We're still in the middle of moving, but the blog is now found at everythingisntnormal.com

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hockey Fans Aren’t As Progressive As I Had Hoped

[Hi, I am not Shelby, just her fiance (/husband, if you read this in 2015+) making a blog post!]

Friday, June 13, 2014

Miss Indiana Doesn't Represent Normal

Please find this post at http://www.everythingisntnormal.com/Miss-Indiana-Doesnt-Represent-Normal

Sunday night I had the joy and pleasure of hearing Nick say to me, "Hey, some Miss USA thing is on NBC tonight, did you want to watch it?" and then us actually watching it. It's not typically of him to mention anything on t.v. for us to watch together unless it's hockey, football, or Graceland. As a kid, whenever possible, I'd jump at the chance of getting the remote the night of a Miss America/USA/Universe, etc. pageant so that I could watch (and force my 4 brothers if they wanted any tube time) it. I loved the pageants. As an adult, I haven't seen one for probably the last four or five years, so I was really excited.

Neither my home state or current state made it very far, so we were basically just rooting for whoever had a good platform. We liked Nevada, so I'm proud of her for winning. But afterwards, the whole internet blew up with excitement that there was a contestant that looked "normal" during the swimwear portion of the show. I have to be honest, I wasn't paying close enough attention to discern the difference between her body and any other woman's body. As I saw the pictures on the internet coming up, I agreed that she did appear to have less "toning" in her midsection, but still, she's a skinny, size 4, athlete. That's terrific, admirable, and I'm definitely proud of her for keeping a fit body and being healthy. 

But it's important to realize that "normal" is nothing like Miss Diehl's body. The average woman is a size 12, (according to this article at USA Today which cites Women's Wear Daily.) Now, I'm not saying that average is an ideal one. I'm saying that for the United States, it's what's considered normal. But let's look at this from my perspective. My body is normal. I've had two children and carried them in my body for an approximate total of 82 weeks. I've experienced a bout of emotional anxiety due to an assault. I've become comfortable in a relationship. All these things normally attribute to not keeping a perfectly healthy and athletic body. They attribute to "normal."

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Product Review: Cupcake Liners aka. How to Make Cupcakes in a Brownie Pan

Today, I really wanted to share with you how to make cupcakes just taste delicious and come out round & fluffy on top. But then I realized I didn't have a cupcake pan! Luckily, California Kitchenware had sent me this set of silicone cupcake molds to use and review and I was willing to take a chance and try them without a standard pan. Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
So, only 9 actually fit in my brownie pan, which wasn't a big deal, but I was already nervous. I half expected my cupcakes to turn out like that internet picture of the biggest cupcake fail of all time.

But that was a risk I was willing to take. So I set my oven to 350*, whipped up a standard cake mix per box directions, filled each mold about 3/4 full, and popped them in the oven. I turned the oven temp down to 325* when I put them in, because I had heard over on Pinterest that if you do that, they'll be lovely and round on top. And then they baked for 25 minutes and I waited and freaked out that they would look awful.

When my timer rang, they made their appearance and I couldn't have been more pleased. Most of them turned out a little warped, due to being on the edge of the brownie pan, but they were round on top and amazing. 

Taking them out of the molds was a breeze. I just stuck the tip of my (clean!) finger slightly in the side, slowly turned the cupcake around, and it practically fell right out. I did NOT grease/spray the molds prior to filling, so this was a pleasant surprise. 

I let them cool for about 10 minutes before tasting them, they ended up perfectly done. After cooling completely they got a little makeover from my favorite frosting recipe and then quickly devoured by Nick & myself.
I really loved these cupcake molds and have already suggested them to a few friends who saw my instagram post while I was making them. They're ideal for use up to 500*F in the oven, or can be used in the microwave & freezer. And as I've proved, you don't need a cupcake pan to use them as they stand really well on their own!

Want them? You can get them on Amazon, available for just $7.99 in both multicolor and white  {these are referral links} and if you try them out, let me know! These are definitely a great value with the price and the reusable longevity.

Have you ever had to just improvise in the kitchen? Or do you have a major blunder to share because your improvisation didn't turn out? Let me know in the comments below!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Why The Clifford Series Teaches Grownups a Lesson

I've been composing this in my head for months, so bear with me and my passion while I get these thoughts out in the open. I'm sure most people in the United States have heard of the television show or the children's books about Clifford the Big Red Dog. I grew up before the show existed, but the books were my favorites in the elementary school library I attended.

The basic theme of the books and show is this. Emily Elizabeth Howard is a little girl who wants a puppy, so she gets one, and he happens to be the runt of the litter. She LOVES Clifford, even when he's naughty and does puppy stuff. Eventually Clifford becomes SO BIG, according to wikipedia over 25 feet tall (I feel like this corresponds with the books) that the family has no room for him in their little city apartment and they have to move a small neighborhood or Birdwell Island. Check out the intro song for the show, it's pretty descriptive of the story line.

Let's regroup, they adopted a dog, he got too big, they moved to accommodate him. That's how the story goes. I realize this is a little bit of an idealistic reality, but the point Author Norman Bridwell makes is that you don't just get RID OF your dog because he outgrows your little apartment, because he gets sick, becomes an inconvenience, etc. Any of the number of reasons people give for getting rid of their adult dog, Emily Elizabeth's family blows this out of the water by saying, "Heck no, we love our dog, we didn't adopt him just to give him back, we're going to be his forever family and we're going to make him happy."

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Things I Almost Bought

Hellooo awesome people! How's everyone on this bright and lovely Thursday morning? I realize y'all in the MidWest are still dealing with disasters from Tuesday's storm, but it's gorgeous in So. Texas and that makes me happy.

I've been doing this *thing* a lot for the last 3-4 years, you know, since smart phones became a big thing and my pocketbook wasn't such a big thing. I take a LOT of pictures of stuff I want to buy, with the intent of having this awkward wishlist dispersed through my phone of things I probably will never buy but really want to. Even just the other day, I was in Whole Foods and I had something in my cart, only to turn it back around awkwardly and put it back on the shelf. But of course, I took a picture. Anyway, here's a few things I've almost bought, but then didn't.

I mean, okay, so this Beer Making Kit clearly didn't make the cut because I was at Whole Foods and already had $100 worth of stuff in my tiny cart. But I REALLY wanted it, so it actually made it into my cart before being self confiscated. I know I'd love this project, yet I withhold. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Product Review: Nut Milk Bag & How to Make Almond Milk

Hey, so today I want to share a sexy, new recipe with y'all (not mine, someone else's) and give you a review of a cool new product I got to try.

So, let me just start with a small disclosure, Zimtal sent me this nut milk bag, free of charge, in order to try it for this review, however I wasn't paid for this post and all opinions expressed are my own. I actually used so little effort that I didn't even search for a recipe to use, I follow Nom Nom Paleo on Facebook and shortly after they contacted me to do the review, this recipe for Vanilla Almond Milk showed up on my feed and has been sitting as an open tab in my browser since then.
Also, please note that many of the links in this post are affiliate links, so I get a tiny kickback from the website if you buy using the link.

So to start you have to get some raw almonds and then soak those babies for awhile, some nuts don't need to be soaked before making milk, but most do. I picked up a small bag of raw almonds at my local Sprouts, but the one I linked to has great reviews and a way better price, so that's likely how I'll get mine next time. Anyway, I soaked my almonds overnight, about 20 hours. Based on various different websites you can soak them for 8-12 hours with the limit being not more than 24. So I made it fit into my schedule to get them prepped around noon Sunday and then Monday morning I made my milk before walking the dog. Easy peasy. Here's my almonds before straining them. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Texas is Weird (For a Newcomer)

So, after about 3 weeks in the lovely city of Houston, Texas, I've got quite of a list mentally prepared of things I've noticed that make this city, or possibly this state, very different from every place I've ever lived.

Now, first let me review where I've lived before. I grew up in rural Northern Minnesota, at 18, I moved to Gulfport, (Biloxi sister city) Mississippi, moved then to Bellevue, (Omaha Suburb) Nebraska, lived there until I got divorced, then moved to Des Moines, Iowa (capital city!) and a year later to Ames, IA (home of Iowa State University.) That's where we were before moving here, to the lovely South-East Texas city of Houston.

So, we moved down the weekend of the 18th of May and have had a few weeks to digest our new home and city. Given that this is going to be a much more permanent experience for us, we definitely have to get used to, and learn to like, this city and state. Including all the awkward, weird, and downright strange things that come with it. So today I'm sharing the first 5 things that immediately come to mind about why this city is so different from everywhere else I've lived.
-The number of same stores in a short distance is incredibly overwhelming. Along a 3-4 mile stretch of one single road, you can find 2 Home Depot stores and 3 Target stores. There's at least 4 Krogers within a 5 mile radius around my home. This city is SO dense that as odd as it seems to me, it actually makes some logical sense for this area!