Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Fragments - Good bye March

Time to join in with Mrs. 4444 for Friday Fragments.

I'm so glad that this is the last work day of March. After the last two weeks, I hate March. And if you are a crisis, please don't land on my desk. I can only handle so many at one time.

I missed out on the four inches of rain we got while I was in DC. I did get to see everyone mowing their yards now that the weeds grass have started growing crazy. I'm not sure why people with a million dandelions think that mowing them will get rid of them. They just grow back.

I'm super excited about next week. One of my favorite bloggers will be in town for work and I'm having dinner with her. I'm sure photos and stories will be forthcoming.

My patience was very thin this week. I made the mistake of stopping for fast food (something that I only do in extreme situations) and proceeded to order a cheeseburger and fries. Sounds pretty simple right. I didn't ask for anything special. 15 minutes it took from the time I ordered until I got the food. I had to pull out of the drive thru so other cars could go through. A manager brought my my food and I had had enough and I lit into him (in a non-cursing/non-threatening way). He apologized and said they were short handed. Not an excuse in my book. Especially since I saw one employee outside smoking a cigarette and he said he had just gotten back. As a supervisor you suck it up and make sure the job is done. Believe me I've given up vacations because of being short staffed. He did ask what he could do to make it up and by that time I was finished and I said nothing. I won't be back there (eventhough it is close to the house). The food wasn't even scorching hot either.

In good news I got a couple of free redbox codes. I had gotten one off of a Chocolate Cheerios box (if you haven't eaten these, they are tasty) and got a Muppets movie to watch when Whitney was home. It obviously had a scratch so called to complain. They gave us two free codes. So I am getting three movies for free! Redbox has pretty good customer service.

I also made our final payment for the cruise in June. All of our cruise excursions are booked and paid for too. By the time the cruise comes along I won't have to pay for much. This cruise will be one of lots of firsts: zipline, helicopter ride, dog sled, small plane. Less than 3 months now!

Mommy's Idea

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring TV update

Figured it was about time for me to write an update of my tv viewing. A lot of my shows just ended so maybe that means less tv watching. Who am I kidding, I'll just find something new.

Shows that ended

Alcatraz ended last night. Really good finale and we don't know if it is getting renewed. It answered some questions, left some open, and had a death (maybe) so it would be easy to continue but I wouldn't feel cheated if it did end.

Project runway had mondo winning. Since he should have won his season, it was nice that he won. But only four days to create six looks? How about giving them fashion week? I felt sorry for Austin and Michael since they didn't get to do that.

Shows I'm giving up on

The Voice has just sucked this year. Seriously what are these judges listening to? I can hear the off key stuff and somehow they are the ones to be picked to go on. Guess what NBC, you just lost out on the best part of the show...allowing the non-pretty people a chance. I'm done with you.

Shows still on

Revenge just has to be the nest guilty pleasure show. I like that they showed us what happened on the beach. We feel like we are in the know but we get caught up in the twists and turns. It got picked up for a second season so I'm looking forward to where it can go from here.

The amazing race is ok this season. I like the border patrol guys. There cocky but not in an obnoxious way. They are my pick to win this season. Hope they don't lose out like the snowboarders did last time.

Person of interest is losing my interest a bit. Still watching but it doesnt have quite the spark I thought it would.

The chew is on at lunchtime so I tape it. I love Carla! And clinton Kelly is hysterical.

Smash I watch online the next day at lunchtime. Still not sure about it.

Upcoming shows

Food network is going to have another season of chopped all stars. I like these kind of shows because they all have talent and they aren't sniping at each other.

Little known shows

We just started watching unchained reaction. It is from the myth busters guys and two teams have to make A rube Goldberg machine. These people are seriously smart and talented.

Man, just looking at this list I'm tired. Maybe I should go watch some tv and veg out!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Make Your Own Holiday Day

Today is Make Your Own Holiday Day. Did you know there was such a day? I guess this is to let people create their own holiday just in case the multitudes of holidays don't cover what you want. Here are some examples so you will know when they are.

January 20 - Penguin Awareness Day
February 5 - National Weatherman's Day (a favorite at work)
March 9 - Panic Day
April 17 - Blah Blah Blah Day (I think I'll love this one)
May 14 - Dance Like a Chicken Day
June 29 - Waffle Iron Day
July 7 - Chocolate Day (don't you think this should be a federal holiday?)
August 29 - More Herbs, Less Salt Day (say what?)
September 2 - National Beheading Day
October 9 - Moldy Cheese Day
November 21 - False Confession Day
December 19 - Oatmeal Muffin Day

As you can see there are a variety. If you would like to see a complete list, go to this website that lists unique holidays.

So what am I naming today? Today is Cruise Pay Off Day because I made final payment on my cruise. In 12 weeks I'll be sailing the inside passage of Alaska.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cherry Blossom - Lots of Pictures

I'm back home and can now upload my photos so much easier from my cherry blossom viewing. These are fantastic and if you ever get the chance to see them you must.

I've been there before when they were more pink. These were mostly white but so full. Some were already losing petals and I'm afraid one good rain/wind storm and they would be empty. But we lucked out and it was a mild spring and our meeting was just at the right time.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hoochie Mama

I realize I live in Oklahoma which is a conservative state. As I'm walking to my meeting in Washington dc today, I passed a woman in a "hoochie mama" dress. You know the ones you look at and think they are either a "lady of the night" or is trying to spice up her sex life. But this was the daytime and she didn't look like a prostitute. I guess they just wear different things here.

She just better not come to Oklahoma wearing that or someone will ofer her $20 to get busy.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cherry blossoms in Washington DC

I'm in dc for a meeting and the cherry blossoms are going crazy. I'll have a better blog post when I get back home because it is way too hard to upload photos on the iPad.

So here's just a little taste of the beautiful blossoms.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Fragments - Going Blank

How sad is this that I had thoughts of what to write for Friday Fragments all week and now that it is here I can't think of any? So I guess I'll just have to write about all the strange things going on in the world.

Police have arrested a man in California for dressing like a woman to use her medical ID card he stole. He did this at not one, not two but three different hospitals. How observant are the people working at these hospitals to not notice he was a man?

Pinterest can backfire on you. A teenager decided to follow one of those sayings that people post and texted a random person saying "I hid the body". Unfortunately for her she texted a policeman. She was tracked down, arrested and then released after a couple of hours.

A Cape Cod clinic is offering a deal for men who have been thinking of getting a vasectomy. They are throwing in a free pizza so you can veg on your couch afterwards watching basketball.

Did you hear about the 6 year old who made it to the National Spelling Bee? I don't know what child wants to spend that much time studying spelling. Perhaps a savant?

A man sold a cheeto that looked like a seahorse for $28 on ebay. I wonder how much one shaped like a turtle would sell for.

A woman gave birth to a 14 pound baby. 14 pounds! That's like two babies in one body. Yikes.

And so ends today's episode of totally useless weird things going on in the world. We now return to your regular scheduled blog reading.

Mommy's Idea

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Break

Tomorrow about this time Whitney will be coming home for spring break. That means pizza day! I know she has a bunch of things she wants to do while home (shopping mostly). But I have to miss four days of it for a stupid work trip. BOOOOOO!!!

Looking forward to seeing her cute little face and giving her lots of hugs and kisses. Isn't that what a mom is supposed to do?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Reading on my iPad

Ive had my iPad for about a month and am still learning things. I was impressed with the video quality when I've watch Ed tv shows. I've loved sky ping with Whitney. Ive even gotten some aps so i can play games. Yet I resisted reading books.

First let me say I'm cheap. I will not pay to download anything. So movies, tv shows, reading materials had to be free for me to even consider them. I finally found that you could download/check out ereader books from the library. I wasn't sure if I would like it. It see,s the only time I read is on plane trips. Since I was going on a trip next week I needed to figure out if I was going to be able to use the iPad for this. So I tried a book from the library. I had to first figure out what to get. Reading to me is a lot how the cover looks. Can't really do that online. Little pictures. So after cross checking amazon I found a book.

My fears of reading on the iPad were unfounded. I sped through the book as fast as I would if it was paper. The one thing I had to remember was that as soon as I touched the screen the page changed. I'm used to skimming and going back if I missed a word. Several times I had to go back to read something.

So I now have four books for my trip Sunday. Next project...putting on some music so I don't have to listen to the snorers or snorers who always end up sitting next to me on the plane.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Weekend Cooking

So this weekend was cold and rainy. YES!!!! We needed that. So Saturday we made clam chowder. I don't think we've made this for a couple of years. About 10 years ago we went to New England and had good chowder and then we went to the Oregon coast and had more good chowder. Even Whitney ate it then. So we found one of those recipe sites that had "faux" restaurant recipes. The one we liked was Mo's so we found one similar. Of course it isn't as good as the real one since we use canned clams but hey, we live in Oklahoma. It's not like clams are just hanging out on our beaches.

Sunday I had some eggs I needed to use up so I created my own frittata recipe. I searched for different ones but I did make it up myself. It had spinach and bacon in it. I didn't feel like cutting and onion but it could have used that flavor. But it was a good attempt at making my own recipe.

Now we have leftovers of both but it is supposed to be high 70's to 80's all week. I'm not a big soup person with that kind of weather but I don't think it will freeze and keep until the next cold snap (since that will probably be November 2012). And I thawed out some country ribs to make in the crockpot this week. So the meals are taken care of for this week.

Next week...Whitney is home so it will be lots of her favorites I'm sure. Starting this Friday with Thunder Dan Pizza. The best pizza ever (according to Whitney and all her friends).

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday Shopping

I went shopping today. I needed a replacement sweater for the office. Somehow my sweater got a bunch of holes in it on the front. My office is so cold I have to keep the sweater around for year long comfort. So I went to kohls hoping they would still have some. I scored one very similar to what I had. Best part it was 80% off so it was $10. Plus I would get 20% more off with my kohls card. I sent Dan a text saying I found one on sale. He had to laugh a me because that's all I said. Not anything about liking it or a description just that it was on sale. That seems to be the only thing I ever say in my texts when buying clothes.

But I also got a new pair of sunglasses and a pillow for the couch on sale. I only spent $30 which I thought was a good deal

The new pillow goes well with the couch and the accent wall color. I'm starting to understand the neutral thing.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

Another week has passed and time for Mrs. 4444 to let us put together the small bits of our minds into a cohesive blog post. Let the world know our randomness.

It rained yesterday. Some of you may think so what. Well for us it is major news. The drought continues and with it not being cold this winter I'm afraid it will be another record setting heat wave. We need rain as much as possible to replenish our water supply. Otherwise I can see water rationing to start the summer.

With the rain we had a cold front. It was cold and windy. We've been having warm and windy. I couldn't believe how cold I got in one day. Lucky for us after this weekend it will be back in the 70's again.

Spring break is in one more week. You know what Whitney is looking forward to? Doing laundry at home. Every time she does laundry stuff doesn't get soap out, or the clothes don't spin dry enough or the dryer won't dry it all the way.

I unfortunately have to be gone for four days during spring break for a work trip. As much as I want to get out of it, I can't. :( I'm in charge of part of the meeting and I did get out of going last year. But since I'm having to give up my Sunday to fly to the meeting, I'm taking Friday off so I can spend it with Whitney when she is home.

I'm happy that my favorite has made it to the finals of Project Runway. Mondo deserved to win in his season so hopefully he'll win this season.

Have you noticed that some tv shows were made for the DVR? The Voice is definitely in that category right now. I don't care about all the background and made for tv drama. I just want singing. So I fast forward through everything except the singing. I don't know what these judges are hearing either because they aren't doing a good job picking. If it continues I may lose interest.

Remember to set your clocks ahead on Saturday night. I really hate this part of daylight savings time. I was enjoying it being light when I got up for work. Now it will be back into the darkness. Much harder to get up.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce - Crazy Cooking Challenge

I've wanted to do a cooking challenge blog for so long. Unfortunately I don't have enough recipes to qualify for Secret Recipe Club. And then I found the holy grail of cooking challenge blogs: CRAZY COOKING CHALLENGE. Basically once a month people cook the same kind of recipe that they found on someone else's blog and then post about it. You don't have to have a lot of recipes on your own blog. This is something I could do. So I signed up for it this month and was so lucky that it was a topic that I like: Spaghetti with Red Sauce. I have so many good recipes for red sauces but the whole purpose of this was to find something new. I spent a week going over other people's blogs to find a bunch of recipes. I'm still learning how to find food blogs so it took awhile. And then I needed to get Dan to agree to one of them.


Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
The recipe I chose was Mom's Spaghetti Sauce by Isabelle at Crumb. I liked it because it had bacon and ground beef. All of the red sauce recipes that I have don't have any meat so I thought this would be a good change.

Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce
6 slices bacon, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs lean ground beef
2 medium carrots, diced
1 small fennel bulb or 2 stalks celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups dry red wine
2 cans (796 ml each) pureed tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, fry the bacon in olive oil over medium-high heat until crisp. Add ground beef and cook for 10 minutes, breaking up into small chunks with a wooden spoon as it cooks, until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ground beef to a bowl and set aside.
Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic to the pot, and saute for 10 minutes or until onion is soft and translucent. Return ground beef to the pot.
Stir in the remaining ingredients, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.
Ladle sauce onto cooked spaghetti and serve with a scattering of grated Parmesan cheese.
Ingredients (Pinot Noir was the wine)
I halved the recipe because I knew this would make a lot. I was surprised it didn't have any salt in it and the amount of seasoning seemed small but I follow recipes to the letter the first time I try them. We cooked it just like it said (I used celery and not fennel) and then tasted it after it simmered for 45 minutes. BLAND just like we were afraid of. I think we added another teaspoon of basil, oregano, salt and some garlic powder to get it to taste like anything. It had a good consistency, nice and thick. But since we had to add more seasoning we needed to cook it longer so we had to add some water. We like our spaghetti to have the sauce mixed in so we added some to our cooked spaghetti. After putting it on the plates, I added a little more sauce to the top.

The leftovers tasted better than the original, maybe because the flavors melded together in the fridge.

The good thing about this is I found a great cooking challenge and I can't wait for next month's version. Hopefully I'll get better at finding food blogs and I'll find so many recipes I can't wait to try them all! Check out all the great recipes other people cooked by visiting the sites listed below. I know I'll be looking at them!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sonic Sweet Potato Tots

Sonic just came out with sweet potato tots. I'm really starting to want to eat anything sweet potato. I keep buying all the different chips at the store (hint, the cinammon apple mixture ones are good). So when I saw the ad I just got my craving going for these tots.
Don't these look yummy?

On the drive home last night from work I heard the ad. Then I became obsessed about getting some. I kept telling myself I didn't need them but then I thought oh yes I really do need them. Limited time only. No time to wait. So I stopped at the Sonic near my house (there seems to be a Sonic on every block here in town) and ordered the medium size. Prices were not listed but I saw the price for the regular ones so I had an idea. Boy was I wrong. $2.99 for medium. It was $1.50 more for sweet potatoes. That seems a little high. But I didn't care at that point...I wanted my sweet potato tots.

I waited and waited and waited. I was about a minute away from buzzing asking where my order was (they weren't that busy and really how long does it take to fry up tots). Then they showed up. I started driving home and couldn't resist opening the bag and tasting one. YUMMY! Not the shredded potato texture of a regular tot. No this was creamy with a crunchy outside. Just the right amount of salt on them. I ate half the container in the three minutes it took to drive home.

When I got home our neighbor was outside so I talked to him for an hour. I kept thinking my tots are getting cold. (Not to mention the half gallon of milk was sitting in my car). I was more worried about the tots. I finally got inside and scarfed down the rest of the container. Not as good cold but still tasty.

If the price was lower I would have to buy these more often. But I can't justify $3 for my sweet potato fix.

If Sonic would like to send me some coupons for free tots, I'd be happy to take them. Otherwise I didn't get any compensation for this review. Although I will fill out my survey from the receipt to get a free Route 44 drink next time I go.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Weekend Cooking

I knew we were going to cook this weekend because the freezer had been emptied of much of our leftovers (great way to save money). I was really looking forward to it. I posted about our Saturday dinner. We have enough leftovers for one more night of that dinner. Last night we made up a recipe. If you know us, we never do that. We always follow a recipe. We may change it seasoning-wise but we always follow it the original way first.

We had some pulled pork we had made in November with a new recipe that had Mexican flavors. It was so delicious we were going to make enchiladas with it eventually. This weekend was that time. Dan had saved the juices so we could put the tortillas in it for extra flavoring. The pork was just as tasty this time. But we didn't have an enchilada recipe. So we made it up. It turned out ok but definitely not an enchilada. It had the right flavors but didn't have the right sauce. We really need to find something with a sauce. There are only a couple left so only leftovers for one of us.

But now we have a quandry. What do we cook the rest of the week? I bought stuff to make a quiche and I do have one more package of baked ziti in the freezer. Perhaps we'll make the box of dirty rice Dan bought. That would feed us twice. I also printed out a crockpot recipe for country ribs with maple syrup that looked good. I have a batch of those frozen so we could make that later in the week.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Cinnamon Bacon Carbonara

We love bacon. So of course anytime we can cook with it we jump at the chance. We've made this recipe for many years so we love it. It was on Giada De Laurenitis show on food network. We got so many trAditional Italian dishes from her show that are truly delicious. We of course had to make changes since we really don't have pancetta here in Oklahoma. So this is our revised version. We cut it in half so feel free to double it.

Cinnamon Bacon Carbonara

4 slices bacon, chopped
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup grated parmesan
3 large egg yolks
8 ounces fettuccine

Sauté bacon in frying pan over medium heat until almost crisp. Sprinkle cinnamon over bacon and cook until crisp.

Cool bacon. Whisk cream, cheese and egg yolks with the bacon.

Cook you pasta until tender but not done. Add pasta to sauce and cok over medium high heAtuntil sauce becomes thick and sticks to pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This tastes a lot like Alfredo sauce but richer with the egg yolks. The cinnamon adds a really nice flavor sort of like when we add a little bit of nutmeg to our Alfredo sauce. Yummy, yummy, yummy.

You can't go wrong with this recipe. It doesn't take a lot of time to make so it would work on a week night.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Fragments - Saving Money

Mommy's Idea

Time for Friday Fragments hosted by Mrs. 4444. There are a lot of us out in blog world writing random stuff so you should check out the others.

**I've been patiently obsessively looking at cruise prices every day just waiting for a reduction so I can call the travel agent to get money back from our already booked cruise. Monday the price went down $35/person so I called to get that money back. It doesn't seem like a bunch but hey if they are lowering the price I need to take advantage of it. Wednesday the cruise line ran a big "Leap Day" promotion and the price went down a whole lot more. I called the travel agent and after 30 minutes of back and forth between them and then they called the cruise line I was the proud owner of $200 more and also $50 of on-board credit. I did have to pay more deposit money which was non-refundable but I figured that was fine since we are definitely going on this thing. So my diligence paid off and I saved money/made money. I'm still watching until our final payment is due at the end of the month because if it goes down again, I'm calling.

**Every morning on my way to work the radio station I listen to has their stupid criminal file. There are some real winners out there. Today was a 15 year old who got arrested for theft because a woman found him in the backyard stealing a tomato plant. Come to find out he thought he was stealing a marijuana plant. Can't ticket for stupidity but you can send a message to the youth.

**I hear that the cherry blossoms are probably going to bloom early in Washington DC. I'll be there in a couple of weeks so maybe I'll get to see them. In all my years of going there, I've only been there at the right time once. They were so beautiful I can see why people rave about it. Flying into the airport, you could look out the window and see all this pink around the water. Very impressive.

**When I grocery shopped last weekend they had some chocolate covered pretzels that had a rebate form so you could try them for free. Yummy. Especially for free.

**I guess its time to pack up all my snowmen for the year. That creates a problem because now I need to decorate.

**We ate out of the freezer this week so we get to cook this weekend! I'm looking forward to that. The freezer looks a little bare. Only a couple of leftover containers in there now.

Hope everyone enjoys their weekend. The weather won't be quite as warm here as it was during the week (it was 77 degrees and people were wearing shorts) but it still should be lovely. Maybe we'll get the windows washed outside.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Public Service Announcement - Spring Weather

As we are in an unusually warm winter I figured I would do my yearly public service announcement on what to do during tornado season.

1. BE PREPARED - This sounds logical doesn't it but you would be surprised at the number of people who have not thought about what they would do if there was a tornado nearby. People, the time to figure it out is not in the minute before it hits. Know where to go...basement/below ground is best. Interior room with no windows is next best. Do not go outside to watch the tornado. Do not go hide under a highway underpass. If outside get in a ditch.

2. HAVE A WEATHER RADIO - These are very inexpensive and will alert you based on how you program it. Mine I have to only go off during tornado warnings in my county. Working with weather people I sort of know when we have watches so I don't worry about that part. But if you are in a tornado watch area, be alert. If it is night, turn the radio on when you go to bed. It will wake you up if a tornado warning is issued and give you time to react.

3. TAKE PRECAUTIONS WHEN NEEDED - I know people get used to warnings and don't heed them. The National Weather Service has done research on why people don't listen to them and how to word them better. I would say that the local tv stations are very good at telling people where a tornado is on the ground. The maps show you roads so you can see how far it is. I have fallen into that category of not necessarily reacting when the sirens go off but I'm going to take my own advice and do just that. We don't have a tornado shelter but I know where to go if things get bad.

4. DON'T TAKE PETS TO PUBLIC TORNADO SHELTERS - Listen I love my dog just like anybody else but don't take a pet to a public shelter. That pet is taking up space that could be a human. Last year we had so many people crammed into the shelter at work (a perk working here) and so many brought pets that people couldn't get into the shelter. They were putting them in bathrooms and other places. Just think that saving your cat or dog could mean that you are sacrificing someone's elderly mother who is in a wheelchair.

And now for how you can help research on weather get better so you are better informed. There are two projects that you can participate in from your own home. The first is about hail. This project will help radars get better in predicting hail size. You can read about the HASDEX project here. The second is the W-PING project. This measures winter precipitation (of course we haven't had much of that around here). But I know there are people getting snowfall right now and you can let us know about it.

Both of these projects will help future weather prediction. They also employ researchers, graduate students and undergraduate students so its helping the economy too!