but i thought i WAS being spontaneous…

So, on Friday Andrew calls to ask if I want to go camping with some of his friends on Saturday night.  As in, the-next-day-Saturday night.  Less-than-24-hours-later Saturday night.

Of course, I said no.

No, because I wanted to RELAX during my first weekend free from school.  I wanted to sleep in my own bed.  I didn’t want to worry about organizing and packing (much less locating) all our camping gear up.

What’s that you say?  Camping IS relaxing?  Yes, camping is relaxing ONCE YOU’RE THERE and unpacked and the weather is perfect and SOMEONE ELSE did all the planning for you.

Well, once Andrew offered a little more information, like that he knew where our camping stuff was, and that the campsite was only a 30-minute drive and that we didn’t have to go until dinnertime on Saturday, and that another female had already taken care of much of the food planning, I started to warm up to the idea.

So we went.  And it was fun.  The location was actually the giant parcel of land (100 acres, maybe?) belonging to the family of one of Andrew’s co-workers.  There was a tiny ‘cabin,’ but it was all but useless.  Apparently it’s being remodeled/renovated later this summer…

Disclaimer: it’s looks a little red-neck, and maybe it was.  I mean, there were dirt bikes for pete’s sake!  At least they were all Moog engineers, (except me–a student–and the friends’ fiancee–a teacher) which really just means that the bikes were NICE and in good shape.  I don’t know why, but that fact made me feel a bit better.  I mean, we were in the sticks.

Hadrian had a blast.  Actually, that would be understatement.  He’s never had so much fun in his life.  He’s still sleeping it off…

Dead trees were cut down with a chainsaw for firewood…

Bananas were sauteed in butter as appetizers…  Amazing!  Slice some up and throw them in a skillet with butter–I dare you not to love them.

Dinner: corn, beans x 2 and burgers (note Andrew’s cheese-less patty).  Sahlen’s hot dogs and brats were next, as well as some surprisingly good Wegmans pre-made potato salad.  I’m not usually into pre-made “tub” salads, but this one wasn’t bad at all.  Actually kinda good.  Must be the camping talking.

We set our tents up in row on the makeshift driveway.  Thank goodness for air mattresses–I don’t care that it’s not hard-core camping; I value my sleep, AND my back!

Plus, there was NO TOILET.  It was trees and thank-goodness-I thought-to-bring toilet-paper–tell me that’s not hard-core!  I mean, even our boundary-waters trip up in Minnesota and Canada in which we had to CARRY OUR CANOES (wish I’d been blogging then!) came with holes in the ground at each campsite…

Not surprisingly, I was up before 6 a.m. the next morning.  Between the birds and other woodland creatures, nature is just deafening at sunrise!  I did, however, come prepared:

I paired a banana and some peanut butter with my Bible study and enjoyed some peace and quiet before people started stirring around 7:30.

Also brought running gear in case the opportunity presented itself.  (It did, of course.)

I took Hadrian with me for a loop I think was about 2.5 to 3 miles.  HUGE downhill one way, HUGE uphill the other.  I dropped him off at the campsite and did it again myself, this time in reverse once I got to the bottom so I could run the middle, more shaded, less hilly length twice on the second go-around.  Fifty-four minutes later, I was pooped!

We ended our short stay with Andrew giving one of the dirt bikes a try.  He had fun, but I don’t think he’s itching to go buy one any time soon…  That’s the problem with having lots of single male friends–they all have expensive toys!

Oh well, he has a (hot) wife 🙂  Or at least that’s what I keep telling him.

what’s new around here

I know, I’ve been slacking.

Well, maybe with the blog, but everything else just seems to find its way into my already packed schedule.  In addition to the massive amounts of chemistry studying that has been going on for the past week or so (and will continue until 10:59 Monday morning), I’ve been able to fit in a batch of yogurt, Mother’s Day cards/gifts/trips to the post office, multiple hairball clean-ups (eeewww) and some Big Bang-watching.  Thank you, Andrew, for doing my dishes and folding laundry.  I know I whine and complain and can be a bit of a perfectionist; thank you for being patient.

It will all be over after by 1 p.m. Monday–hurray!  I can already taste the margarita I’m ordering afterward…

Anyway, here’s something of a re-cap:

1. Starbucks has had half-price fraps since last Friday, and I didn’t get one until Tuesday, which I think showed great restraint.  The kicker?  I tried their new ‘mocha cookie crumble’ flavor and I was so not that impressed.  Oh well, guess that’s what I get for obsessing over it.  I even brought some of my own sweet potato tortilla chips for snacking along with the drink (I love salty with chocolate!), and they are the same kind you can BUY at Starbucks.  Ha!  Bonus: I’ve been looking for one of their ‘city/state’ mugs that either said ‘Buffalo’ or ‘New York’ that I liked–loved this green one featuring the Statue of Liberty and the NYC skyline.  Would love to find one that’s more local to Western NY, but until then, this will have to do.

Side note: I’ve visited more coffee shops in the past week studying for the final than I care to admit.  However, I have a post going on my coffee preferences, so I suppose I could chalk them all up to research…

2. We recently received a giant box in the mail–it contained FOUR bags of Julio’s tortilla chips that Andrew mailed back from Texas. He even included a giant bottle of their seasoning blend–think he’s trying to tell me something??

Please note the first ingredient is MSG…  Really?  Like I’m really going to feel good about shaking THAT all over my organic sweet potato fries…  I swear, you guys, it’s like I’m sleeping with the enemy, sometimes.

3.  I made Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chip ice cream from Pioneer Woman’s new cookbook awhile ago, and I still have a little in the freezer.  Here are a couple photos:

All the blackberries I used turned into this leftover pulp–what a waste!  I tried it, just out of curiosity.  Big mistake–all it needed was cobbler on top with some vanilla ice cream!  I had to stop myself after two spoonfuls.

While the ice cream flavor was pretty spot-on, the chocolate I put in left something to be desired….  Instead of melting INSTANTLY in your mouth like real Graeter’s, these chunks of chocolate were crunchy and almost flavorless…almost no melting whatsoever.  At first, I thought it was the kind of chocolate I used: bittersweet vs. semi-sweet, or milk vs. dark.  However, upon further research into their methods (yes, I googled for their ingredients), I realized it’s all about the melting point and temperature…!  Duh, Holly, did you not just learn about this in Chemistry?  Basically, because ice cream is frozen, there is no way the chocolate can ‘melt in your mouth’ very quickly, unless you change the chocolate itself.  Graater’s actually adds oil to their premium chocolate to lower the melting point…  Now, all I need is their ratio of chocolate to oil…

4. So there is this long piece of carpet scrap we keep near the front door to help minimize mess on the carpet from coming in and out the door.  Obviously, it’s not nailed down or anything, so EVERY TIME Hadrian gets in one of his “zoomies” moods, he kicks it up into a wad under the dining room table.  Heck, even just normal walking moves the thing around.  THIS. MAKES. ME. INSANE.  I must bend over 900 times a day to fix the thing.  Yet another reason our forever home will not have carpet.

5. I ate sardines the other day for the first time!  Yes, I said sardines.  Honestly, they taste just like chicken.  Ha!  No, they don’t…but they do taste just like tuna.  Kath made a video of herself making a sardine salad and I was intrigued.  I bought a can of them last time we were in Ohio at Trader Joe’s and finally gave them a whirl.  Not bad at all!  Seriously, just like tuna.  I used her basic recipe and added some relish for a little more moisture.

6. Emily and I are plowing through Made to Crave and loving every moment!  We both agree that these last couple weeks have been really neat and there just seems to be so much ‘synergy’ going on with everything we’re learning.  For example, the beginning of the study focused more on simple principles of emotional eating, whereas now we’re moving into self-control (which was my first major break-through) and obedience to God.  The other night, I had a little bowl of ice cream (small, self-controlled and completely permissible for me), but afterward I realized I had eaten it ‘just because I wanted it.’  A perfect example of giving in and meeting a need–even with something permissible–when I should have been strong.

And another example: yesterday, Andrew and I ate a late lunch, so we didn’t want dinner before going to see The Avengers with the Layers.  It was about 5:45 p.m. and I’d just gotten a 100% on my final Chem quiz and was craving a walk and some fresh air, so we decided to walk to Vincenzo’s to get some water ice with our Groupon.  Anyway (I have a point here, I promise), we indulged a little in some liquid sugar (smalls!) before the movie, but passed on popcorn at the theater, which was easy since the line was long and we were already late.  However, by the time the movie ended we were both a bit hungry and Andrew suggested Kone King.  Now, I tell you what, I LOVE Kone King–their custard is just wonderful!  But you know what my first thought was:  “I’ve already had my dessert for today–I don’t need any more.”  VICTORY!!!  Despite it being 9 p.m., I felt I needed some ‘real food,’ so we opted for subs, where I chose a turkey on wheat.  VICTORY!

7.  My friend, Regina, took me to the local Yogen Fruz here at the mall.  Big mistake; it’s just another thing to crave.  At least it’s (pseudo) healthy, right?

8. I’ve come to the conclusion that Hadrian and I are on some sort of weird circadian rhythm…  Nine times out of ten, I wake up–moments before my alarm–only to hear him start getting up (his collar jingling, a familiar whine/yawn and stretch from the living room, followed by the clacking of his nails on our wood bedroom floor), also moments before my alarm… As long as I can switch him from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. while I’m on summer break, we’ll be alright.

9.  Speaking of Hadrian…  I’m the worst dog-mom EVER.  I went out on a study break tonight to grab a Starbucks and run a few errands, one of which being to buy dog food–he’s dangerously low.  Well, I was apparently more concerned with getting to Ulta before they closed on Sunday than PetSmart…  Between that preoccupation and the onset of a sudden “shopping mood”  (probably more like procrastination, in this case), needless to say, I arrived to PetSmart too late.  Reason #536 that we don’t have (real) children yet.

Guess I’m going in the morning…  (Which really just means an excuse to get Starbucks before school, but who’s asking??)

10.  Hours to final exam: 12!


Well, almost.

I just had MY LAST CLASS of the semester; all that stands between me and summer vacation is a quiz (who does that?!) and the FINAL.  This weekend = massive amounts of studying.

Look!  It’s a lunchable:

My mom never bought those for us as kids (she was far too healthy for that–I swear I was the first kid ever to eat brown rice and whole-wheat pancakes…), and now I can only thank her for it 🙂

Sahlen’s ham from Wegmans, 1.5 slices light swiss cheese, an apricot fruit cup packed in juice (total impulse buy) and no-salt-added vegetable juice (another impulse purchase).  It’s a light lunch; I’m headed out to East Aurora to run an errand and then get some coffee at Firefly Cupcakes (french press!) and take advantage of the quiet atmosphere for some studying.  When I need a snack (and change of scenery!), I think I’ll head over to Taste, since they have healthier options on their menu…

Not that I don’t like cupcakes, Wendy!  But, this Bible study is teaching me to tame my sweet tooth…  (If I lose all resolve and a cupcake JUST CALLS TO ME, I’ll just eat half.)