Monday, April 30, 2012

Time flies

Where does the weekend go?  How in the world can it be Monday again already?

Our weekend was a good mix of the usual.  I saw The Lucky One with Heather and Leigh on Friday; went to the Y, baked and had dinner at Chelle and Jeremy’s with Heather, Bruce, and their girls on Saturday; then did some chores, grocery-shopped, went to spinning, and got my Betty Crocker on on Sunday.

I’ll finish up my Florida posts this week.


Tell you about what I cooked for my birthday dinner.


As well as what I made earlier that day with just a couple of the very ripe bananas that were waiting for me when I got home from Florida.


And show you how I gave Miss Betty a run for her money on Sunday by making an egg casserole, granola bars, AND chicken stroganoff in the crockpot.


While I was in the kitchen on Sunday, the McHusband was channeling Bob Vila by finishing up his shed project where he added two floodlights to the outside.


Tucker helped so much he wore himself out.


So it looks like you should only visit McMania this week on a full stomach because I’ve got some recipe recaps to share with you.

What’re the chances of this week going by at HALF the pace by which the weekend flew?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fun in Florida {Part II}

Saturday dawned overcast and windy.  I was good and went for my run and it felt a little better than the day before because the sun wasn’t shining incessantly as it tends to do in Florida.

Because the weather was so iffy, we decided to spend the day shopping for a new bathing suite for Jenny at one of the local surf shops (think Myrtle Beach’s Wings stores) then we headed to the mall for lunch and wandering through stores that we all have in our hometowns.  But somehow they seemed more special because they were in Florida.

The dinner plan for Saturday night involved grilled chicken and Steamfresh veggies.  Tonya shopped for dinner and got the chicken marinating then Robin pounded the chicken so all the pieces were about the same thickness.


Here’s a cooking tip for you: pound BEFORE you marinate.


(To those of you who know my sister Shannon: The McHusband said, “She looks like Shannon.”  I didn’t see it when I was in Florida, but I do see some resemblance in this picture.  Mom, Shannon, Bri – any of you agree?)

While Robin made a mess got our dinner ready, Jenny and I walked on the beach.



Our building had these benches outside it that I know Jenny’ s mom took advantage of, but I’m not sure I saw anyone else on them.


While the chicken was on the grill, Jenny taught us how to play a rummy game that I think was Rummikub, but I can’t remember for sure.  Maybe it’s because I had a couple of these while we learned the ropes.


Jenny was a very animated teacher.



We only got through one round before the chicken was ready.  In Rummikub (if that was in fact what we were playing), you have to have tiles either in a run or a set (or a combo of those) that equal at least 25 in order to lay any tiles down and start actively participating in the game.

I never got up to 25 so I was more of a bystander than an actual player.


We decided to watch a movie that night so after dinner, we walked up to the Winn Dixie to pick up Contagion, which we’d reserved through Red Box.


We ended up watching the movie on my laptop because something was wrong with the condo’s DVD player.  I wish I’d gotten a picture of Jenny, Kate, Robin and me crammed together on the couch watching the movie on my laptop.  Good thing we all like each other!

Just one day in Florida left.  Two words: Candy Kitchen.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fun in Florida {Part 1}

Luckily the weather cooperated with our plans for our first full day in Madeira Beach.  All we girls wanted to do was lay on the beach, soak up some sun, and just relax.  Our only set-in-stone plan for that day was Jenny’s birthday dinner at 7:30.

I started out the day with a 30-minute run.  It was very humid that morning, which I get used to quickly here in NC but it was a smack in the face and lungs last week.  It didn’t help that I didn’t get started until after 10:00 when it was quite warm and there was no break from the sun since I was running on the sidewalk along the road.

So what was the first thing I did when I got done running in the sun?  I changed into my bathing suit so I could spend more time in the sun, but this time I’d be laying on a towel with my book and a stack of magazines at my fingertips.  I was good and put on my sunscreen and got a little rosy in only a couple places.

Okay, enough going on and on about how I spent a lovely day resting and relaxing on the beach.  We went to Salt Rock Grill for dinner that night. 


I chose it relatively randomly from the internet and kept my fingers crossed that we’d all like both the food and the atmosphere.  Check and check – we all really enjoyed our meal there. 


I got the teriyaki tuna steak and the vegetable kabob and both were delicious.


We asked a passerby to take a picture of our group as we left the restaurant.

IMG_3300L to R: Robin, Tonya, Kate, Jenny, me, Jenny’s mom, and Laura (Jenny’s sister)

When we got back to the condo, it was time for birthday cake!  A Carvel ice cream cake to be exact.



I do take a little offense over Laura’s choice of candle.


And a real quick fashion note.  I got the CUTEST shoes a couple weeks ago, and I was super excited to pair them with my chili pepper-red skirt.


They are wedges and the turquoise part looks kinda like dupioni silk.


And the best part?  Okay, the second best part because the best part really is how adorable these shoes are.  The second best thing about them is that they’re actually comfortable.  You usually get one or the other – cute OR comfortable.  Finding a shoe that’s both isn’t something that typically happens without a LOT of looking and trying on and it normally comes with an ugly price tag.  These shoes were just meant to go home with me.  Yep, them and three of their friends. :)

So that’s our first day in Madeira Beach in a cyber nutshell.  Saturday and Sunday coming up!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Well, it’s official – I’m 33 years old.  I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel about being 33.  I don’t feel old or even older (granted, it’s only been one day…).  I’m trying to look back about 15 years and remember where I thought then that I’d be now.  I really can’t recall.  I mean, I guess I figured I’d be married and probably working and maybe a mom, but I really don’t think I had an exact path laid out to take me to an specific destination, whether that meant having a certain career or having two kids.  All I know is I’m happy where I am now.

I have a nice home, I’m working, I’m in good health, I’ve got wonderful friends, and I have an amazing husband to share my life with.  What more could a girl ask for?

I didn’t have an exciting birthday, but that was what I wanted.  I got home from Florida Monday afternoon so I of course took Tuesday off.  I was able to sleep in, then I spent most of the day figuring out my new phone.  I finally put some clothes on, brushed my teeth, and headed to Walmart to get what I needed to make my birthday dinner.  The McHusband offered to take me out to eat, but I was looking forward to making a recipe I’d printed a few weeks ago.  I did a little baking, too.  We had a lot of overripe bananas so I made some cookies and some single-serving layered banana pudding desserts.

After dinner, walking the dogs, and getting ready for going back to work tomorrow, I got the other half of my digital birthday presents – a  Dual-Use Heart Rate Monitor.  Thanks, McHusband! 

I had today to figure out my new phone; I think I need tomorrow off so I can figure out this new toy.  Wonder if the boss man would consider that a valid reason to call in and extend my vacation?

Thanks for all the birthday wishes, I appreciate everyone remembering me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Early birthday present

As if a long girls’ weekend in Florida wasn’t enough (full report soon), I got to open an actual gift in the car after the McHusband picked me up from the airport.

Or maybe my birthday was just the final excuse the McHusband needed to break down and upgrade our phones’ IQs.  That’s right, we’ve finally joined the ranks of, well, pretty much EVERYone – we have smartphones!

We each got a Lucid by LG.

I need to go to the Verizon store tomorrow and see if they can get my contacts from my old phone onto my new one.  If not, guess how I’ll be spending my birthday…  Oh well, I suppose that’s one way to figure the new phone out.

I’ve already downloaded a few free apps, but I didn’t want to collect a bunch just to have them.  Maybe I should ask the internet: What are your must-have apps?

Besides possibly running to the phone store and probably getting some groceries and DEFINITELY working out, I think I’ll try to give myself the gift of relaxation for my birthday.  Not that I didn’t do plenty of that in Florida, but I’m looking forward to doing some on my home turf before it’s back to life as usual on Wednesday.

Speaking of Florida, how would you like for this to be your backyard?


And you didn’t worry about snakes being in it.


Have a great Tuesday!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Friday from Florida!

I made it to Florida!  Wish I could say the same thing for Jenny…


{I took this picture with my webcam.  Let’s pretend that’s why I’m looking so fabulous.}

Jenny’s flight was delayed so instead of me hanging at the airport for one hour waiting for her and two friends from MI to arrive, I’m ending up waiting for a little over two hours.  Of course my flight actually got in early cuz that’s just how these things work.

But it actually hasn’t been too bad.  I got robbed bought some pretzels and a diet Sprite right as the little store was closing, picked up my suitcase from baggage claim, and took advantage of the airport’s free wi-fi to watch a couple shows and check in with the blogosphere.  Snacks, TV, computer?  I’m right at home!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Guess what?  I’m going to Florida tomorrow!

This trip has been in the works for a while, but it was a surprise for one person – Jenny.  Kevin planned this trip for Jenny’s 30th birthday, which is Friday.  We girls get there Thursday night and stay through Monday.  “There” is Madeira Beach, which is on the Gulf Coast, and we’re staying in Jenny’s aunt and uncle’s timeshare condo.

Can’t wait to get back next week and fill you in on the details.  I’m hoping that I can use my flight time wisely and maybe get a post up for Friday, but I make no promises.

Hope everyone else has half as great a weekend as I’m going to have!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hitting the nail on the head


This cartoon perfectly describes my Walmart.  I have complained about exactly this situation practically since the store opened.  I have run in for just a few things and literally waited in line longer than I shopped.  It’s very frustrating to see 25 checkout lanes and maybe five of them, if I’m lucky, open and people lined up with their carts full of groceries.

Anyone else experience this same situation?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Look away, Leigh!

The moms weren’t the only visitors we had this weekend.  This guy is a regular around here this time of year.


We had been talking to my mom about this guy not two hours early so whatever it is that snakes hear with must’ve been burning.



Of course the McHusband had to get close.  I wish I could say he kept his distance and made use of the zoon but…


We don’t mind this guy hanging around so long as he earns his keep by snacking on mice and moles and mostly sticks to the perimeter of the yard.

See you around, Mr. S!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Mother’s Day in April

We celebrated Mother’s Day with our moms this weekend.  The last time my mom came up for a Mother's Day weekend full of yardwork was 2009.  Guess it took her a few years to recover…

Anyway, she came up Thursday evening.  I took Friday off and we hit Home Depot, Walmart, and Jersey Mike’s – our traditional lunch spot during weekends like this – that morning to get our flowers.  We spent the afternoon pulling weeds, digging holes, and filling them with flowers.  We didn’t finish, but we still had until around 2:00, when the McMom was due to arrive, on Saturday to wrap things up.

So here’s where I should be showing you pictures of scotch broom and speedwell, ferns and phlox, petunias and impatiens.  But I don’t have any.  Blogger fail.  That’s why I don’t make the big bucks with this little nighttime project of mine.

Anyway, the reason we celebrated about a month early is that we, along with Bri and Nate and Kevin and Jenny, treated our moms to a concert, but it was a surprise.  All they knew was they needed to be up here Saturday night and they were going somewhere. 

So who did they see?


Martina McBride!  At the DPAC, which is just an awesome venue and I’m sure Martina rocked the house.  Oh yeah, we had to take the moms’ word that the concert was good because it was a moms-only outing.  We fed them Mellow Mushroom, gave them their tickets, handed them the GPS, and waved them on their way.

The moms hung around afterward thinking they would catch a glimpse of Martina as she headed to her bus so she could get home.  Guess what?  They did more than just SEE Martina.

Martina, Cindy & Susan

They made a Martina Sandwich and got photographic proof of it.  How awesome is that?!

I was ready for them when they got home just before midnight.


Yep, looks like they’re still riding high from their date night.

It was a lot of fun to surprise them with the concert.  Our moms do such a great job of taking care of us and our siblings and their families that we all really wanted to have the moms go do something fun just for themselves.

Thank you Mom and McMom for all you do.  We appreciate you guys more than you know.

Happy (early) Mother’s Day!

{By the way, Happy Birthday to Shannon!}

Friday, April 13, 2012


Even if it is a Friday the 13th.

My mom is here for the weekend.  She and I are going to put our green thumbs to work in the yard today and half the day tomorrow, then the McMom will be up here and we’re sending the moms on an early Mother’s Day outing tomorrow night.  It’s a surprise – they don’t know yet what they’re in for.  So that means you’re going to have to wait to find out as well.

The McHusband took this picture of Morgan Monday morning.  After she ate her breakfast, the McHusband let her out and she took care of some necessary business then found this sunny spot by the shed, where the McHusband said she stayed for a good half hour.


I imagine that much like my mom and I,  Morgan and Tucker will get more than their fair share of outside time this weekend.  Bring on the beautiful spring weather!

A few things:

  1. Jen put together a collage of smoothies with mine in the number 2 spot!  I got more spinach, yogurt, and pineapple and froze some banana slices so I can whip up another smoothie or two this weekend.
  2. I loved Dooce’s take on some interesting book titles.
  3. I think we might try this version of my Cajun Sweet Potatoes this weekend.  Except without the white potatoes and butter and with only one tablespoon (if that) of olive oil.
  4. And to go with my healthy side dish, dessert!
  5. We’ve had three showings at the townhouse and only one potential buyer gave feedback.  It was positive – “This was my buyers’ second favorite of the day.” – but that doesn’t really help us make it someone else’s first favorite.  So keep sending those positive selling vibes!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A guest post

Please welcome the McHusband to his first post here in McMania.  I figured if I wanted to do justice to our new ride, I needed to put the McHusband in charge.  Plus, him doing a post gives me the night off, and I could use that this week.

Take it away, McHusband!

Steph asked if I would like to be a “guest blogger” on her McMania blog and introduce our newest member of the family… how could I turn such an opportunity down?! Now the reason for this is probably already apparent, but this “family member” is an automobile. I’m not quite sure why she wants me to write about it because I was specifically told not to get into the nitty-gritty details about how much power it has, what size tires are on it, how quickly it does 0-60mph (around 4.6 seconds if you must know) or any of the other fun facts about this vehicle but… I’ll give it my best shot to cover the details I think she wants me to cover.


First and foremost this is a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 (that last part is the most important). The “SRT8” designation means it has 420 HP, full-time AWD, a sport tuned suspension, upgraded interior, different body cladding, amongst other things. Long story short is that I’ve wanted one of these bad boys since I rode in and drove a buddy’s back in 2006 when they first came out. Well, a few months back I decided to do something I haven’t done in more than 10 years: go Mustang-less. I decided I wanted to sell both my ’95 Cobra and my daily-driver, a Mazda6 wagon, and combine my commuter and my fun car into one.


The short version is this beauty popped up in Kernersville, NC about a month ago. I had been looking all over the country and hadn’t come across the combination of things I wanted yet (color, price, mileage, options). After some required stealership negotiating games, I was finally able to work something out with them last Saturday and now the beautiful beast you see below sits in our garage.


I won’t bore you with all the details but let’s just say this thing is SO much fun to drive! It surely isn’t the fastest thing I’ve ever owned but it is certainly one of the most exciting. The full-time AWD combined with the power makes accelerating very quickly from a stop so easy. That combined with how 99% of the population has no idea what this truck is or is capable of leads to many a bruised ego sitting back at a stoplight looking at its taillights going “Wait, what… did that SUV just blow my doors off?!” Puts a smile on my face every time!  Oh yeah, it will haul dogs and function for my work vehicle too, lol. And you’d never suspect it but it gets nearly as good of gas mileage as my dad’s Prius (wink, wink).


Anyway, I’ve probably already written too much but if you know me at all you know I can talk/write about car stuff for quite a long time.  I of course had to detail it the next day after getting her home and these are from its first photoshoot after the first wash.


I think what Steph likes most about the new ride is that it has front AND rear heated seats.


Thanks for the guest post, Babe!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Recipe Recap: Key Lime Pie

I saw several recipes online for Key Lime Pie.  There were a couple from some trustworthy blogs, some that got high marks on Allrecipes, and there were KLP cousins like bars and cupcakes.

But I knew where to go for a recipe that wouldn’t fail me: my Baking Illustrated cookbook.

First, I made the filling.  I whisked together the lime zest and the egg yolks.


Then I added the sweetened condensed milk and lime juice and beat those in.


While the filling spent about 30 minutes thickening, I made the graham cracker crust.  I’m a crust girl so I actually made 1.5 times the crust.


I squared off the top of the crust just as the recipe asked me to.  You know me, I like to follow a recipe.


Once set, I poured the filling into the crust and baked the pie for about 15 minutes.


Gotta love all those flecks of lime.


Just like in the olden days, I left my pie in the window to cool.


I liked this pie more than I thought I would, and I’m glad Bruce asked for it as it gave me a chance to break out of my cupcake box.  If you’re a fan of this kind of pie, definitely give this recipe a try.  (Hah, I’m a poet…)  The hardest part was squeezing the limes for their juice.

Recipe (from Baking Illustrated)

Lime Filling:

  • 4 t. grated zest plus 1/2 c. strained juice from 3 or 4 limes
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 9 graham crackers, broken into rough pieces
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 5 T. unsalted butter, melted and warm


  1. For the Filling: Whisk the zest and yolks in a medium nonreactive bowl until tinted light green, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the milk, then juice; set aside at room temperature to thicken (about 30 minutes).
  2. For the Crust: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.
  3. In a food processor, process the graham cracker crumbs until evenly fine (you should have 1 cup of crumbs).  Add the sugar and pulse to combine.  Continue to pulse while adding the warm melted butter in a steady stream; pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand.  Transfer the crumbs to a 9-inch glass pie plate and evenly press the crumbs into the pie plate, using your thumb and a 1/2 cup measuring cup to square off the top of the crust.  Bake the crust until it is fragrant and beginning to brown, 15 to 18 minutes; transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. Pour the lime filling into the crust; bake until the center is set yet wiggly when jiggled, 15 to 17 minutes.  Return the pie to the wire rack; cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours.  (The pie can be covered directly with lightly oiled or oil-sprayed plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to a day).