The Bobblehead is the Important Thing

Leave a comment Standard
Well…this will be my last baseball game until October…it’s sad but true. So, if you love the baseball game recaps then I’m sorry for you…and if you can’t stand reading about a baseball game…well then you probably never read the recaps anyway, right?
 This past Friday my Dad and I made our way into DC and navigated some crazy almost 5 o’clock DC traffic so that we could arrive at Nationals Park in time to scoop up two Max Scherzer bobbleheads pre-game. They were only giving away 20,000…that means that half the people at Friday night’s game wouldn’t get one and honestly; I don’t want to live in a world where I don’t have my Max Scherzer No-Hitter Bobblehead. Granted; I have two Max Scherzer No-Hitter bobbleheads, but that’s because he pitched two no-hitters during the 2015 season. 
So excited about the bobblehead(s) that I can’t keep my eyes open…

So early they weren’t even preparing the field yet….

My Dad is very fond of making the rounds of the park before a game – he likes to get in a certain amount of step and if he makes the loop around the park once, it gets him 8/10 a mile. And that’s without counting the walkways that curve behind the stadium winding a person back and forth as they go up the side of the building. It was safe to say we had some time to spare since we arrived to the park at 4:30 and the game didn’t start until 7:05. We waited just a bit for a food vendor to open…and then when they seemed to have some real issues with getting things going at the appointed 5:30 opening time…we moved onward and upward.

After the slight disappointment over not getting to eat BBQ, we got ourselves a bucket of chicken tenders and french fries and stood overlooking the field, watching the Quick Pitch game recaps in the breeze off the Anacostia river. All in all, not a bad way to have supper on a Friday night… And while some ballparks might not have the best food, I’ve never eaten anything at Nationals Park that wasn’t tasty! They have some pretty delightful chicken tenders!

The evening view from the Gallery level.
Chicken bucket for the win!
Watching Quick Pitch on the big screen…& enjoying the view…

The game got under way after Frank “Hondo” Howard was inducted into the Nationals Ring of Honor. Hondo played for the Washington Senators and was nicknamed “The Capital Punisher” and the “Washington Monument” and led the Senators in hitting for most of his career. At 80 years old, Hondo is still very feisty and made sure to give Dusty Baker an economics lesson: depending on where along the bat you hit the ball…well, you’ll either make a lot of money or you’ll be let go.” Ha! He’s definitely a spitfire and a wonderful name to be added to the Nationals Ring of Honor.

Gio Gonzalez was pitching for the Nationals and looking for his 100th career win as a pitcher; which the Nationals would deliver before the night was over…and while Gio pitched fine; as always, his style always leaves me a little nervous. Case in point – in the bottom of the first inning, Jayson Werth absolutely crushed a homerun and put the Nationals on top 1-0. I’m convinced that Gio usually feels bad for the opposing team because he almost always makes it up to them in the consecutive inning…and after giving up back to back, one out singles and a pop fly…well, the Rockies came right back and it was 1-1. *sigh*

A spectacular Friday night view.
And the view from our seats…spectacular in a different way…

An important factor in Friday night’s game was Trea Turner and his speed…you know what they say, speed kills. After reaching on an error, Trea raced toward first and his speed caused the Rockies player(s) to overthrow…allowing Trea to easily reach second. When attempting to throw Trea out at second a batter later…the Rockies overthrew again and Trea raced to third base. They don’t call him “the Jet” for nothing. His position on third base made it easy to score when Daniel Murphy hit a single and Trea scooted home and made the score 2-1. Gio; feeling generous as always, allowed two back to back doubles in the top of the fourth and the Rockies were able to even out the score to 2-2.

The Nationals struck back in the bottom of the fourth; Anthony Rendon doubled to start the inning and then moved to third on Ryan Zimmerman’s single. Jose Lobaton hit into a double play that easily brought Anthony home and made the score 3-2 Nationals..even if it did leave us with no runners on base and two outs. Not to deter Daniel Murphy, he came up to bat and murdered a baseball, sending it flying and making the score 4-2 Nationals; his 25th home run of this season and his 500th career RBI.

The sunset over the ballpark & the capital city…
Tom wins the Geico Presidents Race!
Home Run – Daniel Murphy!

Gio was done after six innings and Koda Glover stepped in for the Nationals and shut it down in just fourteen pitches that included two strikeouts. Trea Turner singled to start the seventh inning for the Nationals…stole second base and then took third on an error…again making it easy for him to cruise home when Jayson Werth doubled just a moment later, 5-2 Nationals. Werth moved to third base on a passed ball and Daniel Murphy was walked…so that when Bryce Harper tripled, they both raced home and made the score 7-2 Nationals! Harper would hustle home on Anthony Rendon’s sacrifice fly and make the score 8-2 before the seventh inning came to a close.

Koda Glover got a strikeout in the top of the eighth before Dusty Baker replaced him with the Nationals newest relief pitching acquisition – Marc Rzepczynski – say that five times fast. Or better yet…spell it, ha-ha! For the record it’s pronounced “ZEP-CHIN-SKI” but apparently he also simply answers to Scrabble. Scrabble retired one batter and hit another (oops…) before Shawn Kelley came in to close the eighth. Kelley came back in the ninth and gave up a three run homer, making the score 8-5…and so Mark Melancon popped into the game long enough to shut it down and make the final score 8-5 Nationals.

Way to go Daniel!
A triple for Bryce Harper – yes please!
Say that name five times fast…

At the conclusion of this game, the Nationals season stood at 75-53 and they had an eight game lead on the Marlins in the National League Eastern Division. This win allowed them to move to the second best record in all of baseball behind only the Chicago Cubs…who I think anyone watching baseball knows are an absolute force this year. Whoosh! 

As of writing this article today, there are 31 games left in the regular season and the Nationals magic number is 23. It’s almost September and the Nationals are eyeing the post-season. I can’t wait to put my October Nattitude on display this year!

Mid-game discussion at the pitcher’s mound…
Marc on the mound…

Short on Words

Leave a comment Standard

I’ll be honest here – I don’t have a lot of words today. At least, it doesn’t seem like I do. I feel like as sure as I write that, I’ll end up typing up this post and rambling on for days…

I guess we’ll see – won’t we?

Blue Skies & Moon Rise…
My smallest office mate.

The past few weeks have felt largely unremarkable – I’m not sure why that is – since I’ve been up to all kind of wonderful things. Perhaps what I’m saying is the weekdays themselves have been largely “calm” and so it seems like August has just flown past so very quickly… The weekends have been wonderful and filled with new experiences, baseball games and wonderful open ended free time…and the weekdays have been filled with work and the routine of day to day life. Remarkably unremarkable!

I’m afraid Watson has poor manners when it comes to cats…
Thus – this precious little creature ended up spending some of Tuesday night in a tree.
Wednesday sunshine.

 A lot of time recently has been spent packing…packing…packing. The move is coming up in just a few weeks and so everything must be sorted through, put in a box or bag or crate or really whatever seems best for the approximately five mile journey to the new house. I think where moving is concerned, that’s one of those times in life that I’d love to be able to do some magic – ala Harry Potter – and just wave a wand and have everything moved. Wishful thinking much?

Household Progress – Coming Right Along
The silliest little face(s)…I do love them.

I started my weekend at Nationals Park – I’m fairly convinced there is really no better place to start a weekend than at a baseball game. Granted, I think if you’ve read this blog more than one time you know that I’d be perfectly pleased to be at Nationals Park any day of the week. My Dad and I ate a bucket of chicken while overlooking the park, watched the Nationals get a win and I tried not to have a panic attack riding in DC traffic with him…ha-ha! I’m kidding Dad…maybe…

Bobbleheads Obtained. Victory! I’m so excited…I closed my eyes…ha!
This is essentially the perfect Friday night view.

The rest of the weekend was sort of a bust for me…I know, how sad…right? I took Watson to the vet on Saturday morning and he had a grand time, even if the picture below makes it seem like he was absolutely miserable. He is always just so happy to see everyone and never minds being at the vet. A headache left me feeling pretty crummy for the rest of Saturday and by the time I got it sidelined, I just did have enough of the afternoon left to run out to Hobby Lobby and Walgreens for some crafting supplies and photos. I closed out my Saturday evening putting together some shadow boxes and watching season two of Outlander.

Next level creeping on me…
When you know you have to get a shot at the vet…

I slept absolutely terribly on Saturday night – I’m not sure what was up with that – but by about 11:00 on Sunday, I was feeling dog tired. I yawned through lunch and tried to take something resembling a nap on Sunday afternoon but couldn’t quite get to sleep. No clue what is going on there! Blegh.

I drank some afternoon coffee and went to a friend’s house for a little get together before closing out my evening with some rice krispies on the back deck, watching the sunset. Not a bad weekend by any means – just a little bit different that I expected it to be.

My California shadowbox…
My DisneyLand shadow box…

As predicted – this week’s Monday post is short on words. I’m not exactly feeling “the flow” today…in so much where words are concerned. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll feel more like a wordsmith and less like I’m falling asleep at my desk, ha-ha!

Five on Friday

Leave a comment Standard
Friday has arrived once more and that means it’s time for another edition of Five on Friday! Join me, won’t you?

One. National Dog Day – Did you know that today; August 26th, is National Dog Day? I’m sure if you’ve read this blog even once you’ll know that I absolutely love my sweet little Jack Russell terrier, Watson. Watson has been a part of my little family since March of 2010 and I’m oh so very thankful that the little guy wandered up and “chose” me to be his family. He has certainly made my life better and I hope I’ve done the same for him. Sweet pup!

The many faces of my sweet W.
Two. Nationals Baseball – This week has not been the best week for Nationals baseball…a road trip in Atlanta ended on a loss Sunday afternoon and then the Orioles beat us up a bit both in Baltimore and at home. However; last night in DC, Max Scherzer was bringing the heat: he threw ten strike-outs, holding the Orioles hitters at bay and allowing the offense to bring a 4-0 Curly W to finally end the series and the losing streak. Eek.

Katie LeDecky threw out the first pitch at Wednesday’s game (and it was a strike) and on Thursday night, Helen Maroulis was also in the house. It would seem gold medal Olympians like the Nationals. I’ll be at Nationals Park tonight for the first of a three game set against the Colorado Rockies – here’s hoping we get some more wins…although; we do still sit atop the National League East standings with an 8 game lead, so that’s comforting. And if it’s not comforting enough…then yea…just do as this article suggests…ha-ha!

The Nationals & Katie LeDecky = gold medal combination!
Three. Furniture Disaster – Remember just a few weeks ago when I purchased my lovely couch and shared the photo with you? Well…the couch arrived on Thursday the 11th…and I refused delivery because the bottom was ripped. I think we can all agree that there is no reason to accept a damaged couch, right? I contacted the company and they assured me I’d receive a brand new couch at no cost to me as soon as possible. Fast forward to this past Wednesday; the new couch was set to be delivered, but my most recent experience had me feeling pretty anxious about this delivery.

Unfortunately my anxiety was well founded because the delivery company called me and then sent me pictures…and somehow the couch was even more damaged this time! I refused delivery again and after getting a bit spicy with World Market (that would be the company….sigh…) they agreed to process my refund just a bit more quickly than I’d initially been told. So – we are now about two weeks away from moving day and I have no couch. *sigh* Back to square one…

Are you kidding me?!?

Four. House Update(s) – The house is nearing completion; moving day will be upon us soon and while I can’t wait to have my own space again, let’s be honest and admit that moving is never really that much fun! I haven’t been able to hit the “purchase” button on the desk I think I want just yet…I really want to make sure that I’ve explored all my options. And of course; as the above mentions, I’m back to step one of searching for a couch again. The clock is ticking! Eek!

The countdown is almost into the single digits…
Five. Fitness – I have really embraced the elliptical in the past few weeks…I know; I’m as shocked as you are, especially since I spoke out against it so strongly before! However; if I can turn on some HGTV or a Nationals game, I’m good to go on that bad boy!

I also started using a tracker app about a month ago – it’s called My Fitness Pal and it’s by Under Armour. I have to say; this app has been so helpful for me. You input how much weight you’d like to lose a week and the app lays out a daily calorie goal for you; you then input the things you eat and any exercise that you might do throughout the day…and of course, you can also track your weight and how much water you drink. I’ve enjoyed using it and being able to keep track of what I’m eating really causes me to pay attention to what I’m putting in my body…

Image result for my fitness pal
Maybe sometimes I jump in the air like that…ha-ha!
And that’s all I’ve got for this Friday! I’m just counting down the hours and minutes until some Friday night baseball and the weekend. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend – I plan to!

National Parks: 100 Years of Awe Inspiring Natural Beauty

Comments 2 Standard
Did you know that today is the 100th birthday of the National Parks? Not to be confused with Nationals Park – although on this blog, I can see where the confusion would come into play.
On August 25, 1916 President Woodrow Wilson signed the act that created the National Park Service and established a new federal bureau within the Department of the Interior that was responsible for the care and maintenance of the 35 parks and monuments already in place…as well as those that were yet to be established. The purpose of these national parks was simple: “to conserve the scenery and the national and historic objects and wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner as will leave them unimpaired for the future generations…” 
The National Park system now covers some 400 different parks, monuments and areas that make up 84 million acres in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico Saipan and the US Virgin Islands. I thought I’d celebrate the National Parks 100th Birthday by sharing some (okay – probably a lot) pictures from my travels to various monuments and memorials run by the National Park Service…as well as the National Parks!
Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee & North Carolina
The Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island, New York Harbor
Ellis Island Immigration Museum, Ellis Island, New York
Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Colorado
Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Colorado
Pikes Peak, Colorado
The Summit of Mt. LeConte, Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee
In case you haven’t noticed…my family has a special spot in our hearts for the mountains; specifically the Appalachians. Growing up, we spent at least one week a year; if not more, in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Long before I moved to Virginia, my family had also made a point to travel farther into the chain of mountains that make up the Appalachians and visited Shenandoah National Park. Now that I live in Virginia, the entrance to Shenandoah National Park is within a few short miles from my front door!
Yorktown, Virginia
The Washington Monument, Washington DC
Mission Concepcion, Texas
The Alamo, Texas
Hoover Dam, Nevada
Hen Wallow Falls, Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee
The Summit of Pikes Peak, Colorado
I’ve visited 36 states in my 31 (almost 32) years and have been able to see numerous National Parks, monuments and memorial in that time. I credit my well-traveled lifestyle to my parents – who have always thought it was important that my younger sister and I see the world around us and take in the history that made the United States what it is today. We’ve been as far South as the Everglades, to glimpse alligators while we were being feasted on by mosquitoes and I have (so far) been as far North and West as the great state of Washington to take in the dramatic sea stacks and pebble strewn beaches.
Elkmont, Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Jewel Cave National Monument, South Dakota
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Cades Cove, Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee
The US Sculpture Garden, Washington DC
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Colorado
First Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington
Second Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington
As I mentioned – I now live mere miles from the entrance to one of the United States’ National Parks…and just a short drive up the interstate is a city that contains the motherlode of monuments, memorials and markers to the history of the United States. Living in Virginia; one of the original thirteen colonies, I am ensconced in a land that is steeped in history. The land has been witness to some of the most defining moments in our nation’s history. Moments that have been preserved for the world to see. To recognize. And to remember.
Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland
Great Smokey Mountains National Park – Tennessee
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Fort McHenry, Maryland
Rapidan Camp, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
The US Capitol, Washington DC
The National Mall, Washington DC
The Tulip Library, Washington DC
Cherry Blossom Memorial, Washington DC
Luray Caverns, Virginia
Do you have a favorite National Park? Perhaps there is a park you’re looking forward to visiting? Myself, I’d like to see Yellowstone National Park. It is; after all, the very first National Park! 
Happy 100th Birthday to the National Parks!
United States National Arboretum, Washington DC
World War II Memorial, Washington DC
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland

Chili’s Chicken Enchilada Soup (The Wannabe Version)

Leave a comment Standard
I think I’ve probably mentioned this somewhere along the way…somewhere in the midst of the seven hundred and one posts that I’ve done so far…I love soup. I don’t care if it’s January or July – I love to eat soup! 
One of my favorite soups is Chili’s Chicken Enchilada soup; sometimes I just get an intense craving for the stuff. I love the slightly spicy broth and chunks of white meat chicken with some tortilla chips and cheese sprinkled across the top. I’m going to make myself hungry just typing this out…ha-ha!
Ages ago I stumbled onto a recipe on Pintrest for the copycat version of Chili’s Chicken Enchilada soup…and as with anything on Pintrest, I was a little hesitant to try it out. Pintrest can be something of a minefield as far as food is concerned: everything looks delicious and the directions assure you that it’s easy to make and you’re completely safe giving it a try…and then it blows up in your face and tastes terrible.
Okay – maybe that’s a touch dramatic. This weekend though, I gave the recipe a try. Nothing blew up in my face, it was really easy and it was also seriously tasty! One of the best parts? This recipe cooks in the crock pot!
All the onions…

What You Need

– 2 tbsp. olive oil
– 2 medium onions; diced
– 4 cloves garlic; minced OR 4 1/8 tsp. dashes of garlic powder (I’m not good with the maths…)
– 1 quart chicken stock
– 1 tbsp. chicken soup base OR 1 chicken bouillon cube
– 2 tsp. ground cumin
– 2 tsp. chili powder
– 1/2 tsp. black pepper
– 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
– 2 10 ounces cans of red enchilada sauce
– 6 small corn tortillas; minced
– 16. ounces Velveeta; cubed
– 1 cup Colby Jack cheese
– 22 ounces white meat chicken; diced

Crockpot cooking = the best cooking!

What You Do

– Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and saute the onions until they are tender. Add in the minced garlic/garlic powder and cook for another minute or two.
-Scrape the onions and garlic into the crock pot. Add all the other ingredients, except the chicken and cook on high heat for two hours or low heat for four hours; occasionally stirring the soup to allow it to mix.
– Add the chicken and cook on low for approximately thirty minutes.
– Garnish your soup with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream. cilantro…whatever you prefer…and enjoy!

Easy. Tasty. That is all.