Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ok, it's official. I need a 12-step program!!!

Ok, so, Stud and I made a trip to my favorite store in the world, otherwise known as Walmart. I should be completely embarrassed to admit it, but....I came home with this:

I know, I know, I know!!! I'm such a psycho! I can't believe it, either. But, let me try to defend myself here, and explain how I rationalized this purchase.

A couple of years ago, when they came out with this, it was $75. The double crock was $50. I ended up getting the double (with some Christmas cash from my parents) but have secretly been wishing I had bought the bigger one. Well, then this past holiday season, I saw the triple crock for $50 (I think at Sam's Club?) and I was pissed all over again that I didn't get it.

Imagine my delight when I spied an end-cap of these beautiful babies at Walmart with a giant price sign hanging about it that said.....ready? $25!!!! No, I'm NOT kidding!!!! I went online to price it at some other places and found this at the Crock Pot website. Can you even BELIEVE the deal I got?! I can't, either!

But, holy crap, what have I done?! I can't even figure out where to store the other 9 crock pots I have!!! To help me feel better about not getting the triple crock, I kept telling myself that I had nowhere to keep it anyway. Jeez, wait til my mother hears about this!! She's gonna really give it to me. That is, until we have a big family party, and it's exactly what we need for the buffet. :) I guess my weekend project will be to figure out which closet in the basement I'm going to clear out and turn into a Crock Closet!

Email of the Day

I forgot how much I LOVED this woman and her show!!!
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Thanks, Pops!

Actually, Dad sent a couple of things worth sharing today. Here's another:

All this crap about "Think GREEN" Just think back, you'll be surprised to see how "GREEN" we were!

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized to her and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

That’s right, they didn’t have the green thing in her day. Back then, they returned their milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the store.

The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But they didn’t have the green thing back her day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks. But she’s right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts – wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right, they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a pizza dish, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for you. When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used wadded up newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right, they didn’t have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty, instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled pens with ink, instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But they didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus, instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

We burned COAL for heat, and some of us picked coal and didn't worry about the cost of Oil.

Our Mothers worked in Clothing factories, remember looking for the Union Lable with Made In U.S.A. with pride ILGWU . You don't see that today.

Kids went out to play after School and didn't sit at a Play Station eating chips and drinking soda, they were out and had to be called in, some times threatened with grounding if they didn't "Move It"

But that old lady is right. They didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

OMG – that was MY day too, Boy did we save the environment and didn't even know it, "NEAT"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Got a minute?

Sweet Girl Tracie posted some sound advice for new teachers over at her place the other day. You should check it out, then check out some of the other cool things she has posted. This is just too cute!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I can't stop watching this!!!!

My son showed me this today while we were at my parents' and I almost fell off my stool!! I watched it 3 times, before clicking around on YouTube and watching a few more videos of this little darling. There is no way you won't fall instantly in love with this baby!!!


I love that he's singing along (phonetically, I think?) with such emotion. I especially love the way his little tongue keeps flopping out of his cute little mouth. I LOVE THIS KID!!

Enjoy a little more of his cuteness, won't you?


This one says it's his own composition. I love his mom(?) laughing while taping. This one is probably my favorite because it just oozes joy! I actually started to tear up a little while watching it because this kid is just so joyful, it just makes my heart smile.

You should click around on YouTube and check out the others.

And, you're welcome :)

Email of the Day

Walk with me by the water, worth the read...


A BEAUTIFUL MESSAGE ABOUT GROWING OLDER:
Damn it...
I forgot the words!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Seriously?! WTF?!

I just went to let Dorky Dog out for his last potty break of the day, and it's freakin' SNOWING!!

Now, anyone who's been reading here for any length of time knows that I'm part penguin, and normally I would be LOVING this, but hell, even I've had enough. Last week really spoiled us, with temps hitting the high 60s. Naturally, there were knucklehead all over the place here in shorts and t-shirts. (Just for the record, I kept my pants on with my t-shirt.) It actually was really nice.

It not unusual for us to still be getting snow as late as April, and I can remember a May or two that were flaky, as well. I just wish Mother Nature would agree to end the snowfall once spring arrives. It's the least she can do, don't you think?

Wanna feel really popular?

Then go away for a few days, WITHOUT internet access. Stud's on spring break this week, so we took an impromptu trip up to my uncle's place in Saugatuck, MI. (Yes, that means I took a few mental health days off from the Hell-Hole) I just got home a little while ago, and after unpacking, starting laundry, making dinner, oh, and cleaning up a little mess from Dorky Dog (more on that later!), I sat down to check email. Hey, I have 45 messages! Woo hoo! They must really like me! :) OK, I know at least 1/2 of those are gonna be spam, but still. I'm off to clean out my mailbox, and then catch up with all my peeps in the blogosphere. I missed you guys!! I'll fill you in on my trip later (maybe?). Happy Hump Day!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Jon Hearts Teachers

Some of you may have seen this a couple weeks ago:

(Vodka Mom and a few other teacher blogs had it posted, and Bestest Friend sent it to me directly.)

Well, Vodka posted this one today:

I'm quickly become a MAJOR Jon Stewart fan!!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from me and Maxine!

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Click HERE to donate to St. Baldrick's.

Email of the Day

This is one of the silly little things my daddy sends me on a daily basis. This one made me grin, so I thought I’d share.

UP

Read until the end ... you'll laugh.


This two-letter word in English has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is 'UP.' It is listed in the dictionary as an [adv], [prep], [adj], [n] or [v].


It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?


At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

We call UP our friends, brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and fix UP the old car.


At other times, this little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.


And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!


To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look UP the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.


If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.


When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out, we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it soaks UP the earth. When it does not rain for awhile, things dry UP. One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now . . . my time is UP!


Oh . . . one more thing: What is the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night?
U
P!


Did that one crack you UP?


Don't screw UP. Send this on to everyone you look UP in your address book . . . or not . . . it's UP to you.
Now I'll shut UP!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Today's the day!!***UPDATED***

Click HERE to donate to St. Baldrick's.
In about 4 1/2 hours, all this curly goodness will be gone.
If you've been meaning to make a donation to St. Baldrick's, now's the time! I know how easy it is to put things off, despite the best intentions. Life, and it's craziness, has a tendency to get in the way, doesn't it? Hell, I haven't even put my donation online yet!! I'm doing it as soon as I hit "publish."

Stud's time slot for getting shaved is 1:00 pm. It's only 8:30 here, so you KNOW he's still asleep! I did kiss him up a bit when I went down to make my coffee a little while ago, and he was starting to stir. I think I'm going to give him until 9 before I start screaming at him. tee hee!
We (I) had a VERY long day yesterday. I had to drive Stud to school, which my 'regular' readers know means almost an extra hour added to my morning. Or should I say subtracted? Whatever, all I know is CSJ has gotten me really spoiled this year by driving him just about everyday. It just seems so inconvenient when I have to do it now, despite having handled
it by myself for the past 12 years!! Stupid, right?

Anyway, after a LONG Friday with my rugrats, I had to rush home because Dorky Dog had a vet appointment. I sped to Stud's school, snatched him up and rushed home. Stud ran in to change out of his school clothes while I cleared some stuff out of the back of the car, then loaded Buster in with his ramp. That poor old thing! I don't think I've ever mentioned his ramp before, but he's so old now, that he can't make the jump/climb into the car. Thankfully, one of my dad's friends gave me this really cool ramp a while ago for him, otherwise, I'd have to literally pick him up and put him in the car. Um, hello, he's still a big boy, weighing about 70 lbs. THAT'S not a viable option! (Holy crap! I just Googled 'dog ramps' so I could put that link here, and not only found the exact ramp, but I had NO idea how expensive it was. Wow, the kindness of others never ceases to amaze me. My daddy has great friends, which I'm sure is directly related to the fact that he's freakin' AWESOME himself!)

Anyhoodles, after Buster's vet appointment, he had an appointment at the doggie spa for a bath and FURminator treatment. (LOVE the FURminator!!) Because the grooming session takes a few hours, I figured I'd try and run some errands out in that area instead of driving all the way home. (My vet and groomer are both located inside of a PetSmart that, mostly thanks to traffic, is about 45 minutes from home. It didn't make sense to drive all the way home to just turn around and drive back.) Stud and I ended up driving out to the bar, picking up dinner for us and my brother on the way. It was nice to visit for a bit, but he was pretty busy, so we didn't stay long.

After we ate we went shopping for a little bit before the groomer called to say Buster was ready. And, wow, did he look adorable when I picked him up. I really should have taken some before and after photos so you could see the magic of the FURminator! From there, we drove over to my parents' because I had to drop some things off from my brother, and we visited there for a while. Finally, around 10, we HAD to go because I just couldn't keep my eyes open any longer, despite having a few espressos with my mother. That stuff has absolutely NO effect on me. If anything, it puts me to sleep. Weird, right?

When I got home, there was a message on my machine from the niece of my neighbor, letting me know that she had taken a fall down her basement stairs and was in the hospital. I was devastated. I haven't been able to shake the anxious feeling I've had ever since I heard the news. Actually, the burst of adrenaline that occurred after hearing the news and talking to her niece snapped me awake and kept me up for hours.

I know logically, there is NO way I could have known she fell, but I can't stop feeling like I could have done something. No one really knows how long she was lying at the bottom of the stairs, bleeding, because she had absolutely no recollection of the fall, or even being up out of bed. She just remembers waking up and literally crawling up the stairs to call 911. They put 12 staples in her head, so it's a pretty large gash. Her other niece told me that she's basically in pain all over, which makes sense after falling down a flight of stairs. I just feel so terrible for her. I'm actually kinda sitting here typing to kill time before visiting hours start at the hospital.

Well, it's 9 now, so I can go bother Stud until he gets up out of bed. Yay! As soon as he showers and gets dressed, we're going to hit the florist, then the hospital, then we're off to get shaved! Well, HE'S getting shaved, I'm going to stand around taking pictures and video for you guys. You're welcome!

***UPDATE***

Here's our little pumpkin right before the shave. There was a woman standing next to me, watching her own son get shaved, and she immediately commented on Stud's beautiful hair.
As promised, I took video. I'll warn you now, it's a little long, and pretty boring.
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Brushing off the hairs.


And, there he is! The hairdresser left it pretty long. If I remember correctly, she's the same woman who shaved him the first year, and left it long then,too.
I told him it's just the right length to make him look like a little gang banger. Don't you agree?
When we went to buy a plant to bring to our neighbor, he spied this little guy, and went nuts. He HAD to have him!
How hilarious is this kid?! He even took pictures of it and texted them to his best friend. I don't get it, but whatever, it made him SO happy, I couldn't stop laughing!!


He's trying to make them look tough here. Did it work?He was cracking me up with this thing. I finally had to bust out the camera in the car and capture some of the nuttiness! Again, these are kind of long, and probably boring to everyone but me.
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pssst....KBL....this is for you....


Click HERE to donate to St. Baldrick's.

Apparently, if I'm going to continue posting cooking stuff, I'm gonna need to get a better camera. I apologize in advance for the crappy pictures.

I decided that since today is Ash Wednesday (which means no meat), tonight was the perfect opportunity to try adjusting the awesome pasta dish I made last week. Stud and I stopped on the way from school and grabbed some groceries, including some sliced mushrooms, which I knew would be the perfect addition to this dish.

Like last time, I started out by sauteing some chopped onions (about a cup) in butter, and seasoning them well with black pepper and salt. After the onions softened a bit, I threw in the mushrooms and some garlic.
When the mushrooms started to smell like heaven, I added an 8oz brick of light cream cheese
and about a cup of half-and-half.
I whisked that around a bit to melt the cheese, and then added around a cup of the boiling pasta water to thin it out a bit. I then mixed in about 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan.
These are the awesome fresh English peas I picked up at Sam's the other dayand the pasta.I put the pasta in the boiling water to cook
and when there was about 3 minutes left on the timer, I threw in the peas.
Look how happy they all are swimming around in the hot tub together.
I kept the sauce warm on the stove, on the lowest possible flame.
When the timer went off, I used a slotted spoon to get the pasta and peas out, and threw them in the sauce.
I gave it all a quick mix, and served it up!
Looks yummy, right?
After we ate, I grabbed my newest crock-pot (yay!) and sprayed it with some baking spray.
Then I gathered a few ingredients to try out a new recipe.
The mud cake that I made the other day was FREAKIN' AWESOME! I never even got a chance to take pictures for you cuz Stud and I dug right in!

While I was originally searching for that recipe, I came across another one, that actually had a YouTube video to accompany it. It seemed super easy, but since I was off that day, I figured I had time to make the other one.

This recipe is pretty much out of a box, or two, while the other one is "from scratch." Tonight seemed like a good night to try out the other recipe.

So, here goes. Mix up a box of instant chocolate pudding.
Then mix up a box of devil's food cake mix, using all the ingredients listed on the box.
Here are my two bowls, all ready to go.
Pour the cake mix into the sprayed crock.
Next, pour the pudding over the cake mix.
Finally, pour a bag of chocolate chips (yes, mine have 'bloomed' but they still taste awesome. They're Ghirardelli!) over the pudding. Yes, seriously, that's it! Could it be any easier? Cover and cook on high for 2 hours.
After two hours, it looked like this.
Looks pretty good, doesn't it? I had actually tried to take some video of myself scooping it out of the pot, so you could see all the chocolate 'lava' in the pot, but when I played it back, the video was too dark to see anything. But, here it is in our bowls. (And, yes, I WAY over-served us. Those 'things' in the chocolate are butterscotch chips. Apparently, they don't melt the way chocolate chips do. Damn me for always trying to modify recipes!)

And, the finishing touch - vanilla ice cream!!!
Ok, now that I have you wiping drool from your chin, I need to give you an honest review. While this recipe was good (I mean, come on!! What could be bad about 3 kinds of chocolate, all hot and gooey, topped with ice cream?!) it was not nearly as good as what I made Monday night. There is definitely a difference between 'out of the box' and 'made from scratch.'

Next time, I'm going to triple the first recipe and make it in the big crock. The first recipe was made in my smaller, 2 1/2 qt. crock. Stud and I each had a healthy serving, and we had leftovers for the next day, which Stud, CSJ and I all shared, a few spoonfuls for each of us. The recipe I made tonight was made in my big 6 1/2 qt. crock. Like I said, it's not bad, and it uses things that I ALWAYS have on hand. I'll probably make it again, like maybe the next time my sister and nieces are over for dinner, but I prefer the first recipe.

Ok, KBL, how was that? I'm starting to give some serious thought to your suggestion of starting a cooking blog. The question is - can I just quit my job so I can devote myself full-time to maintaining my blogs? tee hee!