Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day One in Arizona

Day One in Arizona was on Friday. We flew in, got our rental car and headed up north to check in to the Motor Lodge, and meet up with my baby brother. Hubby and I were in awe from the moment we got off the plane. Arizona is just beautiful. As we headed north we saw less and less palm trees and more and more saguaro cacti and then more and more mountains.

For dinner that night, Hubby, baby brother and I ate at Guido's Pizza in Dewey. Okay, people if you are looking for a sinful snack on your way from Phoenix to Prescott or Flagstaff, stop here and get Guido's bread sticks with cream cheese dipping sauce. Their pizza is good, but their doughy, buttery, cheesy bread sticks are out of this world. Coupled with the aforementioned dipping sauce, mmm mmm mmm, it's pure heaven for a weary traveler.

After dinner, we did a little more visiting and then off to bed for us. All told we were up for 19 hours, and as soon as heads hit the pillow we were out.

Monday, March 29, 2010

the motor lodge

So if you are ever in Prescott, Arizona, or around Prescott, Arizona, or want to make a destination out of Prescott, Arizona, stay at The Motor Lodge. Upon driving up you are welcomed by the chic, retro color palette of green and orange. Park your car outside your room and check on in. You'll be greeted by your friendly hosts, and given a drink (now that you're off the road).

We checked into room #11, one of the "standard rooms". The rooms are cozy and quaint with more retro charm. Our room had a nice big bed with two end tables, a chair, dresser, TV, closet; a bathroom with a stand up stall shower; and a bonus room that is kitchen like, with a small fridge and coffee maker (with yummy stuff to make coffee, tea and hot chocolate.

The fact of the matter is they do it right here. Friendly service. Kitch, yet stylish decor. And nice soft toilet paper. If I had to list one negative, it would be the shower*. They have lovely rain shower heads that come from the ceiling...so cool, right. I was ultra excited when I saw them, but in taking the shower it was a disaster...drowning, soap in my eyes, the whole deal. It really comes down to, awesome shower head, wrong size shower. But please believe this small matter had not swayed my overall opinion one bit. This place rocks! Plus, they brought us fresh baked cookies to our room yesterday...and you know how I feel about cookies. If I wasn't sold before that evening snack, that sealed the deal. 

Prices here are reasonable. We ended up paying about what we would have at the Days Inn or Super 8 down the road, for more style and similar amenities (plus some bonuses like sweets). I highly, highly recommend this place.

*Moving the shower head towards the wall did help a bit. Now I have no negatives to state. Like I said before, the place rocks my socks!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Movie Switch: Broken Arrow

KW's Movie Pick: So the first movie I watched from KW's list was "Broken Arrow". Now forgive me, cause it's been a while since I watched it, but I did not like it. First of all, John Travolta. This was his follow up to "Pulp Fiction" and "Get Shorty"? I guess if he's not a mobster or dancing, he's not for me. Second of all, the rope-a-dope comeback seemed predictable and anticlimactic. Lots of exploding, and running, and boxing, but didn't keep my attention. Sorry KW, I give this one a 2/5 Stars.

My Movie Pick: I did not put this on my list to KW, but for a movie with action and double agent and exploding and all that fun action movie stuff, I would recommend "007 Casino Royale" and/or "007 Quantum of Solace". These are movies I totally loved. I'd only ever seen one other Bond movie, one of the ones with Pierce Brosnan, and I was bored to tears. But for my money, the new Bond films are as fun as they come--visually stunning (and I'm not just talking about Daniel Craig), fast paced, and bad ass. These two I would give 4/5 Stars on entertainment value alone.

#54: Hubby submit Fall teaching schedule

So we've been sitting on this a little while now. Now that Hubby is teaching at the local community college AND working his full time job AND going to grad school, life is a little different for us. Good news: he's not going to teach or go to grad school over the summer semester. Bad news (but very responsible news, mind you): During the fall semester, Hubby will be working Monday through Saturday. What a good guy!!!

Secrets of NIMH

KW watched "Secrets of NIMH" last night, and gave it 5/5 Stars. I'm glad she liked it. I don't know that she will like the next movie I gave her..."Lost in Translation".

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

#58: Make treats for work.

So something I've been meaning to do for a while now, is make treats to bring to work (and for Hubby to take to his work too). I used to make treats more often, but for some reason, I haven't been doing it as much lately. So tonight I made...drum roll, please...Margarita Cake!!! Here's the recipe:

1 1/2 cups coarsely crushed pretzels
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 box white cake cake mix
1 1/4 cups bottled nonalcoholic margarita mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated lime peel
3 egg whites
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed (I used Lite Cool Whip)
Additional grated lime peel, if desired

Heat oven to 350°F (or 325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with baking spray. In medium bowl, mix pretzels, sugar and butter. Sprinkle evenly on bottom of pan; press gently. (Note: In below picture, the recipe is doubled.)

In large bowl, beat cake mix, margarita mix, oil, 1 tablespoon lime peel and the egg whites with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour batter over pretzel mixture.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until light golden brown and top springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool completely, about 2 hours. Frost with whipped topping; sprinkle with additional lime peel. Store covered in refrigerator.

Movie Switch

My co-worker, KW, and I both love movies. However, while discussing movies one day, we realized we both love very different movies. So we challenged each other to watch 12 movies picked by the other. Why 12? I don't remember actually, we actually set this challenge quite a while ago. We both started strong, watching each others movies and critiquing them back to the other. But somewhere along the way, we both slowed down a little more and a little more until we stopped. But now we are back at it!

KW's Movies to Me: 
Broken Arrow
National Treasure
My Girl
US Marshalls
Gone in 60 Seconds
Last King of Scotland
Anna & the King
Freedom Writers
City of Angles
Double Jeopardy
Raising Helen

My Movies to KW:
Lost in Translation
Edward Scissorhands
Lars and the Real Girl (KW's rating was a 5/5 Stars)
Princess Bride (KW's rating was a 4/5 Stars)
Crash (KW's rating was a 3/5 Stars
Kung Fu Hustle (KW's rating was a 2/5 Stars)
Secrets of Nimh
Inventing the Abbotts (KW's rating was a 4/5 Stars)
L.A. Confidential (KW's rating was a 2/5 Stars)
Shawshank Redemption
Stand By Me (KW's rating was a 4/5 Stars)

Water Dog

Hubby and I discovered that we have a water dog while at the forest preserve yesterday. She went right in despite the water being cold. She even wanted to go swim out and play with the ducks...but we had her on a leash and she couldn't go out too far.

I am so excited for the nicer weather. Next step will be to see if she is a canoe dog too!

Monday, March 22, 2010

#2: Hang Pictures in the Hallway

We repainted our stairway leading down to the basement around New Years, but never re-hung our framed pictures. Nearly 3 months later, they are all up and look great! We even added a few more from our trip to Canada and some friends and family.

Pictures to follow...probably after we do #3 (Hang light in the hallway).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

#57: Make rental car reservations for our trip to Arizona

We are going to Arizona next week to visit my bother and have a little fun in the sun. The trip has been planned for at least 2 months--plane tickets set, hotel reservations made, activities discussed--but no rental car reservation, though we knew we'd need one.

They're made now though! And we're getting a convertible!!! I am stoked!

#59: Compost shredded paper.

So we have been composting now for about 2 years, but we've never been sure about paper. And not just paper, but colored paper and paper with lots of ink on it. After looking around on the web, the verdict was still inconclusive. However, after shredding tons of paper, we decided to try and see how it goes.

#20: Organize the kitchen pantry & #60: Organize drawers in the kitchen.

About this time last year we ended our kitchen remodel. We got new floor, new cabinets, new counter tops, new backsplash--the works. I absolutely love the way it turned out, but when we put everything back in the kitchen we didn't have a true picture of how the new kitchen would function. After a year, we have a pretty good idea. So I spent a chunk of the morning, cleaning out and rearranging our pantry cabinets. While the cabinets are better organized, they also only contain food that can be eaten. There was a surprising amount of expired food that we ended up composting.

While I was doing that, Hubby organized and cleaned out our over-flowing kitchen junk drawer, and organized our utensil drawers.

Done and done.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

#16: New display in the hutch & #51: Shred our pile of papers

Now that the last remnants of Christmas have been put away it was time for a Spring-inspired display in the hutch.  I also had my husband finally shred all of our junk mail and other papers that have been piling up on it.  The next step is to add the shredded paper to our compost pile.  #59?

#1: Spray paint bulls and put them up

Little bull heads mounted on the wall now hold our keys.  And not just any bulls.  These bulls came direct from the Broomcorn Festival in Arcola, IL.  Done and done.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

# 27: Refurbish thrift store tables.

So the other weekend while shopping with my mom, I came across two small gold tables. I thought they would be perfect to use next to our sectional in our TV room.

We first cleaned the tables really well with glass cleaner. And then separated the glass tops and the stands. We decided to spray paint the stand of the table white and the underside of the glass red.

By only spray painting the bottom of the glass red, it left the top of the glass a shiny surface that would be able to have drinks and plates set on it without scratching the paint. Below is the finished product. The first picture is of the tables in our TV room. I love the way they turned out!

#41: Compost old beer.

First of all, there are over 40 thinks on my "40 days 40 projects list" because there are over 40 things I have put off doing...once I started a list I just kept going. We are going to try and get to 40 projects over lent, it just might not be the first 40 I listed.

Secondly, I feel I need to explain my reasoning for throwing out beer. You see for the last two Labor Days we have held rather large BBQs. The first year it was VERY hot and though we had bought tons of beer and people had brought some of their own, we ran out and had to make a beer run during the party. The second year, we were determined to not run out, so we got more beer. But for whatever reason--the cooler weather, less beer drinkers, whatever--we had LOTS of left over beer. So we put it in our beer fridge, and invited people over the next few weekends afterwards. We even brought beer with us when we went to others houses! But we never got rid of all that beer. So today, with the sun shining, I dumped several cans of beer into our compost pile (along with some decaying fruit from the kitchen, lint from the dryer, and puppy poo from the yard). Now our basement is clear from expired drinks, and our compost pile got all hopped up on beer.

#13: Put away the rest of Christmas.

16 dishes, 2 candy dishes, 1 serving platter, 7 mugs, 1 teapot, 1 cookie jar, all of various Christmas and winter themes are now put away in their proper spots. No longer will they lurk in cupboards, counters or the hutch; they are all now in their "homes" waiting next years holiday season.

#24: Put up cat tree.

Yes, yes. I know. It's been nearly 3 months since Christmas, Mom, and we just now assembled and put up the cat tree you got us. After putting it off and putting it off, it only took us the better part of an hour to do and I am really liking the way it looks. And I think the cats are going to like it too.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

#29: Make Reservations for Turkey Run

So Easter is coming closer, and we have scratched one thing off our 40 project list...Man, I'm even procrastinating when I gave up procrastinating for lent.

But I'll take it, one down is one down. And though it sounds simple--to make a reservation to go camping--coordinating 5 couples summer weekend schedules to get together and go camping is not easy. It should be a great summer road trip and a great camping trip. Turkey Run is one of the best state parks in Indiana, and as winter melts to spring and spring heats to summer, I will be looking forward to it.