Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Ok.... Mary P over at DaycareDaze has a kid recipe swap going on....

Elle- you MUST post your enchilada recipe.... because I love it.

So, basically, our meals break down into the same three categories as everything else in our lives.... cheap, easy & green. Everyone already knows my kids eat too many hotdogs and chicken tenders but let me attempt to further the myth of super-mom with the following selections...

Tomato cubes in the freezer. At the end of every summer I get a giant flat box of tomatoes and various other garden leftovers from my grandpa. More than I could ever eat. Ever. So I dump all the extras (tomatoes, onions, zucchini, squash, carrots... whatever) into my big soup pot and cook it down. Then I run it through the blender and freeze it in ice cube trays. I toss the cubes in zip-lock bags and whenever I'm making soup or pizza or spaghetti sauce I toss a couple in for spare veggie goodness.

Cream of Green Things soup. Same idea as above but lots of green stuff (or yellow or orange or whatever) all together in the trusty soup pot. I pause and wish I had a stick blender. Then I run it through the blender and freeze it. Thaw and add cheese tortellini and cream. Ta-da. Ok, sure, the torts and cream aren't exactly health and diet food but YUM.... and the kids will usually eat it.

For FUN we do zip-lock bag omlettes (two eggs and whatever toppings you like mooshed together (be careful not to use too many mushrooms.... it makes it watery), put in a freezer-type small zip-lock with your name on it (seal well and try to get all the air out) and toss in (that trusty soup pot again) boiling water for 13 minutes) or hobo dinners (a hamburger patty topped with tomato slices, carrots, potatoes, onions all wrapped in a foil packet and cooked in the bbq or oven..... best eaten outside while you pretend you are camping.)

Ok.... I admit... FUN in this case means no clean up for mama.

And I present the following two for super-speed.

Pita Pizzas. Um, this isn't really a recipe... pita bread, top with tomato sauce or tomato cubes from above, sprinkle with pizza-style spices and cheese and everyone select their own toppings. Ok... I'm going to confess.... I've also done this with cheddar cheese and left-over taco meat and called them Mexican Pizzas. You can bake them or, in case of emergency "mama, I hun-gee" moments... nuke 'em.

Turkey Roll Ups. My mother-in-law called me at work one night and asked what a turkey roll up was..... Sweet was asking for one. She was concerned with cream cheese and tortillas..... I explained how we make turkey roll ups at our house.... You take a piece of deli turkey. And roll it up. The End.

Oh... and the ultimate swimming lesson meal. I leave work at 4:30, get the kids at 5, take them to the pool for lessons at 5:30. By 6 they are both starving. So last week I made "hamburger-cheese rolls" for special snacks.... served cold, we ate them, with baby carrot sticks, snow peas & blueberries, by the pool and then swam again (without waiting a single minute for our food to settle!) for a while before we went home. They are super-easy to make up and stick in the freezer: Brown some meat (I used elk burger... it isn't greasy) and make a batch of dough in the bread machine. Roll out the dough and sprinkle with meat & cheese & whatever else floats your boat.... we put some tomato sauce & mushrooms in the last batch. Or you could do ham & cheese. Tuff likes chopped pickles in hers. Ew. Then roll up and slice like cinnamon rolls. Bake. Serve hot or cold with ketchup or salsa. Easy and portable. You can also make "mama" rolls with pesto and expensive cheese.

Oh wait... one from my mom.... a special treat when we were kids was a freshly-washed lettuce leaf sprinkled with sugar and rolled up tight. Sugary crunchiness. Mmmm.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hammock riding as a rodeo sport

Alternate title: Why the hammock is only 4 inches off the ground.

Summer Fun

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I clean my house and I could be worse.

Important Note to Anyone Coming Here.

I know you love Taco Treat but, seriously, you must try Bullman's Pizza. Where the old Arctic Circle was located. Wood-fired. Need I say more??

Oh. And Taco Del Sol (not to be confused with Taco Del Mar, the franchise...). It's downtown. In the... hoo, that space has been a lot of things.... it was a coffee shop, before that it was a bar (with carpet... isn't it odd to have carpet in a bar?) .....Back in the day it was Miller's Underground... you know the space?

And, of course, the No Sweat is always a great option. Or Toi's Thai for dinner... I never get to go there because Hot Stuff doesn't like curry or coconut milk. What can I say? He's not perfect.

We have so little "fine" dining.... On Broadway is ok but so expensive... so is The Wind Bag. Mediterranean (?) Grill is nice. Silver Star is good. The Brewhouse is fun. The brewery on Park is expanding so that will be lovely... it's a great place to go on a Wednesday night.

MacKenzie River Pizza. Emiliano's. The Carriage House. The crepe place.

And now we are getting all the chains.... Applebee's, Chili's, Macaroni Grill, IHOP....

We don't eat out much so I know there are more.... what about that scary sushi place on the west side? I am not that brave.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dear Brother.....

Dear Brother.... I answered these for you...

1. Were you named after anyone? Well, they wanted to name you Michael...after your great-grandfather.... just be glad your last name isn't Hunt. And on that... when's the last time you actually USED your given name??

2. When was the last time you cried? I think a better question is when was the last time you TRIED???

3. Do you like your handwriting? I like your handwriting... when it is signing a big fat check written out to my name.

4. What is your favorite lunch meat? I was sure you would say "Whatever is in my sister's fridge."

5. Do you have kids? Well, then, WHAT is Rowdy???

6. If you were another person would you be friends with you? I like pizza.

7. Do you use sarcasm a lot? Is there a number bigger than "a lot" out there???

8. Do you still have your tonsils? Yes, but every time you go to the dentist he comments on them, doesn't he?

9. Would you bungee jump? Can you imagine your life depending on all those little cords under the seat in your pickup??

10. What is your favorite cereal? The kind with beer on it.

11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? velcro. Actually... that's a funny one. Have you ever WORN shoes with ties in them? Not since those infamous blue roller skates from the early '80s....

12. Do you think you are strong? strong smelling.

13. What is your favorite ice cream? Wilcoxsen's... because it is fun to say. Actually, in all seriousness... have you HAD the special edition Girl Scout cookie ice cream?

14. What is the first thing you notice about people? how wide and funny their mouths look (when they are screaming and running while I chase them with a large piece of equipment...)

15. Red or pink? Well, after you washed them with a red sweatshirt... pink.

16. What is the least favorite thing about yourself? You keep forgetting to give your big sister a lot of money and candy.

17. Who do you miss the most? Depends on when the last time was you sited in your gun.

18. Do you want everyone to send this back to you? No, please send it to his boss so he knows what the hell you do all day.

19. What color pants and shoes are you wearing? pants? I knew I forgot something this morning...

20. What was the last thing you ate? All that candy I was going to give to my sister...

21. What are you listening to right now? Your Wife. That is the correct answer.

22. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? puce. definitely puce. (What you get when you mix orange & baby blue)

23. Favorite smells? not your feet.

24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? someone, somehow, associated with the wedding.

25. Do you like the person who sent this to you? no.

26. Favorite sports to watch? Is paint drying actually a sport??

27. Hair color? transparent.

28. Eye color? crayola.

29. Do you wear contacts? Laser eyes.

30. Favorite food? the kind someone else cooks.

31. Scary movies or happy endings?

32. Last movie you watched? Bob the Builder... Live. The musical.

33. What color shirt are you wearing? Root beer brown. they are all brown when you can't see colors.

34. Summer or winter? winter or road-construction?

35. Hugs or kisses? Hershey's kisses

36. Favorite dessert? Mohave. Oh. Wait. Penuche frosting.

39. What book are you reading now? That sex one your wife got for a shower gift.

40. What is on your mouse pad? coffee, chocolate cake crumbs

41. What did you watch on TV? last night? porn and infomercials.

42. Favorite sound? What sound does the electronic transfer of funds into my account make??

43. Rolling stones or Beatles? Uhh....Ointment or Suppositories?

44. What is the farthest you have been from home? If you go far enough west you'll always end up back on the hi-line.

45. Do you have a special talent? Inseminating cattle

46. Where were you born? Hutterite colony (seriously... ask mom.)

47. Whose answers are you looking forward to getting back? heh-heh-heh

48. What time is it now? Time to go back to work.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cold but Cute



Fire Safety Lessons

HEY.... do you see the paint on that kindling? I think Smokey there might have busted up a "project" to start this fire..... what? The kids and I spend many-a-day painting wood scraps and calling it art.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Summer Fun 2008

Fun Things We Have Planned (Bold & Italics have been done at least once)

Note... none of these things is complicated or takes more than an hour or so.... so we do most of them after work during the week.

1. Go to the "big" park and have a picnic
2. Dairy Queen Drive Thru
3. Frozen Yogurt at Costco
4. Fairgrounds Park
5. Spring Meadow picnic... with spinnin' chicken
6. Applebee's take away at the park (tonight!)
7. Bring a picnic lunch to mama at work when daddy has a day off during the week
8. Library
9. Carousel
10. Play in the creek
11. Go fishing at Park Lake
12. Bullman's Pizza
13. Alive at 5 (I don't love Alive at 5 but we might try to do at least one this year)
14. Wednesday night at the local brew pub (the kids are NOT invited)
15. Shakespeare in the Parks (August)

Ok.... I know there were more things on my original list but I can't remember them right now....

July Financial Checkin

Ok. My lordy. I'm over my rant from yesterday.

Over at Money Saving Mom it is time to do the July Fiscal Report.

So we will check in as well.

My June goals were to minimize the costs of attending my brother's wedding, use coupons wisely & effectively (effectively means without making myself insane), and continue tracking our budget. We tend to track more mid-month to mid-month because that's the time frame for the credit card but the mid-June bill was pretty over-the-top due to some spring projects, camping supply purchases and wedding expenses.

July's goals include figuring out how to easily and effectively (again, effectively means without making myself or those around me insane) use Quicken for budgeting, keep costs to a minimum to balance out June's costs and do a lot of fun but cheap activities with the kids.

I also took a long hard look at my closet. And realized I might have to go shopping. Let's recap. I budget $50/month to myself for clothing. I spent $109 for a dress and $20 for undergarments for the wedding. Gasp. I know. But I returned all those sandals in the photo because it was so freakin' cold I wore boots. And I spent $0 in May and $12.49 in April... so it balanced. So for July I went to Ross and got myself about 6 shirts from the clearance section. So I'm set again. I still need a pair of "weekend" shorts, another bra and a "spanx" top..... but my birthday is coming. And I plan to get new jeans this fall.

Have I mentioned I hate coupons??


Here's the deal I just did.....

Background: In July if you buy CVS's 99 cent pantiliners then you get 99 cents in ECB's. So I got one of those last week. Last week CVS had buy Physician's formula mascara for $7.99 and get $7.99 in ECB (Extra Care Bucks) so I did that because I needed new mascara anyway.... the computer spewed out a $3 off on face care coupon.

So today I went in because Olay stuff was buy $20 worth and get $10 ECB's and the night cream that I love is $29.99 and was on sale for $24.99. Then I used the 99 cent & $7.99 ECB's and the $3 off skin care coupon AND a $3 off coupon from the newspaper insert. So I spent $10.01.... and the computer spewed out my $10 ECB and a $4 off a 20 dollar purchase..... so that's a good deal, right?

It's hard not to double count the ECB's.... If you roll them right you should only spend about a dollar per transaction.... but I'm just not that good at it. And I usually just get frustrated and buy what I want anyway....

And this cream will make me really beautiful and take away the sun spots on my cheeks.... so that's worth any cost.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Paradise Lost....

Is fuck you to strong in the language department?

Because, seriously, when I read articles like this one it is my first reaction.

Specifically it is this part "NBC affiliate KCRA-TV reported that some residents in the area were refusing to leave, instead locking themselves in their homes and counting on fire crews to protect them as the fire approaches." that boils my blood....

Guess why.

Because, while it isn't my husband this time, it very easily could be.

Yeah.... that guy you are paying $10/hour? The one who doesn't get hazard pay? The one who you expect to RISK HIS LIFE to protect you.... for him I say this....


You are willing to risk someone else's life just so you can stay in your house?

I have no words for how stupid, immature and irresponsible you are. And if my husband or his friends and crewmates die because of you.... I have no words for how stupid, immature and irresponsible I will become. I'll come burn down your fuckin' house myself.

Here's what you do. GO TO THE SHELTER. Take you portable hard drive and your box of important memories and paper work and your dog and GET THE FUCK OUT.

Worried if your house burnt down? Here's what I've heard... call your land line. If it rings, the house stands. If you get a busy signal... it's toast.

Now. Pitter-patter, get at 'er. Go. Pack your shit. Flee.

Don't make me call you a jack ass.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Clutter: Wedding

Unclutterer is talking about wedding clutter today.

How about you? Wedding clutter? I have my dress in a box in the shed.

From the list in the post:

Napkins. We didn't have special wedding napkins.
Cookie Bags. Again. No cookie bags. Our favors were homemade seed packets full of wild flowers. Designed and printed by me.... colored (they had a cartoon image of two swooning flowers.... goofy but adorable... just like us) by all the nieces and nephews to entertain themselves at the rehearsal dinner. I'm sure I have a seed packet in the photo album. And I've seen a few gorgeous flowerbeds from the actual seeds.... so that's cool.
Candles. We went with standard, simple white candles for everything. I do have a big white pillar candle on my dresser that looks just like our wedding candle but it, um, gets burnt on a regular basis... ahem, if you know what I mean.
Champagne glasses. We didn't have special glasses. We used a pewter cup that has been handed down several generations in Hot Stuff's family... then it went to the next family members. We did get a lovely set of glasses.... which we used regularly until one broke... now the other is a flower vase and looks lovely with pincushion flowers and daisies.
Greeting cards. I confess... there may be a box of cards in the shed. I guess those could go, huh?
Wedding Programs. Again. In the album. One. Oh, and the template is on the computer.... in case anyone wants to make super-cool programs.
Cake knife. Borrowed from the reception place. Decorated with appropriate ribbons.
Guest book pen. ??? Um, I think we used sharpies. Wow. A detail I truly can't remember... at all.
Wedding favors. See flower packet info above. We also did the old birdseed baggies..... pretty sure I didn't save any.... those were traumatic to make.
Wedding planning book. Oh, is THAT how you are supposed to do it?
Cake topper. We used flowers. Although, had I had access to it... I would have used the little one my grandmother used.... that my brother just used..... it is cool and tiny and adorable.... maybe for our 25th wedding anniversary.

So how 'bout you? Silly things you saved from your wedding?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

But What Happens if you slide the card


..... still takes all your fuckin' money to fill the tank......

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Unholy Triumvirate

I like to think a stool balances best on three legs. Ya know? Even if one leg is a little shorter than the others.... with three legs it will still balance.

That's my approach.

So 'round here we struggle with balancing three main philosophies.... like a 3-legged stool.... or like 3 overlapping circles....

Green: So obvious. So trendy. So current. So hip. Cut the clutter. Stop shopping. Repurpose. Try being happy with what you have.... see, it isn't so bad. I wish there was a better word for it than green... it makes me feel so muppet-y.

Cheap: Again, with the trendy. And the price of gas. But I swear to you.... I've been doing this for years. Budget.... but not a cheapskate.... right? Because I'm not afraid to dish cash for a serious investment (or really excellent cheese).... But am I going to spring for fancy all-organic food? Probably not. But will I shell out $25/week for a CSA share? Probably.

Easy: Ok, some would call this "simple" and call me a hipster. (If you could see what I'm wearing, eating, reading and doing right now you would laugh at THAT label....) But it goes beyond simple.... simple stirs ideas of hippie and crunchy and earthy..... and sometimes my idea of simple is.... well..... mac-n-cheese and a dvd on a Friday night. So within the triumvirate balance we see microcosms of internal balance.... oh, our simple diagram of three overlapping circles just got a little more complicated, didn't it? Maybe "easy" has some tones of "slow down" or "simplify" or "just give yourself a fucking break already there, SuperMom" in it.

So I'm finding tones of these things in everything as I go about my day. Am I just using this to justify living how I want to live? Because if that is the case I'm wasting my time.... who cares? Is it a tactic to justify the slightly schizophrenic cross between hippie & redneck? Or to justify feeding my kids hot dogs? Or is it not about justification at all?

How 'bout you?