Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Freezer rice

I prefer brown rice over white rice. But brown rice takes at least 45 minutes to cook, and white rice can be cooked in about 15 minutes. And I don’t always have those extra 30 minutes to get dinner on the table. So when I do have time, I cook up a big batch of brown rice and pop it in the freezer!

freezer rice

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How to refinish an old table

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I’ve been unhappy with my home office set up for a while. The biggest issue has been the desk space. It just hasn’t been cutting it for me. I had a table that I could use instead of the desk I was using, but it was in pretty bad shape. So I took on a project – refinish the table! And I did it with only $5 and in 30 minutes!

table before-after

Friday, January 25, 2013


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A couple of weeks ago, Farmer Doc and I went to Nashville, Tennessee. We headed south for the American Farm Bureau National Convention. The convention was held in the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, which was just as amazing as you have heard!

Opryland at night1

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Slow-cooker hearty meatball stew

hearty slow-cooker meatball stew
I love my slow-cooker in the winter. And Gooseberry Patch’s new cookbook “Slow Cooking All Year ‘Round” has just the recipes I’m looking for this time of year! This was just one of the easy (and yummy!) recipes I tried from this cookbook. The hearty meatball stew is easy to put together, and is great comfort food for these cold nights!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Year 2 Change

I am setting a BHAG this year.

That’s right, a Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

And it all has to do with this…

six am
My favorite thing. Or not. (As you can probably tell by the title of this blog!)

I have never been a morning person. But I’ve been thinking a lot (especially lately) that this would be a good change for me to make. On the rare occasions when I do get up and get moving early, I tend to be more productive and have more energy for the entire day.

Let me say… sleeping in has been hard-wired in me for a very long time. My mother and my grandmother are both night owls, and I think I have a genetic predisposition. I also had some big-time positive reinforcement for sleeping in when I was growing up.

cold outside
If I slept too late and missed the bus, my dad would drive me to school. No questions, no trouble. Who wants to be on the bus for 30 minutes when you live 5 minutes from school? Not me!

This became my habit.

Leo in bed
Snuggled under the covers, often with a warm, purring cat. What better way to spend the morning?!

And the snooze button… oh, you are my favorite disaster… we have such a love-hate relationship…

But you know what? When I hit snooze for an hour, I’m not really getting an extra hour of sleep. And I’m actually more tired when I do finally get up.

I’ve had three recent motivations and inspirations.

First, I read a blog post and listened to a podcast by Michael Hyatt about being a morning person, and the timing was just right for me.

Second, my friend Cris is making some amazing lifestyle changes with her family. And she is helping to share her motivation with her Year 2 Change challenge.

Year 2 Change badge
Third, I just found out that I’m going to be giving 2 talks at a national veterinary conference in June. The first talk is at 6:00. In the morning. This is not just be up by 6:00, and it’s not just be there by 6:00. This is serious – be up, be awake, be professional, and be ready to teach by 6:00. In the morning.

I need to get a head start on this if I’m going to be ready for this conference in June. (The plus side is that it’s in Seattle. So 6:00am is really 8:00am my time. But that’s still stinking early to be teaching. At least for me.)

So here I go.

I’m on a mission to get up at 6:00am without using my snooze button. I’m easing into it with baby steps – 30 days of only 2 snooze hits, followed by 30 days of only one snooze hit, and then 30 days of no snoozes. Then I’ll start making my get-up time a bit earlier.

I’m using my NeuYear calendar to help me Punch 2013 in the Throat and make this my Year 2 Change. In addition to tracking all our travel, meetings, and my deadlines, I’m using my calendar to keep track of my goal.

NeuYear calendar
I started this adventure on January 7. A star is for a day I hit my goal (6:00am, 2 snoozes). A “3” means I hit snooze 3 times. A blank day means I missed – either I didn’t hit my goal (2 days, usually because I stayed up too late, or because I drank too much wine), or I intentionally didn’t set my alarm. (2 days – a girl needs a little break every now and then!)

I’m two weeks in, and I’m doing pretty well. Especially considering where I started.

Do you want to make 2013 your Year 2 Change? Join the challenge, and let’s do it together!

{Affiliate links were used in this post.}

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Put on your coats, girls!

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It’s snowed, it’s thawed, it’s rained. It was 45 degrees today, headed towards a high of 9 degrees next week. It must be winter in Indiana!

The cats and I stay nice and toasty warm inside all winter long. But what about our cows? Sorry to say, but I am not letting them inside our new house. They’ll just have to tough it out outside. But we’ll help them.

fuzzy cow

Friday, January 18, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2

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Is this a disco party, or is this a tablet? Can it be both? Verizon Wireless let me try it to find out!Samsung Galaxy Tab2
(That's the start up screen. There's no music, but I still boogey.)

I already have a Kindle Fire (the original), and I don’t use it for much more than a glorified e-reader. When I realized that the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (on the left) is about the same size as the Fire (on the right), I wasn’t sure that I would like it much.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Slow-Cooker Irish Oatmeal

I love breakfast. And there is just something about waking up to a hot breakfast (that you don’t have to cook)! Enter Top o’ the Morning Irish Oats, made with steel-cut oats.

slow-cooker steel-cut oatmeal
This recipe is from one of Gooseberry Patch’s new cookbooks, “Slow Cooking All Year Round.” Don’t forget, I’m giving away a copy of this cookbook to one lucky reader, and today is your last chance to enter!

Slow Cooking All Year Round

Monday, January 14, 2013

Muddy boots

I grew up in New Jersey, and spent my college and veterinary school years in New England. I am used to the winter. Heck, I learned how to drive on the ice in NJ and spent over 30 days in a row where the temperature never got above 20 degrees in Massachusetts one winter. (Frozen pipes? Yep.)

I know that wouldn’t count as a harsh winter for my North Dakota friends, but it was touch much for us Mass folks.

In New England, once winter sets in, it gets cold and snows. It stays cold and that snow sticks around until the spring. Not so in Indiana. Indiana cycles through snow, rain, and mud. For months.
The week after Christmas, we got somewhere between 12-18 inches of snow, in two storms. On January 11, it rained somewhere around 2 inches. The snow melted and the ditches flooded.
flooding in January
And it made mud. Lots and lots of mud.

Friday, January 11, 2013


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I’m a Motorola phone user. And I’ve had my “regular” RAZR for almost a year. I’m a giant fan. But I’ve heard lots and lots about this RAZR MAXX from some friends, and I’ve been itching to try it. I got the chance to try one from Verizon Wireless. Turns out, I love it even more than my “regular” RAZR! The RAZR MAXX (on the left) is a little bit bigger than the RAZR (on the right), but just barely.
RAZR regular and MAXX faces
(There’s a glare-resistant screen protector on the phone on the right, so don’t judge the screens by this photo.)

The RAZR MAXX (left) is also just a little thicker than the RAZR (right), but not enough that it’s uncomfortably big.
RAZR regular and MAXX
Hands down, my absolute definite most favorite thing about this phone is the battery life. If the RAZR MAXX had an “i” in it’s name, I would dot it with a little heart. I consistently got 2 full days of battery life out of this baby with moderate email and social media usage (minimal video, and a little streaming music). Holy cow! Farmer Doc also took this phone to work for a couple of weeks. The service in our veterinary clinic isn’t great, and his regular RAZR would be dead by the end of the day. The MAXX? Still had at least 40% left at the end of the day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Slow-cooker sweet and sour beef

I am in love with “Slow Cooking All Year Round” by Gooseberry Patch. Everything I have tried has been a success… and so easy! am giving away a copy of this cookbook, and you can still enter until midnight on Wednesday 1/16, so go check it out!
Slow Cooking All Year RoundSlow-cooker sweet and sour beef…  Like going out for Chinese, but better!
finished cooking

Monday, January 7, 2013

Gooseberry Patch Cookbook Giveaway

I am always looking for good slow cooker recipes, and Gooseberry Patch always delivers! In fact, one of their new cookbooks for 2013, Slow Cooking All Year 'Round, recently made it into my kitchen. Better yet, I have one copy to give away to one lucky reader!Slow Cooking All Year Round
I love that this cookbook is broken down by seasons. There are the hearty stews you think of for winter time, like the Hearty Meatball Stew.hearty slow-cooker meatball stew

Friday, January 4, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S III Phone

Farmer Doc and I recently had the opportunity to test drive this Samsung Galaxy S III phone from Verizon Wireless. This was our first adventure into Samsung electronics. (Although definitely not our last!)Samsung Galaxy S III
I’ve been used to the Motorola DROID RAZR phone. The Samsung phone had a little different feel with rounded corners and soft angles, which I liked. It’s about the same size and weight as the RAZR, so it was easy to get used to.
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