Friday, November 30, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

--- 1 ---
Yes, I've been a slacker blogger, my whole one reader was disappointed, I'm sure.  Hi!  Aunt Charlie!  Muah!  I'll try to do better I promise.
--- 2 ---
I can't believe today is the last day of November.  NOVEMBER! Where on earth has this year gone?  I know they say the older you get, the faster the years pass, but we must be hitting warp speed now.  It's crazy.
--- 3 ---
Are youall ready for Christmas?   I've already gotten a few gifts, but I plan on scaling back this year.  Sorry kids!  I hope Santa cuts back some as well.  I'm sure the economy has hurt him as well.
--- 4 ---
If you're looking for some unusual gifts, check back here each Wednesay for What the Heck Wednesday (WTHW).  This week I featured some unusual gifts, and if you missed it you can read it here.  I rather enjoyed researching this post, so I think I'll continue with this topic until Christmas.  I'm always looking for material for WTHW, so if you happen to see an unusual item you think should be featured, please email me your submission.
--- 5 ---
I'm managing the allergy shots fairly well, I think, EXCEPT I've been sicker lately.  I had an allerg-related migraine Tuesday and stayed home from work.  Of course, I knew I might feel worse for a bit.  They warned me this would probably happen, but by the 3rd or 4th week, I should start feeling better. 

I actually take 2 shots 3 times a week.  Airborne allergens are injected into my left arm, and molds (including cat, dog, etc.) are injected into the right arm.  They separate them so if I have a reaction, they know whether it was to an airborne or a mold.  I'm right-handed, so giving myself a shot into my right arm with my left hand is quite awkward, but I'm getting better at it.  Thankfully, Ben isn't too squeamish when it comes to needles, and he can help me sometimes.  I think he may secretly enjoy causing me a little pain every once in a while.  LOL!
--- 6 ---
Gabe's basketball team has their first game tomorrow.  I'm a little apprehensive.  They've played 2 scrimmage games against a team we thought was pretty good, and his team won both times.  Maybe the team is better than we think.  One of the dad's actually referred to it as "controlled chaos."  That's pretty accurate, I guess.  Gabe moved up into the 4th & 5th grade league, so being a 4th grader, he's now one of the smaller kids on the team.  He doesn't care, he's so competitive and aggressive.  That means I've got to convince Gabe to wear his rec specs and hopefully his mouthpiece too.  Wish me luck.   
--- 7 ---
I guess that's all for today, folks.  This was a riveting post, I know.  I'm sorry.  But hey!  TGIF!!  Cue George Jones.... "Finally Friday, free again....."
Have a great weekend everyone!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Caramel Pecan Coconut Brownies

Since we are officially in the Holiday Season, I thought I'd share a few recipes with you over the next few weeks.  First off, I'll start with the Caramel Pecan Coconut Brownies.  I saw a picture of these brownies a few weeks ago on Oh So Shabby with Debbie Reynolds.  However, whenever I decided to make these brownies, I didn't have all of the ingredients her recipe required.  Since this was the night before Thanksgiving, there was no way I was going back to the store.  Uh, uh!!  Therefore, as usual, I improvised.

Here's what I used:

Fudge Brownie mix - prepared according to box
1 7 oz. bag of sweetened coconut
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet mini morsels
1 cup chopped pecans
Smucker's caramel syrup

I have to apologize, we had just come in from Gabe's basketball practice, and I was focused on the cooking I had to do.  So, we didn't start taking pictures until I had already started.  Plus, my little photographer didn't always have the most steady hands. 

Grease the bottom & sides of a 13x9 baking dish with butter, and set it aside.  Prepare the brownie batter according to the directions on the box. 

Top the brownie batter evenly with the shredded coconut. 
Next sprinkle the chocolate chip morsels evenly over the top of the coconut. 
Top the chocolate chip morsels with the chopped pecans and finally, pour the sweetened condensed milk over the top of it all.  Notice that I forgot to put the pecans on top of the chocolate chips?  Yeah - I caught that just before I put it in the oven so the pecans did make it on the brownies.

Bake according to the directions on the brownie box or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Allow the brownies to cool completely before slicing.  (I know... yeah right!  Like that's happening!)

Of course any good cook must sample their food before they serve it, right?  I'll admit, I didn't wait for these to completely cool.  Who can resist a hot brownie, I ask you??  Well, I noticed that since I didn't add the pecans before I poured the sweetened condensed milk, not all the pecans were "glued down" and some were falling off as I tried to take a bite.  The brownies also seemed just a little drier than I had anticipated.  So, what's a girl to do?  I know.... grab the caramel sauce out of the fridge!  I did just that, and I drizzled the caramel sauce all over the top.  That did the trick!!  These brownies were so yummy!  In fact, I don't think Ben even got one, they went so fast.

Try these, and let me know what you think.  I believe you'll thank me!!

I'm linking up at:

five days five ways | feature friday free for all

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What the Heck Wednesday

Sorry I've been a slacker blogger and didn't post a 7 Quick Takes Friday.  The time just got away from me.  I know... I know.  Sorry.

Were you part of the Black Friday madness?  I will never understand this.  At our local Wal*mart, the police were called because of a fight over sheets.  SHEETS!  I think some folks really need to get their priorities in line.  We wonder why kids have no respect anymore and behave so badly?  Take a close look at what's reproducing!  The way I look at it if I had to deal with those fools out there, my bail would cost more than any savings I might realize on something my boys don't really need anyway.  Sheets!  I still can't get over that.  Now if it was the last loaf of bread in the State of AR, I could understand it, but it was SHEETS PEOPLE!

With shopping in mind, let's take a look at some unusual gifts you might receive this year. 

 "The popular mobile game comes to life."  Really??  NEWS FLASH:  This game already exists, it's called SCRABBLE!!
A totally immersible keyboard..... Ok, I can see where this would come in handy, but really?  If you need a keyboard that's totally immersible, maybe you should start using a sippy cup.  Just sayin'.
Who are you, Paris Hilton?  I have to say that if you're old enough to own a slow cooker, you're probably too dang old for cartoon characters.  I know what my husband would say if he had to schlep this thing to his company pot luck, and I'm sure his statement would be peppered with a few expletives.  Girl, it's time to put on your grown-up girl panties. 
Now, if you must have a decorative slow cooker, this is more along the lines of what a grown woman should purchase.

I realize that fashion trends are cyclical, but is Puritan fashion coming back now?  Oh, Wait!  Hold on!  It's revenge for the reality show Breaking Amish.
Glowing hoodies - I can actually see where these would serve a purpose for someone running in the dark.  Otherwise, they're just annoying.
Guitar pick holders.  Hmmm..... what happened to storing the pick between the strings?  Oh, hey, what about putting the pick back in the guitar case?  Are you between sets?  No problem!  Put the pick in your pocket!  Do we really need a case specifically to hold the guitar pick?

Now, this little gadget would actually come in pretty handy.  You can make your own picks out of credit cards, etc.  A bonus?  Cut up those credit cards and improve your credit rating as well.  WIN/WIN!

These are called Panta Claus!  HA!  I actually think they're Christmas-themed golf pants.  Isn't that where men tend to wear all their ugly pants?
The dachshund menorah.  Most of you know that I have a dachshund, and I love my sweet Travis dearly.  HOWEVER, call me a prude if you wish, I tend to believe that something used in a holy temple, which has been considered a symbol of Judaism since ancient times should probably be kept in its traditional form, not stylized to suit your personal fancy.  In fact, if I'm not mistaken the Bible and the Torah both state that God revealed the design of the menorah to Moses and even go into the detail of its construction. 

"So we were worried-- real worried-- even when Benny brought out the secret weapon: shoes guaranteed to make a kid run faster and jump higher, P.F. Flyers."  Quick name that movie!

I'm not sure I could use a tissue I pulled out of another nostril.
Shower squid - I'm actually a little creeped out by these things.

That was fun!  I hope you got a chuckle or two as well.  Did you get any gift ideas?  I did see another gadget that I would actually like to receive, but I couldn't find a decent picture.  It's a cassette to iPod /iPhone converter.  It looks similar to an old Walkman, but the iPod/iPhone clips in the front, the cassette goes in the back.  GENIUS!  For those of us that have a whole box full of cassettes, this would be a great gift. 

If you see any other unusual/weird gifts that you would like me to feature, email me.  You'll find my email under About Me - click to see my full profile, and you'll see it.

In the meantime.... Happy Hump Day, ya'll!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What the Heck Wednesday

Last week we focused on fashion faux pas committed by the men.  So let's take a look and see what I found for the women.

Remember last week when I mentioned that all things 80s appear to be making come back.  Well there are certain ways to do a trend such as the neon colors, and honey... this ain't it.  Instead of rocking a trend, she appears to be a radio active.
My cousin, Jenni, sent me these lovelies.  Looks like someone got caught this their pants down.  My cousin actually said, "Guys' pants have gotten lower and lower for so many years, I guess this is what it's come to."  LOL!

Okay ya'll, I love me some Liza, but what the heck???  Her outfit is so sheer, you can even see what kind of strapless bra wearing.  Really?  Is that plastic?  I guess Come Rain or Come Shine, she's prepared.  See what I did there?

Justine Bateman - I loved Mallory Keeton as a kid; she was always so cute and well dressed.  But Justine!  Come on!  You look like you're wearing a quilt off your bed.  You can put a little more effort into it, can't you?
The lovely Juliet Binoche looks like she's wearing the Evil Queen's getup from Snow White.  Who dresses these people??
Talk about putting more color in your work wardrobe!  Wow!  I think the pants are a bit much - to me this looks too costumey (yes, that's a word).  But that's my opinion.  I would've worn black pants to ground this a little bit.  Yeah, I know.... again with the black.
These are boots made of oyster shells and feathers.  My nose itches just looking at these things (I'm allergic to feathers).  They are hideous, they look uncomfortable and look like they smell.  Gross!
Naomi Campbell - what a hot mess!  What on earth is on her arm?  It looks like she's choking a flamingo!

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Oh my goodness...... Josh Mamoa is one of the hottest actors around today (in my opinion), but oh my..... he shouldn't let Lisa Bonet influence his fashion choices because we all know she hasn't made the best choices for herself over the years.  But, I have to say, this is probably one of the better outfits I've seen her wear.  Did he just roll his knee-high boots down or something?  What is that?

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When you can't decide between two hideous coat dresses?  Why not cut them in half and make one really hideous dress.  UGH!

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Does she remind anyone else of Professor Tralawny from Harry Potter?

You be the judge.

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I hate to do this because, well... Amy Lee is a homegirl.  But come on!  The girl is beautiful and amazingly talented, but a fashionista?  Not so much.  Amy, you can do better, much better, girlfriend!

I think that's it for today.  It's going to be crazy for the next few days, even more so than usual.  I don't know if you're one of those "crazies" that gets out in the madness that is Black Friday, but I'm definitely NOT.  I hate crowds, and I'm sure my bail would cost more than any savings I might get fighting over some electronic gadget my kids don't really need anyway.  Be safe and smart out there! 

I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday with your friends and family. 

Happy hump day!

Friday, November 16, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

--- 1 ---
Wow!  Another crazy week, and am I glad it's over!
--- 2 ---
I had my 2nd and 3rd allergy shots this week.  Last Friday, the nurse gave me my shot.  On Monday and Wednesday when I went back, I did my own shots, under her supervision of course.  Wednesday, after a brief quiz, they turned me loose, and I will do my own shots at home now.
--- 3 ---
Well, it appears my baby girl is growing up too fast.  We discovered this past Saturday that little Bitsy has come in heat.  Oh, the joy.  Ben went Saturday morning and bought some pull ups.  Don't laugh, it's what the vet tech told us she used.  Well, that didn't work.  Saturday afternoon I went to Petsmart to get doggy diapers.  Yup - seriously.  They worked so much better than the pull ups did.  She prances around in those diapers, it's pretty funny. 

Oh the joys of raising furry children.  I've only had one other female dog, but I was a teen, and of course my parents dealt with all that stuff.  So, now... well it's trial by fire.  We will get her through this, and we will take her to see the vet very soon.
--- 4 ---
I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week.  This year has just flown by way too quickly.  Is anyone else freaking out??
--- 5 ---
Gabe's basketball team has practice on Thursdays.  There are two teams that practice at the same time, and we each practice on 1/2 of the court.  So, we don't get any practice on our fast breaks.  However, when I got there early yesterday, the other team was already there and was running up and down the full court practicing.  They waiting until official practice start time, then allowed our team on the court.  Which meant that none of our boys were able to warm up prior to practice.  Obvously as we sit there and watch practice, we watch the other team as well.  And they're good.  Really good. 

Last night we practiced for a bit, then the coaches got together and decided to have a quick scrimmage.  Wow!  Our team did well.  In fact, ALOT better than I thought they would.  I think the final score when we finished the scrimmage was 10 or 12 us, 4 them.  My oldest says our team scored 20, but I don't know for sure.  I do know the other team only scored 2 goals.  So, I'm a little more optimistic about this season now.

Gabe moved up in the league so he's now in the 4th & 5th grade group.  Since he's a 4th grader, he's one of the smaller kids on the team.  Still he's aggressive and he gets in there for those rebounds, so I'm going to have to make sure he wears his mouthpiece.  We just spent a fortune fixing his teeth after he got two knocked out in baseball.  I'd hate for anything else to happen.  Thankfully today I signed up for accident insurance with my friendly AFLAC rep just in case something does happen.  HA!
--- 6 ---
Speaking of teeth.  The other night Bitsy was chewing on something, so Ben stuck his finger in her mouth to try and fish out what she was chewing on to make sure it wasn't anything that could hurt her.  Gabe often comes home with pea gravel in his shoes and we find that stuff everywhere.  Ben thought what he fished out of Bitsy's mouth was pea gravel.  But when he dropped it into my hand, I looked a little closer and noticed that it was actually one of her teeth.

I called the boys into the living room to show them what we found.  They thought it was really cool, and didn't know that puppies lost their teeth just like kids do.  The next thing I know, Gabe is at the dining room table working diligently.  When he finished, he handed me this:

It says: Dear Tooth Fairy, I have a question.  This is not about my teeth.  It's about my dog, Bitsy.  She lost a tooth or a fang, and I was wondering if you give dog bones to dogs that lose teeth?  Write back with an answer.  Love, Gabe. 

Isn't my baby boy the sweetest thing?

I wasn't sure if the Tooth Fairy would respond, because well, she's screwed up a little at our house lately.  I think Garrett has lost so many teeth lately (10 teeth in the last 6 months), that the Tooth Fairy is just BROKE. But, she did respond afterall.  Here's what she left:

It says:  Dear Gabriel, Your letter was so sweet, I just had to respond.  I don't usually visit when animals lose teeth.  All of the little boys and girls keep me so busy, I just don't know how I'd manage visiting all of the animals too.  BUT, since you're so sweet and always so concerned about others, I'll leave a treat for your dog, just this once.  I'll even leave her tooth for you to keep.  Remember to take care of your teeth, wear your mouthpiece and I'll visit again soon.  Be good!  TF.  P.S., I hope you don't mind but I had to get
a piece of paper out of your backpack.
--- 7 ---
I don't know about you, but TGIF!!  I'm going out with some of my girls tomorrow, and I can't wait.  I don't see these ladies often enough.  I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Homemade Bathroom Cleaner

Although the title says "homemade bathroom cleaner," I've used this around the house, particularly on my stove after cooking something greasy like bacon, it cuts the grease really well.  Believe it or not, this cleaner has also removed rust stains from my fiberglass shower walls from a shaving cream can that sat on the shelf just a little too long.  I wish I had taken before and after pictures for you, but I forgot.  Sorry.

This recipe is so simple:

3/4 cup of Dawn dish washing liquid
1 cup of white vinegar.

You'll also need the following:

A clean spray bottle
a 4-cup glass measuring cup
a funnel

I use a 4-cup glass measuring cup and measure out my white vinegar.  Next you'll want to microwave the vinegar for 1 to 2 minutes, until it's hot but not quite boiling.  Finally add the dish washing liquid, and stir until the two liquids are combined well. The hot vinegar makes it much easier to combine the two liquids.

Using a funnel, carefully pour the hot liquid into the clean spray bottle.  That's it! 

If you prefer, you can actually heat the vinegar in the spray bottle, and add the dish washing liquid straight into the bottle.  I just find it easier to measure it all in one cup.  Using the glass measuring cup also helps me to ensure that the liquids are combined well.

I use Dawn with bleach because I often use the dish washing liquid (among other things) to help clean white baseball pants.  Other recipes I've seen call for equal parts Dawn original dish washing liquid and vinegar.  However, I found that if I use 1 full cup of dish washing liquid, I often get a layer of soap on the shower wall that can be time consuming to rinse away.  If you store the solution, I would recommend that you reheat and shake the cleaning solution some before using it again.

I haven't tried to store this solution for an extended period. Since it's so easy to make, I simply make enough for a week or so.  However, white vinegar supposedly has anti-bacterial properties, so I would guess that as long as you don't add any type of bacteria from water, etc., it should store for a decent period of time.   Give it a try and let me know what you think.

I found this bathroom cleaner recipe at I Should be Mopping and have adapted it to suit my own preferences.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What the Heck Wednesday

Well, let's see if a little planning might actually get this posted in a timely manner.

During our company Halloween luncheon we played a game in which employees wrote down something about themselves that no one knew, and everyone was to guess who wrote that fact.  One person wrote "My favorite color is black."  Several people yelled out "Francie!"  Hmmm..... okay, NO!  I actually love color, but I do wear a great deal of black to work.  With a limited budget for work clothes, wearing black allows me to mix and match so many pieces, but I usually add color to my outfit.  I guess I need to add a little more color into my work wardrobe, huh?  Today (Tuesday) I wore brown and green.  Ooooh - ground-breaking, I know.

Well, enough about me.  I found quite a few men's fashion faux pas today.  Let's take a look.  

It appears that Juan Valdez has stepped up his fashion somewhat.  Handsome, yes, but a man poncho is still a NO!  Does this look like Jim Caviezel to anyone else?

What the ??  He looks like he raided his redneck girlfriend's closet!  Louann Platter comes to mind for some reason.

 Fail, Fail, FAIL!!  Men should never wear tube tops, even if they are denim  Just NO!! O.M.G!!
I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.  I'm praying this was this dude's Halloween costume.  Because Eeeeeww!

Oh, look!  He stepped out in his snuggie!

I really like the colored denim, but men should never wear skinny jeans, especially skinny capris!  Those pants make him look like his legs are only 12-inches long.  It also looks like he might be flirting with a wardrobe malfunction. UGH!  Change those low-rise skinny capris to a loose fit or boot cut and you're good to go.
These men look like they might be playing golf.  I once heard someone say that golf is not a sport, it's just an excuse for men to wear ugly pants.  I agree.

I will NEVER understand why boys do this.  It's ridiculous!  Pull your pants up, fool!
What the heck is up with Scott Disick.  I know he thinks he's really something special since he's hanging with the Kardashians, but it looks like he may now think he's Henry XIII.  Really??
Layering shirts and popping the collar used to be the thing when I was in high school.  It was the 80s after all.  I understand all things 80s are trying to make a comeback, but layering and popping this many shirts is just plain crazy.  It looks like he just kept layering the same colors over and over again.  Brown, white, orange, brown, white, orange....  I can't even imagine how long it took him to get dressed.  Two maybe three shirts - that's all!  Observe....

This is how we did it in the day. 

Well, folks, I think that's enough torture for the day.  I really found a wealth of atrocities this week, so I'm sure I'll we'll have a full post next week as well.  Maybe we'll see what I found from the women.