Friday, July 24, 2009

Sandra Lee's Money Saving Meals

A few weeks ago I got the opportunity to take part in a telephone conference call with Sandra Lee, the Food Network host of Sandra's Money Saving Meals and Semi-Homemade. The conference was to promote Sandra Lee's Fourth of July show on her Sandra's Money Saving Meals which aired on June 28th.

My bad.

Okay, so it's too late for you to watch the special but it's not too late to try out her recipes or you could even check out her show which airs on Sunday's at 12 pm/11 central or Mondays at 2 pm/1 central. The premise of her show is that she makes a budget meal one day and saves part of the prepared ingredients for the next days' budget meal. Her 4th of July recipes were for Ale House Burgers with a Red Onion Compote. Her Round 2 meal, made with ground beef from the Ale House Burgers, is for a Ale and Onion Meatloaf. I am proud to say I made them BOTH. On the actual 4th of July, no less. I'm here to tell you that those burgers were delicious. No joke. In fact, they were so good I've made them 2 times since then. The meatloaf was okay, but half of my kids turn their noses up at meatloaf anyway. I try to tell them it's just a giant rectangular hamburger but to no avail. Oh well, you can't win them all.

Speaking of you can't win them all, during the conference call there was no sign of Tyler Florence at all. Again. I keep hoping that some day I'll get invited to participate in one featuring Tyler.

Sorry but if I'm going to talk about my man Tyler, I've got to include a picture. Can that man handle a pepper grinder!

Then again, if Food Network really reads this post and any previous posts about my crush on him then they might be scared to let me talk to him. I promise to be good. I'd probably be too busy hyperventilating to do anything embarrassing anyway.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Within a matter of a few hours, 2 milestones were reached in our house last week.

Last Thursday night, right after bedtime, Jenna lost her top front tooth. It's not her first tooth lost, it's actually her 4th, but there's something about losing those top teeth. When the permanent teeth come in, they just don't look like babies anymore. So while she would wiggle the tooth every chance she got to make it come out, I told her that she was wasting her time because I was just going to Superglue it back in.

For some reason, she didn't believe me. And she was right, I didn't Superglue it back in because I couldn't find the dog gone glue. I can't find anything in this house these days including, but not limited to: the charger for my camera battery, the battery for my video camera, mailing tape-- well you get the point.

But I digress, as usual. I was very sad to see that little tooth laying in the palm of her hand. I lost my little girl last Thursday night.

And a mere few hours later I lost my baby. Emma turned 2. And given my over all melancholy state at that point, I cried.

Her birthday was Friday but for a whole host of reasons I won't bore you with, we had her party on Sunday. Of course, she never knew the difference.

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to.

Emma was crying because I had recently come home with a bunch of balloons and she wanted one. This girl Loves balloons, and yes with a capital L. So being the loving mother that I am, I cut one off and gave it to her.

This is later in the party but apparently the only photo that captured the balloons. Obviously, Emma's lone balloon wasn't missed.

She was a happy girl dancing and entertaining the masses with her balloon.

While Ryan demonstrated his newly acquired Choke Hold on his cousin Adam. Notice that he really does have an audience.

Emma sitting on Uncle Kevin's lap. Holding her balloon, of course.

Happy girl!

Okay, so the cake didn't say "Happy Birthday Emma" but the girl can't read anyway. It was obvious to everyone there the cake was for her. Yes, I am a slacker mom and bought the cake only a few hours before. With the balloons.

Emma's freaking out a bit because she can't quite figure out why I'm holding her sideways and leaning her toward the cake. Therapy in her future, perhaps?

But then I showed her that she needed to blow out the candle. She didn't quite do it but she ended up having fun and the cake wasn't covered with spit. That's always a plus.

Birthday cake makes everyone happy, especially when it's yours.

Am I supposed to eat that?

Wearing frosting in your hair is the newest trend. Keep up people.

And then there were gifts, but her favorite item by far was that stinkin' balloon. At least now I know what I'm getting her for Christmas.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's A Sure Sign That We've Hit the Terrible Two's When...

Emma throws a temper tantrum within 5 minutes of waking up because she wants to drink the remnants of the Diet Coke can on Mommy's bedside table.

It was a lovely start to the day. Thank goodness Starbucks was giving away free pastries to put a bright spot in my morning.

Child's Play

So what have I been doing during my absence? Putting my kids to work, of course.

What mother doesn't dream about her children fanning her with palm fronds? What? Not buying it? I didn't think so. This was the end of our excursion to Crate and Barrel Monday afternoon.

The first part involved my children rolling around on rugs in the displays.

What can I say? They don't get out much.

But they got outside on Sunday.

I was busy rearranging my patio and hosing it off when my children commandeered the hose. What else could I do but sit on my boo-tay and watch. You can thank (or curse, you be the judge) Cody for prompting me to grab my camera.

No, I didn't acquire any children. Some of the neighbor kids decided to join in the fun.

Who needs toys when you have an empty apple juice jug and some water?

Emma's in her own world.


Fill it up again.

Why aren't our jugs getting full?

Nothing phases this girl, not even a hose being sprayed at her.

Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands.

How does the water keep getting out?

** This isn't my usual chatty post, but I'm working my way there. Bear with me.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sometimes Life Gets in the Way

I apologize for my lack of posting lately but in all honesty, right now is the first time I've had free time in about 2 weeks.

My life is crazy right now and not necessarily the good kind. There's the obvious "lots of kids" added to "kids home for summer" but there's more too. There's financial. My income has dropped significantly over the last six months and sometimes it's just hard to process let alone react to. But I think the piece that has pushed me over the edge, so to speak, is having to deal with a bunch of Darrell related situations. One required me to write a letter to Darrell stating how his death has affected me. That letter must have released some latent grief because I had many tear filled days during and after the writing of the letter. I'm starting to feel better but let's just say I haven't my Glass Half Full self.

There were times that considered writing a post letting you all know about how I have been feeling but other then the lack of time, when I did have time after 11:00 p.m., when the kids were all finally in bed, writing about how I felt was the last thing I wanted to do. I'm sorry if I've let some of you down. I do have some things to tell you such as Emma's 2nd birthday (how can my baby be 2?) and Jenna losing a top front tooth. Or even finding Ryan and Gauge trying to wash themselves in the powder room after getting in a wet sandbox. That one happened this morning and it was hours later that I realized "the old me" would have instantly reached for the camera. I just need to find the joy part of me again. I know it's in there somewhere.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Yes Virginia, There Is Life Without Internet

For two weeks I lived without my laptop. No big deal, right? I had a PC upstairs that I could use but it turned out to not be that easy. It seemed like whenever I went upstairs to use the computer, the children took complete advantage of the lack of supervision. Yeah, not a good idea. But my laptop is back, well my old backup one anyway, and there's no excuse now for my absence, right? But what in the world have I been doing? After the first few days of DTs from interweb withdrawal I found some tasks to fill up my days.

1) I Cleaned

Denise say what? Yes, I clean and organized things you probably never expected me to clean. I cleaned closets (didn't I just do that about 6 months ago?) I cleaned out my garage--washing it out with the hose no less! I even, wait for it... cleaned out my----- car! And shampooed the carpet and floor mats! Say it isn't so! All that cleaning was inside so after awhile it was time to get one with nature, but doing it inside because it's hot outside. How did we do that?

What is inside that oval by Ryan's foot?

Why that would be a dried up toad. How did a dried up toad get in my house and meet it's demise on the carpet in front of the piano? And was it alive before it came into my house or died it get carted in dead? Beats me, but I have a feeling I'll never find out.

Yes, that got cleaned up too. But what else did I do?

2) I figured out what my tattoo will be

Julia's friend Anna came home with us from Tennessee so took the girls to paint pottery. While the girl's painted mugs and purses, I painted a bowl. A bowl that turned out so awesome I was beyond thrilled. On the way home I kept talking about my bowl and how happy I was with it that I was so happy I had decided to get a tattoo of it on my back. Life size. And it's a big bowl. I'll be sure to show you pics. I pick up my bowl on Wednesday and then you can be the judge.

3) I redecorated my bedroom

One thing just kind of lead to another with this project. First it entailed Trace's visiting friends from Tulsa helping move my massively large and heavy armoire up to my bedroom from the garage where it had been sitting for a year. I used to be in my Living Room in Tennessee but it doesn't fit here. With the help of a tape measure I realized that it would fit in my bedroom with about 1.5 inches to spare for ceiling clearance.

But getting the armoire in my bedroom meant rearranging things. So I moved my bed to the opposite wall which changed the entire feel of the room. And then, of course, I had to paint.

It used to be a pale yellow (the yellow in my entire house) but I wanted something cosier. This is Mannered Gold from Sherwin Williams line. There's no pictures on the walls yet and I need another lamp and some accessories but I'm loving it so far.

4) I Traveled

First, I flew to LA to see Carey from Life in The Carpool Lane. Of course, you all knew that. That's when I fell off the World Wide Web Radar. That's when my laptop died. But what you don't know is what we did and you haven't seen pictures.

This is Carey and her son Jack at the park. Astute readers of both of our blogs might recognize that she is at the park taking the photos for one of her Tuesday's Tips for Summer Survival posts. These photos were taken on Friday and posted on her next Tuesday post. Apparently Carey plans ahead much better than I do. I usually wait until the night before. Anyway, there are just too many photos to share in this composite post so look for something in the future that goes into more depth. Suffice it to say that it was a wonderful trip, other than the dead laptop, of course.

But I traveled some more. I traveled to Tennessee to get Julia. Two whirlwind days, 18 hours in a car. Amazingly my children traveled pretty well. Thank God for DVD players and Yo Gabba Gabba. Just sayin'. Also thank God for iPods. (Or should I thank Steve Jobs? Whatever.) I listened to the Time Travelor's Wife on an audiobook downloaded onto my iPod. But on the way home:

5) I bought the world's most expensive Starbucks Grande Non-fat, No Whip Mocha
Sure the mocha only cost me $3.80, it was the new iPhone I got because of the mocha that cost me a bundle. I know, I know, I lost you. Let's just say that spilled mochas and Blackberry's don't mix very well. It's sure not like those old Reeses commercials where peanut butter and chocolate collide. Nothing wonderful happens, in fact just the opposite. At first I lost all ability to text and check email (Oh, the horror!!!) and trooper that I am I simply thought "Okay, I don't really need to send text messages." But when my phone started spontaneously making calls on it's own somewhere in Kentucky and I couldn't figure out how to end the call other than taking out the battery, I knew I needed a new phone. Sure, a possessed cell phone is great to have a parties and all but it's not very practical for real life.

So I got my latest toy, which is not actually shown here. This is someone else's iPhone. And mine's not Cingular-- in fact, is there even a Cingular anymore??? Man, that's an old photo! My iPhone is much cooler looking and has my new favorite Application button for:

Who knew watching videos on your phone could be so fun??? From Jon and Kate Plus 8 parodies to Lost videos, one thing just lead to another and before I knew it I was searching for things I never would have searched for before on my laptop. And it lead to my newest obsession:

6) Watching Korean Dramas

Yes people, Denise did go off the deep end without her laptop.

Back when I was sequestered in an apartment/hotel room in Hanoi, Vietnam with a 4 year old and a 3 month old, I discovered the Korean channel on my tv and toward the end of my extended stay I became acquainted and enamoured with Korean dramas. I have no idea what prompted the idea to search for them on YouTube, but obviously I did and before I knew it I found a series for Korea's latest and hottest drama that was shown on KBS from January to March of this year.

Boys Over Flowers

But that's not how I found it listed as. It's listed as "Love Story" on YouTube where you too can find it and watch it in Korean with English subtitles. The only thing is that all 25 episodes are really about 60 minutes in real life, obviously too long for a You Tube video so it's broken up into 6-10 minute segments. I'm currently beginning Love Story Episode 4-1 so I guess I have a way to go before I finish. But that's okay, with no new Lost episodes for another 6 months I need something to keep my occupied. If I have somehow inspired you search for Love Story 1-1 Korean Drama. Keep in mind 1-1 is a bit on the slow side but it really picks up after that!

So, that's what I've been up to. What about you???