Wednesday, December 5, 2012

This California Girl Returns Home!

This Cali Girl is back on her home soil!  (Well, close enough, anyway.)  A change in jobs brought us back to my home state and to the Bay Area.  Kris is now working for the CRAY installation in Oakland, associated with the UC Berkeley Campus.  The whirlwind world tour whirled again!  Last Thursday morning, we got in the car at zero-dark thirty, as my father would say, and left Miami, ending up at my folks house very very early Saturday morning.  Talk about a long drive!  We carved out 1200 miles in the first day, cut across a corner of Alabama, finally stopping for some sleep in Shreveport, LA.  We spent dinner and the next night at my grandparent's house in New Mexico, where we got to see my Uncle Jeff and my cousin Jesse and his family for a couple hours, stopped off at the Grand Canyon to spend a few hours with Kris's Uncle Steven, who works there so showed us all his favorite vistas, and lit out before sunset to land home.  It was a long trip for us, a very long trip for the monster, who handled it very well from her perch in the back seat on top of all the pillows and blankets, and it was so very awesome to cross the border into California and know that we only had a few hours left before we were home.  We spent two nights at my folks' house and got to see my brother and Rachel, Ralph and Sabrina, and Kirby before we relocated to a two-week Extended-Stay America to stay at while we find a place to live.  We found ourselves right on the Alameda Marina and also found that there are currently a couple of houseboats for sale....Hmmm!  One hour wandering around town by our lonesome after heading back up and picking up Kris from his first day, we met a gal and her dog on a little walk who revealed that she lived in the marina on her boat with her husband, she told us who to talk to about the marina and the houseboats, etc.  One hour and we'd already met boat people!  We get lucky.  We're so thrilled to be able to start putting away a little savings towards a boat and being able to spend weekends sailing down in Monterey and being closer to both our families.  During his interview trip, Kris went out and found a pizza parlor and had already made a few friends who remembered him upon our visit last night for a couple beers and some pizza to unwind.  After Kris's first day of work we really just only wanted to grab some fast food and call it a night, after finding a few Ingress portals, of course!  But last night was awesome, to meet the people that Kris had told me about and try the pizza, which was awesome, and get a feel for where we're going to be living!  I was extra excited this morning to realize that we'd be living back in a big city that was full of so many different cultures with so many different cuisines.  I like the idea that we're going to be living right near San Francisco without living in it directly, as the traffic coming up here was just interesting enough not to want to do every day.  I'm so excited to be able to see Alcatraz and Angel Island, the Navy Pier, all the museums I went to as a kid, Chinatown, and everything!  It's going to be such a blast to re-discover everything and to show it all to Kris.  
Our Miami friends sent us off in style, with a little WOB party, new glasses and shirts to take with us, and we decided to pass the WOB cape along to mini-Chloe, otherwise known as Mila.  Her owner, our friend Joaquin, wanted me to make her a cape as well, but I had no idea how I was going to make a cape for a four-month old fluffball of a poodle who was going to grow so I decided that she could grow into the original and that I could make a new one for Chloe with the shirt that Eileen had given me a while back.  So we had a changing of the WOB dog ceremony and little Mila was paraded through the bar.  We're going to miss everyone there, our friends Yvi and Andres and everyone else we met, who were so totally awesome and of course we're going to visit with our WOB shirts in tow as often as we can, of course.  Miami was fun to move to and explore and make new friends in, as we seem to make the best friends wherever we go, and to make the holidays so much easier to visit family.  My dad was about to send my mom out for Christmas as we were deciding to make this transition so I had to tell him to hold off on buying the plane tickets and since I haven't been home for Christmas in three years, it's going to be good to be there.  Relocating is always interesting but we seem to be off to a good start already, and I'm looking forward to finding a more permanent place to actually unpack and organize and do it all again.  I'm pro at it, at this point!  
On with the day, but of course there will be more news as it happens!  Have a great week! 
Happy Positive Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes, everyone!
Enjoy,

Allie H.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

More Red Beans & Rice!

I tried this recipe again today and I wasn't so much focused on the finished traditional product as I was just getting the beans right this time.  We've tried them twice, and they've still somehow come out almost crunchy.  No bueno.  I actually followed the package directions on the kidney bean bag (funny how that works!) and guess what?  They came out lovely.  The package told me to soak a one-cup bean to 3-cup water ratio for 6-8 hours or overnight.  I ended up soaking them for about 18 hours since I didn't want to fuss with cooking them last night.  I checked them occasionally, and while a few of them were splitting, they seemed to only be getting a tiny bit softer.  But I guess that's just the way they work because right around 9:15 this morning, I drained them, rinsed them, put them back in the pot with 4 cups of water per cup of beans soaked this time, brought them to a boil, lowered the heat, put the lid on and walked away for two hours.  Okay, I hovered for the first fifteen minutes or so because the residual heat was so much that with the lid on, there was still a steady boil going on even though the heat on the stove was all the way down to 2.  It finally calmed down and I could move onto more immediate tasks like clearing my email inbox and showering.  Somewhere around 30 minutes left I decided to season a bit (which I probably should have done at the hour mark, but oh well.  Next time.)  I threw in a bunch on minced dried onion, garlic powder, two beef bouillon cubes and a couple splashes of Liquid Smoke.  I know my measurements were probably a little off to the amount of beans but they came out pretty decent, I think.  Last minute rice and heated up the pulled pork I did in the crock pot yesterday afternoon and that was lunch!  I've never "pulled" a piece of pork before and it was interesting but after a few minutes I got the hang of it, under the watchful eye of the puppy, of course, hoping I'd drop a piece on the floor for her.  Next time, for the beans, I think I'm going to throw in actual chopped onions, seasonings, bell peppers and let the simmering process cook them to a perfectly soft texture and a little bit of hot sauce.  See if I can't get it a little more authentic to the flavorful recipe.  But at least now I know how to get the beans cooked right!  No more crunchy, chewy kidney beans for us :)  It's going to stay on my go-to budget recipe that's easy to prep and easy to cook.  

Oh!  The pulled pork.  My mother-in-law, Toodie, showed me when she was visiting last time what she does to make a quick meal while you're out running errands all day-she puts 1-2 pork butts on a plate, sprinkles both sides with Lowry's Seasoning Salt, puts them in the crock-pot and pours 1-2 cans of root beer over them and lets them cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Mine was 1 pork shoulder, so a little less meat, and we didn't have root beer but we did have just enough Coke and I found a few recipes that accepted that as a substitute, and also called for a tablespoon of Liquid Smoke (Toodie's method may have called for that as well but I can't remember..I should have written it down!)  Somewhere around the four-hour mark I pulled it it, cut it up into a few pieces, shredded it apart with a fork and dropped it back into the crock-pot.  If Toodie's feeding a huge crowd she leaves the BBQ sauce on the side  but if it's just the family crowd she pours in some Sweet Baby Ray's, buys some soft rolls to toast and make sandwiches with and calls it done.  Since I was going with Mexican style today I left the sauce out but of course, tasted it, and it was a teensy bit dry but when I reheated it today it was pretty good.  It's so easy.  Let your appliances cook for you!  :)  
What has everyone else been cooking lately?  Share!
Happy Cooking!
Enjoy,

Allie H. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Solar Powered Steampunk Makes the World Go 'Round...

I received a neat little package today in the mail when I immediately recognized the handwriting I couldn't wait to open it!  My super glam girl  Rachel at Patina Perfected sent me quite possibly the most awesome earrings I've ever owned, ever!  I'd sent her these cool bottle caps from World of Beer a while back asking, pretty please, would she make me some sweet earrings out of them because they have the coolest sunburst design on them with their logo for the beer and I am so ecstatic at the result!  I'd merely asked for her to make them long and match any jewels or baubles to the beer caps and they are PERFECT! I love, love, love them.  She also included a handful of her business cards because she does, and they look like little Patina Perfected Trading cards (the easier to pimp out her business with-I've been handing out my business cards with her info on the back since I'd run out of hers!)  The front of them proffer pictures of her various creations and the back has all of her contact info and shop listings on Etsy.  She touts her jewelry line as "Romantic Whimsy with a Steampunk Twist" and these new earrings definitely fit the bill as they're so sweet and funky!  She can be found on Facebook as well and if you "Like" and follow her you can get special offers and sneak peeks.  It's worth the look, at least.  All of her creations come in cute little boxes nestled carefully in a sweet little bag that you can use to store them in or recycle for whatever you like.  Considering I've gone the purple route lately they might be cute to keep my store of business cards in...Hmmmm...Check out the unveiling process below!

 Here, when I saw the little light bulbs through the bag, I literally squealed like a little girl.  Thank goodness the guys had already come for lunch and gone again! 
 And here they are, looking fabulous!
Her photo-finish Perfected business cards.  Adorable, right?!

I never even thought to incorporate the energy theme and she added these sweet little light bulbs.  I'm freaking out, they're so cute!  It's official, I now have WOB earrings with a cool twist :)  Dare I wear them with my new shimmery skirt?  They're at least going to ROCK with jeans and a tee.  It's the little things in life that make me happy~
What new little surprises in your life have you received lately that have made you giddy?  Please share!
Happy Treasures, everyone!
Enjoy,

Allie H.

P.S. Come look!  It's Patina Perfected's contact info, all right here! Check her out and say hi :)



Here's My Skirt!

I don't know anyone who can take a cell phone photo of themselves without a full length mirror and have it come out good so I waited for Kris to come home and had him take one for me.  The first is, of course, so you can see where the skirt hits and the second one is how I'm wearing it today!  I know it's a little blurry but I'm feeling very shimmery today :)
 
Happy Shimmering, everyone!
Enjoy,

Allie H.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Apparently Wednesday is for Sewing...

It was time for a craft.  I've been going through a current little snag of writer's block and something creative had to be done.  I've been trying to amass enough bravery to tackle one of those paneled t-shirt skirts I've been wanting to do for years but I can't find the one t-shirt I want to include in it.  I did, however, run across a dress from one of my Broadway Revues at the Wharf that I was lucky enough to keep (probably because I was one of the only tall skinny girls who would fit into it!)  I've got a couple like those but this one was glittery, spaghetti-strapped and v-neck.  Very theatre or costume party glitz.  I haven't worn it since and when I picked it up and held it up to me I thought, "Skirt!"  Yup, I converted it.  Not the best sewing job in the entire world but I'm pretty pleased and once I summed up the power to grab my scissors and cut the dress into two very uneven lengths, there was no going back.  And it took me quite literally 20 minutes.  I held it up to me to figure out where the waist was going to be, eye-balled the pins all the way across and went to town!  I put a few pins in place the secure the alignment of the lining material and flipped the skirt inside out, folded a quick hemline all the way around and pinned in place, and went to the machine.  Yes, I know I used blue thread.  I can't find my gallon-sized ziploc bag of color-wheel inclusive colors.  I'm pretty sure it's the same thread I used for Chloe's WOB cape.  Keep in mind that this dress was very clingy on me with a bit of stretch to it so I thought I'd go ahead and sew, and if I needed to come back with some elastic later to tighten up the waist I could, but I think from the way it's fitting, that it will be just fine.  And yes, I remembered to take pictures this time!  I'm learning, I swear.  Check it out.


 I know it seems like a VERY small amount of fabric leftover from the top but this dress, hanging on me, was was about five inches off of the floor.  And I was determined to make it floor length so I needed as much fabric as I could get!
 I was pondering folding it over again but I'm currently having fun just wearing it as it is.  If I find more than a bobbin full of black thread, I'll put it on my to-do list.
And here it is!  I'm pretty happy about how it came out and I figure I can dress up or down.  I think it would  be perfect with a black t-shirt or tank top and flops for a casual day when I'm feeling the need for a little sparkle :)  Makes me want to hit some thrift stores and see if I can find some more dresses that need separating from their tops.
What is everyone else crafting this week?  Share your posts.
Happy Up-cycling!
Enjoy,

Allie H.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Nostalgia Food


I am so glad that I finally found this recipe!  Does anyone else remember that wonderfully yummy olive spread that Safeway used to spread on their Italian-style deli sandwiches?  I used to get that particular sandwich all the time because I loved that spread.  Kelsey and I would get them all the time on our way home from dance show rehearsals at MPC or take them to munch on at the outdoor Forest Theatre in Pacific Grove, where bringing your own picnic was not only allowed but celebrated.  The posh crowd adult crowd (well, more adult than us) would even bring their own bottles of wine.  And then quite suddenly, Safeway changed their deli menu and quit using it.  Or, at least, they quit doing it at the Safeway store closest to both my house and my parent's house.  Which was really, really sad.  I've been searching the internet occasionally over the last couple years when i crave it and not finding anything that seems quite right.  (And admittedly, part of me forgot that there was a cream-cheese layer to help hold the olive mixture in place, but the second I saw it on my screen, I started drooling in remembrance!)  Part of me also wants to mix the two spreads together and eat it with a box full of crackers, but as it was designed as a sandwich topping, I'll try to stick to the plan.  You could also pop a baguette in the oven and get it nice and crispy and serve it as an appetizer, but I'm looking forward to cream cheese and olives and salami being all wrapped up in one package again with Italian ham and a little kick of yellow peppers.  And since there's no Safeway around here, even if I beg them to bring it back, it wouldn't do me much good, so the fact that I've stumbled across something that sounds so incredibly close makes me absolutely ecstatic   

Safeway's Olive/Garlic Spread
GARLIC SPREAD
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons parsley
2 tablespoons white onions, chopped (I'm going to call this optional because I don't rightly remember it being included, but do as you like!
2 garlic cloves
OLIVE TAPENADE
2 garlic cloves
1 (6 ounce) can black olives, drained
3/4 cup kalamata olive, pitted
3/4 cup pimento-stuffed green olives
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Directions:
GARLIC SPREAD: Add all ingredients into a food processor. Process until smooth. Remove to a medium bowl or spread generously on toasted baguette slices. Wipe the work bowl and blade clean.
OLIVE TAPENADE: Add the garlic and the black and kalamata olives to the work bowl. Pulse a couple of times until minced. Add the green olives and pulse a couple of times, leaving larger chunks of the green olives (for aesthetics). Remove to a medium bowl and stir in the vinegar and olive oil. (Additional balsamic can be added to cut the saltiness, if desired; keep in mind that the garlic spread will also help cut the salty flavor.) Spread the garlic layer on your choice of bread/toast/baguette first and then spread a layer of the olive mixture, eat as is or follow with your sandwich makings.

I hope that if you haven't had this in the past, that you consider it, either on sandwiches or as an appetizer topping.  It's not something to be ignored, I promise!
Happy Nostalgia Cooking, everyone!
Enjoy,

Allie H.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Another Furniture Freebie Find!


I know I'm not usually a "two post per day" blogger but I forgot to share!  On our way to Kris's first follow-up appointment a couple weeks ago we stumbled across a pile of rejected furniture & objects down by the trash in the garage.  Included in the pile was a small free-standing cabinet with a drawer up top and two shelves and the drawer was stuck, not closing all the way for some reason.  Kris took a look at it and tipped it to one side, and we heard something rolling around behind the drawer.  My hand just barely fit and I pulled out a 5-container paint set.  Drawer closed perfectly, problem solved.  I wiped it down, inside and out with Clorox wipes and it was ready to go.  I carried it to a few different spots in the living room until I settled on the short wall right outside the guest bathroom.  The drawer is holding the extra kitchen towels and on the shelves I tucked away some extra sodas and a set of Chinese dishes for four, and matching Marilyn Monroe party plates and highball glasses that our friend Noel gave us for our wedding.  I'm still determined to find some sort of bar cart with room for glasses but for now, at least, that gets them off the counter and out of the way when they're not being used.  On top of it now are our business cards and a couple of knick-knacks that were also on the counter that desperately needed to be moved elsewhere.  But I was mostly stoked because it was free and in perfect shape and it almost matches the color of the dark nightstands we have so if I change my mind eventually, it will go with out bedroom, as well.  
Happy Furniture Finds!
Enjoy,

Allie H.

Personal Projects and Chloe's Cape!

It's been a hectic last couple weeks and I've been working to turn hectic into productive!  We've had two follow-up visits since Kris's surgery, the second of which succeeded in getting ALL of his stitches removed, so he was happy.  58 stitches and the nurse who took them out told me that I should have a my camera ready to take blackmail pictures if he started to cry.  He started physical therapy yesterday and he's going to be going twice a week so he'll get into the swing of things.  He's forgotten how much it's going to hurt before it gets better!  He was pretty sore when I picked him up yesterday.  The PT office is five minutes from our apartment building and he's arranged to do it at 5 PM twice a week since his first appointment yesterday at 3 PM broke up the middle of his work day.  But he's been back to work full days for the last two weeks.  

I've been back an forth to the TJ Maxx down the street a hundred times (well, maybe not a hundred) to return and find another shower caddy, both of which didn't hang correctly over the shower head in our bathroom so I moved on to Bed Bath & Beyond to find a corner shelving unit, which, after three tries, was assembled correctly for the height of the tub to the ceiling and installed it!  It worked and so I took the second TJ Maxx caddy back and while I was there, I decided to wander around the kitchen/home aisles to see if there was anything I couldn't live without.  I settled on a flat spatula, a veggie steamer tray (those ones that collapse into the shape of a UFO) but what my made my eyes widen was a 9-inch deep-dish ceramic Le Creuset for $14.99.  The cartoon light-bulb showed up and the first thought that popped into my head was "Spinach Artichoke Dip!"  I'm pretty sure I said it out loud, too.  And then I thought of tomato pie, which I've been wanting to try, because who doesn't like layers of tomatoes and cheese?  And of course dessert pies, etc.  It's my prized find for the month!  I was surprised that TJ Maxx had the assortment of Le Creuset that they did but I'm happy that they had it, and at a fraction of the price I would have paid at Macy's.  I pondered the colors and settled on black outer-enamel with cream and headed for the cash registers.   

It's gorgeous! 

Bathroom shelves and kitchen gadgets acquired, we're slowly but surely getting our apartment well-rounded and organized.  A week or so ago I helped haul in book boxes one day so Kris could help me unpack.  We've been working on books ever since.  We found a wonderful, lovely used book store/exchange last weekend and spent more than we should have on books and when we came home, I started thinking of listing all the Dean Koontz books I had and the ones I still needed/wanted (which is all of them, really!) and started making a list on my computer, then thought, "I should make an inventory list of all of our books in case anything happens."  So we found this website Kris had heard of earlier called LibraryThing.com where you can sign up and type in the title, ISBN, or author of the book and make a list of all the books you have.  So I've been scanning bar codes with the android and adding them to the list all week.  My plan is to go through all of the boxes again and pull out any more books that might be hiding but I'm pretty sure we have 99% of them out on one shelf or another.  I've been making a list of projects that I want to get done and would like to get done, which seems to me to be a better way to do it.  It's on my laptop and I can change the color once it's accomplished, keep notes on the ones in progress, add new ones and have it all in one place.  If you know me, you know I love post-it notes and notebooks, and I love writing things down and keeping "to-do" lists of things but it never occurred to me to keep a running tab of sorts!  We'll see how well it works but so far, I thought of something while I was starting to do dishes yesterday, and I ran into the other room to add it to the list before I went back to the kitchen.  

Speaking of things that need to be done, and things that HAD to be done, I've been promising Chloe's World of Beer Super Dog Cape and I finally got a chance to get it make it!  The machine showed up the day after Kris was released from the hospital and so I got to "ohh" and "ahh" over having it back in my life for a few minutes before lovingly tucking it into a corner to deal with at a later date.  The case cracked in transit which, being a $3 find at a garage sale, was no real loss but in terms of storing I'll eventually have to find another one.  But the cape was my project a week and a half ago, and it was pretty successful for a first try!  I do still need to alter it to include a strap with velcro to hold it around her little tummy, otherwise she runs and it falls to the side and she actually trips on it, so that's no good.  But needless to say all the servers at WOB loved it and within seconds of us bringing her by to see them they were all out with their camera phones taking pictures of the intolerable cuteness!  They're supposed to be up on the website sometime soon so I'll make sure to share the  link when they let us know.  But she looks so Super in her cape!  And it gets her extra love and cookies ; )  Do you know how many websites are out there with instructions for how to make a cape for your dog?  I can give you a high ballpark figure!  I'd been planning on doing a "step by step" tutorial with pictures but my sewing machine has a tension problem with the bobbin and it was making me really rather Grr-y, not to mention that I kind of went my own way with the steps, so next time I make her a cape, I'll have to do it then, but here she is in all of her WOB-dog glory!

Doesn't she look heroic?!

And there are more projects to come.  And a list of sewing supplies on my wish-list for the future.  I've also gotten as far as paper for the printer, installing the printer drivers on my laptop so I can print via wireless and scan to my computer, which came in handy yesterday when Kris forgot his physical therapy authorization for his appointment.  I called and asked if I could scan it and email it and of course it took about as long as his appointment lasted for me to figure it all out but now it's done!  I think my next goal in furniture/organization would be some sort of desk for the printer or at least a mail-station.  We bought a file box awhile back and I finally remembered to get hanging file folders for it and I tackled the pile of papers we were just merely laying in the box for the moment!  I was thinking about it and while I love not working, I think part of my time writing needs a little more structure in my alternate goals.  I realized that I missed doing projects like putting files in order and crossing to-do's off my lists for the day and making things in my space a little more efficient and neat.  On to crossing more things off my list!
Happy Project-ing!
Enjoy,

Allie H.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hospital Stay

We have success!  Kris went into surgery around 7:30 on Friday morning and was under for about 6 long hours.  His surgeon, Dr. Zych, came out when he was finished with his part and the residents were closing up and let us know that everything went as well as he could have expected it to go and that Kris went through it very well.  There are a few screws in his upper-thigh that could not come out as over the years there has been some extra bone growth that they had to chisel away to just to get to the heads of the screws to shear the heads of the screws off, and so they just did that and left the rest of the screws in place.  Dr. Zych thought that there would be too much structural damage to the rest of his femur if they were to chisel and chip away enough bone to get them out completely and they apparently aren't going to bother anything so they're going to be there forever.  But all of the other hardware came out easily enough, and the bone shunt and the plates to hold it in place went in without a hitch.  They had to replace four units of blood but other than that Kris went came through it like a champ.  They let us know when they wheeled him into recovery and we were hoping to see him, and the waiting room desk attendant told us to wait an hour while they got him settled.  So Toodie and I went down to the cafeteria and got something to eat, went back in an hour and checked.  Nope, another hour, they said.  So we waited.  Finally, the reason we couldn't go back was that they had another patient on the recovery ward who was not stable and when that happens, they shut down the ward and no family goes in until everyone's good.  And FINALLY around 6:30 we were allowed to come back and see him.  They'd given him a nerve block for the pain but he'd been awake for awhile and asking for us and doing pretty good, under the circumstances, a little groggy but good.  It had been a long enough day for us and he was tired enough and they were going to keep him sedated for the rest of the night so he could get some sleep so it was a "Hi, I love you, go home, I'll see you tomorrow," order from the patient.  We made our way back home and rescued the poor suffering Chloe who's not really sure what's going on and why her Dad isn't home, but who's getting better each day about it.  Monday she'll be the happiest dog in the world.  

Yesterday morning while we were getting up and moving Kris called us from his room, quite awake, complaining about hospital breakfast food and his morning shift nurse, sounding much better.  We decided real-world food would be a good idea so stopped at the little French bakery behind our place and got him a couple mini chocolate croissants and a sandwich with turkey and bacon and he happily ate the sandwich before they brought him lunch, and he eventually ate that, too.  The nurses finally brought him a pair of crutches so he could get up and move around as he felt like it, getting a bit of hospital bed cabin fever.  We'd brought him his backpack he'd pre-packed with his laptop, the kindle, a book, headphones, charger cord for his cell phone which I'd held onto on Friday.  A couple friends came to visit, Andres, who he works with, brought him cookies, as he'd promised, and an ex-coworker who'd wanted to come on Friday as soon as I'd let him know Kris was in recovery but had to tell him there was no way he was going to see him until yesterday.  But I'm glad they stopped by.  Toodie had found the ward for the church in our area on Thursday and we went and got Kris a blessing and gave them our cards, and so the bishop called me yesterday saying he'd like to stop by and see him today, so we're expecting them to come by around they same time we're there.  We brought him barbecue from Shorty's last night for dinner and he wasn't quite in the mood for food until he smelled it, and then he wolfed down most of the brisket sandwich and fries.  He was hoping for french dip and salad but R&T's, where we get them, I forgot, closes at 3:30 every day, and we missed the mark by a couple hours.  But it worked out.  We ate dinner with him and our lovely, sainted neighbor Yvi kept Kris's keys so she could check Chloe and walk her before she came home, and she's going to check on her throughout the day today once I let her know that we've headed for the hospital so that we don't have to worry about coming home to check on her.  This morning I have a little more time to spend with her as Toodie's attending the 11:00 am church service so by the time we come home this evening she should be a better adjusted doggie for the day.  Zych wants Kris to have a 72-hour antibiotic drip so tomorrow he'll be free to come home, which he's going to be happy to do.  Toodie's been helping us run errands and bought us a better bed with a much better mattress, memory foam cover and mattress pad, so that Kris will have a much more comfortable bed to heal on.  He's supposed to be off work for a good week and then go back, and we stopped by Friday while Kris was in surgery to drop a couple things off for him and his boss told us that if we needed anything at all, he'd be happy to help, and to let him know when Kris was out of surgery and how everything went.  We've got a good support system here, so I think we'll be just fine.  
Off for now...I finally got a good amount of sleep last night and should really get up and eat more than toast for breakfast before we head off for the day.  But we're all, Kris included, are absolutely thrilled that the surgery went so well.  It's a good weekend, hospital stay notwithstanding.  
Happy Health!
Enjoy,

Allie H.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Crock Pot Mac & Cheese


Today, I needed to find something to cook in order to use the milk that's about to expire.  We only buy it for cereal and Kraft mac and cheese, as I've sadly decided I'm becoming lactose intolerant so this last half-gallon has not been used as quickly as it normally has.  I checked out my collected recipes and found something perfect!  I got this recipe from www.budetsavydiva.com and have decided to share, since I'm trying it for the first time today, and I made a few tweaks, doubled the recipe, and as it's cooking away I'll have to let you know but considering everything that's going in it, I'm sure it's going to be amazing!  I also ran across a helpful hint on a different recipe, something to do with chicken and cream-of-whatever soup, etc. The author advised that it would be smart to spray down the insides of the crock pot with Pam before putting everything in, and I imagine that it would help avoid everything that bubbles up and sticks after 6-8 hours of cooking.  Of course, I forgot this time, but I thought I'd share it with all of you!

Super Mac & Cheese
Ingredients:
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
2 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (since I double the recipe I used half sharp, half blended cheddar & mozzarella)
1 egg
½ cup sour cream
1 (10 ¾ ounce) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1 cup 2% milk
½ teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 Teaspoon of Onion Powder (I used onion flakes, as that's what we had)
1/2 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
pinch of nutmeg (I omitted because we don't have any)
pinch of Cayenne
Directions:
Cook the pasta for 6 minutes, drain and rinse. The recipe says to melt the cheese and butter in a medium saucepan, but I had issues. I was stirring constantly but either I had the heat too high or because I doubled the recipe, I should have used a larger pan, or the microwave to melt it together, because it didn't quite come out the nice cream mixture I imagined. You may want to use whatever cheese-sauce cooking method you prefer. The recipe says to mix everything together in the crock pot and let it go for 2 and ½ hours on low. I simply dumped the macaroni in the pot and poured everything on top, having mixed all the other ingredients in a different bowl (minus the cheese sauce, that I dumped right in and tried to mix in) and mixed away, trying to combine as best as possible before I put on the lid. Stir well every hour and get ready to eat!
Happy Cooking!
Enjoy,

Allie H.

Friday, August 10, 2012

There, They're, Their...

A few days ago I found a grammatical error in an online article for a leading women's fashion and beauty magazine.  I emailed them to let them know and they contacted me back this morning, thanking me but saying that I didn't point out what the error was and if I would like to share, they'd take changing it under consideration.  So either they didn't bother to check the article to see what I was talking about, or they did and still did not catch the mistake.  I gave them a very helpful hint and wished them a great day.  We'll see if they get back to me.  But I cannot believe that a magazine with such influence and popularity among their target audience would let any article go to print without at least two pairs of eyes that didn't belong to the original writer taking a fresh look to make sure it at least was free of spelling and grammatical errors, if not checking the tone of the piece.  I won't give the name of the magazine, of course, but I will tell you that it was one of the most common mistakes that are made.  These days, people think that "there, they're, & their" and interchangeable.  I see so many mistakes like these online these days from professional companies that I feel like emailing them all and pointing them out, and then offering to proofread before they print and upload their articles for a tiny fee (of course).  If I can't get a novel done some time soon I might as well still be making money in the writing field, right?  Something to think about.
Happy Pre-Editing!
Enjoy,

Allie H.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Surgery Updates, Goals and Recipes

I've been sliding on my goals for the year.  Re-settling to a new place may be part of it, but I know I'm not one of those make "a whole list of numerous resolutions" on New Years' Eve and make myself stick to it in it's entirety.  So I think I need to make a short list each month and break it up into writing goals, otherwise creative goals, cooking goals, and a smattering of other areas.  Thanks to Pinterest, of course, I have tons of new recipes I'd like to try and thanks to our acquisition of a crock pot, I can work on that list!  
Today, I made toss-it-all together and simmer spaghetti sauce, like I do often, but I started prepping for a chili recipe that is going to be made in the crock pot.  We bought a 5lb bag each of beans and rice awhile back so we could do a huge batch of Red Beans and Rice and we still had about half the bag of red beans left, so I measured out 1 cup less than the recipe that I'm using calls for (since it didn't call for beef, I'm adding some ground beef to the mix) and they're soaking overnight in the crock pot.  (I'd started them out in a smaller container and checked on the, realizing that about half the water had been already soaked up and the top inch of beans was above the liquid.  So I had to shift them into another container and add more water.  The rest of the recipe is made of up of canned tomatoes, broth, corn, celery, and various spices.  (It does call for cocoa powder to enhance the flavors but as I don't have any at the moment, I'm not doing it.)  So we'll see how that goes.  I can either wake up earlier than usual and it'll be ready by lunch or do something else for lunch and have it ready for dinner and leftovers.  As another one of my goals is getting up earlier and hitting the gym for half an hour on a more regular basis, we'll see how my appreciation of my alarm clock affects the situation.  

Crockpot Chili

Ingredients (6-8 bowls)
About 6 cans of beans, drained OR 6 cups of dried white and black beans, soaked, plus 1 can kidney beans [see note]
2 cans diced tomatoes
3.5 cups broth
1.5 cups frozen corn
6 celery stalks, diced
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Liquid Smoke
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 tsp cumin
2 cloves minced garlic or garlic gold nuggets
1 tsp cocoa powder (optional but increases the depth!)
1 tsp salt (if your broth is relatively low sodium - otherwise to taste)
Instructions
Soak dried beans overnight, if using. Rinse.  Chop celery.  Add all ingredients to a crockpot and set to low for 6-8 hours.  

As you can see I’m not using a mixture of beans this time but we’ll try for next time.  If I kick it to medium heat I can go 4-5 hours and make waking up not such a chore. I'm also not using frozen corn but canned corn, so no extra time needed there.
I also want to make, by myself, a batch of Kris's recipe for salmon dip.  It's from his family and it's an approximate amount of each ingredient and then adjusted to taste.  Since we did a Costco run to prep for his surgery, we grabbed the Costco-size block of cream cheese, which has more then plenty for a batch.  Anyway, since we bought everything awhile back for the spread with extra cans of salmon, we have all the ingredients we need except for fresh lemon juice, which is easy.
Here's the recipe!

Salmon Spread
1 can salmon, bones removed
I (8 oz) package cream cheese
½-1 TBSP dried onion
4-5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp lemon juice
½ tsp liquid smoke
½-1 tsp, to taste of garlic powder
½-1 tsp salt
½-1 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or a regular mixing bowl and using a hand-held blender, mix thoroughly. Use as a spread for bagels, toast or dip for crackers. Enjoy!


My next cooking goal for the month (either this or next) is to tackle and polenta and poached eggs, as I ran across a recipe that included both, and since Kris is such a fan of poached eggs I think it would benefit everyone for me to try.
By the way: Kris's surgery has been moved back to the 17th due to a couple things so we have just another whole week to go before he's in the hospital.  Please pre-cross your fingers that everything goes smoothly!  He quit smoking two weeks ago in prep and he's going strong.  He's quit before (for his two year mission for the church) but this time, his health and his total recovery depend on it wholly, and so I'm proud that he's sticking to it and staying strong.  He was chewing on cinnamon sticks for a few days at the start but now he's getting his head in the game and focusing on the overall goal.  What goals have you been neglecting that you promised to stick to at the beginning of the year?  Share with me!
Happy Cooking, Health, and Goal Setting (and Keeping)!
Enjoy,

Allie H.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Countdown to Friday and High School Reunions

It's an official countdown!  Last week or so we found out that Kris's blood work had finally come back and so we were able to book his leg surgery.  It's this Friday, and we prepared by doing a "quick" run to Costco (I know, there's no such thing but we did pretty well in not spending what we usually spend) and getting a newer used car.  We had been thinking of waiting for a little while longer but Kris was just approved for a car loan and he wanted me to be able to have a car to take car of anything that comes up while he's on bed-rest for the week after surgery and getting him home and to and from physical therapy.  It will be so much more efficient than hoping that the Metro is running on time and finding someone's car to borrow to pick him up and take him home when he's released.  And now, when company comes, we've got a nice car with tons of trunk space to Since this isn't Kris's first rodeo he knows when to eat to take his medications, etc, so I plan on abusing the hell out of the crock pot to make multiple meals in one swoop.  And we're in the perfect location-CVS right here for any prescriptions and Publix for any last minute grocery store needs.  We're going in tomorrow to do a final work-up and to figure out everything else he's going to have to do to prep for Friday.  AND they let him know that they want him to stay in the hospital for three days after his surgery.  We were thinking that it would only be an overnight stay but there you have it.  He's getting a week off work and so he'll barely be home for bed-rest before he's limping back to the office on crutches.  At least Chloe will have plenty of extra cuddle time.  She's so good about being with someone when they're sick or hurting, and all she wants to do is tuck herself right in the middle of it all and give kisses and be a cuddle-buddy.  (Unless I'm blowing my nose every five minutes...I think she kinda gets grossed out by that, which is fine.  It grosses me out, too!)  She'll be a little confused by the crutches for a while, I think, but I think that sooner than that she'll figure out that she needs to stay out of the way for the next six months.  But of course-one family member gets her splint off and her foot healed and back to her bouncy self before someone else has to endure some major poking and prodding and serious recovery time.  


What else is going on...Chloe! I've decided that Chloe the super-dog is going to get a super-cape and that it should be a World of Beer cape because she's been widely accepted by everyone there as their new mascot. Totally serious. Once all the servers inside find out we're there, they all come out and say hello and give pets and bring her water and dog biscuits and get licked for their adoration. She's got super powers!  Super powers need a super cape, right?  So, we were mentioning this to Eileen, one of the employees there, who'd pulled up a chair to chat for a few minutes and she got excited and went into the back to find an old promo t-shirt for me to use. I've since been informed by my dad that the sewing machine is shipping out and should be here soon to put to use. (So, so excited!) If you've never done a search on the internet for how to make a cape for your dog, you should. You'll be surprised by the amount of results. I think I've figured out how to make it for her in a way that won't require hitching it to her collar or wrapping it around her neck. as the only means of keeping it on her.  I want it to drape nicely down her little back and not just flop off either side.  Now, if I could just remember to do before-and-after pictures or step by step as I go...


I'm also debating going to my ten-year reunion.  It's coming up on August 18th (which is the more formal cocktail hour and dinner evening, followed by a family & kid friendly picnic) and while I think it would be fun to go, since we have the extra Delta miles for me to fly to Monterey & back, part of me wonders who all else is going that I would like to see and catch up with, and part of me wants to get through this first week with Kris on bed-rest and then how he does getting back to work and how well he's recovering so far to know that I could be able to take a few days away and go see some of my fellow class-mates.  There's a deadline to buy the ticket a few days before the event, of course, so I have a little time to decide.  Which leaves me posing a question to everyone out there: Did you go to your ten year reunion?  How did you like it?  Was it fun?
Thoughts, please!

Whew!  This is going to be quite the next two weeks.  We'll keep you posted!
Happy Healing (and Healthy Living!)
Enjoy,

Allie H.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Our Swanky Miami Apartment!

So a week or so ago I promised a few pics of our place...and here they are! Still mostly devoid of some key furniture, as you can see but still awesome. Guest room (the one full of boxes) is still just overflow but I''ve been so happy to sift through books and clothes needed to survive the Miami weather!  We definitely need at least one more tall bookcase and then we can rotate our library from there!
Enjoy your weekend!
Allie H.




Saturday, July 14, 2012

Settling In and Writing...and Missing Hats.

It's hard to believe that we've been here in Miami for four months now but it's true! And it's awesome.  Chloe's foot is healing and she's way more happy, super playful and seems to only hold her foot up at the end of the night when she's been using it all day.  And we seem to be settled in, despite still needing living room furniture.  But I've been repacking boxes so all the cold weather clothing is separated is packed away, all of the books are all in boxes with only themselves, the kitchen supplies and (maybe) all of the glassware is taking up space in the cupboards and on the counter. I'm realizing writing this that I haven't gotten pictures up of the new place yet but I'll work on that!  But, my Dad was awesome enough to send my Kenmore mixer and a few other things that weren't worth taking with us because of the plug differences like Kris's raclette grill and my Pizelle iron so I cam make my own syrup waffles for Christmas.  I think I'm trading with my mom and getting one of her lighter-weight sewing machines, too, so I can start crafting more efficiently!  We reached our 100 mark at World of Beers and I got my 100 t-shirt and re-fitted it to work better (loped off the sleeves, the neckline, and cut it down the sides, snipped, tied and fringed it.)  You know promo shirts...awesome but usually boxy and built for unisex sizing?  It's way cuter now.  I only wish I'd gotten a "before" shot, but you can imagine.  It came out pretty good, considering I hadn't yet located my Generation T book to follow along the basic instructions.  No sewing required, but I have a few other tees that I'm looking to up-cycle and I suck at hand sewing in a straight line longer than three inches (and it's really not my favorite thing to do) so the machine would come in very handy.  When that's here, I'll be super-happy!  Now, for the kitchen, I just need cookie sheets and a set of Pyrex baking dishes.  The living room needs a couch and bookshelves and a desk. And maybe a nice bar cart for the corner?  I'd love a little bar cart!  If only to get all of the liquor glasses out of the cupboards and off of the counter. I've already broken a shot glass just trying to do the dishes.  : ( 

I have to admit I love being back in the states with all of the US Holidays.  Kris gets a random day off in the middle of the week and Chloe gets all confused by the schedule and life is good!  The 4th of July was awesome!   We got a ton of fireworks and had a BBQ in the park near our friend's house.  I need, again, a good floppy summer hat.  Remember the one I waited so long for and picked up in Cali when we visited the states?  Somehow, somewhere, I lost track of it in Switzerland.  I'd noticed that moving to the last apartment in SW, I hadn't seen it anywhere and figured it was tucked into a tote bag, and I've been through everything here and cannot find it.  Its gone and I don't think Target sells it anymore....so I need a replacement.  I did take advantage of the Old Navy flip flop sale and now I have seven pairs, plus three new pairs of linen shorts that were absolutely needed and keeping me cool.  I only had the one pair from Switzerland and that wasn't going to cut it.  Talking to my BF Kelsey this morning I decided I just need to include all my full length jeans in the cold-weather clothing box and just get used to buying shave gel in bulk at Costco!  She's already given up full-length pants in Boston for the summer where she's kicking ass and taking theatre managing gigs left and right.  So proud of her!  


I am working on stories, and feeling pretty good about it!  I was telling Kris the other day that being here, I've written and edited more in the last three months than I have all year and how awesome it feels to be making some progress!  We both got ourselves business cards with our emails and new Florida numbers and all and while I'm not exactly looking for a job right now  it would be good to hand out to other writers to network and spread the blog around a little more, maybe edit other people's work with a fresh eye, etc.  The cards are pretty purple and we got new Galaxy SIII phones yesterday, and I got a purple cover for it and realized after the fact that it matched my cards!  I can network in style!  I love it when I do things like that.  I even painted my nails purple yesterday to make it a matching trio.  Anyway, it's been a great writing streak and I'm hoping that I can keep it up.  Writing, crafting, all of it!
Have a great weekend, everyone! 
Enjoy,


Allie H. 
(Psst...check out my awesome shirt!)







The back of my WOB shirt, pre collar cut down. The fringing came out nicely!
Go check out the website for Megan Nicolay's fun tutorials and to buy her books!  I've got the 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Luck of the Partial Irish

My Irish blood is coming in handy this month!
This week thus far has been freebie, amazing week! Last week I found a GYN 5 minutes from the lobby of our building that took our insurance and had open appointments for this week.  So I made an appointment over their affiliated appointment setter for 10:30 Monday morning.  The service sent me a confirmation email.  Then the clinic sent me a confirmation email for 10:00 am.  Which I thought odd but I called them and they said I was confirmed for 10:00 am and, since the craigslist gods have yet to place me in line with the perfect admin job less than an hour away via the Metro, it was no big  deal.  So I went to my appointment, took the clinic survey that they sent via email after, and then the appointment setter service survey that THEY sent me via email.  I mentioned that there may be a technical issue because there was a difference in time between the clinic and their reservation but there was no real big worry on my part.  
Well, about an hour after, I got a phone call from a representative at the appointment service.  The gal on the other end of the line explained that she'd seen my survey results and she wanted to know more about what I'd mentioned and I explained it pretty much the same as I just detailed here above, and that since I'm married to a Sys Admin I just know that its good to mention something that may be a problem even if it's teeny tiny.  We chatted for a moment and she was glad that it wasn't a huge problem for me in particular but that they usually don't have an issue with the time selection and that she would make sure to follow up with the clinic and look into it just to make sure that other people aren't having the same issue who have to drive a long way or have a tighter schedule, so on and so forth, but that she'd like to send me a $10 amazon.com gift card to make up for the hassle.  Why, yes! Thank you.  We hung up and in about 5 minutes there was a new email in my inbox and along with the confirmation for the card, they offered to send me a free t-shirt as well if I sent my address and preferred size.  Well, free t-shirts rule so I sent along my info and was further assured that it would be in the mail shortly. 
The freebie luck did not stop there!  Tuesday night there was a promo at World of Beer for a particular brewery that had seven new beers on tap and since it was Dogfish Beer and doggie-beer Tuesday, why not?  If you ordered on one tab four out of the seven you got a free brewery brand shirt.  Well, the brewery rep only brought about 15 shirts and by the time my friends and us had gotten to four, our waitress informed us that they were out of shirts.  She sent the rep over and he assured us that while he didn't normally do this, he had extra swag in his car and wait there, he'd be right back.  He brought up a box of 12-ounce beer glasses branded with the brewery name.  We walked away that night with a pair of them.
Luck in general-we've been sleeping on an air mattress for two months and I finally found on craigslist, while just browsing the furniture section, a BRAND new mattress and box spring still in plastic, with delivery, for $250. We jumped on the deal and had a new, actual bed delivered to us by the end of lunchtime on Friday.  Air mattress? Tucked away in the guest room closet on top of our suitcases.
Find a penny, pick it up: Today, while on a downstairs run with the Chloe-monster, I spotted a shiny penny on the pavement.  I seem to be the lucky one in that regard.  Since we'v been living here I've picked up 8 cents off the ground that were all in a well foot-traversed area that other people just walked right by.  A week and a half ago Kris found a twenty-dollar bill.  If people are going to keep up the trend of dropping change here and there and everywhere in Miami, I'm going to keep in the habit of picking it up.  (Not to mention that today, having sent about 8 replies to job postings this week and having sent about 50 over the last three weeks, I finally may have an opportunity. Someone replied to me today on a work-from-home on your own time basis for a legitimate business.)  Keep it up, universe!  I'm enjoying it very much!  Hope you all are finding your own bits of luck out there as of late.
Happy Good Karma!
Enjoy,


Allie H. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Why I'm Pro Sex-Education for our Teens


(Jerry) Winters of the Tennessee Education Association said that already existing sex-education policy was "quite adequate." Obviously not, if we’re constantly changing our sex-education legislature, what we're willing and not willing to teach and teen pregnancy is still on the rise. Check out this msnbc.com news article on the changes Tennessee is making and why.

http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/12/11668279-new-tennessee-law-aims-to-curb-teaching-gateway-sexual-activity

Quite the read. All with quotes from people who are past their teenage years by at least 20 years, I'd suspect, and probably don't remember what all was taught to the in their high school health class or the details of the cringe-inducing "birds and bees talk' from their parent about storks and bundles joy wrapped up with a big floppy bow because they were embarrassed beyond belief. (Let me insert my disclaimer here.) I’m not trying to push my views on everyone and say that they have to follow them to the letter.  I'm not saying that every school has to march to one syllabus. I’m merely trying to share what I believe would be a more effective way to deal with teens and sex educations and the consequences that can come from engaging in sexual activity and why you should take on what your schools don't teach your kids as being your responsibility.  
I am a firm believer in information-inclusive Sex-Ed.  I believe that it's when we teach complete abstinence (i.e. don’t have sex, it’s bad for you and we’re just not going to tell you why) that it’s kids without the all the facts who go too far too fast and, as a result, are the ones that up getting pregnant because we didn't bother to teach them about birth control and what does and does not constitute intercourse and so if they experiment, they're going to end up in a worse off case than if you present them with all the facts.  I have to think that not telling the the explicit consequences involved with having sex means that they won’t actually grasp how potentially and seriously consequential it can actually be.  Believe it or not, teens are still smart and if we give them all the information they'll do better at making their own choices.  If we simply tell a teen not to do something, chances are, they're going to think about doing it if you don't entirely inform them.
We're supposed to be teaching them how to be responsible young adults, how to make choices based on the facts presented to them right?  Having someone give us all the facts when we go to the doctor, dentist, insurance agent, etc is what happens when we need surgery, dental care, more coverage on our house or car and they present us with all the basic facts so that we can make choices happens. It's in the real world every day-so why aren't we willing to apply it when we're teaching them to respect themselves, their bodies and their boyfriends or girlfriends if we want them to be able to know how to make informed choices about everything else the second they turn eighteen?  I don’t remember seeing Sex-Ed in my list of requirements for graduating from college.  I would guess that they expected that by the time you got there (because we’ve been teaching it for YEARS), you have already made your choice to be abstinent until marriage or not and you’ve already been given enough information to be able to make that decision.  We expect them to know how to handle large amounts of information and make informed decisions when it comes to everything else but we don't teach them near enough anything anymore when it comes to personal health and Sexual Education.  Just don’t sugar coat or gloss over it like the PE teacher in ‘Mean Girls’ (“If you have sex, you’ll get AIDS and die!  Everybody take a condom.”)  Give them the cold hard facts of how easily it is to contract STD's and AIDs, how you may not know you have it before you pass it to someone else, what happens to your bodies and why, what exactly a young woman's body goes through during pregnancy, what hormones will shift and how it will affect the physically and emotionally and EVERYTHING related to the consequences of sexual intercourse. Make an impact with your information, don't just say "Oh, well, if you have sex you could get pregnant. Read the chapter and answer the questions." Have a doctor come in and describe giving birth from a first-hand point of view. Actually inform them with real-life scenarios and they'll get the picture. SLAM the facts in their faces.  
Teens respond to adults being entirely upfront and honest with them and whether or not they ask further questions, you'll at least know that you have their attention and have let them know how serious the choice to have sex is and can be. After that, it’s going to be up to them.  Teaching abstinence only teaches teens how to make irresponsible, misinformed choices because when teens don't get information from a teacher and don't want to ask their parents and be embarrassed, they get it from an equally misinformed friend who's heard bare rumors from their older siblings. You have to give them all the information and make it serious enough for them to pay attention and you might be surprised at the drops in teen-pregnancy rates in our schools after that. If you don't want your child to have Sex-Ed you should sign a waiver and they can take another 9-week course, or do your homework before you choose your child’s high school, but do take it upon yourself to tell them all the facts yourselves if you go that route.  Don’t just sue the high school for what you don’t want them to learn.  Don’t be delusional in thinking that if they don’t know the school in't teaching them, and they don’t come to you with questions, that teen pregnancy or something else won’t happen to them because you’ve simply told them that they should wait until marriage (which you should tell them, if that’s how you feel.  I’m not saying not to.  I’m just saying that you should tell them WHY you feel that they should wait.)  
When my future kids get to that age I'm going to be open to any and all questions they have and I'll be honest with them about my experience.  Yes, I waited until I was an adult to engage in sexual activity but my high school had a separate classroom for the handful of pregnant girls and I vaguely knew one or two of them*(See note below).  No, their father wasn't the first person I had sex with.  Yes, I have had a pregnancy scare and it was an emotionally wrenching few days to think that I might be pregnant before I had marriage and financial stability and what I was going to do if it turned out to be true. And yes, and I was lucky but no, not everyone will be so lucky.  We should be using the lessons from our younger years to give our children some perspective. This sort of personal relevance needs to be coming from parents and all the facts need to come from our educators since not all parents have gone through the sexual trends that their kids will be hearing about and wondering about as they grow up.  (While we're at it, part of Sex-Ed should be to teach girls how to physically protect and defend themselves if they feel physically threatened.  Toss in some basic karate with their signed agreement that they will only use it to their defense. I'm down. And teach the boys to recognize when a girl is trying to say "No" and that they need to back off.  It's through non-communication that things can turn for the worse in a situation like that.) Think about it. Makes a lot of sense to me. What makes sense to you?
Happy Responsibility (and Education)
Enjoy,

Allie H.

*My note on having the pregnant girls separated from the rest of the student body: If the school teaches some level of sex education instead of abstinence, I don’t think that they should be in a different classroom, IF they don’t want to be.  More girls might take notice if there’s someone sitting next to them who is pregnant, might ask questions about what contraceptives were used, if any, and would see on a daily basis that their classmate is going through some very emotional and physical demands that they never expected to go through by not thinking sex through.  A realization that students could process on their own terms.