Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Friends

Our friends, Mandy and Lee, were sweet enough to keep Bear and Bryant for us this weekend while we were out of town. Mandy and Lee have two black labs, Emma and Suzy, and it was Bear and Bryant's first time meeting them. Emma and Suzy are several years older than our dogs and I don't think they are into younger men! So while there was no romantic chemistry, they definitely had fun playing together. :)

Mandy sent me these pictures earlier this week from their big visit and I'm just now getting around to posting them. In case you can't tell, Bear is almost as big as their full-grown dog! If I'm having this hard of a time watching my dogs get big, I can't even imagine what it will be like when I have children!

Monday, April 28, 2008

I Love This Girl...

We had the most perfect day with Sydney on Saturday. First she had a soccer game in the morning. Her step-dad-to-be promised her a surprise if she did good, so Syd scored 6 goals! It appears she has no problem performing when the pressure is on! :) By far, her best game yet! Afterwards, we ate lunch and went to a park to take pictures. We used a tripod so we could get pictures of the three of us. As usual, I went a little crazy with the camera. Thankfully, Syd loves posing as much as I love photographing. After that, we went and bought kites so we could fly them at the park. It was so beautiful, we stayed outside all day. Seriously- one of our best visits ever. I miss that girl every minute of the day. I'm already wishing for our next visit.

Syd with her mom and O.J.

Syd and I having a fierce arm-wrestling contest over lunch (she beat me!)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Bad Mama

Let's just hope I'm better at raising children than I am raising dogs. Last night, Zach and I got to talking about how much our dogs eat and that they still always seem hungry. He asked me if we were feeding them enough. I said, "well, I think so- how much do they need?" Apparently a LOT. We got online to research it and found out that they should EACH be eating 12 cups a day right now! Up until this point, we've been feeding them each about 5 cups a day. I immediately felt like a horrible pet-owner. I went and grabbed their bowls and tripled their food amount. They, of course, ate every bit of it.
Sorry, Jennifer... if you thought the last post was gross, then you probably don't want to read any further (at least there are no pictures this time)!

It never crossed my mind that the dogs might have problems after eating that much food. But starting at 2:00 a.m., they woke up howling and barking. Zach got up at 2:00, 3:00 and then again at 5:00 to let them out. But for whatever reason, that wasn't enough. This morning around 5:45, Zach discovered that both dogs had pooped in their crate. He opened their crate to let them outside and of course it was all over them. By the time he had realized what was going on, the dogs had taken off through the house, tracking their "poop prints" all over the house. I spent the next 30 minutes in the floor with a bottle of rubbing alcohol, trying to get all the spots off the floor while Zach went outside to hose down the dogs and their crate.

Not exactly the best Friday morning we've ever had.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Nicki, you should know I'm posting this picture solely for you. Enjoy...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Most of you know that Zach and I LOVE to experiment in the kitchen. A few weeks ago, he suggested we make our own pizza. I hadn't made my own pizza since I was in junior high and I don't think Zach had ever done it (unless you count his glory days working at Domino's). So, that's exactly what we did last night. In the end, this is what we came up with. We haven't created a name for it yet, so right now it is still Zach and Liz's meat-lovers pizza.

Next time, we're planning on making separate pizzas and having a taste-off!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thanks, Dr. Oz

I woke up Friday morning feeling pretty cruddy, and by Saturday I had a fever. The doctor says I have an upper respiratory infection, and I just need to wait it out. But the thing that was bothering me the most were my sinuses. About a year and a half ago, my grandmother tried this thing called the Neti Pot, and she swore it was the best thing she ever tried to get rid of a cold. A couple of months ago, Dr. Oz presented the Neti Pot on Oprah, and even had this woman come up on stage to demonstrate how it was used.

It works by filling the genie-looking bottle with a saline solution (provided in the box) mixed with water. You stick it in one nostril and literally pour it through your sinus cavity out the other nostril.

My friend, Mandy, came over to the house on Saturday, and since I was feeling all stopped up, I got her to help me with the neti pot. It was my first time to use it, but I think it is pretty incredible. I used it twice a day for three days and I am almost back to normal! It is probably the best thing I've ever tried. It works for allergies, sinus infections, or almost any other type of sinus problems.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Uncle Lee!

My wonderful Uncle Lee (my Mom's brother) is turning 50 on April 24, but his wife, Carolyn decided to surprise him with an early birthday party last Sunday. It's been a hectic week, so I'm just now getting around to posting the pictures. We had a great time hanging out with the family and catching up with our cousins. Liesl, Lee, and Leah-- I really miss you guys! We need to hang out more often. Love you guys!

New Blog!

My friend, Mandy, has started a new blog! Her and her husband, Lee are new to our church small group, but it feels like we've been friends forever! They are the sweetest, most honest people you could ever imagine meeting. She's the one that's taking this crazy "running" journey with me! I'm so excited she's started a blog. Check it out here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

God's been doing a lot in my life over the past few months. I've been convicted of a lot of things as I learn what it really means to live for Christ. A few of the things God's teaching me: serving others, practicing patience, having a gentle spirit, making prayerful decisions, and lastly- HEALTH. A few days ago my friend, Mandy, and I made a deal that we are going to whip ourselves into shape. I've realized that our bodies are special because they belong to God, and if we're going to be obedient to him, then we need to be taking care of ourselves. Mandy and I are going to run a 5K the first week of June and then are going to keep training in hopes of being able to run a half marathon. Last night, I ran my first "outside" mile. Outside is a LOT different than the treadmill. I couldn't believe how horrible of shape I am in! But we're taking it one day at a time. I found this REALLY awesome website for anyone who is a runner and lives near the Memphis area. It pretty much lists every running event available in the city. You can check it our here. Also, if anyone has any training tips (what to eat, what not to eat, how to pace yourself, etc.) I could really use it. Also- I'm always looking for good music to run to! If you have any favorites (my personal favorites right now are 'Family Affair' by Mary J. Blige and 'Survivor' by Destiny's Child- old school, I know!!) please pass them my way!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Stamped and Ready to Go...

My sister, Tori had the wonderful idea of throwing my sister-in-law, Tami a baby shower from overseas! Tami is expecting her first girl this summer!! We're all extremely excited, but since Tami has never had a girl before, she needs lots of stuff. And since she's new to Central Asia, there probably won't be many women there to throw her a shower. That's where we come in!! My Mom is going to visit Tami in June. So, we're going to try to collect stuff for Tami here in Memphis and then Mom will take them to Tami. Tami is going to try to open them live on Skype. If they can't figure out how to do that, they'll videotape the shower and Tami and Dan will post the shower on their blog! I'm SOOO excited, it should be SO much fun!

I created this invitation and am planning on putting them in the mail today or tomorrow. I am only mailing them to the few addresses I had, but anyone is welcome to send a gift. If you want to send a gift for Tami's shower, just give it to my Mom or mail it to Renee Shackelford at 6837 Stornaway Memphis, TN 38119. I'm giving everyone a couple of months notice in case you're mailing it from far away.

Thanks!! I'm so excited about this. Oh yeah, in case you haven't noticed, this isn't a secret, but I'm just hoping Tami won't be mad at me for posting it on my blog. :) She's so cute and modest. She didn't want to do this, because she didn't want anyone to feel obligated to send her anything. But we ignored her and are doing this anyway. It should be lots of fun!

New Recipe

This morning, my friend, Faith posted a new recipe on her blog. I LOVE to cook, so I enjoy new recipes. I'm not sure why, but it has never occured to me to post recipes I love on my blog. So, this is my first recipe post. My sister in law, Jennifer (who is also an amazing cook) emailed me an amazing list of about 1000 recipes. It includes the secret recipes for all the best dishes from almost any chain restaurant. Last night, I made Macoroni Grill's Pasta Di Pollo Al Sugo Bianco for Zach and his friend, David. Macoroni Grill doesn't make this dish anymore, but it used to be my absolute favorite. I was so excited when I found this! It's not too difficult and was REALLY good.

By the way, if you are interested in the list of recipes, leave me a comment or send me an email (with your email address) and I will email you the file.

Asiago Sauce:
4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon paste or dried chicken base (the grocery store I went to didn't carry chicken base, so I left this out. I couldn't tell a difference)
1 1/4 cups asiago cheese
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 ounces water

1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup red onions, diced
1/2 cup pancetta, (Italian smoked bacon) drained and chopped- (I used regular bacon here)
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
3/4 cup green onions, tops only
3/4 pound sliced grilled chicken
2 pounds farfalle, (bow−tie pasta) cooked
8 ounces heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

**I added pine nuts and mushrooms to the pasta I made. I think it was much better that way!!

To make the sauce: Heat cream to very hot and just bubbly (but not a boil).
Add chicken base and cheese. Stir constantly with a wire whisk and bring
temperature back to just bubbly. Dissolve cornstarch in the cold water and
add to sauce. Bring to a slow simmer to cook out starch. Transfer sauce to a
container, cover and refrigerate until needed.
To make the pasta dish:
Saute red onion, mushrooms and pine nuts in butter for a few seconds then add pancetta and garlic.
Add chicken, green onions and pasta. Deglaze the pan with the cream. Add
asiago cream sauce. Heat thoroughly. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Monday, April 7, 2008

As Promised...

This is probably my favorite blog post yet...

Last week, I posted some old pictures of my parents. After several requests for more, I am finally getting around to posting some more pictures. This time, they are of my brothers, sister, and me. The first picture is the most recent one of the four of us I have (taken about 1 1/2 years ago when my nephew Zeke was born). The quality isn't so great, but I wanted to add that picture so we could all see how far we've come. Oh yeah, and there's no need to comment on how awesome we were back when we were kids. We already know! Hee hee!