Monday, March 31, 2008

Fun Monday-Inspirational Quotes...

Robin is our hostess for Fun Monday this week. The theme is: Quotable quotes and words that inspire. So here's some of my inspiration...

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree; In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free! In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be, Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see. - Hymn of Promise (Methodist Hymnal)

To have a mother's sensibility, you don't need to be female; you don't even have to have children. You just need to have a soul that cares about the future more than you care about yourself. That's what mothering is--laying down your life for the young so they can grow up into full people. - Sally Field

and from my recently discarded favorite show on CBS:
Jake Green: Did you ask Mom?
Johnston Green: Son, I'm 59 years old, I was mayor of this town since the Carter administration, I'm a retired Army Ranger, and I'm a combat veteran. Of course I asked your mother.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring is here...

But we have snow in the forecast?!? Crazy weather. Anyway, all our spring birds, like robins and finches are showing back up! Yeah! The rabbits are making day time appearances, and people (including us) have their grills out and in commission again! Yeah!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Say Something Saturday...

Ami is issuing the following challenge: Use the following words in a story or poem: Bubble, box, egg, astounding, heart and match. You have until Saturday at midnight to post.

You start out with the perfect match. Somewhere in there, your heart grows until it no longer fits into a perfect little box. There's just too much love. Then something happens, and a little egg becomes a bubble of cells, and then an astounding new life springs forth.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Help a bloggy-friend out

Hey guys Erin over at the Looney Bin is doing a walk to support a transitional counseling and assistance program for women and children who have experienced family violence. She survived an abusive relationship and she'd like your help. To donate and help Erin and her family walk for a 'cure'-click here:

Fight the frump with fussy

Hey, ya'll, here's my tip for the day: Go through your closet (right now) and pull out all those clothes that you KNOW don't fit you. In our area, this week we can take them to Goodwill (via Younkers/Bergners) and get a 20% off coupon to the store. Or, just take them to the goodwill or salvation army, after all, by the time you get back into them, they'll be back out of style. Seriously, k? Do some good, and either get some money back or get a credit for your taxes for next year. Peace, out.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

TV, Again

I know, how often do I blab on about tv, eh? But, I was a little disappointed in the Celebrity Apprentice tonight, not surprised, but a little disappointed. There's a lot of chatter on the blogs about good versus evil and Brit versus Redneck (which I'm sure TA takes offense at), yup, if you were looking strictly for a businessman, Piers did have a deeper Rolodex, with more money. It depends on what the game was all about, I think they both 'won' - as they got more attention to their charities. However, each one of the finalists had a different way of looking at 'the game' -- Trace thought it was about representing your charity, not letting them or yourself down or being disrespectful, and raising money in a way that kept up their reputation in an appropriate way. Piers thought that it was all about raising money, no matter how he got it done.

But I bet you that $300,000 he raised from 2 people last night that neither of those guys that pledged money for tea with the Duchess of York or a shopping spree with Ivanka Trump, would show up with a truck to help Piers move, or even lift a box. But I bet Eddie Montgomery would show up for Trace within the hour. Can I get an Amen to that?
Switching gears, is anyone else following Eli Stone? I can't decide if this is hilarious or mind boggling. This poor guy can't get ahead, he doesn't seem to get left behind, but somehow it turns out okay. So will he have his brain aneurysm removed? Or will he keep it in, keep the visions, and keep helping people, doing the right thing? Ack!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Celebrity Apprentice

Okay, I've watched like 4 of the last 5 weeks of this show, and I'm intrigued. I'm kind of glad that Trace Adkins and whoever the mean Brit guy is are going to face off tomorrow. Trace says on the commercial "I'm going to kick your A$s" which I find quite entertaining next to the sober, snobby British dude saying 'let the best man win'.

Gotta love them cowboys!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


That's SOS, folks. That's right, it's time for a Jericho update. For the last month, they've been saying, the last 3 episodes of the season, the last 2 episodes of the season. And last night? They say, the SERIES finale! Ahck! What the heck. Haven't we been here before? CBS, what is wrong with you? All the sudden you ditch this highly popular show?

Of course, you leave a cliffhanger, with the military general in charge of the area defecting, his men following suit and preparing to fight the corrupt government that formed in Cheyenne, WY after the wide-scale attack that paralyzed the US. He pardons the good citizens of Jericho who had been telling him all along that the government was corrupt. And, of course, our sometimes-heroes Jake and Hawkins, shoot their way through the Cheyenne government, plow through the sovereign Texas Embassy's gates asking for amnesty and rescue the last nuclear bomb, the proof needed to bring the Cheyenne government down and give the old government, based out of Columbus, OH a fighting chance. Texas gives them that, as they get them on a small Cessna, and a few miles outside of Texas, Cheyenne F16s catch up with them and lock missiles on the small plane. Out of nowhere the F16s go up in flames and the Texas Air National Guard guides them in, saying, I dont know what you have on board, but it better be good, I think I just declared war on Cheyenne. Hawkins, severely injured, gasps out to Jake, so how's it feel? To make history...

And their ending the series NOW?!?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Fun Monday A-Z

Swampy is our hostess for Fun Monday this week! Hop on over to the swamp and check out the other players. The theme is A-Z. We were encouraged to cheat. Rules, we don't need no stinking rules! Here goes! I chose Healthy Foods!

Applesauce, Apples, Almonds, Asparagus, Avocado, Artichokes
Bananas, Beef, Beans, Beets, Blueberries, Blackberries, Barley, Butter Beans
Carrots, Cauliflower, Chicken, Cheese, Cashews, Coffee, Cherries, Corn
Fruit Juice, Figs, Fish
Green Beans, Grapes, Garlic, Grapefruit
Ice Cream (calcium, people!)
Jam, Jelly
Kale, Kiwi
Lettuce, Legumes, Lemons, Limes
Milk, Mushrooms, Melons
Nectarines, Nut butters
Olives, Oranges, Oatmeal, Onions
Peaches, Peas, Pears, Plums, Prunes, Peanuts, Pecans, Peppers
Rice, Raisins, Red Wine, Radishes, Raspberries
Spinach, Strawberries, Sweet Potatoes, Star Fruit
Tea, Tomatoes
Ugli fruit
White Potatoes, Whole Wheat, Walnuts
Xigua (the only one I HAD to look up!)
Zest (Citrus), Zucchini

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easy Easter Dessert

Prepare a box cake mix and pour batter into 2 round cake pans. Bake as directed. Cut ears and bow tie from one cake. Trace a semi-oval on each side and the center becomes the bow tie. Once you have the lines you want, cut through to form the 3 pieces. Arrange cake, with ears on top and bow tie underneath. Frost and decorate as desired. Here he is without his bow tie. We used homemade frosting (plain and chocolate) twizzlers, m and m's for this one, and gave him buck teeth. Quite colorful, but yours can be as plain or as wild as you want!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Blogger Visit

Last night we visited KT in her new house! She and the whole family appear to be settling in just fine. Even the dog is happily running around, playing and being a good sport. It's a really nice house with plenty of room for the girls to grow into. Congrats KT!

Friday, March 21, 2008

D'Arcy's Pint

Taking a trip to central Illinois? The capital city hosts D'Arcy's Pint, an area favorite. Horseshoes/ ponyshoes, a local creation, is a specialty of the house, along with traditional Irish and American fare. Salads, burgers, pizza and more await you at this midwestern destination. Arrive early for a good seat, great service and friendly people. If you dawdle, you'll have to wait in line, but as we all know, that's the mark of a great local eatery.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Avoiding Debt...

Okay, so here's the scoop: You can never completely avoid debt. Show me anyone without any debt and they're either HUGE sacrificers, they're millionaires, or they don't have a penny to their names. How do you go about Debt Management ?

Here's what we did (and by no means do we have anything much or are rich, just so you know!) We took out some small loans with our credit union / bank. Then, once we had paid them back, on time, early, every time, they said we had unlimited credit pretty much, as long as we could make the payments. Basically, we established GOOD CREDIT with a financial institution. This allowed us to get a loan for our vehicle, which is paid down through sometime in 2009, again, the key here is to pay AHEAD, pay $300 if your payment is $225. This will lower your overall interest and provide a cushion should you fall into hard times (be sure to check with your financial institution to be sure they don't require a payment every month before you skip one).

In other areas, we did things such as taking advantage of no payment no interest furniture loans from places like Furniture Row/Oak Express, and buying one or two pieces at a time to keep payments low. We purchased dining room chairs, complete bedroom furniture, and some of our living room furniture that way. Basically, the deal is that if you take what you buy (say it's $1000) and it's financed for a year at no payments no interest, if you divide it by 12, or even 10, and pay around $100 a month, you'll pay it off early, and avoid the outrageous % rate of interest that is tacked on. I would urge you to ONLY do this, however, if you can make the payments and pay it off before the grace period expires. Otherwise, you'll get that extra $200 + added onto the end of your 'loan' -- the good thing is that depending on what you buy, you may have up to 5 years of no interest, as the economy does not always allow people to buy brand new at this point in time. Deals are being made to allow you to purchase, so that they always have money coming in, AND of course, they "want you" to default so that they get that extra interest. Also, you should treat credit cards very carefully, pay off your highest interest rate first, or transfer balances to lower rate cards (and THEN pay them off). Keep a maximum of 2 or 3 cards and shred the rest once they are paid off. If you know you have a good credit score and you still have a variable rate card, see if your company will switch you to a lower fixed rate, you'll have to call them. Oh and if you have to have that store card from Bergners or wherever, be sure you can pay it off that month, as they charge upwards of 25% interest for a store card. Use a lower interest card to pay for a bigger purchase. You'll be happier in the long run. That's how we manage our debt in a shortened version.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Definition of Mothering, by Sally Field

To have a mother's sensibility, you don't need to be female; you don't even have to have children. You just need to have a soul that cares about the future more than you care about yourself. That's what mothering is--laying down your life for the young so they can grow up into full people.

March 08 Oprah Magazine

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Best Jelly Beans...

Okay, so seriously, the 50 cent bag of Jelly egg jelly beans are seriously some of the best ever. We bought some just to put into this little chicken that... well just say you push down on him and jelly beans fall out of his posterior. It's kind of a gag thing that I got from Hallmark years ago and I buy jelly beans every year JUST for this season.

I was so disappointed in the star-burst jelly beans, as they changed the green ones from lime to green apple (icky) and then there were about half of them that I didnt like (although I loved the pink ones, just like I love pink starburst!), so this year we got these generic ones as a lark and also to decorate our Easter bunny cake. We decided on them this year instead of m and m's. By the by, I have no idea why on earth our bunny last year didnt have a bow tie, but he didnt. Maybe it was kept aside for someone who couldnt be there, I dont' know. It also could be that it was smothered in coconut and I didnt want it to touch the rest of the cake. Who knows. Either way, I just wanted to say that the generic jelly beans are awesome. (Okay I havent tasted the purple as I have an aversion to all fake-grape flavors, or the black because I hate licorice), but I can eat all the other colors, and I'm SO EXCITED! Yeah! jelly beans!

Irish Stew...

Yes, I dyed the noodles green. My husband loved it!


Have you ever had to witness an Intervention ? With the prolific spew of this on television, it would be amazing if you had not seen at least a commercial, a blip on a late night television show, or a blog post about 'someone' that 'someone' knows went through one because of a problem they had.

Here's the thing, people can need interventions for MANY things. Basically, it's when you have too much or too little of something in your life. AND when this becomes an issue with one or more areas of your life. This might be affecting your work, your home life, relationships with your children or parents, your friends, or your relationship with society in general. Addictions or neglect are examples of some reasons one might need an intervention. Luckily, I've only had to deal personally with viewing it on television, but I had relatives that lived with drunks that were totally in denial, and it was so sad to see their faces.

Addictions are not just for drugs anymore, either, people can be addicted to gambling, sex, computers, alcohol, and probably not love (per se) as the pop iconology, music and movies would like you to believe. This of course is a serious thing. You only have to witness a person in your life stumbling around once to believe that it's true, although they (and you) may deny it for some time to come. The point is, that often times people truly need help. If you are a dealing with a rational, healthy, person, they will probably thank you for your assistance, and agree to get checked out by a doctor. Of course, a sick/addicted person may very well be coy and clever enough to do the same thing. So do any of you have experience with an intervention? Or do you know someone who needed one, did not get it and now you feel it is too late?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Fun Monday: Only at the Mouse House

Nikki says: I don't know about you, but my family is great at creating strange words that only we know the meaning. Some were created when the kids were first learning to talk, others came about when our tongues were twisted and the word came out funny. Either way, the words stuck and we still use them in our daily conversations. What created words does your family use?! Please share the story behind the word if you remember. If you don't have a made up word then tell us about the unspoken way you communicate with someone. Stop by Nikki's and see who else is playing!
My husband and I are the only ones in our household. We have a whole 'nother language and when we are around other people we get a lot of weird looks. Basically it's a combination of movie phrases that we repeat to each other, and words made up from situations that only the 2 of us would 'get' because we were the only ones there. We have a really really fun relationship and we have so much fun and it's ingrained so far that it's hard to think of something in particular, but I'll try. Oh and they don't HAVE to make sense, that's the beauty of it!
1. Harummphf! (this we say in fake or real consternation with each other)
2. Spanish question words...of course using the correct one is preferred, but sometimes, we use the wrong one and that's okay too. We use these out of the blue for no reason at all.
3. "cheese it's good" -- this is a new one, my hubby says its from an old movie, but it's a thing, if one of us says the word cheese, the other is obligated to finish the phrase.
4. Needs more cowbell (I have no idea what prompts my husband to say this) but I always reply with MOOOO ding ding ding MOOOO. Kind of similar to don't have a cow man, but also can be, she had a calf with a bell on it (moo, ding, etc). Oh and if you just have a little cow is meh (moo cut short).
5. AUUOOO!!! eh hmm.. We howl at each other. Often. Sometimes, it's as if we're saying 'where are you' -- like if I wake up on the weekend before the hubby and I'm downstairs checking my e-mail, all the sudden I'll hear 'auuoo' and I know he's awake and misses me in bed (all together now... AWWWW!)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

New Shoes...

Okay, so I still haven't found the all-weather shoes that I really need, but these were on sale at JC Penney, so I gave them a whirl. I got an extra 10% off during the sweet sale. My husband, somewhat of a chocolate fan, didnt like their chocolate, but I was happy for the extra savings! These should be good enough to wear for 2 seasons (um spring and summer, dudes!) with jeans or with my snazzy black dress, if I have an occasion to wear it to again! I had been lacking in black sandals (I only had a 3 inch teetering pair of brown ones that are dangerous!) for an entire year, so I'm certainly glad I found these. They are 'juniors' sized, so I ended up with a 7, but that's good enough for me (think 5.5 women's)! I can't wait for it to be warm enough to wear these out! yeah!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Stuffed Crust Pizza...

See the cheese oozing out of the crust on the close up?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Fight the Frump ed. #6

It's time to talk about CLEANING! Wait, don't go! Okay, whew. Here's the thing, most of us have WAY too much stuff. We do, we buy things we don't need, or we buy something for convenience when we're out somewhere even if we might have the same thing at home.

In my neck of the woods, a robin showed up the past 2 days, and to me, that means that spring is on the way. So... spring cleaning! There's nothing frumpier than a messy house.

Here's the thing, I'd like for all of us frump fighters to make our house spring cleaning free. Yup, follow along with me here. If you take time throughout the year to get rid of things periodically that you don't use or need anymore, put other items in storage for long term, and take the time to declutter your house before things can get lost in the heaps of laundry on your floor, on your desk or under your couch, then your annual purge will take much less time and will be routine.

Step 1: Purge mail and otherwise create long term organizing systems for items that come into your house, front door or back. Invest in a personal shredder to shred those credit card offers, junk mail and etc. as soon as you bring in the mail. Shred personal documents or bank statements if you dont file them in a filing cabinet. Or, go green and have your statements sent to you in your personal email account. Don't forget to recycle those shreds! For the other items that come into your house on a daily basis, this is where organization is key. Something like this mail organizer (Target, $15) can help with organizing bills, important school papers for your kids (they can each have a slot) or other catchall things like a pen for signing those permission slips, stamps and envelopes, and a spare checkbook for lunch money. You could put this on a desk in a central location, or on a table that everyone checks before they leave for the morning, and where they put anything that needs taken care of, etc. when they come home at night. You could do the same thing with an on the wall organizer such as a magazine rack you might see in a doctor's office as well. Another handy item would be either a charging station or simply a valet for spare change, cell phones, and keys. Again, it's a one stop shop for all the items you need to drop/ pick up on your way in and out. One more thing, your kids and your spouse need a place to put their briefcase/laptop/bookbag/winter jacket/boots. Especially if you don't have a mudroom, catching those items before they are strewn all across the house and lost in the morning rush is important. Assign a cubbyhole, hook, or closet space to each child. If you have to, take all the junk out of your front closet and leave that for them. Invest in a small table, shoe racks, baskets for seasonal items (mittens, etc) and a good setup for your children to be self sufficient in putting away their stuff. If you do have a mudroom, a laundry room or other such area, installing some permanent solutions is a good idea, especially if you use an entrance off of that room. For a few dollars, you have a neat, compact way to organize the 'stuff' that takes over your house!

Step 2- Now that you've taken care of what goes INTO your house every day, you need to handle what goes OUT of your house. Where do you store your recyclables? In the garage? Kitchen? How about the means to get rid of your recyclables or trash? Do you have the bags WITH the items or are they in a random closet? Worse, are they in plain view because you change them so often? If necessary, put your box of trash bags in the bottom of your trash can and put the current bag on top of it. Voila, you've hidden the bags, shortened the time it takes to change the trash out, and organized all in one simple move. Look around and see what ELSE you can do to make your life easier.

Step 3- The big purge. I know you're dreading it, but don't! Take it one step at a time. Take empty bags or boxes with you for the purge. How's this for encouragement? Start with your closet. Pull out everything. Put back items you wear all year round. Be ruthless! If you haven't worn something in a year, it's too big or too small, leave it on the bed or chair. If you're done with wearing sweaters or long sleeves for the year, pack them away however you usually do this (suitcases, sweater box under the bed, etc)-- I suggest putting short sleeves away in the winter in the same place that you put your sweaters in the spring, that way you just 'trade' out those clothes from hanger to box, etc. If you have duplicate items, stained items or items with holes in them, make a decision on whether you really need them, or if they can be fixed. Be sure to note which winter items you haven't used this year and put them in the donation pile. By this time, you should have spring clothes and year round clothes in your closet, winter clothes packed away, and an amount of wrong -sized or unwanted clothing laying around. Basically, you will have only what you need. Grab your boxes or bags, fold clothes neatly and put aside for donation. Make note of the items you have to replace due to damage or wear. This means shopping! But only in moderation! Now put the destroyed items in the trash or rag bag (tshirts and holey socks make good cleaning cloths and save paper towelling) and take the donations out to your car, so you won't forget to drop them off at your local charity. Frump free closet!

Repeat with the rest of your closets, rooms in your house, junk drawers, medicine cabinet, and storage space. Done having kids? Pass on those onesies, have a yard sale, or donate them. I do NOT recommend having a yard sale of your own clothes, if you think they would sell, take them to a resale shop for commission, but don't let them back in your house! Otherwise, you'll stick them back in your closet. That, my friends, is frumpy! If your kids are overflowing with toys they can't use, follow the same procedure and install organizers that they can follow to put their own toys away. Something as simple as a clear file folder glued to the front of a box, and slipping in a printed picture or later, a word 'ball' or 'teddy bear' -- any category that your kids might use.

What's left? Do one drawer at a time, one nook or cranny at a time. Pretty soon, you'll have a frump free household.

By the way, I noticed that the Today show is doing a segment very similar to what I'm telling you! They have great websites that you can follow to find places to donate an old prom or bridesmaid dress, Nike recycles sneakers etc. Go check them out and see what you can recycle and have someone else get some use out of! De-clutter, de-frumpify and simplify!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Funerals, Young Lives, and Tragedy...

It's kind of a random thing, but 16 years ago today, one of my classmates died. Yup, a long time ago to be sure, but some things, like young death, stick with you for a very long time. It doesnt help that he was one of the only kids in my class that was nice to me no matter what, I felt completely abandoned and crushed when he died. It took a long time to get over, and for years, this date made me depressed, made me cry, upset me beyond belief.

Several times in my life, I've had to attend funerals of people who died too young. The above being one of them, another, a high schooler/family friend who drove drunk and wrecked his car. No one was ever the same after that. Neither of his siblings ever seemed 'alright' after that. They made poor choices and struggled to get on with their lives. Some idiots decided to drink to his memory, one pastor wrote into the paper encouraging parents to talk to their kids about the ills of underage drinking. For most people, it didn't change a thing. He visited me one night in a dream, he told me he was alright, I wish those other people could have gotten that dream, maybe their lives would have been different. Then I had a cousin who had kids my age (big family with a 2o year age gap in the generation previous) who died of breast cancer that metastasized to her ribs and lungs. She died around 40 or so. Another one had an allergic reaction of some kind, and they didn't watch her in the hospital and she aspirated on her own vomit. She had been at a church retreat. She was in her 30s and had never found the right guy. To be blunt, I was used, very used to younger deaths, they were tragic, people cried and said how unfair it was. There was always a significant amount of wailing and plenty of people had to be excused from the funerals to gather themselves.

When I went to funerals of some older relatives lately, well let's just say the mood was different. Yes, the closer family members who were around all the time and provided care were very upset, but it was a different kind of mood. No one wailed at how unfair it was, no one had to be taken out to gather themselves, the sense of injustice and why why why wasn't present.

Sorry to be so down today, it's just that it occurred to me how few 'justified deaths' I've witnessed, and how many, too young, too tragic funerals I've had to attend.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Do you ever just want to run away?...

Do you? Flip a coin and let fate decide where you land? I'm feeling like that today. I'm not really sure what I'd be running from, or running to. Maybe I'm just too cooped up in the house. It's been a long winter and I can't wait for all this snow to melt and go away.

I've been getting out quite a bit more since the weather has been warming up. I walked around 3 miles yesterday. That was besides my workout. I've been trying so hard to get healthy before time for me to go back to work later on this spring. I'm hoping the beautiful weather (comparitively) will be inspirational.

We've talked about a vacation but now we're not sure when we will take one, summer or fall. Really, though, I'd like to be in good shape before we go, but I'd love to just do it and get it over with, get some warm air into me before it actually gets warm here and feel a bit brighter before the duldroms of summer set in. What about you? Anyone else having the 'got to get away' feeling?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

St. Patrick's Day...

What do all of you do for St. Patrick's day? I'm pretty sure Beccy will have something quite different to say than the rest of us. To my internet readings, in Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is more of a family oriented holiday than a drunk fest or a reason to wear green and have big parades.

According to folklore, this days honors when St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. Indeed, from all reports, there ARE no snakes in Ireland. For those of us in the heartland that get a little flutter when one crosses our path in surprise, this would be welcome indeed.

Having Irish heritage, I try to at least follow a few things that we have most likely Americanized as traditions. My mom makes corned beef and cabbage. Last year, my hubby and I got some corned beef sliced and had reubens on St. Patrick's day. We also have made 'Irish Stew' before, which is also probably highly Americanized, and as we don't use lamb, is probably even further from true, but at least we try. We don't go out and get drunk, we do wear green, a little shamrock pin, and yearn for our homeland. Oh and I have a cd that I play at this time of year that has some racous songs about telling lies in a pub, coming to America to find a golden opportunity, and some sweet love songs. It's what we do on St. Patrick's day. What do you do?

Movin' on up...

The temperature that is! It's supposed to get close to 50 today! Woohoo! That means that the snow will start to melt a little more!

On Sunday, we finished scraping up the rest of the ice that was at the edge of the driveway/street. It was a lot of work, and my hubby should get most of the credit. He's the one with blisters all over his hands. He broke up the ice, and I did the scooping and tossing it off to the side. The thing is, all this time, we've been doing the whole driveway. Our neighbor kind of gave us a very backhand compliment, she said, you guys shouldnt be doing that, Tim (our landlord) should be doing that. The truth is, his responsibility is to clean the drive and sidewalks if it snows more than 3 inches. Other than that, his hands don't get dirty. We have gone out several times and cleaned our side of the drive, then felt bad and did hers. It wasn't that much more work, but a simple thank you would have been nice. Of course, we didnt do it for a thank you, we did it because it was the right thing to do. But spending an hour busting up ice several times for the last few weekends in a row should merit something, shouldnt it? We've had quite a few big snows, but it was the little ones that ground down and turned into ice on the driveway and from the street. Of course, the city didn't clean our street until last weekend, so from November until now it's been a rutty, ice gutted mess. Our nice shiny truck has been bumped so far out of alignment that it's worn our inside tire smooth. Not good. So thanks to the city, we'll have to get an alignment and replace that tire. Oh joy. Too bad all the idiots on our street couldnt have parked in their driveways sometime before February so that we wouldnt have had that rutty mess to contend with all winter long. Oh well.

The temps are supposed to warm up today. I plan on taking advantage of it, getting a walk in and maybe shoveling our patio if some of the ice loosens up a bit. Then all the hidden rabbit poo will hopefully make our buried marigolds grow some? Well I can hope! Tomorrow it's supposed to actually reach 50. For those of you saying big deal, well it is a big deal, as our temperatures have been below normal up until this point. This week it's supposed to ebb and flow, going to normal and then below, back and forth. We'll see what the rest of March holds later. With 2 holidays coming up, it'll be interesting to see if we get more snow. We ARE scheduled for more snow this week on the ebb days of 30 degrees.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A little pink, a little giggle...

Hi guys, just giving some props to Pink Basement Dweller, a new Fun Mondayer who is a 'younger blogger' to be sure. So be nice on your visit! She's got some cool pictures over at her blog, so go check it out!

I must admit, I'm not much for pink, but she makes it seem kind of cool. Okay the real reason for this shameless plug is that she's having a contest. I have no idea what the prize is, but hey, she's pink and a basement dweller. Does it really matter? Mmk. Didn't think so. So here's the deal. She is having a contest that runs until her birthday and she wants to know: What could you STUFF a pillow with. No liquids, and not just regular stuffing.

Here's my idea! DOG HAIR! Particularly fluffy golden retriever dog hair. Golden retrievers shed pretty constantly, and their hair is so fine and soft, and often times when my family had golden retrievers we would comment on how soft their hair was and how it would make great pillow stuffing.

Recently on Martha Stewart I saw that people are sending their dog hair to someone to have it made into yarn, that could then be made into sweaters for people or animals! So there you go PBD, Dog hair is my answer to your query! Why are you still here, go check her out already!

Project Support Beauty in Nature...

Just a quick one today - if we have food we don't eat before it goes stale or etc, we toss it out for the 'runny babbits' (my own insanity) and 'squirrelllls' (a la Veruca Salt, Charlie & Chocolate Factory). This goes for crackers, bread, etc. Anything we think they will eat, we toss it out and they gobble it up. Sure it might be bad for them, but hey, they ate it!

Scroll down for Fun Monday! Thanks for visiting!

Fun Monday - Movies Part Deux...

IT GUY says: I need YOU (yes, the wonderful YOU!) to pick 5 memorable lines from 5 different movies (if you could tell us which character said it and to whom, would be a bonus)...and tell us to WHOM (who in the people in your life) you could have said those lines.

I have said all of these to my husband from time to time. I don't see anyone else very often.

1. Are you okay? Are you sure? 'Cause you just went through a wall--said by one police officer to another, Gone in 60 Seconds
2. I didn't know you could read - said by Draco Malfoy to his friend, HP & the Chamber of Secrets
3. Stubborn Jacka$$/Smelly Ogre said by Shrek/Donkey one to the other, Shrek
4. Hi, How are you? said by Deb/Flo to her reflection in the fishtank, Finding Nemo
5. Scurry, sniff, FLINCH! Scurry, sniff, FLINCH! Quick before the Hyena comes! said by Timon, in private song, The Lion King 1 1/2

Now go over and check out everyone else that's playing!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Weekend ramblings...

We have NOT spent the majority of the last 2 weekends taking long walks, trying to break up ice and jumping in puddles. Really, we're grown ups, we wouldnt do that.

We also didnt go straight from lunch to popcorn with a movie yesterday. That would just be wrong.

Nor have we spent hours devising ways of keeping the squirrels from running off with all the corn so that the rabbits don't get any. Such a waste of time. Beneath us.

Nor hours oohing and ahhing over the local wildlife. We're much too busy for that.

Nor did we polish off half a bag of chicks and rabbits. Nope. You must be imagining it.

We were good citizens, read interesting but non-new agey books and manuals on how to be better citizens, discussing politics and saving the environment. Really!

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Yup I haven't talked about it in a while. That's because the Bears had a disappointing season. Unfortunately, it seems kind of like they may have another one. Have you ever heard of a sucker? It's the extra plant part that doesnt produce fruit, but takes nutrition. While retaining such 'suckers' as Cedric Benson and Rex Grossman, they're letting go of strong talent like Rasheid Davis, Mousshin Muhammad, Israel Adonije and Bernard Berrian. Sorry if the spelling is a little off there. Doesn't make them any less of a fantastic player if I can't spell their names, and I'm too lazy to look them up. Also being let go is Brian Griese, otherwise known as the quarterback that could.

Just like last year when I fumed over the loss of Thomas "Smarty" Jones, this year I will pound my fists in fury when Grossman and Orton suck it up as quarterbacks, and when the new inexperienced recievers they will draft to take the place of Muhammad and Berrian fumble and lose ground.

Bitter Bears Fan, signing off, grudingly missing football, but not really looking forward to pre-season.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Fight the Frump Ed. 5

Today's topic is all about...exercise!!! Okay, it's not really exciting, is it? But it's something we all need, basically every day. For the last 4 months, I have been working out along with a tv show for an hour a weekday (there are commercials, but I tend to 'keep walking' or 'do chores' on commercials) and it has really made a change my my physique! When I started out, I had no 'abs' - abdominal surgery had cut through all of it and trashed it 2 years ago. Now, WOW I have abs (you can't see them, but I can feel them!) My hands and feet are thinner, my D cups aren't straining to hold my bo0bs in anymore, all areas of my waist have gone down, and the side and back 'muffin' is all gone. I still have a little front muffin, sad to say. But, if you have a ways to go, progress is still progress! The biggest change is in my muscles. I have definition in my shoulders. Big bumps and hollows that weren't there before, defined, instead of rounded. Because my shoulders are already big (so wide as a kid-even though I was skinny-- that I often have trouble getting shirts to fit them), this is definitely a good thing! Biceps popping out, calves very shapely, less arm and thigh jiggle. I've only lost a couple of pounds, but the muscle, flexibility and shaping up is definitely appreciated by the man of the house! And as I said, I have abs! I can suck in my belly and it almost looks flat. Considering I "looked" about 5 months pregnant 4 months ago (and was not) this is a BIG improvement. In January, I wore a low cut close cut dress and felt fabulous! Almost everyone else was wearing sweaters and pants and I felt so sexy!
Incorporating this into your lifestyle is not as hard as it seems. Really! When I started out, I had 2 cans of vegetables for weights. This was difficult, as I have small hands, but I managed to hold onto them to do all the exercises (that's one pound each)... Even using your hands and pretending you are holding weights is better than saying 'forget it' and doing nothing! Now I have a set of 3 lb weights (for Christmas, I was thrilled!) and have gotten a ton of use and bigger muscles out of them. Yeah, right, you are thinking, but what about me? I for one have no baggage. No kids to worry about. I can do my workout, go get cleaned up, and not worry about a thing. Easy for me to say, right?
Here's a few tips, if you are lucky enough to "have baggage", like a toddler, mmk? Find your show, anything that looks interesting, and record it if its not on at a good time. Rent Richards Simmons from the library or video store if you must! Then, put on your shorts and tank top, sports bra, what have you, and get your bottle of water. Get a sippy cup of water for your kid. No really, water! If they work out with you, they'll need it! Oh and your weights or cans of veggies if you dont have weights! Then get your area in front of the tv and turn the show on. Tell your child it's time to play with mommy! Get them to listen to the music, dance around, etc etc. Teach your little boy how to make muscles! Teach your little girl that to grow up strong, you have to exercise! If they dont do it all with you, no big deal, if they do, great! They've expended energy and will go to bed a little better for you at night or at naptime. Needless to say, they are likely to stay 'where the action is' versus running off and getting into trouble.
If you dont have the concentration or your baggage includes an infant, turn off the tv, you know you're mad at Montel anyway! Ha! Then! Turn on the radio and dance with your little darlin. Lift, twirl, rock back and forth. It will be great bonding, and instill a love of music in them. Doing this everyday will also help transition them to a time where they're used to you exercising with them, and if they're old enough to make a muscle, they'll be ready to transition to toddler exercise! Even just a few minutes will be a breather for you and leave you feeling energized!
Older kids will likely be in pre-K or school, so you have a window of time there to do your workout while they are gone. I say, put your load of laundry in, and while you're waiting, do your workout!
If you can't take blocks of time, take advantage of your chores around the house to 'workout'! Make several trips upstairs to go to the bathroom instead of going downstairs. Take each child's clothes upstairs or to their rooms from the laundry room separately. YES, this takes longer. But the chores will get done, and you'll be healthier for it! Take time after lunch to walk around your block. Get out the stroller and go. You may find that you enjoy it so much that you want to go around again, or down another block. Or, walk around the park while your child plays nearby. Walk in a circle around the play equipment instead of standing or sitting while they play.
Even if all you can do is on Saturday when the kids need to run outside, it's better than nothing at all, and will likely spur you on to do more and more.
Trust me, you may not see huge results from this at first, but with a healthy diet, some vitamins, you'll start to feel better, and feeling better is one step closer to un-frumpy-ness! Fight the Frump!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Did you know?...

That when pasta is done (like macaroni, for instance), that you can throw it against a wall and it will stick? If it's not done, it bounces right off. I just KNOW that you're going to try that tonight!

That a police officer can use a radar gun in his side mirror and see how fast you're going (thanks officer Vern).

That I'm addicted to these? At Easter time, these are my crack cocaine! Oh they are kind of like circus peanuts! They are very hard to find, and when I saw them in the Hyvee ad for 3/$5, I screamed "Chicks and Rabbits" in a very high pitched voice three times in a row, calmed down, and conned my husband into buying me 6 bags. As you can see, this is the end of Bag #1!


Some of you have heard my tales of woe with insurance. But, in general we are happy with our previous experiences with Car Insurance

One of my favorite things about it? Is that we were able to shop online for it, compare quotes and policy differences, and think about it before we made a decision. There were no high pressure sales people, no follow up phone calls or reminder emails, it was heaven! We were also able to do 'what ifs' without being accidentally charged with insurance on a vehicle we did not own, which happened several times with one local small town dealer. As he eventually closed down, I gather we were not the only ones that happened to.

We were able to get insurance in our local area now with a local provider also by simply emailing and asking for a quote, which also was very simple. It allows you to do so at any time of day and any day of the week, and is a boon for 2 income families. It sure beats picking up the phone and waiting for them to shuffle papers or wait an indeterminable amount of time for a response. So, the next time you shop for car insurance, consider using your computer!

Warning, next post VERY candid, do not read if you're sensitive...

Just saying, don't beat up on me, you were warned!

Come on people - because I said so...

Bill Cosby was on a tv show today talking about this book. He co-wrote it and is following up his 'calling out' from 2006 to clean up "our" neighborhoods, which caused him a lot of grief. A lot of people whom he was speaking to directly were angry because he was 'airing out their dirty laundry'. I say "word up" people -- WE KNOW IT'S DIRTY, BECAUSE OURS IS DIRTY TOO.

I can remember though, learning about gangs and stuff when I was in grade school. How long has this gone on? Do the math. Okay, then subtract that number from when I WAS in grade school, and that's about when segregation ended. Look how far we've haven't come since the 60's. We're allowing the 'n' word in music. It's supposed to be positive, but as he said... aren't you sure that it's probably used in a negative way on the streets at night? (Hey if they show it on Law and Order, it must be true.)

He's basically calling out parents to know about their kids, their homework, what subjects they are taking, what's in their room-- just because you live there, doesnt mean it belongs to you--I think that's a lesson that ALL of us could use for our children. He says, look under the mattress. If your kid has a gun - you should already know about it. Check out their myspace page, see where they are going on the internet. Stop saying that you didnt know or couldnt know -- the signs are all there if you look. Stop letting your kids listen to foul music. You know it's saying curse words.

I'm sure a lot of my readers will find this RADICAL. Tell your child what to do? Goodness! That's just being mean, and they'll be mad at me! Yes! They will! But, as the title of the book says "Come On People" -- we can ALL be a part of the solution. What can you do? Well, start in your own backyard! Teach your own kids about what's good and what's bad, ask them about their days, and expect MORE of them than you do of yourself. Yup, hold them accountable. Expect them to behave and do as you say. If you only have an infant or toddler NOW? Hello! This kind of stuff is just around the corner. Sit down with your spouse and MAKE A PLAN. What will you do if she comes home drunk at age 14. Do you know? What will you do if she won't make friends with someone of a different race because "they are different"? Do you know? Someone posted recently about a situation with their child, but I was equally surprised that there was no PLAN as to what to do about it. MAKE A PLAN. STICK TO THE PLAN. Oh, and if the plan doesnt work, find something that will. Consistency is good, but consistency with something that doesnt work? Well then where are you getting? My parents always had an answer for everything.

If you do wrong, you get consequences. It doesnt matter if you're in a grocery store or in your living room. Ensure that your kids know that. Talk to your kids early and often about what the proper thing to say is in public, at the dinner table, something as simple as "we don't say that, it's wrong" in a firm tone will go a million miles further than ignoring it until they really ARE old enough to know better. You are the parent, you make the rules. It's your house and your 5 year old is not going to hate you FOREVER if you make him clean his room or do what you say. In fact, he'll learn respect and good manners, and he'll thank you.. one day.. in the far far future when he's looking for a wife and gets a nice one because you raised him right. But your life now will be a lot lot easier too, which isn't that what all of us want?

Have you noticed my tagline? It says "Because I said so" -- Probably one of the simplest ways to end an argument I've ever heard. Just saying ;-)

On forums, discussions, and censorship...

I WAS * part of a group that discusses various things, the main topic being the male species and how to treat him as a partner, etc. Overall, it's a pretty good group. There are a few people that tout how religious they are and then don't add anything worthwhile to the discussion, and most who just gloss over the issue and don't provide anything very meaningful. Some do actually post something that worked for them. The discussions are often interesting and helpful. People often ask questions and I answer them truthfully. That's why I got a candid award, no?

Apparently, some of the members are taking issue with it, and instead of challenging me or asking me personally about my opinion or just ignoring it? They're going to the forum owner.

I'm being asked to "tone it down" ...

So why is the candidness asked for and then so easily discarded? It's kind of sad, because it was a good way to share my personal knowledge (and I have been VERY truthful with situations we have been in regarding finances, communication, etc) and help other people who admit they are failures at their relationships...

Any thoughts? * I decided to end my association with the group. Why stress myself over it?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sorry to do this but...

If you want to leave comments from now on, you'll have to use word verification. I have been deleting the spam onces I have gotten over the past 2 weeks, but I deleted one today and this "Jason" who doesnt really have a blogger profile, posted the same spam comment 19 TIMES after I deleted it the first time. Me thinks he doesnt like rejection. Sorry dude. You're out.

Everyone else, be sure to word verify!

I got another award!...

Cool! This one is not meant to be passed along. Aren't I great? I don't have an ego, I just like home awesome I am ;-) Thanks Karina!

Eclectic Music Tastes...

Here's the playlist I built to listen to while I washed the counterful of dishes I had piled up from making chili and lasagna from scratch this Sunday and Monday:

Holding out for a Hero by Bonnie Tyler
You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette
1985 by Bowling for Soup
I'd just love to lay you down by Conway Twitty
If you don't wanna love me by Cowboy Troy
Austin by Blake Shelton
It's all been done by Baren @ ked Ladies
Finding a Good man by Danielle Peck
Good Directions by Billy Currington
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by The Beatles
Hillbilly Deluxe by Brooks and Dunn

songs I didnt get to because I finished by this point in time, but were on the list:
Hey Leonardo by Blessid Union of Souls
Love me Do by the Beatles
Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett
Happy Boys and Girls by Aqua
Ob La Di, Ob la Da by the Beatles

As you can see, I went through alphabetically by artist and just added a bunch of songs to a list and then hit shuffle and turned it up. I've always had eclectic taste in music and will build a playlist or in the old days, line up cds with awesome songs on them to play, somehow I had a knack for what sounded good together.

Anyway, that's a morning in the life of me... do you listen to music while you go about your chores? I find that it really lifts the spirit.

Poll Results- Push Presents...

Here are the results, for Push Presents - Fabulous or Flaky? vote (%)

I want one! - 1 (8%)

Why didnt I think of that? - 1 (8%)

No, the baby is the gift. - 9 (75%)

That's asking for too much. 2 (16%)

All in all, it looks like these are just not catching on quite like the internet article says. Stay tuned for another poll!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

(Not) All by Myself...

I haven't given my husband enough credit lately. He reads my blog, he "talks" politics and current events with me, and lately? He's taken to complimenting me on almost everything. The fact that I'm working out and slimming down a little bit? Check. The way I scoop snow off of the drive? Check. Cake? Check, including yummy noises!

I must admit, I was a bit suspicious when all this started. I have no idea why he does it, but it certainly does motivate me to keep going on my workouts and such. I think about how proud he is of me taking care of myself finally when I'm feeling down. Yes!

Also? He's been pitching in when I make something complicated for dinner and/or on the weekends. I made lasagna Sunday night, and he gathered ingredients, stirred things, and gave me some extra hugs and kisses during down times. It was really really nice.

Oh and since I have to do all the laundry on the weekend (as he's wearing dress clothes on Fridays and he only has 5 pairs of pants) and he hears me clanking around, he's taken to handing me clothes to toss in the dryer (keeping me from stuffing my head into the washer, where I have to stand on my head practically to get stuff out of there) helps me hang them up a lot now, and asking me to just leave his clothes on the bed otherwise, and he puts his own away. Wow. Wow. Wow.

I am so impressed and thrilled that even though I'm the primary house keeper, that he's doing his part on the weekends so that we can both have time together to hang out and just enjoy life.

PS thanks to him on Sunday I logged over 16,000 steps on my pedometer. That's 7 miles folks!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Happy Blogiversary to me!!!

Hey! It's my one year Blog-iversary! Woohoo!

I started reading my friend KT's blog way back when and finally decided to take the plunge.
I've had a lot of fun, and despite what I thought back then, plenty of people seem to care what I have to say!

Happy 1st Blogiversary also to BermudaBluez, who started her blog the same day I did!

Here's to another year and a great Blog365, NaBloPoMo and all that! Thanks for dropping by and I'll see you next time the blogs roll around.

Fun Monday... This Is Your LIFE!!!

Janet is hosting this week: Hollywood has come calling. They want to make a movie of your life story! So here's what I want to write about: Write the brief synopsis of this film that you might use to pitch this project and cast the principal players. Who would play you? You can either cast or ignore significant others, children and/or pets. This is, after all, YOUR movie about you you YOU! Illustrate as needed with casting photos or filming locations. Your life not interesting enough? Hey, this is Hollywood. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story!

A film about my life would have me being played by Jennifer Love Hewitt (you know any other normal looking twentysomething brown eyed brunettes with big bo0bs and a big but#?) Nope, didnt think so. Oh yes this would be a starry eyed romantic comedy where a couple learns to love each other through thick and thin, good times and bad, and learns to laugh at their problems and focus on their lives as whimsical fun times. What, it's my movie! As for my husband, I had to go trolling through some photos because how can you cast a good looking guy who has the duality of working on his own trucks and programming software while capturing that aww shucks quality on the side? Then it hit me, the perfect one: Jerry O'Connell. Come on, can't you see her handing him wrenches to work on an old truck and him stuffing down his rowdier side to sit in a cubicle, but still making people laugh? Oh and she'd make fabulous money doing something that allows her to volunteer and such on the side. What? it's my movie! It doesnt have to be based on fact.

Oh and to my hubby, my dear, you can play alongside JLH when I can play across from JO'C. Deal? Ha! My hubby thought he'd actually get to be cast in the movie with JLH. No way!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Renting out the house you can't afford...

The housing market, at least in the US, is a bit topsy turvy. It's a buyer's market, with plenty of people hoping to get out from underneath their own house and upgrade to something that will fit their expanding family. Take my friend KT for example: she is in the process of doing that very thing. She's in a good position, though. They're buying and selling at the same. Some people aren't.

What I can't figure out, is why those people with the "unbalanced" Mortgages don't just rent their houses out to schmos like my husband and I, who really want a house to rent, but can't afford or don't want to buy a house right now? We have a condo right now, but of course my husband wants a 'bigger than one stall' garage, and despite our many attempts to suggest so, our doors haven't been caulked around, so in the winter we get a cool breeze and in the summer little bugs can crawl in under the door. A house would hopefully have a little better construction.

If so many people have ended up with a mortgage they can't afford, why don't they move into a lower rent place and rent out their own house for a year or so and wait on the market to rebound? Then they can keep additional debt from weighing them down and make a little money on the side. Sure, they'd have to take care of the house for the tenants, but they'd have to do it on their own anyway.

We're hoping that with the possible change in power in the US that the markets will once again be at a steady pace. The American dream will be able to get back on track and once again people will be able to afford the home that they really want.

Digital camoflage...

Have you taken a close look at army camoflage these days? Even THAT is going digital. It took me a while to figure out what was "wrong" with my eyes, and then I realized that all those little patterns DID have square edges to them. The new 'camo' looks like a scrambled digital photograph made up of square pixels. Not exactly the 'leafy green' camo of ages past...

What is that saying, times they are a 'changing?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

What's a girl's best friend?...

This site makes me think about a lady from our church, whose bright outfits and fancy jewelry makes it seem like she sparkles all over. I'm sure she'd buy something from this store such as platinum wedding bands

This site has some very fancy items, out of my price range, but as I know some people's engagement rings cost as much as a used car, I'm positive there are people out there that could afford something like this gorgeous frog pin. If I were in the market for some great classic jewelry, this would definitely be a site worth checking into.

Rolling on the River...

Has anyone taken a cruise before? What did you like about it? What didnt you like about it?
I'm particularly interested in the excursions and of course the bonus is, how do you keep from spending a bunch of extra money while you are on them? For instance, do you go off of the ship and back on fairly easily, for instance hanging out for the morning, having lunch and a rest on the ship, and then heading back out for an afternoon scuba adventure?