Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Whipping up secrets

It was cold today, try 10 degrees kind of cold. It was also snowing all day, so I worked from home and we kept L home from her half day at daycare. Around 330 when L finally took a nap I decided to try out my new cookbook, Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.
My friend Erica got it for me for Christmas because, apparently my friends do listen when I talk and she knew L was somewhat of a picky eater. She'll only eat peas, carrots, cookies and chicken from Chick-fil-A, and anything that has been smothered in tomato sauce.
First I had to make a butternut squash puree. Just so happened we had a very large butternut squash and nothing planned for it. First I had J cut it in half because I'm a wuss, and then I roasted it, scraped out the insides and blended it all up. It made almost 3 whole cups of puree, which I froze 2 of.

I then used the butternut squash puree to make some awesome chicken and cheese quesadilla's that also contained a navy bean and sour cream mixture. We'll be eating this one a lot.

The second recipe I made was for Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, but the "secret" ingredient was a whole can of garbanzo beans. I was skeptical but you really can't taste them at all and L and J both ate two with no complaints. I may trick some other people into eating them, as the batch made 3 dozen. You'll notice from the picture I am not using my new Kitchen Aide mixer yet. I promised my mom that I wouldn't open it until Christmas, so it sits under the tree with a big bow on it.
Its back to work again tomorrow, but then probably going to have some rain/sleet/ice mixture move through tomorrow night, so I may be stuck at home again Thursday meaning L will miss her other day of daycare also, which sucks. She's getting bored. I'm looking forward to Christmas and new toys. Here she is getting into my desk drawer out of sheer boredom.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nothing to do and loving it

It's Sunday at 8pm and the weekend is coming to a close. I've been looking forward to this weekend for a long time; why? Because I had a whole lotta nothing to do. I had one thing to do all weekend, and it was also something I look forward to every year (more about that later).

I was excited because I didn't have major plans, nothing that HAD to be done. We could move at our own pace. Friday night we went out to dinner to Chili's, L behaved herself and it was a nice evening. Saturday I had my WW meeting in the morning, 15 lbs and counting! And the only other plans I had were to maybe go to the mall and take a nap. Good thing too because when I woke up I felt horrible. At first I thought it was because L woke us up at 3am coughing and spent the rest of the night with us. So I thought I just didn't get enough sleep. But I felt sick to my stomach and kind of achy. I went to my WW meeting, and drank a large bottle of water and felt somewhat better. I decided to go ahead and go to the mall early so in case I didn't feel good in the afternoon I could laze around. We got to the mall, got done what we needed, made a much needed stop at the grocery and were home by 2. L and I both took naps from 230 to 5 and when I woke up I was not nauseous anymore, but my whole body ached and I was shivering. I skipped dinner, stayed on the couch and we watched Kung Fu Panda. I ended up dozing on the couch until midnight while J played video games.

Sunday I was feeling much better. I spent the morning playing with L and doing laundry and started cleaning out my closet, much overdue. The afternoon was spent with my best college girlfriends. Every year since we've graduated we've gotten together and opened gifts and had lunch either right before Christmas or one year it was New Year's Day. I look forward to it every year, and I hope that we'll keep doing it until we're cranky old ladies! This was either our 5th or 6th year doing it, so its already become a tradition.

The rest of today was spent cleaning out the closet, playing with L, and watching the ice, then snow fall.

I need to seriously update my winter wardrobe. I have 3x as many spring/summer clothes, but am lacking on the warmer, cozier clothing. Must have had something to do with having a baby in the spring, so I was really pregnant in the winter, so I didn't buy any new clothes.

Now I am underneath the electric blanket, with laptop on lap, ready to catch up on some reading and TV shows. Happy Monday!

Friday, December 12, 2008


I just feel like whining today. And I'm going to do it in a list.

  • I'm really tired of coughing, and blowing my nose
  • I wore sneakers to work today, with some really comfy ankle socks, but every time I walk the right one slips down and is now under my foot.
  • I forgot to go to the post office 1 mile from my house this morning, so I had to go to the one 3 miles from work, thus making me really late (I was already late as it was)
  • L woke up this morning and cried for dadda instead of momma, *sniff* I guess I know who's the most important right now
  • 13 days until Christmas and I don't know what to buy the brothers. I already bought one a swearter, but J says we have to buy both the same gift, so we're probably taking the nice sweater back to the Gap, and doing something in the video game genre, which I know nothing about.
  • The economy, that is all.
  • This new VoIP that we have to start using at work because they are taking our desk phones away. I'm all about taking my desk phone away, I hate the outdated thing and for crying out loud we're a telecommunications company so we all have cell phones (that the company pays for thankyouverymuch). So it makes sense, but instead of us all using our cell phones, we are going to use this Microsoft VoIP thing thats driven through our instant messangers. Parts it are cool, as long as your computer is with you, your "office number" is available, but if the computer is off, then what? Training on Monday, we'll see how that goes. We are all like kids on Christmas morning, making calls to each other, and giggling. My cube wall-mate had a good point though, what happens if you accidentally call someone and you're talking badly about said person? But I guess that could happen with any phone right?

Things I'm thankful for:

  • Still having a job
  • My husband
  • My daughter
  • My family
  • My friends
  • Cats that snuggle
  • Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate from SBux
  • Cell phones
  • Mini Van's
  • Acrylic Nails
  • Fresh Christmas trees
  • Twitter

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Forget me nots, and WW 3.0 Update

Short post, before I stop procrastinating and get some work done. We were out of town all last week for Thanksgiving with the Watson's in St Louis, and this weekend we'll be with the Wear's in Branson. Its gonna be cold. But Christmasy.

Anyways, first things first the WW 3.0 update. I don't think I posted after I was worried about the week with all the mexican and yummo cookies. That week I managed to lose almost 4 lbs even after all that! Then that same day our leader, Sam, discussed what is an acceptable amount of weight to lose each week and she said that if you lose 3-4 lbs consistently each week after your first month, then some thing is not right and you aren't eating enough or exercising too much. Oops. That was my third week at 3+ lbs, so I thought I better be careful, or they'll find out about the magic pill my DR prescribed. Haha, not to worry, when I went back 4 days later (because we would be out of town on Saturday, my normal weigh in date) I had gained! 2.2 lbs. Ouch. To be fair it was only 4 days later, and it was evening, and it was the dreaded time of bloated-ness. So then I wasn't too shocked to learn today that I had lost back that 2.2lbs even with Thanksgiving and my sisters 6 dozen cookies! No, I did not eat 72 cookies, but I could have. So at the 1 month mark I've lost 10.6 lbs. Pretty good.

Now on to the forget me nots. Lets talk about the scatterbrains that J and I are. Really, lets just talk about him. He knows this was coming. I told him this evening after my embarrassing admission at the library that it was all his fault and he would get a post dedicated to him. Lets start with Tuesday. I dropped L off at school and noticed that another little girl had her school pictures in her cubby, I checked L's and no pics. I didn't have time to ask Miss Brittany where they were. My fault. J picked her up that day. Fast forward to Thursday morning, when I dropped L off I noticed a sign on the door that said "return all proofs by Monday". Hmmm I thought, I don't have any proof and L only goes to school Tues/Thursday. So then I figured the pictures were so horrible we didn't even get any proofs. As I was leaving, Miss CJ stopped me to ask if I had L's pictures. Nope, don't have them. She said they handed them out last Wed, and we weren't there. But she couldn't find them on the desk. She said she'd have Miss Susie look that afternoon. About 2pm I got a voicemail, Miss Susie, laughing saying she gave the pictures to J on Tuesday afternoon, and she remembered so well because L helped her get them. So I do what any good wife does. I call J at home, ask him if he has L's school pictures, and he goes "yeeessss" very slowly as it started to sink in that he forgot to give them to me. He's a professional photographer for crissakes. So I'm thinking one of two things. Either he thinks the pictures are bad and he could do better (which is true) or he doesn't want me to spend money on yet another set of L pictures (also true). Anyways, I just laughed, said make sure you bring them in the house, and I'll drop them off tomorrow. As I hang up I hear my cube farm neighbor snort and tell me that I'm mean. Why? Because I knew perfectly damn well that he had the pictures but I asked anyways to be snarky. Yep its true, snarky is the best adjective to describe me. She laughed though, all in good fun, because shes the same way as me. And yes I did apologize to J for being snarky.
But then the good part. After feeling bad and apologizing I have to go return some books to the library. As I'm leaving J reminds me the library called last Tuesday about a missing CD, they had the case and no CD. We searched the cars and computers on Wed, didn't find anything, left to go to St Louis, forgetting all about it. So I got to the library, pay the $7 of fines on J's account (from other stuff) and then talk to the head librarian. I did not get snarky with her. I knew it wasn't her fault, but I was worried the CD had fallen out and was stuck in some book about 1980's hair bands that no one would check out until the next GNR CD was released. She said she'd talk to her boss in the morning about it and call me, but to replace the CD was $17 ( I know I could totally get it cheaper from itunes). I get back out to the car, take one more cursory glance under the floor mats and seats, start the car and then notice the CD light is lit up on the player. Hmmm, I don't listen to CD's very often so its likely that its one from like 6 months ago, but I'll push the eject button and check. You've got to be effing kidding me. Out pops a CD I don't recognize. So I sheepishly go back in the building, again braving the 25 degree temps. Tell the librarian, don't ask, I'll pay the late fees next week and leave. I was seriously considering dropping it in the return box and running. But that would be dishonest.

When I got home J asked what the library said.
"Seventeen dollars to replace the CD" I told him.
"What, they aren't going to discount or anything? I know we returned it",
"Nope" I reply "no discounts, especially after I found it in my CD player".

Snarky? yes or no?

BTW he said that he didn't remember putting it in, but its possible that he was listening to it on the way home the day he checked it out. Which means it sat there for 3 weeks. Oh and he proceeds to tell me it wasn't any good. And that when we checked the cars, he checked *his* car's CD player. I had to remind him it didn't have a CD player.

We are smrt. Love you honey!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Lights, Turkey Day and Black Friday...All in One Update

I haven't posted in a while, and its been a long two weeks. Rather than post 3 different posts, I'll give you the Readers Digest, not-so-condensed version

Christmas Lights
This is our 5th Holiday in our home. We love putting up lights, and discovered the neighbors come to expect it. One year I was buying a new china cabinet and when I was giving the lady at the store our address she got all excited because its the cute house with the candy cane trees. And she knew which decor was new this year vs. last years lights. She must drive by my house a lot. Anyway, as far as Christmas lights go we are always replacing them every year. The first year we used my mom and dad's hand me down icicle lights, and those suckers lasted for 3 Christmas's. Then last year they went caput, so we hot footed it over to Target with a teething 5 month old and purchased all new icicle lights, in multi colors rather than white. We also purchased a few extra net lights (not cheap) and then some red to double up on our candy cane trees. The house looked rather lovely and we really enjoyed the lights. We even got compliments from the Limo driver that took us out for my in-laws 40th wedding anniversary. He said it made it much easier to find our house since it was lit up like the house in Christmas Vacation.
So this year, I didn't plan ahead very well and volunteered my home for the work Holiday Party, not realizing we would be out of town for the 2 weekend prior to the party. And I refuse to let J up on a ladder if I'm not home, should he fall and no one is there to throw their hands up in the air and call 911. So the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we are scrambling at 3pm, in the cold, to get our lights up. So, 75% of our lights were out and not fixable. 1 strand of the icicles was fine, the 2nd strand was out in 3 places and I managed to fix one, but not the other 2. And those are a lost cause. Then we started checking the net lights. Out of 6 sets, 1 set was fully functioning, the rest were out in various places. Again, if you've ever messed with multi colored net lights, you understand its nearly impossible to tell where the light is burned out. And then out of the 15 strands of red and whites that we use for our porch columns and the candy cane trees, 3 were fully functioning. I probably could have fixed them, but they are so inexpensive for the 100 strands that we decided to buy new again, and try to fix the rest later. Or sell them. Craigs List is awesome! Again, we were in a time crunch to get them done. So we headed over to Target and Walmart (shudder) and figured out Target had the best lights and the best prices, and we decided on the fly to change the color scheme from multi-colored to blue and white. So we bought all new lights (except for the nets, too expensive, we'll skip them this year and get them on clearance after Christmas) and they are up. Only half are on though, because with out the nets to connect the porch to the trees, we have an extension cord issue. We also invested in twinkle lights for the porch and they are lovely. It snowed here over the weekend, so if it doesn't melt today, we'll take pictures to post.
So yes I was upset that every year we buy new lights, and every year we have to buy more. But we've decided to standardize on Phillips Lights, and hopefully we can get a couple more years out of them.

Turkey Day Fun
This year was Thanksgiving at the Watson's in St. Louis. We were going back and forth on if we wanted to leave Tuesday night when I got off work, or Wednesday morning. We didn't want to drive in the dark, so we opted for Wed morning, but set the strict schedule of being out the door and on I-70 by 9am. We did not want to get stuck in StL rush hour traffic, its worse than anywhere else I've ever been...even LA. Then the next decision dilemma was which car to take. We've always been a one car, one SUV family. Then J got his new photography job, and needed a bigger vehicle so now we are a one mini-van, one SUV family. The van has way more room and we were hauling my sisters very large Christmas gift with us, and decided to take it. Until Wed morning when J realized the van doesn't have a CD player, and we could just use the iPod but he made L a bunch of new CD's and wanted the CD player. So fine, lets take my SUV. We get it all loaded, cats situated, front door locked, L in her car seat, ready to go....and.....it WONT START! The Pacifica is only 4 years old. Never given us any trouble (well only the one time when we got stranded in Oklahoma, but only for 24 hours). I called our insurance company to get the roadside assistance I play $1 extra for each month...side bar...when we were renewing our insurance a few years back USAA started their roadside assistance deal, $1 per vehicle per month. Covers tows, lock outs, gas, tires etc...this little voice in the back of my head kept reminding me what my dad and husband always say "never pay for that kind of service, you'll never us it, like extended warranties, there is no need". I shoved that voice aside and like the girly girl I am, said lets do it. And thank god! We've called them no less than 6 times, its fantastic, and well worth the $1. J even admits it now, and we'll always carry it on our cars, since we don't buy brand new anymore.
Anyways back to the dead car. While I was calling the insurance company J was moving L and all our stuff to the van. He was also trying to charge the battery with his jumper box, but nothing was working. USAA said it would be at least an hour to wait for the tow to the dealer, and when I asked if we had to be there, if they could just take the car for us, the agent asked "well what will you do with the keys"? Well lady, the car wont start, so its not like anyone is going to drive off with it, so I'll just leave them in the ignition. Well she didn't like that so much, so we said nevermind, we'll wait until we get back on Monday. No biggie. By then everything was moved to the van and J proclaims, "wow, we've got a lot more room here", no kidding Sherlock** just teasing you honey, but we bought the van because its bigger than the Pacifica, remember ** So it was a very comfortable ride in the van, and we only missed the CD player a little bit. We got on the road by 10am but still got stuck in the StL rush hour traffic, but made it home (my parents house, but still my home) right before it got dark. And L was a wonderful traveler. She was a doll at Cracker Barrel and stuffed herself full of corn bread muffins.

The rest of the weekend was much better than that first hour. We did a big meal with my parents, grandparents, aunts,sister and future brother in law. L immediately started loving on everyone, not acting all shy like usual. My mom and I did the Black Friday thing (more about that later), got to see the outdoor site where my sisters wedding will be, went to a Holiday Party at my future B-i-L's parents, and went wedding dress shopping with my sister (her dress is so lovely, I didn't cry, but my mom and sister did, I was too busy chasing after L). We also did a mini-Christmas with my Aunt's and Grandparents because we'll be staying in KC for Christmas this year, and they won't be traveling this way. My parents will be coming the day after Christmas.

The ride home wasn't too bad, loads of traffic, couple of accidents, breakdowns etc...and it snowed most of the way back, but didn't stick. L was so happy to be home so kept clapping and cheering and giggling and chasing the cats. She finally crashed at 9pm, and then me an hour later. The house is a mess, but J is ambitious and thinks he can clean it up before I get home.

The Pacifica is currently at the dealership, keeping my fingers crossed its something covered by the warranty (yes I said warranty, I was 5 months pregnant when we bought the Pacifica, and I insisted on the extended warranty, despite J's protests, must have been the hormones and the fact that my previous car was a used BMW and no warranty= $1,000 repairs each time it broke down, which was quite often. Superior car my foot).

Black Friday Mayhem
When I was younger and we were living in Virginia we always went to the convention center for the Black Friday craft fair. It was huge and I remember always loving everything I saw. We don't have anything like that here, so I've started the Black Friday-crack of dawn-shopping tradition. I first started it three years ago when I was pregnant with L, and wanted to get everything done early. I didn't do the early morning shopping though. I went with a friend after all the crazies when home. We still got great deals and all my shopping done that day. Then last year mom and I decided to go at 4am to JCP and then continue to Target, Kohl's and then the Mall. We needed to go early because J had to work at 10am and we didn't want to drag L with us, and we weren't sure how long my dad could stay home with her without having to change a diaper. It went well, JCP wasn't overly crowded although we saw a women bite it on the ice in the parking lot, but she got up and kept going. We got to Target right as they opened, and not too bad either. Got some great deals. Kohl's was a little more crowded, line was forever long, but we were done and home by noon. Christmas shopping done.
This year J and I have been Christmas shopping since October, but we did have a few more things to get, and I asked mom if she wanted to go to Target with me at 6am. She agreed. Then on Thanksgiving we were going through all the ads and I remember my friend S telling me that Wally World (shudder) was going to have a Kitchen Aid 4.5 qt Classic Mixer for $130. My dream mixer, for under $150. I told my mom that's what I wanted for Christmas and she agreed. So we decided to hit up Walmart (shudder) at 5am. Un-beknowst to us, all of Jefferson County decided to converge on the Festus Walmart at the exact same time. I have never in my life seen that many people in one spot. You couldn't move. They had to be breaking firecodes. Not sure if all Walmarts (shudder) were like that, but hearing about that poor man in NY that was trampled leads me to believe they were. No deal is worth being that scared. I grabbed the last mixer off the shelf and we went to electronics to check out. You couldn't even tell where all the lines started or stopped. Well the mixer rang up the wrong price, of course. Then the manager comes over and it turns out, that while its the EXACT SAME MIXER, Kitchen Aid provided Walmart (shudder) with a different SKU's mixer to sell on Friday, and they couldn't give me the SAME EXACT MIXER for that price because of the 1 letter off the SKU was. Needless to say I was livid, and will no longer shop at Walmart (shudder). I'm considering angry letters to both the Kitchen Aid people and Walmart. Now I know it wasn't Walmart's (shudder) fault they were that crowded, its the economy and the crazy shoppers looking for the best bargain, but seriously any other day that manager would have glady discounted the mixer. While all that was going on a friend of my mom's shows up with her brand new baby (commenting about how she is scared someone might steal her, or a fire would break out and we're all trapped, but she's buying that new TV anyways) and mentions she got a KitchenAid mixer for cheaper at Kohl's and we should go there. So we left Walmart (shudder) empty handed and head to Target.
God Bless Target and the Red Bulls Eye. It was so much calmer over there. Sure there were lots of people and long lines, but everything was organized, the employees were polite and all over the place, and the DVD's were cheaper! We got most of the stuff we needed, checked out the mixers, still the same full price, and headed over to Kohl's. I was so pleased with Target, I made sure to collect the few stray carts around our car and put them in the cart buggy for the nice employees in the red polos. Did I say how much I love Target? I might write them a letter telling them how fabulous they were.
When we got to Kohl's I was a little worried, they had been open for 5 hours already and I was afraid the place would be a mess. Other than not having any carts it wasn't too bad. They had 4 different KitchenAid mixers on sale. And I ended up getting the Heavy Duty mixer (normally $379, not $200 like the other one) , for $10 less than the one at Walmart (shudder) when you count the rebate and the $40 Kohl's cash my mom earned. So good deal, go Kohls! Had I had an extra $100 I might have opted for the Artisan mixer in red, but truthfully, I may not always have a red kitchen and I can get the accessories later for the Heavy Duty. Besides that the HD one can make 6lbs of mashed taters!

So thanks Lisa for the heads up, and if anyone needs a great deal on a KitchenAid mixer, head to Kohl's. And Thanks Mom! For enduring an Black Friday nightmare and getting me my dream mixer!