Swag Bucks

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adventures in Cooking: Week 1

I recently decided that it would be a good idea for me to try a new dinner recipe at least once a week; my repertoire consists of tacos, taco salad, chop suey (Chopped Suzy?), macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, any other variety of pasta, frozen fish fillets, hamburgers, scrambled or fried eggs, French toast, and frozen skillet meals.  Parents Magazine makes it sound really easy to cook something clever every night of the work week.  After reading this article, I told Trevor I was going to try an entire week of new dinners.  We both enjoyed a hearty laugh and agreed that one new meal a week would suffice for now.

This week:  Honey-Hoisin Chicken with Rice

I give it 5 stars for being really easy to prepare - especially if you make the sauce and cook the rice ahead of time (which I did during Maxwell's 30-Minute Power Nap).  The sauce is really delicious and different from anything else I ever cook, so it was a nice change.  They recommend serving it with a green salad with "carrot coins"  ...  whatever.  I left out the cash and used grape tomatoes and cucumbers instead.  I also didn't actually use chicken cutlets.  I just cut up chicken breasts into small-ish chunks and called it goodnuff.  Cutlets probably would've been better. 

Trevor gave the meal 4 stars.  I asked him what would earn 5 stars and he said Chicken Tetrazzini.  Well Trevor, Chicken Tetrazzini is a pain in the rear to prepare, so I'll just take my 4 stars thankyouverymuch. Maxwell was unable to partake of this meal, but I believe he fully enjoyed his Squash Puree.

So Week 1 of trying something new was pretty successful.  If anyone has suggestions for EASY and fairly healthy meals for me to try in the upcoming weeks, please let me know!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Trevor Gets Stuck On The Roof

At about 6 o'clock this evening, I noticed two girls peaking through our front door.  I answer the door, wondering if it's Girl Scout Cookie Season already.  "Um, hi, there's some guy on the roof and he said to tell his wife to come talk to him ..???"  I laughed and thanked them, and headed out front to see what Trevor needed.  Yes, I knew he was on the roof, so that part didn't surprise me.  I figured he wanted me to toss up a snack or something.  But, rather than continue writing my own blog post about today's adventure, I've copied and pasted Trevor's own words from Facebook.  Partly because I'm lazy, and partly because first-hand accounts are always best.

So, we want to watch TV in our bedroom, but we can't get any reception inside since our house in brick. Then I realize that there's a giant antenna on our roof! Awesome! I can just bring a cable up there and hook up to that (it's our landlord's, so we're not stealing it from anyone). Great, so now all I have to do is climb out of the attic window onto the roof, shimmy up the front, and down the back side to the chimney where the antenna is attached. Well the window is pretty tiny, so I almost didn't fit out in the first place. Plus, the front of the roof is really steep (about 60 degrees from horizontal). About 3/4 of the way up I thought, "I don't know if I'll be able to get back down from here." But I had come that far and wasn't going to give up before I saw what was what. The back of the roof is much less steep (about 30 degrees), so I had no problem back there. Except I got to the antenna and realized that it's at least ten years old and all the wires connecting it had been cut! As in, there was no way I could connect my coaxial cable. It was at this point when I climbed back to the peak and looked down the front of the roof that I realized this story only had one of two endings: either I'm going off the front into the maple tree (a la Chevy Chase or Tim Allen), or I'm waiting for the next person to wander by my house to ask them to tell Ashley that I was stuck. I chose the latter, and ended up climbing down the ladder provided by the fire company. Of course, all the neighbors saw the fire truck pull up and came out to see what was going on. Ashley went around assuring them that everything was fine, "My husband's just stuck on the roof." She got some good pictures, too, so you should all check them out.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Visit from Gramma

Mom is here (finally) and I am soaking up every second!  Yesterday we wandered around TJMaxx and Wal-Mart (oh yeah, we're classy), with Maxwell being a little angel in his stroller.  He took a couple catnaps, but mostly just gazed up in amazement at all the drool-worthy items we were debating buying.  I got a lovely canister for my coffee; I'm quite enamored with it.

Today is beautifully sunny and chilly - the perfect weather for strolling around town.  We'll probably walk over to the Dickinson campus, check out the shops on Pomfret street, and perhaps mosey by the library to drop off some books.

Tomorrow we are heading to Lancaster to the Whoopie Pie Festival.  Trevor has been talking about this since before we moved down here.  He's more than a little excited about the Whoopie Pie Eating Contest. He says if it's free to enter, "then even if you lose, you're a winner ... because you get free whoopie pies!"  I guess I can't argue with that logic.   We may have to get Maxwell's face painted while we're there, just because.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review: No Angel

No Angel
No Angel by Penny Vincenzi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this story and the characters, but I don't know if I enjoyed it enough to bother with the rest of the trilogy. We'll see; I have a pretty long "to read" list at the moment, and they definitely don't make the top five.

Unfortunately, for a book centered around a family entrenched in the publishing world, it didn't have a very good editor. Misspelled words, missing punctuation, uncapitalized words, incorrect pronouns (he instead of she?!); it drove me mad!! The previous reader (I got the book from the library) had actually corrected several of the mistakes. I am tempted to read the book again just to fix the rest.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

And it's not even noon yet.

I love it when I get so much done in the morning that I feel completely justified in being lazy for the rest of the day. Of course, "lazy" means making sure Maxwell stays clean and dry and fed and happy and doing absolutely nothing else. Ha.

But, I started reading a housekeeping blog called i Dream of Clean, because, well, I'm a stay-at-home-mama now and really have no idea how to keep an entire house clean and running smoothly. One tip I love is "a load of laundry a day keeps the piles away." I thought, wow that sounds like a pain in the tuchus. Laundry every day?? When I could just do it all in one day once a week? Or twice? Or ... Yeah so I started doing ONE load of laundry every day, or every other day if there isn't a big enough pile. It totally keeps the piles away. I love it. I throw a load in first thing in the morning, switch it around lunch, fold it in the afternoon. Then every day (no matter how disastrous and unproductive it is otherwise) I can say to Trevor, "Look at this basket of freshly folded laundry! What did YOU accomplish today??" O:-)

 I hear babbling coming from upstairs. I guess nap time is over. After only 32 minutes. Drat.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

I recently decided that what little free time I have should be used for something other than mindless computer games and television, so I got a library card and sought recommendations from friends.  Then I joined Goodreads, because I like to join websites and then forget about them after a week.

Anyways, I wrote a silly review.  Keep in mind I did not go into the book reviewing business for a reason.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Such a sweet story. Took me a bit to get into because of the format - it's written entirely as letters to and from various characters. I stuck it out though, because it was recommended by a friend. So glad I did; I got completely sucked in and found myself laughing out loud one minute and misty-eyed the next.

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Thanks to Aubyn for the recommendation!

I'm a Cleaning Machine

 Giraffe Attack!!

Yesterday was so ridiculously productive that today I've decided to stay in my pajamas as long as possible.  I may still be in them when Trevor comes home from work.  The reason I was so ridiculously productive?  We had our first dinner guests!  Unless you count Trevor's parents, which (no offense Nanny & Pops) I do not.  Mainly because I don't feel obligated to clean for them .. as I'm sure they've discovered.

In one day I managed to:
  • Clean the bathroom (toilet, sink, sweep floor, put out fresh towels)
  • Clean the kitchen (dishes, counters, sweep & mop floor)
  • Clean the dining room (move the last of the boxes, sweep & mop floor, clear off table)
  • Clean the living room (sweep around Maxwell, pick up Maxwell's toys, neaten bookshelves, fluff pillows)
  • Make the bed (Why?  Who's going to go into our bedroom??)
  • Do a load of laundry
  • Make brownies
  • Prep for tacos
  • Clean the dehumidifier (Again, why?  I don't know, I was on a roll!!)
  • [and, oh yeah, sort of important]  Feed Maxwell several times, play with Maxwell lots, get Maxwell to take one good nap and one not-so-good nap
Yeah, I felt like Super Mama.  That doesn't happen very often, so I thought I should document it.  Or brag. 
However, when Trevor came home and looked around at the clean house in shock I realized that I may have just ruined my line, "I couldn't get anything done today because I had to take care of Maxwell."  Trevor will never fall for that again!!  Bummer.

Dinner was a massive success, because tacos are easy and generally liked by all (except crazy people), and the company (Jonathan & Kaila, a couple in our new Sunday meeting) was excellent.  The only problem was that my brownies were overdone.  BOOOOO!!  So disappointing.  Thankfully Trevor's homemade ice cream mostly made up for it. 

All in all it was a pretty spectacular day.  I fell into bed at 10:00 hoping against all hope that Maxwell would sleep in.  Lo and behold, he didn't wake up until 8:00 this morning.  This is unheard of!  So this day is shaping up to be pretty spectacular as well. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Love Visitors (HINTHINT)

Trevor's sister is in town this week, which has been awesome.  Everyone is at work except ME, so she is stuck hanging out with me and Maxwell every day and I love it!  The company has been great.  Of course, I haven't been accomplishing much around the house, but I've sort of been treating this week like a much needed vacation.

Tuesday was the first time she'd seen Max since early May .. yeah, he's grown a tad since then.  He's also a bit more interactive; he's been loving showing off for someone new.  Yesterday we took him walking around town and stopped in to visit Trevor at his fancy new office.  Then a stop at a coffee shop in town that turns out to have amazing iced coffee (uh oh, addiction waiting to happen!!).  Max fell asleep on the walk home, which of course made my day.

Today we took a drive into Target and wandered aimlessly for awhile.  I've decided that their baby clothes are over priced.  Actually I think baby clothes are overpriced as a general rule.  Why is that?  They are so TINY!  Neither of us really had any need to go shopping, but it was nice to get out of the house, and really nice to have someone to get out of the house with.  (Someone with whom to get out of the house?)   I know that the previous sentence is grammatically incorrect but am unsure how to fix it.  ELLIE ARE YOU READING PLEASE HELP LOLZ. K THX.

Now I'm putting my feet up for the briefest of moments (ahhh a breeze just tickled my toes) before heading to the kitchen to deal with the 3 pounds of chicken I bought.  I hate dealing with chicken, even though I love eating it.  So I thought buying in bulk would be a good idea, because (a) it's so much cheaper and I'm a skinflint and (b) I could wash it and trim it and freeze it all in neat little single meal bags and get the dirty work done all at once.  Except now I have 3 pounds of chicken in the refrigerator that I really do not want to deal with.  Sigh.  But it must be done, so my breeze-on-the-toes moment must come to a close.

It's been a good week, though!