Friday, November 30, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: 2012 Edition

I noticed this year that a number of people were posting something they were thankful for during each day of the month of November in honor of Thanksgiving.  I really loved the idea of sharing what I was thankful for and having to really ponder my appreciation of things/people/etc.

I never have been good at keeping a journal.  I have started many journals over the years, only to forget about them after only one or two days.  This should be fairly obvious to those who might read this blog, as it has been several months since I have posted anything.  I love the idea of journaling, but boy am I forgetful!  Several times during this month I have found myself having to play "catch-up" for several days worth of Thanksgiving, simply because I haven't made time to do it on previous day or because I had forgotten.

Here is my 30 days of Thanks compiled:

Day 1: I am thankful for my parents and grandparents who are always there for me.
Day 2: I am thankful for my amazing husband who loves me regardless of my flaws
Day 3: I'm thankful for Novella and Faraday! Their unconditional love, puppy kisses, and cuddles are priceless!
Day 4: I am thankful of the warm fire that is keeping my toes warm tonight.
Day 5: thankful for my right to vote, even if most of the time I would rather write Novella in as a write in option!
Day 6: thankful for peanut butter choc. Chip cookies
Day 7: thankful to have found my calling as a librarian and my opportunity to do what I love!
Day 8: thankful for my home that I get to enjoy with my family
Day 9: thankful for heating pads and chocolate chip cookies!
Day 10: thankful for my education
Day 11: thankful for my friends, even thought don't get to spend as much time with them as I would like
Day 12: thankful for the ability to read because it gives me joy everyday!
**My forgetfulness shows itself here.  I ended up posting days 10,11, and 12 at the same time.
Day 13: thankful for technology that makes life convenient and entertaining ....(even though sometimes I think we rely on it too much).
Day 14: thankful for McDonald's sweet tea!
Day 15: Thankful for good food, the ability to eat it, and the ability to cook it.
Day 16: thankful for central heating tonight! So cold!! Brrrr.....
Day 17: evidently today is National Premature Baby Day. Since I was a preemie, weighing 2 lbs 11 oz when I was born, I am thankful to be alive and healthy!
Day 18: thankful for sleep when it comes
Day 19: thankful for my ability to learn and experience new things every day.
**There goes that forgetfulness again....I posted day 18 and 19 together
Day 20: Thankful for love, in all its forms
Day 21: Thankful for a handy husband!
Day 22: Thankful that my husband and I have good jobs, in an economy and geographic area where many do not
Day 23: Thankful for photographs that help me keep my memories alive
Day 24: Thankful for my ability and capability to help others
Day 25: Thankful for the joy that the winter holiday season brings
Day 26: Thankful for the access to information that helps me curb my appetite for knowledge
Day 27: Thankful that we live in a democracy,that while not perfect, is so much better than the environment of so many others around the world.
**Ouch!  I forgot for over a week!  Here is 8 days worth of thankfulness!
Day 28: Thankful for laughter
Day 29:Thankful for my sanity and patience (when I manage it)
Day 30: Thankful for days off work when I get them.  Time to relax is very necessary

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Buffalo Chicken Pasta


Ingredients: 

2lbs chicken - cut in small chunks
2 jars Alfredo sauce (I used Bertolli)
1lb penne (use corn penne for gluten free)
1/4 cup hidden valley ranch dressing
1 large bell pepper
1/2 large onion
3 Tbs chopped garlic
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 jar of Buffalo sauce (I used Frank's)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 parmesan cheese
1/2 pkg of cream cheese
Pepper and salt to taste

Directions:

1.) Saute onion, bell pepper, garlic, and chicken in the olive oil.
2.) When chicken is cooked through boil pasta in separate pot.  
3.) While pasta is cooking, add alfredo sauce, cream cheese, and ranch dressing to chicken mixture and simmer.  Add pepper and salt to taste.
4.) When pasta is finished, drain and add to sauce mixture.
5.) Add buffalo sauce (I use 1/2 a jar, but you can use as little or as much as you like) and cook for 5 minutes.  
6.) Add the parmesan cheese before serving.

*Note: Our family loves this recipe for dinner!  The guys fight over the leftovers.  If needed you can cut this recipe in half, but it all gets eaten at our house!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The scariest nightmare ever

I woke up this morning like today was any other day.  About 7:00 am I took a shower and then lay down for a few minutes because I got too hot.

Not intending to, I fell asleep.  Only it was like no sleep I have ever had.

I dreamed.  No, not a normal dream.  No, not a happy dream.  I didn't even know I was asleep.  I guess I was in an odd in-between state, because for part of the time I was asleep I knew I was laying in bed.  What made this dream so different, so awful?

During my dream state, I thought I was awake.  However, what made this dream so frighting was that I couldnt move.  I thought I was awake and paralyzed.  In fact, during a portion of the dream (when I didnt know I was in my bed) I was in a crowded room with people I know and no one would help me.  I had no control over my limbs and I couldnt speak, but I could hear.

There is nothing scarier than thinking you are awake and thinking you cant move.  Towards the end of my dream-like state, I knew I was lying in my bed.  I knew I was in my house.  I still couldnt move or speak.

When I was finally able to realize I was awake and that I could move, it was almost too good to believe.  I truly believed that I couldnt move and that their was nothing I could do and no one to help me.

I had been in this state for over 3 hours.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Planning a Wedding: My Sanity Will Survive Pt 1

My current fiance proposed on Thanksgiving day in 2011 and we are getting married on October 6, 2012.  At the time of our wedding we will have been together for 3 years, been raising a teenager for a year, and been homeowners for a year and a half.  No one can say we are "starting our life together" in a "normal" fashion.

Valentine's Day 2010



I started my wedding planning early .... in January.  The first step I took in planning my big day (not including those bridal magazines) was to buy my dress.  I knew that my dress would set the tone of the day and it had to be perfect!  I think I tried on 50 different dresses at 3 different shops before I found the one!

Michael and I knew from the outset that we wanted our wedding to be outside.  Neither of us feel like the inside of a church is ever "pretty" and we felt that a garden wedding was more suitable to our personalities.  I  live in Arkansas, which is full of beautiful parks and nature and we live near Hot Springs, AR which is full of beautiful historic homes.  I never thought it would be hard to find a venue, but boy were our options limited!  Most of the outdoor venues in our area either did not have a backup location in case of rain or limited us to less than 20 guests!  Finally we found it, the Old Mill Wedding Chapel. The Old Mill had a beautiful garden area, an indoor chapel, and a great indoor reception hall that was pre-decorated and gorgeous!

Next: Vendor Options for the Big Day


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tonight's Dinner Menu

Pesto Chicken (serve over rice)

9x13 baking dish
4 to 6 chicken breasts
1 jar or 1 cup of pesto
1 Cup of shredded jack or smoked gouda cheese

1.) Cut chicken into strips
2.) Spray dish with non-stick spray
3.) Spread 1/2 of pesto on bottom of dish
4.) layer chicken in dish
5.) Season chicken and spread remaining pesto on top of chicken
6.) Cover dish with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 min.
7.) Remove foil, add cheese, and bake until melted.


Green Bean Casserole (contains gluten)

9 x 13 baking dish
4 cans french style green beans
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 T black pepper
1 1/2 T minced dried onion (can substitute onion powder)
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1T minced garlic
6 oz pkg of French's fried onions
2 Cups shredded cheese (try with smoked gouda for an extra special treat)
2 oz softened cream cheese

1.) Spray non-stick spray in dish
2.) Mix green beans, cream of mushroom soup, softened cream cheese, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, dried onion, and garlic together.
3.) Add 1 cup shredded cheese and 1/2 French's onions to mixture
4.) Spread into baking dish and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees
5.) Remove dish and top with the rest of the cheese and French's onions
6.) Bake until cheese is melted
Pesto Chicken with Gouda Slices
Green Bean Casserole

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

So much for plans...

So my earlier goal of writing about my daily life everyday for a week, has fallen to the wayside.

On March 3rd I was heading home after running errands in a neighboring town and had a car accident. I was heading west on I-30 and saw a 18 wheeler tire in the middle lane of the interstate (the lane I was driving in). I was unable to avoid hitting the tire because there was traffic on both sides of me. I hit the tire and lost control of my car. I did several 360 degree turns and ended up hitting the cement wall lining the median wall. The car stopped facing the opposite of traffic, having hit the median on the passenger side of the car.

Two nice couples stopped and stayed with me until the ambulance arrived.

The first thoughts through my head were that I was glad my dogs weren't in the car with me because they would have probably died and that I wanted my fiancé, Michael, with me.

The result of the accident was that my left (and dominant) wrist was cracked and my car was totaled. I have been wearing a cast on my arm since the accident.

I have had a lot of pain and basic functions are difficult. Who would have thought about not being able to open containers, turning a doorknob, earring food that needs to be cut, etc .

Since the accident I have been prone to severe anxiety in the car. Not being able to drive is inconvenient for me,my staff, and my family. The nightmares have seemed to stop recently. My energy, which disappeared after the accident, has started to return.

The cast is supposed to come off later this week. I am interested how this Will continue to unfold.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A day in the life... Day 1

I think I will start a project detailing my day for a week. This is inspired by the Library Day in the Life Project.

References to my library work day will be blogged at The Not So Shoeless, Librarian, while the personal parts of my day will be blogged here on A Life, Ashley K Parker.

I am interested in seeing the patterns of my life emerge, as I often get so wrapped up that I rarely take time to thing about where I spend all my time.

Putting this in context: I am a 28 year old public librarian living in central Arkansas.  I live in a city of 9,000 and a county of 30,000.  I live with my fiance and we have custody of our 17 year old nephew.  We have two inside dogs.  I am currently taking online classes to earn my MPA.  I serve on several local, state, and national committees.  I am planning my own wedding without outside help.


Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012


  • ‎9:00 - Breakfast
  • 9:30 to 12:00 - wash 2 loads of laundry, wash a load of dishes, clean stove, clean kitchen counters and table, clear all "crap" from kitchen area, sweep and mop kitchen, teach my resident nephew how to clean a bathroom, and take out trash
  • 12:00 - shower
  • ‎12:15 to 1:15 - play on computer
  • 1:15 to 3:15 - errands
  •  3:15 to 3:45 - dismantle library display
  • 4:00 to 5:30 - homework and snack
  • 5:30 to 6:00 - play on the computer
  • 6:00 to 6:20 - start blog and switch out loads of laundry
  • 6:20 to 7:30 - put away and wash dishes, fold 3 loads of laundry, wash 2 loads of laundry, bathe dogs, sweep laundry room
  • 7:30 to 8:20 - dinner, folding a load of clothes, then washing dishes
  • 8:30 to 10:00 - listening to music and discussing songs for our wedding ceremony
  • 10:15 - grab a snack and head to bed

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Looking to the Future

So as many of you know I became engaged to my sweetie at Thanksgiving.  We plan to get married in October of this year and in planning our wedding and talking about our future, we have discussed our future thoughts of parenthood.  Of course to me this means pigtails and cute outfits and to him it means wrestling and fishing!

Yesterday I stumbled across this website that will morph two pictures into babies.  This allowed us to create images that suggest what our future children will look like.  I wonder how accurate it is?

Us:


What our future kids might look like?:






Monday, January 9, 2012

A student again

Today I became an official student again.  I started online classes today at Troy University for my Master of Public Administration program.

Troy's program is ranked in the top 5 Public Administration programs in the country and they offer several specializations to choose from: Public Management, Government Contracting, Justice Administration, Healthcare Administration, Environmental Management, Non-Profit Management, Public Human Resource Management, National Security Affairs, and Education.  I will most likely pursue my specialization in Non-Profit Management.

I am really excited to go back to school, but I am nervous about finding the time to dedicate to school since my schedule is so busy at work and at home.