July 30, 2008

The One Thing I've DONE Today

I was lucky to have a piece of some Strawberry Pizza Pie last weekend.
It really got me thinking: How hard would it be to make something like this on my own? With a basic pie crust, some cream cheese and powdered sugar whipped together, and some strawberries would be a really yummy and easy treat!
I'd been craving it all day. I tried my best to put the thought out of my head, but I could almost taste the flaky crust and strawberries as I tried to occupy myself with other things. Nothing worked, nothing got done. I managed to figure out a pie crust and throw this together pretty simply. I will try another recipe for the crust next time. This one tasted good, but the texture wasn't as flaky as I'd hoped. It feels good to experiment, though!
We are off to cheer practice pretty soon. That will make TWO THINGS I've done today.
(Then, if you count the two pieces of this thing I finished, that would make FOUR!)
I think I've had a pretty productive day, so long as I look at it that way!
Any good crust recipes, OH WISE INTERNET? I want something flaky and light, but doesn't contain any shortening or margarine.
And if it has NO CALORES OR FAT OR SUGAR...that would be nice too!
I'm just DARING a headache to come my way now!
Now, where did I put that migraine medication?

July 28, 2008

Temporary Houseguest?

Since we don't technically KNOW his name, this dog has been called a variety of things: PITA (Pain In The Ass) and Juevos Rancheros (Because his BALLS are the biggest thing about him!) and the girls want to call him 'Coco'....I mostly want to call him 'Meatball' or 'Giant Nutsack'....but that's not something I want the kids picking up!

We've had him since Saturday. I have posters around my neighborhood and I've called our local shelter. He was soooo obnoxious when we first let him in. His 'inside manners' leave something to be desired and I often wish I could take his batteries out. He didn't calm down or turn off that first day (OR that first night!). He has since mellowed a bit. He follows Lily all day and they nap at the same time and play together. He still wants to play more often than she does, but she is sure to let him know she's not in the mood when she's tired. Then, he just plods off and finds a kid to annoy. Lord knows we have plenty of those!

He's not nearly as annoying as he was. I'm not SAYING we're keeping him if we don't find his owners. But, there is always a chance. He's small and doesn't take up much space. I figure that I'll give his owners a week to claim him before I find him a home or choose to keep him. He needs to be fixed IMMEDIATELY. Since we don't know whether he's a real purebred Miniature Pinscher or not, we cannot just fix him without his owner's consent. Since he has his tail docked and he LOOKS just like many of the minpins I've seen, I don't want to mess up someone's plans. Then again, wouldn't they have called by now if someone had this expensive little dog that they actually cared about? I will wait a week, then we will decide.

In the meantime, I am of the opinion that he should not breed. He's the 'poster puppy' for ADHD!!! He's cute, but I'm still trying to find where his batteries are kept! And I don't want the shelter to have to take him. There are cooties there!!!! They all do their best to keep our shelter clean and safe, but so many dogs come in and out that I'd hate to know he came down with something or didn't get adopted. He's fine here...and Lily's training him for me!

In the meantime, I've put flyers up all over the place. Nobody has called. The shelter has my number and I keep checking all the lost pet websites. Or, most of them, anyway! There are a TON of those sites!

Sooooo...that's pretty much what's happening in our neck of the woods! School starts in a couple of weeks. Cheer practice has already begun. Life just got more insane...

But what's new, right?

July 19, 2008


5YO is set to start kindergarten in a little less than a month.
While I don't consciously think that it bothers me, a dream I had the other night makes me think otherwise. A year ago, I would have been much more nervous about 5YO starting school. Then again, she was a different child a year ago. My 5YO is painfully shy by nature and even family gatherings would cause her to look at the ground and hug my leg. And God forbid someone actually look at her or try to speak to her! She was perfectly fine at home around close family and friends, but take her somewhere else or throw a few strangers in the mix and she becomes about as antisocial as they get.
Last summer, we signed her up for soccer. She was terribly shy at the beginning, but soon started to come out of her shell a bit more. She made it through the soccer season with a bit of determination and the incentive of a kitty that her daddy promised her. We realized that we didn't actually need to bribe her with a cat, but David had already promised it to her if she stayed on the field for every game.
The kitty's name is Soccer and he's the most kid-friendly cat I've ever known.
It was the first day of school. I was in the back of the house getting ready to take 5YO to school. The bus comes by about 45 minutes before school starts. As I'm walking down the hall, 5YO, B5YO and the neighbor boy from across the street all ran down the driveway and jumped on the bus without another thought. I didn't even get to see her get on the bus...or take ANY PICTURES.
Sure, I could have easily driven to school to meet her as she came off the bus and still walked her to her class and met her teacher. That may have very well happened. But, the last thing I remember from the dream was the feeling of being very hurt and just feeling so, so helpless.
That afternoon, I made 5YO promise me that she would allow me to drive her to school on her first day. She looked at me as if I were crazy and rolled her eyes.
I'm thinking that I don't have much to worry about.
I hope.
Maybe my anxiety is more usefully directed toward my 12YO who is started junior high the very same day. Then again, I think I've just been avoiding those thoughts altogether.
The saga continues....

July 16, 2008


I'm not really sure I should be sharing this for the whole world to see, but here goes:

18 or lower is supposed to be a good thing, I guess!

[X] Gum has fallen out of your mouth when you were talking.

[X] Gum has fallen out of your mouth when you were NOT talking. (Another reason I don't chew gum anymore!)

[X] You have run into a glass/screen door.

[ ]You have jumped out of a moving vehicle.

[x] You have thought of something funny and laughed, then people gave you weird looks.



[ ] You have run into a tree.

[X ] It IS possible to lick your elbow

[X] You just tried to lick your elbow.

[ ]You never knew that the Alphabet and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star have the same rhythm.

[ ] You just tried to sing them.

Total so far = 6


[x] You have tripped on your shoelace and fallen.

[x] You have choked on your own spit.

[ ]You have seen the the Matrix and still don’t get it.

[x] You didn’t notice that in the last question “the” was spelled twice

[x] You just looked at it.

Total so far = 10


[X ]Your hair is blonde/dirty blonde.

[ ]People have called you slow. (At least, not to my FACE!!!)

[ ] You have accidentally caught something on fire

[X ] You tried to drink out of a straw, but it went into your nose/eyes/cheek.

[X] You have caught yourself drooling.

Total so far = 13


[ ] You’ve fallen asleep in class

[X] If someone says “fart” you laugh.

[ ] You just laughed

[ ] Sometimes you just stop thinking

[X] You tell a story and forget what you were talking about. (ALL THE TIME!)

Total so far = 15


[X] People are often shaking their heads and walking away from you

[ ]You are often told to use your “inside voice

[ ]You use your fingers to do simple math.

[X]You have eaten a bug.

[X]You are taking this test when you should be doing something important

Total so far = 18

(Should I even KEEP GOING at this point? I'm thinking less and less of myself with every question!)


[X] You have put your clothes on backwards or inside out, and didn’t realize it. (I've even put my daughter's shoes on the wrong feet!)

[X] You’ve looked all over for something and realized it was in your hand or pocket

[ ] You sometimes post bulletins because you are scared that what they say will happen to you if you don’t even when you know it won’t happen to you.

[X] You break a lot of things.

[ ] Your friends know not to use big words around you

Total so far = 21


[X] You sometimes tilt your head when you’re confused

[X] You have fallen out of your chair before

[X] When you’re laying in bed, you try to find pictures in the texture of the ceiling (But I always considered that to be 'creative' or a 'sign of intelligence!)

Total = 24!!!

Well, I guess the proof is in the pudding....I'M A DUMBASS!!!

Now you know why I hate these quizzes....

July 14, 2008

CONSUMER RANT Well....maybe!

I might have a bone to pick with a certain online company.

You see, I received a very nice coffee maker for Christmas this past December. It’s a 10 cup coffee maker, it’s an espresso machine….what more could a girl want? This coffee maker has served me well the last seven months or so. That is, until I broke the carafe. I’m not even drinking coffee everyday anymore. I drink it about once a week, usually on Sundays when we’re all home and have nowhere to rush off to. Sunday seems more complete with a cup of coffee in hand.

This particular brand of coffee maker doesn’t seem to sell replacement carafes. I’ve gone to the website and I’ve Googled just about as many different combinations possible with the words ’10 cup’ ‘replacement’ and ‘carafe.’ In addition to that, this carafe is sort of an odd shape. The base of the pot is smaller in diameter than most, so your run-of-the-mill generic replacement carafe will just simply not do.

By the way, I made coffee yesterday using a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup and a butter knife to hold the ‘pause and serve’ button up so that the coffee would keep flowing. I then transferred said coffee to my thermal carafe to stay warm. That actually saves some energy and might consider doing that again, but without having to stand there with a butter knife the whole time.

So, I finally found a couple of sites that appeared to sell the exact carafe I needed. I ended up Googling the model number and the words ‘replacement carafe’ to get to some sites I hadn’t found in the past. Out of the few companies I found, I selected the one that gave the most information, or at least it seemed to! I placed my order and paid right then and there.

Well, I received an email from that company just this morning telling me this:

“We understand that you attempted to place an order with us over the weekend.
Unfortunately our website was experiencing server problems and the shipping was misquoted.

The shipping on your order should have been $8.95.
If you would like us to continue with your order, please email us.
We apologize for this inconvenience.
Customer Service”

Well, $8.95 is a dollar more than they had listed on their website Saturday. A dollar more than I paid. While a buck is not a lot of money when you’ve already spent more than you’d care to admit on a piece of glass with a plastic lid, it’s more the principle of the thing now.

Now, I know that everything in this world seems to be going up in price. I feel it every time I go shopping for groceries and spend more, even though I leave with less.. I see our energy consumption going down and yet our bill going up. I won’t even talk about the hit we are all feeling at the gas pump. That pretty much goes without saying! We are a single-income family and are feeling these hits just like everyone else. I know companies are making less money and having to charge more for things like shipping and usually have their own steadily increasing set of bills on top of that. I expect for the price of things to be going up all around me. And I do not think I am above those increases.

What I do not expect, however, is to purchase something at one price, only to be told AFTER I BUY IT that they need to charge me more. Even if it’s just a dollar, that is not what I consider to be good customer service. If your servers are giving you problems, you fix them as soon as you can and eat the difference. They should be grateful that it was only a dollar! I mean, how many people could have possibly ordered something from them that same weekend and chosen that exact same method of shipping? Maybe they all went up, I don’t know!

My point is that, with all the things getting so much more expensive and everyone having so much less to spend, we need good customer service now more than ever. Some days, it's all we seem to have left. That person ringing us up at the supermarket had better greet us with a smile, thank us when we leave, and tell us to have a nice day. It’s the only thing that can ease the pain of having to pay almost four dollars for a gallon of milk, and it’s the least they can do. It’s just good customer service and it should not be a thing of that past.

It would be so easy to just pay the extra dollar and know that my coffee pot is on its way. But, when was the last time that anything worthwhile was easy? And I am frustrated with the company who actually makes the coffee maker. But, I’m more frustrated with myself for not doing a little more research about things like replacement parts. Other than that, the coffee maker is wonderful and I have no other complaints.

I replied to their email and basically told them that, should they really feel that they need to charge that extra dollar, then they can just go ahead and cancel my order. I then told them that I would make sure that everyone I knew was aware that this company goes against what they say. Who wants to buy something when they could be charged more afterward? AFTER THEY BOUGHT IT. I also thanked them for giving me a great thing to blog about.

So, do you have a beef with anyone? Is there a company out there giving you ‘the shaft’ and you’ve had enough? Speak up! Share! Use your voice! I know I think hard about giving someone my business when I read about something good or bad about the company. Good reviews can be just as powerful as bad ones when choosing a company to deal with. We have more choices than ever before when it comes to whom we choose to give our business. On that note, we should also acknowledge good customer service when we find it. People should be given the proper credit for a job well done.

I will give this company some time to respond to my email. What I blog about next really depends on their next move.

I will keep you posted.

July 9, 2008

Good Hump Day....I think!

Yesterday, they say our lovely temperature gauge made its way up to about 109 degrees. Pair that with all those California fires that are above and around us and you get air that is sticky, smelly, and just plain unhealthy!

Our newly acquired pool is wonderful, but feels more like a heated spa already! The heat wouldn’t be so bad if it would just cool down at night. But, noooooo….the weather guy was actually smirking when he said that it was still 95 degrees at 11:00 last night. Now, I know that we shouldn’t shoot the messenger, but did he have to be so cocky about it?

Even with the A/C on, it just doesn’t feel right in here. I love it when I can open the windows in the evenings or even eat dinner outside because it’s even cooler outside than it is in the house. Now, it feels gross outside no matter what time of day or night and being inside just makes you feel…..well, sort of trapped and suffocating.

My poor husband doesn’t feel like moving when he gets home from work, and I can’t say I blame him a bit. Not only is he out in the heat all day, but he spends a good portion of his day sorting the packages in the back of his big, brown oven on wheels. I guess that this would be a good time to remind you not to ship anything that cannot handle heat right now!

The girls and I have been keeping busy doing ‘inside things’ to entertain ourselves. I bribe them with swimming once a day, but I really can’t see how it’d be all that healthy to be outside playing much more than that right now, the air quality being what it is.

I went to the dentist for the first time in a very long time yesterday. For some reason, it just seemed so easy to put off my own appointments (for the dentist, anyway) when I had the appointments of so many others to deal with. Mom comes last, right? Well, I was surprised to hear that my teeth are actually very clean. I have one filling that needs to be replaced and two minor cavities. Considering the number of cavities I’ve already had in my lifetime, I think that is very good news! I was so amazed with the new technology in my dentist’s office. For example, the x-rays are digital now and the picture almost instantly appears on the monitor hanging in front of me as the images are taken. I’m not sure what made the whole appointment easier. It could either have been all the new-fangled gadgets surrounding me (I looooooove gadgets!) or it could have been the fact that I’ve been flossing a lot more lately. I was worried about the amount of coffee and tea that I consume on a daily basis, but my dentist was not. He said that many teas contain a natural fluoride that actually strengthen your teeth and to keep on drinking it, without sugar of course! I haven’t put sugar in my coffee or tea for about eight months, so that’s not a problem for me at all!

Plus, my dentist is hilarious! Now, how many people can say that about their dentist? Many dentists have gone through so much schooling that they actually seem to lose a bit of their personality and some basic social skills. Then, they get so used to the money aspect of their careers that they sort of see ‘dollar signs’ instead of patients. As a kid, my dentist was not what you’d call mean….but he would certainly not be considered nice either! He did, however, drive a very nice car! It just would have been nice to see him smile once in a while, you know?

After cleaning my house like a madwoman for Saturday’s party, I’m working on keeping it that way. I’m not sure how easy that will be with no real discipline or any sense of real routine on my part…but I’m gonna give it a try anyway! Even with this yucky valley air, I breathe a little easier when things are clean and in place. Plus, it will make it easier for David to come home from work to a more organized house after the sweaty, chaotic days he’ll be having. Did you know that someone can sweat so much that they can leave actual salt on their clothing? Like actual salt crystals. From sweat!

Well, B5YO just got here. She’s still sleeping, but I need to get myself something to eat. I’ve been eating horribly lately and I’m afraid to even go near my scale until I’ve had a few ‘good days’ first. In a couple of weeks, we are taking the kids to the beach for a few days. I’m so excited, because it’s bound to be cooler there right?

I have David’s lunch to make and our day to plan. I need to update the options in the ‘Good Bowl’ because my house stays cleaner that way and the kids won’t feel so confined and at each other’s throats.


July 6, 2008

I'm three pounds heavier now....

...but it was SOOOO worth it!

Yesterday was our 1rst Annual Indian Taco Family Get-Together-Majig. Okay, so we don't actually have a name for it yet, but I sure hope we have one again next year! In case you don't know what an Indian Taco is, let me tell you: Deep-fried bread dough served like a big, open-faced taco.

Actually, let me just share the recipe with you:

Indian Tacos

1 Cup Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 Pinch of Salt

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Add enough milk to mix to make semi-firm dough. Cut and roll dough together on a floured surface, but don't knead it too much! Form the dough into a ball and flatten until it's about 1/2 to 3/4" thick. Roll it flat and drop in in at least 3-4" of preheated oil. Flip it once, making sure both sides get crispy and golden brown.

It only takes a few minutes per piece of bread. Make sure the oil is hot enough, or you will have a soggy, greasy mess! Then, serve it IMMEDIATELY with all the toppings you would normally serve on a taco. For best results, don't let it cool down before you eat it.

Since we had about 30 people here, we had three fryers going. We had hoped to have all the toppings ready when the bread got going, but we were a little off. This was the first time we had ever made these things and we would definitely have an easier time with it in the future. The toughest part for me was getting the house ready, but that was my own fault for being such a pig to begin with! Plus, I added the task of hand-scrubbing all of the grout in my kitchen floor to my already long list of things to get done before yesterday. But, I actually so feel like I can breathe a little eaiser knowing that all the grime and dirt is off of my grout (for now!) and it appears to be the color it's actually supposed to be!

If I'm so much happier with a clean house, why don't I just keep it like this?
Because I'm a PIG, and I LIVE WITH PIGS, that's why! And because I've barely been near my computer in three days or knitted a single stitch of anything...and I like those things much more than cleaning anyhow!

In addition to the Indian Tacos, we had chips and dips and crackers and meats and cheese and.....I made CarliGirl's recipe for homemade ice cream. Now, THAT was YUMMY....so yummy, in fact, that it also contributed to my weight gain! There were also cobblers and pastries and my aunt's famous 'Okie Cake!' That and homemade ice cream and it tastes just like the 4th of Julys of my childhood! I ate sugar and flour and grease and....mmmmmmmmm.....

I will probably have a migraine later, but it will be totally worth it! The picture above is the Indian Taco that I just made today with the leftovers. The bread is not nearly as good as it is when it's fresh, but it's still SOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOD regardless! I didn't bother with the corn or the olives or the onions today. But, the meat and beans and hot sauce and sour cream and guacamole and lettuce and tomatoes and....

I think I need a nap now!

The girls are begging David to take them swimming, but I think he'd rather vegitate in front of the tv watching the 'Hogan's Heroes' marathon. We are all tired today and don't feel like doing much at all. I've already spent the first two hours of my morning just scrubbing the burnt-on grease from my stove top. Next year, we are doing ALL of the frying OUTSIDE!

Well, it looks like David caved and is heading to the pool. I doubt I'll be able to get out of going, too. PLUS, I have about a HUNDRED beach towels to wash...and hand towels. We must have had a lot of things to dry and messes to wipe up because I am totally out of clean dish towels!

Soccer and Lily didn't seem to mind the crowd at all! Soccer napped right by the front door most of the day, completely oblivious to all the foot traffic around him. Lily just followed me around for the most part. When she wasn't doing that, she was lying near the folks sitting out on the lawn under the tree, staying cool and waiting for someone to drop food! Everyone was so amazed with how calm and sweet she was! And they were even more amazed that we'd only had her for about a week and half! I was so busy with other things that I completely forgot to put Lily's hat on, but she did wear her stars and stripes bandana around her neck all day long! We also discovered that she looooooves to chase laser pointer lights just as much as a cat does. Plus, she was bouncing around through the weeds in the back and she looked like a little deer or something! My cousin and I were laughing about it and it really got me thinking: This dog TOTALLY needs a pair of antlers for Christmas!!! And she would probably wear them with pride because she's Lily and she's AWESOME!!!
....but she's still sort of afraid of my CAMERA!