Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Devil's Contraption

This thing is going to be the death of me.

No, not Monkey.  The stroller!

See those tires? Those are designed specifically for jogging.  It's too bad this body of mine isn't. 

Since the weather has been getting nicer I've been trying to get out and jog more.  Monkey likes to be out in the fresh air, and so do I.  Poor girl might need some sunglasses though, just look at her squint!  But DANG, pushing that thing wears me out fast!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Creamy Pesto Dip

This dip is to die for.  If you would've told me that I'd ever go to bat for a pesto dip, I would've said that that's crazy talk. 

Of course, maybe I am....

I've never been a huge pesto fan, but this dip has converted me.  I now use pesto in many different ways and I love it.

What You'll Need:
  • 1 block cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons zesty italian dressing
  • 1/2 jar of basil pesto
  • diced fresh tomatoes, as many as you wish
What You Do:

Mix cream cheese, sour cream and dressing until smooth.

Pour pesto over cream cheese mixture.
Add a good amount of diced tomatoes over the pesto.
Refrigerate for one hour and serve with crackers.
Fall in love.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monkey loves having story time before bedtime every night.  It's a nice way to wind down after our dance parties.

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Toon Tuesday

This cartoon was meant to be about politics. (I probably don't need to get into what it is referencing with all the hoopla that has been going on this week.)
I find it funny. 

Funny in the way it was meant to be taken. And funny in a whole other way. 

I'm not feeling very motivated this week at work.  After seeing this I had to laugh out loud... could it be because most of the office is in D.C. right now and I'm not?

Perhaps this guy and I need to go back and read yesterday's post

Monday, March 22, 2010

Need Motivation?

This article recently ran in The News-Gazette and I find it quite inspiring.  I felt proud of myself for running my first 5K last year... and look at these two!  I can only hope JC and I are as spunky as them when we reach their ages!


This is one of a series of profiles on runners training for one of the Illinois Marathon races.

Name: Don and Roma Chenoweth
Hometown: Champaign
Age: Don, 69; Roma, 68
Occupation: Don, retired political science professor; Roma, retired high school English teacher
Race: 5K

For Don and Roma Chenoweth, exercising is a way of life.

They are often running and walking at local races, and they are regulars at Second Wind Running Club’s fun runs each Tuesday in the summer at Meadowbrook Park.

Next, you’ll see the two of them doing the 5K race at the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon in May.

Don Chenoweth is a longtime runner who has run five marathons, his first at around age 40. He’d been doing half-marathons and shorter races in recent years.

But a battle with cancer slowed him down.

He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in January 2007. He underwent treatment and was cancer-free in May of that year. In August, he was participating in the Champaign Park District’s mini-triathlon.

But the cancer came back, and he went through another round of chemotherapy and then a bone marrow transplant in July 2008. He’s in good health now, but the treatment took a toll. His legs aren’t as strong as they used to be, so he’s limited to running shorter distances.

But it certainly hasn’t stopped him. He still runs four to five times a week, usually about two miles; swims almost every day for 45 minutes to an hour; and golfs.

Roma Chenoweth had been a ballet dancer for most of her life, but after both her parents suffered heart attacks, she took up walking. She walks three miles every day — a habit she’s had for 25 years now.

She also walks in the pool every day for 45 minutes.

“It takes a chunk out of the day, which I couldn’t do if I weren’t retired,” she said.

“I think it’s kind of a compulsion with both of us to exercise,” Roma continued. “It’s part of our lives. We don’t feel right if we don’t get it in.”

Neither could participate in any of the Illinois Marathon races last year. Don was still recovering from his treatment and Roma was caring for him.

“I was down at Hessel Park cheering people on,” Don said.

They’re both looking forward to being a part of the 5K this year, with Don running the race and Roma walking it.

“I’m going to do the best I can. I may even be able to jog the whole thing without walking,” Don said.

“I’ll be pushing it,” to do the 5K, he continued. “But I don’t care what I feel like at the end, just as long as I get to the end.”

Friday, March 19, 2010

Stubborn Old Broad

Seeing reports like this makes me feel two things:  One, overjoyed that this woman was able to protect herself and save her life.  Two, saddened that my own grandmothers do not have the same right.  What if this would've happened to them?  I hate to even think about it.

An 82-year-old woman takes matters into her own hands after she’s attacked in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Sierra Vista.

Police said the suspect Stephen Prickett beat the woman with her own cane until she grabbed her gun from her purse and started firing.

After a few days in the hospital, she’s out and told News 4 all about it.

She said she was just walking to her car with some groceries when she was approached by the suspect. She said, “In a very mild voice he said, ‘This is your day. You are too old to be alive anyway.’”

Moments later she said he grabbed her cane and started beating her and she’s got the bruises to prove it. She said, “I got boo boos where I didn’t know I had a place to put boo boos.”

She eventually went for the gun in her purse and opened fire. She didn’t hit him but said it still saved her life. She said, “In the long run I think it saved me because if I hadn’t shot the thing no one would have known there was anything wrong and come running.”

Wal-Mart employees came to her rescue and police weren’t far behind.

Police said the victim did absolutely everything right. As for the suspect, they said he made a big mistake. Tracy Grady with the Sierra Vista Police Department said, “He picked the wrong woman. She was the wrong target.”

And the self proclaimed “stubborn, old broad” said you can say that again. She said, “If I go naturally or to a sickness or something, fine. I’m ready to go, but I’m not ready to let some idiot like that take me out.”

The victim said owning a gun isn’t for everyone but added with the proper training it’s a good idea particularly for elderly people like her that are becoming victims more and more often.

The suspect was arrested shortly after the attack. He’s facing multiple charges including attempted murder.

For more Armed Citizen stories, click here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mmmmm... Steak

It's National Ag Week and wrapping it up on Saturday is Ag Day.  How are you going to celebrate? 

Michigan's Govenor Jennifer Granholm proclaimed Saturday a meatless day.  She wants everyone in Michigan to celebrate Ag Day by foregoing meat.  Seriously?

How does that statement even make sense?  The agriculture industry is the second leading industry in Michigan, contributing over $71 billion to the state’s economy.  At a time when unemployement is on the rise and families are struggling to even put food on the table, why would Granholm support an activity that would encourage even MORE of that to happen?

Here are a few facts on the meat industry in Michigan:
  • Beef cattle production is Michigan's fourth largest agricultural business.
  • Beef is a nutrient-dense food and is the No. 1 source of Protein, Vitamin B12 and Zinc. Beef is also the No. 3 food source of iron behind fortified cereal and grains.
  • A three-ounce serving of lean beef is an excellent source of protein, supplying more than half the protein most people need each day.
  • The protein in beef is a complete, high-quality protein, which means it supplies all of the essential amino acids, or building blocks of protein, the body needs to build, maintain, and repair body tissue.
  • Pork production contributes to more than 3,000 jobs for Michigan residents.
  • Pork production provides more than $15 million in state and local taxes.
  • Pork producers' livelihoods depend on the well being of their livestock.
  • There are eight cuts of pork with less than 200 calories per serving.
The Michigan Farm Bureau summed up my thoughts in a statement they released:

"Governor Granholm's proclamation to recognize March 20 as "Michigan Meatout Day" is unconscionable and an insensitive slap in the face to Michigan's livestock and dairy farmers, not to mention Michigan's meat-eating residents.

“The rationale cited in the proclamation for encouraging residents not to eat meat is misleading and incriminating, as there is science to refute many of the claims raised. It's inconceivable to us that the Governor could stoop to this level of telling people what they should and shouldn't eat based on the philosophies of 'food elitists.'

“It'd be one thing if Granholm proclaimed a day to promote increased consumption of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. But the Governor clearly crossed the line in recklessly singling out meat products for non-consumption and belittling this wholesome source of protein when, in fact, the USDA Food Pyramid Guide, our country's most respected dietary guideline, recommends two to three servings of lean meat per day depending on your age.

“Even more unbelievable is the Governor's nerve to declare "Michigan Meatout Day" on the same day as National Agriculture Day, which is a coveted and historic occasion to recognize and celebrate all sectors of our nation's agriculture industry. Her action is blatantly degrading to Michigan consumers and farmers, and is destructive to Michigan's entire $71.3 billion agriculture industry.

"The fact that Granholm's proclamation states unfounded facts and allegations toward meat products indicates the Governor's desire and willingness to court special interest groups to the demise of a major state industry."

So again I ask, how do you plan to celebrate Ag Day?  I plan on making eggs, biscuits and sausage gravy, and bacon for breakfast, cajun chicken sandwichs for lunch, and finishing the day off by grilling a couple of nice juicy steaks for supper! In between this feast of goodness, I'm going to take Monkey out to the farm to visit grandpa at work, see some farming in action and possibly pet some cattle!

Spread the love for meat and THANK A FARMER!

** UPDATE - After I wrote this, Governor Granholm reversed her stance on "Meatout Day" and declared March 20 Michigan Agriculture Day.  Click here for more.  Looks like someone is trying to do a little damage control!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Citrus Salsa

This may sound like a really odd combination, but trust me... try it.  You'll love it!  I can't remember exactly where I found the recipe, but I think it was on the back of a Triscuit box.  I made a few changes and it's been an instant hit. 

What You'll Need:

•1 cup tomatoes, chopped (about 3)
•1 can mandarin oranges, drained (11 Oz)
•¼ cup red onion, chopped
•A handful of chopped fresh cilantro
•1 tablespoon zesty italian dressing

What You Do:

Combine all ingredients.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serve w/ crackers.  My favorites are Triscuits Rosemary & Olive Oil or Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil. Any kind will do though.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Flashback Friday

I'm sure you've seen those emails of bad family portraits.  You know the ones, where everyone looks so terrible you can't help but laugh.  It's usually more out of embarrassment for the sad people in the photo, but you still laugh.

I'm happy to share the worst portrait of MY family.  I mean seriously, it's bad.  But since today is Friday, I figured why not start off the weekend with a laugh? 

Without any further ado....

This was taken in the early 80's... and sweater vests were VERY cool, thank you very much!  I should also include that our mother made all of the sweaters. She is quite the talented lady. If only she would've given us our haircuts as well....

**This Flashback Friday brought to you by Bad Mullets on Good Little Girls

Thursday, March 11, 2010

IGOLD 2010

IGOLD 2010 was a success!  We had perfect weather and a very large, respectful crowd that marched from the Prairie Capital Convention Center to the State Capital.  The official numbers haven't been released, but I would guess we surpassed the 5,000 attendees from last year by a few thousand!

There were many great speakers from Otis McDonald to Valinda Rowe, who got the crowd motivated to make the rounds to lawmakers' offices in the Capital to push for less restrictive gun laws.  Concealed carry was one of the top priorities, naturally.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't understand what it is that makes Illinois citizens any less capable than those of other states.  Are we not as intelligent?  Or are we just not as important?  If a woman in Illinois is raped, is her body and right to protect it not as respected as a woman's in Missouri... or Texas... or Florida?  I'd like someone to explain that to me.

A few of our elected officials were in their offices and willing to listen to what we had to say.  We appreciate that and would like to thank them for doing so.

A few pictures from the day:


This is only part of the crowd that descended on the Capital.  If you squint just so, you can see the sea of gold even beyond the bridge!

Senator Bill Brady with my sister and I.  He came to the PCCC and gave a rousing speech to the crowd after a long day of lobbying.

One other thing worth mentioning... oh geeze, I'm starting to sweat and turn red just thinking about it.  Bear with me here...  okay, I think I've got the pools of sweat under control.  Bonnie and I were interviewed by!  We are definately not comfortable on camera and it probably showed, but it was fun!   

Thank you to everyone that came out to make IGOLD successful, and to those that weren't there, plan on it next year! 

For some coverage of the event, click here, here or here and of course

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Today is IGOLD.  This is a picture from 2009 when over 5,000 people attended.  I hope to bring you one from 2010 with double that number!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Toon Tuesday

For more cartoons, go to the Center for Consumer Freedom.

Monday, March 8, 2010

IGOLD is Here!

IGOLD is only two days away!  If you've never heard of IGOLD, it stands for Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day.  It is an annual event where people who are mindful of their own liberty and how government often abuses and denies it, descend on the capitol building in Springfield to lobby their representatives in the Illinois House and Senate.

Why should you go?  Let me break it down really quick for you...

-48 states have concealed carry (CC); and even Wisconsin (that 49th) has open carry. There's no reason why IL citizens cannot be as responsible as those in every other state.

- When the good guys have guns, bad guys think twice about committing crimes. They don't really want to get shot.

- Outlawing firearms doesn't keep the bad guys from getting them, because they aren't law-abiding citizens anyway.

- Police officers have no obligation to protect you as a citizen. They are only obliged to protect society as a whole. Which means you should be able to protect yourself.

- The Supreme Court is currently hearing a case (McDonald v. Chicago) that challenges Chicago's ban on handguns. It is very relevant for all 2nd Amendment supporters in IL to make it known that they are numerous and they do vote.

- We finally have the opportunity to elect a governor that will sign a CC bill into law- Sen. Bill Brady.

- Even if you don't care about firearms, it is important that you go.  It's about our FREEDOM.  Illinois government specifically criminalizes and punishes the exercise of what is a natural right. If they are able and willing to do that to one inalienable right, we have to ask ourselves what will stop them from doing the same to our other natural rights.

I will be in Springfield on Wednesday and I hope that you will too.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

A few weeks ago I told you about the flub that Yellow Tail wine made by donating to the Humane Society of the United States.  I never had a chance to give you an update though..... let's just say the last few weeks have been rough for HSUS.

I'm very happy to say that Yellow Tail has offered another apology, this time a little more heartfelt (or maybe walletfelt?).  In a letter to the Animal Agriculture Alliance they said, "We pledge to you that any future support for animal welfare will go to organizations specifically devoted to hands-on care, such as rescue, sterilization, feeding, or disaster assistance."

Not long after the Yellow Tail debacle went down, another corporate sponsor of HSUS came to light.... Pilot Travel Centers.  That's right, a truck-stop and gas station chain based in Tennessee, where a good chunk of their custumers work and depend on agriculture - the very thing that HSUS fights against.

HSUS actually opened the door with a post on it's Facebook page: "We're giving a shout out to Pilot Travel Centers for standing up against animal cruelty and supporting us!" 

It only took one day for Pilot to recognize the error of their ways.  They issued a statement regarding the relationship of the company with the animal rights organization saying, "We sincerely regret any actions that led to the misperception of our support of this organization. Pilot Travel Centers is a strong supporter of agriculture interests in our home state of Tennessee and across the country.  In order to avoid any further misunderstandings, employees will immediately cease collections of donations to HSUS. Pilot corporate has never matched a single dollar of these donations and will not support any organization that has an agenda that works against agriculture interests."

And to top it off, this week a third company has withdrawn it's support of HSUS!  Precious Cat, Inc. is a cat litter company that has been listed on HSUS's corporate supporters page for quite a long time.  Maybe they decided it was just time to stop donating, or maybe they heard about the trials of Yellow Tail and Pilot and finally took a look at what HSUS is all about.    

In a statement that Precious Cat released, they said, "Precious Cat, Inc. has withdrawn it’s sponsorship of the Humane Society of the United States Shelter Partner Program. However, Precious Cat will still continue to support shelters by providing them with free Shelter Kits."

I think it's great that they are going to continue to donate their product to ACTUAL hands-on cat shelters.  I have never heard of Precious Cat before, but the next time I am in the store I will keep an eye open for their products and show a little love and appreciation for them, and I hope you do as well!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Waiting for Bright and Sunshiny Days

I have been seeing more and more of this around our house recently...

Monkey wants to get out of the house so badly!  The sun was shining on Sunday, so we did just that.  Once the sun disappeared behind the clouds though, she got a little chilly and we had to break out the blanket.

The wind picked up and we decided it was time to head back inside the house.  She wasn't too pleased with that and wanted to go right back out.

We are SO ready for spring!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Toon Tuesday

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Family Tradition

On my way to work this morning, the local radio station asked for listeners to call in and tell everyone in radioland what the latest greatest thing was that happened to them. 

One lady called and said how her mother had finally beaten cancer. 

A grandmother called in to say how her granddaughter was pregnant again after a miscarriage, and at the last doctor's appointment the doctor said everything was going great.

One man said it was great to watch the USA hockey team go to the finals in the Olympics, even though they ended up losing.

I didn't call in... I'm a listener, not a caller.  Unless tickets to a concert are being given away... then I'm all over that phone like white on rice. 

I thought of this though:

Look at how happy little A is!  And Grandpa Dan isn't too upset to be hanging out with her either.

And this one... Monkey with her Grandpa. 

The two Grandpas have been friends for years.  When I say years, I mean YEARS.  Like longer than I've existed. 

Grandpa Dan is Oklahoma Annie's dad, and obviously we've been friends for years.  To go back even further, our grandmothers are friends and still to this day meet for lunch and bridge!  So then I wonder if Monkey and A will grow up to be best friends.  Or if Annie and Scott's unborn children will grow up to take pictures of Annie and I holding OUR grandchildren. 

Even though Dan, Annie, A and the rest of that clan aren't our "family," they are.  And I think that's great.

Now tell me.... what was the last great thing that happened to you?  Small or big, let's hear it!