Andrew's First Car

My beloved son is looking to buy his first car.

He really likes the look of a car bra...."on a Mustang, it looks cool."

He really really likes this one, but I'm not sure where we can buy one for a Mustang...

car bra

Africa is Calling....

Yesterday was a great day!!! I volunteered at a gala fundraiser for a local nonprofit, Africa Bridge. This agency serves communities in Tanzania, it doesn't just send money, it doesn't just send supplies--it actually helps empower the people in each community to build a better life, not just to be supported.

Africa Bridge creates cooperatives for families who are already attempting
to foster orphaned children on incomes that average less than a dollar a
day. Co-ops grant micro-loans to support raising a crop or a farm
animal. Significant training, mentoring, and monitoring accompany the
loans. We teach entrepreneurial skills to help fulfill dreams.

Africa Bridge assists schools in repairing classrooms, completing already begun construction when funds have run out, and equipping classrooms with materials such as desks and lab supplies. We have just built a model "poop powered" biogas system to provide electricity to the secondary school.

It's just a great organization. I contacted them to see if they would have a need/use for the alphabet posters my volunteer group and I made in the past and not only did they want them--the director was heading to Tanzania in ten days and wanted to take some with!! Very exciting! So my wonderful volunteer friends came together and finished the last steps of getting them together:

When I contacted them, they let me know that they also need volunteers for their fundraiser in two weeks, so of course I had to say yes! I wanted to hear more about this organization and I had no reason why I could not volunteer. So I took the finished posters to the first annual Africa Bridge Gala on Saturday. It was held on a farm and had the perfect weather, a great turnout, great food, wine wine wine and some awesome music.

My friend Amy and her rugrats joined us. We started out helping with parking.

Africa bridgeafrica bridgeAmy and I thought it would be more welcoming if we had a choreographed parking monitor dance set ready, so we practiced that...though the kids weren't as into it as we were. We weren't on parking duty long, but we would have been the best at it...
We were wine servers and had the pleasure of offering up some wonderful red and white, and there was a LOT of red and white being poured! I have never been a food server, I have never been a wine person and I have never done any kind of drink pouring for large groups of people. I may or may not have totally leaked wine down the bottle my first time. And I may or may not have actually offered to refresh a nice lady's glass of white wine and then promptly poured in red wine. And I may or may not have heard two people wrong and gave them red instead of white. But overall, my job went well and it was lots of fun.
The founder of Africa Bridge spoke and played a video of the work being done there and made many people cry. It was so heart-warming to see how easy it is to make a difference, not just for a day--but for an entire life.
And lives were changed last night---there was so much money raised!! $6000 would build a new school - and a representative from Nike donated that much alone. And then there were people who donated $3000, and $2000, and $1500, and on down to $25.00. It was just amazing. The people who donated in a one-hour period last night have done SO much for this small community in another country far, far away.
I was actually not as excited for this volunteer event as others - it was just a REALLY long volunteer shift: from 3:30-10:30, but the time went really fast and it was absolutely worth every minute and I'm so glad I went. It was amazing to see such an outpour of generosity, from Bob the wine guy to each individual who bid on auction items (some for over $1000) and then to the people who just gave flat out donations of various amounts. Just amazing!!
africa bridge
Africa Bridge founder, Barry Childs

africa bridge

Obo Addy band played some amazing stuff as the sun went down.

I want to go to Africa!!!

How (not) to Dye Your Hair at Home

Todays blog post is brought to you by the color RED.

I have dyed my hair at home at least 15 times in the past. I have never had any really horrible experiences....until yesterday.

I decided I would add a brighter red to my dark hair color. Dark, aside from the many, many gray hairs all about. On normal hair, it would possibly be REALLY red, this new color...but I suspected that my hair would just be a red tint, as it takes a lot to lighten it (not that I've ever really tried to go really light...but all colors I have tried have never ended up very bright. an old shirt on, found a towel I can get the dye on (it's inevitable), cleared the counter, moved the bathmat. READY!!!

Mix bottle one with two, then add number three. CHECK!

Then I start rubbing in the mixture.
And I'm mixing and mixing and rubbing from roots to ends and I realize that the mixture is a purple-gray color, but whatever--it's a new type I'm using and each one seems to be a little different. So I continue on and on, stressing the areas in the front. Perfect! Done!
Got my hair pushed on the top, held it with a clip, took off the rubber gloves and started cleaning the counter....and wait, what's that?? A little red tube over there....with the shampoo and conditioner....I thought it was a rinse thing you add in. And then light bulbs start popping over my head...RED bottle? Small vial...hmmm...

And then it struck me that perhaps that little red vial was supposed to be mixed in with the mixture? Hmmm...maybe.

I busted out the directions again and hmm...yes indeed-that was the actual dye product to be mixed in with the chemical products. Hmm...what do you do at this point?

The little vial thing felt like it contained a creme. So my solution was to just pour some of the cream into my hair and then use the ends of my hair like a little basting brush and rub in the creamy red color, maybe sparing my hands from getting dirty at all.

Great plan.

However, the plan went afoul from the very beginning.

First, it was not a creme at all. But a very very slick and fast-moving super-bright red liquid.
And it didn't just come out in a little splat. Nope - it FLEW out like it had been waiting for years to escape!

Remember how I had taken off my protective hand coverings?

And now I have fast-moving super-bright red dye leaking down one side of my what can you do but use your hand to try and catch it? From this point on, I looked as if I had been part of a crime scene. My hands were this shockingly bright red, along with a huge smear down my cheek, one ear, a big peanut shape across my forehead and big globbity sections of my scalp.
hmmm...not quite like the picture on the box showed.

I was my very own I Love Lucy episode, my friends. But with a bright red dye instead of chocolates spilling everywhere.

I started scrubbing my hands, and all I could think of was having to go to work with bright red a bank robber gets when they open the bank bag! Luckily, most of it came off. I was left today with just large pink areas on my hands. I redyed my hair tonight and it's definitely much much more normal looking and my scalp is not shockingly red anymore (except a few places that are hidden away.

The freak show is over folks - nothing to see here.

Not a Sellout- Review: Nature Valley Nut Clusters

So a ton of the bloggers out there are part of this wonderful "thing" called MyBlogSpark. And wonderful it is. Certain companies are selling certain bloggers things to try....and anyone who knows me knows that I am a HUGE fan of free things. Free?? I cannot turn that down...

They randomly send things and a couple months ago, we received a box with 4 bags of the most yummiest nut snack in the world.

They are called:

Little Bits of Heaven the company Nature Valley refers to them: Nut Clusters.

Andrew and I tore into these and he immediately confiscated the Honey Roasted Peanut Clusters and ate nearly the entire bag of the almond ones as well. There is just nothing bad to say about these---they come in a very convenient ziploc bag, which is great to pass around and share (we didn't do this, cause we couldn't share these!) and easily store away. We are not a family who typically buy a lot of nuts, but we will definitely be buying these again!
Four thumbs up from the teen and I!!
And you can get your very own sample by going HERE and signing up for their newsletter. It's totally worth the minute of your time to request this.

Random Thoughts Tuesday - Random Edition

Yay it’s Tuesday!!!


My friend Alison and I spend way too much time emailing back and forth what we would do if we won the lottery. In various amounts---like yesterday we planned out what to do with our winnings if our jackpot was a measly (but helpful), $50,000. We figured it would be $30K after taxes (roughly). Then I decided to spend an hour after work researching whether or not it’s best to take it as a lump sum or as annual payouts if I win the really big jackpot (the answer: It depends on the interest rate, your age, your investment goals). We spend a lot of time thinking about this. And…neither of us actually buy lotto tickets. We had a pool going at work a couple weeks ago and we all joined funds and got $100 worth of tickets, but we didn’t win big. I was ready to spend my share if we did. I might start buying ticket a week. I feel lucky.

I have the greatest group of volunteer friends!! I appreciate you all!!! (only one of whom reads this blog-hey Nat!)

I had the best boca burger for lunch yesterday. Then I tried to have a salmon burger for dinner…no good. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to eat it, but I tried to eat it like a boca burger, with all the fixings of a hamburger—but nope, no good. Maybe I just don’t love salmon enough to eat this.

School starts in two weeks!!! Thank the good lord baby buddha jesus allah!

Yesterday I read an article on NPR about a business that scans and fixes your old and super-old photos and by the end of the day, I had a complete business plan in my head about how I was going to start my own scanning business. But then I did some research last night and found that there are actually lots of places and individuals who have already had this plan. Sad.

Our cats have very little contact with dogs. They really don’t know many and have only smelled the little pocket-dog my sister brings around now and again. I had a games night last month and one of my friends had his dog in the car and I told him he could just let her loose in the backyard, it’s all fenced in and she’s a good dog (he says). So the 90-lb dog goes in the backyard and is super-sweet and cute and does nothing but sit outside the back sliding glass door, staring longingly at his owner. Andrew’s cat, who is fairly skittish around strangers, ventures out and finds this big shaggy polar-bear like dog just laying there. The dog paid no mind to the cat, but the cat was entranced by the dog. Most of the time the dog didn’t move at all, but the cat sat and stared for hours, regardless of the strangers in the house approaching him--he only had eyes for the beast outside. Puppy love!!!

I added an email subscription button on the right hand side---for those of you less techy people who don’t use a reader, you can now have my posts come directly into your email anytime I post. How glorious is that?? And for those of you who use Google Follower---why aren’t you following me??? When I win the lotto, you will be sad you aren’t following me!!! I’m not threatening you or anything…I’m just saying. (and for those wonderful people who are already Followers—don’t take this as a written promise that you will receive any of my winnings. I know how you people get when someone you know wins big).
I’ll just sit back and watch my Follower number go up now….

Blackberry Brandy Slush Recipe

This is a top-secret family recipe for blackberry brandy slush. Please don't tell my mom I've shared it.
It's DEE-LICIOUS. Try it. You'll love it!!

9 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 can frozen lemonade (12 oz)
1 can frozen grape juice (12 oz)
2 cups blackberry brandy

Boil water and sugar. Let cool.
Add juices and brandy. Freeze.

Stir frequently while mixture freezes.
I usually put 3 or 4 heaping tablespoons full of slush in a glass and add 7 up or sprite.

I usually use 1½ cups sugar and sometimes use grape juice light instead of the regular grape juice.
I am also lazy and usually in a hurry so I seldom ever let the stuff cool before adding juices and brandy and I very seldom ever stir the mixture after I put it in the freezer.
BUT other than that I follow the directions exactly.

From the kitchen of Kathy Miller

blackberry brandy slushYum!!

Weekend Wrap-Up

This was another 3-day weekend for me. I think I want to always have 3-day weekends. I'm totally over working five days a week. It's really more my style.

I had a fairly productive weekend!

I repotted 3 plants. Remember how I used to kill plants? Remember how Andrew used to refer to our house as "the place where all good plants come to die?" Well, we can no longer say that!! My plants LOVE my new house!! I'll update with pics another day, but take my word for it--this is a plant-happy home!!
And my addiction to buying new plants is worse now. I have to make a very conscious effort to not buy new plants every time I go to the store. Sometimes I put plants in my cart and then have to take them back out again later. I need a sponsor to help me get through hard times...

I also cleaned up my phone a bit. I have this wonderful Samsung Omnia which I am totally in love with and would marry if it were legal. It's awesome in so many wonderful ways. One of the things I love, as an avid text-messaging fool, is that it saves text messages as a conversation, not as individual messages. This is great so if I want to see what I sent someone three days ago, I can select their name in my message inbox and just scroll up. I can read a conversation between me and someone else very easily-it's great. However, I was trying to figure out why my 80mb had 68mb in use all the time....I don't have any extra programs installed and all my photos are stored in a separate place. SOoooo....I started digging around and found that all of my text messages from May were saved. SINCE MAY!! I'm not a teenage child texting 8000 a month---but I did have almost 3000 in my inbox. I had no idea. AND then I checked my sent box--and they are saved there too!! Almost 3000 there!!! And picture messages??? Yep...tons of those too. I deleted about 6000 messages and guess what happened? TONS of memory!!!

For the last two months, my sweet little Samsung Omnia had been showing from 18-12MB free in storage. Today, I have 34MB free!!! For those of you who don't understand storage and MB stuff, let me just tell you: That's a HUGE difference!!! HUGE!!! And now I have absolute Samsung Omnia love again.

Now if only I could figure out why my battery is always running really low by 7pm every day. Another day perhaps. (baby steps)

We did some school shopping this weekend. Can I just say that who does Nike think they are charging $91.00 for a pair of normal, non-athletic, run-of-the-mill shoes??? (we bought them for $75.00 on sale--which is STILL an outrage)

I also went to bingo with my bingo-addicted coworker, who we will refer to as Prancy (a nom-de-plume to protect anyone who might not want her name published as a bingo addict). During the big game for an $1800.00 (not a typo!) game, Prancy's son and I were both down to ONE number - #59 - and we were all on the edge of our seats...VERY exciting....and THEN----we see the next ball come up and.....before it's called, we hear 4 people yell bingo...but ....but....>BUT----the next ball was #59!!!! We were one number too late from sharing an $1800.00 (not a typo!) payout!!!! I hate you #59!!!

And then today was volunteer day - I had my normal Love Letters event and had a great group show up, and then immediately following that event, I had 7 people come to my house and we worked on a different volunteer project: the Alphabet Project (more on that another day). Andrew barbecued up some goods for us and we had a great time. It was perfect weather so we ate on the deck (I love love love my deck!). A VERY productive day.

Andrew had his first job interview today---cross your fingers!!! He'll find out mid-week whether he will have an income, which will mean he will be able to buy a car. BIG news for everyone!!

**oh, and if you are looking for a really great picture for your wall: check out my young friend Natalies etsy store---she took these beautiful pics and they are very economical. And she's a really great gal and will put your money to good use! (Like college tuition. Or rent.)

Wordless Wednesday, one day late!

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday!!

Someone on some blog somewhere started this, probably feeling like a lazy blogger and now lots of people do it...and I'm going to join in...but as I was looking for a pretty picture.....I realized it's not Wednesday!!!

Every day this week, I have been waking up thinking it was a different day, but never the right day.

And even today - it's my Friday at work, and for most of the day, I was fully thinking it was Wednesday. I'm not sure what my deal is....but anyway--it's my Wordless Wed/Thursday and I'm obviously not doing it right-a) wrong day dork and b) not so wordless.

This is a pic from the Oregon Coast at the Sea Lion Caves. You actually go underground and see this big inlet-like-area where the sea lions lounge about, it's interesting, but if you have a strong sense of smell-you will not like it. Sea lions apparently don't bathe themselves. They smell....well, bad. I don't even know the right word to describe it. This is at the opposite end of the cave where you can get some great fresh, salty air and look out on the ocean.

Batshit Crazy Lady

Wow....the Octomom had an exclusive documentary on tonight and if you didn't think she was an effing looneybird before, it's really hard to not think that now.

I think she approved this whole thing to make herself look better, but instead-it is confirmation that she is a friggin whackjob.

Her mom obviously highly dislikes her - and who can blame her? What a huge burden this mental patient put on her family. I had no idea she never conceived any of those children naturally--not ONE.

And the show kept hyping that they were going to show footage from the actual birth - it was pointless an you barely saw anything except a little alien arm or leg here and there and then you hear a few minutes of the cameralady fighting with a nurse-it was disturbing.

She made a big point of comparing herself to Jon & Kate plus 8 minus one, plus two (girlfriends). She sounded like a high-schooler - and I'm pretty sure something must have happened to this girl when she was about 15, cause she mentally stopped maturing at that age.

She realized her passion in life was some brilliant doctor helped her have 84 of them. Did anyone consider suggesting to her that she maybe work at a daycare or just hang out at the park? She's creepy, I would expect to see her in the park trying to lure strange children over to the swing for a picture. She's stalker-kid-park-crazy.

Random Thoughts Tuesday

click the button to head on over to Keely's for more random thoughts

Have you seen the show Hoarders on A&E? It's pretty insane...I think in my next career, I will be a professional organizer. I LOVE going into my sons room and organizing things for him. Organizing is fun!! (for other people)

Remember that mystery person who put in the post in my driveway? I'm still waiting for him to come powerwash and seal off my deck. He should really get this done soon-it needs to be done before the rain starts coming...

You know how you plan a vacation and you buy the package on expedia and then you start thinking about losing 20lbs, and what will you wear, and what will you do, etc....I think at some point you actually start saving money so you have spending money while you're on vacation...I have apparently decided not to do that and instead I bought something I've always wanted!!


Seriously--I've had cats my entire life, but have always lived in an apartment that was too small to have one of these, and they are SO ridiculously expensive. At one point I researched actually making one even (that idea went nowhere). But, my cats are so happy!! And you can't put a price on the happiness of your cats! And we got it at the pet outlet store, so it was 60% off! How can I pass that up?

Ginger loves the top nest. She doesn't actually jump up there herself (that I've witnessed) but if someone lifts her chubby little furball of a body up there, she will curl up and purr in happiness.
Whiskers is more content on the ground level, but has adventured up to the 2nd floor now and again.

I was looking for a volunteer project for my team at work the other day (our company gives us 16 hours of paid volunteer time a year!) and I found two great organizations to volunteer at!! I'm very excited - I needed something new. Stay tuned for more information. I love volunteering!!!

Does anyone watch Dog the Bounty Hunter? I can't tell you why, but I totally love this man:

I really really really want to set up some kind of adjustable laptop holder that will be attached to the wall just above my treadmill and one that adjusts so that I can pull it down in the front of the treadmill electronic thingy and I can read my bloggety blog friends blogs while I walk. I walk slow-there's no concern. I won't be typing gobs and gobs, so I really just want it so I can read while I walk. Anyone have one or have advice? I know one blogger who does it--he walks for like 3 hrs a night while he's online (perfect!), but his setup is really quite complex and I want something quick and simple. Anyone?

Woodstock Envy

There was so much happening back "in the old days."
The first trip to the moon, color tv and cd players being invented, the creation of reeses peanut butter cups, travelling by airplane....and WOODSTOCK.

It just sounds so amazing, that some normal people came up with this idea, and then it just blew up from a concert for 5,000 to a concert of 50,000 and then to a half a million and they actually found a way to go through with it, with few lasting negative ramifications and with an everlasting spot in history.

We will never have anything that can compare to this.

If someone tried to do something similar, not as a revisit to Woodstock (which I think has been done many times), but just as a large scale concert---there would be too many drugs, too many weapons, and too many problems of all styles and flavors.

There would be a Meth Head group - you'd know them by the stringy hair, pock-marked skin and the missing teeth. They would talk fast and randomly cause bodily harm to each other, but they wouldn't necessarily notice they have done damage or had damage done to them for days.

There would be the group on mushrooms, watching the stars glow.

There would have to be a group on cocaine--they would be dancing. Warp speed style dancing.

Everyone would be stealing from each other. Fights would break out. There would be anarchy for all.
Except the pot smokers--they would just be watching it all happen.

And music....there wouldn't be music because musicians these days are paid gazillions of dollars to perform. And with the egos of the singers today, they would probably have trouble sharing the bill with others.

Ticket prices would be outrageous.

Oh, and don't forget the zoning laws and all the other issues that would pop up. It's really a recipe for disaster. I have no idea how they pulled off this thing.

Photos via

The new Woodstock movie comes out later this month. I won't be seeing it in the theaters, as I can't really get over the cost of movie tickets these days, but I will for sure rent it on dvd. It's the closest I will ever get to something as insane as Woodstock.

My Newest Hobby Continues...

I'm cooking!!! STILL!!!

The menu last night was a light grilled chicken breast (boneless, skinless) just rubbed down with a bit of olive oil and some chicken seasoning, with grilled yams and grilled asparagus. chicken and grilled yams

I learned a little trick yesterday on the chicken--I don't like to pound the meat and make it all the same thickness, I just don't feel the same about eating it. I like the normal shape, unless I'm eating it as a chicken burger. But, I did learn that if you cut some slits in the chicken, it makes a WORLD of difference. It was delicious!

I've never grilled yams before. They were lightly coated with olive oil and cut into 1.5 inch thick strips and grilled, though I suspect the grill was a bit high, as they were more blackened than they should have been. Still were really good and had their flavor, and the best part is that they cooked in less than 20 minutes! I love me some yams, but I hate waiting an hour for them to bake.

Good stuff!!! And we have leftovers for tonight.

Random Thoughts Tuesday - no theme day


Just to keep you all updated—I moved my work from home day from Tuesday to Wednesday. Make note.

My Internet at work is moving at the speed of 17 slugs in a race. My laptop has some serious issues. When I’m at home, it refuses to connect to my home wireless connection, so I snake a 50 foot (literally) cord from our main Internet magic hub thingy through the sun room, through the dining room, through the kitchen, into my living area where I spend the bulk of my time. Awesome. My home computer is set up in another living room that has no view of the tv and no ceiling fan and no natural light. Ridiculous. Remember the good old days when I could just sit down anywhere in the house and log on? Those days are GONE!!!

Remember even older days when I was in college and used to log in via something called “dial in”? Oy…those were some crazy days. I remember doing research online and it would be a matter of, click on something then start typing my paper, then go back to the Internet and see if the page had loaded yet. Repeat process. Expect 20 minutes to open a page with lots of graphics.
I can’t remember what website it was through, but I used to play trivia in a trivia-specific chat room. It was tons of fun. Whoever answered correctly would ask the next question. I’m not kidding when I say I would have my trivial pursuit cards with me at my desk, cause who can think of a good hard trivia question off the top of their head? We had little premade icons that we could move around inside our “room” and you could link up to someone and have a private chat. This is like going off to the closet for the game Seven Minutes in Heaven.

Remember the game Seven Minutes in Heaven? I played this for the first time in 7th grade at a church sleep-in (they get a large group of teens together with 2-3 adults and let you stay up all night and play games. No one sleeps—what do you expect teens will do?). My time in the closet would have been more accurately called “Seven Minutes in Awkward Silence.”

Sometimes my office gets so quiet that I think people can hear me breathing.

My cat sometimes takes these big huge breaths and I wonder if I should take her to the vet and have her looked at…but then I remember how expensive vets are just to talk to and I start to believe that she must be fine, just fine.

Moving from apartment life to house life has a few differences--one is that you shouldn’t naturally hear noises around you. Living in the apartment, I always heard noises at night and could always just assume it’s a neighbor. And now when I hear a noise, I assume that I am about to be murdered at any moment. I use this information to stay as still as possible in bed so that when the killer enters my bedroom to kill me, he doesn’t miss. I don’t want to die a terrified death while running from someone down the hallway, being hacked to death. I’ll be fine, just fine, laying in my bed and being killed with one blow.

Hmmm…that sounds gruesome. Reality is sometimes hard to stomach people!

Speaking of stomachs, I am on a treadmill kick!! Feel free to send lots of encouragement my way cause I want to lose something, anything, SOMETHING before Mexico. I did really well last week – 4X on the treadmill. Yesterday I did a full hour of treadmilling. I’m not typically a fast walker, but I think anything I do beyond my normal routine is progress, yeah? So last night I was kicking treadmill-ass. You know how dancing really burns calories and is a great aerobic workout? Well I do double-duty, my friends – I’m tread-dancing. I turn the treadmill down to about a 1.8-2.1 and turn the music up and dance while I walk. I like to pretend I’m coming on to the stage…Justin Timberlake doesn’t just walk on stage. He dances! And so does Kaylen. Tread-dancing burns way more calories. I wish I watched more music videos and could dance an entire choreographed routine but I do a’ight making up my own. The crowd (in my head) goes wild when I step onstage. Try it. You’ll thank me later. Don’t forget that key part about turning the speed WAY down. And don’t come crying to me if you aren’t coordinated and fall and get hurt. It’s not my fault and I don’t need the guilt about it. (but try it! It’s fun!)

Easy Family Recipe Night

For those of you who slightly know me, you know that I do not really enjoy cooking. I don't like spending 40 minutes cooking in order to eat for 10 minutes and then spend another 15 minutes cleaning up from the dinner.
This is why I love baking--it doesn't take as long, it's hard to go wrong with baking, and it's usually more basic recipes and less clean-up.

However, we are trying to cook more. And so we have...
First up is the salmon dinner. Salmon is great because there is so little work necessary to make it. We just slather some olive oil into it, wrap in foil and throw on the bbq for 15 minutes or so. Perfect! Very little mess and very minimal fuss. Did I mention how perfect that is?? I think we might have to have this once a week. Salmon is brain food, ya know? I feel smarter already. The whole meal cost about $11 to make-as everything was on sale. $11 for a healthy meal that takes very little effort to make? PERFECT I tell ya!
We grilled some asparagus along with it, which is a first, and definitely won't be the last. We slathered that with olive oil too, added some salt and pepper, grilled for about two minutes, than turned, grilled for two more minutes-done! It does not get any easier than that.
We served it with a lite Caesar salad, which is necessary for me as I don't really like to eat salmon alone-I love it on Caesar salad though!

Beautiful, yeah?
grilled salmon

Tonight we made some super-delicious stir fry. I'm not sure what the end result was supposed to look like and I didn't have a recipe to follow...just kinda made it up with a friend of mine, but it turned out really well.

However--it was a lot more prep work than I prefer.

We grilled the chicken thighs (marinated in stir fry sauce), made white rice in the rice cooker, steamed broccoli, grilled asparagus and then sauteed it all together with some corn, diced celery, and a bit of stir fry sauce. I'm not sure if it is traditional stir fry...but it was good! Andrew gave it a 4.5 out of 5.0 on our rating scale, which is really great as the last few actual recipes we followed were only a 3 or 3.5. So my non-recipe recipe scored big time!

The end result - Stir fry ala Kaylen:
chicken stir fry

Did I mention how long this took to make??? It will be something we make once a month maybe, but geesh---the prep work and the dishes we made (a bowl to mix the rice and sauce in before stir-frying, the marinade container, the container to soak the asparagus, the small bowls with the celery and the cut-up chicken, the plate the chicken came in from the grill on, the pan and the steamer I used for the broccoli, the stir fry pan....come ON) were too much, but it was worth it all to get the 4.5 out of Andrew, right?


And there is a bowl and a half leftover for him to have for lunch tomorrow-PERFECT. (assuming he doesn't eat it at 1am)

Send your simple recipes my way folks...I'll be sure to give you credit if it works out well.

Just Me and My Boy

We've all heard "It takes a village" to raise a child.

Where do you find a village? I would like one.
That's all.

Weekend Of Nothingness

Well, not really the whole weekend--I was REALLY productive this morning!!

I finished a book, it wasn't that good that I would even share the title, but it was an okay read.

I spent a good 35 minutes bonding (for the fourth time this week) with my treadmill. I heart my treadmill.

And then I fixed my last sprinkler head!!! I AM not a helpless female!!

Yesterday I had a handyman come over and he was well worth the $15/hr I spent. He not only put in the water line from my kitchen sink to my fridge (which I thought I could do myself, but I'm really glad I did not attempt it!), but he also gave me a TON of helpful information about home ownership that I didn't know!!! Like how to turn off my water line--there's this little green box in the corner of my front yard that I have never thought to open and look in...And he had no problem with my thousand questions I asked him. And he offered to come back anytime if the fridge line he put in starts leaking or goes bad. He used to build houses and has a wealth of knowledge and didn't mind sharing it. I like that. Smart people should share more.

And I did five loads of laundry yesterday - which is five more than I did in the last eleven days.

And now I have nothing at all to do the rest of the weekend.

Andrew is in a funk and wants to do NOTHING, ever, all the time. I hate leaving him sitting home alone all the time (I do leave him for 9 hrs to go work daily), so I feel obligated to stay home. Which is fine - I LOVE LOVE LOVE my house. But still....

I went grocery shopping at 11:30pm last night. I was going to Winco, which is a place to get really cheap groceries....but for those of you who know of it, you know it's always PACKED. But it is open 24 hours a day, so late at night on a Friday night should be the best time to go, right? However, let me just warn you now...stores that are open 24 hours, have to have a time to bring in their stock. Apparently for my local Winco, that time is about 11:15pm on a Friday night. It was PACKED-not with people, but with boxes in the aisles. EVERY aisle. Some of the boxes were sometimes blocking a huge section of the aisle so you couldn't get to the groceries on that side. And I wasn't the only shopper, but the aisles were only big enough for one cart to get through at most parts. Note to all: go grocery shopping before 10pm or after 2am, when things might not be so packed with boxes.

Off to do nothing. Have a great weekend All!

Superhero of the Day: Bill Clinton

I sleep with my radio on, every night. It’s just a clock radio and it just plays quietly in the background. 98% of the time it is tuned into NPR.

You know how sometimes what you hear in the background enters into your dreams? This happens to me at least once a week. It makes for interesting dreams.

I woke up the other morning listening to the story of how Former President Bill Clinton (I heart him) scuttled off to North Korea (aka The Backwoods of the World). And this is what was in my dream just before I awoke:

Random Thoughts Tuesday


I am not a helpless female!!! I replaced two broken heads on my sprinkler system!!!
I have a third that was broken off way down low (that’s a sprinkler technical term) and I’m going to pass on doing that one, though I COULD! I have a hacksaw!! I used it the other day to trim the bushes in the back yard (trimmers? What are those??).

Anyway, let’s focus on the important stuff---like how I replaced two sprinkler heads myself!!! It involved digging and getting dirty and coming in direct contact with multiple worms (which were made more plural when I cut them in half with my digging) and *gasp* a slug that I accidentally touched (WITH MY BARE HAND). It also took two trips to Home Depot, running back and forth through the sprinklers to get to the newly fitted one to adjust it, and working in the hot sun. And I have emerged triumphant!!!

And then, after a 20 minute struggle with the 800-lb treadmill with 1 step, 2 doorways, 2 narrow halls, 3 corners, and a stubborn teenager---my treadmill is now set up quite nicely in my room. It’s as if the spot was made for my particular treadmill—it couldn’t fit more perfectly. There’s about 1/4 an inch on either side of it…it doesn’t get much more snug.

And then I woke up early this morning and actually used said treadmill! Yay me.

Why don't we have year-round school anymore?? We are not being the smartest country by letting our children laze around for three months!!

I HIGHLY dislike Brooke Hogan. I don't watch her stupid VERY fake show, but I have seen bits and pieces of the horror of it and I'm not sure how ANYONE can stand to watch it. She is a horrible actress and how could anyone believe it's a reality show? Vh1 is really a sad channel.

I am addicted to buying plants. I buy a new one every chance I see a pretty one that is on sale. Stay tuned for pictures. You'll be bedazzled.

Oh, speaking of plants, the stupid 100-degree weather we had all last week has killed my large flower pot thing in the front yard and my only tomato plant in the back!! Stupid sunshine!! Somehow this is probably Brooke Hogan's fault.

I have a hummingbird feeder in my back yard. It has been emptied of special red hummingbird juice TWICE. I have seen one hummingbird one time. Not at the feeder, no. Just fluttering about. And that's it, never to be seen again. I can't keep feeding these things if they aren't going to give me any pleasure in watching them slurp the syrupy goodness that I provide. Ingrates.

I still can't believe I won $1000.00!!! This is the luckiest year ever for me. EVER.

What do you do with your friends?

You know how some people go to Happy Hour with friends, and sit and talk and have fun, and then go home a little lighter in the wallet and having consumed a fair amount of calories?

Well, other people go to a bingo hall, and sit and talk and have fun, and go home with this:

Yeah, that's MY money!!!
I actually won one of the bigger jackpots. It was/is like a dream...I had a bingo worker come over and count out $1199.00 in front of me. It takes quite a fair amount of time and it's the most wonderful time ever.
We have a bingo rule where if we win over $100, we give 10% to the table, so that the friends who are with you who might not win can still feel genuinely happy because if one of us wins-we all win. So, from my $1199, I gave up $120 to the table and since my son was with me, I gave him $100. Friend Nancy rejected her share of the 10% and so we all split it. I won another small bingo later and won another $29.00, which is chump change when you have over $900 in your purse, but still really fun! Nancy won (for the first time ever) $50.00, her son won $75.00, and my son Andrew won $37.00.
And THAT is a good night at bingo, folks!
Did I mention that I just bought a vacation package to Puerto Vallarta for $1280.00? I have just won enough money to almost completely pay off the trip!!
Andrew is convinced that he is a good luck charm and we should go back soon. We'll see....I feel like I have been really lucky this year and at some point, my luck will run out.

Weekend Task List

1. Get dressed before noon each day. I guess I shouldn't have to write this on a task list...but it's so nice to be lazy two days a week.

2. Clean bathroom from top to bottom - boys are gross, that's all I'm saying.

3. Figure out how to fix THREE broken sprinkler heads. Stay tuned folks...this could be the start of The Money Pit Returns.

4. Put a few items for sale on Craigslist. If I can sell a few things, I can get back the money I lost when my teenager left the refrigerator partially open for 6 hours.

5. Go grocery shopping. See above reference to the fridge being left open.

6. Catch up on a gazillion blogs that I want to read, and comment. I think I'm going to set a commenting goal this week! I typically comment about 3 times a day, almost daily. Some days I comment about 15 times, just because the blogs I follow are sometimes that stellar that I can't resist. So my comment goal for the weekend will be....25 a day!!!!!! she do it??? Will she survive?? Stay tuned folks....the challenge is ON.

7. Work on the puzzle I started. I love puzzles!! I like to think that it's working my brain too...I mean, really...those little pieces don't just gravitate towards each other. It takes a lot of thinking to match up the shapes/sizes/colors. And I do hard puzzles people! I don't do fluffy kittens (cute) or landscapes with lots of colors (easy) - I do things like a beach scene with an inch of beach and 9 inches of the puzzle is just sky. ALL blue sky. Think about, doesn't that tell you that I am truly using brain cells to make this come together? Yes. I am definitely going to be smarter after this weekend.

8. Figure out a new work-out schedule with my treadmill---oh, and drag the treadmill into the house and out of the million degree garage. Figure out a schedule...not START a schedule. Baby steps, ya'll.

9. Barbecue dinner each night. We have hamburgers/veggie burgers and chicken ready. I want to bbq every night, but for some reason, meat isn't cheap enough. Lame. And did I mention that someone left the fridge doors open and I had to throw away a family pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts? Yeah, it happens, right?

10. Twist my son's arm until he cleans the car out. And the sunroom, which he has slept in all week. And his room, which should be clean since he hasn't been in it much.

Whoa...I better stop there!!! That's a LOT going on for a weekend, yeah?


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