Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why I Blog: A Survey

I found this survey on Daphne's blog. I loved it, so I stole it. I think it answers some of those questions that otherwise would never get covered.

1. How long have you been blogging?
Altogether, since May of 2006 but I've only had the Blogger space since February of 2008.

2. Why did you start blogging?
I originally started blogging on Myspace just as a way to keep faraway friends updated on my life. For me though, the Myspace blog grew stagnant. One reason being that Myspace was always experiencing technical problems whenever I wanted to blog. The main reason though was that it was hard to meet people I had things in common with. The only people who were reading my blog were folks that already knew me, and they weren't always interested in reading about every tiny aspect of my life. There was no way for someone to just stumble upon my blog, the way there is now. I really wanted to branch out and expose myself to a lot of people, not just those with Myspace accounts.

3. What have you found to be the benefits of blogging?
I've made the acquaintance of many totally awesome women who inspire me, challenge me, motivate me, make me laugh, and make me cry. A handful of these women I'm lucky enough to consider my friends. I have a hard time making friends in real life. I'm quiet and not usually the one to initiate conversations. But bloggers give you a small glimpse into their life and personality, so it's easy to quickly find people you'd hit it off with.

Also, I feel as if blogging has done a lot for me mentally. Being a mom can drain your brain sometimes, especially if you don't work outside the home. Although my blog is mostly for fun, I take it pretty seriously and require myself to update it regularly. It's gotten to the point that if I don't blog for a few days, I begin to feel the itch.

4. How many times a week do you post an entry?
Whenever the mood strikes me. Usually about four times a week.

5. How many different blogs do you read on a regular basis?
I follow close to 100 blogs. I regularly read maybe 20..

6. Do you comment on other people’s blogs?
Not all the time, but I do try to comment on my regulars. But sometimes there just isn't anything to say.

7. Do you keep track of how many visitors you have?
Yep. I love my stat counter. It indulges my nerdy, analytical side.

8. Do you ever regret a post that you wrote?
No, but some of the early posts are silly and poorly written, which is embarrassing. But I don't delete them because I think, if anything, they show how I've improved. I feel like within the last six to nine months I've really found my *voice.*

9. Do you think your audience has a true sense of who you are based on your blog?
Hmmm....this is an interesting one. I honestly don't know. I would like to think that I'm an open book and I don't really sugar coat my life, but I think that I hold back from showing the more sarcastic side of my personality. When I write a particularly sarcastic post, I worry that it comes off as negative and I try not to do that too often.

10. Do you blog under your real name?
Yep.

11. Are there topics that you would never blog about?
Sure, and mainly they involve my kids. I really don't want this blog to ever embarrass them so I keep large portions of their lives private.

12. What is the theme/topic of your blog?
It's all about me, me, me. And those around me.

13. Do you have more than one blog? If so, why?
No way. I don't have that kinda time.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lazy Saturday and Cookies

Saturday was one of those days. Jay was working a ten hour shift and the boy was in Orlando for the weekend, vacationing with friends. Even though I know and love the family he was with and totally trusted them with my kid, I still had that anxious feeling you get when you don't know exactly where your kid is. I spent a large portion of the day wandering around doing nothing. I tried to read. I tried to sew. I tried to clean, although not very well and not very long. I just couldn't get it together enough to accomplish anything. Honestly, I really just wanted to take a nap, but there's no napping with a four year old around. So I decided to bake cookies instead.

I had no idea what to bake because I didn't have a lot of "cookie stuff" on hand. There hasn't been much baking going on here lately. For one, it's way too hot to turn on the oven. Plus, I'm trying to not spend money on unnecessary items and as shocking as it may sound, we don't need fresh baked goods on a daily basis. So my supplies were limited. Fortunately, not a lot of ingredients are needed for Snickerdoodle cookies.

I settled on Nigella Lawson's Snickerdoodle cookie recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess. Why have I not made these before? They were super easy, didn't need a lot of ingredients, and aren't real sweet. They may be the perfect summer cookie. (I couldn't find the recipe on Nigella's website, but it is here at Kitchen Wench.)

Once the cookies were done, the girl and I took them out to the porch and had a lemonade and cookies picnic.
The picnic only lasted about a half hour, but it provided a nice break from the anxious feeling I had been having. We were even joined by Bochi, our weekend house guest:
(Bochi is a member of the aforementioned family my son spent the weekend with.)

I hate to bring this up so early, but I'm really looking forward to fall when I can bake more. I have a stack of recipes I want to try out, but slaving in a hot kitchen this time of year doesn't sound at all appealing. Plus, when the weather is cooler, we're able to eat a large portion of our meals outside, which is so much more relaxing than in the dining room where I have the unpleasant view of the dirty kitchen and all the waiting dishes. Considering the first day of fall isn't until September 22, I have a ways to go.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Keith Haring Baby Rocker

Jay and I were on our evening walk on Friday when off in the distance we see it. A trash pile. We both got a little excited. As we got closer we caught a glimpse of this: A Keith Haring Baby Rocker. In perfect condition. It still has the manufacturers sticker on it.

I've always loved Keith Haring's work. What person of my generation doesn't? It's easy to love. Simple yet bold graffiti-like designs, usually with a message. Just awesome.

So of course our walk was cut short since we (Jay) had to lug this rocker home because there was no way I was going to leave it there unattended until we came back with the car.

When we got home I had to find out more information about this toy, I've never seen anything like it before. Granted, it's been a few years since I've done any major shopping for baby products.

Anyway, it's made by Vilac, a French company that makes high quality wooden toys. I found a couple of online retailers who used to carry it last year, and it was priced at $170. The only place I found that still carries it is Unica Home...and it's $264. I cannot imagine ever spending that on a toy that would be so quickly outgrown. But then again, I can't imagine ever having something like this in my possession and throwing it out with the trash.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. For now, the girl loves it, although she's a bit big for it.I'm trying to rid my house of useless clutter, items that don't really do anything but take up space, but I have a feeling I'll be keeping this little piece of art for a while.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Gratitude Friday:: Liz Lemon

We've had Liz Lemon for almost two months now. She very quickly made herself a part of this family.

We were never aiming to replace Lulu, and we haven't. I still miss her. As silly as it sounds, sometimes I swear I hear her dog toenails clicking on the tile and there are times I actually miss her incessant barking. But Liz Lemon fills the void. She is my canine best friend, always up for snuggles, fetch in the back yard, car rides to the park, or just following me around the house.She is, without a doubt, the sweetest, most obedient dog I've ever owned. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened had Jay not chosen to go to the pound that day. Maybe we wouldn't have a dog at all. Or maybe we'd have settled for some disobedient, sub-par critter. I don't like to think about that. At least once a day I say to Jay or one of the kids, "Have I mentioned lately how much I love Liz Lemon?" Or one of them will catch me hugging her or rubbing her silky ears and then say, "Let me guess---you love Liz Lemon?"

Yes. Yes I do.

(Gratitude Friday comes courtesy of Krafty Kash.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Healthy Macaroni Salad?

Monday I was digging around in the pantry and I realized we had three boxes of elbow macaroni. The only time we ever use elbow macaroni is when Jay makes his homemade macaroni and cheese. Because it's 8 trillion degrees here, that's not going to be happening anytime soon. So I googled healthy macaroni salad and the first recipe I found was this one. It seemed promising, but I wanted different veggies and less mayonnaise. So, I made up my own recipe.Of course it's still loosely based on the original. Maybe inspired by would be a better way to describe it. But either way, it's macaroni. Can anyone really lay claim to a macaroni salad recipe? They are all just variations of the same basic ingredients. Anyway, here is the recipe for the macaroni salad I made:

* 2 cups macaroni

* 2 hard boiled eggs

* 1 cup grated carrots

* 1 cup of peas

* 1/2 cup grated cheese

* 1/2 cup of mayonnaise

* cayenne pepper to taste (we like our food a little spicy around here)

Most of the time I think that any recipe with mayonnaise should fall into the "unhealthy" category. But when compared to the original recipe, I doubled the amount of macaroni, upped the amount of vegetables, and kept the amount of mayonnaise the same. In reality you get very little mayonnaise per serving, just enough to keep the salad from getting dry.

So is it healthy? I don't know. I wouldn't consider it health food, but when up against the typical macaroni salad recipe, it's probably the healthier choice.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Small Bits of Sewing

I haven't had nearly enough time for sewing lately. With two kids home most days, it's hard to find the time to designate for crafting. If I have a project I'm working on, I like to have a large chunk of time to devote to it. I don't work well in small bursts of time and I get frustrated by constant interruptions and stops and starts. So my sewing machine sits, mostly untouched.

Although I seem to be on a vacation from sewing, I do have a few items to show from the last month or so. One being my beach bag:This was made following the same basic pattern that I usually use, only I made it wider and the strap longer. This pattern is so easy to customize and I love playing around with it. I'm thinking of making a longer bag or maybe adding inches to the bottom of the original pattern, the way Kashoan did. Really, the possibilities are endless with this one.

Last week Jay took the kids on a bike ride so I could whip up a new skirt for the girl:
Again, this is the same pattern I usually use for skirts. The only difference is that this time I didn't have any matching ribbon for the hem so I made some trim from a coordinating fabric.
It took a bit more time, but ultimately I think it was worth it. My regular hems are never really straight so it's best I hide my sloppy workmanship.

Finally, I had to do something about this:
My scraps. Which used to be in a basket until they began to overflow. Now they are in a shopping bag. And are also beginning to overflow. As you know, I hate to throw scraps away and I try to utilize every last bit of fabric. Because the scraps were getting out of control, I started making these:Scrappy, log cabin style, quilt squares. I try to stick to a color theme of just one or two main colors within each one, and each square is roughly 10 x 10. Eventually I plan on putting these into a quilt, but at the rate I'm going that may be a decade from now. At this moment I only have nine. Plus, I don't want to buy new fabric specifically for this project, only using what I have on hand. So I can see myself coming to a (temporary) standstill when I don't have enough scraps to make an entire square. When it comes time to put them all together I'm not sure if I want to do it by color or hue, or maybe just the grab and sew method. As you can see this is all in the very early, developmental stages.

So I guess I've had a little bit of sewing time, just not as much as I would like. This summer most of my time has been spent screaming at hanging out with the children.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Battling the Heat

Despite the fact that yesterday was only the first official day of summer, it has been horribly hot around here. We're experiencing a heat wave, with daily highs hovering around 99 degrees, and a heat index of about 110. People are being warned to stay out of the sun as much as possible and remain hydrated and cool. It's miserable.

Jay and I decided to pack up the kiddies and head for somewhat cooler ground: the beach.

Early on, I was worried about how this trip would end. The girl was whinier than usual and made even whinier by the fact that her sunglasses were washed away by the ocean waves, the boy almost immediately got stung by some strange beach bee, and even at the beach it was hot. But after a very rough first 45 minutes everyone settled down and began to enjoy themselves.
(The walking raft and the speck running in the distance in the picture below it, are my son. Gosh, it's hard to get pictures of him these days.)

This time we came a bit more prepared and arrived with our own drinks and food. Last time we made the mistake of eating lunch at a restaurant on the beach. Not very budget friendly.Jay and I have discussed the ways in which we can fine tune this portion of our trip and whittle it down to where we are spending next to nothing in this area. Because really, a trip to the beach shouldn't be about the food.

We ended up staying most of the day, arriving home late afternoon with some very tired, very sandy children. Plus, even though I applied and reapplied sunblock, we are all a bit pinker than I would like.

Today we are home, with sunburn to take care of and sandy beach laundry to wash. And we are all anxiously awaiting the end of the week when the temperature highs are going to be only in the low nineties. (um, yay?)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Random Thoughts

*Have you seen the crazy delicious, super easy ice cream recipe over on This Vintage Chica? Holy hell I highly recommend it. The boy and I made it yesterday and we both are in agreement how it's totally out of this world.I know it looks like plain old cookies and cream ice cream, but it's way creamier. I love how by breaking the Oreos yourself you have more control over the gunk factor of your ice cream. Personally, I like my ice cream extra gunky, with a lot of crumbs plus big hunks I can really sink my teeth into.

*Jay and I have really been getting our money's worth out of the $9.99 we send to Blockbuster.com on a monthly basis. We've been plowing through at least one, but sometimes two movies a week. The problem is, they've all been kinda so-so. There was Wednesday nights Feast of Love, which wasn't terrible but afterwards just felt like a waste of time to me. Then before that was Melinda and Melinda. I usually love Woody Allen films and this one had some good parts and a decent story but Will Ferrell's character was hard to swallow. He played this neurotic, whiny, doofus and I basically felt like through the whole movie he was just doing a bad Woody Allen impersonation. It was difficult to look past.

I think that at the heart of the issue right now is the fact that I just really want to see Lymelife and nothing else. (When will I get to see this movie? It was never in a theatre near me and I have no idea when it's coming out on dvd. Sigh. Mari-You're my link to all things movie related, do you know anything about this one?)

*Speaking of Will Ferrell.....and we were, weren't we? Did you know he has his own brand of sunscreen with the proceeds from all sales going to charity? I'm thinking of maybe purchasing the Forbidden Fruit variety. It's my usual SPF 30, plus it's cheaper than the stuff I normally buy. I don't know why I'm so enthralled with this sunscreen since I think that Will Ferrell actually has the ugliest body I've ever seen, but for some reason I can't stop thinking about it.

*With both kids home, I've not had nearly enough time for crafting. It's making me cranky.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An Update On Books

I haven't mentioned books much here lately. I'm still reading, albeit at a slower more leisurely pace than last year. This year, reading has taken a back seat to crafting and other activities so it's more of a past time and not quite the goal it used to be. I actually had to look through old posts to find what my reading goal even is this year---35 books. Having just finished book 25, I think I'm well on my way to reaching it.

The book I most recently finished was Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint. It took me a long time to read this book, close to three weeks. For one thing, my copy is four hundred pages of very small print, which tends to overwhelm me. Then when I actually started getting into it, I realized how lush and detailed the story is. There was no "skimming" this book, for fear that I'd miss something.

The book, like a lot of de Lint's work, takes place in the fictional city of Newford, which is just like any other modern city, except for the presence of magical creatures and faeries. The story centers around artist Isabelle Copley. After Isabelle has a chance meeting with the great artist Vincent Rushkin, she begins to study under him and share his studio. Under his tutelage Isabelle thrives and is eventually able to become a successful artist. This is mostly due to the magical ability she has that Rushkin has made her aware of, the power to paint "gateways" for creatures to enter our world. Soon everything she paints comes to life. Very early on though, Isabelle learns that Rushkin has a dark, violent side, that he can't be trusted, and that possibly there is a very sinister reason he wants Isabelle to paint gateways.

There is so much more that I want to say about this book, but I worry that giving anymore details would just reveal too much of the plot. (I'm thinking of logging onto Goodreads and discussing it with other people who liked it, then maybe arguing with people who hated it. Is this what nerds do?) It's a slow moving tale, but not in a way that drags. It's just a very rich and layered story with a lot to explore. The ending is amazing, going from grotesque and nightmarish to dreamlike and beautiful in the span of forty some pages. The book itself really is a work of art and I can't wait to read more de Lint.

But.......I really should tackle the ever growing stacks on my nightstand:
Some of these were bought by me or Jay, some are Dawn's, but most came from Freecycle or were found on the side of the road in boxes of yard sale leftovers, which is how I got this one:The Young Unicorns by Madeleine L'Engle. Have any of you read this book or know anything about it? I know L'Engle has written a few Young Adult novels but I've never heard of this one. It takes place in 1960's New York City, a setting I absolutely love so I'm excited to start reading it. First though, I want to finish The Ice Storm and the Sookie book I started a month ago. Next time I complain about not having money to buy books, someone please slap me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cheap Eats

I may have mentioned once or twice, or twenty times, that we are trying to spend less money and pay down debt. The first few months were the hardest, but now it's become a way of life. Plus, because we are doing this with the ultimate goal of getting out of Florida we're more motivated than ever. Even if we see something we really, really, really want (I'm looking at you Toyota Prius--sigh), you can bet we don't want it as much as we want to get out of this god forsaken state. (Although I really want a Prius. REALLY.)

The grocery store is where I've had my most challenges. We do our main grocery shopping every two weeks when Jay gets paid and for the most part we do pretty well and stick to our budget. What gets us into trouble are all the small trips back to the store in that two week period between paychecks. We go in with the intention of just buying milk, but end up spending $40. Sometimes we make three or four trips back to the store before the next paycheck and obviously it all starts to add up. Because of this, Jay and I have made a few changes in our eating habits and those of our family.

For one thing, we are making a conscious effort to eat what's in the house before going back to the store. We're cutting back and money is tight, but let's be honest, it's not as if the pantry is ever empty. We always have food. It may not be the food we want, but we have food.

Secondly, Jay and I eat a lot of really cheap, boring foods. Pasta. Beans and rice. Rice and beans. Beans and pasta. Chicken and rice. Chicken and beans and rice. Beans out of the can. Peanut butter sandwiches. Boring yet healthy stuff. We try to incorporate new dishes into the menu. Like this pasta salad, which is delicious:(The recipe can be found here. And while you're over there, read this.)

Thirdly, I have to make the kids food. I can't just send them into the kitchen to grab something prepackaged. There isn't much prepackaged in there anymore. Yesterday I made english muffin pizzas in the toaster oven. (Where did I even get a toaster oven? I don't remember this coming into the house. Can it be used for anything else other than english muffin pizzas?) Anyway, these went over strangely well. Considering my grocery store regularly has buy one get one free deals on pasta sauce and english muffins, I have a feeling I'll be making these a lot this summer.Lastly, I've been shopping from the "discontinued" bin, which is how I end up with things like this:

Spongebob Cream of Wheat or as the girl calls it "Spongebob Dinner." My grocery store was practically giving this away, that's how cheap it was.

In a lot of ways these changes are easy for me. Of course I love good food, but I have no problem eating cheap or generic food. Two things I will not skimp on though are organic milk and organic apples. All the hormones given to cows totally freak me out, and non organic apples just don't taste good to me anymore. I think we all have our own quirky food rules. And yes, I do see the silliness in pouring $6 a gallon milk over 'Chocolate Lagoon' flavored Cream of Wheat.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Perfect

My image doesn't show up in this space too often. I don't like to have my picture taken. When I know that a camera is pointed at me, I tense up. I'm not someone who smiles a lot to begin with, so the forced smiling that's done when a picture is about to be snapped is completely foreign to me. I once had a photographer tell me that I needed to learn to relax.

This is a topic Dawn and I have discussed numerous times in great detail because she feels the same way about most pictures taken of her. She's convinced most photos give her a crooked smile or a "weird lazy eye thing." Of course I think she's crazy and wrong, but I completely understand where she's coming from.

This past weekend we got to see Dawn and her family when they came to a neighboring town for her son's Little League game. (Note: Little League games, while exciting enough, are not nearly as thrilling as the Vampire Baseball scene in Twilight. Sorry Little Leaguers, it's a tough act to follow. Next time get Robert Pattinson and maybe I'll pay more attention.) While at the baseball field, Dawn and I decided we should get a few pictures taken of the two of us. Because of our shared aversion to being in pictures, I don't remember the last time we had one taken together. Maybe the ninth grade?
If I look at this picture long enough, I can find about a million things wrong with it. The sunlight in the back is harsh, my hair is flatter than I would like, why am I pushing my boobs out?, etc..... I'm sure Dawn feels the same way, although her sunglasses save her from the lazy eye issues which plague her.

I almost didn't post it because I didn't think it was "perfect." But then I got to thinking about how sad it would be if something were to happen to Dawn and I had no pictures of the two of us. I'm sure I would regret not having any photos to go along with memories. So there we are. Braving the humidity and 90+ degree heat with our crooked smiles, pushed out boobs, and flat hair. Honestly, I love it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Things I'm Into Right Now

*Urban Unicorns Go. Click the link. It will only take a minute. It's beautiful and creepy.

*Afternoon AlcoholBy mid afternoon it's usually already in the low nineties. This oppressive heat is made much more bearable with the occasional strawberry daiquiri or icy beer. I'm trying to not make this a daily thing.

*Yo Gabba Gabba with Jack Black
My daughter has loved Yo Gabba Gabba since the beginning. But now she has a full on obsession with the episode with Jack Black. She sometimes watches it over and over for hours. She's even informed me that she will be marrying Jack Black.
I don't think Jack should be all that flattered though because she also told me she's going to marry a red melamine plate with a dog on it. Her standards are obviously quite low. (Note: Yo Gabba Gabba is also much more bearable with a strawberry daiquiri or icy beer.)

*Mama Chic Wrist Cuff
Tuesday I made two of these with fabric scraps. I hated both of them. It wasn't until I started slicing into some of Jay's neckties that I was able to make one I'd actually wear.I plan on making a few more as soon as Jay directs me to the neckties that can be sacrificed in the name of creativity. (The tutorial can be found here, which I was directed to when reading this.)

*Beer Run
I challenge you to watch this two minute video and then not go around humming the tune the rest of the day.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Is Your Weenus Showing?

Do you know what can make you feel really old? When your kids start introducing you to slang terms. For instance, did you know that weenus is a slang term for the loose skin on your elbow? It's true.

This bit of knowledge was passed on to me by my son and his friend. I then had to hear about an hours worth of phrases such as:

*"My weenus is bigger than yours."

*"Mom, he put his weenus on the table!"

*"He's making me touch his weenus!"

It's going to be a very, very long summer.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Defying the Odds

Late last winter the girl and I planted some sunflower seeds. We kept them inside on a window sill where they would get a lot of direct sunlight. Once they sprouted, and as soon as we were sure the weather was going to stay warm, we transplanted our eight little sproutlets outside.

I put them as close to the house as possible, thinking this would keep them safe from squirrels. I was wrong. Within one hour of planting them, we only had one left. I was bummed almost to the point of giving up and just ignoring the last plant. How was this one measly plant going to grow in the war zone that is my backyard? Could it ever be tall and strong growing up next to the crime scenes of it's seven lost relatives?

We all carried on and somehow our plant continued to grow. It survived heavy winds and rain and a few minor early morning squirrel attacks. It even survived the accidental smashing by Jay's foot as he was moving our grill.

Then last week, we began to finally see what we've been waiting for, our baby opening up. The following pictures were taken over a period of four consecutive days:
To some this is just a sunflower. To us, it's a small backyard miracle.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Charlie Harper Memory Game

Due to the spending cuts within our family, there haven't been a lot of new toys coming into the house, which is fine with me. My kids already have more than enough anyway and I don't even think they've noticed that their collections haven't been added to in quite some time.

When we have bought toys or games, it's been after a lot of thought and discussion about who would play it, would we get a lot of use out of it, etc. For instance, after the boy rented Guitar Hero, we all agreed that we liked it and it would probably be a worthwhile investment. So we sold some items on ebay and then used the profits to buy the game.

Another recent addition is this Charlie Harper Memory Game:The girl's game selection had grown a bit stale recently. We play Candy Land a lot and she does have another Memory game, but it's a Disney version that was given to us and I hate playing it. All those damn Princesses look alike to me. And when I do offer to buy the girl a new game, she's drawn to things that are loud and annoying and will require an endless supply of batteries. We usually leave the game aisle empty handed.

I remember seeing this Memory game all over blogland last holiday season when it was available at Old Navy. I meant to go and buy it then, but that's one of those stores I try to avoid. I don't really like their clothes but it seems as soon as I enter an Old Navy, I make a beeline to the sale rack and find myself loading up my arms with stuff I don't really love and then trying to justify the purchase by saying, "But it's on sale for $2.99!!!" Because of that, I never made it to Old Navy.

So of course I was thrilled when I saw the game mentioned on Poppytalk last month with a link to fawn and forest. It was back ordered for a while but it finally arrived this past Saturday and I couldn't be more pleased. The girl and I played a few quick games using only some of the cards, but it's just as fun and much more challenging when all the cards are used. (I talked Jay into playing a game with me last night and I'm pretty sure he had a good time since he was doing the maniacal evil cackle he does whenever he's clearly winning a game.) The images on the cards are so beautiful, that you don't feel as if you're playing a "little kid" game.

Here are a few of my favorite pairs: My verdict: Well worth $14.95.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

What Really Grinds My Gears :: Part Four

Do you want to know What's Grinding My Gears today?

Seeing the mailman walking to my door carrying a lovely decorated package.Eagerly ripping into said package only to find:Kotex pad samples. With wings.

Not cool at all Kimberly-Clark. Not cool.

Considering I'm faithfully devoted to my Diva Cup, they basically just sent me a box of garbage.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Random Thoughts

*Not only was today the last day of school, but it was my son's fifth grade graduation. I know it's only the end of elementary school, but I wept like a child as he walked across the stage to get his certificate. He looked so handsome and grown up. Middle school, here we come.

*My favorite houseplant, okay my only houseplant, a once green philodendron, is sick.
Sigh. It used to be so full of life. I noticed it was looking yellow about a month ago and on further inspection saw it was root bound. I transplanted it to a bigger pot and thought all would be ok, but it's still looking scraggly. Help. Does anyone have any idea what I'm doing wrong? It never gets moved around or disturbed except for the few times a month I take it outside for watering. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

*While I'm asking for advice, I have another issue. We have a somewhat large mole family living in our back yard and tearing up our grass. At first it seemed like only one mole, which while annoying, wasn't a big deal. Now it appears as if we have the mole version of the Duggars living in our yard. Plus, the matter is made worse by Liz Lemon who sniffs out the moles and digs up the grass where she thinks they are. This brings me to my question: Does anyone know of a cruelty free way to get rid of moles? I can't stress the cruelty free part enough. I really don't want to kill them. I just want to make my yard undesirable so that they head under the fence and into the yards of my unsuspecting neighbors. I like my neighbors and all, but it's every yard for itself at this point.

*While investigating the mole situation, I noticed we have some small limes on our tree.Of course right now these are just useless babies, but soon enough they'll be garnishing my nightly vodka tonic.

*Wednesday night the electricity flicked off. A moment later it came back on. My computer monitor, on the other hand(which may have been the first monitor ever), did not. I lugged out the emergency monitor. (Does everyone have an emergency supply of slightly shitty electronics, or is that just us?) Anyway, emergency monitor was blurry and took up half the desk. So Thursday morning Jay and I had to head over to Best Buy and break a resolution by putting a new monitor on a credit card. It was painful to use that credit card because since January I had paid that card down quite a bit. But as Jay said, "We're going to have to buy things sometimes." And he's right. Overall, our spending habits and attitudes about credit have drastically changed and I'm proud of us. On the bright side, the new monitor is really nice, so bright and clear. I had no idea I had been using such a sub par piece of equipment. I imagine this is how blind people feel after being granted the gift of sight.

*Finally:: I'm A Celebrity, Get me Out of Here. I don't really enjoy "reality tv" and wasn't at all interested in this show when the only Baldwin on it was useless, slow eyed Stephen, who I might add, appears to be the only Baldwin without chest hair. But now crazy Daniel is on. As most of you know, I'll watch anything with Alec in it, since he's hot, sexy Baldwin. But when he's not around, I have a two Baldwin rule. I'm forced by my own rule to watch this stupid show. This show is on four nights a week! Hopefully a Baldwin gets voted off soon, and hopefully it's Stephen.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Vegan Banana Muffins

Do you read Little Things are Big? If so, then you are aware that it's Vegan Week and that everyday Maria Rose is giving you some examples of what she, as a vegan, eats on a daily basis.

While I love cheese far too much to ever even consider becoming a vegan, I think it's a great idea to work in a vegan meal, side dish, or baked good from time to time. I want the kids to know that most vegan foods can be just as delicious as their non vegan counterparts.

Tuesday I made vegan banana muffins.Banana muffins and breads are a great choice when baking something vegan, since a banana can be easily used as an egg replacement. Obviously, a banana as egg replacement isn't going to work in every baked dish, but in foods that you don't mind having a slight banana flavor (breads, certain cookies, pancakes), it's a good option.

These muffins aren't real sweet so I wasn't sure if the family would go for them, but I was pleasantly surprised. Even the kids are eating them. I'm choosing to overlook that the boy quickly turns his into a non vegan muffin by covering it with butter and honey.

Also, the boy has nicknamed them Alec Baldwin banana muffins, the sole reason being that Alec Baldwin is the only vegan that he's aware of. As can be imagined, I'm totally happy with the nickname.

Would you like to make your own Alec Baldwin banana muffins? The recipe is here at RecipeZaar.

(Note: The only change I made to the original recipe was the addition of raisins.)