Memorial Day

Today we remember all of our fallen soldiers and give thanks to those who have served and continue to serve to keep our country safe and allow us the freedoms that we enjoy.

What Have I Gotten Myself In To?

A couple of months ago I read a blog about a family that was a member of NCP, National Consumer Panel.  She didn’t really describe what she actually had to do, but instead focused on all of the great things she had gotten from the company for being a member.  A few weeks following that post, she had posted that they had opened up new zip codes, meaning there may be an opportunity to become a member myself and get a scanner.

Not at all thinking about what this might entail, I went ahead and clicked on the link and signed up.  To my disappointment, they didn’t have any available scanners for my area.  Oh well, I thought.

I forgot about it and then two weeks ago I got an email asking me for more information about my purchasing habits and ultimately my address so my scanner could be shipped out to me!

I was excited about this for some reason – again, still not finding out what I really had to do.  Today my scanner arrived via Fed Ex and I got a glimpse at what is surely to be a huge pain in my ass.

My scanner.

In short, I have to scan everything I buy. Everything.  And it’s not just me!  If Ryan gets a Snickers at the vending machine at work, I’m supposed to scan that candy bar UPC code.  And it’s not just scanning the product.  I have to say whether I used a coupon, the price, where I bought it and how much my total order was.  Like I said – a huge pain in my ass.

I reluctantly logged on to my profile once I read through the scanner’s users manual.  I will be awarded points if I scan my purchases and then download the data once a week.  I wanted to find out how many points I needed in to get the flat screen TV that was on the cover of the manual.  As it turns out, I need 317,000.

OK, that’s not too bad.  They started me off with 1,000 points just for signing up so maybe if I do this for a few months, I’ll be able to get the TV and then I’ll just quit.  Now to find how many points I get each week for sending my data.  I found the information in one of the three booklets they sent me.  For the first six months I earn 150 points a week.  The number of points awarded increases the longer you are on the panel – up to 325 per week once you hit six years!

Let’s just pretend that I do this for longer than a week.  In fact, let’s pretend I do it for a full six years.  I will have accumulated 89,780 points just for my data submissions.  Apparently, I can earn additional points by taking surveys and I am awarded extra points on my three, six and one year anniversaries.  Who knows how many, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it isn’t 227,200 in gift points because then I could actually get the TV in six years.

I’m going to give this the old college try for a month.  I am sure that I’m not going to be excited about scanning in that pack of gum I grabbed at the convenience store or figuring out how I input the car wash I got after I got my gas.

I think it’s a marketing strategy to tell people that they don’t have any available scanners.  They want all of the suckers to think that these are incredibly sought after and I am unbelievably blessed to be able to receive one.

I’ll be utilizing that return address label that came with my scanner before you know it.

Hella Lame Post

I’m not in the mood to write anything today.  I ran this morning, we spent a couple of hours at the pool midday, ran to Target this afternoon and now after a belly full of pizza and wine, I’m waiting to check out this solar eclipse in about an hour.  I also didn’t sleep from 1:30am  – 4:00am.

I have seen people do Wordless Wednesday posts and other similar alliteration titles so here is my Silent Sunday.



Weekly Menu 5/14/12

Last week my menu got really screwed up.  Ryan was out of town, we had playdates and school functions so this week will actually be making up from some of the things I planned on making last week.

Monday – Souplantation!! – It’s a good way to start off my week.  I picked Ryan up from the airport this morning and what better way to welcome him home than to take the whole family out for dinner?

Tuesday – Tacos – We had tacos at our playdate on Friday and I was responsible for bringing the meat.  There was a ton of meat leftover and normally I would leave that with the host of the playdate, but she and her family are vegetarians and wanted nothing to do with my ground carcass.

Wednesday – Tater Tot Casserole – I didn’t make this last week because we were eating other leftovers.

Thursday – Baked Potato Bar – Finally something new!  The last time I made these I put them in the crockpot.  They turned out really well so I’ll do that again.

Friday – Shrimp, Leek and Spinach Pasta – I love this pasta.  It’s a nice change from the boring spaghetti that I make when I’m in the mood for pasta.

Saturday – Pulled Pork Sandwiches – I have a HUGE pork shoulder that has been in the freezer for a couple of months that we need to eat.  I love this recipe.  We’ll have pulled pork sandwiches on Saturday and then have Carnitas the following Monday.

Sunday – Asian Salmon – Once the weather stays consistently warm, I always crave fish.  Before Kamryn was born, I used to grill salmon with chili powder, salt and lemon 3 or 4 times a week for my dinner.

Last week I spent an all time low at the grocery store.  My total bill for a week’s worth of groceries was $78!  I did have a coupon for $10 off my bill, but even $88 may be a record.

Well You Know My Name Is Simon…

This morning we walked down to our neighborhood park to do some chalk drawings.  It was a community sponsored event where you could sign up for some designated sidewalk space, draw a picture of whatever you wished and then hope your name gets picked for a prize.

We were given designated spaces 54 and 55.  Some of the artists given spaces in the 1 to 10 range looked like they had been hard at work all morning.  They were creating amazing masterpieces out of regular old sidewalk chalk.  Once again, I failed to take pictures of the tiger, dragons and snail-like creatures that caught my eye and instead took them of our squares.

We played at the playground for a little bit and we ran into one of Kamryn’s classmates from school.  Kamryn was really excited not only because she likes her classmate, Kyle, but because Kyle has one of the cutest little baby brothers, Lance.  Kamryn has had the baby crazies for the last couple of months and it is largely due to seeing Lance nearly everyday at drop off and pick up at school.

When we were on our way home, I asked Kamryn what her favorite part of chalk drawing was (knowing full well what the answer was going to be).  She got a big smile on her face and shouted, “Lance!”

At least now I know all I have to do to ensure Kamryn’s happiness is seek out a baby that she can ooooh and aaaah over for a few minutes.

Seaweed And Popcorn

We made a trip to Costco today to stock up on some supplies.  God, I love Costco.  I could walk around there for hours looking at all the super-sized boxes of things I don’t really need. 

I usually make it a point to never seek out the samples because it’s an enormous waste of my time trying to navigate between the greedy bastards that stand in the middle of the aisles waiting for the pizza bagels to come out of the toaster oven.  Today, however, we were there early and there was an uninhabited sample stand with pot stickers.  

Pot stickers are a bit of a weakness for me.  It’s one of the only cravings I had when I was pregnant with Rory.  It was so strong that I made Ryan go and get me 2 orders from the nearby Chinese restaurant at 2:00 in the afternoon because I couldn’t wait until dinner.  Anyway, I think this is the first time that I have ever tried a sample and liked it enough to actually buy it. 

One of the things that always happens when I go to Costco is that I don’t have everything to make a full meal.  I usually have the main dish, ie the potstickers, but no sides until I go to the grocery store.  I didn’t have it in me to go to the store after our trip to Costco so we made due with what we had.

Here was Kamryn’s dinner, per her request:



It’s seaweed salad and popcorn chips.  Rory had the same thing, but with a sandwich.  He calls the seaweed salad, “seaweed noodles”.  I don’t think you could have paid me to even try seaweed when I was 5 years old, much less 3. 

I love my little adventurous eaters and the fact that I don’t have to make chicken nuggets or mac and cheese every night!

Flashback Friday

This picture was taken the summer of my freshman year of high school.  I went to a Catholic high school my freshman and sophomore year and was part of group called L.I.F.E.  It stood for Living In Faith Enthusiastically.  I can’t help but smile when I type that.  I don’t care how faithful you are – that is a cheesy anagram. I believe my freshman year was the year the group started and I just checked the high school website and they are still living enthusiastically!

That summer, about 10 – 15 of us from the group went to the Winnebago Indian Reservation in Nebraska.  We were there for a week or two – I don’t remember exactly, and during that time we did some physical labor and if memory serves, I believe we were supposed to teach Christianity to some of the kids that lived on the Reservation.  I have no idea how these kids came to be signed up for the classes – if their parents signed them up, if it was through school, the kids wanted to go or it was just something for the kids to do.

When I think back on this now, I have absolutely no idea who the 15 year old girl is in that picture.  And I’m not referring to my permed hair, the 20 years less of aging on my face or the brown flats I had on with shorts (damn I loved those shoes).  When I joined the L.I.F.E. Group, I did it because all of my friends were doing it and I got out of class once a week or something.  I probably wasn’t the best representative of the organization, but it just goes to show how easily persuaded I was.

For me, going to Winnebago was one of the perks of being in the group because I had always wanted to be a teacher and this was going to be my first opportunity to scholar some children!  However, if I was 20 years older, I would have never tried to influence any child’s religious beliefs.  In retrospect, I find it appalling that we were sent there to teach children Christian beliefs.  I didn’t know any better because I was a dumb teenager.  We had no right to do that and all I can hope is that the parents of each of the children signed them up, knowing full well what would be going on.

I’m not going to go off on some anti-religion rant.  To each their own.  But I do think that this depicts how I feel about religion pretty accurately.


Procrastinators: Leaders of Tomorrow!

This morning I called to get Rory signed up for preschool.  I want him to go to the same one that Kamryn went to because the location is perfect and I know Kamryn really enjoyed her time there.  Not to mention, it cuts out me having to research any other preschools in the area.

I noticed their sign up for registration a couple of weeks ago and kept making the mental note to myself to call.  Each time I thought of calling, though, I found something else to do instead and I don’t know why.  I have been so anxious about getting Rory into preschool next year for a couple of reasons.  For one, he really wants to go.  He asks about it all the time.  Second,I really want him to go.  The thought of having a couple of hours to myself a few times a week has me more excited than a Caribbean vacation!

I mentioned me not calling to sign Rory up to a friend and she commented how he is my baby and it’s hard to watch that last one go off to school.  Normally, I would agree.  It was hard for me to get rid of the baby stuff, but for some reason, I don’t feel too sentimental about Rory going to school.  When Kamryn started school, I noticed such a positive change in her personality, maturity and general attitude that any feelings of missing her, dissipated rather quickly.

I know that when the actual day comes and I send him off to school, I’ll probably cry and there will be days when I miss him because there are days that I miss Kamryn when she is at school.  That day however, is floating around somewhere in hypothetical land.

The 3 year old preschool classes are completely full.  The director told me that they filled up within minutes, so even if I would have been on top of my game, I don’t think I could have gotten Rory in.  Luckily, I’m one of the first on the waiting list and she put a star next to my name as a returning family and told me she would give us priority.  Nice.

Now I just have to find out who these other 3 year old’s are and figure out how to knock them out of the class.

Welcome To Hollywood! What’s Your Dream?

On Friday I joined my friend, Janis for an impromptu visit to see her sister in L.A.  I had only been to L.A. once before despite living only 100 miles away.  I don’t love L.A.  It kind of has a Vegas feel to it and I don’t love Vegas either.  However, both places are fun in small doses.

We got a room at The Standard on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood.  This hotel was a museum of sexual innuendos.  It was awesome and it had me giggling at every turn.

These were hanging on the outside of the hotel. I thought they were kind of cool, but there is an obvious sexual tone to them.

Once we got inside the room, we were a little cold and went to turn the heat on, only to discover we had no idea what we were getting into if we turned the dial.


I looked through the tray of items they had displayed for us to purchase should we need some $8 M&M’s in the middle of the night.  I found this instead.

I'm not sure if these are the only positions that are effective when wearing these condoms or if they are merely suggestions.

The key card also said “Slip it in”.  They had pencils instead of pens in the room.  Here is one of them.  The apparently come in a set, available for purchase.

The other pencil said "Shave me."

We discovered a hallway on Saturday morning with some interesting artwork.

One thing about L.A. is that it’s great for pretty people watching.  We didn’t have one mediocre looking waiter or waitress the entire time we were there.  I know some of them are probably hoping to get into acting or theater and this line of work is perfect.  One of the bartenders feigned surprise after looking at my ID, discovering that I was 35.  In hindsight, I should of yelled “CUT!” right after his performance instead of being so obviously flattered.  What can I say?  We ended up getting quite a few free drinks, though, so maybe what I took as a compliment was really him trying to apologize for basically calling me old.

Janis and I did notice that we were approached by quite a few young men while we were at our final bar stop, Saddle Ranch.  We came to the conclusion that all of the hipster kids were looking for some old lady to pay their way through acting school and were hoping we were it.  After the 3rd or 4th guy came up to us, we started telling them how we met as a way to cut the conversation short.  Janis and I met after the births of our first children in a breast feeding support group.  Nothing makes a 20 something male more uncomfortable than talk of boobs serving their actual function.  I vaguely remember telling one of the boys that he he too could produce milk if someone sucked on his nipples long enough.  I don’t think he even said “Good-bye”.

Boobies! What bonds Janis and I for life!

We ended our trip with a walk up and down Sunset Blvd and then some relaxing by the pool where I watched a Brad Pitt look-a-like play ping pong.  Sorry, no pictures of him, but here is one of me as The Lorax.

Saddle Ranch gives you HUGE sticks of cotton candy to eat. I LOVE cotton candy - Janis finds it repulsive so I ate enough to make me sick.




WTF Wednesday

Oh Samantha, what have you done?

How dare you reveal the hardships that we beautiful women face?  As a fellow beautiful woman, I am outraged that I will now be pitied by so many of the average and less appealing women.  I am most likely going to be overwhelmed with condolences because of my beauty persecution.

I’m 100% bullshitting all of you.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, there has been an online desecration from Samantha Brick’s article, ‘There are downsides to looking this pretty’:  Why women hate me for being beautiful.  I read Samantha’s article this afternoon after seeing a link on the Tosh.0 blog – that is where I get all my up to date and important news.  In short, Ms. Brick talks about all of the problems she has had being, what she considers, a very attractive woman.  The one that stood out the most was that she had never been asked to be a bridesmaid because in her mind, her beauty would upstage the bride’s.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Samantha is probably just a bit too into her looks and was too busy looking in a mirror instead of being a friend.  I’m not going to to give my opinion of Samantha’s looks because it’s irrelevant and because there are thousands of other people commenting on her appearance.  As you might expect, there are some harsh criticisms.

I’m not sure what possessed Samantha Brick to write such an article and think that it wouldn’t be condemned by the masses.  Or her publisher, editor or whomever (I don’t know how these things work) thought it was a good idea.  On the one hand, the hits on the MailOnline website are probably close to blowing up the server, but at what cost, MailOnline?  At what cost?

Wouldn’t it be a hoot if Samantha and MailOnline came out and said it was a big ol’ joke and they had some meaning behind releasing such an obviously ludicrous article?

I’ll say this, I am all for having a healthy and positive opinion of yourself.  Nothing is worse than being around someone who is constantly whining about their weight or their looks.  Sure we all have our “ugly” days, but we should also strive to be happy with what we see in the mirror everyday.  If you find yourself singing LFMAO’s,I’m Sexy And I Know It, with a little too much conviction, well, you may need to take it down a notch at the risk of being ousted by the rest of us.

To sum up, Samantha, WTF?

When I first posted this picture on Facebook, someone commented "That is not the most attractive picture of you." Thanks for the heads up, but I like this picture because it reminds me of how many times it took my friend, Amber, to take it to get it just right. And since we were just coming off of a wine cruise, I can't remember why I was so adamant that she take it.