Monday, December 20, 2010

What a great pup!

Kako is turning out to be a dog that never ceases to amaze me. She took her first road trip with us yesterday. We went to Ron's brother Chris' house in Medford. It's like an hour and 45 minute drive. She was an angel in the car and then at the house she met 14 new people! She was perfect with all the kids, gave kisses to everyone and didn't have a single accident!
I was not giving her credit to know what's right and wrong. I mean, I planned for all kinds of mishaps, and she was just really good. I clearly underestimated her!
Well, i don't want to give her too much credit yet, but i will not be so shocked at what a great pup she can be!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Something to be thankful for this time of year

The thing about this time of year is that everyone is crazy with Christmas shopping and parties and all kinds of other things. Maybe we are not happy about how cold it is outside, or stressed about money.

On the way to work today I realized that although the days are much shorter this time of year, the great thing about that is we can see the sun rise and set every day. Most of us are awake at 7am and 4:30pm. Take a look at the sun at these times. It is gorgeous! I have noticed the color is usually a wonderful shade of orange pink and the clouds take on different shades as the sun is "moving".

Take a look, be thankful for the beauty, and take a deep breath. Enjoy this time of year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

First week with Kako

Oh my goodness, what a week! I feel like I have been through the ringer! I got my little puppy baby Kako last Friday night and boy has it been quite the ride. She is amazing- a fast learner, cute as a button, energetic, and fun. I love her. We all love her! When I picked her up she was 7 weeks and a day old. After 3 days, she was housebroken! Amazing! What a perfect first doggie. She is wicked smart, but she is very headstrong and independent. Well, she likes to think she is, but she loves having us around. After only a few days, she didn't cry when we left her. Hearing her cry was the worst thing in the world, but I had to let her do it so she could learn we aren't leaving her forever.
Last weekend I got sick, probably on the worst possible weekend ever. But i made it through with a little help from family and friends and now everything is great. We are in a groove, getting our routine down, and on our way to successfully training this little pup.
The cats are taking it better than i ever expected. Of course they aren't thrilled there is a dog in their lives, but they are still happy and able to adjust. It will take time, but they are certainly still the rulers of the house and will be forever!
Kako is sleeping right now, thank God. She is so adorable when she sleeps. She is always adorable actually!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving i am thankful for..........................

My family (including present and future animals!)
My health
My home
My job
My quit (smoking)
My friends
My freedom
My life

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thoughts on dogs

It's a little frustrating not knowing when i will get Kako. I really want her to be with her siblings until she is 8 weeks old. Apparently it is very important for her so that she is more adaptable with other dogs in the future.
At the end of my hike of the Seven Sisters a few weeks ago, there was an altercation between a sweet small puppy and a big golden retriever. The puppy ended up getting nipped on the ear and she cried like a little baby. I felt awful! The owner was a young girl around 20 years old and she was so upset. It was a Sunday and her dog was bleeding and clearly upset. I was upset too!!! I probably will never forget that.

It makes me very nervous and at the time i thought if i ever get a dog, i won't let them near other dogs. But that's silly. Dogs are everywhere and i want to take her hiking with me which means she will be around other dogs. If i raise her to be confident and playful around other dogs, she will have a fine time meeting other dogs. And people for that matter. I want her to be the kind of dog that doesn't scare people and that everyone likes. No one likes a scary dog!

I ordered her "long term confinement area" yesterday. It's a 5x5x4 pen that we will have in the finished basement while we are away at work. When i am home, she will be training in her crate. So every hour or so i will bring her to go potty outside, get her reward and then puppy play time and more training. They say you have to start from Day 1. I don't know when that will be yet, but i will be ready!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Kako is on the way....................

Just ordered our brand new doggie house for Kako. Yes, we are getting a puppy! Her name is Kako and she is a Shiba Inu. She was born October 14th, so right now she is 5 1/2 weeks old. I am hoping she gets to hang out with her siblings until she is 8 weeks old. Let's keep our fingers crossed! She needs the extra interaction with them.

I've been reading about training. It is quite an interesting venture and i can't wait to tackle it with her. I want her to be an awesome doggie so we will be working extra hard to train her the right way. It will take a lot of work, but i am so up for it.

PUPPY!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ah, to hike w a friend!

Had a great hike with my new friend Maegan at the notch.
The time flew by so fast because we were chatting
so much. She is so nice and it seems like we have a ton
in common. Thanks to Pam I have a
hiking buddy!

Lazy sunday

Making chili today. It's coming out pretty good so far
I already had almost everything I needed for it
in the house. Making brownies and corn bread too.
It's been one of those days where I've been chillin inside
getting stuff done. Yesterday I went through all my
cupboards. It wasn't that bad of a job. Brought some
food items to granby food bank, some was expired, but I have
quite a bit to work with here already.
I decided I'm going to start sending all our
plastic bags to Lou the upcycler so I have a bag
almost full all ready to go. It's kind of
a new project to see how little I can put
in our landfill.

I also got rid of another bag of clothes
I never wear. Cleanin house! It's so freeing!

Almost time to eat!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Baked squash seeds

Amazing little revelation from yesterday-----

I was making butternut squash soup and decided to keep the seeds and toast em up in the oven.

I washed them off under water in a colander and put them in a pie pan and sprinkled with kosher salt. Then i put them in the oven with the potatoes I was already cooking at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. I kept taking them out and giving them a shake although i am not sure that is necessary.

They are so good!!!! Especially warm. They are full of protein and iron. Yummy!!!!

I also just put some on top of my soup for lunch and it gave the soup a little crunch. Who needs bread???

Thursday, October 21, 2010

a vent

It's been a very difficult week for me. I mean, I have definitely had worse, but it's been rough.

I have chosen to take the high road. I refuse to stoop to their level. The way i see it, if i can hold my ground and keep my cool i will come out on top.

Sometimes it is so hard!!!

But today i could see through it. They are not happy with themselves somehow and are taking it out on others. I am happy for the most part, and don't need to be mean and nasty! I refuse to do it!!!

Just venting............................

Fantastic weekend!

I really need to invest in a new laptop. This one is terrible. Everytime I think to post something, i dread using this old, slow thing!

I had a fantastic weekend! Saturday I went shopping for some pants for hiking and i ended up getting some, plus new socks, a few shirts, and a puffy vest. The vest is reversible!! So cute.
Saturday night, Ron and I went bowling on base with a bunch of his friends. I always have a blast when i bowl, but i had even more fun that night than usual, not sure why!

Then on Sunday, i had an epic hike with 3 great girls i just met that same day! I mean, we planned it earlier in the week by email, but i had never met them. We hiked the "Seven Sisters", which is the stretch of the Holyoke Mountain Range between Bare Mountain and Mt. Holyoke aka Skinner. It is 6 miles. We were of varying degrees of hiking experience, but we made it work. It was so great meeting some new friends and we are planning more outings.

What a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My job

Ok, so i went to a billing and coding seminar today and the only thing i could think was that i do not want to do this for the rest of my life. Yeah it is a career, but in the scheme of things, why would i waste my precious time with such a meaningless and picky way?

I will do the best work i can while i am doing it, but i still don't think it's what i want to do for the rest of my working life.

People are different

How is it fair that some people think they can walk all over other people only because they have different views than another?
For those who think they are so open to new things, open to alternative lifestyles, and full of liberal thinking-and i don't mean that in a bad way i just mean free thinking people- how can they blame others for thinking differently?

Seems ridiculous to me. and unfair. and ignorant.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

I made a fantastic chicken pot pie last night if I do say so myself!

I had roasted some chicken thighs on Saturday and i made too many on purpose so i could use the leftover meat for a dish on Monday.

So I started by cooking some chopped onions and carrots in olive oil in a large frying pan. I cooked them very slow (on med low) because i wanted them to be very soft and not burn.
While those are cooking, peel and chop up 4 small potatoes and boil them until almost done.
When the onions were mostly cooked, i added some chopped raw chicken breast that i seasoned with salt and montreal chicken spices. i also turned up the heat a bit to get them going faster but you really have to watch that the onions don't burn.
When the chicken was mostly cooked through, i started to make a gravy by melting a tablespoon of  butter in that same pan. When it is melted and bubbly, add a tablespoon of flour (i just eyeball it) and whisk together until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. Then you can add your chicken broth and mix it all up so it gets nice and thick. I used about a cup of chicken broth, but it all depends on how thick or thin you want it.
Then add the leftover chicken, cooked potatoes, and some frozen peas. Season it up with salt and pepper. This is your filling!

So for the pie crust i cheated and got pre-made. I am all for homemade everything, but this is one area that i am willing to take a shortcut.
I hate it when the bottom of a piecrust is soggy, so i put the bottom layer in the pie pan and baked it at 425 for 8 minutes.
I took it out and let it rest for a couple minutes and then added the filling and put the top filling on and put slits in the top.
I baked it for about half an hour which was a bit too long because the crust ends burned a tad. It was delicious though!!! I can't wait to eat it for lunch.

Beautiful Columbus Day Weekend!

Well i didn't get to the blog i wanted to do on the Garlic Festival, but i will just say it was so much fun and there was a lot of great people-watching. Tons of vendors, food and animals in a beautiful setting. I can't wait to go back next year!!

This weekend i did not go on a hike and now i am totally regretting it. I drove by the mountain and there must've been 100 cars packed in to the lot. I am not kidding! I felt a twang of jealousy that i didn't make the time to go.

Sunday night i went to see Ingrid Michaelson at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton. She was so fantastic! Yeah, her songs can be kinda slow sometimes, but she makes it so interesting and fun!! She tells jokes and stories and even played Toxic by Britney Spears in her own quirky way. So cool. Can't wait to see her again and watch her make it big.

Yesterday was one of those days that i was feeling uneasy. The weekend flew by and i felt like i had so much stuff to do and not enough time. But i did get it all done, and had plenty of time leftover to go to a yoga class with Pam in the evening. We had a new teacher who kicked our butts! I was sweating like crazy, but it was wonderful to get all warmed up and stretched out.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I want a dog

Ok, so here's the thing: I really want  a dog. I love dogs, always have, but I have 3 cats and i have always been nervous to upset their lives. I definitely do not want to create a problem, but i feel like we could give a dog a great home and lots of love. There are so many out there that need a home and i just want to hurry up and find the perfect addition to the family.

We are going on vacation in April and i will need to find petcare for my 3 cats, bearded dragon and the new dog. This makes me very nervous. Plus it could get quite expensive!!

I guess the logical thing to do is to wait. But all these nice people keep finding dogs for me to take and my heart is breaking. I know if i go to visit Dakin Shelter i will be in trouble and probably come home with a dog.

Oh, what to do????

Monday, October 4, 2010

What a week it was!!!

First of all, welcome to my newest followers! I must apologize for my lack of updates last week, but i was just so busy. This is a good thing, more to talk about, haha!

So my boss, Dr. Goldstein, has been in Turkey on vacation for 3 entire weeks. While he has been having a wonderful time, us girls in the office decided to take a day off all together and go to New York City. The six of us all piled into a Suburban and headed down early on Wednesday morning.
We got into the city around 11 am, parked 5 blocks from Times Square, and headed in. We found a wonderful place to have lunch, ate, and went to see the best Broadway show evaaaahhhhh, WICKED!!!! It was perfect and if you haven't seen it yet, you have to!!! I hear it's playing in Boston right now and it's a must see.

After the show, some of the girls went to the wax museum, some went shopping, and I went people watching on Times Square. I love to people watch, and doing it there is the best place in the world.

It was a long day, but worth the experience for sure, and i can't wait to go back.

So Saturday, i went to yoga with Pam which is becoming one of my favorite things to do. Everything about yoga is perfect. The breathing, the stretching and the self growth is amazing.

After that, Ron and I went on my favorite hike in the Mt Holyoke Range. We took the M and M trail to the Robert Frost trail, through to the Horse Caves and up Mt. Norwottuck and then down the mountain back to the visitor's center. I was able to help two parties of people with what i have learned on all of my hikes, and that felt awesome. I actually think there should be someone there during the weekends to talk to people and tell them where to go. I enjoyed finding out for myself, but the tourists have no idea where they are. One guy thought he was at Skinner Mountain, but that is about 3 mountains away!

That was the first part of the weekend, the second part is for another blog!

I was very happy that Ron went with me and i think he enjoyed it a lot. I think the next one I take him on will be up Bare Mountain.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A New Beginning

I went outside because i heard a weird bird calling and as i was looking for it, i saw a beautiful monarch butterfly that had just left its cocoon. it was so cool. i grabbed my camera and i am hoping that i got some great shots of it.

i think the camera is teaching me patience. in this day and age, everyone seems to have digital cameras. well, i don't, and i have to wait to see the pictures. i guess it would be cheaper to have a digital camera since i wouldn't have to buy film and pay for it to be developed. oh well, i am happy for now! patience is a great virtue to have and i could use a lot more of it in my life.

I wanted to see the monarch fly away, but i missed it. i can't find it anywhere, so hopefully it's on its way to Mexico! Safe trip beautiful creature!

Morning pictures

I got up fairly early today and went out to take pictures. It was lovely! I stayed in Granby, and took some nice landscape views. I came upon an immature red tailed hawk hanging out by Red Fire Farm's giant compost pile. There were probably hundreds of chipmunks for him to hunt! I first took some pics of him in a giant tree, then he swooped down and back up on to the power line where he sat for quite a while. That's when i noticed he was still a baby! He had dots on his wings and he was quite fluffy. After about 10 minutes he swooped back down and attacked something in the bushes about 10 feet away from me! He wasn't scared of me at all, but i am not even sure if i got any shots of him in the bushes. I was enjoying the exciting moment of the hunt. Then he flew back up to the power line and that was when i left him alone.

It was quite exciting and i can't wait to get back out there!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

www.quitnet.com post for my one year quit anniversary

Hey everyone! Hard to believe that in a few hours i will have officially been quit an entire year.
It's UNBELIEVABLE!!!!
But it is TRUE, and it is DOABLE. For all you folks out there struggling, please believe in yourselves. Life is totally worth living, and none of us are really living while we are smoking. Cigs take us away from true life. True life is not easy sometimes, that is for sure, but i will take real life over stuffing problems down with a cig anyday.
I started here at the Q last summer, searching for my forever quit desperately. I failed a few times and then i tried Chantix and it helped me. It wasn't magic, but it definitely helped me. I stayed glued to the Q for months. I ate Redhots and Lemonheads like crazy. I drank a lot of water. I sang in the car, really badly, but it took away my cravings in the car!!! God i love ABBA!!!
Then something happened. I don't even remember when, but maybe around the 3 or 4 month mark. I stopped visiting the Q as often. I felt like i could go out on my own and take some big baby steps.
The more i did that, the more confidence i gained and before i knew it, i hardly ever even thought of smoking at all!
It's truly amazing how the cravings and thoughts kind of melt away after a while. It took a lot of patience and tears and screaming, but i am finally FREE!!!
To all you quitters to be and newbies, please see enough value in yourself to take the bull by the horns and find your forever quit. It is possible. I am proof.
Now i am living life as never before. "Live like your dyin" as Kris Allen sings. I have been doing so much lately that i started my very own blog because i have so many things to share about what i am learning in life. Please visit if you would like.
It's just a new way for me to share with people.
Please stick with your quits. It's the BEST thing you will ever do for yourself.
jaime
d 364

Thoughts on the BIG QUIT

Tomorrow, September 23, 2010, marks a very important day for me. I will have been quit smoking for an entire year! I am pretty excited to celebrate this milestone because I feel like I have been through ALOT of emotional ups and downs the entire time. Not all of it was bad, but it wasn't always fun either.

I am not positive on how I feel about the whole thing, but I do know that I am so much happier now that I am not attached to cigarettes at all. They completely took over my life. If you can call it a life! I didn't do a whole lot of living for two whole years while I was sucked in to addiction.

Now I am happy, calm, yet energetic, and confident. My whole body feels 100X better in almost every way. My outlook on life is one of hope, instead of constant gloom.

My friends over at quitnet.com helped me tremendously for the first and crucial few months and they continue to be supportive when I have the time to go on there and hang out! But I am so busy now that I barely go on there. I feel like I should make more time to do that, so I can help out other quitters in their journey.

That's what it is. A journey. I am through the worst of it, and now I am continuing on and finding out more about myself. It is getting more and more incredible as time goes on! I gain more confidence and learn new things and it just fuels me along the road of life.

Ok, blah blah blah right? It sounds corny but that's really how I feel now! I just want to make my life the best it can be. I am making up for lost years. I had smoked 11 total years of my 33 lived. One third of my life gone to smoking. Ugh. But I am definitely making up for it now.

Life is great and it's smokefree. I am so happy!!!

Margherita Pizza

At 11:09 PM tonight it will officially be autumn. YAY!!! I love clean air and cool nights after a long, hot summer. The growing season was insane this year, which is great for the farmers and in turn, us. There's lots of produce out there for cheap!

So I made my own margherita pizza the other night and boy was it easy! I got a package of dough at Big Y and put it in a bowl on the counter for over an hour. Once it was stretchable I shaped it for the pizza. I put on just a small amount of sauce, then a layer of fresh mozzarella slices, thinly sliced fresh tomato and basil leaves. I baked it for about 20 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees. The crust was a tad dry so next time I will brush the dough with olive oil first.

It was very satisfying and I can't wait to make it again!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Camera

I took the scenic view to work today. It was so beautiful!! The colors are changing, the sun was rising, and there were interesting clouds. The whole scene made me want to take pictures! Well, my wonderful mom and dad bought me a new camera for my birthday a couple years ago and sadly, I have barely used it :(

I decided that I am going to get a new battery, some film, and get up early on Saturday to take pics as the sun comes up. I have to then get them put on disc and then I can start posting pics! I am pretty excited about it. I have always loved to take pics, but for some crazy reason I stopped.

More to come.............

Monday, September 20, 2010

A nice recipe for a beautiful fall day....

It's Monday and I am slow to start the week. I am excited about cooking though. I found a recipe for Butternut-Apple Bisque that looks really easy and delicious. It probably only costs about $5 to make too, which is great. I did change this quite a bit from the original based on a plain Butternut soup I have been making recently. So this is my take.

****Please make sure to wash your vegetables with soap and water or Veggiewash. Even the squash. As soon as you cut into it or peel it, anything that was on the outside contaminates the flesh. This includes e coli from people who work in fields and you don't know if they wash their hands. Also, all those people in the grocery store or market that are touching the veg before you. Yuck!!!!

1 large butternut squash
olive oil or butter
2 onions (i will only use one probably)
3 apples
5 cups of stock- (4 will be enough i am sure)
1 cup of cream or coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste.

Chop onion and saute in butter or oil until translucent. Peel squash and then cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Chop into 2 inch chunks. Core and peel the apples and chop up. Add to pot with onions and also add the stock. Bring to a boil and then drop to a simmer until veggies are soft, about 20 minutes. Take off heat for 5 minutes, then puree in two batches in a blender or processor. Add back to original pot to reheat and then stir in cream and season with salt and pepper.

I like to make some toasted bread with garlic with my soups. All you do is toast a piece of bread and as soon as it is done and still hot, you wipe a piece of peeled fresh garlic over it. Then chop the bread. The bread is flavored with garlic and you have instant garlicky croutons!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday's Hike

I have realized that hiking is one of my favorite things to do. On Saturday I went to the Notch in Amherst and first climbed Bare Mountain and then continued on the MM trail to Mount Hitchcock. I was kinda scared because the land is much rougher than the Mt Norwottuck side. There was loose rock, steep cliffs and some minor rock climbing. But the payoff at the top was great. The views are wonderful. Being from VT, I think I am just naturally inclined to like high places. Who knows?!

So it took me about 3 hours total with all my stopping, viewing, and chatting with other hikers. The weather was perfect, even a tad chilly. I was still sweating though, so it's all good.

Not sure what I am hiking next Saturday yet, but I am itching to do the whole Seven Sisters hike from Norwottuck to Skinner.
Well, hello everyone out there in the blog world! I came up with the idea of creating my own blog so I can share my ideas and experiences with anyone who cares to read. I feel like I have a lot of things to say these days and I want to pass on what I have learned to people.

A bit about me- I am 33 years old, married with 2 stepsons and live in Western Massachusetts, USA. I grew up in Vermont and moved here 10 years ago. I work in a medical office and do the patient billing. I have been there for 8 years and have the best boss and co-workers ever. I am so lucky to be there.

Recently I went through a rough patch in life and now that I am moving past it I have been learning to enjoy every minute of the day. I never thought I would feel this great, but I do!!! So I just want to share what I am doing now- hiking, cooking, meeting people, etc. I love to cook, so I will be posting recipes and tips on saving money.

Well, that's all for now! I hope this is as great as I think it's going to be!