Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Doings and Goings-On

Yeah, yeah. I know. I'm a bad blogger. So y'all can come to my house to beat me up, and then maybe I'll have something to blog about. Deal?

A couple of weeks ago was the graduation of my nursing class. You know, the one I am no longer a part of? It was bittersweet, but I was so proud of my peeps. It is not a job I want to do, but I have personal experience of the hell they went through to get to this point. I couldn't be prouder of them if I had complete the program myself!

I'm pretty sure there was a uniform-burning party after graduation.

Usually, my role in this process is to let my friends bitch about assignments, occasionally quiz them on topics, and especially, talk them down from the ledge right before a test. But with finals, standardized tests and the all important exit exam looming, I decided something else was needed. So, I cooked.

The "exit exam" is a comprehensive test covering EVERYTHING you learned in the WHOLE program, plus stuff they never got around to teaching. It is required that you get a passing grade, or the school won't process the paperwork that qualifies you to take your license exam. Mega important! I figured bringing dinner for the night before the test was something I could do to help.

And so I trashed the kitchen and made mac-and-cheese and chicken enchiladas with Mexican rice.

It was fun, and I felt like I was contributing in a positive way. Usually, I just tell them I think they're crazy and that I'm decorating their rubber room at the asylum. This time, I fed them.

In the run-up to Christmas, I completed a bunch of jobs setting up displays and auditing gas stations. Sometimes on the same day, but not at the same time. Obviously.

Fascinating, huh?

And then Christmas was here and so were Courtney and Clint. Or C & C, as I call them behind their back(s). (Don't tell, k?) So, there was eating, and football watching and more eating. When we got tired of that, we went out. And ate. Oh, and saw a movie.

Today, Stud Muffin, C & C and I went and saw the new Mission Impossible movie. At a movie theater. Haven't done that in forever. Good movie! Then we tried to get into the Cheddar's restaurant at 2:30 PM, but not even a shoehorn and sticks of Oleo were going to squeeze us into a table. So we went to Chili's. And ate.

Clint is watching the TV above my head at the Chili's. I took another picture once he noticed what I was doing, but it was pretty blurry.

I think I'm detecting a theme in this blog post. Anyone else?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Night and Day

Black and white, thin and stout. (That's what it's all about. Ugh!)

So Stud Muffin got himself a new toy serious business tool.

Image by venturebeat.files.wordpress.com

It's called Jawbone UP and it's a combination bracelet wrist band and iPhone application that tracks your steps and movements throughout the day. It also tracks your sleeping time and gently wakes you up by vibrating on your wrist. (We'll see if it really wakes him up!)

I guess it's suppose to make you aware of your activity level and help you get healthy.

In the spirit of tit-for-tat, I got a new serious business tool toy too! Mine doesn't care if you exercise, in fact, it's whole purpose in life is to keep you from exercising!

Check it out!

A doughnut maker, you say?? Darn tootin!!

I was reading a magazine the other day and it featured an article about frying doughnuts at home. As much as I love to eat fried dough, I'm not as keen to actually do the frying myself.

Something about burning down the house. Could be because the time I tried to make Chinese Sweet 'n Sour chicken at home, I melted the slotted spoon in the cooking oil.

Okay, must try not to overfill it!

I got a recipe off the worldwide innernet, and it's not bad! Would be nice with a cup of hot coffee.

I can imagine all kinds of doughnut varieties. These are sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, but I have plans for chocolate frosted ones, glazed ones, pumpkin-spice ones.

After using his wrist band, Studly will be looking like this,

Okay, this isn't Stud Muffin, but it IS my nephew Colton Foley. Hi, Cole!

and I will be looking like this:

Image by ebayimag.com

But I ask you. Who got the cooler toy?? Show of hands, how many people want to use Studly's new gizmo, and how many want to try out mine? Let's be honest now!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waah, waah, waah!

Image from 4.bp.blogspot.com

I can hear the transcontinental whining about the complete lack of posts on this blog. I know, I know! So here is a little update.

First, I want to tell you about a cool thing that arrived the other day. I had done an online survey about cooking spray and at the end, I was asked if a manufacturer could send me something to try. I figured it would be a coupon for a free can of PAM or something.

So the delivery truck pulls up and the man hands out a heavy box marked "glass." Inside was not only a coupon for a free can of "new and improved" PAM, but also a coupon for a free can of Hunts tomatoes, a plastic spatula marked PAM and a 9" x 13" glass Pyrex baking dish!! The mission was to cook my stickiest, hard-to-clean-up dish using the PAM and report back on the results.

Courtney was down for the weekend, and she wanted lasagna, so we had our plan. I'm way to lazy to pre-cook the noodles, so I add a cup or so of water to the assembled lasagna and bake it until the noodles are tender and everything is gooey and hot! Usually, this means soaking the pan before scrubbing it. And then soaking some more!

I didn't actually believe that "new and improved" would really be that much of an improvement, but who am I to turn down free stuff?

So now I am "eating crow", as they say, because that lasagna slid right out of the pan and it almost rinsed completely clean without even using a wash rag!

There you have it! I went into this with low expectations, but came out happily surprised. So go get some "new and improved" PAM, and if you want to do some surveys and maybe get some cool stuff to try out, this is the site I use: smiley360.com End of advertisement.

What else? Okay, why is Stud Muffin smiling like this??

Bad photo from my phone.

Could it be the mountain of the world's best beer-battered onion rings on the table??

Courtney likes them!

We were having lunch at a new restaurant in the "big" town called Cheddar's Casual Cafe. All I can say is...yum! Everything I've tried is delicious. Just look at this chicken salad! I got 3 meals out of it!

Okay, this has been a very food-heavy post! But there is nothing wrong with that, right? I mean, I'm the first one to admit that I LOVE food!

And other than making and eating good food, I have just been working on the never-ending-mulch-project and developing my merchandising business. So I stay busy AND over well-fed.

The End.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


One of these things is not like the others,

One of these things just doesn't belong.

Can you guess which one of these things is not like the others,

Before I finish this little song?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

When multitasking isn't a good idea

My last post was entitled "Multitasking" because I was doing all kinds of other things than just dig-a-hole, plant-a-plant jobs. But sometimes, multitasking isn't a very good idea.

I bet you're wondering what the picture of my feet in a bucket is all about, right? And what's with the blue ice thingies floating in there too? Well, in a very loose way, it's connected to the topic of this post. But we will get to that in a minute.

First though, I finally finished making the diaper cake for the upcoming baby shower.

It took a couple of false-starts to get what I want, but I am quite pleased with it. Thankfully, the hostess of the party, Dancing Daniette, loves it too!

I have done a little couponing (are you bored with these yet?) at Walgreens.

This week, my favorite brand of hair color (I know you're shocked!) was on sale and yes, I had coupons too! So I got this pile of stuff that has a retail value of $63.72 for a total out-of-pocket of $13.22. Plus, I still have $10 in Register Rewards to redeem, so really it cost me $3.22.

Still wondering about the bucket?

The main use of my time lately has been a series of merchandising jobs I have been doing. I work as an independent contractor for a variety of companies who's clients need someone to inventory product or reset displays to a new plan.

I usually have to take photos of the finished job to upload with my report, so these are a couple recent ones.

The pay can range from not-worth-getting-out-of-bed to sure-I'll-take-that-to-slap-a-few-stickers-on-things. I'm kinda liking this self-employment deal since I can choose which jobs I want, and if you live in a microscopic town in the middle of a ton of other microscopic towns, they often will offer a bonus for jobs that are overdue.

Apparently, there is a great need for merchandisers in my area, because I get calls almost every morning asking me to take a job. If it works for me and I'm going to be in the area anyway, I'll try to negotiate more money and take the job. And I have been taking a lot of jobs recently, which accounts for the multitasking boo boo and the bucket.

So, I get home one afternoon from doing a couple of far-flung jobs and take the dogs out for a run. I had noticed previously that the weeds around the creek crossings were really out of control and I needed to cut them down, so I dressed in gardening clothes and brought the hedge trimmer and loppers with me.


The job turned out to be a lot more than I even knew, and with each pass of the trimmers, I had to step further out on the rocks to reach the next layer of saplings. And even though I had on shoes and socks (a big concession in the heat we were having!) the dang chiggers got me! Bad!

After with tired canine helper.

If you remember, I had a run in with those invisible buggers here and swore they would never get me again. Well, never is a long time, I'm old and forgetful and they did get me again.

In my defense, we have had such a hot, dry summer (I don't think we got any rain for most of July and all of August) that I figured the chiggers had all dried up. When I went blackberry picking this spring, I dressed for bear and nearly passed out from heat strike. But that is when the chiggers are at the worst, so I did it. Every time!

So the bucket photo is of me soaking my incredibly itchy feet at about 2 AM. The blue ice is because my ice maker couldn't keep up with my demand for frozen water for the ice bag and bucket and I was beyond desperate!

There really is nothing worse that flying out of bed with your feet on fire and then plunging them into ice water at least 4 times a night. The poor dogs got snapped at if they stood between me and the bucket. And I'm sure everyone appreciated me rattling the ice bag into position under the bed covers all night long.

So, multitasking can lead to chigger bites and sleep deprivation. That in turn can cause you to bake a frozen pizza with the cardboard still underneath. I'm just guessing here. Not that I would actually do that!

But the worst of it is over and it took less than two weeks! I am now at the itchy scab state, but I assure you that is much, much better than it was.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I've been practicing my juggling lately. No, I don't toss fruit and chain saws into the air and deftly catch them. But I have added some variety to the never-ending-mulch-project. Don't worry, the planting and mulching continue. I know how much it means to you!

The garden continues to give me an abundance of veggies. Usually all at one time. In other words, I get overrun with one type and have to eat until it's coming out my ears. Not a good look on me, I gotta tell you!

Remember this bowl of cucumbers?

Yes, I know here are some peppers in there too!

Well, I picked another bowl-full and then wondered what to do with them all. So, I made pickles. Even two bowls of cucumbers isn't really enough to do a full batch of pickles, so I split them up and made two small batches of different flavors. This way, I didn't have to haul out the large canning kettle to process them.

I fully intended to take awesome pictures of the step-by-step (okay, I realize that my photos generally suck!) but I got caught up in the boiling and sterilizing and timing. So this is what I have to show you:

Slice your rapidly over-ripening cucumbers and sprinkle with salt to draw out some of the moisture. Let these sit for 24 hours, or until you forget that the camera is sitting right next to the bowls.

The bowl on the left has sliced onions in it and is destined to become curried pickles, the bowl on the right is onion-less and will be lemon flavored.

Okay, after you salt and wait on the cucumbers, you rinse, drain and repeat to get rid of all the salt. The rest of the recipes go like this:

Stolen from www.evaluationtoolkit.org

After using every pot in the house...Ta Da!

Four pints of lemon pickles in the front and two quarts of curry pickles in the back. Oh! And if you really want to clear your sinuses, try boiling sugar, vinegar and curry powder together until it boils over and makes a sticky mess! Roto-Rooter you right out!!

And the yellow enamel bowl? Already filled up with red bell peppers. Wonder what I'll figure out to do with these?

What else?

The couponing has slowed down some. I'm not finding many good deals except on products that I have quite a stockpile of already. But I did get this little pile at Walgreens.

The retail value of this tiny pile is $101.95, but with sale prices, coupons and Register Rewards, I only spent $26.55 out-of-pocket. I even got 2 boxes of a supplement that might help me with the womanly power surges I have been (starting) to experience!

I am going to a baby shower for a nursing-school classmate at the end of the month. One of the hostesses asked me to make a diaper cake from some diapers she bought. So far, all I have done is roll itty-bitty nappies and place clear elastic bands around them. I can't believe my children ever wore such little pants!!

Well, I will keep you updated on my cake progress!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The heat goes on....

I wish I could report something new and improved going on, but I really can't. Even the weather is same ole, same ole. Hot and humid. Really hot. Crotch-pot cooking kinda hot!

But work continues around the property even if the weather tries to beat me down. Time to finish the backyard. I re-worked the areas up against the porch as my very first project this year. Back when there was rain and cool temperatures. At least I think it was this year! Seems so long ago.

Anyway, I have been on a buying spree, snapping up clearance-priced shrubs all around town. Of course, every time I think I MUST have enough to fill in the landscaping holes, I find it isn't near enough! *Sigh*

At last count, I had about 20 hydrangeas, 18 azaleas, 6 pieris and 40 hostas in my "nursery." Anyone want to help me plant? Anyone?? *Tap, Tap* Is this thing on??

I started digging in plants and quickly found that the ground was hard as concrete! And a 50 (mmmble) year old woman swinging a pickaxe in 95 degree heat isn't a pretty sight, let me tell you! But Stud Muffin came to the rescue. Not by using the pickaxe for me, but with a great idea to deep water the area the night before so that the water perks down and softens up the dirt without being a soggy mess! Thanks Studly!

Stud Muffin the dog whisperer! Or maybe Nick is giving him mouth-to-mouth. I'm not sure.

Slowly (very slowly) the shrubs go in and the weed barrier gets put down.

Just today, I got the mulch spread in the first section. I must say I feel quite satisfied, considering how ding-dang hard it was to get this far!

What a beautiful, mulch-moving tractor! I couldn't do it without you!

I have about 4 times as long as this section still to do, so I guess I will be gainfully employed with my shovel and pitchfork for a while longer.

The vegetable garden looks ratty and weedy but is still producing like crazy. Our daily routine involves checking on the tomatoes and other veggies first thing in the morning with the dogs and then doing it again after dinner. Nick just wants to know who has been in his yard, but Sassy loves to eat the tomato hornworms I find on the plants! Personally, I could never get into eating anything that has lime green innards. She's is also hoping for a fresh tomato or cucumber to go with her worms!

At last night's veggie check, I realized that I desperately needed to harvest cucumbers and bell peppers. Check it out!

You can't tell from this picture, but this is a huge bowl! Probably holds two gallons if I filled it with water. I better get out my pickling recipes soon and get prepared to can some of these up.

Sadly, the orchard is completely bare of any kind fruit. The *&%^@#$ squirrels have eaten or wrecked every apple and pear on every tree! Wish I liked roast squirrel. I'd be sure to get some well-fed ones, plus they could roast outside in the heat!