What I've Been Reading Instead of Cleaning My House

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Raspberry Deliciousness

Alice-Grace wanted to make raspberry ice-cream:

Frozen raspberries
Ice cubes

But she forgot to add any sugar and the raspberries were a little tart, so we added it in later with more milk and it turned into a raspberry milk shake. It was still really good.

I got my blender because a friend said that it did a good job of chopping up raspberry seeds, but that doesn't happen with this blender. I was picking seeds out of my teeth all night. I guess it's time to get some cheese cloth or something.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

My kids love microwave popcorn, but I hate all the crazy chemicals in it. It just tastes weird. If I'm going to eat cancer-corn, I at least want to eat it in a movie theater, not in my own home. So here's a recipe for homemade microwave popcorn:

1/4 cup popcorn kernels
1 tsp olive oil

Put popcorn kernels, olive oil and salt in a regular brown paper lunch bag. Fold over the top and seal with a piece of Scotch tape. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes. Done!

The original recipe called for 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, but it soaks all through the bag and makes a mess. Of course, after we pop ours, we cover it with melted butter just to make sure it's not healthy. Yum, yum!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Soup -- Hold the Froth

Today we made Bacon Cheddar Potato Soup. We mixed the ingredients in the blender, but didn't heat it up in the blender. This way it wouldn't get all aerated.

Bacon Cheddar Potato Soup
Potatoes, baked
Cheddar cheese
Bacon, cooked and crumbled

It was delicious. Nigel commented that it was faster to make this soup from scratch than it was to mix up the dehydrated potato soup mix we had in the cupboard. It was way yummier, too.

Though I do have a big burn mark on my arm from cooking the bacon. Stupid bacon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ah, Ice-Cream

Today I came home from work and my daughter had made a big batch of vanilla ice-cream. It was delicious. Thank you, new blender.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Soup Froth?

After letting our new blender take a break over the weekend, I decided to dive in full-force today. For dinner we had:

Cheddar Broccoli Soup
Cheddar cheese
Poultry seasoning

And for dessert we had:

Orange Sorbet

I decided to use the blender's cookbook suggestion of blending the soup for a really long time to heat it up in the blender. It did heat up and everything was blended beautifully and it tasted really good -- but the texture was beyond strange. All that blending whipped in all kinds of air and it was like eating soupy foam. Not pleasant. Note to self: mix and then heat in the microwave.

The orange sorbet was good -- more icy than smooth -- but the kids liked it. They didn't even notice that I snuck some carrots in there. Maybe I need smaller ice-cubes -- I have not been satisfied with the texture I'm getting on my iced desserts.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Healthy Slushie?

So Nigel is getting creative and he made another grape slushie, but this time he added some real grapes to it.

Grape Kool-Aid

It was pretty yummy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Polka-Dot Smoothies?

Alice-Grace decided to use her creative skills with the new blender. After school, she made a smoothie with:

Apple sauce

I liked the addition of the carrots. Why she used canned apple sauce instead of the fresh apples I had in the fridge, I don't know. There were little bits of grape skin throughout the thick smoothie, so it looked like it had polka-dots! Very cute.

We had breakfast for dinner, so I used the blender to grind up some wheat into flour for our waffles. It's so nice to be able to grind up exactly what I need and it only takes one minute and doesn't make a mess. The waffles were super yummy, too.

I didn't use the blender to mix up the waffle batter, though. I made that mistake with the brownies and it was just about impossible to get the batter out. I just used the blender to grind the wheat and then mixed everything by hand in a bowl. Much easier.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Smoothies & Slushies

Today Nigel was having fun with our new blender.

For an after-school snack he made a delicious smoothie with:

Canned peaches*
Frozen strawberries
Plain yogurt

It was very tasty! Then for a late-night snack he made a slushie with:

Grape Kool-Aid

It turned out better than anything you can get at 7-11! Yummy.

*Nigel wanted me to let everyone know that he rinsed off the canned peaches before putting them in the smoothie so that there was no high-fructose corn syrup on them. Me -- I buy high-fructose corn syrup and add it to food. I'm so bad.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Blender Fun

Today we really gave our new blender a workout. For an after school snack, Frances made:

Green Smoothie
fresh spinach leaves
ice cubes

It was so good she had to make two batches. I feel so healthy!

Then for dessert after dinner I made:

Brownie Bites
whole wheat flour (I ground the wheat myself in the blender)
regular flour
cocoa powder
sugar (only 1/2 cup -- my normal brownie recipe calls for four times as much!)
a can of black beans (instead of butter)

Though you couldn't taste the beans, you could taste the whole wheat flour and lack of sugar. They were pretty good, though -- especially when you topped them with...

Vanilla Ice Cream
half and half (only one cup to make five cups of ice cream)
powdered milk (I love recipes where I can finally use up my powdered milk)
ice cubes (four cups!)

This was surprisingly good -- especially since it was mostly ice and very little cream. It did melt quickly, though. We're looking forward to making some delicious sorbets with this new blender.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Oscillating October

Today I got a new blender. My old one could barely mix chocolate milk and we lost the lid (which made for an exciting time when we did use it). Plus, I'm sick of throwing out all the uneaten fruits and vegetables in my fridge -- so this month I'm trying to be more healthy with all types of fun blender recipes.

Our first experiment:

Double Berry Smoothie
frozen strawberries
frozen blackberries
apples (leftover from a Happy Meal from McDonald's)
a pinch of sugar

This was actually really good. Nigel especially enjoyed it (I had to tell him NOT to get the berry smoothie from McDonald's since I had frozen berries at home and wanted to try out my new blender). It was a little thick for my taste, so maybe more water next time.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sorry, America

So I'm failing miserably in my quest to only buy American-made products. In fact, I've stopped looking. With all the back-to-school shopping I've had to do, I'm just happy to get everything on the list.

On the upside, I heard my daughter say as she was loading up her backpack, "Hey, this planner was printed in the USA!"

I'll take that as a small victory.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

America, I've Failed You

So I've been failing miserably in my quest to only buy things "made in America" for the month of August.

It started because my children were revolting (in more ways than one) over having to forego on their precious "back-to-school" clothes shopping because most items are made overseas.

I must admit that I've stopped looking at labels and tags.

Just the other day when I was grocery shopping, I bought tuna (Philippines), Nutella (Canada) and bananas (Ecuador).

America, do you forgive me? I've been cheering for you loudly during the Olympic Games. Does that make up for it?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Feeling a Little Gassy?

Source: Energy Information Administration
Credit: Nelson Hsu / NPR

As I was filling up my car with gasoline, it all of a sudden dawned on me -- oh, wait! I'm supposed to be buying only goods made in the USA this month. What about gas?  

So, where DO we get our gas/oil from?  

As you can see by the above graph, it's certainly not where I thought we were getting it. We always hear about the Middle East when it comes to oil, but they only account for 12.9 percent -- a whopping 87.1 percent comes from other places.  

Most of our oil comes from right here in the old US of A. Yay, us! Who else is right in the mix? Canada. You've got to watch them. Those sneaky Canadians are just getting ready to take over the world.  

On the upside, about 79 percent of all the oil is refined right here in America.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Oh, Canada!

So on Saturday I went shopping at one of those big box stores. Since I was only buying food, I figured I was pretty safe in everything being from the United States (I didn't even bother to look at the bananas).

But I was dismayed to find out that I had to put back the dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and the Nutella. Alas, both are made in ... Canada!

Canada? Really? I didn't realize anything was produced by our frozen neighbors to the north. (Cue legions of hockey playing, Nanaimo bar eating, maple syrup pouring, Mountie loving, Canadians to start attacking me for that comment -- but they'll do it very politely and self-assured that their national health insurance plan will stitch me right up)

Friday, August 3, 2012

I'm Proud to Be an American...shopper

So yesterday I did some shopping. I went to the grocery store, so that was pretty easy to get all things American (sorry, no bananas -- they were from Ecuador). I was glad to see that most paper products had a very large and proud "Made in the USA" label on them.

But then my daughter needed to buy a birthday present for a friend. We went to a toy store and much like everything else in there, it was made in China.

Then I had to buy a new charger for one of our devices. I knew that wouldn't be made in the USA. But instead of saying "made in China," it said "assembled in China."

Which brings me to my next question: can you really know where things are made? As I'm reading the labels, many of them don't say where they're made, only where they're "assembled" or even worse, where they're "distributed from." What is that supposed to mean? Aren't ALL things I buy in the United States distributed from the US? And if they're assembled somewhere, where did the parts come from that you're assembling? Very confusing.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"Made in the USA" August

A few weeks ago I found out that my job had been outsourced to India. This was a job that I've had for the past 11 years and have loved very much, a job I would be happy to do the rest of my life.

So that prompted my August experiment of trying to only buy things made in the good ol' US of A. I may have lost my job, but I'll try to help others hang onto theirs.

Here are the rules:
Before buying anything, I have to find out where it was made.
If it's made in the United States, yay! I buy it.
If it's not, I try to find one that is made in America.
If there isn't one made in America, I either do without or blog about it.
Buying things second-hand count as "American-made."

Already my husband Nigel is rebelling. I said that we might not be having any bananas this month because they're not grown in America (good for me because I don't like bananas). He said, "Yes, they are. They grow them in Brazil or something." I said, "Brazil isn't in America." He retorted with, "Brazil is in SOUTH America."

I think it's going to be a very long month.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Month of Not Buying Recap: By the Numbers

0 -- amount of money spent on eating out (restaurants or fast food) in July.

1 -- number of times I had to tell my children that I wasn't buying anything this month before they believed me.

2 -- number of times I broke my "no buying" rule purchasing adhesive to attach my car's rear view mirror back on the windshield.

3 -- number of vacuums I borrowed because mine broke and I wouldn't buy a new one.

4 -- number of times I had to tell the neighbor kid that I wasn't going to buy her anything before she believed me.

8 -- number of large garbage bags full of clothes that we gave away to a local thrift store (emphasizing how much we DON'T need any more clothes).

11 -- number of super fun free activities that I went to in the month of July (my kids went to even more than I did).

14 -- number of free samples I got from the Farmer's Market, See's Candies, and snow-cone stand (this prompted my family's idea of setting up a booth that gives out ONLY free samples -- no product, just free samples).

16 -- number of dollars I came in under budget for buying gasoline in the month of July (not buying also equals not driving?).

18 -- number of days before I broke down and bought prepared foods from the grocery store.

21 -- number of nights until Frances started having dreams about eating a Papa John's Meat-Lover's Pizza.

31 -- number of days to learn this important lesson: I will not be thrown in "bad mommy jail" if I don't buy everything my kids (and their friends) ask for.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympics Fever

OK, so I've pretty much tossed the idea of not buying anything "prepared" or "processed" from the grocery store out the window. It's just too hot to cook from scratch. I'm still not going out to eat or getting any fast food or buying anything extra (though the other day my husband was buying something and he forget his wallet, so I had to pay for it -- but it was his stuff, so that doesn't count, right?).

To celebrate the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics, we ate only ring-shaped foods (get it, Olympic rings). So we had bagels, donuts, gummy rings, ring-shaped cookies, onion rings, pizza topped Bagel Bites, Cheerios, Spaghettios, etc.

I did try to round out all those "prepared" foods by making up a mess of collard greens and purple green beans (they start out purple, but turn green when you cook them) that I picked out of my garden for dinner.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

But It's Not Fun Unless I Buy Something

So yesterday I took the family and some of the kids' friends to a fair at a local park. As I picked up one of Alice-Grace's friends, I explained to her mother that I'm not spending any money this month, so she should eat before she went (we
 would only be gone two hours).

While at the park, the first thing the little girl said to me was, "I want a dollar." I asked why and she said so she could get a sucker. I explained to her that the majority of activities were free and that she didn't need to buy anything. I even took her to a booth where after you played a game you got a free sucker.

But that wasn't enough. Throughout the whole day of free music, free face-painting, free hair-braiding, free games, free bounce houses, free samples of various foods, free petting zoo, free pony rides, etc., she kept saying over and over again, "But I really want to buy something!"

I know, I so get the feeling. Why do we have this overwhelming desire to buy something? How come an activity doesn't count unless we buy something?

(I didn't really well and didn't buy anything yesterday, though my car's rearview mirror keeps committing suicide and jumping off the windshield -- right now it's mounted to a camera tripod we stuck between the two front seats)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hostess with the Mostest?

On Monday morning before work I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things (I made the mistake of making cookies Sunday night and therefore we're all out of milk for cereal Monday morning). Well, those few things turned into a million things. So much for not buying anything "prepared."

I used the excuse that we have a house guest living with us and I was concerned about her starving to death (she picked a bad month to visit). But I must admit that I use this excuse a lot to buy things I wouldn't normally buy -- even when I know that my guests don't eat anything (I'm looking in your general direction, Rena's family).

By the way, I made the "Root Beer Float" cupcakes from that free cookbook I got from the library. Let's just say that the cupcakes are STILL sitting here on my counter. I think there's a reason why that cookbook was free.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

So today started off with a free breakfast at the church (and it was delicious).

Then we spent the day cleaning the kids' bedrooms (well, they cleaned -- I mostly yelled).

But then Jeffrey needed some film developed (yes, I still use a film camera). He had taken some photos of his Lego creations and needed to mail them in for a contest. Since the deadline was August 1st, I couldn't wait to develop them. So I spent the money and...

...none of the photos came out! They were either fuzzy because the camera was too close or they were fuzzy because the camera was too far away.

Oh well.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Free Swim Parties

Thursday night our orthodontist threw a free swim party for his patients at the local water park. I made sure to tell the kids to eat a big dinner before we went because I wasn't bringing my wallet. It was great. Everyone had fun and no one begged me to buy them Dipping Dots.

Then on Friday night we had another free swim party at a local pool. Again, I didn't bring my wallet. We just had a good time and didn't spend any money. Hooray!

Usually when we go to these "free" pool parties, I end up spending a ton of money on food and treats and souvenirs thinking my kids and their friends (we usually bring a few friends to hang around with since my children can't seem to get along with each other) would think me a bad host if I didn't. Well, turns out they were just as happy without any of that stuff. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I Love the Library

I kind of redeemed myself for spending like crazy at the grocery store by going to a class on making homemade ice-cream at our local library.

We were late, so I missed the demonstration, but we were right in time for the samples. Free samples! And then they had a drawing for a free recipe book and I won one! Yay! As you can see by my Shelfari list above, it was "101 Gourmet Cupcakes in 10 Minutes." I'm seeing lots of cupcakes in my future (once it hits August and I can start buying cake mixes).

Fail with Glory

I was doing so well not spending any money and then today I hit my limit. I just couldn't stand it any more. Luckily I was only in the grocery store (and not the mall) when I went nuts.

My kids were elated (but confused) to see bagels, chocolate milk, cereal, candy bars, pepperoni, cheese, ice-cream bars, etc.

I must admit it was a very delicious failure.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mirror, Mirror, on the...floor?

Today my car's rearview mirror fell off so I had to spend $3.09 to get a kit to fix it. Stupid car.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Waffle Cake

Today I actually went to the Farmers Market and DIDN'T spend any money. Hooray!

I must admit it's pretty nice to say to my kids when they beg for something, "You know I'm not spending any money this month." End of conversation.

I was in the mood for cake, but didn't want to heat up the house by turning on the oven. Instead I made some white cake batter (from scratch, thank you very much) and cooked it in  the WAFFLE IRON! It turned out delicious with strawberry jam and whipped cream. Of course, everything tastes great from my 1941 Manning-Bowman waffle iron.

Tonight I even took Alice-Grace to the mall and didn't spend any money. I'm probably going to get a call from my credit card company thinking that I've lost my card.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Lumpy What?

So yesterday we did good and didn't spend any money. The only problem is that now Nigel is obsessed with making pasta. I think I see a lot of linguine in my future.

Our dentist is throwing a swim party tonight. Free food and pool? We're in. (Of course, with all the money I've given him through the years, I think that I deserve a four course dinner complete with steak AND lobster.)

We got some yummy burgers, chips and watermelon, but then it started to rain and the wind was whipping up pretty fierce, so we decided to skip out on the pool. We did think that it was a little odd that our dentist was offering a lot of free cotton candy to all the kids (job security, maybe?).

When we got home, Alice-Grace was determined to make Lumpy Dick. In summer school she's been learning about pioneers and I guess one of the dishes they used to make was a milk-flour mixture known as Lumpy Dick (which is strange because I always thought that combo was called "glue"). So she goes on the computer and starts googling "Lumpy Dick."

Whoa there, little Missy. I'm not about to let my nine-year-old daughter look those words up on the Internet. There was actually a recipe for it and we made it this evening. She thought it was delicious (with lots of sugar on it), I think it tastes like something only a person who just walked across the plains would love.

Oh, I did give out 25 cents being the Tooth Fairy today. Does that count as spending money?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Even Steven

Today I was bad and bought a loaf of bread. I've been baking my own so that I don't buy anything "prepared," but it's just been so darn hot that I couldn't bear to turn on the oven.

On the upside, Nigel made pasta tonight. He got out the pasta maker and made some super delicious linguine.

So we cancel each other out, right?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Snow Cones, you temptation of the devil!

So of course I did good on Sunday by not spending any money, but let me say that I did go to Costco on Saturday, but just got some milk, more berries, and a rotisserie chicken -- I'm pretty sure it's a law that you have to pick up a delicious roasted bird every time you go in there. I usually avoid stores on Saturdays, but we were out of milk and I've heard so much about their wonderful free samples on the weekend. Well, I must've gone on a bad day because there was hardly anything (unless you count the Culligan guy giving out samples of water -- really? Free water?).

On Monday I spent a long day working and sleeping. No spending there.

Today I'm doing pretty good, but just let it be known that the new Snow Cone stand that they set up on my block (literally just feet away from my home) is killing me! Oh, icy goodness, fruity syrupy wonder, you freezing delight, how I long to embrace you.

I did buy gas today. This was something I was dreading because I was hoping to do a lot more walking and not have to buy any gas this month. But the extreme heat, my laziness, and having to drive my children 6,000 different places a day kind of put an end to that idea. I am hoping to buy a lot less gas, though. We'll see how it works out.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pride Goes Before the Fall

I think that I got a little too proud of myself for not spending any money in downtown on Friday night. Today I got off of work early, so I decided to go to the Farmer's Market. Big mistake. I just can't resist a Farmer's Market.

What Frances and Alice-Grace couldn't resist were some belly-dancing skirts at one of the booths. I'll admit it, I used to take belly-dancing classes, so my children are genetically predisposed to love anything with jingly coins on it. I had promised them skirts last year at the Farmer's Market, but I didn't have my purse at the time and the booth never came back to the park. My girls totally remembered this and begged for the skirts. What could I say? It may not be there again in August. So I caved in and bought the skirts. They have been wearing them non-stop, much to the chagrin of our poor cats who are scared to death of the noise.

I was good and didn't buy any snow cones (they didn't have cotton candy).

Friday, July 6, 2012

Free Friday Downtown

Tonight I did really well. We went to the art gallery stroll downtown and didn't spend any money (it helps that they have free food). We also participated in a "Dance Walk" where a group of people dance while walking down the streets of downtown. It was really fun for me and Nigel, horrendously embarrassing for Jeffrey and Alice-Grace. They begged for us to stop and go home. And they aren't even teenagers yet!

All in all, another successful spend-free day.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Service is the new Shopping

So I've realized that I spend most of my money out of boredom. I go out to eat, I take the kids places, I buy things -- all because I'm bored.

So what have I been doing instead since I'm not spending any money this month? Amazingly enough -- service.

The other day I blogged about helping a family move.

I'm in charge of a community garden and I've noticed that quite a few of our gardeners have not planted anything this year and have let their plots go to seed. I called them up and asked permission to weed. So I've been spending my free time pulling weeds and cleaning up the garden. I'm out in the fresh air, getting exercise, helping out my neighbors and best of all, not spending any money. Win-win-win-win!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Frugal Fourth

Well, I managed to celebrate Independence Day without spending any money.

It helped that I worked in the morning and then took a nap in the afternoon.

Then Jeffrey wanted me to take him and his friend to the store to buy fireworks. I reminded him that I wasn't spending any money this month. They managed to finagle some money from the friend's mom, found a quarter on the ground, and with a nickel from the nice cashier,* they scrounged together $1.75. With that, they were able to buy one box of snaps, six smoke bombs, and four flowers. Pretty good if you ask me.

Then we went to a local park to set off the fireworks. We stayed at the park and watched everyone else set off their fireworks. It was quite a show -- better than the shows you have to pay for!

Then we hung out with some neighbors as they had a family party watching the professional fireworks display out in the distance.

I think that we all had just as much fun as when we spend a ton of money on fireworks and food. So all in all, a very successful, and frugal, Fourth of July.

*I reminded Jeffrey that since the cashier gave him a nickel, he is now obligated to help someone else out if they're short on money.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Grocery Shopping

So I just got back from grocery shopping.

I went to Target and got a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi. With the coupon it was free, so no money there! Of course, it meant that I had to buy Pepsi, so I guess my husband and daughters will have it (my son and I don't drink cola).

Now the lady who wrote the book "Not Buying It" said that she didn't buy anything that was processed during her year-long experiment.

As I was shopping at Costco, it suddenly dawned on me, what exactly does "processed" mean?

I bought milk, heavy cream (so we could make our own ice-cream), ground beef, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and lemon juice.

I was torn on the lemon juice. Should I have bought fresh lemons instead and juiced them myself? Is lemon juice "processed"? If it is, was the cream also "processed"? Should I have gotten a steak and ground it myself?

So confusing. Anyway, the good news is that my Costco bill was about half of what it usually is!


So what are the rules to my "Not Buying It" experiment?

I think that I'm making them up as I go along.

It's amazing how much money I spend with no effort of my own. Most of my bills are automatically taken out of my checking account or billed to my credit card: mortgage, various insurances, condo fee, most of my utility bills, etc. In fact, the only bill I have to pay myself is my natural gas bill -- why? I guess because they're the only ones so far that haven't pressured me to go automatic.

I'll be spending money on all my usual stuff, but I'm trying not to buy anything extra: clothes, activities, toys, fast food, junk food, entertainment, etc.

Also, this only applies to me. My kids can buy whatever they want (they never have any money anyway) and my husband can use his money (that doesn't really count because he's the type of guy that can have the same $10 bill in his pocket for seriously two years).

We'll see how it goes!


So Monday was my first official day of "not buying it."

I was OK as long as I was at work, but then I went home. It's amazing how much I wanted to spend money just to alleviate my boredom (you know, finding reasons to NOT clean my house).

There's lots of stuff going on downtown to celebrate Independence Day, but I knew I would just end up spending money on snow cones and cotton candy, so I didn't go.

What did I do instead? Help a neighbor move. I didn't even know this neighbor. They were moving, I was bored, so I just started picking up boxes. It took quite a few hours because they lived on the third floor. After that I was so exhausted that I went to sleep.

So I didn't spend any money, helped a neighbor, got lots of exercise. Win-win-win!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Not Buying It

A while ago I read the book "Not Buying It" about a woman who goes a whole year without buying anything (she set up her own guidelines -- since she couldn't go without purchasing some food items and paying her utility bills). I've always wanted to try this little experiment (I love me some stunt journalism), so I'm going to try to go the month of July not buying anything and then blogging about it.

I'm sure that I'll fail miserably, but that's half the fun!

Good news -- I didn't buy ANYTHING on Sunday, July 1st.

Of course, that's an easy one since my religion frowns on going to stores or purchasing items on the Sabbath, but I'll take any victory I can.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Closed Captioning Foibles

I love watching TV with the closed captioning on. I'm not quite sure what machines those people are using while they're typing out a live news broadcast, but they have some interesting shortcuts that I don't think they should be using.

In one news broadcast (I think I've already blogged about this), every time the reporter said "Barack Obama," the trascriber typed in "Backyard Habitat."

Today, every time the news anchor said "Mexico," the transcriber put in "Mechanical Psycho." What? That's so much longer than just typing the word "Mexico"!

I really hope that hearing-impaired people are getting their news from newspapers, and NOT television.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


Though I love to read self-help books, I really think they're lost on me. I don't think that I get out of them what the author intends me to.

Take those "Eat This, Not That!" books by David Zinczenko. He tries to shock us by telling stuff like 'a large buttered popcorn at the movie theater has as much fat as 14 McDonald's Big Macs!' While everyone else is gasping in horror, I'm trying to figure out how to sneak in 14 Big Macs the next time I go see a movie.

I just read a book on exercise science and the author was talking about how just a few minutes of a really hard, intense workout has the same benefits as hours of a slow, easy workout. Again, I came out of it with the attitude of, 'Wow, that's great. Since I've got nothing better to do, I'll do the slow, easy workout. Don't have to break a sweat and another excuse for not having enough time to clean my house -- win-win!'

I read a book on happiness zones and Denmark was one of the countries listed because of their low expectations. Yes, I'm all about low expectations. Any day I'm  not kidnapped and forced into white slavery is an awesome day in my book. Hey, I wasn't sucked into an F-5 tornado today, let's have a party! Happy day, a car didn't crash into my----oh, wait. That did happen. Never mind. Hey, that car crashing into my bedroom gave me an excuse to paint my walls a new color (if only it did more damage so I could get new furniture -- but I'll keep those high expectations down to a minimum).

Anyway, I guess there's just no helping some people (me, especially).

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Better (well) Read than Dead

An old high school friend of mine (who doesn't have children) recently posted on Facebook:

A co-worker says that once you have kids, you don't time to read anymore. Is this true?

The long list of comments then reiterated what the co-worker said, talking about how motherhood prevents them from having the time to read.

I just wanted to yell out, NO! DON'T BELIEVE THEM! IT'S NOT TRUE!

I'm posting my "Shelfari" list on the top of this blog to prove that moms do read. I've been in a book club for over five years now and I love the variety of books and genres this gets me to read. I'm constantly going up to my friends (and I'll admit it, even strangers) and asking them what they're reading. My kids know that every night at 8:30 PM is "mom's reading time." Even my cat knows it (she knows that that means cuddle time).

I'm lucky in that my work gives us a paid day off every year for our birthday, and I use that day to lay in bed all day reading. My daughter, Frances, is now a total book worm, too. She constantly has a book in her hands (I'm hoping the other two will follow suit).

Now my mother, Dot, has always been an avid reader. Even with nine kids and five foster kids and running a daycare center out of her home (yes, we were THAT house in the neighborhood), she was always reading. She makes a point of reading all the Newbery Award winners (something I also do) and she loves, loves, loves Charles Dickens.

Don't have time to read because you have kids? Then read aloud to your children! Even the most adult books will have something you can read to them. My children love David Sedaris books -- though I read to them very edited chapters (they especially like the dying mouse story).

All I can say is, better (well) read than dead.