Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Stuff #4 - Happy Songs

No, no, I'm not talking about "Don't Worry, Be Happy." That song actually kind of makes me want to punch somebody.

There are some songs out there that just make you happy. I really don't know what it is, but when I hear these songs, I get that instant feel-good feeling. And my head starts to bop back and forth. And then my whole body starts to sway. And before you know it, I'm almost full out dancing whilst belting out the lyrics as loud as I can.

What just me?

If you've never done that, you should. I don't recommend you do that at work in your cubicle, however. Perhaps in the car, by yourself - that's my favorite time.

So, here are the happy songs that have made my list. I dare you to listen to them and not move your body to the music in any way shape or form and not feel somewhat lifted after listening.

It's Your Thing - The Isley Brothers

Pennies From Heaven - Louis Prima

Click this link - and then in the upper right you can click play to hear the song

Jackie Wilson Said - Van Morrison

Click this link - and follow instructions for above

I think those are my top 3. Honorable mentions go to:

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go - WHAM!

Dancing in the Moonlight - King Harvest

What's your go to feel good song?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Toby hates me.

Can you blame him?


I'm pretty sure he'll forgive me when I give him his frozen Kong later tonight though.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just like Bob Barker says. . . .

Please get your pets spayed or neutered!


That's right. If you don't I'll sic this maniac attack dog on you.


Yup, he's pretty ferocious.


OK, OK, he probably won't hurt you. But you should still make sure you get your animals spayed and neutered.

Tobias is at the vet having his "procedure" done as we speak. He didn't want to go, I hated leaving him, and I hate picturing him lonely, scared and sad. But, I know it has to be done.

I suppose I should take this moment to let you know if you do want a new pet - research first, buy second. And research A LOT. I'm talking hours. I'm talking phone calls with people who know. I'm talking budgetting your finances to include your pet. I'm talking reading up on the breed to make sure it's grooming, physical activity needs, etc. match up with you and your family. If your getting a puppy - be prepared to sacrifice quite a few nights of sleep and a lot of freedom and hours to training that pup. Oh, and you might lose a few table legs and curtains to those puppy teeth.

And make sure you find a reputable breeder - lots of breeds have websites with breed stewards who are willing/thrilled/excited to help you find a good breeder. Backyard breeders destroy the breed whereas reputable breeders keep the breed strong. If you're finding your puppies in the newspaper classifieds or in a box by the local grocer - that's probably NOT a reputable breeder. And of course you can check local rescues and shelters for a new furry friend. I've been scanning Petfinder for our next addition. We're trying to wait until Spring to adopt, but I'm not sure I can wait that long. Those puppy dog eyes just have a way of drawing me in.


OK, I'll hop off my soapbox now.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Operation Casino Royale

Andy's birthday surprise trip was a success. He was surprised and we had a great time - Andy even won some moolah. I thought I'd take a moment to review the breweries and beers sampled on the way down and way back up. We only made it to 2 different places, but that's 2 more we can check off the list.

Brewery #1 - The Livery - Benton Harbor, Michigan


We had a great time at the Livery and our whole experience exemplified why I LOVE small/hole-in-the-wallesque breweries. We arrived around 1:30 pm and it was just us, a family finished lunch, the bartender/owner and a guy from Houston. Here's why I loved The Livery and why I love hole-in-the-wallesque breweries:

#1 - The bartender always has a good story - In this case, the bartender entertained us and Houston (I don't know his name, so I'm calling him Houston) with the story of how the bar came to be. Synopsis - They bought the space but didn't know what to do with it. They wanted to do something with live music because the market was lacking in the area. Then there was a giant wind storm and they came to survey the damage with some beer in tow. Whilst drinking the beer and surveying the damage the light bulb went off - live music + microbrewery = non-existent in Southwest Michigan. And so The Livery was born.

#2 - The people - We were there early, so there were only a few of us. But Houston had a pretty awesome story. He had a trip planned to Detroit to visit his buddy. His buddy bailed on him at the last minute, but he didn't want to cancel his flight, time off work, etc. so he came to Michigan anyways to embark on a brewery tour. Way to make lemonade out of lemons, Houston. The Livery was stop number 3 on his brewery trip from Detroit to Chicago.

#3 - The beer - No brainer there. This stuff was GREAT. My favorite was actually the Dunkle Weizen - a dark wheat ale. I love wheat beers, and I don't get to try dark wheats very often. This was a treat.

Brewery #2 - Old Hat Brewery - Lawton, Michigan

We arrived early on Sunday, just in time to see the Lions gain a large lead and then lose it in a matter of minutes. Good job, Lions. But, I digress. I'd have to say this brewery was a disappointment. The beer just wasn't that good. The brewery itself seemed rich in history and I liked the atmosphere of the place. It sounded like a nice family run little joint - mom was in the kitchen, daughter was our bartender and dad was owner and in and out throughout the visit. We didn't have a bad experience by any means, but I just left the place less than impressed.

I'd have to look at the list, but I that these were breweries #14 and #15 visited in the state. Only about 40 left to go.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

London Calling

Photo courtesy of E01 on Flickr

Oh bloody 'ell. That daft crumpet is blogging again.

I have no idea why I love the British so much. Perhaps it's the accents. Perhaps it's from the summer I lived/worked in London. Perhaps it's because their sayings are the best and there's no need to wonder why they're so entertaining - they just are.

My husband won't let me speak with a fake British accent. Maybe because I do it at the loudest/shrekiest level possible and he in turn tells me I sound ugly.

I worked with first graders and fourth graders while I was in London. There were a few times when I had NO idea what the kids were trying to tell me. For example:

I was in the first grade classroom when one of my sweet little 6 year olds came up to me with a sad face and her hand outstretched.

Me: What do you need, Tilly? (I'm not making that up - could her name BE any more British?)

Tilly (in her cute little accent): I've hurt my finger.

Me: Awww, let me see. (I examine the barely visible owwie on her finger)

Teacher: Can you get her a plaster? I'm out but there's some in the lounge.

Me: A what?

Teacher: A plaster.

Me: A what?

Teacher: Oh, you call them something different, don't you? Um, do you know, it's like a sticker that you'd put on a cut?

Me: Oh, a band-aid.

Teacher: YES! A "band-aid" (said in American accent). Could you run and get some?

Then there was the time the fourth graders were going to be playing tennis in gym.

David: We get to learn tennis today. Do you know how to play?

Me: Yes, actually, I played a lot back home.

David: Are you heavy?

Me: Am I what?

David: Are you heavy?

Me: What?

David: (completely exasperated in me): Ughhhh, are you any good?

I was straight rubbish when it came to understanding those blokes.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy Stuff #3 - Cheeks

Get your mind out of the gutter. Not those cheeks, I'm talking about the cheeks on your face.

Cheeks make my happy. I know, kind of weird, but bare with me here. Think about it - baby cheeks, cheeks with dimples, chubby cheeks - you just gotta love 'em. I actually have to hold myself back when I meet a new baby because I don't want to accidentally go overboard and squeeze their cheeks too hard. Now, who better to use as an example of awesome cheeks than my husband. Are you ready to see his baby cheeks as an actual baby? No, I don't think you're ready, but here you go anyways:


Since you're reading this, I like you, so I'll spoil you with another:


Ok, just one more:


Now look at those big round cheeks and tell me they don't make you smile.

Now, someday far away when we decide to have our own babies, I'm going to pray, hope and wish on every star I see that our kids inherit those cheeks.

Pork Chops w/Raspberry Sauce and Baked Sweet Potato fries


I know you love my awesome jokes. Here's a new one. You're welcome.

Q. What do you call a pig that knows karate?

A. A pork chop

Which brings me to:

Pork Chops with Raspberry Sauce

These were FANTASTIC. I followed the recipe exactly but didn't have the fresh thyme, which was optional anyways. The pork was still a little pink, so next time I will probably cook about 6 minutes each side instead of 4-5. The raspberry sauce was so good with it - just the right amount of tart and sweet.

I baked some Sweet Potato Fries to go with it. No recipe really, I sliced up 3 sweet potatoes into thick sticks. I threw into a bowl and added about 1 or 1 1/2 Tbsp's of olive oil, a little pepper and maybe 1/2 Tbsp. of Cajun seasoning. I put them in the oven preheated to 400 degrees on a greased cookie sheet. They were done about 40 or 45 minutes later. Simple and delicious.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Oh son, you just got Rick Rolled.

I got a new wrinkle in my brain this weekend. I didn't learn anything that will help me in my career, save the planet or anything else that would be deemed even somewhat purposeful. Nope, instead I learned what Rick Rolling is.

Say you go to search for something on You Tube, like for instance, the funniest Family Guy clips. You click on the video, but instead of seeing Family Guy clips - SURPRISE! - you hear or watch the video for Rick Astley's awesome 80's song Never Gonna Give You Up.

First, an example of getting Rick Rolled. Don't spend too much time with this clip, the next clip is the real winner.

Now, I present you with the actual video for the song. I can't embed the video, so you're going to have to bare with me and click the link:

Rick Astley, God's gift to women

Let me provide a brief synopsis of the video. Rick sings outside by a fence and showcases his awesome dancing arms. Random blonde girl spins around. Rick sings in a secret underground cave. Rick sings inside a restuarant. Bartender thinks Rick sounds pretty groovy. Bartender can't resist the urge to dance his pants off. Random blonde guy shows off his Napoleon Dynamite-esque dance moves. Fade to black.

I'm sure the director, producer, and idea man behind this video went on to great things. With a plot line like that, you really can't go wrong.

Just so you know, my favorite part of the video happens at 2:08 when Bartender changes into hotpants and jumps off a fence. It's pretty intense.

I miss the 80's.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar and Garlic


Q. Why did the mushroom go to the party?

A. Because he was a fungi!

Q. Why did he leave?

A. Because there wasn't mushroom.

Ok, after you've picked yourself up off the floor from laughing at my hilarious jokes, let me tell you about my love for mushrooms. My favorite pizza growing up was ham and mushroom. My birthday meal of choice was always steak with sauteed mushrooms. However, I don't cook with them much, and was looking to change that with this little recipe.

I followed the recipe pretty closely, but I left out the flour. However, in the end I wished the sauce would have been a little thicker. So I probably shouldn't have left that out. You live, you learn.

While this was quite tasty, I have to compare it to one of my favorite recipes: Braised Balsamic Chicken I made this over a year ago and it turned out delicious. Now that I remember how much I love it, I'll be working it into a meal plan in the coming weeks.

Sausage Pasta


I'm way behind on recording my recipes here, so I'll just start adding a few. We made this tasty meal last week. This is the recipe we followed:

Sausage Pasta

I LOVED it. The hot, spicy turkey sausage is a must - otherwise I don't think it would have had enough flavor in it. We also used whole wheat pasta to make it as healthy/nutritious as possible. Although the healthy may have gone out the window when I applied a few hearty helpings of parmesan cheese.

I also compared this to a meal we made a few weeks ago following this recipe. It doesn't look like there is much difference in the two recipes, but the allrecipes one was a lot better - the onion, garlic and chicken broth gave it some much needed flavor flav.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Big Brother is watching . . .

. . . puppies.

Could anyone else watch puppies all day long?



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Simply the Best

Andy called. Apparently he won tickets from work to take a party bus to see Tina Turner in concert at The Palace later this month. Immediately this scene from The Office UK began playing in my head.

On that note, if you haven't already watched The Office original UK version go rent it tonight. Or just call me, I'll loan it to you. Don't get me wrong, the US version is excellent, but the UK version is pure genius.

Halloween in Pictures

It's been a busy couple of days. With Halloween festivities and the election and general chores the Davies household schedule has been packed. I thought I'd update the blog on the festivities of Halloween 2008. I'm going to do this through pictures, because I'm tired, lazy and everyone remembers as a kid picture books are way better than books covered in words.

As you peruse these photos, think about these things: Guess which pumpkin Andy carved? Yes, that is a REAL mustache. Don't worry, they're just cookies. Reverse cowgirl. It's Goose, not Maverick. Don't worry, he's just refilling his costume.

And I'd like you to know that I tried to convince Andy to switch costumes with me, because, come on, it would have been way funnier.












Thursday, October 30, 2008

Just sayin' . . .

I'm knocking on wood of course as I post this:


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Easiest. Dip. Ever.

I began making this dip at some point in college. I have no idea where the original recipe came from, but it's so flippin' easy I just have to share. I made this for my work's MSU vs. UofM tailgate party on Friday. Part of the work celebration was a "Decorate Your Cubicle" competition. I decked mine out in all the MSU gear I could find, and I got second place! Go State!


Mexican Layer Dip

1 can of refried beans
1 jar of chunky salsa
2 packs of cream cheese
1 tub of sour cream
1 package of taco seasoning
1 block of sharp cheddar cheese
1 block of monterey jack

Spread the refried beans along the bottom of a pan. I use 9x13, but you can use whatever you've got on hand. Spread to the thickness you desire. If you don't like beans, you can always skip them too.

Pour salsa over the beans and spread evenly.

In separate bowl, mix together the sour cream and cream cheese and taco seasoning. You can add vary the sour cream and cream cheese to get the thickness you desire, and also vary how much taco seasoning you use to vary the spiciness.

Spread the mixture on top of the salsa.

Shred the cheeses and put on top - viola! Easiest. Dip. Ever.

I like this basic recipe because you can vary it to your own personal tastes. My mother skips the salsa and beans altogether. You could add black olives on top or mix some green chiles or jalapenos into the creamy mixture to add some heat. Whatever suits you and your tastebuds.

Oh, and in case I haven't rubbed this in yet. . . .


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Stuff #2 - Flight of the Conchords

TV Show + funny = I'm a happy lady. This will not be the only TV show on my list of Happy Stuff. So, the show for this post is Flight of the Conchords. They've been around for awhile now, I remember Danielle directed me to some YouTube clips of them a year or two ago. Then last spring we purchased the DVD's and had some good laughs. For some reason, comedies like this are always funnier when watched in a group with friends. Perhaps while drinking too.

I picked a few of my favorite clips/songs from the show for you to enjoy. I realize the show/humor isn't for everyone, but I like it still. It's hard to argue with lyrics like "I’m the mother flippin’ Rhymenocerous" or "I'm not crying, it's just been raining . . . on my face."

Now go do yourself a favor and watch a few more of the clips on YouTube.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Last night, I finally fulfilled one of my wifely duties. I baked. Andy granted me 100 wife points. But I also asked him to open a beer for me, so I think I lost some wife points then. Did I mention that while I was baking (and doing a load of laundry mind you) Andy sat on the couch and watched the Red Wings game? Yeah, apparently that's how he earns his husband points.

But I digress - back to the cookies. I had seen the recipe online and felt like doing something festive. As a non-baker I had to go to the store and purchase alomst all of the ingredients. I had never needed baking soda, baking powder, etc. before. And yes, I did have to make a second trip to get a bag of powdered sugar after Toby's breakfast incident yesterday.

Here's the recipe I followed:

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

I did everything by the recipe, except I didn't have nutmeg, I used 1/2 a cup of brown sugar and 1 cup of white sugar, and the glaze needed about 2 more tablespoons of milk to get the right consistency.

Overall, I think they're tasty! Also tasty was the delicious beer I consumed while baking. New Holland Brewing Company's Ichabod.


It's a nice pumpkin spice beer. A lot of time I find spice beers to be too overpowered by the spice, but this is much more subtle.

So, it's hard to get a true verdict on the cookies, since Andy will eat anything and like it. I'm bringing these cookies tailgating tomorrow, so I don't know that a group of drunk hooligans will give me an informative critique either. Which means my opinion will rule supreme, and I give these cookies an A.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Let's play a game.

This is the Guess What Toby had for Breakfast Game. Previous answers in this game include, A sudoku book, a magazine, a bag of apples, a belt, a bra, and a plastic hanger.

Now make a guess.

Did you guess a bag of powdered sugar? If so, then you would be correct.

I now have a white dog and a white living room. Of course, when Andy found Tobias, Toby gave him the "What? I'm not doing anything. Is something wrong? I'm just hanging out here" look.

I wish he would have taken a picture. Kind of like when parents find their kids playing with make up. You want to be mad at them for being naughty, but it's so stinkin' cute you have to laugh and take pictures.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Stuff #1 -

There are various things that make me happy. I've decided to post about these happiness makers one at a time. The first one on my list is the website:

Now, the site is exactly what you would think it would be. Stuff on cats. So simple, yet so amusing. I cannot explain to you why I find this amusing either. Perhaps it's a combination of the cuteness and the silliness of the whole thing. Really, I have no idea what's so funny about stuff on cats, but I keep looking at the pictures and smiling.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Running to Stand Still

So, I've been slacking in the running department since doing the 10K in the Fifth Third Riverbank run here in Grand Rapids last May. Not that big of a deal really. . . . if I didn't have to run in the Detroit relay marathon this coming weekend

My leg of the marathon is just short of a 10K (only 5.8 miles) but I just have not been in training mode - in both the eating and exercise departments. I've maybe put in about 10 miles per week in the past few weeks, when I should be around 20 - 25. Yesterday, I ran 5 miles and was logging just over 9 minute miles. That's ok, but for the Fifth Third run I was at just over 8 minute miles. It looks like my slacking is really showing. Bummer.

So, we'll see how this weekend goes. I'd like to do my 5.8 miles in less than 55 minutes.

And next year, Andy and I have both vowed to do the 25K portion of the Fifth Third run. That's more than a half-marathon, and thus an extremely terrifying distance for me. But, I want to challenge myself. And the more I run the more donuts, candy and ice cream I can eat - right?

P.S. - Apparently, when I run, my left wrist likes to look broken.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Feeling young and looking young

Photo by Amy Carroll Photography
I went over to my parent's yesterday to help out with a digital picture frame we had bought them as a wedding gift. That didn't go so well, but I won't get into all of the I-hate-technology details here. I was reminded that I hope I got my Mama's genes - because I am always astounded by how young she looks. Not that she's OLD, of course, and no I won't reveal her actual age. :) Let's just say she was in her 30's when she had me. I'm pretty sure she has done this by doing something doctors tell us to do all the time. Avoiding the sun! She burns easy, so she has no choice but to use sunscreen and stay away from those rays. I try to keep that in mind and I am proud, in a strange way, of how pale I stayed this summer. Yes, a tan is nice, and I still get a little color in my skin, but I don't want to have a face lift at age 38 either.

I have probably been to the tanner about 10-20 times in my life. Not a lot. I think I'll make a vow never to go again. When I think about it, I get this eerie feeling that generations down, people will think it was crazy that people went to tanners. I can just see them saying, "Wait, they purposefully put themselves under proven cancer-causing and wrinkle-inducing rays? Wait, wait, they PAID for this to happen? So those crazy people back then thought that turning thier skin a few shades darker was more important than avoiding cancer?"

Hey, I'm still vain, and I haven't fully learned to love the pale of my skin. I'd like to test out some self-tanners. My Mama gave me a few before the wedding that I didn't end up using. Now that it's becoming cold and I can cover any streaky/blotchy/ucky mishaps with clothing I may crack them open.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chickpea Curry and Crunchy Romaine Toss

Although my mother would never believe me, I have been cooking quite a bit lately and enjoying it. I like trying new things - and I feel a little proud after I make a meal - like I just accomplished something. I know that for most people simply cooking a meal wouldn't really be an accomplishment, but come on, I'm trying here. And we got this lovely, big kitchen for a reason, right?

So, I made a salad and a main dish. The salad I had actually tried out on my coworkers a week ago and an impromptu potluck lunch we decided to have. I got the recipe from my fav cooking website,, and I followed it to a T.

I found it quite tasty myself and fairly easy to make. It took probably 15 minutes to do all the tearing, chopping and toasting.
Next up, the main dish. We usually cook with turkey and chicken, but I decided to mix it up with chickpeas as the protein.
Grade: A

Now, this was pretty easy too. All it required was chopping an onion, mixing some spices and opening up a couple cans of chickpeas. We served it over brown rice. The spice was good and Andy enjoyed the heat it packed (not TOO much, but enough to have a glass of water near). I wanted a little more crunch in mine - not sure what that could entail next time. Some reviewers said they added tomatoes, which I may try also.
Grade: B

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Young whippersnappers

So, maybe sometimes you do grow up. Well, maybe not so much grow UP but more grow OUT of some things. In this case, it's tailgating with the students.

All of our tailgates have always been in the student area by the tennis courts at MSU. We've always had a blast. But something different has been happening this year. In the past few tailgates, these words have either passed through my lips or my mind:

"Gosh, that music is loud. Can't they turn it down a bit?"

"Those girls must be freezing! Put on some clothes already!"

"That guy is way too drunk and crazy."

Now, why did these thoughts never cross through my mind before? I don't know, but apparently I'm growing out of being in the student section. I still want to drink and hang out with my friends, but I'd like there to be a little less madness around me. So, I believe we will be moving our beloved tailgate to a different location next year. Which means I will have to donate money. Which means we're DEFINITELY getting older - paying bills is directly correlated with age.

I have to go watch Matlock and knit a potholder now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is that a towel in your belly?

On lunch breaks Andy and I trade off going home to let Tobias out. Monday it was my turn. I returned home to see puke in his crate and a long thread coming out of his throat. Then I noticed the towel we had been using to wipe his feet during the rainy weekend was chewed up and half pulled into his crate.

I was a bad puppy Mama and had set the towel on his crate. Shame on me.

I called the vet. When I was explaining what happened, she gasped. Great, as if I wasn't feeling scared enough about the situation, your *gasp* at what he did sure doesn't make me feel better. Then she talks to the vet and tells my I need to bring him in immediately.

It was at this point I teared up and thought "I just killed my perfect little puppy."

Turns out all is fine. The vet thought he was a smaller dog and Toby's eating and pooping like normal.

I'm never having human babies.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Well Hello!

Photo by Amy Carroll Photography

Who: Juli

What: A twenty-something wife, daughter, sister, friend and doggy-Mama

Where: Ada, Michigan

When: Whenever boredom strikes

Why: Why not?

I'll start out by explaining the name. In trying to think of a name, I thought about some of my favorite quotes, songs, etc. One personal favorite quote of mine is:

"People never really grow up. They just learn how to act in public."

That pretty much sums up the way I live my life. In public, I think I put up the image of being a mature and intelligent lady. Although I appear this way, I still laugh at fart jokes and the other week I opened a car door into my face.

If you're reading this, you probably already know my public image is a total fraud. But for some reason, you're still my friend. Thanks for that, and I hope you'll never grow up with me.