Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fairy Godmother

Okay, she's not a fairy, and she's not my mother, but once upon a time in a land far, far from here when I lived in a little apartment in Georgia, she visited. You see, I am a messie. Piles o paper, mountains o books, boxes o stuff, collections o this'n'thats -- these are the inhabitants of my home. I am much better now than I was then, but I have to be. You see, I married an even-messier messie.

But I digress. Once upon a time... in that apartment in Georgia...she visited. My place was a mess and I was overwhelmed -- not knowing where to start or how to finish. So I went to my first job that day, left that, and went to my second job. Upon arriving home, there was a note upon my door that read:

I prayed today: Please let Tonya find some release from this stress!! Awesomely enough, He worked through me; however even God can't help that Bedroom!

:), Jodi

In this case stress totally = mess. She cleaned and organized Everything -- except the bedroom, as you probably guessed. And it was Wonderful! I was overwhelmed with gratitude. But fairy-godmothers don't visit everyday and sometimes they even move far, far away (like MinneSOta). So I had to learn some of my own tricks. Here they are:

1. Wear a tiara -- mine is from my wedding -- when else am I going to wear it?
2. Wear an apron with pockets.
3. Fill pockets with m&ms.
4. Pour glass of wine.
5. Wear fun rubber gloves.
6. Put on upbeat music.
7. Get to work!
8. If someone rings the doorbell and you decide to answer it, realize that you are wearing a tiara -- whether or not you leave it on to answer the door is up to you.
9. Keep moving!
10. Let m&ms melt one by one in your mouth -- use the hand that's not scrubbing the toilet to get it there.
11. Sip wine.
12. Wear an earpiece so that, should you recieve a phone call, you can keep working.
13. Stay away from the computer!
14. Sing outloud to the music -- and boogy while you clean!

Wish me luck, there's a lot to do before driving to Denver tomorrow to get Miss Sarah!
Also, if you are like me, check out FlyLady, she's quite helpful!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Heaven is a place on Earth

I began this post with a different title:
Get Thee Behind me Krispy Kreme
OR... The Makings of a Behind. Mine, that is.
But when I saw this photo-illustration, well, it just about says it all.

It's true. I LOVE Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Specifically the chocolate glazed and chocolate glazed creme filled varieties. And that's bad. And I know absolutely how bad it is. You see,

I used to make the doughnuts.

Okay, not KK doughnuts, but the very same kind of fried, glazed doughnuts. Oh yes. Back in the summer of '94. What can I say, I was trying to earn $$ for college.

I worked at Pizza Hut in the evenings until about 11:30 or midnight, would go home for a few hours, and then go make the doughnuts at about 3:30 AM. I still love Pizza Hut pizza, too, and believe me, I ate a lot of Pizza Hut pizzas back then.

So here's the scoop: I worked at a 24 hour Winn-Dixie on Fury's Ferry Rd. in Augusta, but there weren't many folks around when I came in. So I'd go back to my little corner of the bakery and get to work. The fryer was noisy and I couldn't hear the piped in music, so I'd sing to myself. I'd sing hymns or tunes from Annie, The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Phantom of the Opera or Nat King Cole --these are the songs for which I knew all the words. Only occasionally did I find I had an audience. One fellow in particular seemed to catch me singing -- he'd come in at about 5:15AM to pick up a dozen or two doughnuts which were scheduled to be put out at 5:25. If I was working, he'd wait and watch me decorate them and chat with me a bit. If the other gal was working he'd go to the end of the aisle where the day-olds were. She was pretty crabby -- and SO not a morning person. Once I caught him peeking around the aisle near the bakery -- he was checking the terrain to see which one of us was working -- too funny!

Anyway, here are a few little pieces of info. on our friend, the glazed doughnut, and his associates:

1) There's no such thing as a doughnut hole, although it is true that doughnuts do have holes. To make doughnut holes, one must cut up the uncooked doughnut dough that is preformed into the doughnut shape.
2) If one tries to apply the glaze too soon after frying the doughnut, or if one slings the glaze-applying trough too hard, allowing too much glaze to come through, the doughnut will deflate beneath the weight of it.

3) Each doughnut absorbs about, oh, 1/4 cup of 100% vegetable oil shortening -- and that's before the glaze goes on.

4) Doughnut holes and long doughnut twists are exceptionally difficult to make, as doughnut products go. Twists are the worst. First of all, they are shaped by hand. They must be twisted just the right way or there will be problems in the fryer. As the tray of twists/holes is submerged, the twists/holes float on top of the oil, absorbing it. Once it is a golden brown, one must quickly and expertly flip each and every twist or hole. If one waits too long (or if the twist was top-heavy or side-heavy), they won't stay when they are turned-- they just roll right back over. If that happens, one must then use one of the long wooden stick-like 'flippers' to turn it over and then hold it there, upside down, to cook the other side. If it is undercooked it will likely deflate when the glaze is applied, and of course, the other side will be overcooked and very tough.

5) Knowing all that I know about them, they still taste really good to me!

Holy Cow! In searching for a photo of a doughnut twist, I found this! It's a website featuring a 60 second video of doughnut-making and a whole lot more. Just look at them floating in the grease! It's a beautiful thing!

And for those of you who enjoy a good parody, check these out:
To the tune of:
O Christmas Tree/ O Tannenbaum
99 Red Balloons
Requiem for a Kreme -- this last one is a silly video some boys made. Skip the first minute thirty or so, and enjoy the rest. Oh, and don't cry over spilled milk, k?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Elephant Guts

I told you I'd tell you about these, and it's perhaps fitting to have a blog about 'guts' when my hubby was evacuating his quite a bit. I'm glad to say he is doing better and able to keep liquids down since about 4:30ish yesterday afternoon. Some people he works with told him that think he has the 48 hour bug that's been going around, but as I still feel fine, I am guessing that it was indeed our Sunday lunch that did it. I know I might be wrong, but if believing that keeps my mind from allowing my body to get sick (because it works that way, you know... okay, SOMEtimes it works that way) well, I'll just go on believing it. Besides, I simply don't have time to get sick right now for the following reasons:
1. I have too much house-keeping to get done before cousin Sarah gets here
2. We have a busy weekend with Sarah planned and I have a feeling I'm going to need my energy
3. I leave Tuesday for Tennessee to stay with my lil' sister and meet my nephew when he makes his debut. Don't want to get her sick! That would be very bad!

So there you have it. But I'm not getting sick anyway, so all is well.

As for elephant guts, here's a photo:

It's something my mom has made for us for years. I don't know for sure if she 'created' it herself or if it is a recipe that has been handed down over generations (I doubt it).
Basically, it's Bisquick mixed with water dropped by dollops into the deep-fryer and then rolled in cinnamon sugar. YUMMMM!! And while they are quite similar to funnel cakes, they are much better! (Doesn't the word 'much' look strange today? Hmmm...)
Oh, and since I'd mentioned it earlier this week, the company casserole I made Friday (or maybe Thursday) turned out okay. Not great, but not too bad. The plain yogurt substitution for sour cream was fine, as were the substitutions of fat free cream cheese and cottage cheese for the full fat versions. I also used diced tomatoes instead of just tomato sauce -- next time I might go half and half. The one substitution I was not so impressed with was the ground turkey. This particular recipe just needs the beef flavor. Oh, and using whole wheat rotini was good -- I may even like whole wheat pasta better than the regular enriched stuff. And as for WW Points, it still turned out to be a 7 pointer. If I'd used ground beef it would have been either a high 7 or a low 8.
So, if anyone out there has good, easy WW-friendly recipes that don't rely too much on mushrooms or a lot of green vegetables (the husband will hardly touch them), then please share! I'll do the same (and I'll post the company casserole recipe when I get back later tonight).

Monday, January 28, 2008

Food Poisoning -- Ick

Just a quick non-post because I was up all night and through today with a sick hubby. Food poisoning from lunch in Denver we believe (all I had were chips and sour cream -- and thank goodness). Poor fella is having a rough time. I'll try to post tomorrow.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sock Monkey, that funky monkey

Well, all the decorations are boxed and stored except one which awaits the load of laundry underway -- hand towels, kitchen towels, holiday pot holders, etc. And we have to lug the tree boxes down, but all the trees are packed (what a chore!).

So it's time to move on to my endless list of to-dos. Tomorrow is a birthday party for the 1 yr. old daughter of friends -- we'll just drop by for a short visit because we then have to drive to Denver to see Scott's band play (Blind Exit). And to exchange Christmas gifts with them. We fully intended to get together before the holidays, but you know how that goes. Then we were going to stop by on our return trip from Augusta, but our flights got in later than we expected, so... we'll celebrate on January 26th. Nothing wrong with that, right?

Since Scott and Laura don't read this blog, I can tell you that we got them the game Apples to Apples. I first heard about it from Carrie and Matt, and based on their raving reviews G and I got it as a part of one of the gifts in the family gift swap (the kind where you all draw a number and the first person chooses whatever gift, then the second can open a new gift or steal person 1s gift, etc). We played it with my family and with G's folks, too, and every time, everyone seemed to really enjoy it. So that's part of their gift. The other part is a really nice wine stopper representing the Ms. Zuiderdam -- the cruise ship upon which we enjoyed a recent voyage.

(Laura in blue, Scott seated, G in the middle, and me on the right)
Below is a photo of the Zuiderdam that G took

Professional photo of Zuiderdam

But before the party, and before our trip to Denver, we must make a trip to Target. You see, I have decided to make sock monkeys for Valentine's Day for my nieces Bridget (almost 2), Katlyn (almost 1), nephew Cason (not yet arrived), and maybe little Ava whose birthday party is tomorrow. I made my first sock monkey this past Christmas for Carrie -- he's an interesting looking fellow, don't you think?

That would be Carrie, sock monkey, and me in front of the Christmas tree in Augusta. He looks a little 'gangsta' if you ask me!

And here is the sock monkey I have had since childhood (I am not sure who made him. Hmmm.... may have to ask mom about that).

But for the little ones, I thought I'd try something a bit less, well... scary. Like this:

A couple of nice things about these little fellas is
a) they are smaller, therefore requiring less stitching
b) they are sweeter, therefore producing fewer scary dreams
c) the socks can be any socks, therefore creating more options

(Here's a precious shot of the nieces with their mommies and Santa watching the choo-choo)
So that's that. And now I must retire to bed. Tomorrow is a very full day! Next time I'll tell you about Elephant Guts! :)
As for the layout, bear with me. It doesn't look this way in preview mode.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Knick-Knack Paddy Whack...

Is it wrong to bribe my kitties into another room to keep them from causing my untimely death? Just for an hour or so? Lately Hans has been ignoring me in the evenings -- which is prime lap-time these days. But my lap has been empty quite a bit. Tinka, on the other hand is all over George -- she's such a Daddy's girl! So Hans, who ignores me any time I would like his company, decides it is his job -- nay, DUTY -- to pounce on every piece of tissue paper that is strown about the living room as I un-decorate. This has created a bit of a situation when I am precariously balanced on a step ladder to get down vintage ceramic Santa's only to step back to the ground which, by the way, is moving beneath my feet. Yep. Hans.

Hans Tinka

And WHY does he LICK PLASTIC? I'm serious, folks... does anyone have a clue? Tinka doesn't do this, but E-v-e-r-y plastic bag, carton, insert, etc. is going to be licked by my boy. It drives me nuts! Last night I was reaching for a plastic baggie of sliced apples (closed with a twist-tie, thank heavens) and it was all lickeyed-up. Yuck! Could there be some kind of dietary defieciency that makes plastic so appealing? Hmmm...

Okay, so on another note, here are a couple things I am really excited about.

1. My little sister is preggers. She's due Feb. 17th, but was just put on bed-rest and the doc says she'll very likely deliver early. I get to go to Tennessee February 5th and stay an undetermined length of time to help out while she's in bed prior to the birth of my nephew and then again after she's released from the hospital with the new baby. I am SOOOO excited! It's the first baby on my side of the family -- YEA!!!

(This photo is from a couple of months ago -- she's much bigger now!)

2. G's cousin is coming here Feb 1-5 for a visit. It should be a lot of fun -- she's an amazing woman and we get along exceptionally well!

3. Frozen Dead Guy Days. That's right. Frozen Dead Guy Days. It's a festival in Nederland, CO that I am hoping we will attend in March -- it honors a man cryogenically frozen and awaiting re-animation. He is currently residing in a tuff-shed on dry ice. It's an interesting story and the festival includes a coffin race and a polar bear plunge, among other things. Interesting, huh?


4. This website:

Items I especially love:

vintage file holder sushinery -- office supplies that look like sushi

Aren't these luggage tags hysterical!?

Too much fun. Too much fun.

Alas, it's back to the task at hand. I hope to be finished re-packing all the seasonal items tonight and then Saturday or Sunday maybe the hubby can help me lug 'em to the crawl space and get out all the regular decor that's been temporarily stored down there. Who knows, maybe I really can have the house in good shape by the time Sarah visits!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Probably won't keep this up...

Okay, so I am pretty darn bad at this whole blogging thing. I just have a hard time justifying spending the time doing it when there is so much else to do. For instance, right now I should be taking down some of the umpteen-million Christmas decorations that are, yes, STILL gracing my walls, shelves, trees, etc. I know... talk about procrastination.

Here's the deal, I put up a ton! because we were hosting the company Christmas party and I wanted it to be festive. I didn't spend TOO much considering all I got. Most was secondhand -- okay, the reality is, most of it was probably like 3rd 4th or 5th hand because I got a lot of it at the ARC (which is like a Goodwill). A few things were bought on Ebay -- but I got it all on the cheap. Most people toss out these vintage Santa's, but I love'em. Anyway, I didn't even put all the decorations out because I ran out of time and because I only decorated the first floor. But now it looks like we're going to be on the tour of homes next year (Yea!) so I'll have to decorate the 2nd floor, too. SO I need things to be extra-organized as far as the way things are packed up this year so it won't take so long to re-decorate next year. It's a big job.

Please believe me, though. We are not hoity-toity type folks. I just really enjoy decorating, seasonal or otherwise, with things I love. I am SO not an "out of the catalog" type decorator. My stuff is quirky, odd, cheap, and individual pieces have more than once been called "hideous." But my mom always says I just have a knack for putting the right things together -- I haven't found the right place for this, though. I might have to recover it. Oh, and it cost $2 to get this chair AND this table at an auction in Iowa. See -- cheap! (Okay -- maybe I'll upload the photos of the chair and table next time. We'll see.)
Let me upload a couple photos so y'all can see what I mean -- then I HAVE to get some of the decorations down. Seriously.

Oh -- and the first image -- yeah, it's pretty much true. I don't enjoy cooking. I enjoy even less trying to alter recipes to make them Weight Watchers-friendly. Long grain brown rice Does Not taste as good as fluffy white rice. It doesn't cook the same and it therefore messed up dinner Monday night. Edible, but not yummy. I'm supposed to alter a Company Casserole recipe George likes but I'm afraid. I've Heard you can sub plain yogurt for sour cream and ground turkey for ground beef and whole wheat pasta for normal stuff. But should one make all those substitutions PLUS using reduced fat cottage cheese and cream cheese in one recipe? I'm skeptical. I'd be happy if I could live on Cap'n Crunch for 2 meals a day; evidently that is not considered a healthy diet. Figures -- it's Easy!