've learned that (1) The nice guy is the good guy... LiLu has seconded this... and (2) Never underestimate something when it takes your breath away.


I have to end this story with something sweet... Rebecca has just posted a fabulous recipe for Lemon Posset. She called me out specifically because she's read my blog and knows I need a simple recipe and that I've failed terribly at desserts in the past. She suggested that I make this treat tomorrow (eh... today) to celebrate Matt rejoining the apartment life, and I plan to! Can't wait to share! Thanks Rebecca :)

A Weekend with the Boyfriend's Parentals, DPN hat

Monday, April 13

Listening to "Forgive Me," Missy Higgins (I'm really, really into her music right now! Amazing voice, and all her songs have a different sound...)

I'm back! I have internet!

Ok... I really wasn't gone that long. But still!


The Visit with Matt's Parents

I think it went well.

I always worry... do they really like me? They seem to... but I'm a worrier and I'm never really sure.

Well, there was a really fun breakthrough this weekend. Matt's Dad made a really funny joke at my expense!! I know, I know... you're thinking He made fun of you? That's a good thing? YES.

Mark Twain once said, "Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place."

Eisenhower said, "A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done."

I really believe that the minute people are comfortable enough to make jokes at each other's expense, that there is a profound understanding, a sweet level of comfort, even a leveling idea of respect.

In my family, we're always joking with each other, telling funny-yet-embarrassing anecdotes, etc. It's what we do. That act of humor, when used benevolently, can be a very powerful tool. It's like saying... I respect you enough to make this joke, because I know that you're a strong person and that you'll think it's funny instead of taking offense. I love you and your mistakes/differences/humorous personality traits. I'll joke, You'll laugh, I'll laugh, and we'll be all the closer because of it.

So what was this joke?

Well, Snickers (Matt's parent's dog) was staying at our apartment while the parentals did a little shopping around Raleigh. When Matt's parents dropped him off they were giving me the run down (He probably won't eat too much food... he'll let you know if he needs to go out...) and Matt's dad said:

"If Snickers gets riled up, turn on Fox News. It really quiets him down."

My heart kind of sunk a little, but I shook my head and said "Ok, no problem." Then a quick look at Matt's father's face let me know that he was kidding. He was just saying that 'cause he knows I don't like Fox News. We all laughed.

You see, Matt's parents are very conservative. Now, they've never really engaged me in serious political discussion, but I'm... well... not very conservative. I think they've just come to understand this over the years (I can't believe Matt and I will have been dating for 3 years this August!!)... and they made a joke about it.

And I am taking that joke as "We accept you, even though you're different from us."


Disclaimer: (Unnecessary? Maybe.) Now, I am a very open person. I don't judge others based on their political or religious affiliations, and this post was not designed to argue that there is a correct political affiliation. I have mine, you have yours, this is the Internet and here all ideas and types and partisanship meld together. So please don't think that I was attacking a way of thinking. I just really enjoyed the little laugh that Matt's parents and I shared.

Bad News:

Matt is still at his parents.

Matt is a Financial Planner, and a lot of his clients live on his parent's lake or around the lake. Now is definitely the time to be talking to your financial planner, so he ended up lining up a lot of appointments in that area. He's going to stay at the lake and meet with a lot of his clients...

A lot as in-- he won't be home until WEDNESDAY.

Wednesday?!?! What am I going to do until Wednesday?!?!

I know, I know, this isn't really bad news. In fact, it's just wimpy news. My dad is in the Army, so I know 3 days is no long stretch to be missing the Matt... in fact, we used to be in a long distance relationship where I would see him once every one-to-two weeks!! So what am I complaining about?

The apartment is just more fun when he's here. Sigh. I wish we had a dog. Well, at least I can watch some of my Sex and the City DVDs...

Cooking Update:

  1. New Recipe Idea: Matt's Mom made homemade pizza! IT WAS SOO GOOD!! She promised to give me the recipe for the dough, which was delish. I talked her ear off while she was making it, and it didn't look too hard!! Can't wait to try (and share!) the recipe!

  2. Recipe Blogroll Sidebar: I have finally added the sidebar affiliate to my "recipe blogroll." This was inspired by Tamela's Goal list that she has in the sidebar of her blog. What a great idea!

  3. Recipe Goal for this week: Mom on the Run's Shrimp Scampi!
Knitting Update:

Knitting lessons:

Matt's Mom always shows me some new knitting trick. This time it was with DPNs.

I learned how to knit with DPNs from my mom and from a video I found on Knitting Help. But both taught me to knit in the INSIDE of the double pointed needle. When you knit on the inside, you're holding your work so that your "knitting space" is in the inside, between the DPNs.

This picture kind of
demonstrates what I'm saying
(Ignore the "english style"
note, it's just to show how the
"inside" DPNs hold their work):
knitting on the inside

Matt's Mom taught me how to knit on the OUTSIDE of the double pointed needles. It went much faster! I did find this video that also shows the DPN technique that way.

When you knit this way, your
work is facing you like so:

knitting on the outside
Much easier! More space to work in.

After her lesson, I quickly finished my DPN baby hat!

Lamby is modeling my DPN baby knit
because... well, I don't have a baby!
Plus, Lamby is so cute!!!

Now I'm still working on the little green jacket for Abby... and no, I haven't finished the lining for my Cable-stitch purse. I really want to but I need some down time with my Mom to figure that one out.

I think I've thought of a way to easily knit a little flower that I can attach to Bria's bag. I already gave it to her, but she asked if she could paint a flower on the knitted bag and that's just probably not a good idea.

Blog Update:

A BIG thanks to Tamela for this new blog award!

Super Woman Award!

I really like this award. A Superwoman who does it all? Sheesh... Thanks! I must say... I definitely don't do it all, there's a million more things I wish I had time for, but the secret to what I can get done: Coffee.

Who can I pass the award to? That's almost too easy! I'm a nanny, so I'm going to give it to all the followers of this blog who are MOMS!!

YAY Moms!

I only nanny for 8 hours at a time and I'm EXHAUSTED by the end of the day. So here is YOUR award, mom followers: Mom on the Run, Ace, Donna-FFW, Hogan Family's April, Sarah Says (you're almost a Mom!), Knitting Knoobie, I'm Busy Knitting ... I think that's all but if I missed a Mom follower let me know and feel free to take the award!

[Post-Post Note:I did miss a Mom follower-- two, actually!
Tales of a Teacher's Mary
Forever, Wherever's Kim

-- you're Superwomen, too! ]

Congrats on being a Super Woman! You know you are!

Here's the code for your award:


That's all for now, hope you all had a GREAT weekend!


Your ousted-liberal,
knit-loving, coffee-slurping

New Girl Blogger

Evil Lawnmower! Blog Business & Easter Plans

Thursday, April 9

Listening to "White Horse," Taylor Swift (Can't help but like her. I knowwww)

Jace, the now-10-month boy I nanny, is getting his molars.

Some of you know what that means.

screaming baby picture

Not crying, but screaming. SCREAMING! All the time.

Well ok, not all the time. A lot, though. I can't help but feel bad for the poor little guy. It must hurt so bad!

But right now he's sleeping
. I am soo happy he's sleeping...

of course, the next-door neighbor is MOWING HER LAWN. I really hope that doesn't wake up poor Jace...

Blog News:
1. I won a contest! Mom on the Run did a fab product review of My Granola. She's promising me a $20 gift card now so I can make my own mix! I am SO EXCITED!
2. I recently received the Kreativ Blogger Award from Ace!

The award came with instructions: name 7 things you love and 7 bloggers who deserve for this award to be passed onto them!

First: 7 Things I Love

1. Matt. He's a terrific boyfriend and roommate. Fun, smart, funny, nice-- not at all the guy I thought I'd end up with but totally perfect. (Don't worry, he rarely reads this blog so he won't get a big head) I realized recently that you all don't know much of anything about him, so hopefully in a couple posts I can tell you the hilarious story of how we met or something.

2. My family. Most of the time. 3 sisters, 4 parents, and a whole mess of extended family-- it can get kind of crazy. But I'm really close with my Mom and sisters... and I feel like my personality has definitely been shaped by growing in a house of 5 girls. Like I said, crazy. But it's that lovely kind of crazy. Most of the time.

3. Knitting. Oh knitting, I love you so much. You keep me sane. Especially when I'm knitting at Stitch & Bitch, which I had to skip this week because of time :-/ Can't wait to go next week and catch up!!!!!!!

4. Tutoring. Tutoring is one of the most rewarding jobs I've ever had! And one of the most hilarious.

5. Lacrosse. I've played lacrosse, coached lacrosse, and now I ref lacrosse. It's an amazing, fast-paced, exciting sport and I can't wait to tell my kids all my battle stories one day!

6. Fantasy Football. I love fantasy football, I really do. Just wait till football season comes back around. You'll hear about it!

7. Hobbies!! Ok, this is kind of cheating, but it allows me to love cooking, running, reading and Web design all in one category :) I just love learning new things!!

Next: 7 Blogs I love!
(Feel free to also join in and accept the Kreativ Blogger Award!)

From a North London Kitchen: One of my first blog friends, plus she's a really healthy/creative cook and a fantastic knitter!! Also, I know she understands the grad-school woes.

Duo Dishes: Amazing Recipes, always fun and exciting blog posts. Also one of my first blog friends!!!

Sarah Says: Sarah (lovely name!) is pregnant and just found out she is having a boy!! I love that she's sharing this journey with the blogging world.

Knitting Knoobie: I love her comments!! Always learning something from her, and her posts about NY make me want to take off for the city... she also inspires me to be a better knitter!

The Hogan Family: Cutest pictures EVER. Seriously. SO adorable. It helps that her kids are ADORABLE as well :)

Live it, Luv it: You must, must, must have sense of humor to read this blog-- and her TMI Thursdays could make Larry the Cable Guy blush. That's why I love her.

ACE! Always posting, always funny! Great blogging ideas as well.


Quick Easter Joke: Why does the easter bunny bring eggs?? Because he thinks guys should have guaranteed chicks at least once a year!!!

Haha...ha. Sorry, I really love corny jokes.


I will be with Matt and his parents all weekend at their beautiful Lake House on Lake Gaston. Where there is no internet. And no cell phone service. And no Starbucks.

But I will survive! I think. Knitting and homework time... his mom is a fabulous knitter and always helping me. And she's an amazing cook! Just a sweet lady in general. So that'll be fun... and I love their little dog Snickers, who's pretty old but still thinks he's a puppy.

For one weekend... I'll either love/relish the break from technology or go FREAKING CRAZY. I'll let you know. To be honest, I think I'll enjoy the quiet time with Matt, we've both been so busy lately!

I'm definitely bringing scrabble, though.

Happy Friday Eve!!!



New Girl Blogger

Hate-Me Mac&Chz, Southern BBQ, blog award/contests!

Monday, April 6

Listening to "Happier," Guster.

First of all-- thanks for all your comments on my recipe blogroll! I can't wait to get started and all of your advice/support has definitely helped. But before I start on your fantastic recipes, I must provide...

As promised:
The mac and cheese + bbq post!

A couple weeks ago, Matt put in a dinner request. He usually doesn't, letting me experiment with this new cooking hobby on my own, but he expressed a want for some baked mac and cheese.

I went to Smitten Kitchen first.
Of course, she had a recipe.

In the description, she wrote:
"Sadly, finding a good recipe [for macaroni and cheese] was not that simple, and seriously, when did mac-and-cheese get so gussied up? Bacon? Onions? Mushrooms? Blue cheeses? Heavy creams? Bechamel sauces with low proportions of mild cheeses?"

When I read that... I got to thinking.
How can I gussy up macaroni and cheese?!?!

I know, I know, that's not what she meant. I was an English major, and I can interpret the author's tone: Smitten Kitchen was telling me to keep it simple. But I didn't listen to her advice... or her recipe. I kinda listened, but mostly improvised (that's why I'm such a bad baker!!!)

Here's what Smitten Kitchen told me to do... I crossed out what I didn't do and bolded what I added, just so you could see the craziness...

You'll-Hate-Me Macaroni and Cheese

Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cottage cheese (not lowfat)
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch cayenne
I used: red pepper flakes
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese
I used: 1 pound of the 5-cheese italian cheese from Harris Teater, 1/2 pound cheddar
elbow pasta, uncooked.
I added: 8 slices of yummy deli turkey, chopped into small squares
I added: A mix of Bread Crumbs, red pepper flakes and a splash of milk (used food processor for a second to really get it mixed!) to go on top!

1. Heat oven to 375»F and position an oven rack in upper third of oven. Use 1 tablespoon butter to butter a 9-inch round or square baking pan.

2. In a blender, purée cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper together.* Reserve 1/4 cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, milk mixture, turkey and uncooked pasta. Pour into prepared pan.

Before the bread crumbs...
I made a little too much :)
M&C is a fantastic leftover food,

3. sprinkle heavily with bread crumb mixture, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.

3. Uncover pan, stir gently, sprinkle heavily with reserved cheese and dot with remaining tablespoon butter. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes more, until browned. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

So I took a mac and cheese recipe... which, let's face it, isn't included in many healthy cookbooks... and made it more fattening. Right before bathing suit season I'm throwing around a more-fattening-than-necessary recipe.

And it was SO good.

Sorry! I plan on making a healthier (no breadcrumbs, less cheese, and even some veggie!) version next time that Knitting Knoobie pointed me to. Find it here.

Also, the BBQ:
This is my step-mom's recipe. I am so glad to finally make it!

NOTE: BBQ up North and BBQ down south are about as different as Elton John and Tim McGraw. This below is a recipe for the southern kind of BBQ, the vinegar-style pulled pork. If you've never had it, try not to think of it as northern BBQ. Because it's not. But it's reallllll good.

Southern-Style Crock Pot BBQ

You Need:
3-4lbs pork shoulder (or butt!)
4 cups Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 Cup Ketchup
1/4 Cup OJ

1. Rub the pork with salt and pepper flakes. Stick the pork in the crock pot with the cider vinegar and red pepper flakes for at least 8 hours. Don't get rid of the cider vinegar mixture when you're done!
Look at that beauty!!
Gotta love the Crock Pot!

2. Shred the pork with a fork *should fall right apart!*
3. In a bowl, combine 2 cups of cider vinegar (from the crock pot!), ketchup, oj and red pepper flakes (more if you like spicy, less if you don't).
4. Pour mixture over shredded pork. Add to bun and enjoy!

Yum. Yuuummmm.

bbq m&c plate

Felt guilty about the (so yummy)
M&C that I skipped the bun on
the bbq. It was all sooooo good.

Blogging News:
Now, I wanted to continue this post with additional blogging news, a shoutout to ACE as thanks, thanks, thanks! for giving me a blog award, and a point to Mom on the Run since I just won one of her really fun contests!

BUT Matt is sick!!! Like really, really sick. Poor guy... he almost never gets sick... but when he does, it's bad.
So I'm going to go be a good girlfriend and pour him some gatorade, find him an extra blanket, maybe even put on some episodes of The Office.

Is it just me or is some crazy spring sickness really going around??!

So, I will catch up on the blogging excitement next post, promise!!

Hope you're all having a great week so far!

-Your southern-bbq-loving,

New Girl Blogger

Recipes to Tackle: My First Recipe Blogroll

Thursday, April 2

Goal: Tackle Some Recipes

Recipes to tackle- tackle because I'm no expert cook.

I really want to learn how to do these recipes... and how to do a lot of the cooking techniques involved in the recipes!

I'm gonna add a section to the right for "Recipe To-Do List" and cross these off as I try them :) ...I haven't done it yet, cause this took a little bit '0 time, but I will!

Quick Thank You:

Also, for all of you whose recipes are listed here, thanks! I really appreciate your inspirational recipe blogging :)

Here's a little, not-that-cool gift as a thank you if you'd like. I know not everyone is into the blog awards but I thought I'd use my Photoshop/Copy&Paste skills just in case. If you are listed below and you'd like one-- or both!-- please feel free... even if your blog isn't about cooking :) It's all fun, after all!

Inspiring Chef Award 2


With that, here we go!


Recipe Blogroll


Blue Cheese Chicken Burgers
  • Courtesy of Food Snob, who found the recipe on Mom on the Run's blog (love both of them!)
  • Need to Learn: How to cook these inside. We don't have an outside anymore... I have a "griddle," I've only ever used it for pancakes... can I use that?

Simple Roasted Chicken with Brussel Sprouts and Zucchini for Two
  • Courtesy of Not only Neurons
  • Need to Learn: How to truss a chicken... his recipe comes with video instructions! ...but where do you buy butcher's twine?!?!

Skinny Buffalo Wing Sammies

  • Courtesy of Steph Chows
  • Need to Learn: How to cook the chicken tenders without burning.

Chicken Sausage Jambalaya with Shrimp
  • Courtesy of Mom on the Run
  • Need to Learn: Umm... do I have to devein shrimp? They sell them that way, right?

Other Meaty Dishes:

Sweet & Spicy Meatballs
  • Courtesy of Duo Dishes
  • Need to Learn: How to throw a dinner party so I can serve these!

Stuffed Flank Steak
  • Courtesy of My Tasty Treasures
  • Need to Learn: How to do... everything. This is the holy grail recipe.

Poached Salmon with Dijon Cream Sauce
  • Courtesy of Phoo-D, who found the recipe on Epicurious
  • Need to Learn: Do I really even know what poaching means? I'm just not sure.

Pasta/Bakes/Dinner Pies:

Shrimp Scampi

  • Courtesy of Mom on the Run
  • Need to Learn: How to not eat it all at once :) And what type of pasta should I serve this with?

Chicken Marsala

  • Courtesy of My Tasty Treasures
  • Need to Learn: So... Marsala is a wine? Or something? I had no idea. Wow. Also, it looks like this recipe requires some careful planning and multi-tasking. I can do it.

Mushroom Bourguignon
  • Courtesy of From a North London Kitchen, who found it on Smitten Kitchen
  • Need to Learn: How to get boyfriend to like mushrooms... and by the way, "bourguignon" means served in the manner of Burgundy; or, basically, the inclusion of red wine in the sauce. There's your word of the day :)

Mac & Cheese


  • Courtesy of Steph Chows
  • Need to Learn: Where chick peas are in the grocery store

Lemon Dill Flatbread
  • Courtesy of Duo Dishes
  • Need to Learn: "Knead gently" is a little scary cause I've never kneaded dough. I don't think. But I'll just take it slow, since it's my first time (ha! ...sorry.)

Whole Wheat Cheese & Herb Biscuits
  • Courtesy of Duo Dishes (one of my favorite posts from this blog!)
  • Need to Learn: Well, this whole recipe is a little complicated. Just challenging enough for the New Girl. The slow incorporation of milk into the dough... I'm so awful at that. I always just want to throw everything together. But I'll focus!!

Healthy Shoe-String Potato Fries
  • Courtesy of Steph Chows
  • Need to Learn: How to cut these potatoes into strips without cutting my finger off. Can I somehow adapt this to my food processor?

"Fried" Zucchini
  • Courtesy of Steph Chows
  • Need to Learn: How to spell Zucchini (I had to double check!!)

Dessert and Decadence:

Double-Chocolate Biscotti
  • Courtesy of From a North London Kitchen, who found the recipe on her friend Batter Splattered's blog
  • Need to Learn: I'm just a bad baker, so I'll really have to focus, but now I have something to pair with my love of coffee! Need to learn not to drink more coffee just because of these.

Molten Chocolate Cake

  • Courtesy of Duo Dishes
  • Need to Learn: What can I use as a "ramekin" dish... wish I had stole some from my old waitressing job! Ok, no, I'm not a thief or anything, I wouldn't have. I'm just saying.

Malted Milk Ball Cookies
  • Courtesy of My Tasty Treasures
  • Need to Learn: How to chop whoppers without chopping my finger.

Quick-Fire Cookies
  • Courtesy of From a North London Kitchen, who found the recipe on Smitten Kitchen
  • Need to Learn: (1) whether or not I like almonds in cookies and (2) the "bake for about ten minutes, or until the edges are just hardening and they've risen slightly" has given me trouble before, as some of you may remember...

  • Courtesy of Sarah Says
  • Need to learn: Which of my friends have a fondue kit!

Wow! What a list!
I'll try to do another one of these lists again soon-- it was fun!-- but only after I've tackled a bunch!

If you put a Recipe Blogroll on your blog let me know and I'll link it! Here's the image again:
Recipe Blogroll

Thanks to all of you food bloggers for your instructions and patience. I hope not to disappoint :)

And remember, if you ever see a recipe you think is easy enough for even The New Girl, let me know!

I swear, I'll gossip about my fab mac and cheese/ bbq dinner. I just couldn't help but get this done!! So fun!!

Your probably-too-ambitious,
New Girl Blogger