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I'm a twenty-nine year old Army wife currently living near a large Army post. I have an unhealthy obsession with Dr. Pepper, the Internet, cloth diapers, and ridiculous TV shows. I'm a stay at home mom to two beautiful daughters, AJ and Amelia. We also have a 6 year old beagle named Abby who is as dumb as a box of rocks.
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Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Club

Yesterday AJ and I hopped in the car and headed down to post. It was the first time I have actually driven around on base and it was kind of fun to explore a little bit. We were headed to the gift shop run by the wives club to meet a few people from the area and we found it!

While we were there, the ladies invited me to their book club meeting they were having last night. I informed asked D and got the go-ahead to head out! So last night I met up with about 10 ladies at IHOP to talk about a book I haven't read the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. ;) Okay, there was some talk about the book, too!

Before you go thinking that I'm super brave to walk into a group of 10 strangers, I should let you know that several of the ladies there were people that I know from an Internet wives group I've been part of for a while. Anyway, I had so much fun! It was great to meet lots of people I've been emailing with for a few years and also to meet others as well! All of the ladies were so friendly and I felt like I fit in with them, which is nice. This particular group also does a Mexican night every so often in addition to the book club, so I'm hoping that hanging with this group will be a regular thing for me.

Its so nice to have time to myself and be able to get out of the house without AJ for a while. Sure, I go run errands on the weekend while D stays home with AJ, but this was actual ME time where I wasn't trying to get anything done and get home. I got to just sit, gossip about reality TV and laugh with {new} friends!

I am also excited to have a book to read for the next book club meeting! Its part of a series and after reading the blurb, I'm not sure how much I'll like it, but the last time I read a series (ahem, Twilight) I didn't think I'd like it either and I ended up enjoying it.

What do you do to meet new people when you move? Do you belong to any book clubs or other groups?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's Tax Time and That Means Cloth Diapers!

For those of us in the military, tax usually means some sort of refund is coming our way. We're getting a larger refund than normal this year because AJ was born in 2010, so we've started compiling a list of things we'd like to use our refund for.

Being the responsible, home-owning adults that we are (stop laughing), our list consists of things like "getting an invisible pet fence installed," "a new car seat for our growing daughter," and "buying furniture for the empty rooms in our house" when really I wish the list included things like "new clothes for me" and "more cute cloth diapers for AJ."

Wait.

The cloth diapers are for the baby, not me (haha, okay, they're really for me) so that makes them okay, right? I mean, they're so cute! Add in the fact that they're handmade and sold on Etsy and I'm having trouble not buying a whole bunch!

I mean, come on, this is just about the cutest dipe I've ever seen!

I told D the other day that I'd like to get a few more diapers so that I don't have to wash as often. Right now, I'm washing just about everyday since I'm lazy and forget to walk upstairs and turn the washer on again. A load of diapers that should take about an hour in the washer and 90 minutes in the dryer usually takes me all day and into the next morning to finish.

For the wild-child in your life, the zebra print diaper!

I'm that mom that prays AJ won't have a big blowout until the dryer cycle finishes because she is wearing the last clean diaper in the house. So instead of being more efficient with my laundering, the logical solution to my problem is more diapers, no?

This is a must for your little ladybug...

I know you cloth mama's will agree with me, its my husband I have to convince! ;)

What a cute, fluffy butt!

**If you would like to know which Etsy shops I found these diapers at, let me know and I'd be happy to share!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Sweetest....

Lately I've been posting lots of recipes and basically have been neglecting other aspects of my life. Namely a very important aspect named AJ!

For those of you who are wondering how the little miss is doing, she is a crazy lady! Literally, sometimes she will sit there, look me in the eye and just yell! Its hilarious. She has also started saying "ba ba" and waving at us. I think she's saying bye bye! She also says "da da," "ma ma," and "pup pup," which is what we call Abbydog.

To top all of that off, she has started standing on her own and she is.....drumroll please.....WALKING!

As is her tradition, she waited until we were at my parent's house (where she had an audience) to take her first steps unassisted. She did that a few more times before she actually convinced herself that she can do it and she is up to about 5-10 steps at a time before she plops down on her butt. Sometimes she will walk across the room to get something, stoop down, pick it up and head in another direction entirely!

The best part about her walking is that she still kind of looks like a zombie while she walks. I'm not being mean, but literally her arms are straight out in front of her and her legs stay straight. We crack up all the time!

While she provides us lots of entertainment, I'm not totally sure that I'm ready for her to be walking on her own! I can't believe that she is already so big! Where has the time gone? I mean, seriously, we bought her new carseat this weekend as well.

On a not so positive note, she has also started to throw little mini-tantrums when we won't let her do things she wants to do. When the word "no" is used be prepared to hold your ground because she is gonna be pissed! I have a feeling that we will have our hands full over the next 17 years or so.

Anyways, that is the AJ update! Sorry I've been slacking on the cute baby front lately!

If you can even see her head in this picture, you will notice that we were finally able to sneak a bow into her hair without her noticing!

Standing next to Daddy, watching football.

She loves that my iPhone takes pictures while she's looking at herself.

Oh, just walking around the family room. No big deal, Mom.

Eating lunch in her snow suit the day we moved into the house. We had the doors open for the movers and it was about 50* in the house!

Another self-portrait!

Out for a chilly walk with Daddy!

Trying to be the photographer!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu Monday

I've started menu planning pretty seriously again since we moved into the new house (something about cooking in my new, awesome kitchen). I'm trying to accomplish two things at once, we want to start eating more healthy and I want to expand our usual rotation of dinners to spice things up.

I got the Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everday Cookbook for Christmas and I've already made two recipes from it that were both big hits at our table, despite all her recipes being vegan. I promise I'll share those with you guys in the next few weeks. For now though, here's our menu for the week.

Sunday 1/23: Green Chile Turkey Burgers, Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Monday 1/24: Waldorf Chicken Salad
Tuesday 1/25: Pork Tenderloin, Glazed Carrots, Salad
Wednesday 1/26: Seared Pork Tortas, Sweet Potatoes
Thursday 1/27: Turkey Meatloaf, Acorn Squash
Friday 1/28: Chicken Caesar Salad
Saturday 1/29: Turkey Tenderloin, Root Veggie Mash

If you're interested in any of the recipes for the menu items above, let me know in the comments and I'll post some of them for you guys!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What's For Dinner This Week?

I realized recently that I've been posting a lot of recipes for yummy things, but I haven't really been talking much about what we've been eating on a regular basis, i.e. what's for dinner? I've been making some new and exciting recipes lately and I think they deserve a mention, so here we go!

The other night I made these fish tacos. They were absolutely delicious, but even better, they aren't battered and fried like lots of fish taco recipes, so they were pretty healthy, too!

Fish Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Crema
via Cooking Light

Ingredients

  • Crema:
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
Tacos:
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 pounds red snapper fillets
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas (we used hard shells)
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°.

To prepare crema, combine the first 8 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

To prepare tacos, combine cumin and next 5 ingredients (through garlic powder) in a small bowl; sprinkle spice mixture evenly over both sides of fish. Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 9 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Place fish in a bowl; break into pieces with a fork. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide fish evenly among tortillas; top each with 1/4 cup cabbage and 1 tablespoon crema.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 394 (14% from fat)
Fat: 6.3g (sat 1.5g,mono 1.5g,poly 1.5g)
Protein: 40.3g
Carbohydrate: 40.1g
Fiber: 5.5g
Cholesterol: 70mg
Iron: 3.5mg
Sodium: 857mg
Calcium: 233mg
I added a Tomato-Apple Salsa that I made up for a little sweetness and crunch. I was going for something like a mango salsa, but there weren't have any mangoes at the grocery store this week.

Tomato-Apple Salsa
1 sweet apple (we like Braeburn), chopped
1/2 package grape tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno, minced
1/4 red onion, minced
lime juice
salt
pepper
olive oil
white vinegar

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Spoon onto fish tacos for sweetness and added crunch.

We were both in heaven when we ate this dinner on Friday. It was so.good. I hope you enjoy it next time you get a hankering for tropical food!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pictures of the House!

So I promised you all that I would have the house photos done and share them with you after the week long saga that was the appetizer recipe contest. I am holding myself to my promise and you have to wait no more!

Here are some pictures of the house that we took this weekend when D's family was in town helping us get moved in. They drove a u-haul down here with lots of furniture for some of the extra rooms in our house. I can't tell you how grateful I am that my Father-in-law is an interior designer. I would seriously be lost without him! It not that I don't have my opinions and my own taste, but its more like he tells us how to arrange our furniture and helps us to decide where our art and wall hangings should go. It just makes our stuff look so much nicer!

Anyways, these pictures were taken mostly before all that happened, meaning things are in random places, there's a lot of crap laying around and not very much stuff hanging on the walls. Basically, I'm going to take more pictures and post them again once we finish some rooms.

The front of the house!

The back of the house!

View looking in from front door. We now have a mirror hanging above the cabinet.

The family room with me sitting in it. This couch is recovered with a muted zebra fabric and will eventually be in the living room (or maybe our sitting room in the master bedroom) when we get our new sectional!

The fireplace in the family room.

AJ's room.

Opposite view of AJ's room.

Kitchen and breakfast area. Through the archway is the dining room.

A shot of the dining room from the living room.

The living room from the front hallway.

A closet in a spare bedroom.

D's office.

Master bathroom.

Sitting room in the master bedroom. Bathroom is to the right.

Master bedroom.

Backyard.

My office from the living room.

Guest room bath.

Guest room.

Guest room.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Appetizer Recipe #7: Crab Cakes with Remoulade and Mango Salsa

7. Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce and Mango Salsa
(Recipes submitted by my brother, B)

Yumm-O!

Crab Cakes:
3/4 pound lump crabmeat
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
3/4 cup mayo
1 egg, beaten
2 green onions, minced
Hot sauce, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Mix. Shape into cakes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook crab cake patties until crisp and golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.


Mango Salsa:
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and diced
1 red onion, diced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, juiced
Minced Jalapeno
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Mix


Remoulade:
1/2 cup mayo
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
2 teaspoons milk
1 & 1/4 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon minced celery
1 teaspoon minced white onion
1 teaspoon minced green bell pepper
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 pinch salt

Mix


Well folks, that wraps up the week of appetizer recipes from our Appetizer Cook-off in Florida! They were all wonderful and come highly recommended by my entire family! Hopefully next time you are in need of an appetizer for a party or gathering, you can find a use for one of these!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Appetizer Recipe #6: Teriyaki Scallops

The next recipe is actually the winning recipe. My sister's boyfriend, Z, submitted this one and it was amazing! If you are in a location that is known for good seafood, or you otherwise just happen to find some large fresh scallops at the store, make this recipe!

This recipe is nice because other than the scallops, fresh ginger and sake, you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry. Make this for a special night, maybe a date night in or as an appetizer for a holiday dinner.

Teriyaki Scallops
(Recipe submitted by my sister's boyfriend, Z)


1 lb scallops halved crosswise (make 2 round pieces from each scallop).
2 tbsp grapeseed oil, divided
1/2 c sake
1/2 c honey
2 tbsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 c soy sauce
3 tbsp BBQ sauce
salt
pepper
2 tbsp minced green onions, to garnish

Season scallops with salt and pepper. Over high heat, sear in 1 tbsp grapeseed oil (about 1 min each side). Remove from pan and set aside.

Remove pan from from heat, pour off excess oil, and de-glaze pan with sake

Place pan back on heat and add honey, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and BBQ. Bring to boil; lower heat to simmer and cook til thickened. Add scallops back to pan and toss to coat. Heat through. Remove from heat and add green onion. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Appetizer #5: Soppressata and Cheese in Puff Pastry

I know you've all been dying to find out what I made for the competition, and you don't have to wait any longer! I was a little nervous beforehand because this is a new recipe for me; I found it in my new Barefoot Contessa cookbook that I got for Christmas.

This turned out great! Everyone raved about how good it was. D even mentioned that I could make it for dinner and serve it with a veggie as a main dish.

5. Soppressata & Cheese in Puff Pastry
(Recipe submitted by me via Barefoot Contessa)


1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, such as Pepperidge Farm, defrosted
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
12 thin slices soppressata salami
6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan.

Lay one sheet of puff pastry on a floured board and lightly roll into a 10-inch square. Place it on the sheet pan and brush the pastry with all the mustard, leaving a 1-inch border. Arrange the soppressata in overlapping layers on the mustard and sprinkle the grated cheese evenly on the soppressata, also avoiding the border. Brush the border with the egg wash.

Lightly roll the second piece of puff pastry into a 10-inch square. Lay the pastry directly on top of the first square, lining up the edges. Brush the top with the egg wash, cut three large slits for steam to escape, and chill for 15 minutes.

When the pastry is cold, trim the edges with a very sharp knife to make a clean edge. Bake the pastry in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once while baking, until puffed and brown. Allow to coll for a few minutes, cut in squares, and serve hot or warm.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Appetizer Recipe #4: Crostini a la Dad

The next recipe was submitted by my Dad and let me tell you, he won the award for most surprising! I'm pretty sure he's been holding out on my mom for the past 28 years or so. She was really shocked that he had the skills to pull this one off.

This recipe is a little bit more skillfully advanced than some of the others I've posted, but don't be scurred! The elbow grease that goes into it is well worth it in the end when you taste the deliciousness.

Crostini a la Dad
(Recipe submitted by my Dad via Giada)

The browned sage butter made this so interesting.

12 1/2-inch thick slices ciabatta bread
12 slices thinly sliced prosciutto (about 6 ounces)
1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into thin slices
3 tablespoons butter
6 sage leaves
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the slices of ciabatta on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until crisp and golden around the edges, about 8 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven. Place the prosciutto slices and mozzarella on the crostini toast and return to the oven to melt the cheese, about 8 more minutes.

Meanwhile combine the butter and the sage leaves in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the butter is melted and starting to brown in spots and the sage leaves are crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the salt and pepper.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Transfer the crostini to a serving plate. Drizzle the crostini with the sage butter and serve immediately.

Make this for an upscale get-together (or next time your mother-in-law comes to dinner). Come back tomorrow for the recipe yours truly submitted in the competition!

For the first three recipes, click on the following links:

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Eggplant, Prosciutto, and Mozzarella Stacks
Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Appetizer Recipe #3: Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

Recipe #3, here we come! For the first two recipes from our cook-off, here they are: recipe #1 and recipe #2.

My sister (who was sick the day of the competition) rose from the dead to make this appetizer. Let me tell you, it was delish! In fact, I'm pretty sure that she won the award for best "comeback" in the competition. If you want to switch up your usual bruschetta recipe, try this one!

3. Roasted Tomato Bruschetta
(Recipe submitted by my sister, A)

This was really good too!

2 packages of grape tomatoes
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella
fresh basil
french bread
olive oil
salt
pepper

Spread the tomatoes out on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the tomatoes burst open.

Dice mozzarella into little pieces.

In a large bowl, lightly mash the tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil (as much as you like).

Cut the bread on the diagonal and toast slices in the broiler for about 2 minutes. Carefully spoon the tomato mixture onto the bread slices and serve. ENJOY!

Check back again tomorrow for the next recipe!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Appetizer Recipe #2: Eggplant, Prosciutto and Mozzarella Sandwiches

So yesterday I shared the recipe for M's Buffalo Chicken Dip. (In case you missed it, click here.) Hopefully you can take it to a party or get together soon! Prepare to be bombarded by requests for the recipe! Today we have the recipe for the second appetizer that was served during our appetizer cook-off.

This recipe is grill-heavy, so if the weather isn't great where you are, I'd suggest holding off until spring time, but you definitely want to make this! This could even be prepared as a vegetarian main-dish, if that is your thing, just omit the proscuitto.

Eggplant, Prosciutto and Mozzarella Sandwiches
(Recipe submitted by D)

Sorry so blurry, D, I'm no culinary photographer.

2 medium red bell peppers
extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 globe eggplants, about 1 pound each, trimmed
8 thin slices Prosciutto di Parma
8 slices mozzarella, each 1⁄4 inch thick
8 medium fresh basil leaves

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).

Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the peppers over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until they are blackened and blistered all over, 12 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Place the peppers in a medium bowl and cover with plastic to trap the steam. Set aside for at least 10 minutes, then peel the skin and discard the stems and seeds. Place the peppers in a food processor with 1 tablespoon oil and the salt and pepper. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

Cut each eggplant crosswise into 8 slices, each about 1⁄2 inch thick. Lightly brush both sides with oil. Grill over direct medium heat until the underside is well marked, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer half of the slices to a tray, with the grilled sides facing up. Turn the remaining slices over and grill until well marked on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes more.

Place a tablespoon of the red pepper mixture in the center of the grilled side of each eggplant slice on the tray. Place a slice of prosciutto (folded to fit), a slice of the mozzarella, and a basil leaf on top of the red pepper mixture. Top each “sandwich” with a slice of the eggplant that has been grilled on both sides. Use a wide spatula to place the “sandwiches” on the cooking grate, uncooked side down, and grill over direct medium heat until the cheese is softened and the sandwiches are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve warm with the remaining pepper mixture, if desired.

Tomorrow is the next recipe in the installment, be sure to come back!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Great Appetizer Cook-Off of 2010!

I'm not sure if I completely explained the Florida vacation to all of my lovely readers. D's family celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve, and traditionally we spend Christmas Day with my family. Well, my parents bought a condo in Florida about a year ago and we all decided that instead of hanging out in the cold weather for Christmas, we should spend time together in Florida!

So, bright and early Christmas morning D, AJ and I packed up the Jeep and drove to Florida. After spending Christmas night in a hotel (and driving through some crazy snowy weather in TN), we arrived early in the afternoon of the 26th and spent the next 12 days in Florida! It was heavenly!

My parents were already there when we arrived and then my sister and her boyfriend were the next ones there, followed by my brother and his girlfriend. We had already made plans for dinner for most of the nights we would be there, but there was one night that was stumping us. My mom had the genius idea to have an appetizer cook-off (I think its secretly because she didn't want to have to cook for all of us)!

There weren't many rules to the competition, but each person was to choose an appetizer recipe and then prepare it for the group. My mom would be the judge and the winner got, well, nothing.

I made sure to take pictures of all the recipes after they were completed and I vowed to my family that I would make them famous post their recipes on my blog for all to see! So we'll start with the first dish to be served:

1. Buffalo Chicken Dip
(Recipe submitted by my brother's girlfriend, M)

Sorry for the crappy picture, M! This was so, so, so good people!

1 original flavored rotisserie chicken
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 8oz blocks plain cream cheese (room temperature)
1 bottle of hot sauce
1 cup of ranch dressing or to taste

Tortilla chips

Shred rotisserie chicken in large bowl. Add cream cheese. Mix well. Slowly add shredded cheese, hot sauce, and ranch to taste. Stir until mix well. Put into cooking pan, sprinkle cheese on top. Heat in oven for 20 min @ 325 degrees or until hot and bubbly. Serve hot with tortilla chips.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the next recipe!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

AJ's Baptism

One of the things we did while we were in Hometown, USA was have AJ baptized. We are lucky enough to have a close relationship with our priest and he was able to fit us in on a Saturday afternoon in December. The ceremony went really well and I really liked that we were the only people there and AJ was the only baby being blessed.

What made it even more special (aside from our families being there) was that the priest who performed the sacrament was the same priest who married D and I, almost 3 years ago! This was basically why we wanted to wait until we were able to have it done at home instead of our last duty station.

Also, I just wanted to let you know that these are not all the pictures from that day, but for some reason, I can't find the rest of them. I think that either my mom, my father-in-law, or D's aunt have more, so this is just what I've got!

Anyways, without further ado, AJ's baptism!

Me, AJ and her Godmother, (D's Aunt) Debbie.


D, AJ and me before the baptism.


Our family with AJ's uncles and aunt (L to R: Uncle J, Uncle B, Aunt A).


Playing with Daddy's blue cord during the baptism.


Entertaining the "audience" during the ceremony.


Chewing on her baptismal gown.


Getting ready to be baptized!


My brother, sister and Dad, happy about the situation.


Here we go!


She's baptized!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The First Part....

So I have been promising pictures for, oh, I don't know....ever?! Well, I'm going to start at the beginning of this "move" which takes us allllll the way back to the middle of December. Remember that?

This post is just the pictures from the beginning of the move. Then I'll get to AJ's baptism, followed by Christmas at the in-laws and then our Florida pictures. After all those pictures are uploaded and you all ooh and ahh over them, THEN I'll post pictures of the new house! No, I'm not trying to torture you all, its just that we still don't have our stuff (grrr) and I figure that by the time I get all those other pictures up we should have it and I should have all the pictures on my camera uploaded to my computer!

Soo, hang tight and for the time being, enjoy looking at all the fun (and also somewhat boring) things we did over the past month!

AJ checking out the snow at the old house.


No doubt she was trying to figure out where all our stuff went!


There's nothing fun to do in here anymore, Mom! I want your iPhone!


"Helping" Dad drive the car at a gas station!


"Driving" is so tiring you could end up drooling like this cute baby. ;)