Monday, December 27, 2010

My iPod is like a box of chocolates...

A box of chocolates with both good and awful chocolates mixed together. Pat is always saying that you can't trust the "random" shuffle on my iPod because I have such awful songs on there. I always defend myself and am insulted by his comments since I pride myself on having somewhat of good taste in music.

But today, I was listening to my iPod while unpacking from our Christmas travels and organizing my new kitchen pantry (more on that later) and the most bizarre songs were coming up on the random shuffle on my iPod. I had to admit to myself that he is right. I'm only admitting this to you and me, by the way. I am not ready to tell him that he is right and that I agree with him that it's time for an iPod intervention. Instead, I will slowly but surely (and secretly) delete songs from my iPod to try and improve the quality of the random shuffle.

In the meantime, I would like to share with you the 10 songs that played in a row on my iPod's random shuffle today:

Buffalo Soldier - Bob Marley 
I LOVE this song... no complaints from me)
I'm Too Sexy - Right Said Fred 
hmm... I will admit, this is the song that really got me to start agreeing with Pat's statement that a random shuffle isn't safe on my iPod. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed it and ended up singing, dancing, and of course, "runwalking" in my kitchen... all by myself. And no, I will not be deleting this song. How could I? Besides, it has over two million views on YouTube. That has to count for something, right?
Not in Love - Enrique Iglesias and Kelis  
Well, first we should discuss the "and Kelis" part of this song. Kelis was popular back in the day (just to clarify - back in the day might have different meanings for us. I'm referring to back in my college days so circa 2002-2006, not back in the day like back in the 1970s, FYI) for her song "Milkshake." Haven't heard that song? Do yourself a favor and check it out. But I should warn you, she isn't talking about a drink from McDonalds and you will never get those three minutes of your life back. Yeah, I'm talking all this crap about that song, but guess what? It's on my iPod too. :) Anyway, this isn't a quality song and probably shouldn't be on my iPod but I probably won't delete it either because you just never know if someday I will really wish I had it.
Adrift - Jack Johnson
One of my fav artists so of course I love it. It's a little slow but who doesn't love a good mellow tune?
Caught Up - Usher
Hmm... another interesting selection. Again, goes back to the good old BGSU days. This was also one of the 60 songs on our "power hour" mix the roommates and I listened to pretty much every night while getting ready to go out. So for historical purposes, I pretty much have to keep this song.
How Far We've Come - Matchbox 20
I think this is a great song and I have no regrets for possessing it on my iPod and I think even Pat would agree with this assessment. 
Run It - Chris Brown
Interesting. I can't help but notice the re-occurrence of "power hour" and college day songs in my random shuffles. Perhaps this is what Pat is talking about. There is a time and place for this type of music (dancing on stages at Sky Bar in BG, for example) but entertaining guests, a backyard cookout and even just cooking in the kitchen, doesn't seem like the appropriate place for this song. Of course I can't delete it though...
Favorite Year - Dixie Chicks
A great song from their very last and very underrated album (in my opinion). I like this song and am glad to have it on my iPod even though I ,too, am guilty of skipping over it far too often.
Milkshake - Kelis
I couldn't have planned this any better myself. I kid you not, this came on my mix after I already starting writing this blog. The irony is just too much for me! But the fact that this song came on in my random shuffle just proves Pat's theory even more. This is off the BGSU "power hour" mix as well.
20 Miles to Georgia - Josh Kelley
I like Josh Kelley and I think this song is a good, easy listening song. No regrets here.

So that sums up the random 10 song shuffle on my iPod. I think we discovered several interesting things. 1.) Pat is right, random shuffles aren't safe on my iPod. I would have been very embarrassed if anyone other than Grady and me were home to hear this mix of songs. 2.) I obviously carry over my "pack rat" tendencies to iTunes because even though I would be humiliated if my family was at my house and "Milkshake" came on my iPod... I still can't convince myself to delete it, "just in case I might want it someday." Someday when? I have no idea. Just someday... 3.) I need to make more playlists on my iPod so that I never have to rely on the random shuffle.

New Year's resolution? Perhaps...

A very Merry Christmas!

We survived our four Christmases. More than just survived them, we really, really enjoyed them! We felt like we had enough time at each Christmas celebration to actually relax and enjoy ourselves and enjoy our great company, something we haven't really felt we had time to do in the previous five Christmases we've spent together.

It was so great to have my step-dad, Mark, out of the hospital. It was hard to see him feeling so ill, but we were just so thankful he could be with us! My Uncle Mark surprised us with a visit from New York which was so nice to have him home!

We got spoiled rotten with gifts and truly got more than we deserve. It almost makes you feel guilty. That being said, we will enjoy each and every one of them and remember to be thankful for having so many people who care about us!

Okay, I'll quit dancing around the issue. You want to know, did I accomplish all of my lofty Christmas baking goals and the answer is a difficult one for me to swallow. No. No I did not get all the baking done that I wanted to. I'm sure you saw this coming. I was trying to make a ridiculous amount of baked goods but I truly thought I could do it and I wanted to set my goal high. I hate failure and at first I felt like a huge loser for not getting it all done. But the truth is, I honestly got sick of baking.

On the night before Christmas eve, I called it quits at 9 p.m. I could have kept going and finished the other two recipes if I really wanted to, but that's just it: I didn't want to. I had literally spent the entire 16 hours I was off of work, baking in the kitchen. One day, my feet were actually bruised on the bottom from standing in my bare feet on the hardwood floor of the kitchen for six hours straight (okay, that's a slight exaggeration. They weren't really bruised but hurt really bad). Even if you like to cook/bake, I think any normal person reaches a point where enough is enough and I had definitely reached that point (no, I'm not trying to say I'm normal. We both know I'm not).

As a recap, my baking goals were as follows:

100 Buckeyes - COMPLETED!
90 Oreo Balls - COMPLETED!
48 Peanut Blossom Cookies - didn't make the cut
32 Peanut Butter Cup Cookies - COMPLETED!
72 Sugar Cookies - COMPLETED!
3 batches of Peanut Butter Fudge - didn't make the cut
60 Pretzel Turtles - COMPLETED!
X amount of chocolate covered pretzels - COMPLETED!

A display of my sugar cookies, buckeyes, peanut butter cup cookies and chocolate covered turtles
Oreo balls and chocolate covered pretzels
I do have two more Christmas parties to attend, so I'm not ruling out the possibility that Peanut Blossoms and Peanut Butter Fudge will accompany me to one or both of those parties. I just can't leave well enough alone, can I?

As for the Christmas crafts, I made the following:

A magnet/dry erase weekly meal planner (Pat helped with the laminating part)

Personalized stationary

I also made 8 assorted greeting cards but ran out of time and didn't take pictures of them.

I hope you had a truly wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Twas three days before Christmas...

T minus 3 days...

And I'm still not finished with my shopping, wrapping, baking or crafting. Yikes. Let this blog at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday morning count as the blog I was supposed to write last night. Maybe I forgot to write it or maybe I purposely avoided it because I was embarrassed about how very unproductive I was yesterday. Unproductive, yet, I felt like I never relaxed for a second! 

I let myself sleep in until 9, and it felt great (okay, so I guess I did do a little relaxing)! Then somehow I wasted time on the computer until 10:30 or so before I started to melt the chocolate to dip the oreo balls in (slaps hand on wrist). I don't have a double boiler and the two pots that I used last year as my own imitation of one, were two small to hold three times as much chocolate chips. So I decided to use a glass bowel inside of a pot instead. 

It worked great, at first. But towards the end, the chocolate started to cook on the glass and got really chunky. I have no idea if this was because it was glass or because I had three times as many oreo balls to dip and it took three times as long, allowing the chocolate to start getting hard. Either way, even though I had enough chocolate to finish the oreo balls, they started to look really bad and really chunky so I had to stop. 

I wanted to rinse the bowel before the chocolate hardened so I took the bowel that was too hot to touch with my bare hands, over to the sink where I poured cold water on it. You can guess what happened next. I started hearing glass cracking and then shattering and then chocolate was starting to leak out of the bottom of the bowel.  Obviously, it was a very dangerous mess in my sink. I spent some time cleaning that up before I went to get the mail.

When I got the mail, we had a whole stack of Christmas cards. Yay! I LOVE getting Christmas cards. But four of them were from people we didn't send Christmas cards to this year. You can judge me for this, but I am one of those people who will send you a Christmas card if you send me one. Not because I feel obligated, but because I feel it's the nice, Christmassy thing to do. So, I immediately went down to the basement to make five more Christmas cards. Yes, not only am I going to send these people Christmas cards, but they're going to be handmade cards just like everyone else got! 

When I went to the basement to print the pictures for the cards, I remembered I also needed to print some pictures for a calendar I'm putting together as a gift. So I was trying to do both. I was just finishing up the cards when I looked at the clock and it was 2:45. I was supposed to pick Pat's friend up and take him to the airport at 3:00! So I rushed to get the Christmas cards addressed and stamped, hoping that if I got them to the post office before 5 that they would have a slight chance of getting there before Christmas and then rushed out the door to go pick up Pat's friend. 

Picking him up and taking him to the airport took about an hour and while I was out, I decided I would run some (but not even close to all) of the errands I needed to get done. I got back to my house right at the same time my friend was coming over. We went to Zumba class and then did dinner. When I got home, I did some more crafting that needed to get done and then the day was over. 

When I woke up this morning I realized that I forgot to have Pat take something to work that he needs to laminate for me (using my own laminate, just using the machine there) so now I have to make a trip to Elyria today on top of everything else. Not exactly on top of my game. 

So, to try to summarize this very long winded blog, I still have a lot to do. Here are my plans for today:

Make the mixture for the buckeyes, roll them into balls, put them into the fridge
Go to store and buy chocolate chips for the buckeyes
Possibly buy some sort of chocolate melting machine or a double boiler since I have few options left
Meet Pat for lunch to exchange "craft"
Go to Kohls to try and buy two remaining gifts
Go to Michael's to see if I can find a frame that Pat needs for a gift and buy a basket for another gift
Buy some things for Pat's stocking
Finish wrapping gifts
Finish making a craft for one of the gifts
Print some more pictures for other gifts
Finish dipping oreo balls in chocolate
Dip buckeyes in chocolate
Make peanut blossom cookies
Make peanut butter cookies
Make peanut butter fudge
Make more pretzel turtles

And whatever I don't get done today (which will probably be like half of this list), I will try to do tomorrow! I'm losing some of that confidence (or arrogance) that I had a few days ago about my ability to get it all done...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Twas four days before Christmas...

T minus 4 days....
And I'm still not finished with my shopping, wrapping, baking or crafting. Yikes. But I'm happy to report, that I'm making progress on all fronts! I already got a head start on the baking.
Grady was very intrigued with all the baking supplies I bought!
On Saturday afternoon, I made the sugar cookie dough and on Sunday night Pat and I made the sugar cookies. Many of you saw my Facebook update explaining that while his contributions were very helpful, they went a little downhill - no pun intended, at the end of the night. Nonetheless, we were able to roll, cut and cook nearly 80 sugar cookies - minus the inappropriate one that Pat made and then ate. Tonight was my first time making frosting instead of buying it. Why would I buy the frosting and try to make things a little easier on myself? That wouldn't make sense! It was surprisingly easy to make and probably impossible to screw up! Pat and I got all the sugar cookies frosted and "sprinkled" tonight!

Last night, I made 110 oreo balls. Now all they need is to be dipped in chocolate. At first, tripling the recipe of oreo balls seemed like a good idea, and I know my family will appreciate it because they love them, but rolling 110 balls is a lot of work (that's what she said - sorry, I couldn't resist). The balls are now in my refrigerator just waiting to be dipped in chocolate; another item on my to-do list that I hope to get done first thing tomorrow morning (and by first thing tomorrow morning, I mean first thing after I let myself sleep in). 

I made one batch of the pretzel turtles already, but we had friends over to watch the Browns game on Sunday so there are only like 5 left. No worries, I bought enough ingredients to make another batch and they are super fast and easy to make (and surprisingly delicious). The most time consuming part is taking the wrappers off all of the candies! I highly recommend the recipe - using Dove caramel chocolates instead of Rolos (per one of the reviewers on the site). 

I still need to buy a few more gifts and then finish wrapping/making tags for the gifts. I need to finish "making" some of my crafty gifts - which I will share pictures of after Christmas. I am officially off work until the new year so I have plenty of time to get 'er done, so no need to worry about me. I will reach my Christmas goals. I am confident of that!

Talk to me Christmas Eve and we'll see how confident I still am....

Monday, December 20, 2010

My very first 20 Something Bloggers Blog Swap!

I recently joined up with 20 Something Bloggers and decided to participate in my very first Blog Swap! After the sign ups are over, 20 Something Bloggers randomly assigns the partners. I was paired up with Kelsey, a newlywed living in Grenada in the Caribbean with her husband who is in medical school. You can read her blog here (watch for my guest post on her blog later today). This is a milestone for my blog as it will be the VERY first time in all of my five years of blogging that anyone else has ever written in it!

The topic of the blog swap is: “What will you do next year that you’ve been putting off for too long?” and here is what Kelsey wrote:

I'm a grasshopper.

You know the story about the ants and the grasshopper? The ants work all summer long storing up food and preparing for winter, while the grasshoppers play and sing and enjoy the warm weather. Well when winter comes around the grasshoppers are starving and freezing to death and the ants are snug and full. I'm a grasshopper when it comes to Christmas gifts!! Especially when I want to do a homemade gift or a gift that takes a lot of work or effort. It's too easy to just go by someone a gift from the mall, or so I think, so I end up with these elaborate gifts and no time to finish them!
On Christmas eve I can usually be found painting, sewing, gluing, wrapping, and baking until all hours of the night. Luckily TNT never fails to have A Christmas Story marathon and I watch it over and over while I work.

Why don't I just get everyone a pair of comfy slippers instead?? Well then of course I'd have to sew an extra little something onto the toe or embroider their name on it!

And so here we are December 20th
My Christmas cards are sitting on the counter, unmailed.
I'm still trying to plan a menu for Christmas dinner.
and I have no gift for my husband whatsoever.

I put my Christmas tree up in early November, you'd think that would have spurred some action, yea? no.
Next year will be the year I get my act together! Next year I will plan ahead!
Next year I will become an ant!

Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's Christmas at the Robinsons!

It's been a few weeks in the making, but it's officially Christmas at the Robinson household!

I have (almost) all of my handmade Christmas cards completed and mailed (I'm up to 50).
Handmade Christmas Cards
All of our Christmas decorations are out.  
No, I do not know those people in the frame. Still need to print a picture for this...
Again- I do not know those people.

We have a tree that is lit and decorated
One of the many benefits of having a tall husband

I have wrapped all the gifts that have been purchased
I color-coded the wrapping papers according to which of the four Christmases we'll be attending
I made handmade tags to put on the gifts!

Even Grady is getting into the Christmas spirit!
I purchased a new Christmas CD this year to really step up my Christmas spirit: The Glee Christmas mix. I believe it was five days after Thanksgiving, and five days after I officially declared the start of Christmas celebrating in the Robinson household, when Pat asked me if I was sick of Christmas music yet. He has asked me many times since then and once again today. The answer was no five days after I started listening to it and the answer is still NO! Not only do I not get sick of Christmas music, I only listen to it for a month, after all, but I can listen to the same Christmas CD over and over and over.

I am OBSESSED with the Glee Christmas CD I bought and I listen to it every morning on my way to work and every evening on my way home from work. It's pretty sad that my commute is long enough to listen to the entire CD before arriving to work, but that's life. So that means ever since I purchased the Glee CD (exactly one week ago) I have listened to the entire CD an average of two times a day. And no, I'm still not sick of it! I am a creature of habit, after all.

My absolute favorite song on the CD is "Last Christmas" which ironically, was one of my least favorite Christmas songs before they redid it. So go Glee! Here it is in case you would like to give it a listen.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Things that make you go "hmmm"

I think it's very interesting that my husband is constantly telling people how often I visit the website known as Facebook. While it is true that I spend a ridiculous amount of time cyber stalking, if you will, on Facebook, I feel that Pat spends an equal amount of time on an obsession of his own; sports. But I didn't have any way of proving it. Until now...

After a recent update from Mozilla Firefox (or maybe it's always been there but I never noticed), I realized that there is now a link in the toolbar titled "Most Visited" sites. I clicked on it to view the sites most visited on our computer. Do you have any guesses what was number one on the list?

I will give you a hint. It wasn't Facebook and it's only four letters long: In second place was which is all my husband, too. I have to give him credit. When he's done fueling his sports addiction, he does like to read the local news and keep up with the times. I NEVER read or watch the news and this is something I admire and respect about him. Okay, enough with praising him, back to the topic at hand...

Facebook is the third most visited website on our computer. This gives me just the ammo I needed to defend myself the next time Pat is telling people how often I get on Facebook. It also leads me to believe that Pat gets more time on our computer than me but that's a topic for another day.

Twas the week before Christmas

I can't believe I don't have all of my Christmas shopping done yet. This is very unlike me. I got an early start with my Cyber Monday shopping and was half done after that day. I must have gotten cocky or something because I've done very little shopping since then and still remain with the "half done" status, nearly a month later. Normally at this time I would have all of my gifts bought and maybe half of them wrapped already! I plan on trying to wrap everything up (no pun intended) on Saturday.

I think it's funny that I keep buying wrapping paper every time I go out but don't buy any gifts to wrap in it and don't use it to wrap any of the gifts I already have. But I have purchased no less than 5 new rolls of wrapping paper this year already. Maybe I think after I buy a certain amount of wrapping paper, the gifts will just start wrapping themselves. Or better yet, maybe I should just give wrapping paper as gifts. Now there's an idea...

I'm keeping a list of all the holiday baking I want to get done to take to our various Christmases and to give to neighbors. So far, here is what I plan to make:

100 Buckeyes
90 Oreo Balls
48 Peanut Blossom Cookies
72 Sugar Cookies (I just had to do a double take - do I really think I can frost 72 cookies? Only if I get the husband to help me...or maybe Jen during the Browns game?)
3 batches of Peanut Butter Fudge
60 Pretzel Turtles
X amount of chocolate covered pretzels, depending on how much chocolate and pretzels I have left over.

So, let me ask you; does this even seem feasible? Last year, I made only half of this. And, the peanut blossom cookies, peanut butter fudge and pretzel turtles are all new recipes for me. Yikes. I might be in over my head but I like to shoot for the stars. The good news is, I have much more time off this year to try and make all of this happen. I plan to start my baking a little this weekend and then do the rest on Wednesday and Thursday of next week.

Maybe I really am an elf....

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Grady, my own "Freaky Eater"

So I haven't blogged about Grady in a while and maybe you're thinking it's because he's growing up and growing out of his old "puppy" behaviors. I was hoping so, too. Unfortunately, it seems as though the only reason he was being good is because his owners were being extra careful about keeping things made of cotton and paper, out of his reach.

Last week, we had a sock relapse. Pat was the first home from work to find a big, black Nike ankle sock in Grady's crate with him, that he had thrown up during the day (thank God he didn't re-eat it, because I'm confident he lacks the common sense to do something like that). Even though the sock clearly fit someone with size 13 feet, Pat, out of good measure, still questioned me on the phone to make sure that I didn't own any big, black, Nike ankle socks. Once I confirmed that I didn't, he stated that he was pretty confident that it was his brother Michael's (Pat's brother's, not Grady's).

The next question we asked ourselves was, when would Grady have swallowed Michael's sock? It was December 8th and Grady hadn't been in contact with Michael, or his socks, since Friday, November 26th. That big, black, Nike ankle sock stayed in Grady's stomach for a full week and a half. Again, we are extremely lucky and thankful that Grady was able to pass it and that we got our approx. 37th get out of jail free card.

The remains of what once was a manila file folder
Tonight, when I got home from my first Zoomba class in over a year with a new instructor (who is just like my old instructor but on speed), I noticed a few pieces of cream cardstock. I couldn't for the life of my figure out what it used to be but I knew it was something that Grady had chewed up so I yelled at him and quickly left again to go get dinner with a friend, taking the pieces with me. While I was driving, I remembered that there was a manila file folder on our dining room table and realized that it was for sure what Grady had not just chewed up, but consumed at least 75% of the folder.

When I called Pat to tell him about the folder and ask him if he had anything important in it, he quickly answered no but asked if there were still three papers on the kitchen table. I told him that I had already left and didn't check the kitchen table. When I got home from dinner, Pat informed me that Grady had also consumed three entire pieces of letter size paper from the kitchen table. When I asked Pat if they were important, it was obvious that they were.

Grady ate all of Pat's College Football Bowl Brackets. And they weren't blank. Pat had already filled them all out. I think we all know how serious Pat is about his football. It was a big loss to him. But for some reason, all I could do was laugh. After all of the blogging I do about Pat and his football, the irony of it all was too much for me.

Unlike the manila folder, Pat had no remnants of the papers left. Luckily, he probably remembers every team that he picked for each of the different brackets because he actually uses his knowledge and love of the game to pick the winners. Unlike me, who picks based on the team name, team colors or even city/state where they are located.

So no, Grady is not out of this "puppy" stage of eating things and I'm losing faith that he ever will be. He is soooo lucky he's cute. :)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Keep your kitchen clean challenge

Today marks the fifth day of the Keep Your Kitchen Clean Challenge in the Robinson household and I am happy to report that I have not yet gone to bed this week with a dirty kitchen! We all know that I am a self-proclaimed, horrible housekeeper. Does this mean that I am a hoarder with 75 cats living in my house and so much garbage and clutter lying around that I don't know if the cats are alive or dead? No. It does mean, though, that I don't clean as often as I should and am really bad at picking up after myself. It also means that unexpected guests and visitors put me into a complete panic that could someday cause me to have an anxiety attack. For these reasons and the simple fact that I, too, would like to come home from work to a clean house where I can completely relax (yes, I am capable of relaxing).

So, after speaking to many of the cleanest people I know, and asking about their habits and strategies, I learned that one of the best ways to keep your house clean and tidy is to simply clean up your messes before moving on to make another one. Isn't this what we teach toddlers? To first clean up their messes before they're allowed to do anything else? Either I never mastered that skill (no comments from the parents here) or I completely lost it somewhere along the line.

On Saturday night, our friends Jen and Sean came over to play some games after we went out for Pat's birthday. It was an impromptu gathering and even though Jen is one of my closest friends, she is also the neatest person I know so I was mortified by my messy house, most of all, my kitchen sink full of dirty dishes. The next day, I spent hours cleaning the kitchen until it was spotless (except the floors which still need mopped - hey, Rome wasn't built in a day). At that moment, I vowed to not let it get that messy again - the same vow I make every time I clean, except this time, I meant it.

I am a creature of habit. So when I get into "routines," I am usually pretty good at sticking with them. So here are the new routines I'm trying to make: While I'm cooking dinner, I wash the dishes as I go. When we are done with dinner, we load the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. I got rid of the drying rack to give me more counter space and to force me to dry and put away dishes as I wash them. And finally, I check the sink before I go to bed to make sure there are no dirty dishes in it.

Five days of a clean kitchen might not sound like a lot, but I am comfortable with baby steps. Until I tackle cleaning routines for the rest of the house, however, my unexpected guests are restricted to staying in the kitchen. :)

Does anyone else share some of these struggles with me?

Emily the Elf

At first I was a little insulted when I was asked me to be an Elf for our Christmas on Campus event tomorrow at school. I felt like it was a little discriminatory and the decision was based only on my height.

When I received the official uniform today, I have to admit, I got really excited and am starting to embrace the role. Elf, after all, is my favorite movie, so the chance to emulate him in even this minor roll in front of a group of first graders, is truly an honor. I am humbled by the opportunity.

The gig is tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. After I locate some green or red tights tonight to complete the ensemble, I plan on getting a good night's sleep so that I wake up feeling energized and elf-like.

I've had several people tell me that I'm "perfect for this role." I am not exactly sure what this means and since they didn't choose to elaborate on this comment, I will take it to mean that I exemplify the true holiday spirit and am the perfect person to spread Christmas cheer. I will let you know how it goes!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Someone has a case of the Mondays

And that someone would be me. I don't mean a case of the Mondays like, "I'm so mad that the weekend is over and I just can't accept the fact that it's Monday" type of day. I mean that I'm having a "What else could possibly go wrong today" type of day.

At first I was making great time this morning. It was looking like I was going to be leaving exactly at 7:20 a.m. as I had planned. Then, a few wardrobe and shoe changes later, it was 7:45 and I was just leaving my house. I was feeling confident about my outfit and shoe change, until I walked from my house to the garage and snow started getting in my shoe through the peep toes. Who would even think of wearing peep toe shoes in the snow? This girl. But they're so cute, I told myself. Plus, the peep toe is extremely small and I'm wearing hose underneath so it should be a non-issue. Well it wasn't and now my toes are wet. Oh well. I must move on.

About 10 minutes after I leave my house, I start to question whether or not I unplugged my hair straightener. I keep going back and forth in my mind about whether or not I should turn around and go check. I even picked up the phone to start to call Pat for his final opinion about what I should do (he is my rock in all of my indecisiveness). After one ring, I realized how ridiculous it was that I was calling him to ask his opinion, especially when he was already at work and probably in a meeting, so I hung up. I ended up convincing myself that it was definitely still plugged in and if I didn't turn around and go unplug it, I was going to burn down my house and kill my cat and dog. That is just a small glimpse into my twisted mind. I get home, only to find my straightener unplugged. I could have taken advantage of this opportunity to change into more appropriate shoes, but I didn't.

I get to work, surprisingly the commute was only slightly longer than normal with the snow. By the time I settle in and start working, a reminder comes up on my calendar about a meeting I have at Ursuline College in 30 minutes, which means I drove to work for nothing when I should have driven straight to this meeting. So I head back out in the snow, in my peep toe shoes and drive to Ursuline College. The roads weren't too bad until I got really close to the college and then it turned in to an arctic blizzard. I couldn't find a parking spot so I think I ended up making my own spot and there was too much snow to really tell.

After the meeting, when I once again walked through even more snow in my peep toe shoes, I realized I didn't have a snow scraper in my car and I was stuck in my invented car space. After some manuerving, I did get myself out and made it back to work safely, unlike the cars I saw in ditches.

So yes, I had a crappy morning and other than mother nature, the only person I have to blame is myself. If I had worn smarter shoes, made sure to double-check my hair straightener was off, made sure I had a snow scraper in my car and had a handle on my work schedule, none of this would have happened.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

My own big bang theory
I've never been one for conspiracy theories - I believe that all the planes did go down on 911, I don't believe it was an inside job and I have no reason to believe that more than one person shot JFK. That being said, I do have a conspiracy theory of my own that I would like you to consider...

I believe that Verizon Wireless only sells phones that are guaranteed to last less than two years. Hear me out. Verizon has always promoted this "new every two" deal that says if you sign a new contract, you can get a phone either for free or really, really cheap, but only every two years. So, in order to make some money, they only sell phones that they know won't make it to the two year mark and then when yours breaks before two years, they try to make you pay full price for another one.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were waiting for your two year Verizon contract to end so that you could get a new phone? Not because you were bored of your current phone or wanted a newer, fancier one, but because your phone genuinely did not work anymore? I know that I personally have been in that situation many times and Pat has been in this situation for the last three months. In the past, you could call and complain about the crappy phone and they would replace it. That was back in the day when Verizon had maybe one small ounce of customer service left. Oh, how times have changed.

A few months ago, Pat's phone stopped holding a charge. Even after he would charge it all night it still wouldn't make it through the day. Luckily, he had a car charger too which helped him get by. Last night, however, the rest of it finally bit the dust. His screen went out and he wasn't capable of receiving or making phone calls. He left our house on a mission to go get a new phone. He came back feeling defeated and frustrated when they wouldn't let him get a new phone because he was three days early. They didn't seem to care that his phone, their product, wasn't working at all. 

I'm convinced, Verizon Wireless' entire business is based around scamming people. In the same meeting where they decided to put a button on your phone that you would constantly hit accidentally, and then charge you $1 every time you do it, they also decided to sell phones that are guaranteed to not last for two years. It was also during this meeting that they decided to change their tagline from "We Never Stop Working For You," to something a little more accurate: "Can You Hear Me Now," which is almost too ironic for me. No, we can't hear you on our phone because IT DOESN'T WORK! But we can hear you loud and clear when you say, that's too bad that you're having problems but there's nothing you're WILLING to do about it.

I also believe they are trying to make the "new every two" even harder to take advantage of. When Pat was at the store last night, trying to find the free phones, he was told they don't even display them anymore but keep them in the back instead. Sound a little fishy? I think so.

Anyone buying into my conspiracy theory? Conspiracy theories aside, I think it's a fact that Verizon Wireless has terrible customer service. But they do have good maps...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Get in the Kitchen and make me some: Thanksgiving food!

Since I didn't host Thanksgiving or cook a turkey, I feel bad making the claim that I was a "Thanksgiving cooking machine," but I'm going to say it anyway. I was a Thanksgiving cooking machine! I surprisingly was off the day before Thanksgiving (didn't think I would be until Tuesday night) so I took full advantage of the day! I didn't sleep in (in my book, anyway, although it's all relative) and I didn't sit down all day long, not even to eat lunch because I forgot to eat lunch!

I made several new recipes that day, hopefully you will consider it as a make-up for many weeks lost in the new recipe department.

First I made...
Iced Pumpkin Cookies Recipe

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

I didn't miss lunch because I was eating these cookies as I made them. At first I thought they were delicious (because I was starving) and then, when I wasn't hungry anymore I became unsure about them. I planned to double the recipe but didn't because I didn't know if I liked them or not and Pat didn't act too excited about them either. Instead of using only regular sugar, I used half brown sugar and half regular, per a suggestion on the site (**note: when I use, I ALWAYS read through the recipe reviews. There are always great tips and suggestions in there from people who have made the recipe).
I used cream cheese frosting instead of the frosting the recipe suggests (no, I didn't make it from scratch but if I had been more prepared with ingredients - I would have). I added some red and yellow food coloring to the frosting to give it a nice orange, festive look. When I took the cookies to the Thanksgiving festivities, they were a hit and I was really feeling guilty that I didn't make more! I think if/when I make them again, I will use a little more pumpkin than the recipe calls for. Again, per the recommendation of one of the reviewers.
Next I made four of these...

Pecan Cheese Ball recipe

I never know what constitutes as appropriate dishes to make for Thanksgiving (i.e. the cornbread from last year) so when a great cook at work said she was making cheese balls, I decided I would too (copying is the best form of flattery, right?). I remembered that there was a cheese ball recipe in my "friend to friend" cookbook from my friend Jen so I decided to use that one (from I made two cheese balls following that recipe exactly - except I used mayo instead of miracle whip. I decided to spice up the second two (literally) with some ranch dressing seasoning (not my idea - stole it from someone on I wasn't sure the best way to get the cheese mixtures into balls. Some sources said do it immediately, others said put it in the refrigerator first. I decided to do it immediately. I wrapped each ball in wax paper and really did the final shaping once the wax paper was around the mixture. After they were cold, then I rolled it in the pecan mixture. Next time, I think I want to try it with pretzels on the outside so that my SIL who is allergic to nuts can try it too. I want to make this cheese ball again because I LOVED it and pretty much dominated it at all three of the Thanksgivings we attended.

Then I made...

Pumpkin Spice Roll recipe

Pumpkin Roll

I guess saying I "attempted to make"a pumpkin roll would be more accurate. The recipe in my cookbook said to grease the pan and then put a piece of wax paper on top. It didn't say anything about greasing the wax paper. It does say that online, however, so I guess now I can see where the mixup happened. I didn't grease the wax paper so the cake completely stuck to it. Pat helped me get it off but it was in many different pieces. I was so embarassed of it that I was going to leave it at home. Pat talked me into taking it so we took it to my Dad's house first. My Uncle was doing a nice display of the desserts and I was too embarassed to have mine on display so I put it in the refridgerator. We forgot about it until the next morning. We left my Dad and Jill half of it and then took the other half to Pat's families Thanksgiving where we again, forgot to get it out until everyone had left (no, I didn't do this on purpose because I was embarassed it), so we left half of the half with them and took the other half of the half home with us. I had two pieces of it and LOVED it! It was soooo good, despite the poor presentation! I highly recommend this recipe (I am going to make it one more time very soon just to prove I can). I also highly recommend that you grease the wax paper. :)

Finally, I made....
Sweet Sweet Potato Casserole  Recipe

Sweet Sweet Potato Casserole

I use a family recipe for this dish but this is something similar. I tripled the recipe for this dish and didn't finish making it until 12:30 a.m. At that point, I was getting pretty tired and turned my mixer on too high, sweet potatoes were flying everywhere and it wasn't pretty. The first batch I tried to make, I didn't cook the sweet potatoes long enough. It was very obvious because the skin wasn't easily peeling off so I had to put them back on the stove. My mom makes this recipe for her house, my cousin Jill brings this recipe to my Dad's house so I bring this recipe to Pat's family's Thanksgiving and everyone loves it! 

After I finished the sweet potatoes, I called it a night.