Author: Jamie
• Monday, January 07th, 2013

I think maybe diet is an unfair word.

My years of dieting has taught me that it has to be something different than that. I cannot be, simply, a reduction of calories until your goal weight and then life as usual. It has to be something different.

This year, I need to drink more water. This year I need to exercise more. This year, I need to eat less garbage. Not just this year. Always.

Thankfully, due to gall bladder adjustments, I didn’t gain too much holiday weight. I start off 2013 how I spent the last quarter of 2012 (sadly, my gall bladder didn’t weigh 20 pounds).

I’m on the search for more healthy comfort foods and that’s what this week will feature.

Monday Roman Style Chicken over pasta with veggies

Tuesday Crock Pot Chicken with 40(!) cloves of garlic over smashed yukon gold potatoes

Wednesday Chicken with Orzo Pasta

Thursday Avocado Cream Cheese Chicken Puffs with Sweet Potato Fries

Friday Make your own pizza night!

Saturday Family Movie Night

Sunday White Chicken Enchiladas, spanish rice and corn.


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Author: Jamie
• Friday, January 04th, 2013

I did it.

I read 52 books in 2012.  That bests my 2011 total of 48 and more than doubles my 2012 total of 23.  This year, I’m raising the bar a little bit and set a goal of 55 books.    I actually have two books in progress right now which should see me logging two books in by the end of this week putting me ahead schedule.

If you want to be more frequently updated about what I’m reading, you can visit me on Good Reads.

But, without further ado my ten favorite books of 2012 (in no particular order).

1) The Wool Omnibus-I listed these books separately in my Good Reads listing, but the Wool Omnibus is made up of five separate novels of varying length describing life in a post-apocalyptic underground silo.

2) First Shift-by Hugh Howey.  This is the prequel to the Wool series and I may have liked it MORE than the the books in the omnibus.

3) 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I read Under the Dome this year and I was disappointed, but this book absolutely did NOT disappoint and I’d absolutely consider re-reading it which is saying something considering it is 850 pages.

4) The Divergent series by Veronica Roth-A real BAMF female main character, a little romance and a post-apocalyptic Chicago makes for great reading.

5) The Twelve by Justin Cronin. Sequel to THe Passage and seriously fantastic.

6)Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close- by Jonathan Safran Foer.  I fell in love with Oskar and his amazing need to solve the mystery of his Dad.  It was amazing and touching and I can’t bring myself to watch the movie despite loving Tom Hanks because I’m afraid I might not love and I don’t want to do that to myself.

7)What Alice Forgot-Laine Moriarty- A suburban housewife faints during spinning class and loses her memory.  Her last memory was being madly in love with her husband and pregnant with her first baby, but that’s not the world she wakes up into.  It IS Chic Lit (which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea) but I thought it was a good narrative on the importance of investing in your marriage.

8) The Adoration of Jenna Fox-Mary Pearson-another book with a dystopian bend.  Jenna Fox awakes one day in a house she doesn’t know without memories and a body that seems like hers but not.  The book is an interesting commentary on medical ethics and how far is too far.

9) The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Steadman-This book is heartbreaking.  Deeply heartbreaking, but it’s so beautifully written I couldn’t help by love it.  It was really moving and beautiful and worth the read despite how much crying I did during the process

10) Fifty Shades of Gray-E.L. James-Before you disown me, let me explain.  As a teenager, I read tons of romance novels and, um, smut.  Tons.  My mother semi-encouraged this habit by subscribing to a mail order romance book club (she wanted the purple wine glasses they offered as a premium).  I read my weight in romance novels and then stopped.  This is the first smut I’ve read in more than 2 decades and I am not embarrassed to say it was fun to read this.  If you haven’t, yet, read the series, I’d recommend reading no further than book 1 as they get kind of worse as they go on.

Category: Tied Up  | 2 Comments
Author: Jamie
• Thursday, January 03rd, 2013

In 2012, I finally embraced that cooking is something I love.  I’m not one of those people who are great at creating recipes, but there’s something so soothing about life in the kitchen.  I love how following a list of ingredients and instructions can make magic.  Fluffy rising bread and slowly thickening soups seem like something more mystical than they are.

There are some of my favorite magic makers for the year and I encourage you to give them a try.

Easy Creamy Chicken and Rice soup got a lot of time in our kitchen this year.  I really do try to cook with more whole ingredients, but sometimes you need something quick and hearty and this one is a favorite.  I make a double batch.

This Macaroni and cheese recipe has become my favorite, replacing the recipe in my tattered Betty Crocker cook book.

Slow cooker, three envelope crock pot sliders are a perfect cool weather meal. I’m really picky about crock pot recipes because I find so many of them are kind of sub par, but these are fantastic.

I made batches upon batches of these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins this fall.   Baby Bee couldn’t get enough of them.

We made this caprese salad with avocado to rave reviews on several occasions.  It was simple and delicious and I can’t wait for tomatoes to come into season so I can make it again.

Pancetta and asparagus hash is the perfect spring dish.

We all really liked Paula Deen’s baked spaghetti.  It’s ooey, gooey and delicious.

Okay, so this isn’t good for you, but this Smoked Sausage, Potato and Cheese casserole is quick and easy and everyone in my house likes it.

Big Daddy’s outrageously good smoked chicken is such a big favorite.  We can’t get enough of it.

White wedding cake is really the only white cake worth making yourself.  It’s THAT good.

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Author: Jamie
• Wednesday, January 02nd, 2013

It’s the girls last day of Christmas vacation and I’m mixed with happiness and melancholy. We’ve had such a great two weeks off together, but I feel like it’s time for them to go back so my routines can return.

We’re taking down a lot of our Christmas things today and heading out to do something special, so enjoy this list of my ten favorite posts from last year.


In January, we had to say goodbye to our friend Jack and I tried to capture his happy essence and place in our family.

In March, I made Mason Jar Wall Vases and I’m still totally in love with them.  Over the Christmas season, I’ve filled them with holly and pine and am considering dropping in some tea lights to warm things up over the winter time.

In April, I wrote a letter to our girls about how to have a happy marriage.

In May, I talked about  being a mother and the girls growing as we had the last day of school

In June, our fabulous Baby Bee turned three and I knocked it out of the park with her birthday cake.

In July, Big Daddy and I celebrated our Thirteenth year of marriage.

In October, I wrote about my annual love affair with autumn.

In November, I wrote about being overcome.


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Author: Jamie
• Tuesday, January 01st, 2013

I’m aware that as I write this, it’s after noon.

The Princess is tucked into her room with her kitten watching movies on a new Christmas presents.

Littlebit is out in the front yard, playing in the piles of snow that have shown up here since Christmas.

Baby Bee is singing Christmas carols and jumping around the room.

Big Daddy is sacked out in front of a bowl game.

And it feels like morning.  Not in the literal sense.  We’ve been up for hours, we’ve had brunch.  We’ve played video games.  We’ve nursed warm cups of coffee.

For the first time in a long time, I felt no melancholy over the changing of years.  I usually get a little morose and mournful.  It’s the last year we’ll have had a two year old.  And a five year old.  And an eleven year old.  It’s the last year we had with our good old dog Jack.    I list off the last things in my mind.  But this year, I didn’t do any of that.  This year just felt  good somehow.  2012 wasn’t a bad year for us.  It wasn’t, but I can feel the promise of 2013 rumbling in my chest.  Like it can’t wait to burst out in song complete with jazz hands.

I’m not sure why I feel this way.  We have no concrete plans.  There’s no big vacation looming.  No big milestones.  But, it feels good and I’m excited.

Happy New Year!

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