Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
It's a battle I'm not fit to win. Therefore, I'm thankful for dollar store spatulas.
The other day we stopped in the Dollar Tree after the gym to get a gift bag for a birthday gift. I was sweaty and stinky and had no business shopping in my disheveled state, but we needed a gift bag. Like always, the 'just one thing' I had to buy turned into several 'one things'.
I've been on the hunt for some new coffee mugs for quite some time. I have a list of qualities I need my coffee mug to have and it's hard to find one that has it all. 1) sturdy 2) holds a lot of liquid 3) has a big handle to fit my man hands comfortably 4) simple design (ie no jokes, inspirational poems, ugly designs or pictures of puppies)
Actually number 3 is most important. I have huge hands and cannot stand when coffee mugs have little handles. I'm not dainty; never have been, never will be and therefore I need a sturdy mug. There's nothing worse than cramming your huge mitts into a dainty little loop. I have two mugs that fit my criteria, however, they're OLD and one has a crack in it, rendering it not long for this world.
Imagine my happiness when I found these mugs. They're simple, sturdy, of a decent size and have a large handle.
Don't mind me, I'm easily amused.
Back in the household section of the dollar store, I also stumbled upon these dish racks. I don't need a dish rack, but I used my wits (and grand desire to have everything organized) and brainstormed other applications for the racks.
1) to store my pot lids (sort of) upright
2) to store my muffin tins and cookie cooling racks in my baking cabinet.
My cupboards have never been happier. Well, the muffin tins are happy to have a designated home, but the rest of the junk in there needs a little rearranging. I'll get to that eventually. Just as soon as I figure out why my new camera takes such fuzzy pictures.
Anyhoo, the Dollar Tree has all sorts of hidden treasures, including this lovely gem
Craig, despite his many endearing qualities, loves Good & Plenty candy (black licorice....blergh!); I don't know what possessed me to purchase Good & Plenty flavored lip gloss for a 39 year old dude, but well.....Caroline thought it would be fun.
Hooray for dollar store finds...both useful and utterly ridiculous.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
(our paint is really an apple green color but for the life of me, I cannot get my camera to accurately portray the color)
This is what I see from my kitchen island as I'm doing the dishes and preparing food. For two years I've hated the fact that the furniture arrangement is lopsided. For two years I've wished that I had another set of black shelves, placed on the other side, to provide balance. I like symmetry, but to me it's really more about balance.
Yesterday morning I woke up and decided that I could not stand the imbalance any longer. Not another day could pass without me rectifying the situation. I even thought about skipping the gym to shop for another set of shelves, which, if you know me at all, is really quite drastic. I'm not sure what came over me and why I became so fixated, but thankfully I managed to talk myself out of skipping the gym before I did something I'd regret.
After the gym, I was still fixated on those shelves, so I tossed Caroline off to the neighbor and went shopping. But, not before I "shopped" in my own house.
I gathered up a few unused items that were being stowed away in the deep, dusty recesses of our garage, to use as possible accessories. I'm not kidding, those bowls were seriously dusty. The white platter is a turkey platter I bought on clearance for $3 after Thanksgiving nearly 14 years ago. I've NEVER used it for a turkey, in fact, I've never used it at all. It seems like by the time I have Thanksgiving dinner prepared and have wiped the sweat from my brow and gotten over the inevitable turkey meltdown I have every year, the idea of artful presentation is the farthest thing from my mind. I had high hopes for this platter; Norman Rockwell hopes. I thought it would add that certain something to my Thanksgiving table, but, alas, it has never left the confines of its original packaging. The platter has followed me to six different duty stations and not once have I taken it out of the box. And yet, I couldn't part with it. It offered hope. The hope that someday I'd have a perfect family Thanksgiving dinner. Since that has yet to happen and considering the high standards I hold myself to, it probably never will. High hopes aside, I sure am glad I can put this lovely platter to use in another, less stressful, application.
I bought a few new things, too.
I honestly didn't spend much on the shelves; they're the type you can find at any big box store. Our house is furnished with very few nice pieces of furniture. When Caroline is older and we settle into a permanent home, we'll spring for the good stuff. But for now, while the potential for Caroline and friends to ruin our things is still quite probable, we're keeping it budget friendly. Nothing is sacred around here; all you have to do is take a look at the maple syrup drips on my throw pillows and permanent marker scribbles on our leather couch to understand my point of view. Oh, and I can't forget the possibility that during one our moves our household goods could possibly be strewn about on a major interstate highway or sunk at the bottom of the ocean. Yep, until Craig retires, we're definitely keeping it budget friendly.
Speaking of budget friendly, I repurposed one picture frame (and bought one to match for $4 on sale) and used two pictures from an old calendar to make these prints, which rest on top of the shelves.
I suppose $40 is worth my peace of mind. Worrying about the imbalanced shelves in my kitchen was shaving years off of my life. Now that my kitchen is balanced, I can now focus my attention on other household issues. Like the gaping whole in our living room where a couch should go. Or the dirty carpet on the stairs. Or the patches of paint missing from Caroline's room from where she stuck some really sticky paper on the wall. I removed the paper only to find out that the top layer of paint came with it. It wouldn't be so bad except that her walls are white and the color underneath is yellow.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Out we went. Out to the bowling alley. Because that's what the cool kids do.
We went to the bowling alley on Ft. Belvoir and lucky for us (or unlucky, depending on your feelings towards Cosmic Bowling) we walked into a dark, disco ball-lit and smoky (from a machine, not cigarettes) bowling alley. Oh, and the music was playing rather loudly. Pretty much a 8 year olds dream come true. Evidently some group of adults were having a bowling/work party, which explains the day time cosmic bowling experience. Naturally, the girls loved it. I didn't mind it too much either, EXCEPT not all the music they played was age appropriate. There is nothing like watching four girls (ages 8.5-11) singing and dancing to The Pussycat Dolls. Frankly, it's kind of scary and I admit to cringing quite a bit. At one point Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas came on and all four girls informed me that they knew where all the curse words are in the song, even though they were bleeped out.
All together now......sigh!
Once our eyes adjusted to the smoky darkness and found the right size balls and shoes, the girls had a great time bowling. Well, three of them did. One of the girls isn't the best bowler and spent the majority of her time sulking. I tried to tell her that she'd have more fun if she worried less about her score and just focused on having fun with her friends, but she didn't seem to take my words to heart. I even informed her that *I* am the world's worst bowler, so she should feel better about her score. No really, I'm not very good at all. When Caroline was 5, she beat me. AND we were using the lane bumpers. Tell me that's not pitiful. The other girls did a good job encouraging Rachel and cheering her on, which was nice. Those are the sweet moments when you're happy to be surrounded by pack of wild girl monsters. Thankfully it wasn't my kid with the sour attitude; when Caroline sulks because she is losing, I just tell her to suck it up. Clearly, I haven't any patience for dramatics. Unfortunately, you really can't tell another person's child to suck it up. That doesn't usually go over well.
After two rounds of bowling we gathered our junk, turned in our stinky shoes and went across the parking lot to Dunkin Donuts. Hey after that experience, I do believe an iced coffee was in order. I bought the girls Coolattas and got myself a fancy caramel iced latte, which proved to be a very sweet mistake. That latte was SO sweet. Like hurt your teeth kind of sweet. I managed to drink half of it and then when we got home I dumped some plain, unsweetened iced coffee into the cup to dilute the sweetness a bit. I think I'll stick to the simple stuff from now on. Either the DD girl had a heavy hand with the caramel or I'm just unaccustomed to that type of sweetness. Such a lightweight!
It was a fun afternoon, even though I don't have any pictures to document the fun being had by all. Hey, it was too dark in the bowling alley anyway. Just know that the girls bowled, ended the game with various bowling related thumb/wrist injuries, shook their tail feathers to some mightily inappropriate music and went into sugar comas from their Coolattas from Dunkin Donuts.
If that's not a successful afternoon, then I don't know what is.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I'm not crazy about this camera yet; I liked my Canon better, but I need some time to play with it. I really, REALLY want a DSLR camera and will get one eventually, but I wasn't ready to make that purchase yet. This little point and shoot will have to tide me over until I decide which fancy camera I really want. Besides, sometimes a compact camera is more convenient; and in my case, less expensive to replace when they conk out.
RIP pink camera with your broken lens. You will be missed.
Go join your friends in my useless camera parts
The best way to get to know your camera is to practice. To practice, I carried my camera around and shot pictures of random junk.
Caroline and her friends are currently on a friendship bracelet making kick. Naturally, our house is the friendship bracelet making hub and I have bits and pieces of embroidery thread EVERYWHERE. I think that stuff multiplies faster than rabbits can reproduce.
Ugh, it's everywhere.
Then I went upstairs because the only room in our house that receives a fair amount of natural light is our guest room. Since we never have guests, the guest room serves as a catch all room.
As is a pile of stuff I'm about to donate.
And then I took pictures of a basket full of berries
I also bought "Craig" some ice cream,
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I never run out of bananas. I buy them twice and sometimes three times a week to insure that we don't run out. I need a banana with my breakfast like I need oxygen to breathe. A green smoothie is not as sweet and creamy without a banana incorporated into the mix. It is also safe to say that I am not the same person when I can't drink a green smoothie a few times a week. I feel less energized without them; and I might be mistaken, but I think I also glow a little less. ;)
I selflessly used my last banana yesterday, the one I was saving for my breakfast this morning, to make a smoothie for Caroline and her friends. How's that for parental sacrifice? Seriously, I should get an award for this. For reasons still unbeknownst to me, I didn't stop by the store after the gym to buy more bananas, even though I knew we were out and I wanted a smoothie. Maybe I was up for a little challenge? Maybe I was just feeling lazy and knew I'd be going to the store on Thursday? Or maybe it's because I was sweaty and smelly and not in the mood to inflict my gym "glow" on other unsuspecting grocery store patrons. My love of bananas was trumped by my sincerest desire to not smell in public.
See, I am self-less.
Don't you worry about me. I'll do fine; I can go banana-less for a day. Besides, we have grapes, plums, peaches and clementines; our fruit bowl overfloweth.
In other news, today is Kiss and Make Up Day. If you're mad at someone, I highly encourage you to embrace the spirit of Kiss and Make Up Day, and go kiss and make up. Or hug and make up. You might not want to kiss the cable guy you're mad at or your neighbor, who put their little baggie of dog poop in your recycle bin (ahem!); that would be highly inappropriate. I'm currently not mad at anyone, therefore I will not be participating in Kiss and Make Up Day. Honestly, I'm a little upset at my camera for conking out on me, but I'm not sure hatred for inanimate objects applies.
That's okay, I might not be able to celebrate Kiss and Make Up Day today, but you can bet that I'll be living it up on August 27th.
Yep, August 27th is Banana Lovers Day.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The PTA school supply fundraiser is without a doubt convenient. Like triple washed lettuce, juice boxes and single serving yogurts, you have to pay for convenience.
And with this school supply package, you really pay. The whole shebang costs $57. I realize it's a fundraiser and the PTA has to make money on the deal, but I could not bring myself to pay $57 for supplies I KNEW I could buy for a lower price.
Now, please pretend that you see a nice picture of all the school supplies we purchased.
You should be seeing an assortment of pencils (pre sharpened!), marble composition notebooks, crayons and colored pencils. And we can't forget the tissues, ziploc bags and hand sanitizer.
I'd like to show you the picture I took, but my camera has decided to not cooperate. All I get is a lens error message and a prompt to turn the camera back on. Only, it won't turn on because the lens is stuck. I love that little pink camera; it was my birthday present last year. It's not even a year old! My fingers are crossed, hoping for a camera lens miracle, but I have a feeling I'll be getting a new camera soon. My internet searching and troubleshooting efforts have proven to be futile, and I'm not sending it into a repair shop and paying close to what the camera is worth to repair it.
I'm so sad. Please pray for a camera resurrection. While you're at it, you can also pray for my poor "w" key on my laptop. It sticks. I hate when everything falls apart! I've previously claimed that age 33 is the year that I've begun to fall apart and now it appears that my stuff is following in my creaky, achy body's foot steps. Boo!
Anyway, Caroline and I set out on a few shopping trips to acquire her third grade school supplies. We could have gone all at once, but we like to spread it out. It gives us something to do during the week. I maintained a frugal minded mentality while school shopping, but I did not partake in any of those one cent deals Staples and Office Depot advertised. Sometimes sanity preservation trumps one cent deals.
All in all I paid $38 for school supplies. I could have spent less if I had been a little better prepared and more willing to push and shove my way through Staples or Office Depot, but I'm just glad that I met my goal of spending less than the school supplies-in-a-box deal.
The supplies are ready. I guess that means school can officially start.
Two weeks to go! I just hope I have a working camera on the first day of school.
Monday, August 23, 2010
As you can see, this is a soft, girly, slightly pink, pearly color. A color that, in my mind, requires a soft name.
I appreciated the guesses you left in the comments section, especially perlicious, cotton candy shimmer and pepto sparkle. Oh and "not enough red paint mixed with silver" but that might be too long to fit on the bottom of the bottle.
You provided nice, cute names for a nice, cute bottle of nail polish.
This is a color you'd put on your four year old's nails without question. It's a girly, feminine color; a color which deserves a girly, feminine name.
So you could only imagine my surprise when I picked up this little bottle of soft, pearly nail polish then flipped it over only to discover that it is named Nasty Girl.
and think nasty girl?
Am I missing something here? Perhaps I'm more out of the loop than I originally thought?
How could anyone think that pink + sparkly + shimmer = nasty girl.
The term nasty girl conjures up images in my head that have little to do with pink, sparkly and shimmery. If the nail polish namers felt like taking a darker route with this color, I would have preferred Vicious Trollop to Nasty Girl. Nasty girls don't wear fairy princess nail polish. Nasty girls wear, well....to tell you the truth I'm not sure what color nail polish a nasty girl would wear.
Am I wrong here? Should I do something to break free from my happy, non-nasty girl bubble? Do I need a subscription to Cosmo magazine? Am I THAT oblivious to the ways of the world?
I don't get it.
Tell me I'm not the only one. Please!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Don't worry, I wore a hat. I consider that a favor to all of humanity.
Caroline was at a birthday party/sleepover this morning, so I figured it would be wise for me to use this free time to get in a few miles. Because who doesn't like to get up at 6am on a Sunday morning? In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have chosen twelve miles, which proved to be a bit too ambitious for my tired old legs. Eight to ten miles would have been more reasonable, considering how little I've been able to run this summer. But, I've never claimed to be a genius; so twelve it was.
It wasn't the prettiest sight, I confess. But, I did it. I didn't stop, I didn't cry and I didn't fall flat on my face, so I consider that a successful run.
And now I'm tired. And spending some quality time with my foam roller.
I'd take a nap, but I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately. A mid-day nap would only make night time sleep even more elusive. The good news is that Caroline and her slumber party mates stayed up until 1 am last night. Now I have a great excuse to get Caroline into bed early. And by early, I mean before 10. That kid is never tired. And even if she is, she won't admit it, nor will it show in her behavior. Some kids totally melt down when they're tired; Caroline remains as even keeled as ever. In fact, the only time Caroline ever gets crabby is when she's hungry, which doesn't surprise me because both Craig and I are the same way.
Besides my running pursuits this morning, I can safely say that not much else will be happening today. So, before I hit publish and go downstairs and see the Play Doh treats Caroline and her friends are creating for me, let me take a minute to ask you a question.
When you see this bottle of nail polish, all light pink and sparkly and girly, what would you think this specific polish is named?
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Besides the fact that I wear shoes, mostly out of necessity (and to cover up my gnarly runners feet) and spent some time in retail, shoe selling purgatory, shoes do nothing for me. The sight of Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos don't render me a pile of squeeing, girly shoe-loving delight.
I wear flip flops. And any other shoe that is comfortable and costs less than $30.
I do devote a fair amount of time (and money!) to finding the right running shoe, however. But, again, that is more out of necessity than anything else.
I took Caroline back-to-school shoe shopping this morning. She's a lot like me and doesn't care too much about foot wear. To her, any shoe that slips on is good enough. We took our low footwear standards to Payless this morning. Hello BOGO 1/2 off. Payless speaks my language: cheap. And, let's face it, kids are brutal with their shoes. I have no interest in buying Caroline pricey shoes that she'll ruin and/or grow out of by Christmas.
Yep, you saw that correctly. Caroline needed a ladies size 7!
But, she also got a pair of kids size 5 1/2. Go figure.
Poor kid has no hope. We're a big footed family.
Thanks to the influence of Caroline's friends, she was interested in getting some Converse All Star type shoes. Thankfully, Payless has Airwalks, which she found to be just as acceptable. I'm glad she's not caught up on name brands. Yet. I'm sure it will come, but for now, she's pretty easy to please.
Except for the part where we spent way too much time and energy deliberating between two pairs of plaid shoes. Seriously, I left the store feeling energy depleted after all the back and forth. I felt like I needed an iced coffee and a nap. You can probably guess which one I got. :)
Anyway, Caroline liked dark purple/blue/black plaid shoes; I liked the lighter pink/purple/aqua plaid. The ones I liked matched her clothes better, but Caroline was hung up on those other ones.
"Which ones should I get?" she asked. "I like the lighter plaid," I replied.
"I like those, but I still don't know," she said. (which means "I like them, but I like the others more")
"Get the ones you like," I said. "But I don't know." She replied.
That went on for a long time.
After all the back and forth she said "I wish I could get both!" I told her no way, because she also needed P.E. shoes.
I knew she wanted the darker ones, but since she knew I liked the others, she was afraid to admit it. I finally told her to get the ones she really liked because if she got the ones I liked to please me, she'd never wear them. I was willing to let her get the dark plaid ones, the ones that would clash with the majority of her clothing, because parenting is about sacrifice, right?
And then we had a bit of divine shoe intervention.
Divine intervention in the form of gray shoes.
These shoes were practically heaven sent. I liked them. Caroline liked them. They're neutral and will go with many outfits.
Except, they were too small. 6 1/2 in ladies--too small!
And a size 7 was no where in sight.
Back to square one.
More deliberating. We weighed the merits of both plaid patterns. We were still at an impasse.
And then I bent down and there before my very eyes were those gray shoes in a size 7. Somehow I overlooked them during my first hasty search.
It was like God was smiling at us.
BOGO and divine shoe intervention. What a great day!!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
and especially chocolate.
I'm a dark chocolate kind of girl, so you can guess which is mine. I bought some Dove promises because I had a coupon and because Caroline loves them. What kind of mother denies her child chocolate? A good one, probably. But, that's not really the point, any way.
And the M&Ms? Well, they were actually purchased for a reason other than simple recreational snacking.
We made cookies!
I dug Ebony, my beloved Kitchen Aid mixer, out from her summertime hibernation spot this afternoon. I dusted her off, profusely apologized for neglecting her these past few months and then made some cookie dough.
It all started out pretty smoothly. Well, except for the part where Caroline, who was on egg duty, cracked the egg into a little bowl and then proceeded to dump the egg all over the counter.
I can always count on her to mix things up a little.
The dough came together in a flash, thanks to some very soft, room temperature butter.
Before I go any further, let me just take a minute to remind every one that in the past I've made some very good looking cookies. I have a reputation to uphold and I think it would be prudent of me to remind you of my previous cookie successes.
Double chocolate chunk
White chocolate and cranberry
A few of them turned out okay,
but I had to perform surgery on quite a few to release them from their Siamese cookie twins.
Ugh, jagged, flat edges. Not pretty.
The good news is that if you stack the cookies up in a certain way, all you can see are the pretty, round, G-B-D (that's Alton Brown speak for golden brown and delicious) edges.
Well, except for this guy who somehow ended up with square edges.
He didn't make the cut; so I ate him. The chef always gets first dibs on the edges, broken pieces and ugly cookies; it's the first law of baking. However, 2/3 of this batch qualified as ugly and you'll be happy to know that I refrained from eating all of the rejects. Otherwise I'd wind up with a hefty stomachache and two dozen reasons to fuel one epic self-loathing pity party.
Maybe it's all about camera angles, because these cookies actually look okay.
I guess the camera can lie.
And look at this one, with the bright blue eyes; she looks happy, if not a little cross-eyed.
I guess she understands that you can't judge a cookie by it's shape. All cookies, even the ugly ones with jagged, flat edges and sunken middles, are worthy of love.
I confess, I'm a sucker for a cookie metaphor.
In the words of the wise Jerry Seinfeld, "look to the cookie."