There’s a First Time for Everything!

Hey everyone! I’m sure that everyone has been anxiously waiting for this moment, my first time to blog! This will probably be a fairly short update (since I’m still a newbie) but I just wanted to let everyone know what’s been going on in my life over the past few weeks.

The biggest thing lately was my trip to Vegas for Philip’s bachelor party! There was a group of 8 of total and we went in dreaming of getting lots of cash and taking Vegas for all it’s worth. Sadly to say, that didn’t happen for us at all. I’m pretty sure only Russo actually made money on the trip…but that’s why they call it gambling. I should have known I wasn’t going to have much luck on the tables right from the start of the trip, as my flight from Pittsburgh to Denver was delayed 3 hours. The only reason I was able to make my connection to Vegas is cause that flight was delayed as well! Once I made it there though, I had a freaking blast. Played some golf on Friday (heat wasn’t unbearable) and then had a really great dinner at N9NE Steakhouse at the Palms. The food was outstanding! Saturday we watched the Ags BTHO Florida State in game 1 of the super regional and then wandered the strip and then had dinner at the classiest establishment on the Strip…Hooters. Sunday, was more travel fun for me as they changed my itinerary when I got to the airport. Needless to say, I was none to please cause they moved me from flying in to Newark instead of how I had originally scheduled it to connect in Cleveland. Of course, both of these flights were delayed (notice a trend?) and I didn’t make it back home until 11:30 that night. Continental and I are not on good terms right now… Overall, I probably spent too much money overall, but I wouldn’t change anything on that trip.
That was last weekend, and then this weekend Amy got to go to her cousin’s wedding in Illinois. She gets back tonight and I’m sure she had an amazing trip with her dad (on Father’s Day weekend no less). That meant it was just Maggie and me for the weekend. I’ve gotten some chores done around the house (as my dad put it, I’m becoming domesticated…scary) and yesterday Maggie and I went out to the trail to play around. The weather has been really nice, but it’s been raining some as well. Today, I’m going to watch the US play Jamaica in soccer (actually just started) and then watch the Aggies in the College World Series for the first time since 1999! I’m really pumped and hope that they can make a good run, A&M sports just kick ass this year, that’s all there is to it.
That’s all for me today, maybe next time I’ll get fancy and add pictures and what not 🙂
Happy Father’s Day all!
With love,
JP, Amy and Maggie

Welcome to my Kitchen!

It’s summertime and I know that we’re all worried about our waist lines and how good our stomach will look in our bikini when we’re at the beach next weekend (or on a cruise next month!!!). I want to share with everyone a few tips, tricks and introduce you to the summer must haves in my kitchen! Now, I am far from perfect when it comes to eating right. I have my ups and downs and I do NOT believe in diets. It works for some, but not for me. What being healthy really boils down to is making the right choices and portion control. I believe in working out to balance out eating what makes you happy. Needless to say, I rarely deprive myself dessert 🙂 It’s a staple in my home and I blame my daddy for giving me his sweet tooth.
So, welcome to my kitchen!!!

Here are just a few of my summer must haves:

Fruits and Veggies
You will always find a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in the Gougler Casa, mostly because I love veggies and yes, broccoli truly is my favorite food (no lies). I also love fruit because most types are sweet and I can always turn a healthy fruit into a healthy dessert with a few twists and turns!

During the summer though corn on the cob  and watermelon are at the TOP of my list! Corn on the cob is so much easier to cook then one would initially think! There are so many ways to cook it, so all you have to do is choose the best way based on what else your making. For example, if your planning on ribs or burgers (both staples at the Timmer house during the summer), you can soak your corn in salt water (about 1 – 1 1/2 hours) and then throw it on the grill for 45 minutes! Don’t have as much time on your hands? Bring a pot of water to a boil and stick your corn on the cob in the water, cover, and let it cook for about 10 minutes. It really doesn’t get much better than that.

Did I mention of cheap corn on the cob is? About every other week it goes on sale 8 ears for $2!

 Watermelon…yummm…great for breakfast or an afternoon snack on a hot, sunny day. Perfect for those days your outside at the pool or on the beach! Watermelon is actually 92% water, hence the water part of the water-melon 🙂 It’s rich in folic acid, vitamin C and all of your B vitamins. Watermelon is very cleansing for your body and very easy to digest…good for bikini season! The best part is that it’s only 40 calories for an entire cup of watermelon and since I love to snack, this is great for me. I like to buy the mini watermelons because I can just cut them in half and have one half for breakfast and save the other for another day!

Peanut Butter
It’s safe to say that I am addicted to peanut butter. I love it by itself, on toast or a bagel, in my oatmeal, with an apple, the list really goes on and on. I’m pretty sure I dream about peanut butter. Another addiction of mine which goes oh so nicely with peanut butter is Nutella. Like I said earlier, I have a bad sweet tooth and Nutella makes me not feel so bad about enjoying the sweet! Now it is much higher in sugar content then peanut butter, so it does need to be eaten in moderation. But, to balance that out, it has less fat. Both PB and Nutella are about 100 calories per tablespoon. I like to add a teaspoon of each to my morning oatmeal or put a tsp of each in a little cup to dip fruit in! There are so many ways that I could go on and on.

Oatmeal
All this talk about peanut butter made me remember to include oatmeal. This is my breakfast probably about 3 times a week and it never gets old! I can mix it up in so many ways! I personally use the regular Quaker oatmeal. This way I can add in whatever I want and there is less sugar content! I always add in a packet of Stevia to sweeten up the taste then I pick my mix ins! As for fruit, frozen blueberries or slice bananas are yummy as well as both together! I also like to add some chopped walnuts with some crasins or raisins!

Also, here’s a tip to feeling fuller in the morning with your oatmeal! Add extra water, yes more than the box/package says for you direction followers. Then when you cook it in the microwave, cook it for twice as long for half the power! I cook mine for 4 minutes total at power level 5. I usually stop and stir after 2 minutes to make sure it’s lookin’ good!  This fluffs your oatmeal up more which allows you to take more bites which makes you feel fuller. It doesn’t get better than that!

Greek Yogurt
It comes in all sorts of brands and flavors, and it’s packed with twice the protein and potentially half the sugar as a regular low fat yogurt. Like I said, lots of flavors, but be sure to check the nutrition label because adding in those tasty surprises usually increases the sugar content by A LOT! I would recommend getting the plain yogurt and just like oatmeal, find your own add ins! Due to my sweet tooth, I always add a packet of Stevia and then mix in cereal (Kashi works great!), granola (adding cereal will keep the calories lower though), crasins and/or raisins, chopped almonds or pecans, and of course, fresh fruit! Any fresh fruit would work perfectly. Then, you get the great variety that the flavored yogurts provide, but better for your health!

Don’t forget to check the nutrition labels! Try a bunch of types to see which ones you like best!

Ice Cream
Anyone who knows me knows that my second favorite food (second to broccoli of course) is ice cream. I can eat ice cream all year round. Even when I experienced my first adult frozen winter up in Pittsburgh, I ate ice cream. There really isn’t a better time for it than summer though. It’s the perfect dessert and writing about it now makes me wish that I had some in my freezer. I know this is about items in my kitchen, but I finished my last ice cream sandwich on Monday. I know this is also about healthy summer eating. Obviously ice cream doesn’t keep that waist line as trimmed as we would like, but let me introduce you to Skinny Cow.

I love a good ice cream cone or try my fave, one of the ice cream sandwiches! Cookies and cream…yummm

Skinny Cow has a wide variety of flavors and different types of ice cream treats from ice cream cones to sandwiches to truffle bars to individual cups! The best part is that they are all under 150 calories and are the perfect treat to settle that 9pm craving.

So I ran this list of items by JP and he just smiled and shook his head because these really are the MUST HAVE items in the kitchen. JP has gotten quite used to my healthy eating and is even kind of enjoying it. He does have his own treats around the house when my healthy alternatives just don’t quite cut it. Soon I’ll share some of my favorite healthy recipes and recipe books for your cooking pleasure! I hope you enjoyed the tips and let me know if you want to hear more!

What are the top 5 things you always keep in your kitchen? Let me know in the comments section!
Until next time…

With love and God bless,
Amy, JP and Maggie

Playing Catch Up

What a crazy week last week was for me! As you all know from Alison’s Bachelorette Weekend post, I spend Sunday driving from Galveston to Houston then lounging around my parents house with my daddy all day. Monday I was able to go into the office for work which was actually really nice. Going into the office is kind of like a treat these days since I’m always at home. The human interaction is nice and I really enjoy getting to interact with my colleagues face to face. My momma picked me up from the office at the end of the day and I was off to the airport to head back home to see JP and Maggie! Thank goodness because I missed them so much.

Tuesday was about as normal as my days usually go, but Wednesday was a doozie! I started working at 8am and about 45 minutes later my computer completely crashed. Now I don’t mean it’s battery drained or anything fixable. It died. Dead. Gone. Blue screen of death. Of course it didn’t happen when I was int he office and had quick and easy access to our IT department. Instead, I kind of got a day off on Wednesday. One would initially think that this is great, but I still had calls to sit in on and my work PILED up! It was nice since Maggie and I got to go on long walks and play all day, but as I said, this made for a stressful Thursday. I also had to take JP to the airport at like 2pm on Thursday, as if I wasn’t busy enough already. Luckily, I was able to get everything done, JP to the airport and I made it to my spa appointment on time. Yes, that’s right. JP goes to Vegas and I get pampered. Sounds like a good deal to me. I had bought a Groupon for a massage, pedicure and haircut from a spa/salon right by my house. It was a great deal that I couldn’t pass up. I mean the total cost was $20 less than the 60 minute massage usually is by itself! It was much needed relaxation after a busy day, and let’s be honest…I REALLY needed a hair cut, and it turned out great!

Okay not the best picture quality, but you get the point 🙂

On Friday, work was work and I was thankful for the weekend. I went out with my friend Maria that night for her friend’s birthday. We actually went on a boat ride on the Gateway Clipper which sails around Pittsburgh for 2 hours with a DJ, dance party and cash bar. We ended up having a really great time and I got to meet some new people! Hopefully JP will get to meet them soon as well…we need more friends here 🙂 After a late Friday night, I slept in until 8:30am on Saturday. Now I know this is waking up early for most, but considering 7am is my body’s natural alarm, I was thrilled to have gotten some extra sleep! Maggie and I hung out all morning and then met Maria for a walk on the Montour Trail. Maggie absolutely loved it and Maria and I got to chat and just relax while having a nice stroll. After we walked 2.5 miles and said bye to Maria, Maggie and I kicked it into high gear and ran two more miles. She did a great job, but was exhausted by the end!

Too tired to play with her toys, laying on them seemed better 🙂
The rest of Saturday I spent out window shopping, seriously, I didn’t buy anything…that day…then I laid out in the backyard and started reading Tony Dungy’s book. The rest of the is not really blog worthy, not that anything else was really 🙂 Sunday morning, I woke up in a crafty mood so I went to JoAnne Fabrics to get some material to cover our couch pillows. I then got distracted from crafting after buying my materials and headed to the mall. Walking around the store put me in a shopping mood. I really didn’t buy much except for a new pair of wedges and sandals. Both were needed. Both were on sale and it was buy one get one 50% off. Couldn’t pass up a deal like that! The rest of the day was spent crafting (I’ll post the final product once I finish my pillow covers!), soaking up the sun, reading, catching up on DVR and of course, playing and walking with Maggie. Since I vetoed working out, I decided a good, long, hilly walk was in store for us on Beacon Road. As always Maggie was pumped and my glutes were trembling. Below you can see a picture of the baby hill. Yes, this is the baby hill. The others are completely ridiculous and an amazing workout whether you’re walking or running…especially running!
Maggie says, “I’m ready to go! Stop taking pictures!”

I was so glad to pick JP up from the airport last night even if it was 11:30pm and I was exhausted! I always miss him when we’re apart and even though it’s nice to have some alone time, it’s just not the same without him. He’s my best friend and truly makes every day better. So glad you’re home babe!

Okay, I know this post was boring. I promise my life is about to get a bit more interesting. Maybe JP will post about his Vegas trip! Ehhh, we’ll see. I’ll leave you with something that will make you smile. Until next time…

LOVE

With love and God bless,
Amy, JP and Maggie

Alison’s Bachelorette Weekend

As you all saw from the sneak peek, I spent this past weekend in TEXAS celebrating Ms. Alison Stern! I flew in Thursday evening and had a headache when I got on the plane. It’s safe to say the the little girl with the hacking cough (I did feel bad for her though) and the 2 year old two rows in front of me that screamed bloody murder the last 45 minutes, didn’t help my headache. Luckily, my wonderful daddy picked me up and came prepared with one of those Twisted Iced Teas for me to try 🙂 Such a sweetheart.

On Friday, we headed to Galveston! What should have been about a 1.5 hour trip ended up taking about an hour longer due to first Friday of summer traffic and the fact that we got turned around trying to find the rental place that had the keys to our beach house. In the end, we made it there and that’s all that counts!

View from our deck

Such a pretty house!

Luckily after a long week of work and travelling, Friday night was relatively low key. By that I mean, we didn’t leave the beach house. It’s safe to say we had a fabulous time though. The drinks started flowing as soon as we got there and didn’t stop until well into the morning. We ordered pizza, walked on the beach and of course, had an amazing dance party. What’s a bachelorette weekend without a dance party anyways?

Saturday morning we were actually up pretty early. Laura Whalen and Jessica Stoner were our amazing chefs and made all of the girls scrambled eggs and pancakes! Breakfast of champions. After breakfast, we all got into out bathing suits to hit the pool.

We decided that we were going to sneak into the San Luis Resort Pool because they had a swim up pool bar 🙂 along with a gorgeous pool, chairs to layout in and a grill for lunch. We split into two groups so that we wouldn’t look suspicious with 8 girls just waltzing in without wristbands (that’s how they determined if you were a guest or not). My group went around to one entrance where we were turned away by the mean employee who wouldn’t let us in…bummer. The other group went right in the front entrance with ease! We decided to follow suit and ended up getting in as well. Thank goodness because we ended up having such a blast there! Here are some pictures of the beautiful pool!

After a full day at the pool, we went back to our beach house to get ready for dinner and the evening plans we had ahead of us! Once we were all ready, it was time for the lingerie shower!



Presents!

 Alison got lots of fun/pretty/interesting things and for her sake, I will keep those pictures to myself 🙂 Instead here is a picture of the beautiful bride-to-be!

Following the shower we all toasted to the future Mrs. Crowson with the fun champagne flutes that Laura Whalen made for everyone.

Pretty champage flutes!
Ready for some fun!

Then we were on our way to dinner. All of us piled into one minivan cab and we were seriously piled. Tight fit, but cheaper than two cabs for sure since we were all the way out on Jamaica Beach. We went to dinner at a Mediterranean (my fave!) restaurant called Olympia Grill.

There we met a guy named Michael White, “like the color.”  Michael turned out to be quite the entertaining character. The was very confident (could have been the alcohol), but he was not afraid to come up to a table of females and just start asking all types of questions. Following the Q&A session, he serenaded us with Part of that World from The Little Mermaid. Yes, he knew every word, yes we sang along with him. We were impressed, but at this point it was time for us to hit the bars. The first bar was kind of lame, so we asked our cab driver to take us somewhere fun and he did! We had a great time and Alison found a friend whom we called Javier, but his name was Jamie. He thought that Alison was the most beautiful bride-to-be in the world (which of course is true) and told us that we could put all of our drinks on his tab. Well, you don’t have to tell us that twice. Yay for free drinks!

Me, “Javier” and Ashley!

I also followed Alison around and as she met new people I would say that she accepts free drink and oddly enough, it worked 🙂 We had a GREAT time at this new bar and found absolutely no reason to leave. We met all sorts of people, danced and had a great time. Alison found an ottoman which she called her pedestal and danced on. One of the bouncers told her to get down for safety reasons and she told him that she would only get down if he bought her a drink. Now, if you ask me, that makes complete sense. How dare he ask the bride to get down off of her pedestal without offering her a drink first?! Luckily, we were able to get her down in one piece. Want to know the best part of the night? We all made it home and no one got lost or stolen!!! Good job team 🙂

On Sunday morning, we were all moving a little bit slower than usual, but we managed to clean up the beach house and get everything packed up by 11am. At this point, some of the girls had really long drives ahead of them, while others had to get back to the airport for their flights. We have a quick lunch at McAllister’s and were on our way. Jessica Stoner, one of the other bridesmaids was actually going back to Sugar Land and she was sweet enough to take me back to my parents house! My flight wasn’t until Monday evening since I had planned on going to the office on Monday so I had the rest of Sunday to relax! I laid out by the pool, went on a walk to the grocery store with my daddy, helped Daddy cook dinner, drank some wine and then Dad, Matt and I went to a graduation party for Erica Blanchfield! She just graduated from high school and will be attending Sam Houston State in the fall, oh and she made the cheer squad! I feel so proud since I actually coached her in cheer back when she was in elementary school!

Anyways, I had an amazing weekend back in Houston! Today, JP is flying out to VEGAS for Philip (Alison’s future hubby) for his bachelor party! Then the next weekend, I’m flying to Chicago and meeting up with my daddy for my cousin’s wedding! Safe to say we’ve got a busy summer ahead of us. I have more posts to come so stay tuned! Until next time…

With love and God bless,
Amy, JP and Maggie

Sneak Peek

Here’s a quick sneak peek of my adventures in Texas this weekend!

Home is where the heart is 🙂

Jealous? This is a view from the deck of our beach house. Can complain about blue skies and sunshine!

Gifts for our bachelorette! And fun champagne glasses for her ladies in waiting.

Me with the Bride! I love you Stern!

More pictures and details to come later! I had a blast and met a lot of great girls this weekend. It’s always so nice to have a girls weekend and spend some time with friends!

I came into my work office today and then I’m heading off to the airport to hop on a plane that will take me back to my wonderful husband and loving puppy! Until next time…

With love and God bless,
Amy