Monday, May 31, 2010


I'm pretty sure lighting will shoot down the sky at some point during this post. I should probably attach a fork or something to my head. But here it is...

I hate Scouts. Not the boys themselves. Well, sometimes. But what I'm referring to is the job of tending the Scouts. It's my church calling. For those of you not familiar with my church, I'm LDS. And our church is entirely run by volunteerism, from the head of the church down to the most menial of jobs. (That would be Scouts in case you are wondering.) The church building is cleaned by members of the congregation, the sermons are given by members of the congregation, the organ music is played by members of the congregation....everything. All on a volunteer basis. And every so often the bishop, who is the head of the congregation, asks a member if they are willing to have a new job, or calling. It's generally understood to be very bad form to say no. 'Cause, you know, someone has to do all those jobs. Well, 6 months ago I got asked to be in charge of the Wolf Scouts. And I said yes. But I hate it.

It's not so much that I don't like the boys. Some boys are better than others. Some days are better than others. But I just have no passion for it at all. I don't care about building bird feeders out of pop bottles or kites out of grocery sacks. I don't even care about collecting can goods for the Food Bank or picking up trash on the side of the road. Because I'm with the Scouts. And stinky, sweaty little boys just isn't really my thing.

I know this is an awful thing to say. I'm sure those boys are learning really valuable life lessons from Scouts, like how to make musical instruments out of toilet paper rolls and dried beans, but I just don't want to be the one to teach them.

There. I said it. Now I'm going to hell.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Skool Dayz

Last January I put Daphne into the lottery for three charter schools within 15 minutes of my house. By March, all three had replied that she did not get in. Her lowest position on their waiting lists was 23rd, and her highest was 78th. So since that time I've been scrambling to find a better school to send Daphne to than our local one (which sucks royally). I had finally decided on a public school about 10 minutes away that got exceptionally high scores on their national tests and got great reviews from the other mom I know who sends her kids there. I have been waiting since March for the final word from their principal to say she will be allowed in (they take out-of-boundaries kids, but only if there is space after the regular in-boundaries kids are registered).

Then this morning I got a call from one of the charters saying she was accepted if I still wanted her in. I was kind of leaning towards not. I'd have to buy uniforms (and in all likelihood would send her somewhere else for 1st grade, either because we had moved--hope, hope, hope--or because this charter was my least favorite of the three), and I just wasn't crazy about the school mission statement/curriculum. But I decided to take her in for her assessment testing anyway, just in case. You never know how things will shake down between May and September.

During Daphne's assessment, I read through the literature they gave me on how they run the elementary school, what her curriculum would be, what projects they would do, etc. It actually impressed me a lot more than the online mission statement had done. It looked pretty fun! Next I took the liberty of exploring the kindergarten classroom while Daphne recited her ABC's to the teacher. That's when I saw this...

Should I be worried???

**Ironically, not an hour after I got home from the charter assessment, the public school I'd been holding out for called to say that the principal had denied all out-of-boundaries requests! So I guess the phonics libary school is it. Heaven help us!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

You know how sometimes you see commercials for things and you think,

"I really wish that would work. I really wish it would end all my troubles like it says it will. I really wish that product wouldn't entirely suck after I spend all my money on it. But something in me just says it's too good to be true."?

But then every once in a while a product comes out that actually does end your troubles? And it's a miracle? Like Diet Mountain Dew?

Well this is one for me...

Breathe Right Strips.

When I was pregnant, both times, I couldn't breathe. My nasal passages just closed up tight. Nothing in, nothing out. (The nothing out part wasn't so bad.) Nothing else I tried, which is very little when you're pregnant, worked. And eventually I just stopped sleeping. Lack of sleep is one of the worst things ever! It's worse than no carbs x 10! OK, maybe x 2. Let's not get carried away here. But still, night after night it wears on you. You feel like you want to die. You dread bedtime instead of looking forward to it. You are quite sure when you lie down to sleep at night that you will stop breathing altogether and orphan your children. So when I finally tried these Breathe Right Strips, assuming they'd be frauds like most other things you see on TV, and found that they worked brilliantly, it was a little miracle. Like Fat-free Greek yogurt. Only more chewy.

I still use them. Any time I get congested or sick or feel like reminiscing on the glory days of late pregnancy, I wear one to bed. And sweet dreams is my reward. Not a single orphaned child yet.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Menu Monday

I am going to start posting a favorite recipe on Mondays. 'Cause I am generous like that. Besides, most are stolen from my sister. (But I'm going to share them like they're my own anyway, because, really, who actually makes up their own recipes? They're all stolen from somewhere, right?) And if you'd like to share one back, feel free. I'm always up for a new recipe.

Today's recipe falls under the Appetizer/Looks Slightly Like Baby Food category.

I posted this recipe about 2 years ago, but I'm pretty sure no one who reads my blog now was reading it then, so I'm posting it again. It's probably my most requested recipe. It's delicious! It's easy on the tomato, which I like, and the Italian dressing blends the flavors nicely. This is a party-sized recipe, so if you're making it just to nibble on yourself, you might want to half it.

Avocado Salsa
3 large ripe avocados (or 5 small)
3 Roma tomatoes
3 TBS green onion
1 can white shoepeg corn (it's a smaller sized can in the canned corn aisle)
1 can black-eyed peas, hey ya
1 packet Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix (plus oil, vinegar, water)

Dice avocados, tomatoes, and green onions. Add to a large bowl. Drain the corn and peas/beans and add them. Follow directions on the dressing packet. Pour the dressing over the veggies. Stir well. Serve with Scoops corn chips.

Easy peasy!

If you'd like to post your favorite appetizer recipe, you may link it below. (Click on the blue text.)

When Mother Nature Gets Depression

What the fuh?!?

Pull yourself together,woman! Seriously! Can I get you some Zoloft or something? Geez.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Christening

For some reason today Daphne decided that our cat, Flossie, needed a new name. She presented her choice on paper...

The suggested new name, in case you can't read Daphne's writing, is

Sprinkle Toes.

(Um, I'm still going to call the cat Flossie.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I was driving down the freeway today, in my comfortable car, big enough to fit all my kids and their friends, new enough to have very few things ever go wrong with it or need to be replaced, cute enough that I actually picked it out myself and got to choose the color and everything, and I realized, I AM LUCKY. Not because of my car. But because of my life.

I live comfortably. That's what made me start on this line of thinking. I have a beautiful house. Yes, having a house from two centuries ago has its down sides. But it's big enough for our family. It hasn't had any major issues. We have a nice green yard with big, shady trees. We have a walk-in closet (a rarity in old houses). We have plenty to eat and wear and do.

Then I took stock of the rest of my life. I have two gorgeous, intelligent, mostly obedient, happy, healthy children. That is a gift.

I have an absolutely fantastic husband who works so hard to support us, who is the first to volunteer to do anything the kids need, who helps around the house, who can fix anything, who makes me laugh all the time, and who makes it a priority to make me happy.

I have my health. My biggest health problems right now are allergies and a little back pain. Compared to some people I know who have dealt with cancer, fibromyalgia, depression, diabetes, Crohne's Disease, and other major health issues, I have been blessed.

I live in a free country where I am generally safe and far from danger. I have access to the best health care. I am educated. My kids are becoming educated. I have a strong belief in God and I am allowed to express it as I choose. The street by my house is paved. The roof over my head doesn't leak. The shower water is hot. The water that comes out of my tap is cold and clean. The toilet flushes. Someone picks up the garbage every week when I put it on the curb. The town where I live has 226 sunny days a year. I am eating a cheesecake brownie.


And I am grateful.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Swim Suit Jackpot

Because I love you, because I want you all to look great in a swim suit this summer, because I want you all to find an affordable swim suit, and one which you did not have to spend 1000 hours searching for, I am going to share my discovery with you. I was looking for a modest swim suit, one that didn't cost a fortune, and I HIT THE JACKPOT.

Modest tankinis? Check.

Three piece tankinis (skirt included)? Check.

Boyshort tankinis? Check.

Boyshort bikinis (great for covering up that pesky bottom half while accentuating the top half)? Check.

And if you are into bikinis, but worry about the more jiggly parts, they have full coverage bottom bikinis.

And if you just want a skimpy bikini, or one of those cutaway one pieces that only look good on 13 year olds, well they have those too.

Best part?


Two years ago I spent $59 for the top and $35 for the skirt and $29 for the bottom of the swim suit I wore 3 times before I somehow lost it. For that price, I could have bought four different bathing suits at.....

MARINA WEST (only available at Amazon, evidently).

Most of their swim suits are between $25-45 for the complete 2 or 3 piece set!


And don't say I never did anything for you. (Just don't show up anywhere I go with the one I got, or you're dead.)

p.s. If none of Marina West's 157 options floats your boat, and you really want to pay 3x as much, you can also try:
Downeast Basics
Lime Ricki
Shade Clothing (who may or may not actually have cute swim suits but I can't tell because their swimsuit model has such a horrible body for swimsuits!)and
Rey Swimwear (be warned--they have gaggy Christian rock playing when you first open the site.)

Oh, and Mom? Here are a couple for you...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Growing Pains

A wise friend recently shared a very good quote with me:

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret." John Rohn.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized she was right. And not only will everyone suffer from one of these two pains, the pain of regret is always WAY worse than the pain of exercising a little self discipline. In fact, discipline is more like discomfort, really. While regret carries with it the crushing weight of wishing forever that you could go back and do things differently. I can think of almost no pain that is worse than the pain of regret.

So, ya, this quote really struck a chord with me. We were talking about budgeting at the time, and I told her how ashamed I was that Big Daddy and I never save. We should. We can. But we don't. Mostly because we have never made a plan to save. And no matter how much he earns, we seem to spend exactly that much. And I knew, could sense in my bones the way you sense upcoming snow, that the day will come when we will need money in savings and won't have it if we don't change something. Soon.

So with a particularly tight month coming up, we finally sat down yesterday and made a budget. We went through 2 months of bank statements so we could get a feel for what we spent our money on, created an Excel spread sheet to categorize everything, then we started deciding what things we could eliminate and what things we could whittle down. And you know what? After about an hour and a half, we had managed to reduce our monthly spending by 43%!!!! Can you imagine?! Not all of it was things we can permanantly get rid of. There were a few bills we'd been paying way more than the minimum. So we'll only pay the minimum this month when things are tight and then go back to bigger payments next month. And there were a few bills we could defer, but only this once. And there were a few incidentals that won't occur this month. But a lot of what we were able to reduce was frivelous spending: clothes, eating out, home decor and housewares, entertainment, etc.

This upcoming month will be tight. I'm taking all the money alloted for groceries, dates/babysitting, "blow mone," etc., and putting it in envelopes. And I won't go out without them. Everything will be paid for, CASH, with those envelopes. So when the money is gone, it's gone. And then we will just do without.

Making the budget was tough. Owning up to our spending was tough. Putting strict spending limits on ourselves was tough. Not spending anything not allowed will be really tough. Keeping track of the money will be tough. But you know what? It feels good. It feels really, really good. And I know whatever pains we experience this month will be nothing compared to the pains we would have felt if we just let ourselves overspend, go into debt, bounce checks, and get upside down. The weight I feel lifted off my shoulders, knowing we'll make it this month, is absolutely FREEING.

I think I'd like to do this every month. We might allow ourselve an adjustment in how much we can spend on a few things--groceries, eating out, etc.-- when the months are more plentiful, but we can take a good portion of the extra is earned those months and put it aside for emergencies, vacations, rainy days, etc. Yep. This feels really really good.

p.s. If you don't budget, but want to start, I recommend these Dave Ramsey worksheets to help you get started. Dave Ramsey Monthly Cash Flow pdf

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hello Netflix

Blockbuster slogan 2009: "The end of late fees."

Blockbuster slogan 2010: "PSYCH!"

I'm Audi 500.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Gift Of Solitude

This was my Mother's Day gift this year:

For Mother's Day I got to stay here ALL BY MYSELF.

I got to read, blog, surf the net, swim in the pool, go to brunch, cruise around town and check out my old stomping grounds, and, most importantly, I got to SLEEP IN. To me, this was heaven.

What about you? Would you consider a day and night by yourself a treat? Boring? Scary? Or would you wish to be with someone else?

p.s. Honey? Best Mother's Day Gift EVER.


A list of things I love about being a Mom.

1. When a baby falls asleep in my arms.
2. When a toddler falls asleep in my arms. Way less frequent, but so much more rewarding, their sweaty heads plastered to my chest, my arm so dead asleep I am sure there will be permanent nerve damage, but still unwilling to move for fear of waking them.
3. Footie pajamas
4. A child who says, "I missed-ed ya, Mom" when I come home.
5. An empty plate after a meal
6. Bedtime routines that call for a kiss, a hug, a five, other five, another kiss, another hug, and then finally an "I love you."
7. Watching the deep satisfaction of a child sucking on a beloved binky
8. Learning. Watching my children learn to do all the things they can do is priceless.
9. Mispronounced words.
10. Tiny, soft hands. I could just sit and stare at my kids' tiny hands, able to do so much but in a cute, miniature-handed sort of way.
11. A child who volunteers "I forgive you" to a sibling who hurt him.
12. Watching Daddy at his comedic best, cracking the kids up with his silly voices and songs and dance moves.
13. Hearing "Mom, this is the bestest food you ever made" even when all I did was heat up frozen chicken nuggets.
14. A child who loves all living creatures so much that she begs me not to squash the ants who have invaded our kitchen. She will carry them all outside, she promises.
15. A boy who asks to sing a solo for the extended family and then gets every word right.

I'm sure there are a million other things, but those are the favorites that come to mind now.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ich Bin Ein Hamburger

I have noticed over about the last year that trendy new burger places are popping up all over the place. Not only did In 'N' Out Burger make it to our state, and not only did a few copy-cat restaurants open up, it seems like everyone wants to get in on the burger business all of the sudden. There is a new burger shop on every corner practically. And I keep hearing "Oh, Such-and-Such a place has the BEST burgers." Five Guys. Whataburger. Chadders. Smash Burger. They are everywhere. And even though I haven't tried them all, the few I've tried....well, they just taste like burgers to me.

Do you have a new hamburger place by you that is just amazing? Is there something special about their burgers, some mouthwatering ingredient or sauce that makes you love them? Or do you find, like me, that overall burgers are burgers?

So far, I think nothing beats a thick, juicy, homemade burger, hot of my backyard grill. Mmmmmmmmm.......

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Ok Ladies, (Oh, and Gents? Feel free to check out right now. You might not want to stick around for this one), it's time to talk about Mother Nature's biggest curse to women... Not your period. Um, no, not saddle bags. No! Not PMS. Stop interrupting me! (We do have a lot of curses, don't we?) No, I'm talking about upper lip hair.

I know it's kind of a taboo subject. It's one of those things we like to avoid talking about because it's just too painful. You know, like racial hatred. Or being just like our mothers. Or the fact that we're nearing the last episode of "Lost." But it's time we brought this subject out into the open. So fess up! Do you pluck it? Wax it? Bleach it? LEAVE IT? (Please don't say you leave it. I promise, we can all see it. Pretending it's not there doesn't make it disappear). Or do you go the full monty? LASER.

In the dawn of time, Egyptian women used honey get rid of unwanted hair. Then Cleopatra, who was unbelievably hairy, and kept getting licked by her servants, said, "Screw this mess, y'all!" and she ordered one of her royal honey drippers (that's where the term came from, did you know?) to invent electrolysis. Women gritted their teeth and bore that torture device for another 7000 years until finally someone wonderful invented the laser.

Not only does the laser allow us to point to things on a map we might otherwise have to move closer to point to, it also provides us the chance to throw away our life savings in the pursuit of becoming Mr. Bigglesworth.

Personally, I'm all for using laser. I don't really need heat in my house anyway. Pretty soon my kids' floods will be able to be classified as capris. And food is just SO over-rated.

The only downside I can see to lasering is having the strength to keep from plucking those little dark hairs at the corners of your mouth out before your laser appointment. We all know if you see them, you can't get them out of your mind. "MUST. PLUCK. NOW!!!"

But I figured out a solution for that problem too: Super glue and men's work gloves! First get some over-sized men's leather gloves. Next apply super glue to your whole hands. Put on the gardening gloves and rub them all over to get them to stick. The finger tips are too thick to feel the hairs on your face. And should you catch site of a budding 13-year-old, mullet-sporting, camero-dreaming-of mustache in the mirror, don't worry. The grip with men's work gloves is too clumsy to hold tweezers! And the super-glue will wear off in a few weeks, just in time for your next appointment.

Listen, ladies. I know none of us likes those pesky upper lip hairs. Let's face it, Magnum P.I. never did look very good in a skirt and heels (except that one episode...) So let's all make a vow. NO MORE UPPER LIP HAIRS. Come hell or electrolysis (redundant?), we will be hair free!

(Oh, and gents? If you did manage to read this far, A) good for you. I hope your illusions about women haven't been shattered. B) they laser men's necks and backs too! Join us in our hairless crusade!)


Monday, May 3, 2010

A Crazy Irrational Hatred For Birdsong

I am a night owl. Always have been, always will be.

Having young kids has forced this night owl to adapt to being a late evening-owl, however. I'd still rather stay up late and sleep in late. But I don't really get that option. And once sleeping in late wasn't an option, staying up late went out the window real fast too.

When I was in college I lived my ideal schedule: Stayed up until about 3am, slept until at least 10am, if not noon. It's true, I missed out on a good portion of the morning (and on rare days where I had to get up super early, say 9am, I noticed that the world seemed so alive and fresh and golden at that hour. And that I got a heck of a lot more done in a day too). But my body has always ALWAYS wanted to sleep in late, no matter how early I've gone to bed.

Back in those days, when I was a true night owl, my only goal for going to bed was to be in bed asleep before the birds started chirping (which was usually about an hour before sunrise.) That may seem like an obvious goal, to be asleep before sunrise, but at that time it was not at all uncommon for me to be awake when the sun came up. But nothing, NOTHING is so maddening to me, so irrationally irritating to the point of hysteria, as trying to fall asleep when the birds start chirping in the morning. I can't say why it is, but if I hear birds in the morning, I CANNOT go to sleep. Instead I get irate. I want to get up and find a sling shot and bring down every one of those sweet, darling, innocent little birdies. Or at least a big bull horn that makes really loud cat noises. That would scare them away, right?

Why does morning birdsong bring out this blind rage in me?? I'm such a peaceful, animal-loving, tree-hugging type normally. I mean, I'm practically Snow White in the afternoon! Usually all my little squirrel and deer friends bring me my lunch on the couch while the birds and mice press the buttons on the TV remote. (They tend to choose Animal Planet quite a bit). So where does this crazy blood lust in the wee hours come from??

I suspect it isn't so much a dislike for my fine feathered friends as it is a distaste for being conscious before noon. It goes back to the fact that I'm not a morning person. AT ALL. And that the birds chirping their little hearts out reminds me that it is about to be morning, a part of the day which my vampirish body violently shies away from. I don't know. I can't say why it is. But if I am up and start hearing the birds, I am filled with such crazy hatred for tiny fowl that I can only lie in bed fuming. And, you know, fuming is sort of counter-productive to sleep.

The other day one of my kids woke up crying in the night. About 5:30am, actually. I helped him find the potty, use it, get back in bed, and then flopped back in bed myself. And then came the sound I hadn't heard in years....the chirping and singing of happy little birds, getting ready to greet the sun.

Let me just say, it is a VERY good thing that someone invented ear plugs. 'Cause my husband has an airsoft gun. And I know how to use it. Kind of.

Yes, I am a sick, sick woman. I need bird-related therapy. What is wrong with me?!