Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mystery Solved! They Caught Her!

This has been quite an exciting week!  Marc's parents were in town, so we've been having fun hanging out with them in our new home =)  I'll have more details on that and a few other items in a different post, but first, I had to get this out!

If you remember from a post back in October, Jerks and Puppies, I recounted a few unfortunate events that delayed the move-in to our new place.  In a nutshell, some psycho flooded our house with a garden hose, and the police were totally unwilling to do any research and try to find the culprit.  We were convinced it had to do with the previous tenant, but there was no way for us to prove it, so we tried to just get over it and move on (if you know me, you know how hard it is for me to "let stuff go" like that!!).

Fast forward to after we had moved in to our home - about mid-December (I seriously have a lot of updates to give but I'll try to keep this short!).  We had been in our new home for about a week and were just starting to get settled.

Midnight Visitors
Side Note:  A lot of people don't know this story, so I will first say that I am FINE.  Nothing bad happened...and this side story is crucial to explaining the heading of this post.

Okay back to this story.  It's mid-December and we've been in the new house a week.  It's a Wednesday night and Marc had been out of town for work (he's a consultant and travels quite a bit) and I had gone to bed around 10:30.  Because of the new puppy, I kept my bedroom door open so I could hear if she started to cry from her crate.

At about midnight, I woke up to what sounded like banging on my front door.  At first, I thought I was dreaming, but after I sat there for a few minutes, I could definitely tell someone was banging on the door and yelling someone's name.  After I put on my glasses, I was also able to tell that whoever it was, was shining a flashlight in through our front door window into the living room.

Freaky?  Yes.  Very.  Remember...I'm home ALONE and it's midnight.

I sat up and tried to pull my thoughts together...since the noise woke me up from a sound sleep I was really out of it, but I could definitely tell that whoever was banging on my door was yelling for someone to open up.  They kept banging and yelling "Molly!  Molly!  We've got you - open the door!!"

Okay, at this point, I'm sure a lot of people are like HOLY HELL CALL THE POLICE!  In retrospect, that's what I should have done first.  But in mind, that was not the most logical first step.

In my head, the most logical thing to do was confront these people and let them know there was NO Molly here.  I didn't want waste any time - I wasn't sure how long they were going to wait for this Molly person before they broke the door down. 

I was NOT about to let someone break into my house looking for someone who wasn't there.  Oh heeeeellz no.

So I put on my robe, said a few prayers, and went to the front door to try and reason with these strangers.  Please note:  I did NOT open the door.  I turned on the outside light and talked to them through the window on the door.  Again, looking back, this probably was not very smart, but I was positive this was the right thing to do.

So standing on my front stoop are these two HUGE dudes.  Like, I'm talking 6'5", 250 lb's, easy.  They were massive.  And wearing black sweatsuits with black beanie hats.  I could tell they were pretty shocked to see me, since I was clearly not "Molly" - who they were looking for.

Here's how the conversation went down:
  • Huge Dudes:  "Where's Molly?  We're here for Molly - we know she's in there"
  • Me:  "I'm sorry - I think you have the wrong house.  There's no Molly here."
  • HD:  looking puzzled.  "What?  You've never seen this girl?"  holds up a piece of paper that says Criminal Report.  there's a polaroid of a girl I've never seen.
  • Me:  "Nope.  Never seen her and we just moved in a week ago.  I swear, there's no Molly here."
  • HD:  exchange glances to each other...obviously surprised "Wow!  We are so sorry!  We didn't mean to scare you.  We'll leave."
  • Me:  "Okay.  Thanks...I'm sorry you must have the wrong house and I'm really freaked out right now.  Please leave or I'm going to call the police."
  • HD:  "No no no...we're really sorry.  We're out."
And they left.

So after like 10 minutes, I start crying hysterically, called Marc (so stupid...what could he do?  He was in Tulsa), then called the police, then tried to go back to sleep.  Needless to say, the experience had me pretty shaken up.

Mystery Solved!
Now fast forward to this past week.  At this point, I've, again, tried to let this thing go, at Marc's advice.  He was convinced my midnight visitors were "bounty hunters"...and I was all "puh-lease....those aren't real."  But I tried to not be a paranoid freak and move on.

Now, as with most rental property moves, we were still getting mail addressed to the previous tenant.  Up until this point, most of it was just card applications and stuff like that.  Well...this past week...we got some very interesting stuff!

Two letters came and both were hand addressed to the previous tenant, Sally.  One of them was from Colorado Bail Bonds...the other was from this place called the Covenant House.

Hmmm...interesting!  I went and looked up the Covenant House, and was quite intrigued with what I found.  Basically, it's a rehabilitation home in New York for SERIOUSLY troubled youths.  And we all know what bail bonds places are...and that they send people for you if you miss your court date or go missing...

So Marc went down to the Colorado Bail Bonds place to tell them that Sally didn't live at this address anymore.  And you know what they said?
  • 1)  That Molly had been found and arrested
  • and 2)  That they  had JUST spoken to Sally, and she has continued to tell them that our house was her current address!
Needless to say - this answered a LOT of our questions!  They apologized profusely and told us that they would definitely be speaking with Sally to find out her real address.  They also said that yes - they had sent bounty hunters to our house in mid-December looking for Molly.  And they finally said that this Molly kid is a majorly troubled young woman and it's really good that they found her when they did...and she is now locked up.

So let me pull all the pieces together for you.
  • Sally was this crazy old lady, and she must have 2 daughters (at least).  One was Katie...who was living with her illegally (our landlord told us this).  The other was this Molly chick...who must have been involved in some seriously bad stuff (our landlord did not know about her).

  • Sally was also using a fake last name...which we confirmed with the Bail Bonds place.  We figured this, since we were getting letters for Sally McDonald and Sally Muere, but it was interesting to have it confirmed from someone else.
  • This Molly kid is a seriously troubled young woman...who was sent to this Covenant House in New York.

  • Molly must have made bail to get a court date and be released from the Covenant House...and she must have missed it and/or escaped!  Hence - they sent the bounty hunters after her to the address where her mom was listed....which is our house!

  • This also explains why we would get visits from social workers about once a week asking for either Katie, Molly or Sally.
So now...mystery is solved.  Molly is arrested, the bail bonds place knows that Sally has moved, and they will be contacting all the social workers to let them know that these crazy ladies don't live in our house anymore.

Goodness!  I'm so glad we figured all this out!  I'm also, now, completely convinced that Molly was definitely the source of the flood.  And I can sleep easy knowing I won't be receiving anymore midnight visitors =)

Case closed.  Just call me Nancy Drew =)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Another Recipe: Herbed Quinoa Salad(s)

Even though it's winter-time, I felt it was time for me to bring to light one of my FAVORITE summer recipes, my herbed quinoa salad.  This is one of my favorite side dishes to cook in the summer, and I've started to have cravings for it lately...I might try to augment this to make it a more hearty "winter" recipe.  I'm feeling inspired tonight...hehe.

If you've never made quinoa before, you are definitely missing out!  I discovered it when I moved out to's what all the hippie's eat...but now I'm totally addicted.  Maybe that means I'm a hippie now too...whatever.

Note that the title says it's a recipe for salad(s).  I'll provide some ways that I change this up to make it either a side dish or an's so versatile!

Remember, my recipes are pretty much all estimates, so use quantities that match your tastes when you make this at home.  Hope you enjoy!

Nicole's Herbed Quinoa Salad
  • 1.5 cup quinoa (any variety) rinsed
  • 2 3/4 cup chicken broth (or veggie stock or water if you don't have stock on hand)
  • Juice from one lemon (or about 1/4 cup for cooking liquid and 1/4 cup for dressing)
  • About 1 cup fresh herbs - I use a combo of parsley, cilantro, thyme and basil but you can use anything!
  • 1-2 large tomatoes, diced (I love tomato so I use more)
  • 1 cup red onion, chopped
  • Olive oil for dressing (about 1/4 cup)
Start by cooking quinoa in a pot with chicken stock and 1/4 cup lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to simmer and cover until cooked (about 15 minutes).  All the liquid should be absorbed and the quinoa should have "sprouted."

Side Note:  If you want to adjust your quantities, the general rule of thumb is 2:1, liquid to quinoa ratio.  So for this, I have 3 cups total liquid and 1.5 cups quinoa...but you can make more or less using the same ratio (math lessons!  Heyoooo!)

In a large bowl, mix together the remaining lemon juice and olive oil with salt and pepper to create the base of your dressing.

Finely chop all your herbs and add to bowl.  Again, season with salt and pepper to taste and mix well.  Dressing should be a heavenly green color and smell like summertime!

Add cooked quinoa, chopped onion and diced tomato to the bowl.  Mix well to incorporate dressing and Ta-Dah!  Salad is done!  Season with salt and pepper and serve =)

Stopping here will make an amazing side dish to a grilled fish or chicken...or really any summer meal.  But if you want to make this salad the star of the show and turn it into an entree, here is how I've added to the recipe.

Add grilled veggies!  Any grilled veggies will do, but some of my absolute favorites to add are grilled asparagus and grilled zucchini.

I cut the zucchini into quarters length-wise (spears), toss the zucchini and asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper, then grill for a few minutes on a grill pan.  After I get those amazing grill marks, I move to a cutting board and do a french cut on both veggies (so cut them on a steep looks pretty).  I keep the sizes pretty large, so you can tell what you're eating.

After that, just add the grilled veggies to the salad and toss!

You can top with parmasen cheese or mix in some feta cheese - both work wonderfully with this.

I have also taken time to cut the tomato and red onion into quarters (instead of a dice) and grill that off to add to the salad too.  You could also add grilled eggplant, grilled bell pepper...yummers! can add anything...just use your imagination!

Hope this inspires someone to try quinoa if you've never had it before.  Enjoy!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Can See!!!

Just woke up from my recovery and I can't even tell you how thrilling it was to look at over and be able to actually read my bedside clock...knowing I wasn't wearing any contacts or glasses =)

Yep!  I finally got my LASIK surgery done with the fabulous Dr. Hines from Hines-Sight (Denver locals - you must check them out).  This guy knows his stuff and he's the official eye doctor for the Broncos and the Rockies.

My immediate post-surgery thought...I have serious respect for anyone who says getting the procedure done is "no big deal."  That was honestly the scariest 10 minutes of my life and you people who thought it was nothing - major kudos to you.  You must have nerves of steel or something because I felt like I was living in a horror movie!

Marc was able to watch the whole thing on the other side of the room and even HE said the procedure was like watching his worst nightmare.  I'm now starting to realize just how weird I am about putting stuff in my eyes and that I'm a huge wuss...some people just aren't that scared...but I tell you, I was sort of freaking out.  The doctor actually pulled Marc aside and was like wow...she's really nervous isn't she?

Now, this post is NOT meant to scare anyone who's considering the surgery.  I was one of those people and now, 7 hours post-surgery, my vision is practically perfect.  Going through this is SO worth the effort.  But this post is more to let you know that you really need to prepare yourself for what you're about to do.  My doctor talked to me the whole time and told me exactly what he was doing, and that was probably the best part.  I heard a lot of "you're doing awesome!" and "almost done...this is the hard part" which was actually very reassuring.

I think the worst part was actually the woozie-ness I felt post-surgery from the drugs they gave me.  I'm not really big into putting meds into my body, and I've NEVER had Vicodin in my life.  That made for some interesting conversations after I was finished.  Seriously, the nurses were like she going to be okay?  I thought I was going to puke from the spinning.  It felt like I'd had one too many whiskey-sours, if you catch my drift.

If you've had Vicodin before, then you will most likely know what's coming from that angle and be totally fine.  I just wasn't prepared for that particular side-effect...although I guess it's not really a side effect.  If that's what it's supposed to do, then it worked...but I have no idea how people become addicting to this stuff.  Bleh.

But now, I'm at home, I've slept off the drugs, I feel great, and I can SEE!!!!  I cannot tell you how exciting is to be able SEE and know that there's nothing in my eyes!  This is the best feeling in the world - ahhh you people with 20/20 lucky you are!  And the exciting part is, my vision is only going to improve from here on out for the next few weeks =)

It's times like this I seriously wish that I could take a picture of what my brain saw, before and after.  My vision was pretty bad (-6.5) and I could hardly make out the shape of a person if they were sitting 2 feet in front of me.  But now...clear.  Crystal clear =)  Joy.  What an amazing gift!

So...the moral of the story...if you have ever thought about or considered going in for LASIK, do it.  Do it do it do it.  And if you're scared, know that you're not alone.  I was petrified.  But I did it and I survived and I would do it again in the 'blink of an eye.'  Hehe.

Happy Thursday!  Almost Friday!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Your Crystal-Clear Seeing Pal

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Seriously? For real...

This may be my recurring "blog thing."  I've found that most "bloggers" have a recurring "blog thing" that they do or talk about.  It's a recurring thing that people start to look forward to.  Sort of like how SNL had their skits that everyone loved and got excited about seeing each week...back when SNL was legit and didn't blow.  (READY?!  Okay...)  (Ambiguously gay...DUO!)

So here's mine.  I'm going to do a little bit of venting in a segment I like to call 

Seriously.  For real...

People may not look forward to this and that's fine.  I just have realized that I have some thoughts during the day that I need to get out.  Sometimes I think they're hilarious.  Sometimes I'm just bitter...but either we go.  For real.
Seriously...I would be happy if I never have to hear a Rhianna or Lady Gaga song again.
My office has decided that Pandora is inappropriate to access at work and has (gasp!) blocked it.  Seriously.  Seriously!?!  Yes.  I'm for real.

However...Blogger, the Book, Gmail, G-chat...all that stuff that wastes countless hours during the day/week/month/year.  Not blocked.

I'm so incredibly angered by this. 


I may actually click on the link that says "if you believe there is a legitimate reason for removing this url from the list, or the inability to access this site represents a business risk, you may contact the Service Desk..."

Yes, those bolded and underlined phrases are actually bolded and underlined in the warning.  I'm sorry...who the hell decided that they should ADD pandora to this list?  Who was I hurting?  Seriously?!
I'm still sort of bitter that I have been waiting for a White Christmas my whole life.  I thought this would become a regular occurrence when we finally moved to Colorado, where snow is common in the winter time.  And look what happens.

Georgia = White Christmas

Colorado = 65 degrees on Christmas

Nicole = pissed off

I mean...not totally pissed off...I was still very thankful and happy and blessed and all that...but c'mon!  Seriously!
Alrighty I'm done.  It's snowing outside and I'm getting my eyebrows done.

Feeling Yucky? Soup to the Rescue!

I've been inspired by Sarah and Lainey to post some recipes that are always major pick-me-ups.  This soup is definitely one of them, and I've made it quite a bit the past few months!  Having a hubs with a cold will do that to ya...and whenever he starts getting the sniffles, he ALWAYS asks me to make this.  Can't say I blame him - this soup is loaded with veggies and it's really soothing...AND it's good for you!  The veggies provide a ton of vitamins and nutrients to get you through any ailment.  I'm not proud to say it, but I can go through a whole pot of this on my own in a couple of days (let's be honest...1.5 days). 

Here you have it, Nicole's Kickin' Chickin' (or Veggie) Soup!

I use an 8 quart stock pot - but you can really tailor this to any size.  The recipe below is for the 8qt pot but just reduce the amounts to your liking for a smaller (or bigger!) pot.
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3-5 cloves garlic (more or less depending on if you like it - I use like 8!)
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 big can of crushed tomatoes (28oz)
  • 4 medium/large carrots
  • 3-4 stalks celery
  • 2 cups fingerling potatoes (or any potato - measurement is for chopped amount)
  • 4-5 chicken tenderloins or 2-3 chicken breasts (I use frozen and thawed - you can omit if you want just veggie soup)
  • 1 can hominy (drained) OR 1 cup of farro (not necessary - both times I used these it was because I had them and was trying to get rid of them)
  • 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1-3 cups water (to thin out if needed)
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1.5 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne or red pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder, paprika, and onion powder for chicken (if desired)
  • Lots of salt and pepper to taste
 I start with the pot on med/high heat and a layer of olive oil on the bottom (I cook everything in olive oil!).  Season chicken on both sides with salt, pepper, paprika, onion and garlic powder and saute until browned on the outside (but not cooked through - about 2 minutes per side).  Place on plate to rest for later.

Finely chop garlic and slice onions - add to pot to saute with some salt and pepper (I salt and pepper each time I add something to the pot).

Chop all veggies into even pieces - about 1 inch cubes - and add to pot.  Add tomato paste.  Saute for 5 - 7 minutes.

Add seasoning:  basil, parsley, pepper, paprika, salt and pepper to taste - continue to saute for 5 more minutes.  You can really add whatever seasoning you like to change the flavor - use more or less of things you want.

Add liquids and grains:  can of tomatoes, hominy or farro, chicken/veggie stock and wine.  Add water if needed - liquid should cover veggies and give them enough room to boil.

Cover and bring up to a rolling boil. 

After boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook until veggies are soft, about 45 minutes to an hour.  You can't really overcook this soup, but don't eat it until the potatoes are done.  If you're going with the vegetarian option, the soup is done and ready to enjoy!

After veggies cook, cut chicken into pieces - again about 1-2 inch sized cubes - add to pot.  Stir to make sure chicken gets incorporated.

Continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked all the way through.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and you're done!  For added kick, you can add a few shots of tabasco sauce, but it's perfectly fine without it.

My favorite way to have this soup is with toast or bread on the bottom of the bowl, then some shredded cheddar cheese, then put the soup on top.  YUMMY!  It's also good with just a sprinkling of parmesan on top.  Again, limitless options =)

Also, you can definitely substitute a rotisserie chicken and just pull the meat off if you don't want to cook your own.

And finally, let me just address the elephant in the kitchen.  I'm not really a "recipe" person.  I rarely follow recipes exactly, unless I'm baking, because I always feel like I could use a touch more of this or replace that or add this and remove documenting my "go-to" meals are difficult.  I will literally use whatever I have lying around and add/change/remove seasonings and ingredients depending on how I feel that day.  However, I've done a pretty accurate job of documenting this one, since I realized that if I'm sick, I need to have a way for Marc to make it =)

Hope you enjoy and hope all those with the sniffles are getting better soon =)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Latest Felice Family Addition: Meet Polly!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago (okay...maybe it was a few months), some recent events in the Felice Family have caused us to push up our puppy purchase.  We were always planning to make a furry addition to the family, but we weren't planning on it until summer 2011 (or Q2/Q3 2011 as some people like to refer to it *hehe).

So here you have it - meet the latest addition to the Felice Family...Little Polly Felice:
Hey Guys!!
These pictures are from early December when we got her, and she's weighing in at about 20 lb's.
Such a proud mama =)
Ahhh so freaking cute!!!
Marc's trying to coax Polly down the stairs - she was not having it!
"How do I get to this treat without falling off this deathly cliff???"
Awkward sleeping in her bed with her nose against the fireplace.  We think she did this because she was teething and the cold wood felt good against her mouth...either that or she's just weird =)
"I'm chewing my rope toy...what of it?!"
 Currently, she's about 6 months old, weighing in at a whopping 31 lb's (based on her vet appointment from this past Thursday).   Here are some shots from after Christmas and New Years...
I love how her little legs are tucked up!
Polly's first snow!

She loved the snow in Denver and HATED the snow in Winter Park.  Probably because it was 37 degrees in Denver versus -4 in WP =)

"What is all this white stuff and what happened to my yard?!"
Action shot of her jumping - weee!
She loved it - seriously =)
We're pretty sure she's a German Shephard mix...possibly some Doberman and Rottweiler in there too.  She definitely displays some Doberman instincts (she stalks squirrels...stalking is a unique characteristic of the Dobie breed), but if you ask me, she looks 100% German Shephard.

Either way - she has totally stolen our hearts and we love her, no matter what breed she is =)

We got her from a rescue organization called PupSavers.  I am now obsessed with this organization - they go to shelters in Colorado, New Mexico and Kansas and collect the puppies in high kill shelters.  Really, a fantastic organization and I'm very proud to be a supporter.

Polly joined our family after their adoption event at PetCo on December 4th and I can't believe we've had her for only a month!  There was a minor amount of controversy with the adoption process (basically, another family adopted her while we were still being interviewed, then they changed their mind later that day...their loss is our gain!), but overall, I was incredibly impressed with how smoothly the whole thing went.

As for her history, we know Polly came from Kansas, but we really don't know much else about her, other than she's super sweet and we love her =)  The vet thinks she's now about 6 months old since she's lost all her puppy teeth.  She already knows some tricks, is almost totally house trained (we're working through her happy bladder issue right now) and is completely crate trained.  And have I mentioned she's cute and we love her?

Obviously, I have a ton more pictures, but these are the basics.  Check out the book for more =)

Hope you have a great weekend!!  Time to take Polly to the park =)

Friday, January 7, 2011

I'm Stylish? Who knew?!

Aww yay!  My first blog award!

Thanks to Kathryn for giving me this cute award, and a special thanks to Sarah for taking the pressure off to re-award this to 7 other people.  I'll definitely participate in the sharing of 7 fun facts, though!

1. When I started writing this, my pandora was playing "Teenage Dream" by Katie Perry.  Now it's playing "Down" by Jay Sean.  Listening to trashy music at work is how I fight the 2:30pm sleepies =)

2.  I was convinced I would NOT be one of those proud puppy mama's that talks about my dog at every opportunity.  I was wrong.  Now I'm worried that I'm going to have the "mine is smartest child in the world!" syndrome.  You know, my kid will be way more gifted than your kid...

3.  This may offend some people, but I have pretty much zero desire to go to England, Ireland, France...or any other European country.  But Egypt?  Samoa?  Morocco?  Indonesia?  New Zealand?  India?  Sign me up tomorrow!

4.  Okay - that statement is a little extreme.  I'll go back to Greece and Italy.  And I'd love to see Turkey.  I just have a greater desire to see the other places first.  I'm more fascinated by the natural wonders of the world versus architecture built by man.  However, seeing the Acropolis on our honeymoon was so moving it brought me to don't listen to anything I say.  I just want to travel and see it all =)

5.  Favorite food of all time = stuffed artichoke.  If I haven't made it for you yet, or if my Nanni hasn't made it for you, be thankful because you have no idea what you're missing.

6.  Sometimes I think I'm a 7th grade boy trapped in a 26 year old woman's body.  I giggle at really inappropriate things.

7.  I am seriously freaked out by anything with an exoskeleton.  I ate my first crab 2 months ago and I still can't kill a cockroach without intense moral support.  Okay...scratch that...I can't kill a cockroach at all, but thankfully we don't have those in Colorado so I hardly have to deal with them anymore =)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy New Year!

Wow.  What an amazing year it's been!  Weddings, babies, new friends and adventures...I have been so incredibly blessed and fortunate this past year.  Do you ever find yourself wondering how you got to be so lucky?  I feel like I'm overwhelmed with this feeling on a weekly, if not daily, basis.  Call me lame, I'm just thankful =)

One of my resolutions is to try to keep up with this little blog more consistently.  I think I've mentioned this before, but I've often felt blogs were a little self-righteous and no one really cared what I had to say...but then I keep thinking of how excited I get when I see that one of my friends has a new post and I don't think it's pompous at all...I look forward to the updates and enjoy reading about my friends lives that live far away!

So I will try to be better.  There are some exciting items on the horizon, and I can't wait to share them with you!!

Until then, expect some long past due I'm talking postings I should have published in October.  Once I play catch-up, I'll be sure to share what's new.  I've already got some pretty exciting stuff to share (don't worry...I drank a LOT over New Years, so there are no babies in my immediate future...just wanted to squash that rumor right away!)


I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas/religious holiday of your choice and a fantastic New Year celebration...whether you were welcoming 2011 or saying goodbye to 2010 =)

Happy Wednesday!
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