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Friday, November 5, 2010

How to quit shopping at Target

After doing my pre-holiday/bday season budget, I realized I spend too much of my money at Target. Nothing crazy and NOTHING like that woman on Hoarders (Dear God, that show is scary!) But with a college student's budget and a kid to support, $25-30 a month at Target is more than I want to spend on life's extras.

Sooo...

Step 1. No more Starbucks at Target. That's half the battle right there. It's so nice to head to Target w/ The Girl and grab an apple juice & a latte. We walk around the store, enjoying our drinks and each other's company. My solution? Pack a sippy cup of juice and a thermos of a fake, office kitchen made, latte when going. I'll save about $10 a month!

Step 2. Make a list, and actually stick to it this time! I'm always making lists (Shopping lists, To-Do lists, Weekly Menus.) Sometimes items on my shopping lists can be found at Target! We get there and I pick up the items on my list: new pink Sharpie, extra socks, and new lip gloss. Then I decide I need mittens, Autumnal tights, an aqua Sharpie (for contrast, duh), etc. Next thing I know, my $9 list turns into a $22 purchase! Now I'm going to make a list; and ONLY buy the things on the list. If I see something else I want, I'll write it down. If I still want/need that item in a week or two, I'll put it on my official Target list. This sounds more complicated than it actually is....I promise.

OMG. I could have pink sunglesses, RIGHT NOW.
But seriously, we were just trying stuff on for laughs.
Step 3. Just stay the hell outta Target! I'm not saying go to WalMart instead (Seriously, this is a Bad Idea .) Instead, I'm suggesting I think really hard to see if I actually need whatever I wanted to buy. If it can at all wait, I'll put it on the list & wait until I actually need it. No more "recreational" Target shopping for me!

I don't think I'm at the point where I need 12 steps to quit Target; three will do. So, anyone else been caught is Target's sneaky tentacles of shopping joy?

Look at the puppy! Doesn't he make you want to buy crap from Target?

Although I must note I'm still a little pissed at Target for giving money to a very anti-gay rights candidate. But that's another story....

Monday, November 1, 2010

Rally to Restore Fear and/or Sanity. A Recap.

This Saturday, I embarked on a journey. A journey that would take me to the heart of DC and Young America's political climate. Interestingly enough, the Rally to Restore Sanity was pretty effin' INSANE. It was by far the craziest I have ever seen Metro or the Mall. People (of mostly healthy BMI) were crammed into every nook & cranny of the area, and then crammed some more. Here's where a little planning & knowledge come in handy.
There's probably 10 million to a billion people there...

1. I left early. Those leaving at 10 in hopes of making in the the Mall by 12? pfffft.


2. Loaded my Smart Trip card a day early. The line for the farecard machines was longer than the line for the actual metro. Also, paper farecards are a pain in the ass. And people were breaking out calculators, trying to figure out the exact change to get to DC. Damn, just put $10 on the thing and get the hell outta the way! I really felt for anyone without a SmartTrip card that day.
3. Went to a less popular metro station. Shady Grove? I can only imaging the pandemonium at this end of the line stop. It was White Flint all the way for me. Parking? $5 to the guy at a shopping center across the street kept my car safe from towing all day.
4. Had brunch in DC before the rally. Why rally on an empty stomach when you can fill up on bacon wrapped sausages with friends? Mimosas to Restore Sanity were served in convenient go sippy cups. This leads me into....
5. Bought sign making materials in advance. In the days leading up to the rally, the stores were running out of poster board, paint, markers, etc. Luckily, we had already purchased ours. Wonderful signs such as: I Am Not A Witch. Your Moment Of Zen, I'd Rather Be Masturbating (actually the most popular sign....,) Mothers Instilling Lifelong Fear and/or Sanity (what's the acronym for that...see? funny.)
 


   The signs really were the best part of the rally. I was blown away by the creativity of the crowd.
6. Cut through the Art Gallery. I know, maybe not to coolest thing to do, but we donated money to offset our use of the building as a conduit to the rally.
7. Had a Backup Plan. The Girl was getting a little tired of the crowd; and my neck was getting sore from keeping her on my shoulders for so long. Luckily, we positioned ourselves close to the IM Pei's East Wing of the National Gallery of Art. We had a yummy lunch next to the waterfall & enjoyed a relaxing walk through.

8. We also had a If We Get Separated, We'll Meet Here plan. In our case it was Oyamel. Eat here. Seriously. Our plan worked out especially well since cell coverage was DEAD. I couldn't even text.
9. We didn't leave immediately following the end of the Rally. Having dinner, then coffee, was a wonderful idea. By the time we made it to Gallery Place metro, it was far less crowded than before.
10. Because a top 10 list is better than a top 9.

The Girl was wonderful the whole time. She was our ticket onto packed metro cars & buses; being the only one who could see the screen, she told us when it said "Cheer!"; and she LOVED the Burning Man Dragon Boat/Bus.

It was the best damn weekend. Ever. But seriously, Starbucks, WTF is up with you denying people Gingerbread Lattes until tomorrow?! SOME PEOPLE had pinned their entire hopes for the day of that latte.

Of well, can't win 'em all!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Quick Word on Going Insane

I sometimes have the tendency to over schedule & commit to too many things. I do this because A: They all sounds like great things to do. B: I can be over ambitious. C: My concept of time must be all kinds of messed up.

Take the next 4 days.

Thursday:
   Work. It's schedule day. I output about 2000 pages of drawings and specs.
   Bank. Before 5 or bad things will happen (my bank sucks)
   School. Mid-Term and I have a whopping 10 minutes to restudy before class.
   Everything else. Bedtime routine for The Girl, eat, prep for Friday

Friday:
   Moving. I have to get everything out of my storage unit THIS DAY. This will involves lots of trips w/ my little car, heavy lifting for this tiny gal, and disassembling some desks so they fit in my car. All in 4 hours.
   Work. Tying together loose ends from the week.
   Shopping. My cupboards are getting more bare than I would like. I have plenty of food, but some fresh fruit & veggies would make everyone happier.
   Socializing. Visiting BMF in the next county so our kids can play and we can relax
   Prep. Getting everything ready for the Halloween party I will be attending. Also prepping for the Rally to Restore Sanity. God knows I could use some freakin' sanity!!! Making an overnight bag for The Girl's stay at her bestest Auntie's house.

Saturday:
   Pre-Rally Brunch. "Mimosas to Restore Sanity" For me it will be simply "Coffee to Restore Sanity" and "OJ for the Girl Who Has to Wait More Than 15 Years to Have a Mimosa to Restore Sanity"
   Rally. I'm not exactly sure how this will all pan out. I'll take pics for you all!
   Dinner. Taking The Girl to meet up w/ my sister & her friends to have a wonderful dinner at Oyamel. One of Jose Andres' awesome restaurants in the DC area.
  Halloween Party. I don't get to see too much of my DC friends, so this will be a real treat. No costume ideas. Might just slap on some fairy wings & call it a day.
 
Sunday:
   Breakfast with the girl; something simple. More coffee
   Trick-Or-Treating! The Girl will be a princess, again. I will make sure to inspect her candy and remove any Kit Kat bars I feel are in excess.

When thinking about time lines like these, I begin to worry about how I'm going to pull everything off and who I'm going to likely disappoint. Somewhere along the line, I will run late, forget something, or have to cancel on someone. Crap happens and The Girl always has to come first. I just have to stop, take deep breaths, and remind myself that at one point, I'll get to take a break and it'll all be ok in the end.

On Monday Starbucks will start selling their gingerbread lattes. It couldn't come soon enough!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Trick-Or-Treating Etiquette

There was a very lively debate going on in the office today: Halloween Etiquette. More specifically on the etiquette surrounding Trick-Or-Treating. Porch lights, Pumpkins, What Candy, Non-Candy Items, Egging, Costumes, Times, etc.

Several things struck me as bah-humbug-y.

1: There were several people who would rather give no candy to anyone than to chance giving candy to teenagers (or worse, parents!) Now, come on, really? No one gets candy if some people don't fall under your superfluously strict guidelines? Ouch. Thank heaven's you're not in charge of a charity!
I understand it might ruffle your feathers when some narcissistic teenager in a half-assed costume rings your bell in hopes of a fun sized Snickers; but don't all the cute little firefighters & witches make up for it? Sure they do. Have a heart.

2. People who don't give candy out, but keep their porch light. Those cute, eager little kids walk up to your door and ring your bell in wonderful anticipation only to be awkwardly let down by your laziness & inconsideration. Those poor little cowboys & girls stare doe eyed at your door, wondering how long it will take you to get downstairs and give them candy. A few moments go by; they ring again. No answer. They SEE YOU sitting, eating chips & watching TV, trying to ignore them. The little kids do the Walk of Shame down your steps. Meanie.

 3. People who give out non-candy items. Pencils? A travel sized tube of toothpaste? Mini-Bible/Book of Mormon/Dianetics? Nasty ass pennies wrapped in plastic wrap? Orphaned crayons? Fridge magnet from whatever small business you run out of your kitchen? WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?!



Then there is etiquette for the Trick-Or-Treaters themselves; and the people who throw it out the window.

We'll give Gavin a break on the costume.
Gwen can come to my door any day!
1. Trick-Or-Treaters not wearing costumes. Yeah, I'll give you candy. But you're only getting one. And I buy Tootsie Rolls just for people like you. Don't be lame, put a little effort into it. Pick up a cheap mask from the dollar store or something.

2. Kids who complain about the candy. Oh poor baby, I gave you a peppermint patty and you had your heart set on a butterfinger? I bet your parents cook an extra meal, just for you. Suck it up. No one's forcing you to enjoy that cool, refreshing pepperminty goodness. Didn't your parents teach you to be grateful. Ok, don't answer that. Tootsie Roll.....

3. Kids who complain about everything else. Don't like my pumpkin carving skills? Porch not festive enough for you? Only two pieces of candy? It took me more than 10 seconds to answer the door? Tough. I need to have enough candy for everyone. You can provide me with super artistic pumpkins next year and volunteer to decorate my porch. Hey, I need a potty break, too. Tootsie Roll....

4. Girls who dress way too sexy for their age. Don't get me started; but it's my opinion that you shouldn't really be wearing fishnets and a dress that has the potential to show your Britney bits while while walking up stairs. Especially if you're 8. Just saying.


You know what's wrong with kids these days? Their parents. Many of the traits exhibited by poor form trick-or-treaters are mirrored in the actions of the parents that accompany them. Mothers sniding about how THEY would put up extra spider webs. Dads lamenting about the lack of Baby Ruth bars in your Halloween offerings. Parents actually encouraging their kids to try to grab extra candy, and to shove the smaller, slower children out of the way. Parents littering people's yards with wrappers & cigarette butts. Assholes.


  You don't think the parents know what's going on when they open their fridge and see several dozen eggs? Or rolls upon rolls of toilet paper and no anti-diarrhea medicine? I know some of you think it's totally hilarious to egg someone's house or car because they had the audacity to give you a pencil (pet peeve, but not really an egg worthy offense.) But unless you're also going to volunteer your kid to come wash their house and de-TP their trees; you're just contributing to the amount off asshole kids in the world.

  Now put on a costume, buy some candy, and have some fun!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Picture Post, Spaghetti Squash & Pleather Pants!

I am by no means a professional photographer; or even an armature one. All pictures are taken with my trusty camera phone. I do wish I could take much better pictures of my food. The pictures never do the meals justice. One day I'll be able to afford a snazzy camera and take a class to learn how to use it!

Trip to the Pumpkin Patch. Heading here every year brings me back to the time when I was pregnant and OBSESSED with eating anything orange or squash related. I plowed through pumpkin after pumpkin. Luckily, I perfected the art of homemade pumpkin pie and all sorts of ways to prepare cold season squashes!


Look at all this plastic pumpkin carving crap!


Mommy & Daughter Pumpkins

I really need to buy stock in Target. I seriously love that store. Our Target is especially nice. Always clean, friendly people work there, and they have a Starbucks. Win. However, lately they've been chronically
under stocked on the things I need, but have all the useless things I don't need. Hmmmm. But they DO have a great sunset!

I had to buy myself a Dora the Explorer toothbrush that day.

Yet, these were a plenty! Because every 4 year old girl needs shiny faux pleather leggings.



I'm a sucker for produce. There are so many wonderful local sources in my area. I live super close to an orchard/farm, close to a huge pick-your-own farm, and within driving distance in VA are the Maple Ave Market & a Wegmans! I've fallen into the habit of buying the veggies without a plan. But I don't mind at all. I get a kick out of looking at my pile o' veg and coming up with a recipe that fits my mood.

Poblanos & cherry tomatoes grown in a coworker's garden. Turned into Chorizo w/ angel hair pasta in a red wine poblano sauce.

All veggies grown w/i 100 miles of my house (except the onion).
NC-17 zuccinni grown at a friend's house.
Turned into moroccan veggie curry.
So tasty; and healthy.

Hmmm, what to do w/ spaghetti squash, tomatoes & peppers?

Spaghetti squash spaghetti!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Two "Clean Out The Pantry" Meals

There are times when I haven't gone to the store, it's getting late, we're hungry, and I don't feel like spending money to order out. These are the days when I'm happy to have a stocked pantry & freezer. Here are two go to recipes, the ingredients for which I almost always have on hand. There might be fancier, far more authentic, versions of these out there; but these get the job done just fine. I'd love to hear how you'd make yours in the comments!

                                             

Singapore Style Noodle Soup

Ingredients

1 square thin rice noodle (They come in convenient 1-2 person blocks at our local intl. market)
Enough water and/or broth to boil the noodles in (Ever boil ramen on the stove? about that much water)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 Clove garlic, crushed (Or garlic powder. I won't judge)
1 Tbs yellow curry powder
A little extra turmeric, because I like mine extra yellow
Salt to taste
1 Tsp grated or chopped fresh ginger, or powder to taste
Splash hot chili oil, bonus points of chili sesame oil.
1 Tbs fish sauce and/or soy sauce
Frozen Shrimp, if you have them!
1/2 cup frozen spinach, optional
Red chillies or chili flakes, optional
Cooked Tofu, optional

Directions:

Get the water boiling with the spices (except ginger). Add the noodles and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add the oil & ginger. Cook until the noodles are about 1/2-2/3 as done as you want them,

Add the frozen peas, shrimp & spinach; along with the fish sauce. Cook until everything is hot!
I like to add drops of this sweet chili garlic sauce to the soup as I eat it. I like it spicy!


Black Bean & Corn Salsa with Black Eyed Peas

Ingredients

1 Can Black Beans
1 Can Black Eyed Peas
1 Can Whole Kernel Corn, or Frozen
1 Can diced tomatoes
1 Cup of Salsa
Spices (I use a combo of Satan's Breath Cajun Blend, Cumin, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Cayenne Pepper, & Oregano)

Optional:

Cilantro
Cheese
Lime
Diced Whatevers (Some people like peppers, red onions, spinach, meats, and for God knows why: carrots)

Directions:

Throw everything together. Heat if you want it warm. Serve on tortillas, nachos, toast, a plate, etc.
Sure, it's a little side dishy, but with all the beans, and if you put it on something, it becomes a nutritious meal!



Monday, October 18, 2010

5 going on 25

Yep, it's good oll holiday cup again

"Mommy, look! There's a Starbucks (she know both how to spell it and it's symbol. le sigh) Maybe we can stop and I can get an apple juice and you can get a latte! Skim, no whip!"


"Mommy, Can I have OxyClean for my birthday? It's tough on stains and brightens whites."




Kissing the Girl goodnight:
"Mommy, are you going to bed now too?"
"No, Honey, I'm going to do my homework now"
"Are you going to watch Dr House while you do your homework?"
"Maybe......"
"And is the person going to be really sick, but they don't know what's wrong, and then they have surgery, and then they get better, and Dr House walks around with his cane?"


The sign proves it. Target sells babies
Another girl at a play date:
"Do you know where babies come from? My mom has a baby in her tummy"
"My mommy says babies come from the girly part of the body, which is near the tummy. But I think babies come from Target"

Car makes a funny sound: "Mom, what was that? "The car made a sound, honey" "Did you check the battery? Or the rotors? Could it be the timing belt? Or the engine? Why don't you just take it to Grandaddy so he can take a look?"

Girl points at almost any furnishing: "We got that from Ikea!"


"I want you to read me more than four stories tonight! How about 8?"
"Four is quite enough for tonight, dear"
"But Olivia's mom read her 8 stories because she did well in art class!"
"Olivia is on TV, not in real life"
"And?......"

"My mommy made chicken soup last night! A fox got into the chicken house at the farm and ate some chickens and their friends we so sad that they died and we had to cook the sad dead chickens or they would go bad"

"Mommy, I don't want you to make sushi tonight. Can't we just give the fish a break?"

"My mommy drinks coffee so she doesn't turn into a dinosaur"

"you know, mom, since we're at the library, it's really close to Starbucks, and Five Guys with the french fries, and the sandwich restaurant (Panera), and the art place (there's a little art gallery close), and Chick-Fil-A, and they're building a Chipotle soon! And they let you bring books into ALL those places! It's perfect, let's go!"


At one of the constant requests to go to a restaurant:
"No, we have food at home; we're not going to a restaurant"
"But moooooom, I want Chick-Fil-Aaaaaaaaaaaa"
"No, we're not spending money at a restaurant when we have yummy food at home."
"But mooooom, if you just go to the bank, they'll give you money for free"

Adventures buying clothes off Craigslist. "Mommy, I really like my new sweater. Is this the one you bought from the guy at the parking lot and he had a lot of clothes in the trunk and you picked out the best ones and gave the guy sixteen dollars?"


In awe at the mighty Wegman's

"Mommy, can we go to Wegmans? It's better than Giant and they have a train, and sushi, and a bread guy who tells me about the bread, and they have lots of fruit, and flowers, and the place where we sit and there's lots of windows and we can see outside and all the shoppers at the same time"....this run on sentance continues until she's described, in detail, every department in Wegmans.

"Mommy, are you friends with (Nova mommy) because her kids has the same name as me or because she makes yummy cheese bread?"







All images belong to whom ever owns them.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cheap (But Good!) Meals! Pantry Staples.

As a single mom on a budget, I have to be careful where I spend my money. I would love to live off Chipotle & Panera; but that would be bad for both my waistline & wallet. Only about 5% (1 in 20) of the meals my daughter and I eat are from restaurants. To make the most of my food budget, I had to cut some favorite items, make some tough decisions, and get creative.
This week I'll cover the pantry/freezer basics.

I wish I had the motivation to put everything in beautiful containers;
but Ziploc bags will have to do.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cat + Computer = Happy

I now have to enjoy my cat's life through the eyes of my friend. After 4 great kitty bonding years, I could not take her with me to my post-separation home. I went back a few months later, and seeing how skinny, sad & mistreated Pumpkin was at the old home, I knew she deserved a better life. After begging on facebook, trips to rescue leagues, home visits, etc; Pumpkin finally found a place at my friend's house with her two kids, three dogs, and lots of yummy mice! After two days of hiding in the laundry room, she adjusted and caught her first mouse. She lovingly place the body on the pillow of my friend's daughter....while she slept. A little too Godfather for me, but we all show our appreciation in different ways!

I'm happy to report that Pumpkin is happy & plump once more. She's even back to sleeping on computers. I miss her, but I'm also happy for her :-)

Monday, October 11, 2010

15 Ways to Get Out The Door in the Morning

Morning routine need a makeover? Always late because you have so much to do in the monring?
Someone smart said "An ounce of evening is worth a pound of morning." So true! I used to run around in the morning, trying to get everything ready. I had to pack lunches, make breakfast, get everyone showered & dressed, find all the missing objects (keys, shoes, homework...) I was going bananas before i even set foot in the office. It can still be a little hectic & rushed, but after some editing of my morning, everyone's a lot less stressed!

Here's some tips that helped me. Feel free to add any tips that help you!


Holiday cups? Already?

Pack lunches the night before. You might think this can be skipped because you fell you can make a lunch in 5 minutes before you leave. You'd be surprised how 5 minutes can turn into 15-20 when you're rushing around trying to bag lettuce and find ingredients. Just pack it and toss it in the fridge. Keep the non-perishable stuff on the counter beside the fridge so you don't forget to throw it in.

On especially early mornings, put little ones to bed in their clothes. This might not work with a high schooler, but for kids under 10, should be just fine.

Shoes by the door, everyday. We take our shoes off at the door anyway. We never have to wonder where they are, unless the cat stole one.

Keep nice shoes at the office, wear "everyday" shoes out the door. I have a collection of "office appropriate" shoes in a drawer at work. I can wear comfy flats out the door & after work to run errands, and slip on the purdy shoes when I clock in. Saves my knees & toes the extra effort too!

Keep a hairbrush & hair ties in the car. Brush during red lights (only if you can do it safely!), have your kid brush their own hair while you drive, brush before you get out of the car, etc.

Pre-bag baggies of cereal. You can do it while you pack lunch. So if you have to run out the door without time for a sit down breakfast, you'll be covered.

Do your make up at the office. You probably already touch-up once you get in; might as well combine both steps.

Shower the night before. Unless you're a sweaty sleeper, this will save you a lot of time in the morning. Getting hit with cold, after shower, air is a lot easier to take in the evening and not something most people look forward to when they wake up.

DON'T check facebook or emails. Unless you're expecting an important message (they should call you instead!) and there's something you can do about it before you reach the office. And why risk getting sucked into 20 minutes of checking your friends' overnight facebook status?

Make a To-Do list the night before. You won't have to pace around thinking of what is was you just HAD to do. You'll also be able to take a fresh look at your items and prioritize.

Keep all papers & kid's homework in one place. Your hall table or somewhere in the kitchen might be good places. If your kid has a backpack, make sure the homework makes it in there as soon as they're finished with it.

Do homework as soon as you get home. You don't want to get up 30-60 minutes early to help the kid with math. Fill out permission slips, too. Don't forget about YOUR homework!

Have two (or three!) alarm clocks. Snooze addict? 5 more minutes turned into 1 more hour? Try doubling up on the clocks, get a puzzle alarm, or one of those sunrise alarm clocks. If your current set up isn't working, try something new.

Coffee pot on a timer. Also serves as an alarm! You'll be more willing to get up & go once you smell some hot fresh joe. Keep your travel mug next to the maker so you can just pour & go. (also keep sweetener at work!)

Friday, October 8, 2010

How a Laundry Fail Can Inspire an Actual Horror Movie!


I try to take great care of my jeans, because 1: It’s next to impossible to find a flattering pair. 2: I only buy jeans I love, so I don’t want to ruin something I love! 3: I would just have to buy more jeans, and that’s a pain (see #1.) So I lovingly turn them inside out, wash them on super gentle in the coldest water possible, with the special super dark Woolite. II toss them in the dryer for only 5 MINUTES; then finish them off on my nifty Ikea drying rack. I’ve kept some nice pairs of jeans around a long time by doing this.

One day my sister decided it’d be cool to throw a load of towel into my jean wash. Totally not cool. I went to change out the load, and when I saw the towels, I must have assumed I only THOUGHT I put in jeans; so I left them there for my sister to deal with. After 2 days I went back down and the towels were still in the washer….and not smelling too great. I did what I felt was best, cranked the washer to high, added the regular detergent, some vinegar and salt and let that baby go! Go domestic me!
As I pulled the nearly sterilized towels from the wash, I made the horrible discovery. Three pairs of my BESTEST JEANS!

Like a desperate idealist ER doc, I tried valiantly to save the jeans. Don’t fade on me!! You’re not going to shrink today!! Not on my watch! I tried gently stretching them, dying them, everything!

So what does this have to do with horror movies??
Well, I couldn’t wear the jeans, and I didn’t want to toss them; so I had to donate them. But to where? Then I remembered my work w/ Habitat for Humanity and how they were collecting jeans during the spring to turn into insulation for the homes. PERFECT! My jeans can live on, helping a family stay warm, and helping the environment. Jeans? Live on? Here’s where my mind starts to wander…

You know those movies where the nice couple moves into a cute old house and they find some creepy doll in a closet? And that doll is actually a memento from some kid who’s family was viciously murdered in the house? What if you bought some totally cute eco friendly home w/ your cute fiancĂ©, and the walls were insulated with jeans…..from murdered teenagers!! We could totally get M. Night Shyamanananana to do this!

Here’s how it goes. There’s this seriel killer out there, and he killed a whole bunch of teens (you know, horror movie teens; the cheerleader, the insecure one, etc); instead of collecting driver’s licenses or necklaces. He took their jeans! But he never paid his storage bill on time, so everything got sold and some guy made them into insulation to put in this green home. Totally plausible, right? I mean, some guy in Silence of the Lambs had a storage unit I think. (That and building homes on burial grounds is so done)

This home's insulation contains more than just thermal energy. It also contains the souls of murdered teenagers!!
The young couple (just starting a new job? Maybe as a reporter??) moves in to the home. They’re all eco conscious and such. Maybe they have a dog. After a week or so, they hear strange noises and weird crap happens. Everything escalates and they feel they’re in danger! They track down the guy who built the house and through usual horror movie reporter action, they discover the jeans’ true origin!

But how could this end? It’d be great if we could end it all eco friendly like, and not do things like burn the house down. How about…

A: Hire a super natural contractor who rips out the drywall and buries the jeans in some spooky cemetery nearby
B: Um…move?
C: Track down the killer and bring him to justice! Find moms of teens and comfort them.
D: You tell me!


Testing!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sometimes it just gets crazy

I only have 20 minutes for lunch today. We are insanely busy at work. Great news for the housing industry!! Bad news for my already tired looking skin. I'll have 8 hours here at the office, 1 hour transporting the girl to her friend's house and myself to campus, 3.5 hours in class, 30 minutes bringing the girl home. I. Am. So. Tired.

I normally don't work on Friday. It's a wonderful day to have off. Everything's open and I have the option of taking the girl to preschool or keeping her out. It's a great day for adventures to Ikea, the South Mountain Creamery, or Sugarloaf Mountain. But last week, this week, and next, I will be working full days at the office. *Pout*

Can you imaging how happy the cows must be to live here?

No one is taking this well. My friends are disappointed I canceled our Ikea trip, the girl is upset she isn't going to the cow farm, and I certainly needed that day off to recharge from such a busy, no good, week. It hurts most that my mommy friends are upset with me. Three or four times in three weeks I've had to cancel because of unscheduled work, late babysitter, or the STBX. My mommy friends have been especially understanding of the difficulties I face as a single mom, working & going to school. But I guess even they have limits. The girl and I will be hanging out with Best Mommy Friend tomorrow evening. I'll bring over some wine & maybe a Starbucks card. Hopefully I can buy my way back into her good graces!


Note:
South Mountain Creamery isn't giving me, or paying me, anything. I just think they're totally awesome.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I Like Old Kitchen Crap

 I've always had this thing for antiques & vintage items. Looking at all the wonderful things in my grandmother's house, the amazing matching set of avocado kitchen appliances and my other grandma's. The way cool, if not a bit scary, retro microwave my great grandmother had owned.


Look at the dials!
Chocolate would melt on top of this thing!

At one point, my grandmother had given my mom her old hand mixer, a GE M24 in white. We made countless birthday cakes, mashed potatoes, icings, with that thing. Sadly, one day my NXMIL (now ex mother in law) borrowed it, and tucked it in her suitcase on her way to New Mexico :-(

Since then, I tried no less than three other mixers. A generic Target mixer that couldn't mix anything thicker than water. A Sunbeam that could do most things, but not potatoes. And a Hamilton Beach that would get way hot if I used it for more than a few minutes.

I'd occasionally go to garage sales, cruise ebay & etsy, looking for my beloved GE mixer. Two weeks ago I had the urge to look on Etsy, just one more time. The stars must have aligned that morning; because on the first page was.....My 1974 M24 GE Mixer!!!! BRAND NEW IN BOX!!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday Randomness

I'm sitting here, blogging on my lunch break. I somehow went accidental vegetarian today. Toast & an apple for breakfast. Chick'N patty & kale for lunch. Will have yogurt for mid day snack. Potato w/ fake bacon bits & more kale for pre-school snack. Maybe I have some meaty goodness in my fridge for my after-school pretend dinner snack.

I've tried the three square meals a day thing. It's soooo not for me. I have about 4 hours between breakfast and lunch. But then I have anywhere from 6-10 hours between lunch and dinner. After lunch I get hungry; really hungry. My blood sugar drops, and I go from sweet go getter to angry murderous dinosaur in no time.
That's supposed to be a butcher knife. Most people don't go on rampages with the number four.
So I usually have a small lunch and two lunch sized snacks before a small dinner. On school nights, I pretty much do nothing but snack. And I keep emergency anti-dinosaur food on hand, like apples, potatoes, granola bars, packs of instant oatmeal.

Some of my coworkers cautiously eye the random potato that usually sits on my desk. What they don't know is that lowly potato is sometimes the only thing in between them and the number four.

(Ok, that's a gross exaggeration. I really like all my coworkers, and my job, and would never think about hurting anyone with the number of the day. But I do get might cranky if I don't eat enough)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chorizo & Chicken Chili

Most of my meals don't follow a specific recipe. I look at what's on sale and what's in my fridge/pantry/freezer. A coworker had brought in some lovely jalepeno & bell peppers, chorizo was on sale, and I had 8 tons of shredded chicken to deal with in the fridge. Hmmmm.....Chili!
Check out the recipe & pictures after the Jump!



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Typical Tuesday

6:00 am
First alarm goes off. A silver double bell from Target. No snooze button, so I fumble & manually turn it off

6:15 am
Second alarm. Cell phone across the room. Stumble across the room & hit snooze.

6:20-6:45 am
All alarms go off. Clock radio w/ two alarms & cell phone. Ok, now I'm up, but I'm not happy about it! Make my way to the little one's room and sing her the "good morning" song. She is not amused.

7:00 am
Get dressed. Nudge, tickle, sing to, and otherwise coax little one out of bed. Luckily, getting her dressed is easy. I pick out all her clothes for the week on Sundays.
7:30 am
Everyone into the car! Bags of cereal, bags of lunch, school work, jackets, sunglasses, cell phone, hair clips. Will forget at least one of these things in most cases.

8:00 am
Drop little one off at preschool. Brush her hair (it wouldn't survive the car ride), hugs & kisses.

8:30ish am
Make it to the office. Open email, get crappy office coffee (hey, it's free.) Wooooorrrrrrkkkkk.........

12:30 pm
Heat up lunch & Facebook/Pay bills while eating.

3:00 pm
Talk a walk, see the sun, hear the wind. Keeps me sane during my fluorescent lighted day.

4:30 pm
Clock out and touch up homework. Print out any needed materials and study for any tests

5:00 pm
Pick little one up from preschool and make way to friend's house across town...at 3mph with all red lights.

5:30 pm
Catch up w/ friend; chat about kids/school/weather/dogs. More hugs & kisses for the little one and I'm off to school

6:00 pm
Park a thousand miles from the school and head to the classroom. Schoooooollllll.....

9ish pm
Snag a tired child from friend's house. She's fed, bathed, and content. But I need a crow bar to pry her away from the toy cars.

9:30 pm
Story time & bed time for the little one. More songs, hugs & kisses.

10:00 pm
Finally, some time for myself. Do the dishes, heat up some dinner and plant myself in front of the TV. Sort mail, do homework, play w/ my Google phone, write notes while watching tv (Rachel Zoe?)

11ish pm
Shower routine, check facebook/email, snag magazine/book and head for bed.

12am ish
Guess it's Wednesday! Sleep.....

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How to prepare for a storm in DC

With Hurricane Earl coming somewhat close to the Washington DC area, residents are preparing for the storm...in their own special way. Here are the steps to prepare for any sort of weather emergency (or non-emergency) in the DC area.

1. Go to the store right after work and buy all the eggs, bread, milk & toilet paper in sight

   Nothing keeps you safe at home like the three most perishable staples from the grocery store. What exactly is everyone going to do with the eggs, bread, milk & TP? Toilet paper scramble on toast? When the power goes out (See #3) I'm sure you'll be really glad to have those eggs & milk sitting in your fridge.

2. Drive REALLY slow. Forget turn signals headlights, & side mirrors. There's no time for those in an emergency!

   The ability to drive must be water soluble. Even the threat of a sprinkle or flurry is enough to grind traffic to a halt. See fit to drive 10 miles under the speed limit as you make your way to the store. As a (hopefully) licensed driver, it is your responsibility to rubber neck as much as possible.

3. DVR all your favorite shows so you can watch them when the power goes out.

   What?! You can't watch TV without power? We're all gonna die......
If you're home is serviced by PEPCO, your power WILL go out. Prepare for the inevitable by DVRing all the shows you want to catch up on, buy extra light bulbs, don't prep a flashlight, and run your car to almost empty. No need for candles, batteries, non-perishable food & wine. If you must buy a generator, be sure to buy the loudest model available and forget to purchase the gas to run it.

4. Don't watch or listen to the news.

   Emergencies are way more exciting when you learn about them just as you leave the office. This will give you just enough time to race to the store, along with thousands of your best neighbors, and agonize over the lack of eggs.

5. Be aware of indoor hazards.

   You may suddenly find yourself with a fridge full of meat and no power during a weather emergency. The DC thing to do here is bring the gas grill inside! Fire Marshal be darned. Nothing says safe like an open flame, flammable gas, and possibly toxic fumes. Generators fall into this category if you want "Carbon Monoxide Poisoning" on your death certificate.

6. Venture outside!

   Clogged highways, fallen trees, downed power lines. What could go wrong? If you follow the above steps, I'm sure you'll need to venture out during the worst of the storm to see if McDonald's is open. That's what Fire & Rescue is for, right?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Walls at Ikea Smalland. Barn or Bacon?

It's supposed to look like a cute barn in the country. Maybe I'm just hungry, but I see bacon.

   I love the Ikea playzone (Samlland) and I have fond memories of going when I was a kid. Oh, the ball pit. Good times.
 The real key is to get to Ikea early and never on a Sunday. Get in as they open the doors and you'll be rewarded with a $.99 breakfast by the giant windows. Kid finishes before you? No problem. They have a nifty kid area where the little ones can watch Wall-E on repeat for hours.

   Top off your coffee and head downstairs for the 10-15 minute wait to get your child into Smalland. BE NICE to the people at the desk. They are the gate keepers. After stickers, stamps, bracelets & buzzers, your kid is in the playzone and you are free! For one hour. But that's plenty of time to hit all the sections better visited sans-child (like the Mirror section or the Odd Cactus section)

   After your hour flies by, you check out your child. There's still so many options. You could browse the upstairs staged areas, continue shopping the Marketplace, grab lunch in the restaurant, or grab a super cheap hot dog after check out. Then spend the next six hours assembling your new furniture!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Maiden Post!!!

This is my obligatory opening post. Welcome to my blog "Making it Work." My goal is to provide a glimpse into me life as a working single mother (and all around nice person!)

Today is my first day of my new semester working toward my Bachelor degree in Construction Management. I also hold down two jobs and still manage to find time to enjoy motherhood & friendships. We'll all see how this turns out :-)