What Did You Do? Wednesdays

Calling all fall fanatics, adventurous organizers, exercise procrastinators, perfectionists unable to make a move unless they're certain it will turn out with ultimate precision, messy Marvins, and any other category you put yourself in ~ stop by each Wednesday and share what you did that week. Big things, little things, adventurous things, nothin' much things, somethin' special things....doesn't matter.

Share your just one thing on What Did You Do? Wednesdays!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tragic Incident

Yesterday I was forced to consider a situation that, never in my life, had I ever expected to have to encounter. We got a call from one of my 1st grader's teachers regarding a boy in her class who was injured with a gun in a domestic dispute. The call was to inform us that they would have a counselor in their classroom right away Monday morning to tell the children why the little boy would be out of school for a while. When the full news report was finally released tonight, we learned that the father, who was already a convicted felon, shot his girlfriend several times & his 8-year daughter in the back of the skull & his 7-year old son in the face when they tried to come to their mother's rescue. This happened at 6:00am when the man was drunk.

My daughter doesn't, and will hopefully never know or understand the full incident. When we told her someone in her class was hurt but will probably be alright, she thought someone fell off his or her swing set. I agree that is the innocence level I would like to personally have, but as I am learning, there are some very horrible situations & conditions in which people live, and sometimes, allow themselves to live. This isn't anything I can even fathom. Shot. With a gun. At the ages of 7 & 8. And so, sadly, their personal adult lives will most likely follow suit. I also can't bear the thought of my own children, with whom I began their own lives in the womb with the most pristine care, can only be sheltered to a certain extent from all that is evil in this world. It breaks my heart.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tortellini Soup

I never know what to make for dinner. It's also a rare occasion that I actually know what we're going to have much more than 30 minutes before we need to eat. If I have to roast a chicken or pork loin, well then, yes, I plan ahead. But usually it's something I pull out of thin air. Tonight was one of those nights. And I do say, I am always pleasantly surprised at how yummy things turn out tasting. Here's the recipe for your eating enjoyment. Try it sometime! Remember, I don't measure.

Box of DaVinci Multicolor Tortellini (lowest in fat & best flavor, in my book)
Olive oil
Garlic cloves
Sea salt
Pepper (some freshly ground)
8oz sliced mushrooms
About 6 tomatoes cut in chunks (canned would be fine too)
Most to all of a 15oz container of ricotta cheese (fat free or low-fat variety)

Cook the tortellini separately & drain. In same pot, add everything else (except parsley & ricotta) until mushrooms & tomatoes are tender. Add parsley & ricotta at end. Serve when fully heated. Yum.
One each for Papa Bear, Momma Bear, Little Bear and Baby Bear

Monday, November 23, 2009

Going GaGa

Did you see the American Music Awards? I'm all for creative expression, & not uptight about music & lyrics & censoring. Mainly, I go with the idea of if you don't like it, don't listen/watch/read. However, at the risk of sounding like a fuddy-duddy, I am concerned about the under 18-ish crowd (& their parents who allowed it) that witnessed Adam Lambert's S&M performance. I'm generally disappointed at the lack of class most Americans seem to have anyway, & this just solidified it. I personally look at it as just a performance, but there's a small part of me that can't help but feel things like this are yet another push toward the demise of our society's morals.

Here's Lady Gaga (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) during her performance. Uh, excuse me Ms. Germanotta, your piano seems to be on fire. At this point, it might be a good idea to move swiftly away from the flames. Actually, I'm sure this exhibit simply boosted her popularity. She's laughing all the way to the bank & you know it's true.

Pom Pom Pleasure

A couple of weeks ago I sprung for a bag of 350 pom poms at Michael's. With my coupon, it cost all of $2 and it has, undoubtedly, been one of the most played with "toys" for the girls to date. They love little things they can hold in their hands, but these softies also lent themselves to a real variety of things thanks to some great imagination, which A. has no shortage of what-so-ever. She helped M. sort them by color, they dispensed them in various containers, carried them around the house in bandannas, lined them up, gathered them in a Build-A-Bear bear bed only to toss the entire contents up in the air & enjoy the plush pom pom rain. The girls did that time & time again, with arms outstretched & faces to the sky, giggling & squealing as they raced to gather them for another upward toss. Among other things, the fluffy balls served as students on a Fisher-Price bus, ice cream flavors in an ice cube tray, confetti soup in a sampling of bowls, smoothie drinks in cups and holders of all sizes & shapes, and even awesome cat toys that are providing exercise for our hairy loungers.

Don't want to spend 20 minutes drenching yourself in downpour of pom poms? Well, here are a few crafting ideas instead. Stick them on lamp shades, embellish a felt or fabric-wrapped Christmas tree with them, display as a doorway garland, ornament a tree with a string of them, wind them in & out of a wreath, make a table runner out of a chain of them....and the list goes on. I ask you, how much more fun could a $2 bag of puffy balls be?

Photos courtesy of www.kidley.com

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Hit & A Miss

Today I needed to clean. Dust, mainly. I hate dusting. Love the vacuuming! Love it. I even really like laundry. Hate dusting. It was an amazingly warm, sunny day here, so sneaked out to run a few errands in the morning. Things always take longer than I budget for so, suffice it to say, there went the dusting. I mean, who wants to start that chore at 3:00 in the afternoon? So that was my "miss" for the day. But I did get a bunch of laundry done & a number of those little things that just seem to multiply like Gremlins. And best of all, my "hit" for the day included this brand new with tags still attached Sondra Roberts lovely:

My secret ~ The HospiceCare Thrift Store, 20% off my entire purchase with an e-mail coupon (oh yes, I found other treasures as well). How much did my new handbag cost? Hold on to your hats....$8!!! When was the last time you got something for 95% off? I felt so triumphant after I dug it out of an 8' long pile of other purses. Admire it again, won't you?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Stinky Stalker

(Today's blog is written for my good friend & personal trainer Denise. Dedicated with love to our years of health club entertainment.)

I like the exercise facility I use. It's low-key, has a small, reliable childcare room with both regular clients & staff, & pretty much every amenity I want. I am fortunate enough to be able go late mornings, which is the time I prefer to exercise anyway. It's never very busy, & I can always count on seeing the same, mostly non-offensive folks.

There are all types of people at most gyms across the country & you know who they are. You've surely all witnessed my least favorite: the muscle bursting, testosterone overloaded ass wearing his Zubaz & barely a thread for a tank top. This creature is the one whose workouts include a lot of loud grunting. It's either done for assistance in lifting an overloaded amount of weights or it's actually his language. It's the latter which, I think, might be the case since he's obviously never advanced past the Neanderthal stage. Then there's the female counterpart to that: the too tan, bleach blonde with her skin tight spandex, long manicured nails & large breasts. Sometimes these two are together, as The Kissy Couple. This is the couple who cannot bear to be 3 steps away from each other, & in between each of their "sets" they need to hang on each other in some lovey-dovey way.

Certainly, you've all experienced the Sweaty Dude. I'm not even talking about the treadmill runners who, I figure, deserve the right to really sweat. I'm talking about the middle-aged dude who's working at about 70% & still absolutely soaked through his clothing & dripping all over the machines. Personally, I'd go see a doctor about that. Have you ever seen the older woman who carries her purse with her from spot to spot? I wonder if she doesn't realize there are locker rooms. How about the old man, bless his heart for still doing his body some good, who exercises on the weight machines in blue jeans. You've surely experienced the Too Long Talker who you try to avoid at all costs because you've heard it all before & you need to move on with your day. I've currently got myself one of these.

The Perv is one who really freaks me out. Keep a great distance & never ever stretch on a mat even within view of this one. Are you a member of a Mom Clique? Not me, ladies & gentlemen. This is the inseparable cluster of Moms who seem as though they've known each other since the beginning of time. Each one's kids running amuck while they discuss their girls' nights out, their next play dates & pick-ups because, so far as I can tell, there is a lot of intermingling with families here. I am not part of this group, nor would I want to be. But just for the record, no one is welcome in this group.

I do always have to smile when I heard the infectious laugh of The Jolly Guy. This man is usually in his late 40s or early-to-mid 50s, quite portly, & usually quite hairy (not to be confused with The Hairy Man, who is fully covered in the black velvet stuff). He's a truly happy person no matter where he is, even when he's working out, which is a place you knoooooow he doesn't want to be. He just wants lunch!

On to a few more of the women: Here we see the older woman in her 70s with her permed & set hair, heavy make-up, gold jewelry, pointy painted fingernails & way, I repeat, WAY too much cheap perfume. Do not attempt to inhale in her presence. You will pass out. I'm not a fan of locker rooms. There's just way too much skin present. So, I steer very clear of the grossly obese women disrobing for their weekly float in the pool. I literally cannot even look at these specimens. I mean, I didn't realize stomachs could touch knees without completely bending one's body in half.

I am always pleased to chit-chat with the nice elderly lady, who really is just that....kind, classy & just plain genuine. I have, unfortunately, had my retina burned a time or two by The Naked Talker. My gosh ~ I can never believe it when it happens. This person is pleased as punch to stand in all her naked glory jabbering on & on about Lord only knows what because I couldn't concentrate to save my life. Put On Some Clothes.....please! Here's a towel! And here's another!! Cover up already.

And finally, I reach the moral of this story. Today happened to be a very unpopulated day at the gym & I found myself all alone in a row of 17 gleaming machines. I just set the Super Sky Glider XM9000 (or whatever it is) to my liking when I smelled him, I mean, spied him. He had sneaked in a side door & stood, in all his ickyness, evaluating his prey. It was, undeniably, The Stinky Stalker. Picture him, if you will.....a thin, short, balding man in his mid 50s with long, wiry, salt & pepper hair. Fortunately, we don't cross paths too regularly, & when we do, I try with all my might to dodge his offensive presence. I mean, HE STINKS! And besides his inability to bathe, he ogles me. Ick, ick & double ick. As he eyed the room, I kept hoping he would choose any one of the very available apparatuses that wasn't anywhere near me. I mean, now he had over 50 machines to choose from. But in a creepy, nonchalant manner, he sidled up RIGHT NEXT TO ME!!!! Now, in his defense, maybe he, too, enjoys a workout on the Super Sky Glider XM9000 (or whatever it is), but come on!! There are 10 others to choose from! It is, after all, unspoken gym etiquette that you leave a one-machine-space between you & the other person when it's at all possible. I refused to stand for this passive stalking, so I unapologetically closed my magazine, halted my gliding & moved to the very opposite end of the gym.......in proximity to other every-day exercisers just trying to do their thing. Of course, as I walked away I tossed a bar of soap in his general direction.

Directions: Lather, Rinse, REPEAT!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Shark Attack

I am in withdrawals. Have you seen the tv show Shark Tank on ABC? Have you watched it on & off while washing the dishes at night? Had you, then, found yourself trying to catch it while it was on at its regularly scheduled time? Did you move on to being so disappointed when you had to shut it off early because you had to put your children to bed? Were you, finally, so sad when they moved it to an earlier time slot & you couldn't see it at all?? Did it occur to you that you could watch it on the internet?! Did you work like crazy to get your nighttime chores done so you could sneak in an episode before it was way past your bedtime?? Were you instantly HOOKED like a madman because you loved, loved, loved the entrepreneurial ideas & incredible opportunities that could lie ahead for each contender??? Oh, p e o p l e, I did. I soooooo did!!!

The show started this past summer & ended, to my extreme disappointment, on October 20th. Withdrawals, I tell you. Bad withdrawals. I have been an admirer of Barbara Corcoran since I began seeing her real estate segments on The Today Show. Her books are on my reading list. She just plain rocks; that's all I have to say about her. My other favorite is Robert. Isn't he a cutie? Of course, you need the other three dudes (especially jerky Kevin O'Leary) just to even things out.

Until the next new episode, I am undoubtedly UNDER ATTACK!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sucking It Up

I think it's safe to say that I do have a few talents in life. For instance, one of my greatest abilities is to adopt psychotic cats. In 1997, I oh-so wisely adopted a one-eyed, twice returned by other unsuspecting folks, BIG mouthed, dog-lovin', cat-hating, constipated, profusely shedding, black & white cat named Captain (get it? Captain....one-eye....). That cat drove me crazy, but I loved him so much & I still miss Captain Kitty.

After his passing, I seemed to feel the need to replace him...with zero success. Admittedly, I am attracted to the tuxedo variety. Don't ask me why; those guys have the loudest mouths. They just never shut up. However, as a glutton for punishment, I foolishly brought home a darling, little black & white monster....that my husband & I kept for a total of 72 hours. I don't know what he required mentally, but since I was not well versed in animal psychiatric assistance, I didn't feel I could properly provide what he needed. Case in point: he chewed his way out of the cardboard carrier, which I had placed in the back seat for the ride home, & within 2 miles that animal was sitting on my dashboard. So what, you say?...animals have teeth. Ok, another scenario for those doubtful subjects out there: in order to ease him into the transition of a new living environment, we kept him in our 3-season porch for the first 24-hours. We were in the living room when we heard the most horrific smash. Wondering what that could have been, I hurried to check on the new fuzzball. There he was, just a cat. No damage to see, just a cat & some furniture, as we had removed every other item from the room. I gave him a dose of welcoming reassurance & went back to my business. Moments later came the same startling sound. Again, back to check on the new inhabitant. Same scenario. Repeat one more time, & then I stayed put for a little spying. Discovery: that hairy little beast was managing to hurl itself against the windows 5 feet off the ground! Sparing you from other great detail on "Charlie's" (name hung on him post window incident, after Charles Manson. Read: insane) stay, after him you should know that we kindly sheltered a very plump, snotty, tortoise shell female by the name of Franny (i.e. Fatty Franny Bananny) & a smug, handsome, gray dude I dubbed Jasper.

In a nutshell, Franny moved to the very loving home of my 1st cousin once removed, where she is wholeheartedly spoiled. And, although I'm sure Jasper ended up in the right environment, we just couldn't keep him. He bit, & I had just found out I was pregnant.

Fast forward 7 years later, I thought it was time for the girls to have/grow up with an animal. Ok, TWO animals but they came as buddies, & they are a perfect fit for 2 young children. And so, Bo & Maxwell joined our household 3 months ago. Short of having to get rid of one of our plants, & a few hairballs on our carpet, things are going along smoothly. I despise the hair everywhere, but at least their shedding lessens at times. So I suck it up (literally & figuratively) for the sake of the girls to know the bond with an animal & have those memories as they age.

Bo is a good buddy & absolutely in love with me. He must be so grateful to me for rescuing him. Maxwell is about as calm as they come and, well, a bit looney because of it. I mean, honestly, I have discovered that the animal likes to be vacuumed!!!! Hey, it's par for the course.

(left) Maxwell, age 3
(right) Bo, age 4

Monday, November 9, 2009

Say It Isn't Sew

I have a confession. Today...well, uh...today I...today Isignedupforasewingclass! There. I said it.


It's ok, folks. That was just my mom falling off her chair. We'll catch up with her at the end after she's had time to recover & I'll go over the details with her.

I know. I can hardly even let the words come out of my own mouth. It's crazy, but here's the thing. I want to write. Duh ~ like I'm not writing right now, but I mean write....for a living. I've always wanted to write. It's my own personal version of stand up comedy, which, at this point, only my parents, husband & close friends have been privy to over the years. It's difficult to do imitations of people using only words, but I guess I'll have to just keep those special impersonations for my live audience. I'm not just a one-man band, though. I enjoy performing a good imitation, but I've got way more up my sleeve than that. For whatever reason, things just happen to me. Things like the midget who followed me around a bizarre outlet store in Allentown, PA, and things like Harley the Horse, who tried to murder me on a mountain trail in Colorado. Things I want to share with you.

So in my quest for a writing career (do you have connections? know anyone in the business? I have free Silpada for you if you hook me up....), starting a store on Etsy seems to be the way to get my blog out into the world. And I do mean world. Wow ~ there are women from all around our whole big earth who are making & creating their own original products. I happen to be impressed. However, I'm at a bit of a loss as to what I should "make". Right now I have so many tabs open in my browser that I think my computer might blow up. And the books....the stack of library books on my counter comes up to my 2-year old's waist. I'm searching for inspiration while trying to be realistic at the same time. Yeah, yeah, never say never, right? But come on.....crocheting, knitting, scrapbooking....eeooowwwhhhh noooooo. I'm extremely suspicious about anything that might appear to be what I call a putzy project. Heck, it's amazing that I'm even sitting long enough to type these blogs & search the internet for motivation. You cannot expect the ADD types to be able to focus on that little fussy stuff. I need movement & I need to feel unrestricted.

Now you're confused. I can tell by the silence. You're wondering what in "tarnation" (we've recently introduced A. to Looney Tunes & I've been reminded of Yosemite Sam...my favorite) I would be doing, then, sewing. To that I say....I don't know either. But it seemed like I should at least re-learn how to do a bobbin thingy. You know, that twisty-on thing where the thread zooms on the bobbin & then you've got those 2 strings & you pull them to start sewing stuff. Alright, I promise I'll sit in the from row.

JoAnn's had 50% off their classes, so 2.5 hours of instruction for only $17.50 struck me as a reasonable way to find out if I'd end up with sewing fever....or a fever from sewing. Sewing 101: Friday, December 4th from 2:30-5:00. Trust me, you'll want to stay tuned for this.

Pardon me, as I must go call my mother to see if she's been revived yet.........

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pumpkin Angel Food

I have the easiest schmesiest dessert recipe in all the world for you. I've added a nice twist of variation to it as well. There are a number of options, so you can sign up for "dessert bringer" at all of your functions, yet still have a different tasting treat each time.

Pumpkin Angel Food Cake

1 box angel food cake
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup orange juice (or water)

Bake in a 9x13 pan at 350 degrees for 30 minutes


Add orange or lemon peel along with lemon extract ( & even mini chocolate chips on top)
Add 1/4 cup cocoa & mini chocolate chips on top
Add almond extract & sprinkle with slivered almonds when serving

The possibilities go on. Let me know what you come up with.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Smooth(ie) Move

I like smoothies. I mean, who doesn't? What would anyone have against a smoothie? They can be really healthy for you, and on great occasion, I actually buy one. Normally I'm way too cheap to spend $5+ on a drink. But today I thought my 2-year old & I deserved a treat. My gym has smoothies and, on sale today, was the Very Berry for $3.25. Ok, I thought ~ it really is berry...blackberries, raspberries, strawberries. Just thinking of all those antioxidants made me shiver with vitality. With the diminishing supply of fresh fruits & vegetables, I also wanted to provide M. with some lovely vitamins & protein.

I belly up to the smoothie bar, order up my Very Berry, adding a protein powder (extra dollar, but worth it for M.) & substituting apple juice for soy milk (add $.50 but, again, merited in order to get her more calories & less sugar). Since the protein powder fluffs it up, we were presented with one large drink, & a smaller sized one as well. M. is a very capable little girl & she was proud to carry her own smoothie to the van. I knew in the back of my Mother brain, that it might not be such a grand idea since the small cup was much larger in her petite grasp. I was hoping that as long as she kept the straw in the cup, we'd be able to contain the Very Staining Berry in her stomach only. But Miss Goofball decides she'll do her little shuffle-feet move, & in an instant she is DOWN. A massive face plant right into the concrete...not exactly a smooth move. I am admittedly a paranoid Mom, and especially when it comes to the girls' faces & teeth. So there lay M., at an angle because of the small slope of the walkway. She was bawling like crazy, but I could tell it was more of a scared & upset cry than one of pain. I picked her up in a mere microsecond to happily discover that she was boo-boo free. The only thing that was bruised was her ego.

With Very Berry all over her hands, a little on her (white) sweatshirt & a bit in her hair, I believe that smoothie saved her face from harm. A blob of the cool drink lay in a puddle on the ground, with poor M. pointing & blabbering & bellowing. I wiped her off, scooped her up & took her to her car seat. And believe it or not, because the cup just cracked in the middle, & because I have plastic bags in my repertoire of items in the van, I was able to salvage most of the $5.01 drink for her to enjoy at home.

I now plan on inventing a haute couture beverage holster so that, in the future, I have hands to also carry my purse, gym bag, hold M's hand & grasp the car keys. Smoothie-drinking Mothers everywhere will thank me.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

This afternoon I took my girls to our local Halloween Candy Buy Back program, sponsored by The Center for Cosmetic Dentistry & Park Bank. They pay the kids $1/lb. of trick or treat candy they bring in & send it to our troops overseas. This is the 2nd year we've participated, & weeks ago, A. made sure to inform me that she wanted to do it again.

In her 5 years of trick or treating, she gave The Halloween Witch her candy 2 of those years, in exchange for a different kind of treat.
If you've never met The Halloween Witch, I encourage you to get to know her. She flies around on Halloween night, searching for dropped, discarded & even donated trick or treat goodies. (That's why her teeth are so awful. I mean, have you ever gotten a good look at that woman? Ugh!) The first year we heard about her, we thought we'd see if we could get her to visit us at our own home. Sure enough, A. set her candy out on the front porch & in the morning she found a puzzle, left as a token of thanks for all the sugary loot.

Maybe you can get this gal to visit your house in the years to come. For now, we've ditched the witch in exchange for the coveted greenbacks. Little did you know that Halloween could foster money management!


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