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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

cow milk vs. goat milk

doodle by yours truly
Unfortunately, I can not drink cow milk and then have a functioning digestive system like most normal people. It took me two or three [painful] years to figure out that I was lactose intolerant. Looking back now, it was blindingly obvious, but hey hindsight is 20/20 right.

That being said I have been looking for something to replace cow milk with that still gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling when I pair it with a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies. So far I have tried:
Soy milk - pretty good, especially the vanilla, still doesn't have that 'milk' taste, is also less viscous
Almond milk - wow *lots of sugar* and incredibly too sweet for my taste, but upside it was creamy like cow milk is
unpasteurized goat milk - not quite as creamy as cow milk, but definitely has the milk taste, also not as sweet as cow milk, has more of a flat taste than I thought it would

I have been reading into lactose intolerence, maybe just to add insult to injury based on the fact that I can't eat ice cream anymore, but I have learned a lot bout milk and how we digest it.

One of the reasons people have trouble digesting cow milk is because of the fat globules in it. Our body lacks the proper 'good germs and stomach stuff' so to speak to break down the globules properly before they enter into our intestines. Once the globules get to our intestines, WOAH NELLY, red alert captain, this ship is going to sink! It is at this point that our own intestines begin to mutiny against us, and what ensues is not pretty at all folks, not pretty at all.

You might have noticed in my list of milk alternatives I have been trying that I put the word unpasteurized in front of goat milk. If you don't know anything about pasteurization, it's simply a process where milk is heated up to kill any harmful bacteria that would cause you to become sick. Unfortunately, by heating the milk up to kill the bad bacteria you also kill all of the good bacteria that helps your body to properly digest the milk. Obviously, because it is hard to regulate and monitor all of the milk processors around the country, most states will not let you sell unpasteurized milk of any kind (cow or goat) for human consumption. I bought the goat milk from my local farmer's market as a 'pet product' because it was unpasteurized even though it is incredibly safe for human consumption.

If you think about it, how big is a human baby when they are born? like 6-10 pounds usually? That is about the same size as a kid (baby goat). A calf on the other hand is about 50-60 pounds when it is born! Talk about a big ol' baby! Doesn't it make more sense that the ratio of fat our bodies are created to handle would be a lot closer to goat's milk than cow milk? The smaller fat globules in goat milk, along with the fact that I buy mine unpasteurized is the only reason my digestive system will not mutiny against me anymore. Phew, thank goodness I finally solved that problem.




Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The art of staying in touch in an online world







Admittedly, I am not the best at staying in touch with people, old friends, cousins, other relatives. I sincerely intend to keep up with people, but I am noticing an alarming trend with people I don't see on a regular basis - we become friends on facebook, and our communication will slowly dwindle to a few 'likes' of photos and comments when something monumental happens - say a wedding, birth of a new baby, or a horrible hair cut.

Although facebook has it's perks, it's difficult to engage others the same way you do when you actually TALK to someone. You can't hear the inflection in their voice, or perceive their emotion in quite the same way. I was listening to the radio and older gentleman used the same argument for why he never uses text messaging, and insisted on calling people in reply to texts - he also didn't own a computer - what a rebel ;)

Facebook, twitter, and similar forms of online social media, allow us to 'check in on people' so to speak, but not engage them in the same way a phone call or face to face meeting would. While people may talk about very personal joys, or troubles they are having on the phone or in person, I have found, they usually  are not so keen on communicating and engaging in as deep a manner online.

This really got me thinking about the same trap I have unwittingly fallen into for the past few years, the same trap that I feel many people my age are in as well.  I have been substituting 'checking in' on  people for engaging them and showing true concern and love. I'll admit, a lot of it has to do with effort, but that's a sorry excuse. I shudder to think of the amount of time I spend on social media/watching television/eating bon bons. My grandfather has friends who haven't lived in the same city as he for decades, and somehow they manage to keep up with each other. How is it that my generation seems so terrible at doing the same? I've come up with a few ideas of my own and ones I know my grandparents would also appreciate.


1. Sending a birthday card, or calling someone on their birthday. It's once a year, right?  When I married my husband, his Aunt sent me the most heartfelt and loving birthday card, and I think prior to that I could count the number of times we had met on one hand. She put in that little tiny effort to brighten my day and the happiness and love I felt from that effort far outweighed any birthday greeting someone jotted quickly on my facebook wall.


2. Make a weekly phone call to someone you care about just to say hello. I am so guilty of not following through with this one, but I am going to try to set aside some time on Sunday to call two or three folks just to say hello. Just think, if you rotated out who you called each week you would get to talk to a dozen or so people a month.


3. Be an active communicator. Keeping in touch is a two way street at times. Try to establish a routine, and then hopefully if you forget to call, the other person will note the gap and call you instead. I have found that persistent effort on my behalf is the key to getting the routine established, and usually once you do, you are golden and it doesn't seem like the effort is quite as much then.


4. Use social media/emails/texts to fill in the gaps. I know I spent a good amount of time downplaying social media in this post, but it is awesome for checking in on people and filling in the gaps. A simple 'Hey Jill, I know you said you had that big project at work last week when we talked, just wanted to check in and see how it went'  is all it takes to keep the communication going.


5. Find out what communication that friends responds to the best and go with it. One of my close relatives is sometimes is not the best conversationalist on the phone. I expected the same result when I emailed him, and I was blown away when he wrote me a lengthy and detailed email back! Sometimes it's best to just figure out what works and run with it. Some people are not [insert media here] people and that's ok.

What about you? How do you stay in touch with relatives, and out of town friends?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

School teacher skirt fix

I have incredibly fond memories of kindergarten: Storytime, the giant colored cardboard building blocks, and my plastic pink mini mouse lunch box that my mother would tape my milk money to. What I really remember most from kindergarten was my teacher, Mrs. H, and how sweet she was. Mrs. H had a poof of black curly hair that sat on top of her head that bounced about when she moved quickly. She always wore tea length skirts or dresses and she could have passed for Elaine Benes from Seinfeld (played by Julis Louis-Dreyfus)



Inspired by the tea length wardrobe of my Elaine look-a-like kindergarten teacher, I spotted this beauty of a skirt at good will for $2. YES, you read right only 2 buckaroos!

In an effort to live out the age old motto of 
'Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without'
I made not one rad item out of this tea length skirt but dos!




It's actually incredibly simple procedure for those that have a sewing machine and the ability to cut in a straight line, both abilities which I can dutifully credit to my excellent middle school education.

Steps:
1. Find a tea length skirt
2. Determine where you want the skirt to fall and lie the skirt flat on the ground with the seams aligned and make a straight cut leaving and extra inch or so for the seam fold over

Marty couldn't understand why he wasn't allowed to lay on the new 'rug' i was playing with o n the floor


3. Have a friend help you pin the skirt to the desired length while you are wearing it
NOTE: Make sure you use a friend you can trust with sharp pins and will not poke you in the shins
4. Iron the hem flat so that it is easy to sew
5. Sew your hem!

I took the extra ring of fabric from the bottom, repeated the pinning and hemming process and, ta-da, made an incredibly stylish scarf!


The finished skirt and scarf!

6. Wear your new skirt and scarf about and play with your pup (if applicable)






Monday, July 9, 2012

lately from my iphone

I have this irrational fear inspired by the early 2000s that I will use up all of the storage space on every digital device I own. I haven't had this problem since 2002, but yet I always move through and delete photos/songs/files as if the next one might push me over the capacity edge, nooooooo!!

Truth: It's 2012, and I am not 14 and I work full time, thus I am not capable of taking enough photos to fill my phone, so calm down self!



Friday, July 6, 2012

Anna Banana











Happy Birthday Anna! No one actually calls you Anna Banana, but I decided to start doing that right....now!
- this is what sisters are for, to give you nicknames that stick for the rest of eternity ;)

We enjoyed a scenic birthday brunch with the rest of our family over the weekend to celebrate. The view was fabulous, but what you can't tell from the pictures is that we are 5 seconds away from melting into puddles on the sidewalk! Talk about heat wave, ah! We were only outside long enough to say cheez and then sca-daddle into the air conditioning.


ps -Bonus points if you can tell us apart!
pps- I can still only correctly spell banana when I sing this song in my head

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thoughts: To the grocery we go!


What is it about a good grocery store that makes you spend money, or want to spend money?
One minute I am perfectly content, and then I walk into my favorite grocery store and it's like I haven't eaten in three months. I then proceed to buy food like I have the salary of three months saved up from all of that non-eating.

The candy bars, the fancy juices, the frozen chicken wings that come with a side of 6 cookies for dessert. I can't get enough of the junk food that calls out my name as I merrily bounce down the isle pushing my cart which is already filled to the brim with flappy's frozen waffles, and snicker's ice cream bars. I am a sucker for the convenience of frozen food and fun looking things that come in a pretty box. That being said, I eat a lot of frozen pizza that is accompanied by box white wine.

I have recently decided to eat more vegetables. Although they don't come in a fancy box (which means we are using less packaging, which means less trash, which means smaller landfills, ultimately meaning Al Gore is sitting fatter and happier in his air conditioned mansion, right?) vegetables I'm finding aren't as evil as I suspected them to be as a child, and sometimes can be quite tasty. So if it's possible to have a second half of the new year's resolution, this is it: vegetables are cool in my book, invite them to dine with you at every meal, and its ok to occasionally add sauce to the nasty ones to get them down.



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tropical Storm Debby Downer

Tropical storm Debby (aka Debby Downer, wahhhh wahhh) crawled through Florida this weekend. I didn't see the sun shine for 96 hours or so! Is this Seattle? Or England? Someone fetch me some tea and crisps!



Marty is a lucky pup to live in Florida. He refuses to go out in the rain. Are you even a real animal Marty?



Cut to me, sopping wet in a rain coat trying to coax him out from under the porch for twenty minutes while he stares at me with his sad puppy eyes. Puppy dog eyes, why do you have so much power?


Monday, June 25, 2012

Dog to Blog

So according to twitter, which you know, is incredibly reputable about these sort of things, Friday was take your dog to work day! My awesome pup, Marty McFly, is way too cool for my company (or maybe it's that my company is way too lame to let him inside, either way).

pup pic 3


It would be awesome to bring Marty to work with me. He could sit under my desk and keep my toes warm, eat all of my memos, and play fetch with my coworkers. To follow up being that awesome in one day, he would probably have to balance it out by tinkling somewhere in the building, but hey I would still love him.

Since I couldn't actually take Marty to work with me, I took him to my blog instead! I don't do self photo shoots often, because they make me feel like a dork, but I tried something even more difficult than a self photo shoot, a self photo shoot with an easily distracted dog. Dog to Blog, or dog blog party? I like both :)

puppy pic


pup pic 2


PS - did you know we have a twitter?
You could be missing out on gems such as these from our twittering brains:



:]

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Scenes from asheville

In the middle of JR's epic bicycling adventure, I was lucky enough to skip work for a couple days (suckers!) and drive myself up to Asheville, NC to meet him. Making the long hour drive by myself was an adventure all its own - if it's possible to overdose on caffeine without actually dying, I'm pretty sure that's what happened. I was shaky and exhausted, but oddly wide awake and focused at the same time. I was spotting squirrels crossing the road from a mile out while simultaneously letting out the largest yawns. It is an experience I really don't wish to repeat

Asheville, however is something I would repeat in a heartbeat! Once in Asheville, it was wonderful to see the mountains, the art galleries, antique shops, the Biltmore, and of course stuff our faces with amazing food [i still have dreams about some of the beer I had there]. I really would love to live in Asheville, the smell of the mountains alone is enough of a reason. I never really understood why laundry soap and air freshener brands all had 'mountain fresh' scents until I visited the mountains - they really do smell quite lovely! It was a calming experience to know that every time you walked out of a building your nose would be greeted with that lovely mountain fragrance.

Is there a city you love to visit over and over again?


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Maine to Florida: He made it!

I am so excited to share that after 5 long weeks, JR made it home safely from his east coast bicycling adventure! Hooray! These past 5 weeks seemed to pass so slowly, but I am over the moon to finally have JR back!

Needless to say, after a month alone at home by myself, I was a little bit lonely. Marty, our pup, and any  other animals I happened upon were the only ones I had to keep me company. I still have a rather large spider which I named Charlotte who inhabits the back corner of my mailbox. I am terrified of large spiders, but Charlotte and I have come to an understanding - don't move when I open the mailbox and I won't smash you to bits.





I am so delighted and so proud that JR made it home from his adventure in one piece. He successfully peddled himself and his packed bicycle all the way from Maine to Florida, a whopping 1800+ miles! He came back in great shape and has quite and impressive farmer's tan to boot!

CONGRATS JR! SO PROUD OF YOU!



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

We updated our about page!



I have recently discovered I love to make digital collages! Check out my latest one and a little diddy about both of us on our about page!

snail mail from Germany!

Have I mentioned how much I love getting snail mail!? Maybe I enjoy it so much because it seems like a novelty in this age where we spend too many waking hours in front of glowing rectangles. I am friends with every type of snail mail - junk mail, catalogs, packages, thank you notes, greeting cards - except bills of course, bills and I do not get along.

I  love the way catalog photographs look when you can hold them in your hand on a piece of paper - whether it's a dreamy j. crew catalog of things I will never be able to afford, or the group shot of the local jiffy lube team who obviously were coerced by their boss into having their photograph taken, they just look better on paper in my opinion.

Although I mostly get catalogs and bills (frowny face) in the mail I was so delighted to receive my friendship bracelet swap letter all the way from Jana in Germany! *Big Smile* Jana was sweet enough to make a bracelet for both Anna and I and wrote us a little letter! All I can say is THANKS SO MUCH JANA, they are beautiful! What a fun swap put on by B and Leigh. If I could have only put a camera on the outside of the envelope to see how it traveled all the way here to my front door in Florida.


xoxo
Agnes

Monday, June 18, 2012

Backyard Patio Party

So if I ever happen to own a patio... I would love to fill it with some of these lovelies! I will warn you several of these are expensive, like 4x my paycheck and sell your left foot expensive, so don't get too attached, unless you  have recently sold a limb.

Sources:
clear chair here
yellow chair here
white table here
rug here
pillows here
lights here


Happy Summer!
xoxo

Agnes!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

In the blue ridge mountains


While we were in Asheville, NC we took a scenic drive down the blue ridge parkway. It was breathtaking to say the least! We stopped over at graveyard fields for a little hike and I made the mistake of asking JR to take a picture of me. I will be the first to admit, I have a coordination problem, but hey, give me some credit those rocks were hard to walk on.

What you can't tell by these *oh so lovely* photos of me flopping around is that the water was FREEZING. While I was calf deep in the water with my teeth were chattering, JR was having a blast making me stay in the water as long as possible by acting like a grandpa who couldn't figure out how to use the camera - what a trickster.




xoxo

Agnes

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ode to Florida in the Summer

I know Summer. Believe me - we are well acquainted, I live in Florida. Summer weather starts here in March and lasts until October. It's quite dreadful at times.

Now, before everyone in Michigan and Canada get their knickers in a twist, I would just like to remind you of how awful it is to be sweaty and in humid heat all the time:
  •  you are constantly anxious that you smell like a dirty sock and you have to sneakily find a way to do the underarm sniff test
  • you make midnight runs to the grocery store for milk, bread, and deoderent 
  • forget about wearing your hair down outside, it just turns into a sauna on the back of your neck, only not a good sauna, one that smells like you are sharing it with a garbage fresh raccoon  
  • you can make a wide variety of baked goods on the dash of your car, my goal this year is to try blue berry muffins
  • even your dog won't go near your shoes (or the garbage raccoon for that matter), they stink that bad from the puddle of sweat that occupies your shoes all day long
  • you always have to shave your legs because you'll melt instantaneously if you wear pants outside for more than 5 mins (believe me, it happened to a fellow classmate of mine)
There are some wonderful things about Florida in the Summer, they mostly involve water, rain, and air conditioning, but I'm frankly to sweaty to think of them right now. I will have to make and ode to Florida in the Summer part II sometime.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Biltmore

If I was every a character in a fairy tale, Biltmore would surely be my castle - minus the overuse of velvet and strange wall coverings throughout the house.

I would eat cheeze doodles in a chaise lounge overlooking the blue ridge mountains, and my butler - who would have a name like Winston, or Geoffrey, and most certainly have a British accent - would bring me strawberry mojitos and compliment me on my outfit choice.


Biltmore is absolutely breathtaking, the epitome of American opulence, plopped in the most picturesque place, the blue ridge mountains. I was amazed to learn that at one point, the land around Biltmore was completely exhausted. When the Vanderbilt family built the Biltmore in the 1890s the blue ridge mountains were bald! Just used up farmland with a sad looking tree every hundred acres or so. They reforested the land so that now we can enjoy thousands of acres of lush wilderness, and so that I can sip my mojitos with a splendid view!




If you are ever in Asheville, NC i highly reccomend visiting the Biltmore! The tickets aren't cheap, but hey where else can you see stuff like this without trouncing all the way over to Europe?
And since they don't allow photos to be taken inside you will just have to go see it yourself!

have a wonderful weekend

xoxo

Agnes

Thursday, May 17, 2012

10 States

Yup, that's right, JR has officially pedaled his little patushka through 10 states in the past 3 weeks.

Who has two thumbs and is really impressed? This gal!

I made a little map to keep track of him on the road and I hung it (well taped it) to my cubicle wall. I love check lists and countdowns galore, and this is just a little something (along with extra keebler cookies) that is keeping me sane while he is gone. Anna herself gave me the cute little bicycle paper clips!

If you would like to read up on his journey you can find him and his little bike too here on his blog!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lately

I have to admit, since joe has been gone my cookie intake has increased dramatically. And when I get extra sad I eat 2 of my favorite granola bars for breakfast instead of one. I've been doing everything from antiquing to piano playing to stay busy and distract me from being alone (and my urge to eat the whole box of Keebler cookies in one sitting while enjoying an HGTV marathon)


Someone please entertain me! Or at the very least, prevent me from buying any more cookies at the grocery store!

xoxo

Agnes


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Greetings from Martha's Vineyard

JR sent me this pic from his bicycle journey from Maine to Florida. He is in Martha's vineyard and it looks so beautiful! So jelly! Wish I was there too!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Road trip anyone?


JR has been sending my some awesome small town pictures as he is traveling down the coast of Maine on his bicycle. These pictures make me incredibly happy for two reasaons 1) kind of makes me feel like I am there and some of this stuff is pretty dang cool, and 2) I know he is still alive and not lying in a ditch somewhere flattened to pieces by a trucker or held hostage by the guy from the texas chainsaw massacre (can you tell I am a worrier?)

Before JR left for his trip we were dreaming and scheming of how we could take and epic cross country road trip in a van and still have enough money to eat everyday. Well Monday JR happened upon a guy who had some sort of VW repair shop I think and had this awesome beauty for sale and it had only 37k miles and was in mint condition!





It really made me swoon and realize how badly I want to get out of this fluorescent rectangle of a workspace I am forced to be in all day and be out in the sunshine, exploring the back roads that wind through small towns and miles open land. Is there such thing as office fever, you know kind of like cabin fever, but only a result of being stuck in an office all day every day??? If not I officially deem office fever a real thing, and declare just how truly uncool it is. My only cure: that awesome VW van with a full tank!

xoxo

Agnes
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