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!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Reviving Markers

I know you all have those mounds of markers, some of which the kids didn't quite get the caps back on tightly. I did a full-fledged marker clean up and sort-through about a year ago, but since the girls had recently imbibed in a marker fest, I grabbed their stash (Oh yes, I keep my coveted collection separate. One should never mess with my office supplies.) from the kitchen table and ditched those that had served their time. For those that needed some help, I breathed a little life back in them.

Heat a small amount of water (I think there was about 1/4 cup in here) in microwave safe glassware until quite warm (not boiling!). Dip your ailing marker in the water for about one circle's worth of "swish time". Put the cover back on the market, wipe any excess color that might have oozed out, and that's it! Just let them sit for a while unused, and you will be pleasantly surprised next time you use them. Consider yourself a healer.

Rejoice in Marker Revival

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lemon Shrimp Quinoa

Here's a simple dinner from my standard "5:00 ~ What The Heck Am I Supposed To Feed Us?" bag of tricks.

Lemon Shrimp Quinoa
(There's no measuring here)

*Quinoa (Measure 1:2 ratio with water. I also used part homemade chicken broth and some white wine.) (If you can purchase the quinoa in bulk, I'd go that route. It's cheaper that way.)
*Shrimp (thawed from the frozen variety)
*Red, yellow and green peppers
*Olive oil
*Sea or kosher salt
*Lemon juice (I used bottled, but fresh squeezed is always more flavorful.)
*Onion and/or garlic (there's that vampire thing again)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Toasted Cranberry & Walnut Chicken Sandwiches

I scored some of Target's Archer Farms cranberry-walnut bread on sale for just $1.75. It's not 100% whole wheat like we normally get, but for this once-in-awhile specialty bread, I make the exception. It's wonderful toasted for an addition to any meal. This made a quick and yummy dinner.

Toasted Cranberry & Walnut Chicken Sandwiches:

Cranberry-Walnut bread (or any similar specialty bread), toasted
Chicken breasts
Fresh spinach
Raspberry jam (I like the Trader Joe's Low Sugar Organic variety)

Spread a layer of jam on 1 slice of the sandwich, and the following on the other slice.

Mix together:
Smart Balance Omega Plus light mayo dressing, onion and/or garlic powder (depending on how much you need to deter vampires), Craisins

You could melt a piece of provolone cheese on the bread as well. I'll bet it would be good with a little blue cheese as well. For an extra kick in the mayo mix, add a bit of horseradish (also a potential vampire obstruction).

It's one of those 2-napkin type sandwiches. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dear Tooth Fairy


"Dear Tooth Fairy, I accidentally swallowed my tooth while eating a cracker.
Please leave money."
(On the back she had written "Fairies Rule!!!! Love A.")

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm Sew Ready

Well, well, well, what do we have here?

The wait is over, friends! And for all of you who were holding your breath, it's time to exhale. This nifty, little contraption is up and running. I have "sew" much to tell you I don't even know where to begin. I'm amazed I have learned as much about myself as I have just through a sewing machine. It's a little story that goes like this.......

I am a perfectionist. I knew that. I just never thought I fit into the typical "I'm not going to start a project because: it might not be perfect/go along without a hitch/I can't to be interrupted because I will work at it until it's done and it's done RIGHT" profile. Oh my ~ let me tell you, that is so me. I didn't realize how many things I procrastinated on due to that character flaw. I know my issues. I've got as many as the next person. It's just that I was always secure in the fact that I knew what they were. Well, "surprise, surprise" (Gomer Pile style). I have wanted to sew....something. We all know I spent money and took those simple classes. I was ready. Or was I?

The machine has remained in the carrier this whole time. What has it been? About 1-1/2 months since my mom gave me hers? I hate reading instructions. To me, they're like math story problems. (Run for your life!!!!!!!) And I'm always way too exhausted to be able to focus on such little details that probably won't make sense to me anyway. I'm a "just show me and I can do it" kind of person. But reading tedious, little instructions ~ ack, ack, ack.

So couple that with the fact that I was doing this procrastination thing I apparently do, there it sat.....unused. I was afraid, in a way, to not know how to thread the darn thing, how to wind the bobbin, how to use the settings (that I'm still working on reading about). You get the idea. And so enters my A-Number-One Momma (once again). During her visit last weekend she needed to use it to put darts in her jeans. (Oh yeah, she's thin. Plus if you can find a pair of jeans to fit, well, lucky lucky.) So up went the machine and in a matter of seconds she had versed me with her knowledge.

I want you all to know that that very evening I made A. a skirt. Just made it! I have a couple of finishing touches to add, but I just whipped up a skirt! Was it probably the simplest design on earth? Yes. Was it without mistakes? No. But I am proud of my accomplishment, and my daughter thinks the skirt is pretty awesome.

And so my own personal lesson, not just in sewing (whether my career ends after this skirt or not), but also in life, is that I am far too often paralyzed by my fear of lack of perfection. I can see it in all sorts of things now. I began to see it in my blogging.....not posting for days because I was too knock-down-drag-out tired to have my words flow as I desired them to, or too hesitant to write about something that I figured no one else would find interesting. I am now aware of my desire to achieve the perfect everything all the time, and it's wearing me down. I'd only look at the big picture when it came to tackling a project. I saw the "whole house" needing things ~ a new decoration here, new flooring there, picking up EVERYWHERE (thanks to those 2 little girls). You know how it goes.

So, now that I have "outed" myself, I'm developing a weekly post called What Did You Do Wednesdays. Each Wednesday, I'll be sharing something I have done that I have been meaning to do and I'd like you to join me. You don't need to be a perfectionist or a procrastinator, but I imagine we all have things that we have wanted to finish or start or stop or do. It doesn't have to be a big thing, and as a matter of fact, that's the whole point.....it shouldn't be.

I'm going to choose small things, because I know all those small things add up to big things that suddenly become overwhelming for me. Maybe you'll sweep out your garage, or send that card to a friend you've been meaning to get in the mail. Maybe you'll organize just one stack of papers or sort through one file. If you are a workaholic like I tend to be, maybe you'll choose to NOT do something. What about skipping some work that just isn't crucial to play a board game with your family? Or forgo a fast food meal with something simple the whole family helped prepare at home. Maybe it's just a tiny step towards a larger goal. Could you give up the soda habit you'd like to nix all together for just one day a week? Whatever it is, I'll look forward to hearing about your choices each Wednesday. It doesn't have do be something that you do that actual day of the week, just fitting in one tiny thing during a 7-day period will be a step towards a satisfaction. I'm beginning to feel triumphant already.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Follow Along

Have you been reading along these past 4 months? Do you actually care what I have to say? Would you like my blog delivered directly to your e-mail so you don't have keep guessing when I have a new post? If so, please subscribe using the gadget in the right column. You can also subscribe using one of the various readers. Also, if you have your own blog and would like to add my button, you can do that now! I'd be honored.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Nothing Says Love Like....

....nylon washers. Now how many women do you know request such a thing for Valentine's Day? It's true! I wanted them. Originally, I was torn between the Lady Gaga album (oops, showing my age) and a craft book (that's awfully romantic as well, isn't it?). But I figured since I'm basically never without one of the girls, The Lady Gaga CD is a little tricky to try to listen to. So I enforced my own Parental Advisory on that, and also nixed the book for now since I couldn't decide which one I thought I couldn't live without.

Why am I mentioning these round, plastic jobbies? Well, might I suggest you stay tuned.

Packaged in WI....they've got to be good.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rotational Symmetry

For our geometry lesson today, class, we will be discussing rotational symmetry. Please direct your attention to Professor A., age 6.

When M., age 2, noted the "rain" on our van windows today, Professor A. promptly informed her that although it currently resembled rain due to the nature of the wet drops, it had, in fact, fallen as snow. With that, she detailed for M. the events of the water cycle. What I need you to understand is that A. talks SO much, that it's psychologically necessary for me to tune her out sometimes. As we left our appointment and headed back to her school, it was, due to the falling snow, appropriate for me to shut off the "I can listen to you talk incessantly" portion of my brain so that we could make our way safely.

Sure, I can still accept snip-its of verbiage here and there.....the ones I choose to. So when the time came for me to open up that pathway again, these are the words I heard come out of her mouth. "....and that's rotational symmetry, of course!" Yes. Rotational symmetry. Of course, this is the child who sat on her father's lap, paging through a 4-column-per-page book of scientific journal articles for 40 minutes at the age of 11 months.

And she's cute too!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mod Podge Valentine Carrier

Here's a cute carrier you can make with your kids just in time for them to bring their Valentines home (and spread them from one end of your house to the other). It's very simple, so here we go.

Gather a variety of cereal boxes (the bigger, the better) or cracker boxes. I liked the Stauffer's Whales box because it was much wider than the standard size cracker box.

Cut or tear off the top flaps. I tore mine & not only did it work just fine, but it was a lot faster & easier than the cutting I tried at first.

Cut out a handle. I measured 1 1/4" down from the top and 1 1/4" in from each side (center in the middle based on that). In addition, I made the handles 1" in height.

Next, tear scrapbook paper or wrapping paper in various sizes & shapes. I also used construction paper, copy paper and kiddie Valentine's.

Mod Podge the back of each paper scrap and then stick it to the box, working to create a mosaic effect....or however you'd like it to look! Tip: Initially, I Mod Podged the box and then tried to position the paper. I was maybe too slow for this method because that box warped a little from the extra Mod Podge I had to use before it got too dry.

Once dry (really dry....be patient), paint a layer Mod Podge over the entire box to seal.

Finishing up with a few fancy bits, I added pom poms and a couple of sticky foam conversation hearts. You can make your own pom poms or use a pom pom maker, which I did (no need to spend time shaping with these).

Lots of love will fit in here!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tuna And Frog Salad.....Frog Optional

Do you have a Trader Joe's where you live? If so, then you know how lucky you are. There's an on-going list in my kitchen of the things I always need/want from there. So, for this "throw together" meal, I used two TJ's products. Although it was really good, it's certainly not necessary to specifically use the TJ's items.

Spinach Salad:
Organic spinach
Canned tuna in water, drained
Raw pecans (toasted by Moi)
Trader Joe's champagne pear vinaigrette (I swear, this dressing can go on everything).
Ground pepper

Avocado & Mango Salad:
1 avocado
1 peeled & diced mango
Sunflower seeds
Pinch of salt
Dribble of honey

Trader Joe's garlic naan bread, toasted. (What great stuff. It comes frozen with 4 pieces to a packet. Very tasty.)

1 purple, kooshy frog (optional) (Ok, so my 2 1/2 year old has quite an arm. She even tossed this one LEFT handed!)

Excuse me, waiter. There's a frog in my salad.

Monday, February 1, 2010

5-Year Planner

I am slightly offended by the amount of time into the future that dentists, and now hairdressers seem to want to book their appointments. No, I can't say that Tuesday, August 3rd at 8:30am will be free for me. My GOSH! That's 6-months from now. Maybe it's just the ever-changing stages, schedules, and lives that kids have that make parents' schedules tough to anticipate.

There are, however, things in the semi-distant future that I do have to plan for. For example, I didn't want to forget to tour preschools for M. for next fall at the proper time. We'll be having a garage sale some weekend during the spring, but I don't know exactly when. And, at some point I'd like to have Lasik surgery. So, you can see that there are certain things that I want to have on the radar screen, but can't quite commit to a particular date on the calendar yet. I got sick of attempting to move the many sticky notes around on my schedule, so I asked Ty for some help. I gave him the general idea, and my standard request of "make it pretty". This is what he devised for me. Thanks to my in-house computer guy yet again!

Feel free to use this Excel template for your own personal use, but if you blog about it, please link back to me, ok? You will be able to alter the size of the columns and rows according to your needs. Right now we have December in its own column because things tend to be so busy around the holidays. I was also using December's column for keeping track of gift ideas & purchases. If you'd like a spreadsheet for just gift-giving and birthday lists, let me know & we can probably help you out.

Now look at you, all prepared and stuff! :o)


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