Friday, July 31, 2009

Best Haircut I Ever Hated

I needed a haircut badly. I had been putting it off because the last time I got it cut the stylist was too busy contemplating how she was going to woo a guy she liked. Seriously. I have this strange power over people that makes them want to tell me their lives story or help them with drama issues. I don’t know why. With friends I like wielding this power because I want to help. Not so much with strangers. I also needed a cut because I have been going on interviews and I should present a professional image and not one of a haggard stay at home mom.

I might as well add that I have gotten maybe five haircuts in my life that I actually liked. And only one of those did I love. Therefore I don’t fret when I get a bad haircut as I know it will grow back.

I am saving money so I went to Empire Beauty School to get my hair cut by a stylist in training. I have gotten my hair dyed at a beauty school and it went well so I thought I would give the cut a chance. They have teachers walking around to assist and critique when needed. My stylist in training was very nice. In fact I wish her all the success in the world. She washed my hair and gave me the best scalp massage I have ever had. She worried if she was being to heavy handed and all I could do was give a reassuring moan that it was just right. As she began cutting my hair she was a lot slower but no worries as I would rather she was slow and precise than fast and cutting the crap out of my hair. About five minutes in and she was just done cutting the lower strip of hair. This was going to be a long process. The teacher came over and wanted to switch with her as there was a little girl who needed an up-do and she wanted my stylist to practice. Bonus for me, I get a teacher. The teacher took up the scissors and hair started flying everywhere. I have never seen some one so quick. There was little time for chit-chat as she finished in less than five minutes. Really and truly the fastest cut ever. So I’m surveying the hair and I have to admit it was exactly what I asked for but about an inch shorter all around. I fear this was more to do with the stylist in training than the teacher. I didn’t need a styling as I was going home and I like to play with my hair after getting it cut anyway.

My quandary with my latest cut is that it is a perfect hair cut. It was done wonderfully. However it looks bad on me. I have washed and styled my hair five times in less than 24 hours. I really am pleased with the cut. It is the best haircut I ever hated. Yes, hated. It doesn’t fit me. But it will grow and I will live. Although if I put on lip plumper I would look like Lisa Rinna. Or maybe just her fat Irish cousin.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Genteel Raising Southern Charm

There are four grocery stores that are near to the home but I frequent Publix 98% of the time. Even when the other stores are having sales. Why? It’s because of their employees. They are helpful and actually go out of their way to help or even just to say hello.

I go shopping with Teagan and Kaitlyn and at times they are tired or just don’t want to be in a store. I have been offered bananas as Kaitlyn whines over and over again “nana, nana.” Every time we go by the bakery I have to vigorously shake my head no, as the Baker’s start reaching for cookies. And last week the Bagger gave both girls coloring books and crayons. I know that corporate Publix wants their employees to offer these things. Not so sure about the bananas but they want to build their customer loyalty with any incentive they can.

Now to the point. My girls love balloons. They prefer helium inflated ones but will take any balloon they are given. On occasion Publix has green balloons bearing their logo and the girls are so happy to get one.

We went to the park and on the way home stopped at Publix. They girls were past tired, hungry and still sweaty which I’m sure was uncomfortable. By the time we reached the checkout they were done. I was going to let Hubby check out as I took the bears to the car when I noticed I knew the cashier. This wouldn’t be abnormal except I went to high school with her and my high school is 448 miles away from where I live now. So the girls sucked it up as I chatted away.

After a pleasant chat it was time to go. Teagan who had been so good even though she was so tired stirred a little. Then she spoke up and said “Excuse me. Can I please have a balloon?” Unfortunately she was pointing to a Mylar balloon. Now of course the answer was no and Teagan took it well. But how sweet and polite is my two year old?!

And oh yeah, I’m taking all the credit for this genteel child being raised with southern charm.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Porcupine Meatballs

Ah the improvised dinner. Lately when I go grocery shopping it is hard for me to focus on what I want to cook or eat for the week. Mind you this is a huge jump from three years ago were I would, no lie, stop by the grocery every day after work to pick out dinner. I’m proud of at least trying to think seven days in advance. Plus with two toddlers I’d go nuts going to the store every day.

So here I am with a pound of ground beef left from the weekly shopping trip and nothing else. No noodles. No bread. No freaking idea what I’m going to do with a pound of meat.

I look at some recipes but nothing really sticks. I thought about meatballs but who wants meatballs without noodles. What could replace noodles? Rice. I look around for a recipe with rice and meat. I find one called Porcupine Meatballs. With a couple of tweaks I came up with this. For a pinch it was rather tasty and the big plus, as always, is the girly-girls ate them. Even the probably-will-be-a-vegetarian-and-I-promise-I-won’t-disown-her-for-it-Teagan ate them.

Porcupine Meatballs

1/2 cup uncooked rice
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup chopped onion (I used white, next time I’ll use red)
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
15 ounces tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

In a bowl combine the rice, water, onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and beef. Mix well. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls. In a large skillet add oil. Brown meatballs on medium high, rolling around to get even color. Drain oil. Combine tomato sauce, water, brown sugar, and Worcestershire in bowl and mix well. Pour over meatballs. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 1 hour.

I made extra rice to place the meatballs and sauce on. It reduced a lot so not much sauce was left. The picture does not do it justice.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Beatles Are Dead

We have lost our last goldfish. It’s not a great loss since I really think he was the reason my tank would get dirty so fast. I told Hubby several times that the fish needed to find a new home. I would never kill something intentionally so the fish lasted long past its welcome.

He was one of four goldfish that we originally got with the tank. No one told me that having four goldfish in a tank our size would cause inhabitable conditions. One by one they started to die off until there was only one.

For some reason we decided these four fish were the Beatles. The last one left was Ringo. No real reason he was Ringo, except I like him better than McCartney. Well Ringo being the only one left started to get big. He got huge. Fattest “normal” goldfish I’ve ever seen. So the joke went from tossing him out to frying him up. If he hadn’t had those huge bulging eyes it may have actually happened. Just kidding Hubby doesn’t eat fish.

The point is I think my girls need furry animal friends.

Yesterday I caught them trying to play with the fish in our fish tank. The next day the goldfish is floating. I think someone “pet” him which led to his demise.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wanted: Mattress Sponsor

I need a mattress sponsor. Any mattress company out there that wants to "donate" a king size mattress to my family needs to give me a call. I promise you, I will rave about your product as the current mattress is not up to task at hand.

You see I’m not a small woman. In fact I’m a rather large woman. I blame my bones. This is normally not an issue. I am happy with myself even though my body isn’t what I’d like it to be. The problem isn’t my girth but my girth in comparison to my bed. Specifically an issue when my bed has been invaded by little bears at midnight who want to stay. The queen mattress will not fit all of us.

I asked Teagan (the one peaking out of the white blanket) “where will Mommy fit?” She pats the square foot between her head and the foot board and says “right here Momma.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

First Real Bear

This is the first real bear on Land of Bears.

We went camping to Vogel State Park. After we finished setting up camp Hubby was going to wipe down when he called me over. As a second thought he add "Leave the girls." Meandering down the road was this little guy. Later on we saw signs that apparently he had been roaming the park for awhile looking for food from lazy campers. He looked to be around two maybe three and not healthy. I'm not sure if he was sick or malnourished.

Now this was Hubby's first bear but it was my second. Therefore my instinct took over and I walked hurriedly after the bear to get a photo. Intelligence stopped me from getting closer so sorry about the photo but if I hadn't been holding my Taco Bell drink cup I probably would have gotten a lot closer. Much to my Husbands dismay. Wouldn't my Mom be so proud! Okay that was complete sarcasm. If you knew my Mother you would be rolling on the floor. We didn't even tell her we saw the bear until after we got back home. She would have been beside herself for days until she got our call.

That was the only time we saw the bear. However I was definitely more on edge than normal. Now I've camped for years and there has always been the caution for bears but I had never spotted one. I was a little neurotic when it came to food smells at camp. We always put our food up and in the vehicles but if the girls got extra messy while eating I even put their clothes in the car. Just being extra careful made me feel a little better but I wish I wasn't a night time pottier because that was stressful.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Poor Meow-Meow

Every child will have their favorite stuffed animal, doll, action figure that they carry with them everywhere. One that will give them comfort when they are upset or shares the bed when they go to sleep. Teagan has had a few toys that have filled this position. When she was a baby she had “bug.” A rattle, crunchy, multicolored, chewing drool catcher. We would not leave the house without bug. For almost 9 months this was her best friend. To the point that once at daycare on a totally inconsolable day the caretaker got Bug out of her car seat. Even though outside toys were strictly forbidden. Kaitlyn has not had such a friend. Her go to item has always been her BiBi. (I’ve mentioned before that BiBi is what the bears call their blankets.) As a baby and now into her toddler years, toys come and go but the only constant for Kaitlyn is BiBi.

Teagan being almost three, moved past bug a long time ago. Like her sister she has a BiBi but no new toy really stuck until her Gammaw and Poppy gave her Meow-Meow. Meow-Meow is a fluffy white animated cat. It was programmed to purr, meow, open and close its eyes, twitch its ears, move its tail and when petted it would actually sit down and after a few seconds would raise itself back up. If you pulled Meow-Meow’s tail it would growl and hiss. It would also do this if you operated a laptop too close to it. Which my Dad (Poppy) and I found hilarious and a fun game.

Meow-Meow is Teagan’s buddy. It sleeps with her every night. Has shared many a car ride and on occasion has been allowed to sit at the table while she eats. Meow-Meow has even gone on family vacations. As I felt that being in a strange environment her friendly pal might bring security. Which she did.

Meow-Meow is almost a year old. This year has been remorseless on Meow-Meow. Imagine being dragged along day in and day out by a careless two year old. One who loves you dearly but does not know how to really take care of you. Teagan has never let me brush her coat as “it hurts.” Teagan has also tossed poor Meow-Meow around so much that three legs are broken and one is sprained. I stopped replacing the batteries since the legs are broken because when it tries to stand up it looks like the cat is going into convulsions and I would rather not etch that image on my child’s memory. Just recently both ears have fallen off the cat’s head. This unfortunate though loved toy is on its last legs. Literally. Yet the loving and playing with has not even begun to wane. I’m not sure how bad Meow-Meow will look when Teagan finally gives her up. But this is her before and after photos currently. The object at Meow-Meow’s feet is an ear. Poor Meow-Meow.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

No Pens

My girls do not own crayons, paints, markers or any other drawing utinsel. The reason is we do not want our walls, furniture, toys, vehicles or other items marked up with scribbles. Their Gammaw and Poppy got them a drawing mat that uses a water pen but even that is used under scrutiny. Otherwise my carpet is wet and one of the girls is running around the house sucking out the water from the pen.

This being said once in a blue moon when Daddy just does not want to argue with them that he can be using a pen but they cannot he will cave. Today he caved. And this is what I end up with. It was even in her arm pit. And no it did not come off in the bath.

She's still cute! Naughty as all get out but cute.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Job Search Techno Style

I have not interview for a job in 5.5 years. At that time, the interested employer found my resume on a resume site, called me and set up an interview time. I drove to their office and conducted an interview. They made an offer before I got out the door. This to me is normal. This is apparently “old school.”

Everything is done on-line. And I mean everything.

I’m looking for employment and admit to throwing my resume at anything that moves. I have posted on several job boards. I peruse the local businesses I would be interested in. I have even solicited my friends and relatives for any point of contact they might know. I certainly haven’t simply taken the first job that came around; otherwise I wouldn’t still be looking. However, there are endless forms. They want you to attach a resume and a cover letter. Absolutely. Once your resume is attached they want you to fill out their special form which generally is your resume all over again just in pretty little boxes. I’m punching so many buttons my job search is beginning to become a job in itself.

Some companies I have applied for that have teenagers working for them ask you a series of personality questions. “If Sally is talking negatively about Mark should you a) Tell the Manager on duty, b) Ignore her comments and continue to work, or c) Stir things up by telling her Mark thinks her butt is too big?” Seriously? Unfortunately this is not a joke. It is not word for word but a nearby amusement company asked over 30 questions just like this. By the end I was pretty sure I didn’t want to work there as I have already finished high school and have a diploma as proof.

In my quest for employment I have experienced technology running the system. Evidence for this is my very first live on-line interview. I was on the phone with the pursuing employer and half way through the conversation she asked if we could continue the interview in an on-line web conference. I use my web conference quite regularly to talk to family members so I agreed. She used a different service so I told her I would call her ID as soon as I had downloaded the program. Once hanging up I realized that I’m a stay at home Mom. This means I had on no make-up, my hair was in a headband and I was wearing a t-shirt with no bra. Ah, the picture phones down fall on the road to success. The only saving grace was that I had showered for the day. I was quick with the make-up and luckily the hair was cooperative. While downloading the software I threw on a blouse and bra. From the waist up I looked pretty good. We both signed in and began our interview. It was roughly the same whether it had been conducted over the phone or through the net. Eye contact was minimal as she was jotting notes the entire time and it made me almost question why the on-line conference to begin with. I have a second interview this week so at least the outcome was favorable.

My question is what happened to the people? I use to address a letter to a corporation with a point of contact’s name. Now I’m fortunate if I get a corporation’s name. I’m sure with all of the competition for jobs at this point it might save the company and hiring manager a lot of headaches to not be bombarded with calls and drop-in interviews. However it has taken a little civility out of the process. I feel more like a number than ever before. This number still needs a job so I will play the game but earnestly hope that our technology doesn’t eventually take the human aspect out of everything.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Deluxe Grilled Cheese Hamburger

I haven’t posted a recipe recently therefore here is one my husband made the other night.

While watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives he saw a restaurant eater indulging in a meal that Hubby had to recreate. I laughed never thinking he would actually do it. I was wrong. So here is the recipe and a nod in your direction if you make this too.

Preheat grilling skillet over medium heat. Start with a pound of lean ground beef. We want a little bit of juice to pour out but would rather it doesn’t run down our arms into our laps. Split the meat into three mounds. Per mound, season with ground sea salt and ground black pepper and knead together while shaping into a patty. Make the middle of the patty a little thinner than the edges so that it will lay flat once cooked on the bread. Cook the burgers, turning occasionally, to desired temperature, 10 to 15 minutes for medium well. Now two of these burgers will be normal everyday burgers. For the hubby burger continue reading.

Take half of a medium Vidalia onion. Slice. Sauté in a tablespoon and a half of butter and teaspoon of Worcestershire. Cook onions for 15 minutes, or until onion is soft and caramel colored.

Rip the romaine lettuce to hamburger size. Thick slice a tomato. Slice in rounds the other half of the Vidalia onion. Set out ketchup and mayonnaise (we used mayonnaise with horseradish).

Now for the bread.

Preheat skillet over medium heat. Thinly slice four pieces of French bread. Generously butter both sides of the slices of bread. Place two pieces of bread down onto skillet and add a slice of cheese to each. Top both with another slice of buttered bread. Grill until lightly browned and flip over; continue grilling until cheese is melted.

Wait a minute. I just told you how to make two grilled cheese sandwiches. That’s right. This is what my husband used for buns to hold this burger and fixings together.

Assembling the “burger.” Take one of the grilled cheese sandwiches and put on plate. Squeeze on some ketchup and mayonnaise. Top with burger. Add more ketchup. Cover with sautéed onions. Next raw onions. Topped with two slices of tomato. Then the two leafs of the romaine lettuce. Finish with the other grilled cheese sandwich.

You now have a Deluxe Grilled Cheese Hamburger. I must admit it was fantastic looking. Husband was happy. He hunched over his plate, opened his mouth as wide as he could and dug in. Surprisingly the two grilled cheese sandwiches helped to hold everything together nicely. The patty was not big enough so the last few bites were just grilled cheese sandwiches with the fixings. No complaints. Hubby says that next time he will add sautéed pickled hot peppers. Substitute cocktail sauce for the mayonnaise and ketchup. Make the patty slightly bigger and add a slice of cheese to it as well. That’s right he is already considering the next time.

To the Alumni of Michigan. I hope he made you proud!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Adios Nap Time

Teagan and Kaitlyn are only a year apart. Due to the closeness of age I tend to treat each of them the same with little regard for “age appropriate” matters. Since Kaitlyn still drinks a bottle so does Teagan. Yes she shouldn’t at this age but I’m don’t own stock in Motrin and really have an aversion to unnecessary battles. This results in Teagan enjoying younger things longer and Kaitlyn getting gypped sooner. I think that’s why we put off potty training so long. This, by the way, is still going wonderfully. A night time accident here and there but for the most part the worst three days of our lives followed by harmony.

Teagan is almost three (holy crap how did that happen?) accordingly she has exhausted her need for naps. She will still take one but it’s much shorter and 90% of the time not required. On our camping trips this is different because we run her little butt ragged and the short dose in the car in-between stops is more for recovery. Plus when Teagan doesn’t take a nap she goes to bed with only half of the normal fight. I think that with Kaitlyn having an open bed this will prove useful as Teagan is the primary instigator of naughtiness.

I am saddened that the nap is about to go away. This hour to two hours was my break in the day. I could take a shower, surf the internet, watch something besides cartoons, clean or even, dare I say it, take a nap myself. I love sleep. I can easily sleep for twelve hours. To me an occasional nap in the afternoon is better than chocolate. But alas Teagan is ready and the benefits out vie my little afternoon reward. Of course Kaitlyn still needs her nap, she’s like her Mommy, and therefore Teagan will have to be quiet during this time. I think I will try to make it an educational hour with learning to reading and maybe some crafts. I plan on separating the girls occasionally for one-on-one time later in life so they don’t feel they are always sharing. I guess this will be the beginning of Teagan and Mommy time.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Graduated to Toddler Bed

There are little reminders everyday of how big my girls are getting. Yes they grow taller and they have an almost full set of teeth. But I am pointing to the milestones they reach. Kaitlyn now eats cereal, soup and ice cream by herself. She tries to use the wash cloth to bathe herself. I’m sure her streak of independence is what has caused these instances to come sooner than most.

Tonight my littlest bear Kaitlyn is no longer in a crib. Her crib was converted into a toddler bed. She now will get in and out of her own bed for nap and night time. And of course reading time.

This is a step on the path of responsibilities. I feel that entrusting children with little tasks at a time will help them in the bigger tasks of their future.

With the new undertaking of a toddler bed Kaitlyn is so far failing. Miserably. Her new freedom is huge to her and she is getting out of bed constantly.

She runs into the hallway. I put her to bed.

She plays with toys in her room. I put her to bed.

She gets into her Sister’s bed. I put her to bed.

Even Teagan at this point is telling on her so she can go to sleep. Luckily she is a lover of sleep so I think she will catch on quicker than her impish sister did.

Manual vs Electric

Some of you may have been wondering where I was last week. Lazy? Sick? No, we decided on a moment’s notice to go camping again. I will entertain all my followers in the following days with the wonderful things we saw and did. All two of you!

Actually I have more “followers” but they haven’t registered. Please become a follower. All you need is a Google, AIM, Yahoo, OpenID or Netlog account. No you don’t have to but it would boost my ego.

Last week while camping I left my electronic toothbrush at home. This toothbrush is a Philips Sonicare. This toothbrush was forced upon me by my Mother. I don’t like electronic brushes. The vibration makes be drool and if I’m not hovering over a sink paste-spit is going to be running down my chin. Lovely image, no? I actually complained about this toothbrush morning and night for over two weeks to my half-listening husband. “I don’t have two minutes.” “This vibration is more irritating than cleansing.” Etc. etc.

So for our camping trip I ditched the brush.

The first day was fine. But the second day I didn’t feel as clean. I brushed twice that morning and twice that night. My mouth just didn’t feel fresh.

I am not a spokes person for Sonicare. I’m not getting paid. Buy hey any sponsors out there that want me to review a product, tell me where to sign. However I have got to say I love and appreciate my toothbrush now.

The first night back it was so nice to really clean my teeth that I almost did it twice for the pleasure of the hygiene. It is by far as wonderful as they say. That “just from the dentist” feeling of clean without the pain of “just from the dentist.” Now when I brush I know when my two minutes are just about up because the overall sensation is so fresh and scrubbed.

Since I have started using the Sonicare not only are my teeth cleaner but they do appear whiter and they are less sensitive to cold liquid. I was using toothpaste for sensitive teeth every other day to help my teeth not hurt with cold water. Now I just use my regular preferred Crest.

The point is, go get an electronic toothbrush. I don’t care what brand. Go cheap. Use your new toothbrush for two weeks and then go back to a manual. If after two days you aren’t completely sold on the benefits then send me a nasty email. I assure you, you won’t. Whiter teeth, less sensitivity, overall better oral health. It’s worth the drool.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mason Jar Iced Coffee

For me coffee, hot or cold, has to be the second best drink I consume. Sangria is the first if you were wondering. In fact I had some marvelous Sangria at Olive Garden yesterday. I don't think it had any alcohol in it but it was delicious. Kind of tasted like flat Italian fruit punch soda. But this post is not about Sangria. Back to the coffee.

One of my favorite treats while shopping at a bulls-eye of a store is sipping a Carmel Latte from their inner Mermaid dealer. The problem is I cannot afford to indulge as often as my craving arises. What to do, what to do?

Luckily for me the Southern author at had the same issue. She lovely provided her readers with a fantastic recipe for Iced Coffee that I now am going to post here.

In a one quart Mason jar, pour in 2/3 cup of finely ground coffee

Fill jar with cold water

Let sit for 12 hours at room temperature

After 12 hours, strain the coffee. I strained mine through a piece of cheesecloth over a wire strainer into another jar. Now you have coffee concentrate.

Take your concentrate and make a half concentrate, half milk mixture and pour over ice. You can do what you want from there. Add sugar, caramel, sweet cream, or any other flavor you can wrap your head around. It was also recommended to shake up the concoction to make a little froth at the top. I'll try that tomorrow as today I was too excited and just used a good swizzle stick.

Keep your concentrate in the jar or container in the fridge. The Southern author says hers has lasted up to three weeks still tasting great. I drank half of mine on the first day so I doubt it will make it to the end of the week!

Thank you for the recipe and thank you Aunt Lori for the mason jars. The green beans were great but the coffee is even better.