Friday, December 13, 2013

A Lesson in Marriage and Humility.


I came into the office to find this old piece of desk or cubicle with a post it saying "Trash". My first thought was to grumble about why didn't he just leave it at the trash? What do we need this for? We have enough junk laying around already!





Oh, to kick this stupid habit of being thoughtlessly critical.

As I began to really look at and consider it, I realized why he brought it home. He brought it home because he is thoughtful, he is considerate, he loves me, and he is WAY too good for me. He brought it home because my legs are too short to reach the floor when I sit at the computer desk and need some sort of foot stool. I have been using this old bag of carefresh for who knows how long.



It sufficed.


Now, because of my loving husband, I have a proper foot stool. A FRUGAL, FREE, RE-PURPOSED, PERFECT foot stool.


And I am grateful; humbled.


I love you, Mikeness.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Of Course I Fail Now…

…that I am finished with the Pintester Movement. I’m so fail, I fail at failing when failing is the whole point! Okay, so I guess success is the point too, but failing at Pinterest is so much more fun!

The day after I participated and submitted my blog post for the Movement, I decided to try a new Pinterest recipe that I found repinned by my neighbor, Shannon. It was an apple oatmeal dump in the crockpot dish. The picture is so alluring, you can’t help but want to try it. See for yourself.

“Delicious” Apple Cinnamon Crock Pot Oatmeal

Do not be fooled by this picture. The recipe was totally fracked. Maybe it was because it was 6am and I was tired and ready for bed after a long night of photo editing and blogging. Maybe it was my ignorance in cooking oatmeal any where but the microwave with directions on the packet. I don’t know, but I followed the recipe to the letter and what I got was very bland apple oatmeal soup.

IMAG0119 Don’t let the picture fool you either. It was awful!

Mike tried to doctor it, he even ate a bowl of it. Gave me a taste that promptly made me make a face. I wasn’t sure it was worth salvaging. After the first (and only) bowl, I still need to scrub the crock pot.
Later as I was leaving the house, I asked Mike for the debit card. The conversation went like this:
Me: Can I have the card before I leave?
Mike: Why? You won't need it.
Me: But what if I get hungry?
Mike: Well go eat some of your apple crap before ya leave.
I looked it up on my favorite recipe site, The commenters suggest only adding 2 cups of water then towards the end of cook time, adding up to 2 cups of milk, depending on how much liquid it still needs. Also, add your cinnamon at that time too, about 30 minutes before you think it should be done. I will try this again soon and post an update on how it turned out.

Fall is, hands down, my favorite season. Getting into the dog days of summer always makes me long for fall, cooler weather, brightly colored leaves and baking. As soon as we had our first cool day, I looked up recipes for spice cake. Which of course led me to pumpkin spice cake. Which lit me up like a kid at a candy store. I would make this fabulous Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Icing.

It would be so good, Mike would marry me all over again. It would be so good, Shannon would think I was a domestic goddess, it would be so good a line of people would form outside my kitchen door.


As Mike just put it, it was a “cake that try men's souls...”. It definitely tried mine. I mean it had so much potential! But, I am me and I make stupid mistakes. Especially when I multitask.

After baking it the required 50 minutes, I did the toothpick test and it came out clean. Which surprised me, since my oven doesn’t hold true and things have to cook a bit longer than instructed. I pulled it out anyway and set it on the stove eye to cool for about half an hour, then I would turn it out. I had been preparing dinner while it cooked, to be ready for the oven after the cake came out.  I also made some green beans and mashed potatoes; putting the two on the stove to warm and boil, respectively. I then joined Mike to watch some Sons of Anarchy while it all cooked for a bit. Mike and I noted that the cake really smelled good, like it was cooking still. I went to the kitchen to check on things and wouldn’t you know, I had turned on the eye I had set the cake on! It was only on the stove because I didn’t have a trivet handy. I yanked it up and turned out to prevent any more damage, and sure enough, it was a little burned. Okay, no loss, I can cut off the burnt part. I do this and discover, the cake isn’t thoroughly cooked. But it’s edible, not liquid. This was a dense cake it really was edible if a touch under done. Then I got the cream cheese icing and it felt rather light. Apparently at some point in the last year, we had opened and used it, I remember now, for red velvet cupcakes. Not only was it half empty, it was turning pink. Gross! I then scrounged up some white icing and Mike, who will try it if I made it, ate some and told me it wasn’t that bad. I tried it, it was so bland. All the spices were right, but I didn’t get enough salt into it. That was that. I had enough of this debacle. The cake now lovingly rests in my trash can. Gone were my delusions of cake mastery. Dashed were my hopes and dreams. Sad face.
IMAG0124Cake of Soul Crushing Disappointment

Until next time,
I love y’all.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pintester Movement Project

Some of you may know that I have suddenly become addicted to Pinterest and blogging and reading blogs. My cousin-in-law Cassandre shares my addiction and may or may not have been completely responsible for the Pinterest aspect. She is also the one who shared the wonders of The Pintester. I clicked the link, read, laughed my arse off and now, in it’s 3rd installment, I am participating in The Pintester Movement. What the frack is that? Well, you can read about it here:


Browsing Pinterest, looking for some idea of what I might want to test out for the movement, I came across this Pin:


I loved it instantly and looking over the tutorial, I felt very confident I could do this one with success. (Completely missing the point, no doubt.) I set about gathering up my supplies, which seemed to grow the more I worked on the project. Which is my own fault for not following directions to a T and taking my own initiative. Isn’t initiative illegal these days? I digress.


The supplies you will need to make this journal the way I made it, are as follows:
- 4 paper bags
- Scissors
- Iron that steams or sprays and if not, a spray bottle of water
- Fat Quarter of fabric
- Spray adhesive
- Frozen pizza box
- Decorative craft paper in complimentary colors to your Fat Quarter, or not, what do I care if you color coordinate?
- Ruler or measuring device
- Small pin nail
- Hammer
- Needle
- Waxed thread (I used embroidery thread, but waxed would just be easier to work with.)
Tutorials are rather boring, don’t judge me too harshly if you start yawning.

The first thing you do is acquire your paper bags. Which for me, entailed going to the grocery store and asking for some. Which isn’t the point of this journal, as it was intended to recycle your old, used paper bags. I didn’t have any, because Mike used them as kindling for the BBQ. Whoops.

Next, dismantle the bags and cut off the strips with glue on them. Then measure your bag and cut them into three or four pieces, depending on the size you wish your journal to be. I cut my bags in thirds and my journal ended up being 9”x11”.


Fill a bucket or your kitchen sink with water and dunk each piece in, gently manhandling each one to get them wet, then squeeze out the water and hang up to dry. I let mine hang over night, but a few hours would have them completely dry. 


Once dry, iron each piece to make it lay relatively flat. You will need water for this. My iron steams and spray water, so this task went, um, smoothly*.

*No brown paper bags were “harmed” in the production of this book… we swears.

After ironing, I folded the papers in half and made my final measurements and cuts. (Measure once, cut twice… swear three times.)


It was at this point in the game, that I decided I wanted a cup of coffee hard cover for the journal instead of a soft one. So I improvised. Taking from things I already had, I used a Fat Quarter of fabric, some decorative paper, and a frozen pizza box. I cut two 9'”x11” pieces from the pizza box, two 9”x11” pieces of the paper, and two 10”x12” pieces from the fabric. I took it all and some spray adhesive and went OUTSIDE. I first glued the fabric to the unprinted side of the pizza box, so the print wouldn’t show through my fabric. Then I flipped it over and glued the overlapping fabric to the printed side. Then I glued the paper to that same printed side, covering the extra fabric. Repeat for the second cover.

Now it was time to go to the interwebs and learn how to do a Coptic Stitch. You Tube is our friend in all things and gave me this video to teach me how. I strongly recommend watching the entire video before starting your binding, or you will be cursing and pulling it out for a redo, as I did. Twice. It’s not that it’s difficult, because it really easy, it’s just very fiddly. And I don’t get along very well with fiddly. Fuddly, maybe, but not fiddly. I don’t like that guy. Where was I? Oh yes, the binding. I used embroidery thread, which works just fine and if you can’t lay your hands on the waxed thread, it’s cool. But if you can find waxed thread, use it. You’ll thank me.

Before I could start sewing my book together, I had to make evenly spaced holes in all the things and make sure they lined up. To do this, I got out my handy dandy ruler and a scrap piece of pizza box and made a template. I did 4 sections of 3 holes each. Marked the template and used the template to mark my covers and the papers. I then took a small pin nail and a hammer to pound the holes. This took awhile, but I assure you, it was good.

This is the original:

This is mine:

Waddaya think? Nifty huh?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Can’t Sleep, Too Much Cow Bell.

And a shiny new phone and Facebook. Facebook leads you to many weird and wonderful places. One of them being the over grown thicket of my past. Man I was stupid when I was young. I made a lot of mistakes and poor judgment calls. It wasn’t all bad, but there are regrets. My life is so peaceful and beautiful now, that it is difficult to look on the road that brought me here and call any of it regretful. But there are some true regrets in there. Mostly how I handled and lost friendships. Ever the avoider of confrontation, I just slipped away out of people’s lives rather than deal with the issues head on. Thanks to my wonderful Mike, I am changing that behavior. (I must also give kudos to my friend, neighbor, and off the books therapist, Shannon for this. She is every snarky girls dream friend.)

At any rate, I can only hope I am at least forgiven and have had fond memories retained, as I do in my heart, retain every good thing.

Now, to lift the mood a little bit, here are some pictures from the lighter activities Mike and I have partook in the two weekends since we got hitched.

Mike, some friends, and myself decided to go to the Renaissance Faire here in Des Moines. As usual, we forgot to take very many pictures. Aside from these two pictures, the only others we have are of our friend, who got pulled into the Bawdy Buccaneers show for audience participation. The picture’s we have are of him donning a long blonde wig and a mop in with which he was made to “swab the deck”. Were I to post is here, we would be one less a friend. Darn. He looked pretty good up there umm, swabbing the deck.
Anyhoo, the day was so hot I thought the Devil himself had come to the Faire for a weekend getaway and while I enjoyed what I could, I wilted after while. Mike and I tried to take it easy while my friend Jenna and her hubs went off to get fitted for some new garb. When they finally returned, she was wearing a beautiful purple bodice with a black skirt. I must say I was a bit jealous.
Upon said return, Jenna suggested we go to the First Aid room to sit in the air conditioning. Once I finally arrived, I was accosted by a very friendly EMT who was very much in favor of putting cold wet cloths on my neck and chest. Now those of you who know me well, know I am not at all na├»ve, so when I tell you I was very perplexed at the goofy grins on the faces of Mike and Jenna’s hubby upon my return, I am sayin’ it was the heat. Because I didn’t get it. I could not fathom why in the world they were looking at me like that. Let me explain as delicately as I can. Take note of the garb I am wearing. Put a wet cloth near that garb for any length of time, then remove it and any hot blooded straight man will get goofy looks. For all my love of naughty innuendo, leave it to me to NOT put that one together! All I can say, is thank goodness I was wearing a hat!

TShirtFunThis weekend was fairly low key. I did some running around with Stephanie and up graded my phone. As much fun as lovely new shiney’s are, I was not really looking forward to this. I am quite tightly wound about money at the moment, new car and all, and I didn’t really think I’d go for a new phone. My old one has been driving me nuts for months now, running slowly, load screens all the time and crashing for no apparent reason. But I found a good phone for a decent deal and took the plunge.

On Sunday, Mike and I went to Wal-Mart for a couple items and found some fun things while browsing. We found these shirts in the kids department and they were so appropriate, we had to take pictures with them. Mike found a Mardi Gras mask, which I had to have a picture of. One of the pirate skits we saw at the Ren Faire was the tale of the kissing bandit. A cute an kind of stupid skit, with twin dudes in black masks, running around kissing girls. With this picture, how could I resist the reference?

 Ain’t he adorable?

Until next time! More cow bell!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Not So Long Ago,

In a hospital not far far away…
Samantha Lynn Howard was born!

She came into this world at 12:07am, September 15, 2013.

Mother (Rachel, Mike’s sister) and daughter are doing beautifully fine!
Daddy (Stephen, Mike’s best friend) shows off his lil princess.

I am so proud and happy for them. This is dreams coming true, prayers beautifully answered.

*Look out world, a Goedken-Howard has just been unleashed! Lock up your sons and don your bullet proof vests!*

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hey Y’all


I think I may have mentioned Untypically Jia when I started the How To Be A Fat Bitch ecourse, but in case I didn’t, I wanted to give her some love. Check out her blog, she is a cool chick with hot pink hair and a good read. I read her blog every time she posts and enjoy it thoroughly. She dropped by today and gave me some blog love, so do the same for her.

And to you guys that read my blog, because Mike, check our her husband Matt’s blog at The Amazing Spider Matt. It promises to be full of all the things us nerds, gamers and the like, love.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Wedding Album Part 1


Mike and I decided it was time to get married. So we did. In like 3 days. We were heading down to the courthouse anyway, to get our tags for the new car. The office to get your marriage license was in the same building, so seeing as it is so difficult for Mike to get away from the office anyway, we jumped. And boy was it a heck of a jump. Our license was good forever, but we decided to just do it. 3 days, Jenna and I put this thing together. It was fabulous and everything Mike and I had ever wanted. We couldn’t be happier.


We did this totally Tracey style. I mean it was, “My Big Fat Goodwill Wedding”. It was so sweet and relaxed and beautiful. I was barefoot and we got almost all of our clothes at Goodwill. My dress, his shirt, pants and shoes; his tie came from the Salvation Army. I borrowed the white shrug I wore from Jenna. The head band was my biggest outfit expense at $10. Or maybe my hair color. It cost $10 plus a few extra bucks for the application brush and such. Anyway, enough chit chat, here are the pictures!Mr&MrsGoedkenMr. & Mrs. Goedken

CeremonyThe Ceremony

WedPartyWedding Party

From Left to Right: Jenna Alatorre, myself, Mike, and Jake.

RevBenRev. Ben Richardson

Groom&BestmanMike & Jake, his brother and Best Man.

Jeremy&MeMy cousin Jeremy & myself

Me&JakeMe & Jake

NewInlawsSteven, myself & Teresa Goedken



MischeviousTeresa, Mike’s mom, being mischievous.

WedBlissSteven and Teresa have been married 41 happy years.

TheRentsMike and his parents.



The entire wedding party and guests. This is it folks 8 people plus Rev. Ben, who took this picture. A special thanks to Vernon Alatorre who held the phone so my mother could listen to the ceremony from Tennessee. Also a special thanks to Jeremy Shepherd who spent his saved flier miles to be at the ceremony and he brought his equipment to film it. Thank you both!


Jenna is owed a huge thank you as well, but her efforts deserve their own post. 

More pictures to come.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Our Song

  This song describes the first half of our relationship.

 "Set The Fire To The Third Bar"
(feat. Martha Wainwright)

I find the map and draw a straight line
Over rivers, farms, and state lines
The distance from 'A' to where you'd be
It's only finger-lengths that I see
I touch the place where I'd find your face
My fingers in creases of distant dark places

I hang my coat up in the first bar
There is no peace that I've found so far
The laughter penetrates my silence
As drunken men find flaws in science

Their words mostly noises
Ghosts with just voices
Your words in my memory
Are like music to me

I'm miles from where you are,
I lay down on the cold ground
I, I pray that something picks me up
And sets me down in your warm arms

After I have travelled so far
We'd set the fire to the third bar
We'd share each other like an island
Until exhausted, close our eyelids
And dreaming, pick up from
The last place we left off
Your soft skin is weeping
A joy you can't keep in

I'm miles from where you are,
I lay down on the cold ground
And I, I pray that something picks me up
and sets me down in your warm arms

I'm miles from where you are,
I lay down on the cold ground
and I, I pray that something picks me up
and sets me down in your warm arms

A New Car and a Forgotten Salad

Man it has been a whirlwind of a couple of weeks! I apologize for being silent. There has been so much going on, that if I didn’t write in the 5 minutes I had time to, it didn’t get done. So, you finally get an update!

If you will remember, a couple of weeks ago we did the Salad Days link up with Lulu’s Whimsy and Abounding Joy. I didn’t get my last salad posted or even made for that matter. I wanted to share it with you because I went to the trouble of buying the ingredients and taking a picture. Plus, Cass and Randi deserve the link backs.

I wanted to make a Cookie Salad for my final recipe. I had come across it a few weeks back, on Pinterest and thought it was a bizarre and interesting recipe. I looked over the ingredients and seriously had my doubts about how good it would be. But I am an experimental person, so I went for it and bought all the things. Then life happened. And we bought a car. And the ingredients are still on the pantry shelf. Maybe one day. If any of you out there wish to make this salad and report back, I will feature your write up on this blog. Willing to accept a challenge? Send an email with your write up, with or without pictures to:

So, we bought a car! I am so very happy with the purchase. We looked for a car for 7 weeks before we found this one. Now that we have, it is everything we could have hoped for. The only thing I wish it has and doesn’t is cruise control. Oh well. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
It has been a wonderful, but stressful couple of weeks. As you already know, Mike and I finally jumped into marriage and we couldn’t be happier. I was going to include it in this post, but it really deserves it’s own write up, plus pictures!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Update Post

I apologize for going a week with out making a post, but I have been OMG BUSY! I am checking in to let you know that I will be making a post soon. In the next couple of days if I have the time. But soon.


I hope that you, my lovelies, have a wonderful holiday weekend! I love you all.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Salad Week: Day 4

Several years ago, I sat with a friend in her kitchen while she ate this concoction of broccoli, cauliflower, cheese, onion (raw, bleck) and just moaned her enjoyment while eating it. Thanking her partner for making it, that it was the best thing in the world. Ever since then I have wondered about it and halfheartedly searched for the recipe. Will the wonders of the internet ever cease? Low and behold, Pinterest, of ALL the UNLIKELY of places, brought me this recipe. *snerk* The pin from Pinterest was simply an image with a recipe, so I had to do a search and found it on my OMG FAVORITE RECIPE WEBSITE EVAR! My Sister in Law, Amy, told us all about Just A Pinch and I have been hooked ever since. All the recipes I have made from there have been AWESOME! I ramble, so let’s get to it shall we?

Amish Broccoli Cauliflower Salad
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound bacon, fried and crumbled
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
I halved this recipe, well eyeballed it. And left out the sugar, cause why? Once made, I found out that it would give Mike the toot’s so bad I’d have to put him out. And I must say, I don’t have the toot’s yet, but the burps will only win awards in the most foul category. However, I did like the salad, but I wanted boiled egg in it. I’d use real bacon next time, using turkey bacon as it isn’t half bad and I’ve been catching it on sale for about $0.59 a package, so my freezer is loaded with it. Carrot’s would do nicely in this too. I am sure some would like tomato. But for me, it’s so chunky that I am afraid tomato's would just get smashed. All in all, I’d take it to a family picnic, then giggle myself to sleep that night, thinking of all the tooting and how delightfully despicable I had been.

Update: I totally spaced and for got to add links to Cass and Randi. My bad, so sorry girls!

Abounding Joy is Randi and Lulu's Whimsy is Cass.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Salad Week: Day 3

I had such high hopes for this salad. I mean it had all the star players, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, egg and BACON! Bacon, bacon, bacon, BACON! How could it go wrong? BUT, it just fell…flat. So flat, it was just a very convoluted bacon to mouth delivery system. I’ll have to work on it.

To make it, assemble your salad greens, boil and slice an egg, cook your bacon, about 4 to 200 pieces, you know, depending on how much you like, slice some Roma tomato and add your dressing. We used sundried tomato dressing, but I think a bacon ranch would have helped make it more exciting. As boring as it was, I am full. So there’s that.   

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Salad Week: Day 2!

Being in Iowa, I could not pass up a chance to do a fresh corn salad. Corn is our #2 cash crop, pig being our #1. Or so I am led to believe. Never having made a Fresh Corn Salad before, I looked up and found this recipe. It is quite delicious. Very simple, has am emulsified dressing. Quite tasty. Would go good with pork chops.

The Recipe is this, which I have halved.
  • Kernels from 3 cobs of corn. Or one half cob of corn per person is this is a side salad.
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  •  freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 10-ounce container cherry or pear tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup small-dice red onion, if you like raw onion, I do not. 
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced, which I forgot to pick up.
Next, I followed the instructions, cutting the kernels off the cob, boiling them for 4 minutes, then plunging them into an ice water bath. While they were cooking, I washed and slice the tomatoes. Then made the emulsion while the kernels cooled. Threw it all together, gave it a good toss and was good to go. Pretty tasty too. We’ll see what Mike thinks when he get home.  

As always, go to Lulu’s Whimsy and Abounding Joy so see what delicious salad’s they have come up with! See you back here tomorrow for another!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Salad Week: Day 1


This is the first day of our Salad Week. My cousin's and I are making salads and link to each others blogs as we do. Cass was on the ball with her salad today, check it out at Lulu's Whimsy. Randi jumped in to with her deliciousness at Abounding Joy

Today was the kind of day where you look through your kitchen to see what you can assemble into a salad. I came up with Oven Baked Fried Chicken Salad. It turned out fantastic! Mike really loved it, and this is a good thing.

To make this delicious dish, read this recipe I snagged off Pinterest.
Your Grocery List
Chicken Breasts or Tenders               Salt
Buttermilk                                          Pepper
Shredded Cheddar Cheese                Chili powder
Almonds                                           Garlic Salt
Flour                                                 Your preferred salad mix.

I basically followed this recipe. First I thawed my chicken breasts, as I have a 2 person household, and marinated them in buttermilk. Like so:
Place the buttermilked chicken in the fridge, covered for 30 minutes. Or 2 hours if you are me.
When you are ready to get cookin’, set your oven to 400 degrees. The recipe says to cube the butter and let it melt in the pan, but I chose to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil as a healthy alternative. I poured on about 4 or 5 tbs. Then coated the pan with it. After the fact, I would recommend more oil.

I next decided to cube the chicken for easier end result. Once cubed, I added them back to the buttermilk, while I prepared the flour.
In a plastic gallon back, add 1 cup of flour, salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder and Garlic Salt. Be generous with your seasoning, as it gets diluted in the flour.
Once your flour is prepared, drop in several of the chicken cubes, toss and add to the pan.
Once you have completed this task, pop the pan in the oven for 20 minutes. Then turn the chicken cubes and cook for 20 more minutes.
While they are cooking, wash, spin dry, and assemble your salad greens into the bowls. Add some cheese if you wish, and chop your almonds.
Once the chicken is done and your salad is completely assembled, it should look something like this:
Add your favorite dressing, ours was Ken’s Thousand Island. Enjoy! Both of us really liked how it turned out and it was filling and satisfying. Yum!