Friday, August 28, 2009

this gift bites

Most people have a vision of the post office that includes smelly, half dressed people waiting in line to ship 4 bottles of bathtub moonshine to Uncle Zeek while the people behind the counter typically have as much enthusiasm to carry them through their day as I give a shit to hear about how someones cousin had a tooth fall out from eatin' some bad jerkey.
Not to mention that most USPS stations havnt been updated in any way since 1974. Not that they need to drop money into making it nicer than the Hilton but at least as nice as a HoJo would be great.

But somehow something as simple as a package or a small letter mailed from these typically seedy establishments can bring such joy to another.
And sometimes anthrax it seems.

I am not talking about bills or junk mail.
I am talking about cards from friends and family. Sex toys you ordered off of the internet. Coupons for free items at the grocery store. And birthday gifts to celebrate your life.

I have a group of friends who live on the corner of 3th and 5rd. We like to send gifts and goodies to each other.

I received this beauty just last night...

she made me a custom gift tag with a fork tied to it.
The fork reads...I heart Forks. Hehe...
Clever bhc, clever.

The magic inside was so much to keep inside that I screamed.
Loud enough that Carah came downstairs to see what hapened.

Here is said magic in all of its glory.
If you are not a Twilight fan of any sorts then this is all totally lost on you.
If you are a fan then you'll understand how awesome my friend bhc is to make me such an amazing gift.

The covers of the 4 books were adorning the white boxes...filled with m&m's.
And she even stuffed coconut m&m's in there. My new favorite.

She obviously loves me.

And a beautiful new label to a Jones Soda.

An apple. How fitting...
And a custom mix CD from all of Stephenie's favorite songs she listened to while writing the series.

Last but not least...bandaids.
To protect my precious, precious blood.

Thank you sofuckingmuch for my gift. I love it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

WFMW: green cleaning with household staples

Vinegar is one of those items that almost everyone has tucked back in a cleaning closet or under your sink or in some place in the basement that you only venture to after you have bug bombed the area to be sure it is secure.

Once you locate it you can find out all sorts of green ways to clean with it so you dont have to buy overpriced and lethal chemical cleaning agents again.

Baking soda isnt so hard to locate for most - simply look near your spices, herbs or other baking agents.

Here are some of my favorite ways to clean with vinegar and baking soda.

**For sluggish or clogged drains pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain.
Add 1/2 cup white vinegar and cover the drain if possible.
Let set for a few minutes, Then pour around 5 cups of hot hot hot water down the drain to flush it. The combination of baking soda and vinegar breaks down fatty acids into soap and glycerin, allowing the clog to wash down the drain. I use this in my tub and in my kitchen drains.

**Use baking soda on a damp sponge to clean and deodorize all kitchen and bathroom surfaces

**Vinegar removes deposits which clog your metal shower heads and sink aerators. Combine 1/2 cup white vinegar and one quart water submerge the shower head or aerators and boil 15 minutes.

**And of course the old volcano science experiment is a classic with these two household ingredients!

This works for me...what works for you? Look for all of the WFMW tips HERE.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

the impending 28

Who says Alzheimer's is for the elderly...

Who said what?

What was Who?

And the next thing that I picture is fruit Loops.
With steak.
And a picture of a baby on a horse.

This has been my thought stream for the past few days.

I have been forgetting the simplest things and even the things that I am writing down so that I don't forget them...have been forgotten.

The one thing that has been on my mind a lot has been my impending entrance into the 28 club.
I know that many of my friends didn't have a coronary or sprout gray hair when they aged over 27 (which is really good news). But that doesn't change the fact that I don't want to have my 28th.

Getting closer to 30 isn't a big deal. People do it everyday. I am not scared of getting older.
I am just not particularly partial to it.

I do however like how crafty I have been getting with the grocery bills in my upper twenties. Free food throws itself into my cart and I happily take it home to share. I am able to supply my own family, my brother, my mom and even my grandparents with the staples for their homes...and mostly for free.

With my recent purchases of 14 4-packs of yogurt for free and 15 bags of Birds Eye frozen vegetables for only $3 at least we can round out our diet of cereal to fit in other food groups.

Fruit loops.
With green beans and vanilla yogurt.

Temping...but with the post-summer brain I am working with I will have forgotten this all by the time the work day is over and then Ill be viewing old Steamboat Willie cartoons in my head just to pass the time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cheetos is a food group in my house

When you have children in your life you learn a lot of information very quickly.

-That you'll never sleep again
-How to change a diaper without being covered by the goods that your babies ugly bits produce
-How often your baby spits up
-How much spit up covered laundry you do each day
-The weekends are no longer yours. Unless you have a sitter.

But the most important of that information includes...

-How much wine or beer you need to get through that last hour of Candy land
-The absolute earliest you can put your child to bed so you get some peace and quiet (or more time to drink without them judging you) without them waking up at 5am wanting to play
-How many days you can go without washing the dishes or laundry without your house smelling
-How to explain to them that No, they cannot watch TV...but you can anytime you want.
-How to explain that Yes, adults can have snacks whenever they want. You = cannot.
-How to do the least amount of work possible and still having your children think you are the do-it-all mom type parent they think you are
-That load of laundry will not fold itself, but it can sit there for three more days while you catch up on Gossip Girl and 90210 after work
-Peanut Butter & Jelly totally works for dinner. With Cheetos.
-How to work in that small amount of me time into your day while still 'paying attention' to the kids

Of course there are many more to round this list out.

But I am a fan of doing the least amount of work possible and reaping the rewards that come with doing 'everything right' in the eyes of the children.

The quality time with my children that we all love most is me sitting on the couch while they color and I watch a movie on HBO. Quality time is very important for the nurtured upbringing of happy kids.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

WMFW: The 3/50 project

I was recently introduced to the 3/50 project.
I had never heard of it and the thought behind it is amazing.

They are 'saving the brick and mortars our nation is built on.'

The information they pass along is quite it and pass it along if it is something you believe in.

3 - What three independly owned business would you miss if they disappeared? Stop in. Say hello. Pick up something that brings a smile. Your purchases are what keeps those businesses around.

50 - If half the employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned independent businesses, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue. Imagine the positive effect if 3/4 the population did that.

68 - For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home.

1 - The number of people it takes to start the

Pick 3. Spend $50. Save your local economy.

Read the rest of the Works For Me Wednesday tips at We Are THAT Family.

Monday, August 17, 2009

wondering what to do with leftover dryer lint?

It is extremely easy to tell when we have a crabby and tired 5 year old girl on our hands.

She's awake. (rim shot)

No, no. She is typically a joy to be around and has a zest for life that is contagious.
She loves to play with others but has been doing so great at learning to play on her own over the past few years.

But as all almost 6 year old children do...she gets tired.
Then whiny.
And likes to stall and complain.
It is genetically programmed into children to go off about 20 minutes before bedtime and around this age marker.

Lucky us.

Saturday night was one of these nights.
She was brushing her teeth and then asked for 'some mosquito bite stuff' to help with the itching. The stalling took center stage.

I poked my head into the bathroom to find dad applying 'that mosquito bite stuff' to her back and she was crying (tired crying of course). So I tried to alleviate her complaints by throwing her off track.

It went something like this...

Me - Carah, your blood is just too tasty. Those mosquitos love to bite you. You have to learn to tell them no.

Carah - Ugh.

Me - Just start eating foods that mosquitos don't like.

Carah - Like what? (her mood starts to turn around drastically)

Me - Pickles and mustard.

Carah - GROSS!

Me - Okay, onions and garlic.


Me - (spent a moment thinking of an oddball combination) Aha. Ive got it now. Fingernail clippings and dryer lint.

Carah - (looks at me as if I just called her best friend Lucy the doll a whore and kicked the smile off her face) (I didn't) (this time) Um...what?

Me - Yeah, I think we have some lint in the dryer still! (grabbing her hand) Lets go!

We proceed to run to the laundry room where we make a large ball out of the dryer lint from the recent load of fluffy towels that just finished drying. Fluffy towels makes for super fluffy dryer lint.
Me - *whispering* take this and pretend to eat this in front of dad as a joke.

Carah - Okay!

Carah runs into the family room where dad was waiting for our nonsense to end and she pretended to eat the dryer lint to get rid of the mosquitos.

We learned this weekend that we need to work on our pretend eating.


She put the lint in her mouth.


I grab the lint from her hand and take a chunk off of her tongue. She then starts to cry, drinks everything in sight she can find and the 5 year old bedtime moodiness sets back in.
As soon as she had drank her body weight in water she was done crying and her mouth was lint free...and yet so dryer fresh!

I said my goodnight, told her to not eat lint anymore even though it would get rid of the mosquito bites and she looked at me and said...'what was the other thing you said?' 'Oh, yeah! Fingernails'...then pretends to bite her nails.

Only she didn't pretend.

Lordy be.

I can't wait to break her bad habit I helped her to start over the next few years.

The true test will be if the lint and fingernails actually helped repel the mosquitos this week. This just may become a weekly snack. And a green way to dispose of dryer lint.

you get to share a room!

What it feels like for a child to be told they are getting a new sibling...

Watch the hilarity HERE.

You wont be sorry.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Free e-copy of The Full Plate Diet

Were you one of the lucky 20,000 people to receive a free, advanced copy of The Full Plate Diet? Great! Then you already know how amazing this book is! I tore through my copy in one evening. The information was easy to retain and really opened my eyes to the current state of my diet.

For those of you who missed out on it you can go here to request an electronic version of the of charge!

Starting tomorrow, August 15, sign up to receive your free copy. In The Full Plate Diet you will learn so many interesting and valuable facts about your food that you may not have known. You will learn that fiber is your best friend, which foods give you the most bang for your fiberous buck and amazing recipes that help you along the way.

We have already tried a few of the recipes since I received my book almost two weeks ago and wow! Everything I have tried so far has been delicous and easy to prepare.

lost at sea

Lately I have been feeling terribly lost.

Zigged when I should have zagged.
Turned left when I should have turned right.

My desk looks a mess.

The house looks a mess.
I cannot seem to get the cleaning under control.
Or I forget to clean something...and have no ambition to go back to do it.

Everything feels out of place and out of sorts.
Everything feels wrong.
My stomach is hungry (or so it tells me) but I am not in the mood to eat.

Just feeling down.
Life needs to kick its ass into gear and start making sense again.

Because everything lately has been reading as if it isnt an option at all.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

inflatable corn? check.

Last Friday night we ventured out to my favorite Toledo festival...The Northwest Ohio Rib-Off.
Normally when you go you wait in 30 minute lines to claim your ribs and eat while standing because the place is jamfuckingpacked with people who you don't want to touch you b/c you already took one shower this week and you really don't want to take another. But the fear of scabies is strong so showering would be a necessity. But this must have been a gift from the Gods because there were NO lines whatsoever (it might have also been the hovering rain clouds).
I loved it.

We ate pulled pork, ribs, fried vegetables, slaw and we had beer...glorious beer. I saw people from high school who I didn't say hello to because I was scared (sorry Natalie!).
We people watched and saw some really interesting characters.

We did NOT have the chance to have some Farm Fresh Roasted Corn but the blow up corn man was just about my favorite thing there this year. He made my trip blog-worthy.

I did receive a free bottle of the best sauce ever...Pigfoot. Why did I get it free? No Fucking Clue!
Jeff and I were paying for our pork products and then someone I assume to be the owner came over and handed me this bottle and told me to enjoy.
He was wearing an angels of darkness t shirt with the sleeves cut off and swastika tattoos.
I took the free BBQ sauce gladly and squirreled it away in my purse.
I was sketchy at first thinking it was tainted with LSD or some sort of date rape drug...but then I noticed it was sealed. So I doubted the LSD.
Bummer, right?

When the heavens did finally open up and start raining we headed out to our favorite hole in the wall and enjoyed the standard popcorn and beer. Then everyone looked at me funny because I took a picture of the beer and popcorn and I decided I would call it a night with the camera.

And after being forced to take my second shower for the week it makes up for it that the Rib-Off is always a good meal in the making.
What kids of festivals/fairs does your city have?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

ah, the art of incest

One of my favorite things to do in my spare time and before bed is read.
I have always been one of those nerdy kids who liked to read.

I was totally into the V.C. Andrews books when I was younger.
Most of them are series of 5ish books telling the torrid tale of a rich family gone wrong.
With incest.
And slapping.
And more incest.

What 12 year old girl doesnt want to read a soft soft soft core porn tale of a brother sleeping with his long lost sister...only to father her child (who of course is born without any abnormality of any kind) and then run away and live a perfectly happy tale of enchantment with no money to speak of?

A few years ago a friend turned me onto the site Goodreads. This site has become such a staple whenever I find a new book I want to read. This site list practically every book ever written and you can add them to different categories...such as 'read', 'to-read' and 'currently reading'. You can even create your own categories to store books in.
I have all the books listed under 'to-read' instead of trying to remember what the hell I wanted to read next whenever I go to the book store. I used to try and save that tiny freakin post it note that I scribbled down the title of my next book purchase.
Only to lose it.

Now, before I shop I pull a few ideas from this list and I am on my way...spending less headache induced hours at the book store trying to decide between 3 different books. I am hideous at deciding on books. Its the slight OCD side of me that wont let me just pick 1 book. I have to have them all.
But since I am not made of money this doesnt happen I used to literally spend hours there trying to pick a book.
When there wasnt even a wrong choice.

This has cut down on my insanity quite a bit!
I live by goodreads and it is invaluable to any reader!

WFMW: breaking the rules

We always sometimes have a house of order.

Bed time is at 7pm at 8pm for the munchkins.
Dinner time is near 6pm-ish.
Naps on the weekend are just after lunch.
You are not excused from the table unless you have finished chewing that last bite in your mouth and your milk is finished.
If you do not eat all of your dinner you dont get dessert.
Brush your teeth.
Take a bath.
Toys and all other kid-centered stuff has a home...keep it there when it is not in use.
No running in the house.

You catch my drift.

Of course there are those times when we have plans or there is a mini disaster and we get way off track from our original plan.
When that happens we just make the best of it and hope everyone ends up with full bellies and a pillow under their head when they crash.

The best way to keep the rules is to break your own rules every now and then.

Let them stay up late to watch the end of a show or movie or to finish that game with you.
Let them have ice cream when they didnt finish all of their chicken at dinner.
Have breakfast for lunch or dinner.
Make dinner a potluck of (healthy) snacks instead of a traditional meal.

Showing your children that you can bend is the best way for them to respect the rules. They understand then that the rules are important and that they are meant to be followed and it also shows them that the adults in the family know how to have fun still too.

This has worked in our house in the best way. The kids know to follow the rules but they also know that we are able to bend them when necessary.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I was impulsive

Old me...

New me...

Minus 6 inches of hair.

her first trip to her new favorite place

Last Sunday we took Carah to Cedar Point.

We promised Carah that when we thought she was ready mentally we would take her and have the most exciting day ever.

Why did I say mentally?

Because Carah is tall.
Her parents are freaks of nature.
They are giants.
They are both over 6 feet tall. Jeff is 6'6".
Shit, right?

So she has been ready according to her height for quite some time.
She is not even 6 years old and she is nearly the same height as me.
I am only 5'1''.

I am afraid of what happens to that child during puberty.
My new idea is to ship her away for a few years because the cost of new clothes and shoes that fit is going to bankrupt us I think.

Back on track...Cedar Point.

We took her for her first trip on Sunday. She freakin loved it...

she read in the car on the way there

she loved her first ride.
She drove me around in this yellow Jeep-ish creature.

We rode on a kiddie size lazy river

We had a lunch at Johnny Rockets that blew our food budget out of the water.
But they did give us a smiley face.

That totally makes up for it.

And what did she get to eat?
Peanut Butter and Jelly.
For over $6.

When she got bored in line she made up her own games.

She drove me and daddy around in a car.
And she is totally ducking under the low bridge.
I think she's going to clear it...

We found her favorite ride - The Matterhorn

We rode Lucy's Hot Air Balloon ride.
It spins.
A lot.
Like I got so dizzy I was happy we didn't have to stand up right away.
Because I would have fallen over.

Her second favorite ride
The Frog Hopper

We took a kiddie swing ride

We rode the Jr. Gemini.
Shortest. Roller. Coaster.

Carah enjoyed her afternoon snack - a chocolate chip
cookie ice cream sandwich as big as her head.

After the water rides she and dad pose for a shot to show me how wet they got.
(we brought dry clothes in the car to change into for the hour ride home - I totally planned ahead on that one)

We took cheesy Cedar Point pictures

Carah hung out with Chuck

Jeff, Lucy and Carah caught some time on a bench to rest.

Sally, Linus, Jeff and Carah waited for the Great Pumpkin to appear.
And once we remembered it was only August 2nd, we told them we'd be back.

Then on the way out of the park
(we did the water rides last so we were not wet all day)
she caught sight of these fountains and just HAD to play...

It was a beautiful day. And there were hardly any lines on the kiddie rides.
And Carah was a saint all freakin day. No whining. No complaining. No pouting...Well, Jeff and I also put the fear of God into her that if she did any of them we would just leave and not take her back until next year.

It totally worked.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

she is going to be so pissed at me

I am totally trying to eating better and becoming a better person.

I....I just have momentary setbacks.

Like just today when I was out running errands for work and stopped
at Walgreen's and bought two bags of Dove chocolate, 2 boxes of Nips
and two packs of gum...then I got up to the register and saw that they
had coconut m&m's.
So I HAD to get them.

They are after all a limited edition flavor.
I didn't want to be the ONLY person who didn't try them.
And I got a $1 register reward for the it wasn't a
total loss, right?

BUT I haven't even eaten any of it yet.
I am going to be GOOD.

I am even shredding tonight....But there is something about Jillian.

She is just like a great white shark.

Or a dog.

Or a dog shark.

She can smell fear from a mile away.
And nachos.

So she already knows what I did. And I will severely pay for it.

UPDATE - totally caved and ate the ENTIRE bag of coconut m&m's...and two pieces of Dove chocolate.

Monday, August 3, 2009

WFMW: in the prep work

Now, I do not have kids of my own.


I do have two great kids in my house who live with their daddy 1/2 of the time and with their mom the other half.
I have been living with and caring for these little boogers angels for over two years.

I have been there through the bottle feeding, up 4 times at night, crying because they are worn out, the baths, the hair pulling, the crying, the happy tears, the devious looks....all of it.

And even though they are not my kids...I treat them as if they were.

And they know it.

I do all of the grocery shopping in my house.
I prefer to.
If Jeff went to the store we would have plenty of chips, pretzels and frozen foods like bagel bites and toaster strudel. This isnt what keeps us healthy and happy. Well...happy but not healthy.
I make sure that the kids are happy and healthy with their food. I try and do the same with Jeff and myself.

I am also a semi-novice to the couponing game. I have been getting loads of items for free or near free. I stock up on items we frequently use and need so we have them on hand.
We have food that will last for months.

But I love to have fresh and homemade meals available to my family. I also have a fulltime job. And the cleaning and cooking to do.

So I dont have hours to cook meals and hours to make sure the family is eating healthy foods. But I do have the time to cook great food so we dont have to rely on frozen pizza and chinese food all the time.
I have found that I am able to do this through my prep work.

I go to the grocery store with a healthy foods and make sure we eat them before they go bad.
When I get back I put all of the food away and get meals ready for the week.

A simple way to prep is to make sure healthy snacks are available for the munchkins to grab when they (or I) need to.

Have fruit ready to eat.
I section grapes out into baggies so even if they want them for a meal they just grab a bag. Have pears and apples out and washed.

Some of the kids favorite snacks I make sure are ready to go to save the time during the day with them...
cheese slices
raisins and other dried fruit

And in regards to meals...most of our lunches are leftovers so we do not waste any food and then dont have to pay for lunch out somewhere.

Dinner is almost always semi-prepped before the meal. If I am going to use onions or green peppers or cucumbers I make sure and chop them when I have the time so I can spend my time with my family instead of stuck in the kitchen.

I also found that cooking 2 meals at once is an easy thing to get into plus it cuts down on stove and oven time in the hot Ohio summers we typically have.

After dinner I place our leftovers into containers and put them right into our lunch bags in the fridge. In the morning all you have to do is grab your bag and you are ready.
This makes it so much easier in our house.

I plan on pre-packing lunch for Carah when she starts kindergarten this month.
I try and do as much as I can at night so that the mornings are a little less hectic.

This works for us...what works for you?