Archives for October 2009

Days Like This Are Why Sweatpants Exist

Last night I bribed my daughters: If you go to bed and stay in your rooms and don’t wake me up in the middle of the night (Pumpkin) for silly things (Pumpkin) several times (Pumpkin), I’ll take you guys out for donuts in the morning for breakfast.

And, whaddayaknow?! My kids are perfectly okay with bribery. Pumpkin has been waking up multiple times every night requesting someone cover her up with her blanket (even though I know she knows how), and frankly, waking up three times each night was turning me into a big mean mom. A cranky one. A sleep deprived one.

SO, last night they slept.

We dashed to the store for donuts. We dashed back to get The Princess on the school bus. Pumpkin and I then ventured out AGAIN to go grocery shopping. We came back home so I could get some work done and start level two of the Shred (OWOWOWOWOW). I showered, I made lunch and then ZOOOOOOOM. Off we went again to The Princess’s school Halloween party.

In the rain.

Where so many parents attended, I had to park A HALF MILE AWAY. And walk, carrying a 40 pound four year old who didn’t want to get her Halloween shoes wet (to be fair, her feet would have been drenched – her Halloween shoes are like slippers).

Mind you, this is carrying a kid AFTER doing the Shred. Arms = Jelly.

So we did the party thing. We did the parade around the school thing. We did the jaunt back to the car in the rain thing.

And my jeans from the knee down were drenched with rain water.

I make it a point to not leave the house in sweatpants – if I’m going to work out, I have some nice yoga pants that I’m not too embarassed by, but I tell you, I have sweatpants on now and one more thing I’ve got to do yet today, and I’m thinking… yeah. I might actually leave the house wearing these.


Most days, I do my best to not walk out the door looking like a hobo – and then there are the days when you’ve been running since you first wake up, and man…. These pants feel kind of good.

Thursday Ten: Waiting Is Tough Stuff Edition

1. My grandfather is having a procedure at a hospital today. It’s typically an outpatient procedure – but when they were doing the prep work, they discovered a kidney problem that might cause some complications so they admitted him last night so they could prep him for his dealy-bob. They were set to start at 9 a.m. I arrived at the hospital, and by the time I left at 12:30, they STILL hadn’t taken him back to get started. They finally took him shortly after 2 p.m. Yes, five hours late.

2. I just received a text from my mom: “I couldn’t wait for dad to go in. Now I can’t wait for him to get out!” She is sitting in the waiting area with my grandmother (I don’t envy my mom this task at all – my grandmother is VERY freaked out, and when she found out a different doctor would be performing the procedure, she said to my grandfather, “Let’s just go home. Can’t we go home now?” She is likely not doing any better at the moment than she was hours ago – so, this will be a long afternoon for them).

3. I was at the hospital waiting with them this morning til I had to leave for guitar lesson. In guitar, we refocused on “Fast Car” again. The song has two distinct patterns – one of finger picking the strings, the second is strumming chords (for the chorus) – my teacher wants to teach me a hybrid way to use the pick for the song, and she was trying to think of an example that she could teach. “Do you know Creed?” she asked. I begged her not to teach me Creed. I’m not sure what she’ll think of next.

4. Pumpkin was up three times last night. I’m not sure what her deal is/was, but OHMYGOSH she better sleep tonight. I’m wiped out.

5. As some of you who follow me on Twitter now know – I attempted to make lasagna in the crock pot the other night. First of all, let me be clear: I wasn’t just winging it. I was following a recipe. Let me make a second point clear: there is no good reason EVER for pasta to cook for six hours. It was a blob of noodle mush, and not only do I NOT recommend crockpot lasagna, I strongly advise AGAINST it.

6.  I had parent -teacher conferences with The Princess’s teacher the other night. I feel so lucky that my daughter has a teacher who is intent on challenging my daughter’s mind and nurturing her creative side. She’s really working to ensure that The Princess doesn’t grow bored with the curriculum (overall, she’s pretty far ahead grade level on pretty much everything except math, where she’s on target with where she “should be”). I have struggled with finding books for The Princess to read – her reading level is higher than 2nd grade, but the more challenging books are not necessarily “age-appropriate” concept-wise. Her teacher is aware of that and is working to keep her challenged bookwise in school, and has recommended letting her read the “fun stuff” at home. Works for me.

7. New music – Jack Johnson has a live concert album that just released this week. I’ve also been listening to a live concert version of Pink’s Funhouse tour that I’m enjoying (including her cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody” – which is pretty decent).

8. It’s almost Halloween. Are your kids excited? Mine sure are. Not me, though. I don’t like Halloween. It’s funny, when I first started blogging, Pumpkin was a baby. The girls’ bloggy names came from their Halloween costumes that year – The Princess was…duh… a princess. And Pumpkin wore a shirt that said “Mommy’s Little Pumpkin”. This year, Pumpkin is actually going to be wearing that same princess costume her big sister wore four years ago. And The Princess will have the “best of both worlds” as Hannah Montana. Whatever. They better share their candy with me.

9. Soooooo, Google Wave. I have it. Do you? If so, what on earth are you using it for? Really. Because I don’t really know what the heck to do with Google Wave.

10. I wonder how much longer til Gingerbread lattes are available at Starbucks for the winter season. That sounds so good. As much as I hate winter and snow, I admit, I’ve been getting antsy to start my Christmas shopping!

I Made Caramel French Toast And Now I’m Queen of the World

Or, y’know, just… Queen of the house.

My friend Rachel does this awesome thing on Mondays – Mouthwatering Monday – where she posts a recipe and a picture that makes you curse your own lack of culinary ability and marvel at the ease with which she flexes her culinary-know-how-muscles and whips up these awesome meals for her family…ALL THE TIME.

Well, I hate cooking. Sometimes, I get into it and get excited about making something new – but, y’all know – I’d rather bake than cook ANY DAY.

This recipe from Cooking Light magazine kind of allowed me to combine the two – technically, it’s cooking but really, it’s baking. Overnight Caramel French Toast was an absolute hit in my house – and the leftovers (which I had for breakfast this morning) were every bit as tasty as the day-of meal.

(I’d post pictures but, lemme tell ya: Caramel is NOT photogenic. Caramel is shiny. And every time the flash hit the caramel, the picture looked like hooey. Which is why I am a baker and not a food photographer, I suppose).

1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup*
1/4 cup butter
cooking spray
10 (1-oz) slices French bread
1 1/2 cups 1% Low-fat milk**
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Combine light brown sugar, corn syrup and butter in small saucepan and cook over medium heat five minutes or until mixture is bubbly. Pour mixture evenly into 9 x 13 pan that has been coated with cooking spray.

2. Arrange bread slices in single layer over syrup in dish.

3. Combine milk, flour, vanilla, salt and eggs in a large bowl and beat with a whisk. Pour egg mixture over bread slices.

4. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

5. The next morning… Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

6. Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over bread.

7. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until golden.

8. Let five minutes before serving.

They say this should serve 10… That depends – I used more than 10 slices of bread because I had room in my pan, and honestly… maybe I had two pieces versus the recommended one piece serving (c’mon Cooking Light – this is like the yummiest fresh baked goods for breakfast). And if I’d have had bacon, I’d have served some to cut a little salt in with the sweetness.

There you go – ENJOY. Invite me over for breakfast when you make this, alright?

* I ran out of light corn syrup and used a mixture of light and dark – it was fine
**I used skim milk. It was fine.

Thursday Ten: I Got An Award And Other Stuff.

1. Farm Wife gave me an award! The Gorgeous Blogger Award (oh, flattery will get you EVERYWHERE, Farmie)… That makes me smile – thank you VERY much. (And yes, you made my head itch with your post… EEPS!).

2. The Princess has been fever-free for over 24 hours, YEAH! I don’t know what the heck she had, but it appears to be short lived and that is totally fine by me. It wasn’t the H1N1, it didn’t even appear to be an intense cold. Just a little bitty buggy-bye. And since school is closed tomorrow for an inservice, our REALLY LONG WEEKEND continues.

3. I had to take The Princess to my guitar lesson today. She was bored which is funny because that’s how I feel sometimes while she’s in her gymnastics class. But that’s the way it goes, I guess. The plus is that I was learning something new today (a different segment of “Fast Car”) and I think it was good for her to see me struggle. Good for her to see that I had to work at it, and good for her to see my teacher break it down, slow it down and show me step by step. Let’s just call that an indirect teachable moment, shall we?

4. The weather is cooling down and I start thinking about comfort foods and getting out some of my favorite cold weather recipes. I have had a craving for chicken and dumplings – but it’s such a PAIN to make that I never do. What is your favorite cold weather comfort food?

5. New music. Just added some Joss Stone to my library today (thanks T!). Also, I am really liking Mayer Hawthorne. He’s got this nerdtastic look about him, but his sound is smooooth.

6. The other day I let The Princess bake cookies – I wanted cookies so badly but didn’t feel like doing the work to bake them (Weird, I know). Now it appears I’ve created a monster. She keeps asking to bake. I can’t blame her – I love it too – but we only have the ingredients for peanut butter cookies, so I either have to go to the store or, we’re having PB cookies again. Face it, that’s not really a bad thing.

7. I am finally reading Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” and I admit, every time the book says “So it goes”, I wonder if there is a Slaughterhouse-5 drinking game where you slam a shot every time you read that. If there was, you’d be drunk by page 10.

8. It was 70 degrees and sunny yesterday – today it is gray, dreary and rainy… and 50 degrees.

9. The other day, Pumpkin was flapping her arms like a bird. “Mom!” she said. “Guess what I am!” Uhhh, a bird? I guessed. “Nooooooooooooooo,” she said, “it starts with a T!” My second guess was right – can you guess what she was?

Wait for it.

A pteranadon. Yup. That’s my dinosaur girl.

10. I need a haircut. I haven’t gotten my hair cut since July. My stylist has drastically reduced her hours and the woman I saw in July was alright, but I didn’t walk out of the salon overjoyed. Granted, it’s only hair – it grows back. BUT, when I go in for my next hair cut with someone new I need to be very specific about what I want. AND I DON”T KNOW. Blergh.

So, I Guess There’s Something Going Around?


“Mom, I have a headache,” The Princess said to me on Monday about thirty minutes before we left for gymnastics. I asked if she still wanted to go to class and she said, “Yep!” After a dose of ibuprofen, she was fine. She woke up Tuesday morning, and was fine.

By the time she came home from school yesterday, she looked sluggish. She fell asleep in the car on the way home from picking Pumpkin up from daycare. We got into the house and she complained once more of a headache. We searched the house for our in-ear thermometer, found it, realized that the batteries were dead AND the battery compartment was stubbornly refusing to open, called a neigbhor, borrowed theirs and THEN… took her temperature.



I emailed her teacher and the attendance office knowing that even if she woke up with a normal temperature and feeling great, the requirement is to be fever-free 24 hours before returning to school. In the meantime, she was watching a television show and ended up being carried to bed twenty minutes early because she kept drifting.

This morning, she woke up and within an hour of waking up she zonked out into a forty minute nap. During cartoons. Really. Then she slept through Zack and Cody (Wish I’d have been that lucky – those are two of the most annoying children on television these days). As I was finishing my shower, she knocked on the door and came in to say, “Hey! I feel so much better now!”

By 11, she had a temperature again but slightly lower – so I gave another dose of ibu, and we spent some time coloring (see our makeshift coloring book, above. She drew the picture, I colored it in. This is called team work).

And now? She’s completely fine.

I asked Hubby if he’d go to the store to get orange juice. The Princess asked him if he’d also get some barbecue chips. I think she may be on the mend.

But, still, she’ll be home tomorrow. Once she woke up with a fever this morning, I knew we were looking at a couple days off. While that kind of monkeys up plans a little bit, I don’t feel like taking the chance and sending her back when she might be contagious. Just like I’d be pretty peeved if the kid sitting next to her in class came to school sniffling and sneezing droplets of kid-cooties on her desk all day, I really don’t want to risk that she might make someone else sick.

I think we’re pretty lucky – I’m fairly sure this was just a minor bug and not H1N1 or even the “standard” flu, parents are kind of in high-alert mode right now, as are the schools. So many kids are getting sick – and I feel that it’s a race to get the kids their flu vaccines on Monday (will it be too late then? I hope not).

Mostly, I’m hoping that my kiddo wakes up tomorrow still feeling good – and that the rest of us manage to not get sick.

Hope you all stay healthy and avoid the crud. Feel free to use my Purell before you go.

Saturdays + Football – Beer Pong + Soup = You’re OLD


In college, football Saturdays were an exciting thing – huge groups of people would walk from the dorms to the football stadium. We’d cheer loudly, do the Wave, sing the fight song, have a great time (or a less than fabulous time if our team lost). When the game was over, we’d walk out of the stadium and onwards to do other things, fun things.

Even though college was a LONG time ago, I still love to go to a game occasionally, because you can’t really beat a fall afternoon in the Big House (well, you can. If it’s a rainy fall afternoon with temperatures in the 40s, then YES, you can beat THOSE kinds of afternoons – because much as I love Michigan games, I cannot sit in the cold rain for hours. I can’t).

I went to Ann Arbor on Saturday to watch the Michigan – Delaware State game – I met up with a friend from Twitter (seriously – I don’t know about you, but I have met some seriously awesome peeps on Twitter), and we settled into the stands for the game. As you can see from the image posted above, Michigan won. By a lot. It was as though they pulled a team off a high school football field for the game and Michigan basically just stomped all over them. There were times when we would say, “Guys, just let Delaware go – let them score this time!” because it was so brutal.

But, the slaughter of the opposing team was actually a good thing – it gave us a chance to chat and be silly (and also, did you know Delaware is right by Maryland and not in Canada? You’re welcome. The More You Know…). The air was crisp and the sun was shining, and though it certainly wasn’t warm it wasn’t miserably cold.

Or, it wasn’t til the slaughter was over. Once we walked out of the stadium, the cold air hit me, it was seeping through the soles of my shoes, and I was shaking with cold. I was shivering even after I got to the car and put a pair of thick fuzzy socks over my regular socks. In fact, I didn’t stop shaking until about ten miles out of Ann Arbor, we stopped at a Panera Bread. I was starving, and cold and wanted a bowl of soup.

SOUP, people.

All these college kids heading out to their nights of frat parties, house parties, keg stands, and the like… And I’m heading out for soup.

Yep, I’m gettin’ older.

Jillian Michaels Hates Me and Wants Me To Not Lift My Arms


The first time I heard about the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred was on Twitter. There was a decent number of people tweeting about it and how much the work out kicked their butt and they even had a hashtag (because everything worth doing is worth assigning a hashtag, right?): #shredheads.

I thought to myself, Man. I don’t know. I work out every day – I don’t really know how something could be THAT difficult.

I was mildly intrigued, but was able to bypass the Shredhead phenomenon and was content with my workout routine as it existed. Recently, I added running to the mix on a more consistent basis than ever, and realized that my current workout? Well, it’s the SAME FREAKIN’ THING I’ve been doing for y’know… seven years?

So I asked my family for Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred  for my birthday. I also made it clear that I would not interpret the actual gift of a workout DVD for my birthday as anything other than giving me what I requested (aka I was not allowed to then accuse them of thinking I have a little too much junk in the trunk).

This morning I did it for the first time – and immediately? My upper body was SO SORE (hello deltoids – I guess I was neglecting you). And now, my lower half is a little hurty too (glutes – heeeeeeeey). And I don’t want or need to lose the twenty pounds she advertises, but if I could stay toned enough to keep my cookie consumption at the level where I would like it to be, well, y’know… that’d be awesome.

If you’ve done the Shred, how’d it work for you? Did you get results? Does it ever stop hurting – because right now, it hurts to lift my (reusable!) water bottle up to take a sip and I feel a little bit like I’ve been hit by a car.

P.S. I’d like to apologize for thinking that maybe people were overstating the affect this has on one’s body, because clearly I was very wrong and am now paying for that. Sorry, y’all.

P.S. 2 Why yes, that was an affiliate link up there.

So, Thirty-Some Years Ago Today…


…my mom had one of those impossibly short movie labors and I was born just after seven in the morning (I inherited her impossibly short labors – thank goodness).

Today has been an amazing day. I am one of those people who LOVES her birthday. I also inherited that from my mother who starts talking about her summer birthday by mid-spring. And while I’m not getting any younger, I don’t have that horrible fear tied to my age yet. Every year, I get a little older — I haven’t done the whole “stay 29” thing.

Last year in the weeks preceding my birthday, my grandpa was pretty sick and was in the hospital. There were some pretty rough moments in the midst of all that – but the greatest relief was him getting discharged and sent home on my birthday. It was truly the best gift I could have gotten.

This year, everyone is healthy – no one is in the hospital, and I’m relieved for that. My family and friends are doing well for the most part and that is also a pretty awesome thing.

And today is my birthday and I feel truly lucky.

Between calls and texts, emails and Twitter, Facebook and all the other avenues — I’ve been given lots of love today and I’m grateful.

Thank you very much for making my day so special.


Image source

Thursday Ten: Where I Put My Foot Down and Refuse to Play “Dust In The Wind” Ever Again.

1. I understand the logic in teaching me “Dust In The Wind” – but I got so sick of it that I refused to practice it all week. Today, I rolled into guitar lesson and my teacher asked about my week and how guitar went for me. “It was lovely,” I said, “but I didn’t play ‘Dust In the Wind’ because I’ve decided I hate it and I don’t want to play it.” ALLLLLLRIGHTY then. Instead, we played “Fast Car” for most of the lesson, and then at the end, I started learning….

2. …the chorus of “The Rain King” by Counting Crows. LOVE. Of course, it involves bar chords, but it’s generally easy to learn to play with songs you love versus songs you want to run screaming from forever. Soooo, YAY.

3. Continuing on my music kick… One2One Network sent me a copy of Brandi Carlile’s new album Give Up the Ghost, which is available on Amazon and iTunes and all the usual places (Cool note: Looks like it’s available in VINYL on Amazon. Wow. Really?). Brandi’s style is kind of folky-guitar-rock, but is a little more country-tinged than I prefer. I really like the songs “Looking Out” and “Pride and Joy” – but the album is hit or miss with me.

4. In the interest of disclosure and a bit of griping – the album was sent to me free for my review. I wasn’t paid for my opinion (I happily give my opinion for free). I’ll always give you MY opinion when I review things – good, bad, indifferent. I mostly review music and books – and those things are subjective — and so you can still form your own opinion – or say to yourself, “Well, she likes this band, and I do too — so if she says so-and-so put out a good album, I might like it too.” I do use affiliate links to Amazon when applicable (who doesn’t?). Short story long – in interest of maintaining ftc transparency guidelines, I’ll always tell you all that stuff. I think it’s somewhat silly that it’s required – but I’ll do it.

5. I won that awesome scarf last week, but I’ve never really worn a scarf aside from “trying to keep my neck warm” puposes – so I asked Jenny for some tips on how to wear a scarf without looking stupid. The result is this cool VLOG Jenny posted for me this morning.

6. I am the POETRY BOOK MOM in The Princess’s class room this year. Last year, I decided in-class volunteering wasn’t really “my thing”. This way, I get to help out (by gluing the kids’ poems into cool hardbound books) on my time schedule without having to explain math to someone else’s kid.

7. Tomorrow, me and the fam will be taking in a showing of “Where The Wild Things Are” – it’s one of the few things I definitely wanted to do for my birthday, so we’ll be doing that.

8. Oh? I didn’t mention it was my birthday tomorrow? My bad.

9. Today, I was grumbling because my purse felt VERY heavy. When I got home from guitar lesson, I completely upended that sucker dumping everything on the floor. What did I find? Um, about seven bucks in coin change. Gosh, I have NO IDEA why my purse was so heavy. {roll eyes} Whoops?

10. I went for a run this morning. It was so cold that I felt the wind whipping through my pants – by the time I was done, my whole lower half felt numb. BUT… My pace quickened by about forty seconds per mile. Well, there’s an obvious observation: I run faster when it’s cold, AKA: Let’s get this thing done so we can get back inside and drink cocoa.

A “Slice” of Five For Fighting

I fell in love with John Ondrasik’s voice when the song Superman (It’s Not Easy) , inspired by the events of 9/11, hit the radio years ago. Today, John Ondrasik – performing under the stage name Five for Fighting – releases the new album Slice.

With his distinctive voice and radio friendly piano melodies, Five for Fighting has released a solid album that has been in rotation on my iPod for the past few days. Stand out songs include “Chances” , the first release from the album, as well as “This Dance” and “Transfer”.


To give you a taste of my process for reviewing albums – I’ve included the above screen capture of my iTunes library. When I listen to an album, I give each song at least one star. From there, I’ll add stars based on my impression of it.As I listen a second (third and fourth, etc) times, I’ll add or remove stars from my original assessment. VERY scientific, yo.  As you can see there were several songs I really enjoyed (including “Chances” – the first radio single from the album), and a couple that I didn’t like (The song “Hope” for example, seems really out of place on this album – and I have hit the “Next” button every time the opening chords are played).

If I were giving letter grades, I’d give this one a B. It’s enjoyable, the melodies will stick with you – it’s what you would expect from Five for Fighting.



I received this review copy of this album from One2One Network. I was not compensated for writing this post and the opinions given are my own. I use affiliate links within this post.