Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I have been living, breathing, and dreaming IKEA lately. Why? Because I got this idea in my head that I wanted to completely redo my kitchen. Let me tell you a little secret . . . IKEA is stressing me out! I went online to use their kitchen planner and 12 hours later, finalized my design. Then I went to the store to look at everything I had picked out only to find that the white finish on the cabinets was more of an off-white. Now I can't decide if I should do it in a wood tone, or pick a different style altogether. I browse their kitchen brochure constantly, check out all the nitty gritty details online, measure and remeasure every tiny inch of my kitchen, watch installation videos, measure the kitchen again, and generally waste a lot of valuable time trying to decide if I really can squeeze in a dishwasher. Plus, they offer WAY too many options. This is not good for someone as indecisive as me. I picked out the countertop I wanted and then found out that if you are installing it in an 'L' shape, you just butt the two pieces together at a 90 degree angle . . . huh? That's not how countertops are supposed to be done. I guess I will get them somewhere else. But really. What can you expect for almost two grand less than everywhere else . . . caviar on a McDonald's budget? Honestly, yes. That's what I expect. Especially for the amount of work I'm doing.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Most Delicious Eye Candy

I stumbled across a blog called Clever Spaces today. It's for a company called Ferm Living which sells wallpaper and other stuff that is so, so, so beautiful. These are a few of my favorite things:

Don't you just loooooooooove this? Too bad it's $110 or I would order it right now. You can also get this in a wall sticker (below) which I also love, but which is also way out of my budget at $96.

I thought these bird cage wall stickers were also really cool. I don't normally love birds, but this black and white graphic is just too magnifique!

If you want to check them out for more amazing eye candy and designs, click here. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Dream House

I signed up for a service where a realtor emails me house listings in the area whenever they come up. I really love real estate and looking at houses and just dreaming of a space bigger than my 25' x 25' little house. Just the other day, the house of my dreams came up in Saline (about 20 minutes from here).

Here are its specs:
  • 4 bedrooms
  • 2 full baths
  • 1 half baths
  • Built in 2001
  • 2 car garage
  • 2236 square feet
  • 0.37 acres
  • Basement
  • 1+ fireplaces
  • SALINE school district
  • 130 BY 124 lot size
I love it! And to top it all off, it's only listed at $190,000. I'm tempted to rent out my house to incoming University of Michigan students and buy it. Isn't this house amazing?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Off to the Market We Go!

There is a "to do" in my life that will just never go away no matter how many times I do it and causes me a great deal of stress. No, it's not the dishes, or the vacuuming, or the never-ending laundry. These are things I can cross off my list without my heart rate increasing too much. But the one thing that completely stresses me out is grocery shopping. I hate it. I really, really, really, really hate it. And the funny thing is that I haven't taken either of my kids with me in I don't know how long, so it's not the stress of a screaming toddler or having to abandon a cart full of food because of a child who is having a meltdown. It just dawned on me a few days ago that the one thing that is giving me anxiety attacks is the actual grocery store itself. And the people who work there. Just last week I decided to ditch my regular ghetto Meijer and make Kroger my new store. Sadly, it did not make a good impression on me. With only Ashlee in tow, we decided to go pick up a few things for dinner. We were greeted by a blasting air conditioner, which was good because it was over 90 degrees outside and almost 90% humidity. But within as little as a minute or two, Ashlee was saying how cold she was. I said, "Hold on. We'll be out of the refrigerated section soon." But no matter where we went, the cold followed us. We had goosebumps and our teeth were chattering. We were sooooooo cold! I started shopping really fast so we could check out, but when you don't know where things are, this takes awhile. Upon making it to checkout, the cashier commented on the watermelon in my cart: "Now that's a seeded watermelon if I've ever seen one." First of all, What?? How can you tell a watermelon is seeded just by looking at it? I said, "Actually, it's supposed to be a seedless watermelon." He says, "No, no. It's way too late in the season for a seedless watermelon. That one is seeded." I was thinking to myself, Well, Mr. Produce Specialist Moonlighting As A Cashier, I picked this one out of the section labeled seedLESS watermelons, but whatever, dude. Just let me check out and leave. He scans all my stuff and then I go to put the watermelon on the belt, but he says he's already scanned it. So I'm thinking, How on earth did he scan it when I haven't even taken it out of the cart yet? So I say, "Can you tell me how much it rang up as?" He takes 3 years to scan back over the receipt and tells me it was $5.99. I say, "It's supposed to be just over four dollars." All of a sudden, he takes off. Yep. Just turns around and leaves without a word. The bagger guy and I look at each other like, "What the heck?" We realize that he went to go and see the posted sign for himself in the produce section. I say to the bagger, "Why didn't he just scan the sticker on my watermelon? It would have told him the price." Bagger guy just shrugs and looks confused. Ashlee starts with, "Mom! I am FREEZING!" and we're all just standing there wondering when he's going to come back, and I'm getting anxious because I'm supposed to be on my way to pick up Nick. Then a manager lady comes over and asks where the cashier went. I tell her that he went on a quest to do a price check. Then I politely request that she kindly scan the sticker for me and send me on my way. So she does, and it comes up as $4.38. But then I realize that now I'm being charged for two watermelons and ask her to take the more expensive one off. While she's doing this, the cashier comes back and says, "Yep! It's $5.99, just like I said it was." The manager says, "No. It's $4.38. Why did you leave to do a price check? You should have just scanned the tag." He starts into some explanation about how my watermelon was long and not round like a ball, so he thought it was a seeded watermelon, blah, blah, blah. The manager tells him to void out the first watermelon which he can't seem to do very quickly. Ashlee reminds me again how cold she is and wants to leave. I'm stressed because of how much time this is all taking. After what seems like forever, they hand me my receipt without a single "Sorry for the wait." In fact, they seem to have the attitute that I am the one who is causing so much trouble and shame on me for making them correct their own mistake. Geez!

So, I have a few options. I can go back to my regular Meijer where the lines are ridiculously long and I'm afraid I will get mugged, I can give Kroger another chance*, or I can spend 3 months of my grocery budget on one trip to Whole Foods (where I get good customer service and have no fear of being mugged, but will be forced to fast until we have enough money to buy more food.) Can you see why I love grocery shopping so much? Seriously! Please tell me there is a better way!

*Kroger originally put a bad taste in my mouth when I was approached by a very scary hooded homeless man who was mumbling some extremely crude things under his breath--it frightened me so much that I didn't go back for many years. The Kroger mentioned in this watermelon account is at a different location.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Diary of Mad Woman

I was driving down the road yesterday on my way to take Nick to karate practice. I tuned out the loud chatter of the kids in the seats behind me and was in my own little reverie, thinking about the events of the day:

"Kids, it's time for breakfast."
"I don't want breakfast."
"Nick, please get off the computer."
"I don't want to get off the computer."
"Ashlee, please go to the potty."
"I don't need to go to the potty."
"Nick, please vacuum the family room."
"I'm too tired."
"Ashlee, please pick up your Barbies."
"But I'm going to play with them later."
"Please get dressed guys."
"But I'm watching a show."
"Go outside and play."
"But there's nothing to do."
"Let's walk up to the park."
"I don't want to go to the park."
"Nick, come and see these tiny baby frogs I found!"
"I don't care about frogs . . . I want to go home. This is boring."
"Nick, it's time for karate."
"I hate karate."

I'm leaving out the length of these conversations for brevity's sake (along with the foot stomping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth), but hopefully I've drawn a partial picture of the absurdity of my days since summer began. You know in those prison movies where the inmates are sent to solitary confinement for huge amounts of time and how it basically drives them mad? I was thinking that instead, they should just sentence each inmate to a summer alone with two children. The end result would be the same and I could get some free babysitting out of it. Coincidentally, it was right at this moment that I was coming up to a red light. The car in front of me had a single bumper sticker that read, "Some Days I Wish I Was A Missing Person."
I wonder where I can get me one of those . . .

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Beggars Can't Be Choosers

My latest "project" lately, now that I'm finally down to one class, is to procure a trampoline for my two beloved children (ok, and for me, too.) In theory, this should be a relatively simple task: go to Sam's Club, put giant trampoline box in cart, put the safety net enclosure box in another cart, check out, go home, set up said trampoline, jump with silly grin on face, etc. But this simple life has been tainted by a thing called "Craig's List," where one can find pretty much anything at all at really, really, really discounted prices and sometimes even for free. You see, that simple life I was just talking about made no mention of the money I would have to part with to obtain the brand-new, blissful bounciness--$340 including tax. While this really isn't a huge amount of money, knowing that if I hold out long enough my chances of finding a decent free or really cheap trampoline prevents me from whipping out my credit card.

You would think this would give me great cause to jump on any trampoline listing (no pun intended) that comes up cheaper than $340. But strangely enough, I have the nerve to be picky. I don't want the giant 15 foot trampoline because then it will kill too much of my lawn and will be too heavy to move around to keep the lawn growing. Maybe I want the 12 foot trampoline or maybe that will be too small. Perhaps I should go with a 13 foot, right in the middle. I don't want the trampoline that doesn't include the safety net because I want the kids to be able to jump without me peering out the back every 2 seconds. I don't want the one that has rust on the legs because that will just plain look bad or it might fall apart. And when I finally find the right combination of things I am looking for, I back out because the drive to go get it is an hour or more and I'll have to take it apart and load it into my car. I'm so annoyed with myself. What is wrong with me?? I guess what I basically want is a decent used trampoline with a safety enclosure for free. Or a small amount of cash. Come on Craig's List! Help a girl out!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Peonies Season!

These gorgeous flowers have become my new favorite. They bloom along a big stretch of our fence every late Spring. I just can't get over how fantastic they are!

The kids and I couldn't believe how perfectly fragrant they were!

It's too bad they're only in bloom for a couple of weeks. As of today, they are still growing, but it won't be for too much longer.

It's this kind of scenery in the Spring that almost makes the long Michigan winters worthwhile. Almost.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spicy Tomato Soup

I just tried a tomato soup recipe from my South Beach Quick & Easy Cookbook and it was so good (and healthy) that I had to share. This only takes about 20 minutes to make. I made a few adjustments and a substitution, but I thought it was fantastic! It's low in fat and calories (about 90 cal. per 1 cup serving) so you can eat til you're full. Give it a go and tell me what you think!

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, coursely chopped (I used 3/4 tsp. dried garlic)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (this is what makes it spicy so don't go overboard!)
2 (14.5-oz) cans unsalted diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil (I used 1 Tbsp. dried basil)
2 (5.5-ounce) cans low-sodium vegetable juice (I substituted 1 can fat free chicken broth instead)
2-3 tsp. Splenda to taste (optional)

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 3 minutes if using garlic cloves and 30 seconds if using the dried. Add tomatoes with juice, basil, and chicken broth. Increase heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve hot and top with shredded mozzerella cheese and a dollop of reduced fat sour cream. The sour cream can be substituted with 1 Tbsp. of plain low-fat yogurt. (I took the sour cream route because I had no yogurt on hand.)


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sweet Little Pettiskirt

I have wanted one of these skirts for Ashlee for many, many years but they are so expensive that I could never justify the cost. I even went on ebay, hoping in desperation to luck out and get one really cheap. After weeks of checking all the auctions, I ended up buying something that I thought could work as a substitute. After getting it in the mail, I was sorely disappointed. It was so bad that Ashlee never even wore it. Now it just hangs from her closet door. Today I got a tiny little spark of hope! I was directed to this link after visiting a friend's blog. I am not one to enter things like this, in fact, this is my first one, but believe me when I say I will be down on my knees praying that I win it before I go to bed tonight. And if not, there are instructions on how to make it. However, I can tell you right now that by the time I get around to making it, Ashlee will probably have her own daughter.

Blushing Buttercream Pettiskirt GIVEAWAY!!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Here's a Phone Message Every Mom Wants to Get . . .

"Hi Becky. This is Susan Smith (names changed here for obvious reasons), Sue Jr.'s mom. I was just calling because I wanted to let you know that Sue Jr. has head lice and she sits at the same table as Nicholas at school. I'm hoping it hasn't spread, but you might want to check Nick just in case."

Guess what I did as soon as Nick got home from school? Don't worry. There's no sign of it, but please pray for us as a preventative measure.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I Must Be Getting Old

I can't believe it is already 2009. What's funny about that is when I was little, all the futuristic shows would take place in some year like 2019 and that seemed sooooooo so so so so far away. . .um, yeah, that's only 10 years from now. Shouldn't we be wearing our space gear and flying around the universe by now? Geez.

I just celebrated (a bit begrudgingly) my 34th birthday. It was a weird birthday because 34 seems so much closer to 40 than 33 did. In fact, 33 just doesn't sound old to me. But 34, that's a different story with a whole different feel. Plus, I'm sure my metabolism has just completely shut down altogether and if I gain another pound, I'm going to scream! Or, I could start exercising again, but I'm lazy and like to blame it on the fact that I'm older now.

But I digress. The other day I was sitting in my chemistry lecture. There is a girl who sits on my left who is fresh out of high school. (And yes, that also makes me feel old.) Anyway, on this particular day, she sat on my right. She pulled out the next assigned lab and asked me if I had gotten everything put in order. I could tell from all the times she had crossed out her answers that she'd been struggling with it. I showed her the order I got and we compared our answers. She got hers all straightened out and then she left for her lab session.

At the following lecture two days later, I sat in my usual place with high school girl on my left and one of my lab partners on my right (who has sat there since the semester began, except for the scenario above). My lab partner pulls out her lab and asks me what order I got on it. I said, "I thought you got it all straightened out last time." She said, "Um...I don't think so because I just printed this off last night so I wouldn't have had it with me last time." I said, "Don't you remember that we compared our answers and you had gotten a few out of order, so you crossed them out and fixed them?" She looked at me like I was crazy. Then she said, "I sat on the end of this row last time because I was late, remember?" (I'm pausing here while I'm trying to figure out this extremely confusing situation and I honestly believe that she is the one who's got it all wrong!) Plus, to make things even more annoying she's looking at me all tenderly like someone trying to explain a simple concept to a sweet little old senior citizen suffering from Alzheimer's. Suddenly it dawned on me that I had somehow gotten her confused with high school girl. If she had said, "Awww. That's OK," and patted my head, I would have popped a vein out of frustration. With that came the horrible realization that I was the idiotic one. No, not just the idiotic one--the OLD idiotic one suffering from a bad case of BrainTissueSlowlyOozingOutOfHeadDueToOldAge Syndrome. Not one of my better moments.

To top it off, I had to give the opening prayer in sacrament meeting today. Now if you know me, you know how much I HATE any form of public speaking, including praying in front of a gigantic crowd. Honestly, I would rather die than talk in church. But I thought I would do the right thing and give the bloody prayer because it would give me good practice and help me with my public speaking issues--the more you do it, the better you get, right? Plus, I can't deal with the guilt of saying no to the bishop. It's just one teeny tiny prayer. I will live.

So, I'm singing the opening hymn and as it gets closer to the last line of the song, I feel myself getting a little nervous. Not more than anyone else would be. Cool. I can do this. No problem. But by the time I make it from my seat near the back up to the stand, my breathing rate has increased. Yes, nervous equals faster breathing. Whatever. That's fine. However, since I was nervous, I didn't take a second to judge how close my mouth was to the microphone before closing my eyes. I don't think I could have gotten any closer to it without putting the whole thing in my mouth. But as you probably know, this just means that any sound you make is magnified about 10,000 times. Including my breathing. This resulted in every pause being filled up with one big, very loud exhalation. But since I'm still nervous, I am somehow frozen in place. I cannot force my back muscles to pull my face back a couple of inches from the microphone. Until I say, "Amen," and then my muscles are conveniently operational again. They always fail me at the most inconvenient times. Must be a result of my SpasticNervousSystemThatIsDeterioratingDueToOldAge Syndrome. Yes, that's definitely it.

After I sit back down, I lean over and ask Jere if I sounded like I was going to wet my pants. He says, "No. You actually did really well." I think, "Phew. It was all in my head." Then he adds, "Except that you were breathing really loud."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Don't Mess with the Aussies!

This video makes me laugh really hard no matter how many times I see it. I love the ridiculous face on Marty Monster as he's getting mauled. Just make sure you protect your family jewels the next time you're in Australia!

Monday, January 12, 2009

I'm So Hungry!

In desperation (and severe shock after standing on the scale a couple of days ago), I decided to start the Atkins diet for 2 weeks so I could jump start the fat burning process. I started out with flying colors and lasted all of a couple of hours before I folded and had a fiber bar. OK, so I failed the Atkins diet, but I am succeeding in keeping the calories really low. So low that I am starving hungry. But I'm sticking to my guns. Even if I don't jump back on the Atkins diet, I'm watching those calories like a hawk! I just want my clothes to fit properly again. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

One New Year's Resolution

Yep. I said one. I only have ONE New Year's resolution this year, and let me tell you, it is quite lofty:

Do not eat anything after dinner in the evenings.

This is in attempt to stop my winter fat layer from getting any thicker. You would think that this is a very simple goal, but here I am already 7 days into the new year, and I haven't been able to do it yet. I can usually go through a day with pretty minimal food intake, but once the sun goes down and the cold gets colder, I suddenly lose any semblance of will power. I eat my dinner and mentally tell myself, "OK. This is it until tomorrow morning. You can do it!" About 2 hours afterwards, I find myself wandering back into the kitchen, staring at an open cupboard or an open fridge and before you know it, I've added another 3 or 4 hundred calories to my day, more if there's chocolate involved. Ooh, I shouldn't say "chocolate" this time of night. Sigh . . . it's a good thing I emptied the house of any chocolate supply or I'd be off to hunt for some right now. Maybe I have some leftover chocolate chips in my baking cabinet. No, I ate those a long time ago -- there are chocolate chips in granola bars, though . . .