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Stuttering Shell: October 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I have a date with my oven tonight!

A good friend of our company, Thayer Masonry, Inc., is coming into town tomorrow for a short visit. Every time he comes to our office, we try to have something nice for him to snack on. The last time he was in town, I had made a carrot cake the night before and brought it in for us to eat at work. He tried a piece and loved it. So, tonight, I'm making carrot cake again; however, this time, I'm making cupcakes and not a "regular" cake. I love cupcakes. I made carrot cake cupcakes last weekend and they were so yummy...I can't wait to make some more tonight.

I got my recipe from All Recipes. I use Pat's Award Winning Carrot Cake's no secret as to why it's called what it is once you taste the end product. It's delicious! The only "change" that I make is that I add some nutmeg...mmm! I also make my cream cheese frosting from scratch and I use the Cream Cheese Frosting II recipe (also found on All Recipe's website).

Just thinking about these cupcakes is making my mouth water!

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Bah, it's Monday!

I don't like Sundays. It means the weekend is over and the work week will begin again soon.

I really don't like Mondays, though. Blech. Mondays just mean the week start over again. It's back to work. The weekend is over. Another day, another dollar...

Of course, it probably doesn't help that I'm sitting here in my "after lunch slump", but's Monday and Mondays just aren't fun.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's crock pot season!

Get out the crock pots, guys and gals...the leaves are falling, the temperature's dropping and football seems to be on the televsion 24/7 (OK, not quite, but still...Thursday night football IS starting soon)..........

It's the time of year to dust off the crock pot and keep it on the kitchen countertop as a permanent fixture for the next, oh, six months or so.

So, tonight I made a roast. I got the recipe from my good friend, Jenn. Here is her recipe:
  • pot roast -- I used about a 3 lb. chuck pot roast (I think that is what it was called)
  • 1 jar of banana peppers
  • 2 beef boullion cubes
  • 1 bottle of beer
  • 1 onion, sliced

Put the roast in the crock pot. Add the jar of banana peppers, juice & all, the sliced onion, the 2 cubes of boullion and the bottle of beer. Cover and simmer on low for about 8 hours.

I did this in the morning before work and when I came home just after 6pm the house smelled delicious! When I cracked open the lid on the crock pot the banana peppers were wilted and tender and the onions were sweet. This doesn't make a really "stew" type of a sauce, but the juices were good! Jenn recommends shredding the roast and serving it on crusty rolls as a sammich. We ate our roast with mashed taters (no, they weren't homemade) and green beans. It was delish!

Next week I'm going to try her other pot roast recipe and add the traditional roast veggies -- taters, carrots and celery. I'll update you guys on that when I make it.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Less envious and more magnanimous...

I think this is going to be my mantra from this evening (well, night) forward. I really need to stop focusing on the negative and the "what shoulda been's" or the "what has been's" because it's really not healthy and it's just not helping me keep focused on the right things. I should be thankful and appreciate what I have. While it may not seem like much to some, it's the world to me.

I suppose that a lot of my insecurities with who I am, what I have become and what I have do stem from some past mistakes. However, living a life filled with regret isn't a way to move forward in a positive manner. Also, living a life filled with envy doesn't help either. I can't necessarily make the evil green envy monster disappear completely, but I can subdue it's appearances and learn to just "chill out."

It's been a pretty interesting last couple of years. Financially we've been tested. Emotionally we've been tested. Psychologically we've been tested. Where I am at the present day is not where I had pictured myself to be, say, five years ago. However, while I may not be 100% completely out of debt or drive a brand new car or have a big house what I do have are two wonderful children, a good husband and a great job. I'm moving forward. I am reconnecting with people from my past who are positive influences on me. I am soul searching and finding out things about myself that I never knew. I am also reaching out to my spiritual side and confiding to God about my weaknesses that seem to be weighing me down.

I think that while I may not be where I would have wanted myself to be by the time I hit my thirties, I at least think that I am on the right path. Less envy....I need to live more magnanimously. I need to take the overbearing negativities from within me and focus that energy onto the positive and shift my way of thinking to a way that shows that I really am succeeding in more ways than one. I'll get there eventually. I just gotta keep the faith.

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magnanimously speaking


it's my new word.


/mægˈnænəməs/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[mag-nan-uh-muhs]
1. generous in forgiving an insult or injury; free from petty resentfulness or vindictiveness: to be magnanimous toward one's enemies.
2. high-minded; noble: a just and magnanimous ruler.
3. proceeding from or revealing generosity or nobility of mind, character, etc.: a magnanimous gesture of forgiveness.

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2 down...

4, technically 5, to go!

Two credit cards were paid off today. Yippee! I'm so happy. Of course, I still have a long road ahead of me, but the goal is to be done in a year.

We've come a long way in two's hoping the next year will be just as successful.


Friday, October 17, 2008

I've got that detached feeling...


This is what I get for swigging a couple teaspoons of Benadryl last night around midnight. I'm STILL feeling the effects of the meds. Crazy stuff!

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

You want fries with that?

Much to M & A's dismay, I have purchased them coordinating Halloween costumes for trick-or-treating this year. I used to be able to get away with this no problem back when they were younger and less vocal.

Halloween 2003 - A & M were a carrot and a bunny, respectively. Malia cried after we took this picture...

Halloween 2004 A & M were a frog and a princess...I can't believe I don't have a picture of this Halloween to share online, but we did get professional pictures taken in their costumes that year (Glamour Shots...gasp!) so I'll have to scan one.

Halloween 2005 they were chickens. A obviously wasn't thrilled to be a chicken if the picture below is any indicator...I mean, he's running away from the camera!

Halloween 2006 A & M were getting in touch with their Asian roots...they are 1/4 Chinese after all. I spent a weekend in San Francisco the month before and visited Chinatown with my family and picked up these outfits for the kids. They love them!

Halloween 2007 was the first Halloween that the kids did not want to dress alike...and it was, I'm sorry to admit, a sort of a rushed, last minute thing on my end because I wasn't on the ball with costumes. But, the kids were fine with the run-of-the-mill witch and Spiderman costumes. Aidan wore his Spiderman costume out and I just recently threw it away.

This year, it's back to the coordinating costumes and I cannot wait to receive the package in the mail. I'm glad I waited because Pottery Barn Kids had some great deals on their costumes. This year the kids are going to be a hot dog and a side of fries. Seriously. I even ordered special trick-or-treat bags...they are shaped like a ketchup packet! Ha!

This picture is from Pottery Barn Kids' website, but it gives you an idea of what the costumes will look like:

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Is there a method to my madness?

I am stoked. I just found a blog that is 100% about Method. I have been buying Method products off and on from Target for a while now. I love the products and love what they stand for. True, my house isn't 100% green or eco-friendly, but I'm on my way. If you're curious, really, give Method a try. They aren't just glass cleaners and laundry detergent....they're (as cliche as it sounds) so much more!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Things that do not suck...

  • pancakes for dinner...yum...they are even better if they are chocolate chip pancakes, but you can substitute a side of bacon for the chocolate chips and all will be right with the world
  • tears of happiness...the kind you get from sappy movies, watching babies being born, etc.
  • my new sweater from Target...the only I probably shouldn't have bought
  • playa del carmen, mexico...get there and you'll see why it doesn't suck
  • good friends
  • good wine
  • good food...I am overdue for a sushi dinner...
  • sunny and crisp fall days
  • holiday smells -- pine, cinnamon, mulled spices...
  • coming home to a clean house
  • being caught up on all the laundry...even if it's only a temporary thing
  • pedicured toes...even though mine aren't always looking their best
  • "boat drinks" in the winter
  • Radio Margaritaville
  • paying off a credit card or two
  • keeping the faith even when times seem tough
  • giggling with your cousin...even though she said, "you need a little more dork in your life."
  • working for family who are your friends and friends who are your family...although this particular thing that does not suck CAN suck at times =]
  • cashmere sweaters
  • my Birkenstock "Boston" clogs -- all three pairs of them
  • old school Dave Matthews Band...RIP Roi!
  • beachcombing on Hatteras Island
  • snugga, snugga, snugga time with the kids
  • fresh baked brownies
  • money in the bank
  • road trips
  • being able to help others
  • being appreciated
  • saying "I love you" and meaning every bit of it
  • my Dyson...because it DOES suck, but in a good way (yes, it's true, they don't lose their suction!)

To be continued...

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Flagrant abuse of commas...

I didn't major in English, so I apologize NOW for my ridiculous use and misuse of commas in my posts. LOL

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Monday, October 13, 2008

It's fall cleaning time!

I hate to clean. I hate it very much. But, I do keep a relatively tidy best as I can do with two kids, three cats, one husband and a full-time job.

I'm excited to say that this Thursday I will have someone coming to the house to do a good cleaning. It's going to cost me a bit more than I was originally expected to pay, but the best part is that she is green/eco-friendly!

I also scheduled a carpet cleaning. I absolutely despise my carpet, but I can't afford to replace it just yet either with new carpet or wood or laminate flooring. So, if I can't replace it, I may as well give it a good cleaning. I have a steam cleaner of my own, but that is just another chore to add to my list, so I called the people at Chem-Dry to come out. I saw their ad at Home Depot over the weekend and also got a newsletter from them in the mail. I haven't had them in my home since 2004 (no, that doesn't mean it's been that long since I've cleaned the carpets...gross...there have been "others" who have cleaned my carpet since then).

So, even though I'm going to be shelling out some cash I'd rather not spend this month, at least it's going towards my home and making it better. And, just knowing that the two companies I will be dealing with have my families health and well-being at interest gives me peace of mind.

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Ooh, SarahCuda...

So, McCain & Palin were in town today. They were at the convention center along with Hank Williams, Jr. (looking very nice in his Redskins jersey...hail to the Redskins!). What I would have given to have been a fly on the wall there. This thing called work kept me from even attempting to get a ticket for today's rally. The newspaper article and pictures online will have to suffice.

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I see your moonie!

Friday night we took the kids out for dinner and on the way home, Aidan exclaims from the backseat, "Look! It's a gibbous moon!"

Sure, enough, it was a gibbous moon -- a waxing gibbous to be exact. Adam and I exchanged a grin and I sat there so proud of my lil' guy. He learned about nocturnal animals and the moon during their Fall Break Intersession...I guess he was really paying attention!!

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Friday, October 10, 2008

One 15 minute phone call to GEICO...

...saved me $1204.00!

I am a happy, happy girl. I called GEICO today to get a quote on homeowner's insurance. We already have our automobile insurance through them and I really wanted to see if we could save money by switching our homeowner's insurance to GEICO.

Boy, did we save!! That's an extra $100 knocked off of our mortgage payment every month.



Being frugal has never been in my nature. Ever. It really needs to be, though. Given the economic disarray that is going on today it is pretty important to pinch & save every last penny you have. Oh, and pennies...that's something this family has a lot of...pennies, not dollars!

I'm always amazed by the people I see on T.V., read about on the 'net or hear about from others who are able to cut back on their grocery bills, save money on household bills, etc. How do they do that?

What are some good resources out there for people like me who love to spend too much and save too little? Is there hope for me?


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Things that suck:

  • My mortgage sucks -- and I'm curious to see what happens to GMAC in light of today's most recent drop in the stock market.
  • My mortgage's interest rate sucks -- yeah, ARM's are bullshit people...bullshit -- seriously, if the economy is do damn cruddy then why is my rate going up?
  • Our finances suck. Well, now we're getting into personal territory that I'm not quite ready to share with everyone on the 'net. But, just like any other person out there I am in debt. Shocker, huh?
  • This headache sucks -- this up & down weather that we seem to always have this time of year is causing my sinuses to go apeshit.
  • Laundry sucks. I love clothes -- I just hate to wash, fold and put it all away.
  • My organization skills suck -- I need "Clean Sweep" to come to my that even on TLC anymore?
  • My paper shredder sucks, so I'll just blame a good portion of my lack of organization on the paper shredder. It's prehistoric.
  • Work sucks. Not my job, but just working for a living in general...sometimes. I want to get paid a gazillion dollars like athletes and movies stars for doing something that I love to do.
  • Snoring sucks -- and Adam does it well.

To be continued...

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PTA membership is paying off

Well, it's going to, I hope.

When we received our PTA cards for the kids' school there was a flyer that informed parents of all the benefits and discounts you can receive simply because of their PTA membership. Lo and behold...T-Mobile offers a 14% discount for members!

Hot dog!

I called T-Mobile yesterday and within 30-60 days the discount should reflect upon my bill every month in the form of a credit adjustment. I'm curious to see exactly what the amount will be since the girl said it would vary from 12 to 15%. I did not ask why. This new discount also changed my billing cycle around a bit, but -- once again -- I did not ask why. Ah, well. I just want the discount. 14% is better than no percent and when you have a family plan (two cell phones and a home phone -- yes, we switched our home phone to T-Mobile's VoIP) the savings can really mean a lot.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How is it October already?

Well, I guess I know how...time flies. Do I need to know why? No, because it just happens. Am I making much sense? Probably not.

I can't believe it's October already. I haven't even been back from vacation a month and it's already fall, a few weeks from Halloween and a month & a half away from Thanksgiving. The year has gone by way too quickly.

Heck, I still haven't even put up a trip report from our Mexico trip! Yikes.