Monday, March 30, 2009

Resurrection Eggs

Since I live in a hole and unless we're talking reality television, politics or food, I'm not current on many issues.
Living in Alison's Land of Oblivion has it's merits, however, it has prevented me from knowing about resurrection eggs.

While perusing my favorite blogs this afternoon, I happened upon this post from Heather about her homemade version of resurrection eggs.

I happen to have a whole bag of plastic eggs bought on clearance last year and am eager to give this a try.

I might not be the most regular church attender, but I certainly want to do my best to teach Caroline about Easter's true focus.
She knows it, but I hope that soon she'll really understand.

Easter isn't just about ham, chocolate bunnies and jelly beans.

Ooh, jelly beans!

I like jelly beans.
And, I just remembered that I bought a bag yesterday when shopping for Caroline's Easter basket goodies.
They're in my trunk. I should go fish them out.

They probably don't appreciate being shoved in a bag with some purple Wal Mart crocs and a water gun. I try to limit the amount of candy in the basket, so I end up filling it with other things sidewalk chalk and stickers.
Cavities or clutter?
Not sure which is worse.

Actually, I don't necessarily limit the candy for Caroline's sake. Her will power is fine.
I'm the one with the problem.

Now I'm off to make dinner rescue a bag of speckled jelly bird eggs from the depths of my trunk.

From my kitchen to yers

She says in her best imitation of Paula Deen.
Like Rachael Ray, I used to be a fan of Paula. Now she has just turned into a caricature of herself. All the cackling just grates. And I won't even get into her gratuitous use of butter.
I'd hate to see what her arteries look like.

What does the Food Network do to these once like able TV hosts?
Over exposure, I guess.

I was busy in the kitchen this past week.
That's the way I like it. Keeps me off the streets and out of trouble.

And you know how much trouble a boring suburbanite stay at home mom who only goes to the gym and the grocery store can get into.
Unless you're on Weeds, that is.

Anyway I prepared three different goodies for Craig and his co workers this week.

photo courtesy of

And lastly, yesterday I baked these yummies.

Peanut butter and fudge brownies with salted peanuts (click link for picture)

Only, I substituted peanut butter chips for salted peanuts because brownies with nuts top my list of THINGS I TOTALLY HATE. Like, gag me with a spoon. Totally.

I'm not hatin on nuts. Really.

I like them fine, just NOT in my brownies.

This was a labor intensive recipe, but really quite tasty, and worth the effort.

I realize that I previously chastised Paula Deen for using too much butter and here I just wrote about three fattening desserts I prepared this week. I don't mind fattening up others; it's my hips and arteries I'm concerened with.

In case you haven't noticed, it's all about ME.

Just to prove that the only things coming from my kitchen this week weren't laden with butter, sugar, chocolate and cream cheese, I made bourbon chicken for dinner a few nights ago.

This recipe is SO good. And easy.

I tweak it a little because unless it's a baking recipe, which is a science requiring accuracy, I don't think I'm capable of not tweaking a recipe. I'm fidgity. I can't leave well enough alone.

If only I could.

If only....


Anyway, I substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs for the breasts because you can cook the heck out of them and they never dry out. I also double the sauce recipe, add some carrots, and flip the measurements for water and apple juice. I like to use more apple juice than water to provide some natural sweetness. Before I brown the chicken, I coat it in a little seasoned flour. This lends a crispier outer texture and also acts as a thickening agent for the sauce.

We serve this over noodles because Craig really prefers pasta to rice. Sometimes I remember to buy some noodles in the Asian section of the grocery store. Other times I just use linguine or spaghetti.

And sometimes I make rice and force Craig to eat it.

Not really.


I've been trying to come up with some ideas for blog posts, but my brain feels awfully fuzzy.
I have some thoughts; I'm just lacking focus.

So instead of over working this sad brain of mine, I took a few pictures of the blooming trees in front of our house and some daffodils that have poked through the flower beds in our neighbor's yard.
Admittedly, they're not very good photos.
I'm a novice. A sucky novice. A sucky novice with a terrible camera.
Regardless of the inept camera operator, daffodils are undeniably cheery.
At our former stomping grounds, Fort Gordon, Georgia, there was a grassy median dividing the highway in front of the main gate.
In the spring, daffodils covered the entire grassy area.
So pretty!
So while I try to refocus and affix my attention on the quality blog posts you're so used to, I'll post these pictures.
You know, maybe my brain feels fuzzy because whatever is blooming on the trees kicks my allergies into full gear?

As soon as I came in from snapping the pictures, I started sneezing.
As pretty as spring can be, the havoc it is wreaking on my sinuses is anything but pretty.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sounds that irk

We all have sensitivities to certain sounds and noises.
Some common, some a little more bizarre.
Either way, I've yet to meet someone who isn't annoyed by at least one noise that immediately sends them running to catch the next train to Make-It-Stopville.

Nails scratching a chalk board sends shivers down many a spine.
But others might find that sneezes or hiccups grate on their nerves.
I'm personally not a huge fan of hearing people cough.

Craig hates the squeaking of those styrofoam blocks that come in electronics boxes to keep the equipment from bouncing around and breaking.
He also hates the sound of crumpling paper bags.

Most of the sounds that annoy me happen to come from Spongebob's mouth; I'm sure many parents would concur.
I also wasn't a huge fan of the meowing, hissing phase Caroline, the wannabe cat, went through a few months ago.
However, the one thing that sends me over the edge, causing me to run for cover, or at least try to cover my ears, is listening to others eat popsicles.
Just minutes ago Caroline was eating an ice cream bar for dessert; once again reaffirming my severe dislike for being within ear shot of this activity.

That girl is the loudest dessert-on-a-stick eater I've ever met, er heard.


The worst part is that she was eating her ice cream bar while watching Spongebob!
Now THAT is a deadly combo of screechy, slurpy, nerve grating annoyance.

I wanted to ask her to cut it out, but realized that wouldn't be very polite. Every girl deserves some dessert. And I'm certainly not the type to be the denier of a post dinner sweet treat.
Besides, she's my kid. I should try being a little less "argh!" around her.
Pick my battles. Let it be. Block it out. Remember the cute things she does.

I'm not a very Zen person, so instead of trying to breathe through it, I think I'll stop buying things on a stick.

Or just wait until the summer when I can send her outside to eat them.

Tomorrow night I'll offer pudding.
Or a cookie.
Crunching is OK.

Slurping IS NOT.

Yo, what up homies?

No, this is not my Saturday greeting to you.

These are, in fact, the words that came out of my seven year old's mouth.

When did she become a gangsta? Wait, do gangstas say "what up homies?"
It is gangsta, not gangster, right?
I'm confused.
I don't think I've ever met a gangsta.
However, I do know that Al Capone was a gangster. I'm sure he didn't say, "yo, what up homies?"

Who says this?

Certainly not seven year old girls who live in the suburbs.
Not a seven year old girl who watches Hannah Montana.
Not a seven year old girl that sits in the backseat of the family station wagon, listening intently to the talk radio station her mom tunes in to.

I'm quite certain that she picked this up from one of the boys in our neighborhood.
Those naughty eight year olds!

Thankfully she didn't randomly yell this to someone we don't know. Although, at first I wasn't so sure. I called her in for dinner and the next thing I know she's on the deck hollering "yo, what up homies?"
Shocked, I said, "Caroline is there a reason you're yelling that so loudly for the entire neighborhood to hear?" She said, "I was just saying it to Bailey and Julie."

At least it was directed playfully at her friends, albeit loud and mildly inappropriate.

It's amusing and horrifying all at the same time.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Procrastinator Extraordinaire

I've been meaning to clean the carpet on the stairs leading down to our bottom level family room.

For three months.

When it comes to housework, I'm not a procrastinator. I appreciate cleanliness and enjoy the end result so much that I just do it. Admittedly I might be inclined to a little bit of grumbling while completing some tasks, but I still get it done. And on most occasions, with a smile on my face.

Cleaning carpet is obviously excluded from my "just get it done" list.
And DEFINITELY omitted from my no grumbling task list.
Let's face it, scrubbing high traffic carpet areas is not the funnest way to spend your time.

It makes your arm hurt.
It means you have to get up from the computer when you'd really rather read blogs all afternoon.
What Jenna ate for breakfast, what TOTUS has to say about "Big Boy" and Reality Steve's take on American Idol are all far more interesting than squirting Resolve on beige carpet and scrubbing vigorously.

Besides, twelve hours after you scrub out the dirt, tea dribbles, yogurt splotches and spaghetti sauce splatters (yes, we're slobs, well not ME!), they're back. Laughing at me. Cheering for their victory over my feeble attempt to make them sorry for ever infiltrating my carpet.

For three months I came up with all sorts of excuses.

"It's the weekend, what if Craig needs to use the compter?"

"The kids are in the house, they'll get in the way or need to use the stairs while they're still wet."

"I have to go grocery shopping tomorrow and will make them dirty again while carrying up fifty bags of groceries from the garage."

"Can't do it on Monday, it's a short day at school. Not enough time."

"Oops, I forgot. I'll do it tomorrow."

And my favorite, "But I don't waaaaaaannnnt to."

Today I gave those excuses a big shove, a punch to the gut and a round house kick to the forehead.

I cleaned the stairs.

They look so soft and pretty.
And I must admit that Resolve does have a refreshing scent.

I conquered my laziness.
I scrubbed with vigor.
I enjoyed the carpet's new found plushness under my bare feet.

And Caroline just clomped down the stairs in her dirty Crocs.

It was good while it lasted.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rainy Day

It was chilly, cloudy and rainy today.

You could easily figure that out by looking out the window, but I thought I'd show you what our house looks like when it rains.
When Caroline is stuck inside without a playmate, this is what happens.

The pile of blankets and pillows is surprisingly tame. It's usually a little higher and packed with more pillows. I guess she didn't feel like trekking up and down the stairs too much, gathering stuff for her ginormous pile.

Caroline has been stacking up pillows and blankets for years. I used to joke that I was only going to buy her pillows for Christmas and her birthday because it's the only thing she plays with on a regular basis. It's good fun.

Until clean up time.

Guess who gets that privilege?

I'm awarded folding duty. But Caroline does help put them back.

The last picture is of the ramp she set up to send the Happy Meal toy airplane she got at the Air and Space Museum (yep, they have McDonald's in their food court....a $23 lunch!) down the wooden board.

Who needs the Wii or Nintendo DS when you can play with a Happy Meal toy and some blankets?

Ugly Breakfast

My breakfast on weekday mornings is always the same.
That shouldn't surprise you, as I'm quite notably a creature of habit.
I used to eat Kashi Go Lean and vanilla soy milk every morning, but I got bored with cereal.

Now I eat plain yogurt with honey, cottage cheese, unprocessed bran, ground flax meal and a sliced banana all mixed up on a bowl.
It's filling, healthy, protein packed for my gym workout and it tastes pretty good.

But it is UGLY.

I told you so.

I really like Greek yogurt because it is so thick, but it's cha-ching! expensive. I just buy a big tub of fat free Dannon plain yogurt. It's not the same, but as long as I add some honey and mix it all up together, it works.

Now that I've grossed you out with my bland, monochromatic breakfast, here's a pretty picture of the snickerdoodle bundt cake I made yesterday.

It has a crunchy cinnamon sugar crust, just like a snickerdoodle, which happens to be one of my favorite cookies. It's a toss up between snickerdoodles and oatmeal raisin.

Craig brought the cake today for his work pig in. I left him a plastic baggie and a note that said "If you know what's good for you, you'll bring home a slice of the cake for Caroline. She's cranky when she doesn't get any cake." Hopefully he'll steal a slice and put it in the baggie to bring home.

Otherwise we may have to deal with the wrath tears of one annoyed and disappointed cake lover.

Thursday Thirteen

The Things I Don't "Get" Edition

Here is a list of thirteen things that try as I might, just don't "get."

  1. The artist formerly currently known as Prince
  2. Jane Austen's books (I've read some and they're good and all, but I just don't "get" the obsession. Do I need to have my girl card revoked?)
  3. 80's hair band power ballads
  4. dogs treated like children
  5. this haircut
  6. modern furniture
  7. the raw food diet
  8. excessive texting
  9. social networking sites (I've tried, I've really tried, but it's just not for me)
  10. wearing skirts only
  11. drug free childbirth
  12. poetry
  13. Jello with antioxidants (It's Jello! It's not supposed to have any nutritive qualities. If you're lacking vitamins A and E, take a multivitamin, don't rely on Jello)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Post Script(s)

I forgot that I wanted to mention two things.

First, I misspoke (mistyped?).
Craig doesn't have five pairs of running shoes.
He has seven (!).
While searching for Caroline's basketball and pump in Craig's trunk last night (he's had them in there since we left Georgia in July), I stumbled upon two more pairs. They're headed for running shoe heaven, otherwise known as the garbage, but still, seven. SEVEN!

And they say chicks like shoes.

Of course I say that with the slightest bit of hesitation because I happen to own a rather large assortment of flip flops. However, it's hard to compare 2/$5 Old Navy flip flops with $100+ running shoes.
But how can I deny him running shoes? He's already denied so much.
And they do serve a healthful purpose.

Second, I forgot to mention that along with all the marriage proposals I've received, I'm also being added to people's wills. And onto the payroll of some of the contractor companies within Craig's organization.
I might never need a job! (Although, I could use a grammar/sentence writing lesson or two)

Who knew that my ability to read a recipe would serve me so well?

Food Snobbery

Before Rachael Ray became screechy, catch phrased laden and HUGELY overly exposed, I watched 30 Minute Meals with great frequency. I could *tolerate* EVOO. But once she started with the Yummo! Delish! and saying "a wink and a nudge" I gave up. Television watching should be joyful; not akin to fingernails on a chalkboard.
However, I remember her once saying that she felt sorry for food snobs because they'll never know the greatness of the tater tot.

Screechy delivery or not, there is so much truth to that statement.
I heart tater tots.
Who doesn't love the overly processed french fry reject parts mixed together with unpronounceable binders, shaped into a little cylinder form and then fried?

Considering their less than stellar nutritionals, we eat them rather infrequently. Yet, when tater tots do make an appearance on the dinner table, they bring joy to my life in a way that I'm not sure I can explain with words.

Wednesday at Caroline's school is potato "smiles" day.
Same stuff, different shape.
The aroma of potato smiles wafting through the hallways upon my entrance into the school for our Wednesday lunch date is smile inducing. Immediately whittling my cares away, their aroma sums up my feelings on elementary school: fun and comforting.
Even though I almost never bought lunch at school, catching a whiff of those tater smiles quickly brings back all kinds of lunch room memories from my younger years.
Makes me happy. And hungry.
Strangely craving an It's-It ice cream sandwich that my elementary school sold at lunch time.
Clearly, I'm not a food snob.

As much as I love to cook and bake, I'll never be a "foodie." A good meal to me doesn't mean stuffy four star restaurants. Foo-foo artistic food. Big plates with little portions.
I consider my palate to be somewhat adventurous, but there are a few foods I'd rather not eat. Raw oysters. Foie gras. Beef carpaccio. Squid Ink Pasta. Eel. Sweetbreads.

I tried to like goat cheese, but I couldn't make it work. We weren't made for each other.
The same thing goes for wine.
And sushi.
Raw foods don't mesh well with the germ freak in me.

On the flip side, there are a few "low brow" foods that I can't bring myself to eat either. Cheese in an aerosol can. Carl Buddig lunch "meat". Canned beef-a-roni. Canned stew. Canned corned beef hash. Spam. Those little cans of deviled ham. Vienna sausages. Potted meat. (what exactly IS potted meat?)
Maybe I'm more of a food snob than I thought!

Quick side note: When Craig and I were newly married we shared an apartment with one of his fellow soldiers and his wife and kids. Now THAT was one heck of an experience. And thankfully a very short one. They were from Mississippi and the wife fed her little girl Vienna sausages. Only she called them "vy-eeena sausages."
Come to find out, that's how Georgians pronounce their state's town of Vienna

That lengthy intro has FINALLY lead me to my thoughts on Velveeta, which sparked this whole post idea in the first place.

I've been bothered recently by a Kraft ad campaign that is encouraging people to buy Velveeta because it's more economical than real cheese. They claim the package size has not changed, therefore it's still as economical as ever.

This bothers me so very much.

Kraft also markets real cheese so I'm not really following their logic. Maybe they should lower the price of their natural cheese products instead of pushing the less healthy option. But then again, it's not their job to tell us how to eat. We need to make those choices for ourselves. But still, if they chose to lower their cheese prices I wouldn't complain. Craig and Caroline eat their respective weights in cheese on a regular basis.

I received the latest issue of Kraft Food and Family magazine. Given the nation's current economic distress, it's quite natural that their emphasis for this issue was on cheap eats. I'm all for getting the most for your money, but just because Velveeta is cheaper doesn't mean that it can/should replace real cheese.

I'll admit that Velveeta has it's place.

If you're making a nacho dip. Or, maybe macaroni and cheese.

Velveeta lasagna? Um, no.

Velveeta on enchiladas? Ew, no.

Velveeta shredded on salad? Holy Heck, no.

I think I'll spend a few extra cents and get the real stuff.

Anyway, I prefer my processed cheese in the form of Cheetos.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Marriage Proposals

It appears that I'm quite a catch.

Who knew?
I never really thought of myself as much of anything. Other than a normal person, happily blending in with the crowds. Middle of the pack. Too afraid to stand out. Plain jane. Regular.

Craig's co-workers, male and female, are so enamored by the tasty treats I bake for them, that they're offering marriage proposals left and right. The old adage has been proven true. The way to a man's (and woman's!) heart is most definitely through his (or her) stomach.

While I'm very much betrothed and would never dream of becoming unbetrothed for another, I wouldn't want to hurt all of their feelings by rejecting their offers. Instead, I tell Craig to relay to his friends that I'll *consider* marrying whomever makes the most money.

Shallow as a kiddie pool?
Oh yes, I think I am.

They can save their money on an engagement ring, diamonds are not my best friend.

I would, however, like to maintain my "lady of leisure" status for as long as possible.

I would be loathe to relinquish the lifestyle I've grown so accustomed to. Read, I don't have to work, can spend two hours at the gym and enjoy a quiet house in the afternoons, all before that comes to a jolting, screeching halt at 3:05 pm.

This might not be the most forward thinking thing to say, but I like home keeping.
Cooking, cleaning, making sure my family is healthy and fed.
I'd rather do that than slave away at an unfulfilling job.

Someday I'll work, doing something I'll hopefully enjoy, but for now, I'm happy being a neurotic version of June Cleaver.
In jeans and Nikes.
No pearls.

According to Craig's co-workers, I'm some sort of domestic guru and he's the luckiest guy ever.
It's hard to refute such accurate claims, but that wouldn't be very "keeping it real" of me.

It's quite clear that they don't read this blog. For if they did, I'd be willing to bet that they just might change their minds.
If they only knew.....

Sure I can bake.

But I also worry myself into a frenzy on a regular basis, inflicting my inner turmoil, outwardly on my family. They don't know that I hate when there is food garbage in the bathroom trash cans. Or despise overhead lighting and do my very best, including straining my already strained eyes, to avoid it at all costs. They don't hear my loud sighs when I find clean clothes in the closet everywhere but on the hangars. They don't hear me holler "wash your hands with SOAP and water" "candy is NOT a snack" and "PUT YOUR SHOES IN THE SHOE BASKET!" for the fourth time in one afternoon.

If they knew, they'd take back their proposals.

There is something very appealing about receiving a container full home baked treats. It might cause you to think that the preparer of such goodies is as sweet as the treats she bears.

You don't know how badly I wish this were true.

But I'm hopelessly flawed.

Wicked with butter, sugar and flour, but messier than the aftermath of my marathon baking sessions.

Outwardly I am a catch. I have shiny hair, I'm physically fit, I'm a font of useless pop culture knowledge, I can reference Seinfeld with the best of the bunch, I'm frugally minded and practical, my common sense is above average (excluding last week's possible wearing of two different shoes), I'm organized and I'm very low maintenance.

But inwardly? Ugh! Cracking this nut would be messy.

Like Bob or Larry says on Caroline's Veggie Tales CD, God made me special. And by special, I mean, wha?!?
When I get to heaven I can't wait to ask Him what he was thinking when he made this bundle of pessimistic, obsessive, neurotic idiosyncrasies.

I'm quite sure the majority of my family members will be lined up in front of me, interested in the answer as well.

Demanding retribution.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy Birthday Dad!

Here is a birthday penguin to help you celebrate #56 Gasp! Sigh!
You're no longer the speed limit!

I sent you a card, but there aren't any guarantees it'll arrive on time.
Like mother, like daughter!

We hope you have a great day.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Is In The Air

I'm actually seeing some blooms on the trees; that's a cheerful sight.
I'm not much of a horticulturist, meaning, I've murdered every plant I've ever owned, and I'm a little concerned about the status of our outside landscaping.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the impending April showers, which bring those lovely May flowers, will help liven up our plants.
If not, I don't think our landlords will be all that happy.

It's a good thing I'm better about keeping people alive.

Regardless of the spring-ness of the outdoors, we're in full spring swing inside.
I pulled out our Easter decorations and yesterday we dusted off the Jello Egg mold

Photos courtesy of

A true sign of spring.

I'd say I true sign of Easter, but then that would make me seem a wee bit shallow. I wouldn't want the religious significance of Easter to be over shadowed by Jello.

In all honesty, I don't really get all that jazzed about Jello anymore.

It's alright.

Wiggly. Jiggly. Sweet. Fun.

But, it's Jello.
Caroline however, loves these things.

Today we chose a Jello Fusion flavor, which is a mix of cherry, orange and pineapple jello.
It sure did smell nice and fruity.

When talking about favorite Easter treats, I much prefer these.

Photo courtesy of

Oh, boy do I love those mini eggs. So much, in fact, that I can ONLY buy them in the little baggies. You can buy them in a big bag, which is much more economical, but I'm smart enough to recognize my limits. I'm cheap frugal, but not stupid.

A normal person who understand portion control could buy a big bag and eat a few at a time.

Not me.

Not in a million years.

I've tested myself and failed at this practice way too many times. As Kenny Rogers so rightly said, "you gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em." Now, I do have enough self control to not eat the entire bag in one sitting, but I surely would find my way over to the bag and grab a handful here and there. I have big hands; clearly it wouldn't take very long to see an empty bag.

The stores around here have been selling them for .50 a bag. Ever willing to do my part for economic stimulation, I've been joyfully buying them.

The first time I found them, I sang a few "hallelujahs" and I bought two bags. One, begrudgingly for Craig, and the other for me. Craig ate his quickly, but I wanted to wait for the right moment to savor their hard shelled creamy chocolate goodness. Well, when the right moment arrived, guess what? SOMEBODY very stupidly carelessly ate my bag of mini eggs. He looked rightly scared when I approached him regarding the subject. Ever the humble, meek and gentle spirited person I am, I forgave the little rat. And bought four more bags.

Shh, don't tell Craig, I hid a bag somewhere deep in the pantry.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Nice Buns!

All of you.

Exchange the word "eyes" for "buns" and only my mom will get this somewhat obscure 80's television reference.

Actually, the buns of which I speak are these beauties

Aside from the fact that they are quite obviously not equal in size, aren't they good lookin buns?
We're having turkey burgers for dinner tonight, but we're out of hamburger buns.
I went to TWO different grocery stores today for some double/triple coupon bargains, but chose not to buy any buns.
Instead, I flipped through my recipe box, pulled out my bread maker and made some from scratch.

In the spirit of transparency and before you start fawning over my bread making techniques and my Martha-esque domestic aptitude, let me show you this

The tops of the buns are pretty, but as you can clearly see, the bottoms aren't.

Even well intentioned Martha-minded people can forget to grease the pan.

Just keeping it real.

PS--Craig had a great race this morning. His goal was to run it (13.1 miles!) in one hour and 44 minutes. Instead, he ran it in one hour and 33 minutes.

I think he averaged 7:07 min miles. That's fast.

Not bad for an old guy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Run Lola, er Craig, Run!

If Homer Simpson can run, you can too!

Tomorrow morning, bright and VERY early, Craig is embarking on a virgin mission: the half marathon.

He's run 13.1 miles before. But not in an official race.
He signed up for this back in October, the day before he ran the Army Ten Miler, and has been anticipating it greatly.

Why yes, he's a running fool.

The race begins very early, so he has suggested that Caroline and I do not attempt to meet him at the finish line. The race ends at RFK stadium, and he says it's sort of ghetto in that area.
So, we'll wait at home.

With 911 on speed dial!

Keep your fingers crossed that his knees cooperate, he sleeps well tonight and runs the race in the time he wants.

This and That

Not that or this.

And certainly NOT Jerry and Elaine's this and that.
Because THAT would be inappropriate.

Instead of my usual Friday "F" post, I'm just going to touch on a couple of things and save the Friday post for next week when I have a little more time to devote to it. UnFortunately, my brain Feels Fried today.

Speaking of Friday, how is it that it's rearing it's head again?
This week just flew right by.
In half an hour I'll go pick up Caroline from school and then we'll go check on Wilbur, our neighbor's cat. After that, the weekend o craziness begins.

It was brought to my attention that it's quite possible that readers of my blog, who don't know me personally and therefore haven't been subjected to my sense of humor, might think that I'm some sort of grouchy, people hater. I know that accurately understanding nuance and tone through other's written words can be difficult. Sarcasm can easily be misconstrued.

I certainly hope this isn't the case; it surely isn't my intent.
I aim for humor, not hatred.
I love everyone.
Well, except for kids, liberals, Yankee fans, Cowboy fans and Trekkies.

Except for the Yankee fans.
No offense.

By nature I'm sarcastic. But I'm not mean spirited.
I can't deny that I'm opinionated and passionate about a few subjects. I know I'm often judgemental. But this blog is just an account of the happenings in my life. My thoughts. My words. My feelings.
The good, bad and ugly.
I playfully poke fun at others, but more often than not, I make fun of myself.
Even the monotony of my daily life provides copious opportunities to laugh at myself.
I have plenty of issues to address.
My issues have issues.
I'll be blogging for years before I muddle my way through the list of all of my "quirks."

While I take issues seriously, I am not a "serious" person.
I make careful decisions, but try to find a little bit of humor in every situation.

It's my truest hope that I haven't portrayed myself as a grumpy old woman.
I'm just trying to add a little wit, fun and sarcasm to this journal of my simple life.

Moving on....

I might or might not have worn two different shoes to the gym yesterday.
Yep, that's what I said.
I'm a careful person. Often aware of my surroundings. But sometimes, quite clearly, completely oblivious.
I'd like to think that I would have noticed such an egregious fashion offense.
But I know better.
With Alison, anything, good, bad, neurotic or insane, is possible.
Some days I'm fully together.
Other days I'm left wondering how I managed to keep myself alive all day.

I have two pairs of Nike Air Pegasus running shoes.
Same style, different accent colors.
The old pair, retired from gym duty, sports a greenish blue swoosh. The new pair has a reddish pink swoosh.
This morning as we were running around trying to get out the door and to school on time, I grabbed a pair of shoes from the shoe basket.
Only this pair, wasn't matching. I had a left and a right. But their swooshes didn't match.
I went back to the basket, thinking that perhaps I had both pairs in there.
I had my New Balance running shoes in there.
(Yes, I have three pairs of running shoes. All for different purposes. Don't be judging. Besides, if you're going to judge, Craig has (I think) five pairs).

I then checked the downstairs shoe basket.
(Yes, we have TWO shoe baskets. We're big believers in the "more is better" philosophy).

Nope, not in there either.

The remaining two shoes, without their partners, were up in my closet.
That's when I started to wonder.

How did a mismatched pair wind up in my closet? I don't remember bringing any shoes upstairs yesterday.
Maybe I did? Did I? I just don't recall. Crud!
Did I mix them up after the gym? Or before?
Oh please, oh please let me have mixed them up after.

I know I think I hope I looked at my feet at the gym.
I double knotted my shoe laces. Maybe?
I sat down on my step, waiting for class to begin, and most certainly looked down at my feet.
Wait, did I?
Was I too busy talking to notice?


How can I top this in the annals of my "airheaded Alison moments"?

Who am I kidding?
Give me a few days.
I'm sure I'll do something to add to the list.

No, You're In The Right Place

Do you need time to adjust your eyes to the brightness that is my new background?

In celebration of the first day of spring, I thought I'd take the time to brighten and freshen things up.
Blog spring cleaning.

I noticed some daffodils peaking out of my neighbor's yard yesterday.
Maybe spring IS coming?
47 degree temperatures aside.

I'm eager to see some green on the trees.
Sometimes I like the look of bare trees; they remind me of winter themed folk art pictures.
But once the newness of winter wears off, my outlook changes. Suddenly they just look sad.

I want happy trees.

I hope you like the new background.
I had trouble picking one.
Too many choices. Too indecisive.

Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I'm very thankful to say that my life has not been rife with trial and tribulation.
I wouldn't go as far as to say I've lived a charmed life; I've dealt with a sprinkling of hardship.
Of course, most of that hardship was probably self imposed. I've perfected the art of questioning myself, over analysis of my choices, regret and self loathing.
Neurotic? Oh yes ma'am.
Self imposed or dropped from the heavens, struggle isn't rampant in my life, but certainly not foreign either.

The same goes for sacrifice.
I am a mother after all.

Moms sacrifice it all.
Perfect body shape in pregnancy.
Dignity in the delivery room.
Sleep, sanity, free time and the right to pee in private from birth day forward.

Moms are resilient.
And really quite deserving of more than one measly day per year to celebrate and honor our great sacrifice.

I'm starting to wander.
Despite this lengthy intro, today's sacrifice, which inspired this uplifting post, wasn't about motherhood at all.

I was faced with a decision that I normally try very hard to avoid.
I have two bottles of diet coke left and three days before I plan to go grocery shopping. I usually make sure I have enough, but chose to stretch out the time between big shopping trips by a few days. I am most definitely not a fan of the Ft. Belvoir commissary and try to go as so seldom as possible.

Fully aware of my situation, I knew that I *had* to give up one day of caffeinated, carbonated bliss.
Today was the day.
It's kind of cold outside and I'm not feeling particularly stressed out, so this seemed like the day to forgo my beloved bottle of addicting cancer causing chemicals.
I realize that I *could* buy more soda before I make my trip to the commissary on Sunday, but, you see, I'm cheaper than I am addicted.
The commissary is the only place I can get a good deal on the stuff.
I'd rather do without than spend more money than I should on stuff that I probably shouldn't be drinking anyway.
I probably wouldn't make a good drug addict. Too practical.

Fiscal responsibility is truly the driving force behind today's great diet coke sacrifice.

Before you say anything, I realize that I *could* choose the smartest, healthiest option and give the stuff up altogether.
Uh, no.
We'll talk about that another time.

In lieu of my daily diet coke, I chose to drink I couple of cups of green tea.
The benefits of green tea are admirable.
And believe me, I need to do as many admirable things as I possibly can to reverse the damage I've done by defiling my body with this unbreakable diet soda habit.

The only problem I have is that I don't LOVE green tea.
As I was telling my mom yesterday, it's earthy.
And by earthy, I mean it sort of tastes like dirt.
I feel the same way about black eyed peas and avocados.

However, I bought a sample pack of green tea last week (for $1!) and discovered, quite happily, that I do sort of like a few of the flavors. It's the plain stuff that tastes so dirty earthy.

So here I am today, voluntarily sacrificing my one true vice.
And no, chocolate doesn't count. It's more than a vice; it's a staple. I could no more deny chocolate than I could a member of my family.
You simply cannot refute the power of antioxidants.

I hope you have been both encouraged and uplifted by this account of a girl and her simple beverage sacrifice.
It's my wish that this story will offer hope to others as they face similar choices in their lives.

I need a life.

The Best Blog Ever

No, not my blog.
I'm far too humble (and realistic) to ever suggest such a thing.

I'm talking about this blog.
It's awesome.
Snarky, funny, clever.
Guaranteed to be the highlight of a conservative's day.

I certainly don't want to make this blog politically tinged. Sure I've made a few flippant comments, but that was just me being a bit of a smart aleck.
I'm much more suited to journal style blogging. A written look into my day, laced with sarcasm, self deprecation and a whole lot of whine.
With that being said, it's really no secret that I'm a Rush Limbaugh loving conservative.
It's my mom's fault. Really.
And Craig thanks her every day!
He's not exactly a tree hugging liberal, but let's just say that I'm much more, ahem, passionate about politics than he is.

I tried to abandon my conservative thinking a few years ago.
I was tired of the war, the wreckage, the possibility of losing people close to me or my fellow military wives and the unrelenting bickering in Washington.
Dare I say I wanted a change?
That word seriously sends a shiver down my spine these days.
And not in a good way.
Definitely not like Chris Matthews, who gets "thrill down his leg" whenever President Obama speaks.

I attempted to adopt a more progressive way of thinking.
It failed.
And I'm back, embracing the conservative roots planted in me many years ago.

Agree or disagree.
It's all OK with me.

Whatever the case, if you fancy snarky humor and love a good laugh, please check out this blog written by President Obama's teleprompter.

Confession Time

I ate tortilla chips and salsa and baked sweet potato fries for dinner last night.

And then I had chocolate chocolate chip ice cream.

Healthy and well rounded? Uh, no.
Tasty? Oh, yes.

Craig worked late last night so I didn't make any dinner plans. I had intended on warming up some lentil soup, but I grabbed the chip bag for just a *few*.
And well, you can pretty much guess what happened.

I ate lots of chips. LOTS.

The salsa was just really good and I couldn't help myself.

After all those chips, lentil soup didn't carry the same appeal it had earlier in the day.

The sweet potatoes were roasting away in the oven and I just couldn't let them go to waste. I set some aside for Caroline and then ate up the rest.
I suppose I shouldn't chastise myself too much as I did get a hearty dose of Vitamin A.

Craig won't be home for dinner again this evening and dag flabbit (/Robby Ray on Hannah Montana) I'm going to eat lentil soup for dinner.

Maybe I should hide the tortilla chips.
Just in case.

Thursday Thirteen

Last week I listed thirteen things you'll never hear uttered from my lips.
Being the wordy and opinionated girl I am, I discovered that there are so many more things I can add to the list.

Here's part two.

  1. "I didn't take a shower today"
  2. "I need to clean out my car, there is trash everywhere"
  3. "Sure, let's go bungee jumping"
  4. "I LOVE long airplane trips....especially those over water"
  5. "I don't feel like cooking tonight. Let's go out."
  6. "We're completely out of cheese."
  7. "I just checked out a book about dragons and fairies. I can't wait to start reading."
  8. "Yes, you may use the permanent marker."
  9. "I'm really craving a Big Mac."
  10. "Let's go swimming in the lake. I love when fish touch my legs."
  11. "I'm going to wear my pajamas and stay in bed all day."
  12. "I really need a foot massage."
  13. "Can I have extra guacamole, please?"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A New Career?

Someday I'll have to, you know, earn some money.
The idea of having a career in the future is intriguing, however, at 32 I STILL don't know what I want to be when I grow up.
Today, I had a glimpse of what could be my potential future career: school counselor.

Um, not really.
I think you have to really, REALLY like kids to make that career work.
I sometimes hide from my own kid. (She says in a small voice)
I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure you can't do that when you're a school counselor.

My once weekly lunch date with Caroline (and the rest of Mrs. Evans' first grade class) has somehow morphed into a twice weekly affair. Caroline can rock the sad face, thus causing me to melt into her dirty little hands. Because of my undying devotion to this kid of mine, I begrudgingly happily leave my Body Pump class early on Wednesdays to quickly shower and make it to the cafeteria 'o loud obnoxiousness by 11 am.

Upon arrival today, I was greeted by Caroline and the rest of her table, happily tattling alerting me that Caroline was teasing E with grapes.
Is teasing with a grape considered a punishable offense?
Confused, I sat down between Caroline and E, who was in tears.
Surprised at the thought that Miss Goody Two Shoes Caroline was guilty of making E cry with all of her mean spirited grape taunting, I donned my very best disappointed face and proceded to chastise that terrible kid of mine.
Come to find out, while Caroline was indeed playfully waving grapes in E's face, as all the kids do, E's distress was more deeply rooted. Caroline's grape-in-the-face behavior (which IS annoying) just exacerbated E's meltdown.

You see, her mom packed grapes in her lunch.
And two Girl Scout lemon sandwich cookies.
Her favorite.

I inquired about the tears, only to find out that the grapes her dad bought looked "dead" and she didn't want to eat them. But, if she didn't eat them, she couldn't eat her cookies.
Yesterday she only ate two grapes, leaving the rest in her lunch box.
But she ate her cookies.
Needless to say, her mom wasn't happy.
No fruit. No cookies.
E's mom let her off with a gentle pass, warning her to eat her grapes the next day or no cookies.

E tried a grape and wasn't impressed.
I encouraged her to try another; some grapes are good and some are not. After all, she might be surprised and actually like the remaining grapes.
I offered to eat a grape to see if they were sour or "dead" as she described them.
She obliged and wasn't impressed that I found them to be very tasty and very much alive. Green grapes can be sour, but the one I tried wasn't.
She pointed out all the blemishes and brown stems. I suggested she remove the two suspect looking grapes from the bunch and try the ones that weren't bruised.
She ate one with trepidation.
She didn't gag, make a sour face or barf.


Why yes.
I we achieved grape success.

E finished her bunch of grapes and contentedly ate her lemon cookies, savoring the creamy filling.
All the while I applauded my mad encouragement skills. I might not be able to solve calculus problems but I can talk a poor first grader down from her ledge. Stem? Vine?

If this were Caroline I would have exasperatedly rolled my eyes and told her to suck it up; you can't do that with other people's kids.
Besides, this is an unlikely scenario in our house.
Caroline, much like her pragmatic mother, doesn't have time to cry over grapes.
She has very little patience for emotional breakdowns over food; she's too busy shoveling her meal in her face as fast as humanly possible.
Again, much like her mother. ;)

That's not to say that she doesn't have any melt downs of her own.
Believe me, she does.

However, when food is involved, she's all business.

It's all about priorities.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Reality TV Watcher Scorned

Dear NBC affiliate and/or Cox Cable Company,

Really? Tonight?

I don't know who is to blame for the darkest, blackest, blankest screen on channel 4 of my TV, but somebody is. Somebody guilty of ruining my night of Reality TV bliss.

Somebody with a death wish.

Why is MY NBC channel the target of such a random act of blank screened violence?
On Tuesday.

All the other channels work.
All 900 of them.
Couldn't you have chosen a different channel to attack?

My love of The Biggest Loser has been documented with great abundance on this humble blog. Why then would you pick tonight? Why not any other night of the week? Since this is the only show I watch on NBC, why not choose Wednesday?
Better yet, why not Spike TV? Overweight men, snoring in their LaZboy chairs don't need to watch yet another rerun episode of CSI.
Or Animal Planet? Sure I like animals and all. But really, they just walk around and eat their unsuspecting prey.
How does that compare to game play, snotty attitudes, sour faces and tears by the bucket?

I know I should be a little more gracious knowing that I also have American Idol and Dancing With the Stars to Watch.
But, you see, it's Grand Ole Opry night on American Idol.
While I don't have a major beef with country music, it's not my favorite. Therefore, this night of singing hasn't been all that enjoyable.
Sure I have a Big and Rich song on my mp3 player, but that's it. Just one. And that's enough.
I don't own a big belt buckle or a pair of cowboy boots. I don't have sky high hair and a charming twang. And I've never once yee hawed. To anyone who reads this blog and happens to love country music, please note that I'm being facetious when I use every (quite possibly) offensive country music lover cliche in the book. I have nothing but love for you and am trying to be lighthearted in this time of great trial.

I'm sure Dolly Parton is a perfectly lovely person, and I did like her in that episode of Hannah Montana where she got into a cat fight with Vicky Lawrence, but I'd really rather watch Boyfriend Bob. We're working things out, you know. I've decided to give him another chance. An opportunity to return to his once loved and admired ways. How can I monitor his progress and feel those warm and fuzzy thoughts if you won't play the show?

I apologize for the repeated use of the word "really." But, really?

Is there some sort of greater message to be gleaned from this? Should I perhaps spend less time watching pointless television. Should I instead be folding the laundry that awaits me in the dryer? Unload the dishwasher? Read a book?

I already read today, finished my book and found out whodunnit. Unloading the dishwasher is noisy and will awaken a sleeping Craig who will show great displeasure in the dish clanging racket. And my coat hangers are upstairs that I need to use to hang up the clothes that are waiting to be removed from the dryer. Ok, that's lame, but, well, I'm mad and I don't want to fold laundry.

I want Bob.
I want Jillian.
I want the Most! Dramatic! Weigh! In! Yet!

Long pauses, over animated facial expressions, commercials strategically placed to insure the most drama and, of course, buckets of tears.


You don't know how much you've dampened my spirits.

And while I want to cause a huge fuss and declare a boycott, you know as well as I do that I'll be back next week for another episode. I'm quick to forgive and (perhaps) forget when The Biggest Loser is involved.
You know you've got me wrapped around your little devious, conniving and heartbreaking fingers.

Yeah, I'll be back, but for now, I'm shooting you daggers.
You know the one.
The look that quickly causes a kid to confess their transgressions and scares a man into picking up his dirty socks, nail clippers and empty Good N Plenty box strewn beside the bed.

I've had 12 and a half years to perfect this look.

Can you feel it?
Good, I'm glad.


the disgruntled and still very Neurotic Housewife

Edited to Add: NBC is working now. I wonder if something got messed up with my DVR causing the TV station to flip out. I had The Biggest Loser scheduled to be recorded since I miss the first half hour while reading to Caroline. That's my only explaination.
Maybe a sadistic little leprechaun fussed with my DVR?

St. Patrick's Day

It's true. How could you not love an Irish girl?
We didn't catch any leprechauns in Caroline's trap, but I think one must have crept in and turned off my alarm last night. It surely isn't possible that I didn't turn it on; I NEVER forget things.
Regardless of who is to blame, I woke up at 7:20 am, which is a wee bit late for a school morning.
This less than ideal jump start out of bed and lack of time to ease into the day sure did play a heavy part in making my attitude a little less than sunny.
I don't like being grumpy.
Neither do my housemates.
Maybe I'll get out the grumps before it's time to pick up Caroline.
I started out pleasantly.
We made it to school on time, I had a fun workout at the gym and I didn't forget anything required for my daily shower. It's not that unheard of for me to forget something important: towel, shampoo, underwear. I've forgotten it all.
My Body Combat instructor handed out shamrock stickers and green sugarless candy and then proceeded to deliver a beating. A merciless, yet soul satisfying beating.
It's when I got home that my disposition changed.
How is it that even though I clean/pick up daily, our house still looks so messy?
I don't get it.
I keep on top of things.
I sweep several times a day, don't leave dishes in the sink and I put away things not in use.
And yet, everywhere I turn I see dust, dirt, crumbs. Legos on the floor, Legos in my bathtub, little bits of scrap paper under the chairs, pens and pencils on the stairs, a bowl of dirty rocks collected by Caroline and her croanies in the corner.
There was popcorn on my bathroom floor!?
And scratches on my black kitchen table from those aforementioned rocks.
Most of this is Caroline's doing.
She's cute, but has clearly inherited her dad's inability/unwillingness to spot and then rectify a messy situation.
Lest anyone think I'm a big old shrill nag, I won't harp on Craig.
I don't have a qualifiable beef with him; he works long days, deals with a 3:15 wake up call and endures an 80 mile round trip commute.
Besides, I gave up hope LONG AGO that he'll ever share my love for neatness.
Although, in the interest of complete transparency, I am a *little* put off by his mirror splattering shaving practices.
Windex and I have become inseperable friends.
Wow, I'm feeling a bit better.
Maybe it was the jelly beans I ate as I started typing this.
Whatever the reason, perhaps my frown will turn itself upside down before I go pick up Caroline.
I hope that everyone has a lovely St. Patrick's Day.
Caroline and I read a book about him last night. He wasn't even Irish.
He was a Roman guy who lived in England with a very interesting story.
It's funny how a story about a Catholic priest who endured some very trying times has turned into a night of corned beef and drunken debauchery.
We're not participating in either fashion this evening.
I'm Irish AND Italian and don't drink.
Practically unheard of.
Edited to add: My apologies that my paragraphs aren't breaking as they should. The enter key must be on it's lunch break.
This is all one big blob of a paragraph. Hopefully it won't be difficult to read.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Leprechaun Catcher/Trap

I mentioned in my post below that Caroline and her friends made leprechaun catchers this afternoon. Even though I'm very much Irish, I've never heard of such a thing.
With the help of my friend Google, I discovered that trapping leprechauns isn't something new.

I guess I never felt any desire to do so and that might very well explain my complete lack of knowledge on the subject.

No offense to leprechauns intended. Hey, I love a bowl of Lucky Charms as much as the next person. I just never thought capturing one would be worth my while.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of the traps, which, as I mentioned before are still at my house. It's raining and the girls didn't want to carry them home and risk getting them all wet.
I sure as heck better not end up with a bunch of little leprechauns at my house on Tuesday morning.

My camera was being very finicky and would not upload most of the pictures. It just did not feel like working with Bailey and Caroline's traps. I did manage to salvage pictures from two of the houses made by Sarah and Rachel, the girls who started this project.

Another Weekend of Uneventfulness

Seems to be a common theme around here.

We live in an area rich with cultural and sightseeing opportunities and yet, we stay home on most weekends while Caroline entertains the neighborhood. Craig and I retire to our posts: Craig hiding upstairs and me in the kitchen or at the computer, but mostly at the kid's beck and call. Dishing out snacks, finding empty boxes to make leprechaun traps (that's what they're doing as I type this) and hollering at them to close the door, stop playing with the shutters and to stop locking people out of the house.
I don't mean to make it sound like Caroline is a little princess who demands that we indulge her every whim, it just seems that by the time the idea to do something strikes us, she's elbow deep in some activity that usually involves a few other kids. I find that if we need to do something, it's best to get it done before she starts knocking on people's doors looking for a play mate.

If we do have to go out (and the activity is not meant for her pleasure) the trip can be a little unpleasant. You know, standard bored kid stuff: whining, complaining, and so many questions asked in a less than cheerful tone.

"how much longer?"
"how many things do you have to buy?"
"can I get something?"
"I'm hungry"
"I'm thirsty"
"how come you didn't bring a snack?"
or "do you have anything else besides _____?"
"are you almost done?"

The times might be changing and kids are growing up faster and faster these days, but the whining remains the same.
I answer these whining questions the same way my mom did, with sarcasm, threats, annoyance and utter desperation.

Please. Stop. Whining.
Please! You HAVE TO!
No really, YOU HAVE TO!

So, we stayed home this weekend.
The weather has been chilly and drizzly, not exactly prime sightseeing weather, so I suppose it's all good. I also happen to LOVE rainy days. Just call me gloomy. Or Eeyore.

I guess I would be lying if I said it was a totally uneventful weekend. I did make it to the gym, the library and to two different grocery stores.
Have to shop those sales!
I brought home free Zone bars and 18 eggs for 97 cents, among other things.
One of the stores was holding a food drive on Saturday. They handed out lists for items in need and I was happy to participate. To me, this is the ultimate fundraiser. I almost never carry cash, it doesn't last long if I do. Instead, I use my debit card for almost everything, so when people are parked in front of stores looking for donations, I can't contribute.
They made it easy and I was glad I could do my part.

Craig also got out this weekend, taking Caroline to the dry cleaners and to look for a workout bench, early in the day before our house began to overflow with the girls.
But, alas, we didn't have a family excursion.
Maybe next week?
No, probably not.
Craig is running in a half marathon on Saturday and will probably be laid up in bed for the remainder of the weekend, resting his weary joints.
His spirit is willing, but his body revolts.

Due to the unpleasant weather yesterday, Caroline entertained in our house for most of the day.
She spent a good portion of the day playing with Julie. About 3pm Julie's mom called to ask if Julie could stay with us for a bit while she ran some errands. "Sure" I said. The girls were having fun playing together and really, it's not a big deal.
At 5:30 as I was preparing dinner I asked Julie to call and see if her mom was home.
Nope. She wasn't.
And evidently she told Julie that she was still far away.
She finally called a little before 7pm to pick her up.

Four hours ?!?
I thought she was just running to the grocery store.

I was a little annoyed by this, but what could I do?
I think I would have appreciated a few more details.

As I mentioned above, Caroline and three friends are making leprechaun traps. They have boxes, felt, paper, cotton balls, glue and St. Patrick's Day themed foamie stickers.
I'm sure they're having fun and making a great mess. Let's just hope that I won't have to scrape too much glue off the floors.

It's really quite fun listening to them as they work. There is lots of chatter about not copying each other's creative efforts. They're taking things very seriously. So seriously in fact, that in about fifteen minutes they'll think of something else to do, leaving their mess behind for me to squawk about, to start an entirely different project.

Either that or they'll finish up and leave everything here. For days.
I have art projects from weeks ago that I don't know what to do with. I always forget to send their stuff home with them and I know that as soon as I throw it all out, they'll ask for them.
I really need to remind them to bring their art home.
Otherwise, I'm stuck.

I hate having my life dictated by 7 year olds.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Four F's: Fun, Food, Fitness and Fabulous Find

Happy Friday! Friday the 13th.

Craig and I got married on a Friday the 13th.
Clearly, we're not superstitious.

Today we hit the twelve and a half year mark. Don't worry, we don't celebrate the
That's a little gag worthy. No offense to those who do.
Heck, we hardly do anything for the actual anniversary.

Sentimental, schmentimental.

We started the day with a few snow flurries. Snow?!? In the middle of March.
There wasn't any accumulation, but it sure is chilly outside.

Without further ado, here are my Friday F's:


Take this fun quiz to determine your decorating style.
I took the quiz and here are my results.

Your personal style is a mix of 3 specific styles:

57% Wine Country Style

29% Classic

14% Traditional Country

I really love the "wine country" room, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I scored the way I did.
When I win the lottery some day (or get a job of my own!) I hope to have a beautifully decorated room like that.


The first part of my week wasn't very busy in the kitchen. Craig stayed in Maryland late to focus on some work stuff, so I was off the hook for dinner. Wednesday afternoon he called and asked if I could make some goodies for him to bring the next day. He was scheduled to give a brief and wanted to ply his listeners with some tasty treats.

Ever happy to bake and going through some sort of butter and sugar withdrawal, I got out my recipe box and decided on best big fat chewy chocolate chip cookies and blissful snickerdoodle blondies.

Thankfully they were both met with rave reviews. By nature I'm not a braggart but I'll admit that it is nice to know that I did a good job and made people happy.

As much as I love to bake, I worry incessantly and obsessively about the end result. I'm a great practitioner of the art of self deprecation. I expect the worst as to not be taken by surprise if I fail. Makes me wonder why I love to bake so much. Why do it if all I do fret about the outcome?
More than anything, I enjoy the process. Deciding on the recipes. Shopping for ingredients. Measuring. Mixing. Smelling what is coming from the oven.

Sugar, butter, vanilla, chocolate....scents from heaven.
Are they heaven scent? Ha!

Last night for dinner I made something called Pasta Pedro.
As the name might suggest, it is southwestern/Mexican inspired.
Does the name sound cliche to you? A tad bit racially insensitive? Does that mean I'm turning into a bleeding heart?

Whatever you think it should or should not be called, we called it TAY STEE.
And SO easy.

Boil some pasta in salted water, any variety.
I used about 6 ounces of whole grain linguine.

Melt about 3 Tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan.
Add 1/2 cup of canned enchilada sauce.
season to taste with some cumin, oregano and chili powder, if desired.
mix in about half a can of black beans and about a cup of shredded cooked chicken

continue to cook over medium heat until warmed through

remove from heat and stir in about 1/2 cup of sour cream...this is important if you use reduced fat sour cream....letting it boil will make it curdle and look unattractive.

If the sauce is too thick, use a spoonful of the starchy pasta cooking water to thin it out to the consistency you so desire
Serve over pasta.

The original recipe called for 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, but that sounded kind of strange to me. I omitted it and sprinkled our individual portions with a little bit of reduced fat cheddar cheese.
Salsa on top would be good too. That is if you actually remember to put it on your plate instead of leaving it on the counter and forgetting about it until your dinner was nearly finished.

This made three nice sized portions. It could easily be adjusted to feed as few or as many people as you'd like.


Have you ever had one of those days where you'd rather go to the dentist than go to the gym?
That was me today.
I had a heck of a time getting myself out of the car and into the gym. It's Friday and I was feeling a bit draggy.

Knowing I had about 40 minutes before my class started, I talked myself into just walking on the treadmill.
After putzing around in the locker room, I hopped on the treadmill machine o' torture.
The treadmill and I generally have a cordial and often friendly relationship, but that's not how I felt about it this morning.
The only one available was next to someone who was running. And you know what, if I'm next to someone running, suddenly I feel the need to run as well.

I guess I found the secret to shaking off the don't-want-to-move-would-rather-be-sitting-at-the-computer blues.


This is not a new product, but why in the world did it take me so long to buy one?

I love love L-O-V-E it!

Behold the Swiffer Wet Jet.

I guess I never bought one because who wants to spend over $15 on floor cleaning device? That's not a fun way to spend money.
I received a coupon in the mail for $5 off and I just did it.
And I'm so glad.

I bought the cleaner that is good for hardwood floors and everything is so shiny.

I really don't care that I have to buy special cleaner, special cleaning pads and batteries (!).
It's so worth it.

And now maybe I'll wash my floors a little more frequently.
I'm willing to admit that while my house stays pretty clean there is no way I'd eat off my floors.
There's no shame in that.
Thanks to my new wet jet, I just might reconsider.
Maybe. Or not.

I think I'll just enjoy the shiny glow instead.
And stock up on AA batteries.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Creature of Habit

Thanks to my love for schedules, expecting the expected, it's not all that surprising that Caroline shares my love. Given my obsessive tendencies, one might expect that I'm a rigid over scheduler. The truth is I'm not. Our days aren't mapped out in fifteen minute increments.
I just tend to allow our days to flow into a routine that works for us in whatever season of life we're in. In all honesty, my life is too pitiful uneventful to warrant a schedule.
Wake, breakfast, school drop off, gym, lunch, school pick up, dinner, bed.

Hardly worth writing down.

Hardly worth living.

Oh I kid.

When Caroline was a baby, Craig kind of laughed at my desire to maintain the sacred schedule. Hey man, don't knock it, they work. Kids and sometimes adults (like me) appreciate the comfort of a routine and knowing what's coming next. It calms my inner neuroses.

Upon waking each morning Caroline retreats to my bedroom to watch a little TV.
I realize that I'm not going to win any parent of the year awards (I lost last year for letting her run around the neighborhood while I sat in the air conditioned house) for this because I know "experts" out there suggest that kids shouldn't watch TV in the mornings. I'm generally a conscientious parent, but look, I NEED my hot tea and computer in the morning. I'm not proud. I'll admit it. I like to be left alone for a few minutes (or more) to ease into the day.
What better way is there to obtain a little quiet time than parking your kid in front of the TV?
Again, I'm not looking to be crowned mother of the year. It's all about survival.

When winter hit and our downstairs family room became the iciest ice box of all times and since a morning without TV is classified as cruel and unusual punishment (for the both of us), I indulge her. Somehow this TV time morphed into breakfast in bed time. MY bed.

Again, I'm OK with this. Except for the two days in a row Caroline got blueberry juice on my coverlet. I think the three words I'd like to remove from her vocabulary are "ooops, sorry Mom." Those words never have a happy connotation. "Ooops, sorry Mom" = a mess and/or the need for me to do a load of laundry.

Because of this typical morning schedule, which I haven't fully elaborated on (yes, you can thank me for that) Caroline has grown used to a few things. Mainly that I put her clothes on her dresser for her to wear that day. She is very low maintenance, especially where clothes are concerned, so she'll wear whatever I lay there.
Well, this morning, Jacob, our neighbor came over to go to school with us. His mom works on Thursdays and his dad goes out of town frequently. On these days Caroline gets up a little early so she can be fed and dressed before 7:30 when Jacob arrives.
To make things go a little more quickly, I brought her clothes into my room for her to change. Man that sentence all typed out makes it seem like she is such a little princess. I assure you she's not. Well cared for spoiled yes, but entitled, no.
Not yet anyway.

When she came downstairs to greet Jacob, she wasn't wearing the clothes I laid out. I asked her why and she said, "they weren't on my dresser so I got some out of the closet."
I should have known this, because she's like a man, completely unaware of her surroundings when the TV is on.
I told her they were, you know, ON THE BED RIGHT NEXT TO YOU
"Oh, I didn't see them."
Of course not.

I can't argue too much. She took the initiative to pick something out on her own, instead of hollering "Mooooom, where are my clothes, YOU didn't lay them out?" I'm proud of that and consequently willing to forget that she picked out her too short play jeans with a hole beginning to form in the knee.
I told you she's not a princess.
Details are useless to her.
Unless you're talking money or numbers.

This just made me realize how easy it is to fall into such an expected routine. Routine is comfortable, but it makes us, especially our brains, lazy.

I suppose we need to work on thinking outside of the box, being aware of our surroundings, looking beyond the two inches in front of our faces, and LISTENING TO MOM.

But most importantly I want her to fully understand that high water jeans + socks
+ tennis shoes = not a good look.

We can all be thankful that they weren't sparkly socks.

A bulleted post of randomness

As I was running at the gym this morning, trying my best to think the time away, I tried to come up with a post idea for this afternoon. It seems like some days I have tons to say and other days I can't extract even the smallest interesting tidbit from my life to blog about. The truth is, I do have things to say, but they're random and certainly not very interesting.
And when I have a mixture of random thoughts swirling around this brain of mine, I pull out the bullet post.

  • A few days ago I praised my flat iron for smooth, non flippy hair. While I'm still quite satisfied with the status of my hair, I learned a very important flat iron operating rule. Pay attention, or you might burn your ear. Tuesday morning I got my ear with the searing hot plates. It obviously didn't hurt much because I didn't think much of it. I'm sort of flighty and just kind of forgot about it. That evening I felt my ear and was very puzzled by what I felt. And then I forgot about it again. Evidently I'm easily distracted. Last night Craig noticed it, asked me what happened and I told him the truth: "I don't know." He was the one that figured out that it was the flat iron. It makes perfect sense, but I'm so used to injuring myself, forgetting about it and then wondering what happened, that I just didn't try hard enough to put two and two together. I'm really not an air head. I just have a short attention span. I have a three inch scar on the top of my left hand and I seriously do not know how it happened.
  • Thanks to President Obama and the "let's change our country's name to the United Socialist States of America" congress, Craig is getting an extra $34 in his paycheck this pay period. I'm sure this will come back to bite us when we do taxes next year. As much as I enjoy extra money (who doesn't?) I'm so disheartened by the ridiculously excessive, dishonest, and irresponsible spending the President has urged in the name of economic stimulation. $34 does not make up for the 9,000 earmarks in the omnibus bill he signed into law yesterday. $34 isn't going to make it easier for small businesses to stay afloat. It's going to be a LONG four years.
  • I noticed today that Caroline's teeth looked a little less streaked. I can still see the white spots, but they looked less noticeable today. I bought her a spin brush. Maybe that's helping.
  • I had lunch with Caroline and her class today. I do that at least once a week, sometimes twice. But no more than that. It's always an experience. Loud, obnoxious, messy and did I mention, LOUD. The second graders were on a field trip today so the cafeteria was noticeably quieter. I appreciated that. Today's highlights included Caroline dumping her cheese on the floor and Imrran singing me a song about poop. Yesterday I cleaned up water (I forgot to tighten the top of Caroline's water bottle), fetched ketchup for Chloe and silverware for Sam and listened to Imrran tell me about his dad's gun cabinet and the rocket launcher he has at work. That Imrran is a character. I missed talking to Timmy, my favorite pint-sized hockey fan. He usually has some interesting Washington Capitals stat to share with me, but he was as at a different table today.
  • I had split pea soup for lunch! I happen to love the stuff, but Craig, who must have had a terrible childhood experience with it, does not. I buy a can every now and then because making it at home yields 8 gallons of the stuff. While economical, I couldn't possibly eat through that much soup in a timely manner, without risking falling out of love with it or breaking my 17 year vomit free streak.

Wow, that really was random. Burned ear lobes, clean teeth, taxes, poop songs and pea soup.

Much like a salad bar, you get a little bit of everything here at the Neurotic Housewife.

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen things you'll NEVER hear me say.

1. "sure, I'll pet your snake"

2. "let's go sky diving"

3. "I don't think I'll make the bed today"

4. "yay, it's time for Countdown with Keith Olbermann"

5. "we're having catfish for dinner"

6. "we should hop in the car for an UNPLANNED weekend trip"

7. "yes, I'll watch Star Wars with you"

8. "I hope we get stationed at Ft. Drum, NY"

9. "can I have extra mayo on my sandwich?"

10. "I think I'll wear a dress today"

11. "I'm not sure how long that has been in the refrigerator, but let's eat it anyway"

12. "I don't care if it's not on sale, I'm buying it anyway"

13. "I'm going to get a pedicure"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I have a secret admirer.
Or a thoughtful neighbor. That's more like it.

Cindy, the mom of the two girls we entertained last night, brought over these flowers today.
She was gone longer than she had anticipated last night and felt bad about it. She offered these beautiful flowers as a thank you.

I, of course, being a pushover helpful neighbor, didn't mind watching her kids at all. They're very well behaved and they keep Caroline out of my hair. As it is, they're here most days of the week anyway. If it's daylight and school is not in session Caroline MUST play with someone.
At. All. Times.

I should also mention that I probably shouldn't be thanked *too* profusely for my services because I could have damaged her two daughter's little lungs with smoke inhalation after the pizza baking/ smoke alarm sounding debacle. Oh and Rachel got splinters in her foot on my deck. A conscientious baby sitter would notice bare feet on a wooden deck and suggest the wearing of socks.

So, while I could have done better and didn't find this to be an act of great sacrifice, it is nice to receive some pretty flowers. Especially a bunch that contains a gerbera daisy, my absolute favorite.

They're cheerful.
Like me!

Cindy was very apologetic and concerned that I felt put out by yesterday's festivities. I wasn't, of course, but it got me thinking.
Yeah, I really do think sometimes.

And all this thinking led me to conclude, with great certainty, that it's the military wife in me that views keeping an eye on a neighbor's kid as a natural part of life.
Second nature.
Not a big deal whatsoever.
Unless the kid is a total monster brat, but thankfully, I've encountered only a few of those. And being the doormat nice person I am, I'd still watch the devil child.

That's what military wives do.

We help each other out when our military dudes can't. They get phone calls at 4am for a urinalysis. They get deployed. They work odd hours. Or heaven forbid they get sent on a temporary duty assignments to horrible places like Germany ;) Or Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Doctor's appointments. Hair cuts. Quick trips to the store for milk. Or not so quick trips to the post office. Military spouse or not, we all know how long those lines can be.

It's nice knowing that you have a neighbor and friend to rely on.

Especially when the last thing you want to do is wrangle a kid who is swinging from the line ropes in the post office, jumping on and trying to rearrange all the chairs in the pharmacy waiting area, racing down the cereal aisle only to dart in front of an angry and not so patient shopper wielding a big cart, complaining that the dairy aisle is too cold or wanting to chat with the commissary baggers as they sit on a bench, waiting for their turn to bag groceries.

These are all hypothetical situations.
NONE of these have happened to ME. Nope. Never.

When your neighbor has the movers over packing up their belongings and kids under foot.
What do you do? You keep their kids.

Same thing when you have a doctor's appointment and the sign in the office clearly states NO CHILDREN ALLOWED. What do you do? You ask your neighbor.

The military housing experience can be really positive. Especially if you're fortunate to find a warm and friendly environment. Everyone is in the same situation. Shared experiences are a great bonding tool.

We've been pretty blessed with great neighbors throughout the years, especially in Georgia.

Our Maryland neighbors were nice. Until I learned that the wife was a compulsive liar. She borrowed money, claiming the bank took two car payments out in one month, but in reality, she bounced some checks and needed the cash. She promised to pay us back. And pay us for the couch she "bought" from us.

That didn't happen.
I was annoyed that we lost $450, but more upset that I was totally blind to her crazy lies. I'm often too trusting and definitely too gullible.
Live and learn.

Here in Virginia, we don't live on post; housing wasn't available at the time of our arrival.
I was really concerned (me worry?) that we wouldn't find a close knit neighborhood in the civilian world. Thankfully we were led to a wonderful subdivision with nice neighbors. While I miss living on post and the close proximity to everything we need, I'm really happy to live here.

I say this, knowing quite well, that in three days I'll be complaining about something the neighborhood kids did to annoy me.

But for today I'll bask in this very foreign feeling of contentment.