Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Just one of those days!

Our credit card company called this morning to verify some charges on our account and guess what? We didn't make them! Holy crack weasels! Now they closed down our account, opened a new one and we won't get the new cards for 5-10 days. All this before my coffee too! I sure hope we don't need it before then. Ah well, I know everything will work out just fine. If not, I'm creating new identities for us and we are headed to the nearest country without extradition treaties. That was a joke, people. Mike does want to move to Canada but I'm not half polar bear like he is. Of course, yesterday he did call while walking from work to his truck (a good few blocks away) and told me it was FREEZING. For him to say its cold is something.
Yesterday I did get the taxes done. We aren't getting back what we did last year, but enough to cover what we need it to cover. I never realized that if your charitable donations are not a certain percentage of your AGI they won't do you a bit of good on your return. I've been an avid 'Offer-er' on and regularly called the Salvation Army for pickups because I loathe yard sales. They usually aren't worth standing outside for hours after hauling all the stuff out and then wondering if these people are just showing up to stake out our house for a burglary. Or maybe that's just my own paranoia. Anyway, I guess I'm just going to have to get back to Ebaying.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


To those who have been kind and provided constructive critism- Thank You!
To those who have not I salute you with sloppy raspberries and one finger waves. Because of you I will no longer accept anonymous comments. If you won't sign your name to what you write maybe you shouldn't be writting it.
Besides, anyone who's opinion truely matters to me has my email address.

Taxes schmaxes.

Gryffin's got another day at Day Out today. I know it might seem kind of insane to be a stay-at-home mom and have him in a program like this. But anyone who has ever been a stay-at-home mom to a toddler KNOWS. I take my few hours of solitude to clean the house and do the laundry on Tuesday's and Friday's to do all the grocery shopping and errands. Today however, I have an added task. One most Americans, at least the normal ones, hate- taxes! I bet a chill just went down your spine just seeing that word. I use Turbo-Tax so at least I don't have to sit and wait in some throw together strip mall office and answer questions like "Are you legally blind?" Duh, did you not just see me park my car and walk in here and sign your little book? I know, I know, they have to ask. Anyway, yesterday I got a good chunk of it done. I am having trouble with the deduction finder and getting an estimated value of stuff I've given to various places. I guess I'm going to have insist on receipts from now on. Regardless, as long as we get enough back to pay off a mattress and a hospital bill, I will be happy. Ecstatically blessed, infact. I remember the first time I tried doing my own taxes. Mike and I were just dating at the time and he did his own so I decided to give it a try, with his volunteer to help if I got stuck. By stuck he meant sitting on his couch bawling like a baby and not being able to add or subtract because my brain was in 'What the h@ll does that mean?' mode. He kindly took my forms and walked me through it step by step. I was still in tears at the end, but it was done. Now Turbo-Tax exists and I have gone from crying to cursing, but hey- I get it done (sometimes even without his help). I wish you all an easy and profitable tax return.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Oh, please don't be a wedding DJ!

DJ Diaper here, spinnin' and poopin', throwing some good tunes to you and throwing a tantrum too! Rock on, put my sock on and snack on!

My husband, the superhero.

At 1 o'clock Mike announced he was watching the Lakers game at 2:30. Yeah right, I thought. You see my husband always starts to watch a game but somewhere around the second quarter all he is watching is the inside of his eyelids. Right now he and Gryffin are curled up under a blanket sacked out. So sacked out they are both snorring! I know, from experience, that if I walk over and change the channel he will immediately wake up and say "Hey, I was watching that". So let me just warn the general public and say that my husband has x-ray vision because he can watch a sporting even through his eyelids.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Salisbury steak recipe... Dad you gotta try it!

Salisbury Steak
1 lb ground beef, don't go any leaner than 20%
2 T of your favorite steak seasoning
Non-stick spray
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 T cornstarch
1/2 cup water, lukewarm
water, amount depends on how you like your gravy
dash of browning sauce
1-2 tsp beef soup base, I prefer Tone's

In a large bowl combine beef and seasoning. Shape in to four patties. Spray pan with non-stick spray and heat. When you can feel the heat by holding your hand over (not in) the pan, add the beef patties. Brown on both sides. Let the meat carmelize a little, this will add a lot of flavor to the gravy. Remove patties from the pan and set aside. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until they release their water, about 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and place with patties. Mix the cornstarch and 1/2 cup water and add to the pan with the meat drippings. Over medium heat mix well to remove any lumps. Slowly add enough water to get gravy to the desired thickness. Remember, its a lot easier to thin a gravy than to make thicker. Add a dash of browning sauce and 1 tsp soup base. Whisk well. Taste to determine if more soup base is needed, if so add by 1/2 teaspoons- this stuff is strong. When desired flavor is attained add the patties back in along with the mushrooms. On low heat, cover and warm through. I generally serve this with mashed potatoes, as there is nothing Mike like's better than gravy on his taters. And of course, a veggie.
This would make a great meatball recipe too! Just form meat into meatballs instead of patties and serve over egg noodles instead of potatoes.

To my anonymous friends...

First of all, thank you for reading. Its nice to know that people other than my family put up with my drivelle.
Second, I do not have anything against fat people. Yes, I am conscience of my own weight but mostly because I have watched family members and loved ones struggle against diabetes, cancer and heart disease. I constantly struggle to maintain my current weight not because I'm prejudice of larger sizes but because I have back problems that are intensified by my weight. I found this out the hard way when pregnant with my son. God gave us one body and referred to it as His temple. Should we not take care of it? Until science comes up with cheaper replacement parts that are easy to install I'm going to try and make mine run as good as I can. I know many people that are eat healthy and exercise but are still big. Unfortunately, they got the short end of the double helix. But they still try to maintain a level of good health.
So let me just just simplify my point...
Life is precious, why not treat it as such?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Warning, the following may make sense.

Yup, when I don't challenge myself its $80 gone at the grocery. What cheeses me off the most is that nutritious food such as fruits, veggies, lean meat and milk are the most expensive. Heck, we could eat nothing but frozen pre-processed practically pre-digested crap and fat laden foods for next to nothing.
Do you remember that dude who tried to sue McDonalds because it was making him fat? Well, I'm gonna be the chick that sues the government for not subsidizing the farmers enough to make their product competitive with non-fresh food. Then I'm gonna sue all those companies that make junk food because they ARE making me fat. So no one is holding a gun to my head saying "Eat the Doritos or die", maybe that one is uncalled for, but when its a decision between gas and groceries or being able to buy underwear and socks that don't have so many holes they aren't worth wearing, well- food wins out.
Our government is telling society to eat better, exercise and quit smoking but what incentive do they give us? How do they help us afford the quality food, health club membership and anti-smoking devices? Why doesn't the government give us a tax break for gym memberships or personal training session?
Why don't insurance companies offer incentives to stay healthy? If our insurance company gave us 15% off our premiums just to eat and live healthy I would be more than willing to give them my grocery receipts as proof, along with a copy of a health club membership. Why can't they do what car insurance companies are doing and give us so much off our deductable for every year we go without getting diabetes or heart disease?
I feel most sorry for the kids though. Most families struggle to get by so they buy whatever is cheapest. Most kids grow up thinking that french fries are still vegetables and that Koolaide is considered a fruit drink. Do you not think there is a link between diet and ADHD? Hmmm, lets see my kid is running all over screaming, horsing around and won't sit still for a minute. I don't know why, I just gave him a Coke and some cookies. Holy crap people! Sugar, sugar, sugar- do I have to spell it out- S U G A R. Thats why!
My son gets a diet of fresh fruit and veggies along with lean meats and its rare that I ever fry anything. He has yet to taste a soda, which I maybe have one every few days. Once in a while we all get a treat of a burger and fries, but thats maybe once a month! Gryffin is calm (for a 21 month old) and well behaved. Yes he runs around crazy sometimes but who doesn't want to take off screaming at all the stupidity out there? Even his teachers at Day Out brag on him like he is theirs. I hear from them on a regular basis that he is the best behaved in his class. His teacher even told me that he also is the one with the most healthy lunches. Connection?
Why don't I just give up and get fat? With all the money I would save eating crap I would be able to afford a new larger sized wardrobe!
That is my rant for the day, thanks for sticking through to the end and in the immortal words of Fat Albert, 'You may just learn a thing or two".

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

We had a great weekend. Saturday we just chilled at home, Sunday we went for a drive, Monday Gryffin spent the night with Gramma while Mike and I went to see Gnarls Barkley and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. An awesome show! And then Tuesday we treated ourselves to breakfast out. The rest of the day was spent either at the doctor's office, the DMV or cleaning and doing laundry. But hey, even the latter wasn't so bad with Mike helping me.
I finally got around to roasting that chicken and for a first attempt I was pretty happy with it. I stuffed the chicken with red onion, lemon, thyme and garlic. Then I wrapped the whole thing in bacon and cooked it at 400 for about an hour and a half. It turned out picture perfect but it was devoured before I had a chance to grab the camera.
Today I'm switching off between finishing the laundry and playing with Gryffin. Man, I've got it good!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Campbell's, you suck.

Tonight I made Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup. I'm not one for tomato soup. I think because canned is too sweet. This one I could eat and eat and eat and lick the bowl when I'm done. It was so good I had to call my Dad and make him jealous. Here is the recipe:
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, copped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4-1 jar of roasted red peppers, chopped
28 oz can of chopped tomatoes
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp paprika
pinch of sugar
6 cups chicken broth
pinch cayenne
large can of tomato paste
1/4 cup fat free 1/2 & 1/2
sour cream

In a soup pot soften the onion and garlic in the olive oil, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato, red peppers, thyme, paprika and sugar. Cook over medium heat until all the tomato juices have evaporated. Stir in chicken broth and cayenne. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Strain and reserve liquid. Place solids in a blender or food processor until fairly smooth. Add puree back to broth. Return to heat and add the 1/2 & 1/2 and tomato paste, stir and let heat through. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

It sounds like a lot but it was really easy. The original recipe called for stewing the tomatoes and roasting the peppers and making a roux to thicken. Yeah right. Maybe if my middle name were Martha and I was a felon. I found the jarred peppers, canned tomatoes and 1/2 & 1/2 just fine. I think it would also be good with some corn, rice, maybe some chicken or bacon. Since there was enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow and some to freeze I will have to try it.

Just call me Betty, Bargain Betty.

I hate to see when a bookstore is going out of business. But I LOVE to take advantage of it. After breakfast this morning I mentioned to Mike that (yet again) I was out of reading material. With an ice storm heading our way and likely power outages- that wasn't a good thing. We bundled up and headed to hell, a.k.a the mall. The B.Dalton there was going out of business and today was their last day. Everything in the joint was 50% off. I dove into the bargain bin like a kid in the ball pits of a Chucky Cheese. Usually, I never pay more than $6 for a hardcover book because I scrounge the bargains at the various book stores. Today, however, I bought 9 books for less than $30! Heck, if it looked half way interesting I bought it. That ought to get me through the weekend.
Side note to Dad- when I'm done with them you're library is gonna get hooked up!
Strolling through JC Penney's on the way out Mike spotted a sale on Columbia coats. We love Columbia- their stuff lasts forever. He tried a three in one coat on, it looked really good. We looked at the sale sign and saw that it was 70% off, which would make it about $60. He just didn't believe that was right so he took it to the counter and sure enough, the chick said it was $60! SOLD. We headed upstairs to look for one for me but apparently coats for women only come in 'Can't get lost in a snowstorm even if you tried' colors. I mean really people, are there those out there than feel comfortable walking around in a coat that makes them look like a giant killer lime? It was bust for me there but another stop at a store and I found one for the same price- not Columbia but still a three in one coat that is black and doesn't make my figure look like the Micheline Man's.
Home, a nap for both Gryffin and I, a football game for Mike and the world- at least our little corner of it- is very, very good.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Well, I did it! With a little to spare in fact. And I bought a few things not on my list because they were, to coin a family term, 'a smokin' deal'. I did have to substitute carrots for the sweet potatoes to use for the roasted chicken though. Anything that 'exotic' is only available around the holidays. Yup, I hate the midwest. If it ain't corn or baking potatoes, its exotic. No wonder everyone around here is fat- we are fed the same thing as the cattle!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Menu a la cheap

Ok, so here is the menu that I have devised for this weeks $56 challenge:

Friday: Stir fry
Saturday Roast chicken with bacon, sweet potatoes, onion and green beans
Sunday: Roasted red pepper and tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches
Monday: Out or frozen pizza (Going to see RHCP!)
Tuesday: Wonton ravioli with spinach and ricotta, spaghetti sauce and garlic bread
Wednesday: Honey mustard pork chops, brown rice and carrots
Thursday: Broiled chicken and potatoes with broccoli

Now, keep in mind that I am not including the meat or staples such as flour and seasonings. I don't menu lunches because we usually have leftovers from the night before and breakfast is usually cereal. Also, I already have things like potatoes and onions and rice. With that in mind I should be able to reach my goal.
But if I don't get over this cold my budget could be blown with things like saltines, orange juice and ice cream! We usually don't buy any of those. Snackies in the pantry mean tight panties!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Just for poops, giggles and hopefully savings.

I think Friday when I go to the grocery armed with my list I'm going to do a little bit more research. You see, I don't like what we have been spending on groceries. About $75 a week. Now, thats not too bad when you figure in a bottle of wine and some snackies but... Every week I make a menu which I use to make my grocery list. My grocery list is, well.. a little detailed.

When I need something I just highlight it, or highlight the blank line and write it in. This list is in the same order as the grocery store isles. If I don't need something in an isle I don't go down it. Usually, on a weekday using the self-checkout (I love those!) I can get the shopping done in 30 minutes or less. When I make my menu for next week I'm going to try and squeeze some 'blood from a turnip', in my opinion thats all you should do with turnips- YUK! I'm going to challenge myself to only spend about $8 to feed us per day, or $56 a week. This shouldn't be too hard considering Mike's breakfast of granola bars, chicken breasts, ground beef and pork are all bought at Sam's once a month and aren't figured in to the weekly grocery budget. Although, I'm not willing to cut my weekly bottle of wine. I drink the cheap stuff, less than $4 a bottle. But its worth a lot more than that to sit in a bubble bath with a glass of wine and a good book a few nights a week. I'll give it a try and give you an update.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I'm gonna get you, Cheerio!

Such determination and dedication! The boy likes his Cheerios and gets quite upset when he can't quite get the last few in the bowl. I was just telling Gryffin this morning that I remember when I had to spoon feed him mush and now he's feeding himself like a big boy. I like this way better and not just because I don't wear more food than he eats anymore. I miss that little baby boy, but I sure do like the big boy he's becoming.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Don't have long to chat this morning. After a couple days of feeling like microwaved poo and a few days of being lazy my house looks like a the dust bunny brigade came through and dirtied all of our clothes. Ah well- death, taxes and house work- the only things in life you can really count on. Better get on with the latter, start on the middle and hopefully put off the first for a very long time!