Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ice Fishing and the best consolation prize ever

So this morning I decided I would take the girls shopping in the city. I had a 20% coupon for a kids' clothing store and we also stopped at Trader Joe's to pick up a few things not available in our teeny local grocery store. I bought all kinds of ingredients to make pizzas and baked mushrooms tonight. That should be fun and Mae wants to make a cinnamon sugar dessert pizza. We'll see how confident I feel about her slinging flour and cinnamon all over my kitchen. Maybe pics on Monday.

Anyhow, after shopping the girls and I decided to brave the cold and visit Uncle Stu and Uncle Nommy out ice fishing on the lake.

The girls were so excited to witness ice fishing again but when we arrived the guys already had everything set up, so there really wasn't anything to do and no fish were biting the whole time we were there. The guys did catch one fish (a brown trout, if you must know) earlier, so my younger brother hauled the half frozen fish out of the ice shanty and brought it over for the girls to see.

They were quite impressed with the fish but Binny took an extra step back and asked her Uncle if the fish would bite her. She was happy to see it go back in the bag and I was kind of relieved that they didn't catch one when we were there. She isn't scared of our 137 pound Saint Bernard, but small animals freak her out. We stayed for a little while until our fingers started to lose their feeling and Binny had an icicle forming at the end of her drippy nose.

We arrived home and discovered a package in today's mail from Hair of the blog sponsor A Reservation For Six. Rachel must have felt bad for my poor showing in the hair growing contest that she sent a pair of very festive St. Patty's Day socks that will also keep my legs warm.
Binny Modeling

Too fun! Thanks Rachel!! I wonder what Shady Lady received for a consolation prize? Remember she was the one with the very hairy pits...

Mae is out in the shed with Daddy and Uncle Goo-Goo getting dirty helping to accessorize (is that an appropriate word to use when talking about man things?) the new ATV that arrived yesterday. Binny is quietly assembling a puzzle in the living room and A Prairie Home Companion is on the radio. I love Saturdays!

Friday, February 27, 2009

An Open Letter To My Washing Machine

Just die already! Seriously, you have put in many years of service and deserve a break, and really so do I. You cost me nothing, this I know. You showed up at our door on an appliance dolly still in the prime of your life ready to go again, and I appreciate that.

You washed my clothes for a very long time faithfully without so much as a peep or leaky hose. You accepted the fact that I have a tendency to herniate overload you all the time on occasion. You didn't bitch, and I appreciate that too, I really do. But recently you have had some slight issues and I don't want you to feel bad or anything but there comes a point in life when... well things don't work like they used to.

You used to do an entire load of rugs without any trouble, now you grunt an groan over a simple load of whites on the delicate cycle. I mean come on, delicate? how more careful can I be? Your fun antics of shaking and gyrating all over my laundry room has started to scare my children and make a mess now that you have lost all control of your fluids. Yeah we could probably have you repaired but at this point I would rather put you to rest and maybe even recycle you so you could live again in another form. So please before I have to get out a hammer and smash your innards, GIVE IT UP. And while your at it take your lousy dryer friend with you.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Adventures in Photoshopping

About a year ago I bought Photoshop Elements to help me do more extreme photo editing. Little did I know photoshop (even Elements) is a complicated program, for me at least. Hubby and I have used it a few times to fix a few huge minor errors but I have never played around with the different layer effects, until yesterday. Blogger Kelly posted a link to some free photoshop actions and I felt inspired to try it out. The actions are super easy to use once installed and produce beautiful photos! Thank you Kelly!!!

This was the color pop action adjusted almost all the way to B&W.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wardrobe Wednesday

This is one of Binny's favorite pair of pants. Not only are these pants oh so cute, they have super levitating powers.

We received these stripe pants second hand (although brand new with the tags still on) from some people we know who have 8 children. They give us first pick at any of the stuff they are getting rid of, I then go through it, snag what I want, give the rest to local thrift stores and give them the donation receipt. Great system right? So besides being adorable, they were free. Bonus!
She has outgrown these cute pants, but don't worry, she has a new favorite pair of leggings. Actually I made sure to buy 2 pair so that I could have a little more time to do the laundry before she has a complete meltdown about not having "the good pants" and refuses to get dressed until her outfit is clean.
*That last part is all a big lie, my kids are angels and never have tantrums. Pshaw!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

This is Interesting

I'm surprised I haven't seen this on any blogs. We don't have cable, so I just heard about this today.

This is Bristol Palin's (you know Sarah Palin's teen daughter who was pregnant during the election) first ever interview on Fox News. That sounds pretty safe right? They treat her Mom pretty well, why would this be any different? But then they had to go and ask her sneaky questions.

I love her views on abstinence. Bright girl that Bristol.


After almost 6 months of blogging I finally decided to add a header photo. Right on top of things, huh? What do you think? I know some people think that feet are gross, but I felt that I needed to incorporate the name of my blog in my blog. And seriously if you haven't been grossed out by now, you've probably got an iron stomach.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pasta With Seven Cheeses

It seems like I've been posting a lot of recipes lately. I guess that wasn't my original intention for this blog, but cooking certainly is a big part of my mom duties, so I have decided to try to limit myself to one recipe a week unless something huge happens like I invent a new way to temper chocolate or something groundbreaking like that. That said, today I'm posting a recipe.

Wild Child at Naked Opinions posed a frugal friend challenge a few weeks back and I promised I would participate, but honestly I haven't found anything really great that I want to put my name on as simple, fast, and inexpensive. So I am submitting my old trusty pasta with seven cheeses bake. I have no idea the cost per serving, but I usually have most of the ingredients in my house. I will say that I have eaten a similar dish at a super yummy Italian restaurant that was a hefty $18.00 a plate. This whole meal was probably less than that with plenty of leftovers.

I discovered this recipe several years back while watching The Barefoot Contessa on the food network. I changed it up a bit and now feel comfortable calling it my own. This is a great one to make the day before and pop in the oven after work. I have used Rigatoni, but this weekend I made it with medium shells instead and I must say that the shells worked very well because they trap in the sauce and the cheese so it is a little easier for the little ones to eat.

Now for the recipe:
1 box of pasta rigatoni, mezza-rigatoni, shells, whatever is in the pantry.
1 pound of Italian sausage or ground beef spiced up with a little red pepper flakes and garlic
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream
handful of capers (little green things that looks like peas but taste like olives)
fresh mushrooms, sliced
fresh basil, torn and some for the top
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup mix of Italian shredded cheeses (yeah I cheated, I usually grate my own but for this recipe I buy the shredded Sargento 6 cheese Italian)
1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced. Save a few slices for the top.
salt (very little is needed with all of the cheese) and pepper

Brown the meat and cook the pasta to slightly al dente because it will be going in the oven. Once the pasta and meat are cooked and drained dump everything into a big bowl and mix until well Incorporated. Spoon into a baking dish and top with slices of fresh mozzarella and fresh basil. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes covered, then remove the cover for 10 more minutes until the top is golden. Add more baking time if cooking from frozen or out of the fridge. This makes a huge batch so I usually make one big one and a small one to put in the freezer for a night when hubby's home alone with the kids. I serve this with a steamed vegetable and some warmed bread.

before baking
after baking
If any of you have a great family friendly meal you would like to share head on over to Wild Child's blog.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Importance of Underpants

This morning as I helped my girls get undressed for swimming class, there was a little girl on the other side of the locker room having a bit of a meltdown. She was all done with her lesson and was getting dressed, but quite upset that she had not packed any undies in her swim bag. She couldn't have been more than 5 or 6 and was not accompanied by her mom, just 2 other girls roughly the same age. I walked over and tried to calm her as I instructed my girls to make one more pass through the bathroom before their lesson. I tried to calm her down and suggested she just dry up and get dressed without undies, but she wailed louder. I asked the other girls with her if there was an adult along. The oldest girl said the crying girl's dad was waiting outside. Go figure!

There was nothing more I could do. I offered to help her get dressed but she was still inconsolable. I left the locker room feeling terrible for the little girl. I scanned the hallway for her father, but he wasn't there. This little girl probably would have been fine on her own during normal circumstances, but this was too much of a deviation from the normal swim class routine. And where was her dad? Come on parents! It's not another parent's responsibility or right to calm, dress or console your child. I was willing to help but she wanted her dad and not some stranger, understandably.

It would have been fine if her dad had come in to help her once things got out of control. By that time the locker room was pretty much cleared out and left were only small children being helped by their moms. Definitely not child porn, no men allowed type of environment.

At the end of class when I went back into the locker room to help dress my girls, she was gone.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Day In Photos

Newly crowned Princess Mae.

Mickey Mouse boots

Hanging out with Mr. Heater

Binny practicing her counting skills. BTW, this money was for new snow removal equipment, not crack or chocolate covered strawberries.

Doopie bringing out his inner Diva.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wardrobe Wednesday- The Neighbor's House

***Updated with a photo of the back.

So I may be cheating or just plain doin' it wrong, but after I spied this gem, I had to share. And to me siding on a house is like a wardrobe but more permanent. This isn't my neighbor's house, but I do know who lives next door, not that I asked for permission to take these photos or splash them online. Oh well, that hasn't stopped me before.

From what we can tell (we being me and the people who actually live next door to this beauty) the homeowner decided to re-side his house with leftover (scrap) pre-painted cement board siding. The siding can be painted over, but not in the winter for obvious reasons. So here she sits. I sure hope the homeowner got a discount.

front view

side view
back yard

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Heating Costs

I went down to the basement today to check to see how much fuel oil we had left in the tank. I knew it was getting low, but the arrow was pointing to EMTY (not sure what the weird spelling is about). From the note written in sharpie on the tank, we still have at least 10 gallons left, whatever that means. I have no idea how long 10 gallons would last, but I hate to take chances especially when we have tax refund money burning a hole in our pockets.

I called right away and the fuel man just dropped off 218 gallons of #2 heating oil for $1.89/gal. In December we filled the tank for $2.19/gal. and about a year ago it was $3.13/gal. At least for now heating our house isn't breaking the bank. Does that mean it's time to remove the "When Bush took office gas was $1.46" bumper sticker off of our old crappy truck?

Popover Recipe

Momma Bear asked if I would post my recipe for Popovers and I must say that this is one of the most requested things I could make ever!! My family loves popovers and apparently can't mix together 4 kitchen staples because they always ask me to make them.

These Popovers are yummy with butter, whatever sauce is going with dinner, or I'll even spoon a bit of jam or whipped cream in them for dessert. Crusty on the outside but all webby inside from the eggs. They are best eaten hot, but are good (if there are any left) the next day for breakfast.
3 Eggs
1 Cup milk
1 T. veg, oil or melted butter
1 Cup flour

Heat a greased Popover pan (you can do it in a cupcake pan, but if you're going to make a habit of this, it's worth getting one) in the oven at 400 while you mix up the batter.

Whisk Eggs well, add milk and oil or butter, then gradually whisk in flour (no lumps!). Pull the hot pan out of the oven and pour the batter in evenly. Bake for about 45 minutes and make sure you leave enough clearance above them in the oven or they'll burn into the next higher rack. I usually end up removing a rack to avoid this happening AGAIN, but most of the time I don't remember to do so until the popovers are half baked and I'm jockeying hot things all over my kitchen while instructing my kids to "please do not touch anything, go watch TV until dinner is ready!"

This recipe makes 6. Enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Not Diet Food

Yesterday we decided to have my in-laws over to play with the kids and join us for dinner. Bad idea? Well, my in-laws are very nice people who love nothing more than to spend hours (grandma at least) playing with their grandchildren while I prepare a big family dinner. In their defense, they don't know any better and think that nothing bad can come out of my kitchen. Suckers! Now, usually I can produce an edible, health-conscious meal, but not this time, when apparently my MIL is on a diet. That would have been nice if I had remembered, because she did tell me about a week ago, but me being all skinny and stuff never worries about such silly things like a diet.

Anyway, I have a crapload (technical term for freezer full) of beef and thought I would try something new. And who better to try new recipes on than my in-laws? I scoured my cookbooks and the web and decided on a beef braise. It looked rich and hearty, and the kind of meal they would enjoy if they weren't trying to lose weight.

I had never made a braise before, but I know I can make a mean stew, so this couldn't be much different except that the recipe called for an entire bottle of red wine and required 3 hours on the stove plus prep and searing. Fine, I've got wine and a kitchen timer, but I think when my in-laws arrived at 2:30 for dinner (I told them 6:00 btw) they were maybe a little shocked to see me just starting to cook something that would take all damn day. Feeling rushed, I turned up the heat to medium instead of just medium-low and by the end of cooking (which by the way still took 3 solid hours) had developed a nice burn chunk at the bottom of my dutch oven. Shhhh, I didn't tell anyone, but removed the braise from the pot and transferred it to a clean unburned dish and blamed attributed the smoky flavor to the bacon. Actually it wasn't that bad, the wine made a deliciously thick sauce and the meat was oh-so tender yet not falling apart. I served the whole thing with roasted mushrooms and pearl onions, popovers, and boiled parsley potatoes. And for dessert, I was planning to make a chocolate cake, but while Mae and I were out and about in the morning we decided to stop and pick up a DQ ice cream cake (my in-laws' fave) with extra frosting because we all know that's the best part aside from the fudgy-crunch layer.

And, apparently today is MIL's weigh-in day. Oopsies. Maybe next time I should stick with a trusty low-fat, veggie-overload chicken dish... or maybe this was just a lesson in moderation.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

So It's Valentine's Day

I really don't consider this day an actual holiday, same goes for Sweetest day and Mother's day. Not that I don't think it's great to celebrate the ones you love, but really is a dozen of the crappiest discount roses at jacked up prices really the point?
That said, I should mention that Hubby and I got engaged on V-day 8 years ago. Not because he's real romantic or sweet or even knew it was Valentine's Day. We were both home (living in sin, mind you) and decided to go out for dinner with the rest of the "once a year I really like my partner crowd." After dinner, Hubby (boyfriend at the time) suggested we go look at rings. We had been discussing marriage for a while and were living together, so marriage was obviously the next step. We went to the jewelery shop and looked at a few rings, and he being the indecisive one asked me which one I wanted. I picked out a variety of rings and tried them on (with very shaky hands) and we both decided on a most beautiful engagement/wedding band set. I originally thought I wanted a 1k solitaire but when I saw my teeny tiny (1/4 carat tw.) ring, I knew it was the one. The sales woman couldn't believe her eyes. Apparently she'd never witnessed such a mellow engagement. The ring needed to be sized, so I had to wear it on my middle finger until we sent it off to be cut apart and made smaller to fit my little ring finger, and still it didn't fit so I had to use one of those cheesy ring guards until we got married (six months later) and had the whole thing sized and soldered together. Once we got home he got down on one knee, proposed and slipped the ring on my finger. That was our only extravagant V-day celebration, although we do usually have a nice dinner at home along with a bottle of champagne, not unlike most weekends, or the 2 times we had sex (Mae and Binny).
Now that we have kids, we do celebrate by helping the kids make valentines for their class, but we do it as a fun, family project. The kids usually make their own valentines, but this year Grandma N found these cute little V-day gift bags that we used instead. And I'll have you notice there is not a picture of Hannah Montana on them. Score one for us!
Hope you all get lucky tonight!!!

PS. That's not all, and if I can't tell the Internet, who can I tell? I was so mad today because this morning the crazy farmer called and needed someone to milk the cows tonight and hubby said "Oh sure, I'll send Ali." Well obviously that was the wrong response,as I was just there last night and HATE THAT DAMN PLACE WITH A PURPLE PASSION. I suggested he go and of course he came up with a million excuses not to. As I was huffily getting dressed in my shit-soiled gear, he said "honey, would you like me to go, or stay home and make you a romantic dinner." Well, long story short, he's there and I'm at home preparing dinner for when he gets home.
He really does love me.
Oh, and if you haven't already done so, please vote for me in the Hair Of The Blog Contest. Voting ends Sunday night.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hair Of The Blog- Vote Today!

A special Thank you to blogger Rachel at A reservation For Six for hosting the first annual (I hope it becomes an annual event) Hair Of The Blog contest.

This will be my last Hair of the blog post. I know all of the men who read my blog (a whopping 5 total, I believe) will be happy that this chapter is over; I, however have absolutely loved this little project. I have come to know (just online of course) some great women who needed a little comic relief during this long, cold winter. In case you missed the whole thing, here are posts one, two and three. So without further ado, here is 3 weeks of leg hair growth.

Alright, you got me, that was hubby's leg. Here's my sorry attempt at growing leg hair.

Vote for me anyway, here. Really, it's not about hair growth, it's about who's got better readers, and I must say you guys rock! Once I find a way to cheat out how the whole voting process works, I'll let you know.

Valentine Fun

Binny and I made chocolate covered strawberries this morning to give as Valentine gifts to her teachers today at the class Valentine party. Her teacher has been out for over a month recovering from surgery, so Binny wanted to do something special for her on her first day back. Tonight will be a repeat strawberry dipping session with Mae as her Valentine's Day party is tomorrow and also the celebration of the 100th day of school. I've never heard of such a celebration, but whatever sounds like a fun day to me.
Seal of approval
And a chocolate covered strawberry dance

I just had to share this too. Mae checked out an interesting book from the school library. I didn't think that Jane and her pals were still in the Elementary schools teaching budding readers. This Valentine edition dates back to 1956.

check out the teacher's outfit. She's dressed like she should be serving drinks on an airplane, not constructing valentines out of paper and paste. And that teeny tiny hourglass waist? Come on, did women in the 50s really look like that?

Some things never go out of style... or do they? This book was discarded (as noted by the stamp on page 1) by the local public library, but then donated to the school. Lucky for us.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Panty Liner For My Cell Phone

So my run of crappy luck the other day didn't end with me cleaning up Root Beer that sprayed all over my kitchen. I decided to take Mae to the Art Center so we could spend some quality time doing her favorite thing, art. We got there and the Artery studio was closed, so instead we walked around the galleries and checked out all of the art except for the largest most interesting gallery, because that too was closed for rotation. Go figure, maybe I should read the newsletter they send out instead of just looking at the pictures. After that I thought we would go to this cute little deli downtown and pick up some funky salads to go with dinner, but we got there 5 minutes after they closed. Luckily the best little chocolate truffle shop was only 2 doors down, so we popped in there (they were open) and each picked out a truffle to nibble on the way home. Oh and my cell phone died.

I swear this time I didn't drop it into a swimming pool, it just stopped working. I took it in this morning to the cell phone store where the guy behind the counter says "Oh, it looks like your warranty expired on the 5th." As in February 5, just 6 days ago. Son-of-a-bitch! He did a few things, handed it back to me and said "here, it works now, and for future reference you need to turn off your phone occasionally, that's why it didn't work." Oh, I'm the dumbass, sorry. Well turns out it wasn't me because as I walked out of the store I tried to call my voicemail and retrieve all of the messages that I couldn't get before because apparently I don't know how to operate my phone, and to my delight the damn thing shut off again. Like a big F-you. I marched back into the store, handed the guy my phone and said "here, she don't work." Before I even had time to haul my extra bitchy out of my purse, he agreed to replace my phone with no charge. Now I just have to remove all of those plastic screen protecting stickers they put on new phones. Reminds me of those nasty liners that are in swimsuits when you try them on at the store. Ick!

And we got our tax refund today, things are looking up!

Wardrobe Wednesday

Wardrobe Wednesday

This is one of Binny's favorite outfits. The whole thing came from Gymboree, I bought the tights online and found the button jumper and the turtleneck on the clearance rack in the store. The tights are so cute and work with so many other shirt/skirt combinations and are warm enough to wear in the winter.

This look is completed with dirty snow boots, a green puffy jacket with matching hat and a pair of stretchy gloves with the grippers worn on the backside of her hands. I can see this look being all the rage after this post.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day from Hell and it's not even 10:00 AM

This morning I started a post about how today was going to be beautiful weather wise and I had all these great things planned, but it seems as if the universe just won't cooperate with me today. I just can't win. Binny woke up with the worst bed head ever, but her Pull-up was dry, so that one's about even but her hair is still out of control and the girls insisted on wearing skirts today because the temp is supposed to be a very warm 60 degrees this afternoon, but this morning as we rushed out for Mae's 8:00 dentist appointment (never doing that early ever again) it was still a chilly 40 degrees. When we got home from the dentist, the girls had breakfast because of course they were slow to get themselves ready this morning as almost every morning. They started to eat and decided that they needed something better to drink than the glasses of milk that I had poured for them. I walked through the kitchen on my way to put in a load of laundry and there I see Mae prying open a can of Root Beer with a butter knife. Before I can even say "What the heck are you doing?" the seal breaks and root beer goes shooting across my kitchen and all over the girls. Binny was seated right next to Mae with a can of Sprite but was waiting for her turn with the butter knife. That was it for me, I lost it.

"What were you thinking? Why are you having a soda for breakfast? Did you shake it up on purpose?" Well of course she didn't do it on purpose, it fell on the floor from the top cabinet as she stood on the chair (allegedly) to get the stolen drinks, but at the moment all I could see was brown sugary liquid dripping off of the counter, the walls and Mae. I feel horrible for yelling at her. I apologized and I really do think she understands why I was so upset with her. It must be hard for her being our Guinea pig the oldest, and we do hold her at a higher standard of behavior because she is older and is her sister's biggest influence. Is that fair of us? Maybe not, but that's life and we all have to deal with what we've been given whether it's a short temper or a strong willed child.

Oh and while we were out of the house for 1 hour, my dogs ate an entire bag of Hershey kisses, foil and all that we were saving to use in the girls' school Valentine bags. I know chocolate isn't good for dogs, but by now what haven't they eaten? The upside? The foil should be beautiful with the sunshine dancing off of it when it makes it through my dogs and onto my front lawn. That will brighten my day!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bathroom Photos- Again

Since nobody (my family and friends) caught the last post about my bathroom remodel, here are the finished photos.

I was going to save this one for Wardrobe Wednesday, but it was too good to wait 3 more days to post. Hubby was helping the girls pick out clothes this morning. Mae didn't want what Daddy had picked out and Binny was running around with her undies on her head.

Sunday Morning Ritual

This morning I made my customary Sunday morning Irish coffee and realized that I had reached the bottom of my super-sized bottle of Irish Cream liqueur (Thank you Costco). So as not to waste a drop of Irish-y goodness, I recapped the bottle and inverted it so all of the booze sludge could collect in the cap. Well, as I twisted off the cap a terrible thing happened. For some unknown reason maybe I shouldn't have been shaking the bottle when the cap came off, the liquid shot everywhere. I couldn't help but wonder if this was God's way of telling me that I should be at church instead of enjoying a slightly alcoholic hot beverage... Naw, couldn't be, but I do need to add Irish Cream to my shopping list.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hair Of The Blog Part 3

Hair of the Blog update time again and I'm feeling better about my leg hair growth. The length of the individual hairs isn't bad, and the density seems to be improving as well. And as long as I'm posting embarrassing photos,

this is all of the crap I pulled out of my purse yesterday. It was to the point that I couldn't find my keys, or phone, or that old bagel from last week.... If you look closely, you will see about a zillion receipts, my phone which is always low on battery and beeping, the car charger for the dead phone, a CD, and a broken plumbing fitting (WTF?). Have you cleaned out your purse lately?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Words This Mom Never Likes To Hear

"Maaah-om, Doopie peed on the sofa"

Oh yeah, the dog I allow to lay on the sofa because of his arthritic legs, just soiled my sofa. Now before you vomit in your coffee, I haven't determined whether it was drool or pee. It could just be drool but still that's pretty gross. I took a sniff, but can't tell. Is there a way to determine what the wet spot is without sending a sample to the state crime lab???

Not that this will shock anyone, but this is not the first time we've had a bodily fluid spill on our furniture. When I was pregnant with Mae, we decided that it was time to get some real furniture that wasn't purchased at a thrift store or pulled out of a musty old basement. I was all concerned about having nice new clean furniture for when the baby arrived. What was I thinking? It must have been the nesting, or it was the fact that I wasn't a mom yet and had no idea that these children (and pets) would ruin not only my furniture but any surface that will accept a permanent marker. We bought the whole furniture set, sofa, love seat (short sofa), recliner, coffee table and end tables. We opted for the scotch guard protector for the extra hundred bucks, but really is a little spray on fabric protector any match for dog pee or super-explosive baby vomit? I think not. After a few spilled baby bottles on the sofa when Mae was a babe, I thought my furniture had seen it all. Enter Binny. Binny was my puker. As an infant Binny had so many digestive issues that her Dr. thought would be cleared up by simply feeding her soy formula. Not only did the soy formula not work, but it made the nasty puke smell even worse. I remember so clearly, one afternoon I was rocking Binny in the chair (the only thing that stopped her constant crying) and BOOM! Vomit everywhere. All over me, her, the chair and Mae who was also on my lap enjoying some cuddle time with mom. I had to call hubby over to remove the children one by one because I didn't dare move and spread the mess. I scrubbed and scrubbed that damn chair until the fabric started to pill and the smell was STILL THERE. It took me a few weeks of daily scrubbing and way too much much Febreeze to finally rid the chair of the baby puke stench. And 4 years later, we still have the chair. How gross are we?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Money Talk

So last night I decided that I had all of the necessary tax papers to finish our federal and state returns, so I did. For the last several years I have been using one of those computer tax programs (not the one Tim Geithner used) that calculates everything and will send the whole thing electronically to the IRS with the click of a button. The usefulness of computers and the Internet continues to amaze and impress me. In just 1 hour our taxes were complete and sent off. Now I just wait for the refund. Yes, we're getting a refund thanks to my 2 cute children and the fact that we own our home. Apparently children of parents in our tax bracket are worth a pretty penny come tax time.

Also with the interest rates at all time lows, we decided that it would be a good time to refinance our mortgage. When we bought this house 2 1/2 years ago we locked in at a rate of 6.5% for a 30 year mortgage. We paid about half of the money down up front, so our monthly payments were quite reasonable. Our new rate is 4.875% for a 15 year. The payments will be about $60 more per month but we figured out that by doing this, we will shave 15 years off of our mortgage and roughly 86 GRAND in interest! Our closing costs ended up being about $1400 but that is a small price to pay in the long run, and really that money goes not only to the bank, but also to appraisers, title companies, etc. right in our community. The appraiser or as my kids call him "the pricer" was here yesterday to look at our house and submit a price to our lender based on current housing prices for the area. He told me that the banks are really starting to get picky about what houses they take on, and that finding comparable properties that have sold within the last 90 days is very difficult esp. in winter. It's about time these banks start taking precautions before handing over big piles of money to irresponsible borrowers. If only the federal government would pick up on this novel idea.

While I know that a big government stimulus is needed, I had no idea what that actual proposed bill was about until one of my favorite bloggers,
Skyewriter outlined it here and dissected the first 55 pages of a hefty 736 pages total. Read what she wrote, or even better read the whole bill for yourself if you have the time or the energy. It pays to know what our lawmakers our doing with OUR money. Thanks Skye for making us all more aware and involved.

Game Night

Every night after dinner, the kids have a race to put on their jammies and clean up the living room. The winner gets to pick out the evening's activity.
On this particular evening Hubby picked out the game, but I know he didn't help put the toys and puzzles away. hmmm?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Veggie Egg Rolls


I'm a sucker for good Chinese food so I thought I would make a bunch of egg rolls and freeze them to go with a fried rice meal to be named later. I found this recipe for pork egg rolls and just omitted the pork and added extra cabbage and mushrooms. Also, during the assembly process I used a slurry of corn starch and water to seal the wrappers instead of just plain water- makes the seal a bit stronger because the juices from the veggies try to seep out.

I also used the egg rolls skins to make mozzarella sticks the other night to go with a pizza. I just rolled up a piece of string cheese inside the wrapper and baked them on a lightly oiled baking sheet for 10 minutes, turning once. Yummy, and oozy and delicious. The kids loved it!