Friday, April 30, 2010

Five Question Friday

Two posts in one day, can you believe it?! You know I love talking about myself, so here's Five Question Friday, hosted by Mama M.

1. If you could, would you go back to high school?
No freakin' way! High school was horrible, HORRIBLE the first time, in fact it's even worse in hindsight than what I realized at the time (if that makes any sense, I guess I mean I see now how I've been scarred by it). So yeah, not going back for all the money in the world.
2. If a genie appeared and granted you two wishes, what would they be? (And, no saying "more wishes".)
First wish: lots and lots of money. Not an outrageous sum, but a couple million dollars so we could retire, travel, send the kids to college, give generously etc.
Second wish: I was going to say magically lose 10 (or maybe 15) pounds, but then I read Mama M's answer about everyone being healthy and happy forever and I like that. I'd also like to wish for a maid, but I guess that's covered by the heaps of money in wish #1. So I'll go with the perfect health of myself and my family.
3. What kids show do you secretly like?
Considering I love tv, it's probably not a surprise to learn that I like several kids shows. Backyardigans is probably my favorite of the ones my kids watch. Also, Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, Little Bill, Olivia. What I hate and makes me want to tear my eyes out: Max and Ruby, the Upside Down show, and Little Bear.
4. What is your beverage of choice?
This is an easy one, I drink Coke (original Coca-Cola) morning, noon, and night. Literally. 'Nuff said.
5. What is something that you would change about yourself (or are working to change in yourself)?
Outward change--I've got at least 10 pounds to lose. (This is a modest goal when you realize I've been this height and weighed 40 lbs. less; 10 lbs would get me back into my pre-pregnancy clothes.) Too bad I won't give up food and I hate to exercise. I'm gonna need that genie.
Inward change--where do I begin? I'm too grouchy! And I just can't get my act together--I need help with time management, I need motivation so I can catch up on (and stay on top of)housework, I need to take better care of myself. What am I working on? I guess I'm trying to be more thankful, more friendly, more positive and more generous.
Check out more answers at My Little Life. Thanks for reading!

Week in Review

I thought I'd try something different today, a little Week in Review, don't expect this to be a consistent feature, since nothing I do is consistent, but here goes. I am also inviting the Company Girls over for coffee for the first time. Welcome!
-Went to the library on Sunday and finally returned the 3 children's books we've had out since January.
-Called a potential preschool for next year.
-Scheduled a speech evaluation for T (I'd been procrastinating).
-Whole family went to church on Sunday.

-The usual poor time manangement. Got sucked into the internet and failed to play with my children. :-(
-Still haven't written Easter thank you notes.
-Forgot to defrost the beef for today's crockpot beef stew so I'll be scrambling to make something else for dinner instead.
-No exercise. None, zilch, nada. :-(

Feeding therapy
We've been doing feeding therapy for a few months to try to expand L's diet. We have sticker charts for a bunch of foods. So far, he's added chicken nuggets, american cheese, and ham (dipped in ketchup, yum); we're working on rice, mac 'n' cheese, french fry/tater tots, and guacamole/avocado.
-This week he got stickers for eating chicken, rice, and tater tots, earning a prize for the tater tots.
-Yesterday I sent cheese ravioli and chicken breast. L wouldn't eat the ravioli, but apparently he enjoyed eating the chicken dunked in marinara sauce. (We tried to replicate that success at dinner and he grudgingly ate one bite.)

Movies, tv, media
-Last weekend we watched The Squid & The Whale. It was awful--bad, disturbing, kids in trouble but not getting help. Bad.
-Finally saw The Blind Side. Loved it! Want to own it.
-Started watching Moon. Weird, but intriguing.
-Project Runway finale (I know it aired last week, but it took me till the weekend to watch it)--I think Seth Aaron's win was totally deserved, he had the best collection. Although Emilio rocked throughout the season, I didn't like his collection. Mila did a great job and I thought she had a better attitude during the final episodes than she had during the season. (On the other hand, I think Emilio's head swelled to enormous proportions, I didn't like that.)
-Glee this week--I didn't love the songs (except for the Beautiful number, which was awesome), but I LOVE Kristin Chenowith and I liked that Mercedes and Kurt both got to shine. Love Kurt's voice but didn't love his song. Kinda bummed that Sue got credit for doing the Beautiful thing, but whatever.
-I love that Sandra Bullock adopted a child in January. It makes me happy to know that through all the ugly divorce and tabloid stuff, she had this little boy to love and focus on. Congratulations to her.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What's On Your Nightstand--April

I just found this carnival thanks to Jen at Happy Little Homemaker. It's hosted by 5 Minutes for Books. It's perfect because I've been wanting to share about what I've been reading.

As I mentioned in my UBP post, I'm reading this biography of Eleanor Roosevelt. My husband gave me both volumes for Christmas and I've been reading them since then. I'm currently a quarter through the 2nd volume.

The other day I was feeling sort of down and wanted to read something more uplifting (in the above bio, it's the Great Depression) so I grabbed my Complete Works of Jane Austen and began rereading Pride and Prejudice. Love it! And since I've seen the miniseries about 100 times (okay, maybe 5 times), I can picture everything in vivid detail. Happy happy. Amazon didn't have the exact version I'm reading, but you get the point.

Then I went to the library on Sunday and finally returned the kids' books I'd been renewing since February. I checked out two books for myself.

I've barely started The Way of Mary by Mary Ford-Grabowsky. It looks promising but my attention has been captured by the other book I found....

I'm a few chapters into The Trunk Murderess by Jana Bommersbach. She promises to tell me the real story behind the murders allegedly committed by Winnie Ruth Judd (who was found with 2 bodies in her luggage). It's the type of book you want to stay up all night until you finish. Of course as a mom, I don't have the luxury to do so. It's not so much the writing (actually the jumping around between fact and press coverage and chronology is kind of bugging me) as it is the story. I'm eager to find out "what really happened."

So that's what I'm currently reading. Check out what others have been reading at 5 Minutes for Books.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

TILT--Pepper Grinder for the Clumsy

I know it's almost Friday, but better late than never, right? I'm linking up to the Diaper Diaries for Things I Love Thursday. A few years ago, my husband and I discovered the joy of cooking with fresh ground pepper. Have you made the same discovery? I don't know why but I think it makes a difference, maybe not, whatever, the point is that once we made this discovery, we bought a pepper grinder, and then another, and then another. Why, you ask? What was wrong with these grinders? Nothing, I just kept dropping them into raw meat. Not good! We went through several grinders because while I was seasoning the raw meat with the pepper, I clumsily lost hold of the grinder and hello e-coli! I attempted to clean one of these contaminated grinders and ended up getting soap in the area where the peppercorns reside--and couldn't rinse or dry it. So they went in the garbage. I apologize environmentalists, I did the best I could. That is why I love....

It's a disposable pepper grinder. Tada! Use it till the pepper is gone (or you drop it in e-coli) and then get a new one. Again, this is not sounding like a good post for Earth Day, sorry. This way, we get to enjoy fresh ground pepper, but if it falls into raw meat, I haven't lost much pepper or much money. We've been enjoying this product for a few years now and I think it's a genius invention. So for any other clumsy chefs out there, give it a try.
Now I must share a funny story. My husband went grocery shopping a couple weeks ago and "pepper grinder" was on the list. As I was putting the groceries away, I noticed this:
You probably can't tell from the picture, but it's about 3 times the size as the little grinder I just praised. So immediately I think "that's dumb, what if I drop it into meat," but I wasn't going to say anything. Then my husband points it out to me all proud, look what I found. So I'm like, "that's neat, honey, I just hope I don't drop it in ground beef," and he laughed and said, "that's right, you do have a tendency to do that." See, I am not making this up! Anyway, so far the larger grinder has stayed safely out of the skillet. Knock on wood!

That's what I'm loving this week. What do you love? To see what others are loving and to link up yourself, check out the Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Knowing Me, Knowing You--April Edition

So I saw this over at Merry's blog and decided to join in. I want to write a WFMW post today but that takes pictures and thought and TIME, which I don't have. Anyone else find that you can keep up with housework OR your blog, but not both? (Who am I kidding, I can't keep up with anything!) Anyway, this link-up is hosted by Tales of the Fairy Blogmother, here goes:

1. Do you have a library card?
Yes, I finally got one about a year ago. I check out usually 3 books at a time for the kids (and occasionally a book for myself), but I'm terrible at returning them--thank goodness I can renew them online!!! So I'm working on that, and hopefully the kids and I will go again soon and return the 3 books we've had for months and find some new ones. :-)

2. To carry on with the theme, would you purchase a digital reader like the Kindle?
Originally, I thought "why bother?" It's expensive. I like to accumulate books. But recently hubby has been researching it and we may do it. If we get the Nook, we'd have access to all public domain books for free which I guess includes lots of classics, plus it's cheaper to buy a digital book than a real one, and I have this thing against hardcover books (the high price and I hate dust jackets and the hard binding, I'm weird I know) so in this case I wouldn't have to wait for the paperback. So we're considering it. We'll see.... (Or we could, you know, use the library, that's ALL free! So I don't know!)

3. Which night of the week is fright night (aka your busiest night of the week)?
Actually most weeknights are pretty much the same, but I'll choose Thursday because that is my hardest day (feeding therapy at 3 pm so neither kid naps--scary!) so by evening, I'm pretty darn frazzled.

4. Watching Idol? Who are you picking to win?
I don't watch AI. Other than the audition episodes, I've only watched one full season (the one with Chris Daughtry). So I can't pick a winner.

5. Do you have a clothesline?
Interesting question. Living in Phoenix we certainly have the heat and sunshine for it! But no, I don't have an outdoor clothesline. It's too much hassle to take clothes outside and back in, plus I don't want to worry about bugs and dirt getting on my clothes. I do hang a lot of our clothes to dry (to avoid shrinkage) but I hang them indoors on a drying rack.

Check out more "Knowing Me..." responses here. (You should play along, let me know if you do!) Have a great day!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Five Questions Friday

This will be my first time linking up to 5 Questions Friday hosted by Mama M., though last week I answered the questions anyway, you can see that here. Okay, here we go:

1. What words do you use on your blog/online that you don't use in real life?
Hmmm, I can't think of any words that I don't use in real life, I pretty much write like I talk. The only thing I can think of is I sometimes use abbreviations like LOL or BFF and I don't say those things in real life, that is only for the computer. And emoticons as well. I don't say "I like your outfit, smiley face." ;-)

2. Do you still write checks?
This question is very timely for me because I switched to online bill pay only a month ago! I had held out for a very long time, fearing that the set-up would be difficult or time-consuming. It was not, and so far I find paying bills online to be quick and easy and I love using fewer stamps. That said, there will always be times when I write a check, like at my doctor's office which charges a credit card fee.

3. Who was your favorite President and why?
Sorry readers, you're in for a long answer--I was a history major and I find this a fascinating question and one I never really have an answer for. I'll try to be brief and just hit the highs and lows. (Feel free to skip to #4 if you get bored.)

In terms of domestic agenda, I love LBJ--Great Society, War on Poverty, Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act. However, you have the whole Vietnam War thing, so he'll never be my #1. Sorry, Lyndon.

FDR--another great domestic policy guy, love the New Deal, he pulled us out of the Great Depression, and I think he handled WWII well (although I'm generally a pacifist, I can't imagine not fighting against Hitler). But Franklin will never be my #1 because of his personal life--he was an unabashed womanizer.

So for me I think the winner is Abraham Lincoln. Sure, he freed the slaves for practical rather than philosophical reasons, but he did it nonetheless, and he managed to win the Civil War, good stuff. In his personal life, I think he was a stand-up guy. As I understand it, Mary Todd had some mental illness, but he stuck by her. So (today at least), he's my #1. Congratulations, Abe. Hmmm, there's a lot I don't know about him, I should pick up a biography.

4. Are you a yeller?
Sadly, I have to say yes. I do not have it all together and I frequently hit the end of my rope. :-( I'd say I frequently raise my voice (talking loudly), though if you heard it maybe you'd call that yelling. Then I really lose it and YELL once in a while (hopefully not very often). To my credit, early in my marriage I yelled during arguments and it freaked my dear hubby out, so I've gotten a lot better about that, now it's my kids who drive me to a loud volume.

Hmmm, I should really work on this. My dad was a yeller and I hated him for it. I do NOT want my kids to hate me or remember me as angry all the time. I have got to get my act together!

5. Have you ever dumpster dived?
I'm trying to think. No, I've never climbed into any kind of trash can, but I don't think I've gotten anything off the curb either. I'm not sure. I'm not above that by any stretch, I've just never happened upon anything good.

I hope you'll play along, I'd love to read your answers! You can find the link-up here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

TILT--Slow Cooker Liners

What am I loving this week? Well, the Ultimate Blog Party, of course! I'm totally enjoying hopping from blog to blog and meeting new people. So much fun! If you haven't read my party post yet, check that out here.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, I love Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners. Simple concept--put one of these bags in your crockpot, pile in your ingredients, cook it, eat it, and when you're done, just pull out the liner and you have a clean crockpot. Tada!You might ask yourself, why not just clean your crockpot like a normal person? Well, I'm not normal, I am lazy. So before the liners, I typically let the leftover goop in my crockpot dry on and it was a pain to clean up. Also, my crockpot is one piece, there is no inner bowl to lift out and clean. If I have to scrub my crockpot, the whole thing has to go in my sink--cord, plug and all. Honestly, that kind of freaks me out.

With the liners, I scoop/dump out the leftovers and take out the liner. It's never perfectly clean, (from all the condensation and probably some leakage or splashing as we served ourselves), but it's easy to wipe down and I don't have to put the whole shebang into my sink. That just makes things a teeny bit easier, and in my world, it's all about what's easy.

If you want to go find yourself some slow cooker liners, they are in the aisle with the ziploc bags and such. A box of 4 is around $3. (So it's kind of a luxury, but for me, it's worth it.) I don't knwo why but my Safeway doesn't carry them, however my Walmart and Target do.

For more things people love, check out The Diaper Diaries. What are you loving this week?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Organizing My Entryway

I'm very proud of this project because it took me less than one week to go from idea to fruition. Amazing! This is the area by my front door. It's actually been in pretty good shape since we took down the Christmas tree in January, but some stuff had started to pile up. Then, the other day I had an idea to get a storage unit and fill it with dress up clothes/costumes and various toys that aren't allowed in the living room (things like legos that L has to play with in the kitchen, away from T).

Here's the before: The enormous brown box is a birthday gift for L (his birthday isn't till June). Under the red table are the toy sets we keep out of the living room (aka choking hazards). The backpack is my everyday bag and that's its home.

Under the table you can see the play sets.

This is a wonderful picture of our closet before, the costumes are shoved on that second shelf in a jumbled mess. Nice.

So what I thought I wanted was a 3-drawer plastic (sterilite or whatever) cart I'd seen at Target in primary colors. When I was there doing my normal shopping I checked that out and it was $30. No way--I had previously gotten a similar cart (in white) on sale for $19. They did have a similar cart in fuscia on sale for $18 but I really didn't want to put fuscia in my entryway, so I kept it in mind and went on my merry way. A few days later I was in Big Lots and checked their storage aisle and found this white one for $16--and since I'd priced out the others I knew that was a good deal and I grabbed it. Sadly, the drawers are clear rather than opaque like the primary colored one, but I'll work with it. I saw a tip on a blog to put colored paper in the front of each drawer for decor and disguise. Clever.

Okay, so I put the cart in the foyer and filled the drawers: bottom is girl costumes, middle is boy costumes and top is various toys that T can't play with. On top I put a bankers box (one day I will post about my love of cheap bankers boxes) full of dress-up accessories like hats and purses. I did this in part because I knew introducing a new flat surface (i.e. the top of the dresser) would invite piles (I have a wee bit of a clutter piling problem) so the box prevents that. I hope to one day replace the ugly box with a pretty basket when a bargain presents itself. :-) Here is the cart after:

And here is the entryway after:

Much better! I wrapped the present that was in the huge box so that is gone. Sadly I didn't find a place for everything. The other banker box has baby clothes to send to a cousin and on top of that is a bin I don't know what to do with (ah, indecision). :-(

To see what others tackled this week, please visit 5 Minutes for Mom. Also, Leanne at Organize and Decorate Everything is starting a new link-up called We're Organized Wednesday, so check that out here. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Five Question Friday

So in my UBP blog-hopping, I stumbled on a link-up that looks like fun, Five Question Friday hosted by Mama M. Obviously it being Monday night, I'm too late for the linky this time, but I wanted to answer last week's questions (because I couldn't resist #1). Here goes:

1. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life? This is an easy one for me: Sandra Bullock. Because I look just like her. Not. But there's a part in While You Were Sleeping where Bill Pullman asks her character what her father was like and she replies "He was a lot like me--brown hair, flat chest." Well, I've had a hang-up about my small chest since forever and though there is nothing wrong with Sandra B's figure (certainly not!), that quote has forever endeared me toward her. And we do look vaguely similar in height and hair color. Vaguely.

2. Did you ever go to summer camp? No, I never went to sleepaway camp. My sisters did, so I could have if I wanted to, but I never wanted to. The summer before 12th grade, however, I took a two-week class at a college the next state over. Does that count? ;-)

3. What sends you running and screaming in the other direction? Um, lots of things--any kind of bug, snake, lizard, rodent etc.; and heights, I'm afraid of heights.

4. What is something you do that drives your spouse nuts? Ugh, perhaps my indecision (I'm extremely indecisive). He should be irritated by my extreme laziness, but he's actually pretty cool with it, since he marvels at all the childcare I do that he is overwhelmed by. He's a great man, I tell you! And he thinks I don't take criticism well. Sadly, he's probably right. So he treads lightly if he has to say something that he knows will make me defensive.

Oh, I thought of something else that drives him crazy! I have a habit of starting stories or thoughts in the middle--this drives him nuts, he's like "Wait! What? Who? What are you talking about? Can you start at the beginning!" LOL

5. What is currently your favorite song? While I listen fairly constanly to the Glee soundtracks, I would actually say my two favorite songs right now are Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" and Duffy's "Mercy."

Okay, so hopefully this Friday I'll be able to join the link-up, until then I hope this was fun to read and learn more about me. :-)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ultimate Blog Party--Welcome!!!

I'm so excited about the Ultimate Blog Party going on at 5 Minutes for Mom. I've already been visiting other blogs so I have GOT to get my own post going!!! Last year I didn't participate in the UBP (other than as a reader) but I promised myself I'd participate the next time, i.e. NOW. So here I am. Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit!!! The best way to navigate my little corner of blogland is with my tags on the left sidebar--you can see I've done a little organizing, posted a few recipes, and I frequently share what I love in my "tilt" posts.
The basics: I'm a stay-at-home-mom of two kids. My son "L" will be 5 in June. My daughter "T" is 18 months old. We live in Phoenix, AZ.
Gosh, it's hard to introduce myself in one post. I'm scatterbrained and disorganized but I love my kids; being a SAHM is the best job I've ever had, though most days I feel like I'm failing; I'm a good friend, a good listener, but I've lived around the country and now my closest friends are far away; I love to read, watch tv and movies, and play on the internet, but sometimes I fall into the abyss and leave the tv to "babysit" my kids. In other words, I'm not perfect, but I'm trying to be better.
Random stuff about me:
*I love Jane Austen books and movies.
*I'm currently reading this book.
*My favorite tv shows are Glee and Project Runway.
*My favorite food is pizza.
*My biggest celebrity crush is Johnny Depp.
Otherwise, I just love reading mommy blogs (and organizing blogs, and DIY blogs, and decor blogs.......) and I have this here little work-in-progress blog of mine to join the conversation. Feel free to stay and poke around a bit; please leave me a comment so I'll know you were here, I promise I'll visit you in return. :-) Thanks again for coming. Happy Partying!
Okay, so it took me all week, but I am now ready to share my top choices if I am picked to win a prize (oh, please, please, please pick me!!!):
First choice (because we so need a vacation): US39--2 night stay at a Hilton Garden Inn
Second choice: USC60--gift certificate for wall slicks from Modern Wall Graphics
Third choice: US1--gift certificate to Pedal Cars and Retro
Followed by (in order of preference): US3, US58, US41, US25, US60 or any Visa, Amazon, or Target gift card.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

TILT-- Mega Bloks

Today's "thing I love" is pretty basic--Mega Bloks, specifically the toddler size blocks. We had a handful of them when L was little but now that T is a toddler I knew I wanted to build our collection. You can usually find a set of 80 for around $20, but I found a bag of 100 at Ross for $13 (woohoo!) and gave them to T for Christmas. Since then, both kids have been enjoying them. Here they are working on a tall tower: I love that this is something we can all play together. I'll bring in the bag and dump out all the blocks and we'll work together or separately but everyone has a great time. Yesterday I dumped out the bag for the kids, started a load of laundry and then joined in. L didn't want to build but wanted to play "Open Season" (like the movie) but his favorite scene is when the dam breaks--so we built and broke a dam over and over while T did her own building thing. Another time, L played the 3 Little Pigs with the blocks, building the straw, stick and brick houses and blowing them down etc. Obviously at 18 months T is a little more random, but of course building is great for her fine motor skills. A toy both my kids can enjoy together--Love It!

For more things people love check out the Diaper Diaries.
What toys do your kids play with together?