Friday, July 29, 2011

New Books

This may sound shocking, but I don't buy that many books. This is actually pretty radical for a librarian not to buy books, we usually are the kind to haord them. I used to buy books a lot, but then I would read them once and then donate them to Goodwill and it just seemed like a waste of my money.  I check a lot of books out of the library, I mean I am there practically everyday and what we don't have I can get through Interlibrary Loan, plus... I am a librarian I should really use the system that keeps me employed.

Anyway, As you know, Borders is going out of business and although I don't buy books that often I do love a good sale.  So I went in... twice. 

The first time I was really unimpressed with the 10% off.  10% are you kidding me... a whopping $1.60 off a book hardly makes it worth it.  I tried to restrict my purchases to the things that were 40% off like the magazines and the cards.  I got a bunch of craft/sewing/cooking magazines which I put away for vacation and a whole slew of birthday cards for use throughout the rest of the year.  I decided to go back to day.  I picked up a few more magazines and cards, and then I succumb to the temptation and bought a few books even though I don't really consider 20% off to be any kind of substantial sale and I could have done way better on Amazon.

I have wanted both of these for a while and since they were right there infront of me instant gratification won.  I now own muy very own copy of

Sew Liberated

and Bend the Rules Sewing

Pudding Pops

I have the fondest memories of Jell-O Pudding Pops.  They must have been expensive because my mom didn't buy them a lot, but when we did have them, they certainly were the most coveted of all the Popsicles.  Not that I have spent a great deal of time looking, but I don;t think you can buy Jell-O Pudding pops any more.  I heard from one mom that they have something similar but by a different maker.

I thought that if Nate was going to experience a Pudding Pop, it should be as close to the original as possible.  So I scoured the Internet,  found a recipe and made some.

I have played around with making popsicles for a few years.  First I made Nate a breast milk mom-sicle, and then orange juice pops and kefir pops.  I have purchased every cheap-o, dollar store, Walmart popsicle mold that exist, and I have recycled every single one of them.  SO this year I decided to spend a little money and get some real popsicle molds... they were worth every penny:

I bought them here.

As soon as they arrived from Amazon, I washed them, dried them, and made pudding pop!

The Recipe:

1 box of pudding mix
1/2 Cup Cool Whip

Prepare the pudding according the directions on the box.  Stir in the Cool Whip.  Pour the pudding/cool whip mix into the mold and then freeze. (It really can't get much easier).

The Result:  They are good.  Not exactly the same as I remember the commercial pudding pops being but good nonetheless.  I used sugar free, fat free instant pudding this time, next time I will try some of the cooked, non-instant kind to see if that makes a difference.

How does Nate like them?  I don;t know as I haven't actually shared them with him yet... bad mommy, bad mommy!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Have You Ever

This is an old Meme, but fun nonetheless...

Have you ever? I saw this several places, and thought I'd do it too! =)
Bold the things you’ve done.

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland/world

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis -- I don't do bugs!

10. Sang/played a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance -- I was in the ambulance when Nate was transported twice

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching

63. Gotten flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous --Meatloaf... it was awesome!

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one

94. Made a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit -- a class action one but yes

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Under Construction

On April 5, 2010 some tile fell off the shower in our bathroom and we discovered that we had mold.  Time to re-do the bathroom!  We were just going to replace the shower enclosure, but then one thing led to the other and we decided that a whole new bathroom would be the best course of action.  So, we got some estimates and then we started saving the money.  We were working with one contractor for a while but that fell through, so we got more estimates and finally picked a contractor who actually wanted the job.  So here we are, more than a year later and the remodel/renovation/gutting began on Monday... I am so excited.

Here are the before shots (after everything had been taken out of the bathroom)

Please notice all the strange built ins on the wall... like the non-functioning stereo...

This plastic has been on the wall for over a year... the white spot is where the tile fell off...
the brown tile is hideous...

Oh yes folks... we had a bidet (or as Nate likes to call it, "the little sink")

Stay tuned for updates and for the finished product.

My First Ice Cream Fail

I had wanted to title this post "Lisa's Ice Cream" because it was supposed to be about the wonderfully easy, Nutella ice cream that I made, that I know my friend Lisa would just go nuts over.  She is an afficianado of all things Nutella.  However, this ice cream was an epic fail... and I mean it failed so bad I didn't even take pictures.

This is the recipe that I tried, which I found on


Super Simple Nutella Ice Cream
adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini

1 1/2 cups (12 1/3 ounces or 350 grams) Nutella
1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon (14 1/2 ounces or 380 ml) evaporated milk

1.  Pre-freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
2.  Combine the chocolate hazelnut spread and the evaporated milk in a medium mixing bowl and microwave together for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  You just want to warm them up a little to make the mixture easier to blend. With an electric mixer or hand blender, blend until the mixture is completely smooth and homogeneous.
3.  Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Whisk again and churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
4.  Put in an airtight freezer-safe container and freeze until ice cream reaches your desired consistency.


So, I followed the above directions, but since my ice cream maker has a compressor I didn't need to do all the freezing ahead of time. I let the mix cool a little bit before I put it in the machine and then turned it on and let it run for 30-4 minutes. The mix was cold, but it was certainly NOT ice cream. It was cold Nutella, which I guess is not a bad thing, it just wasn't what I was looking for. It was super sticky, almost gluey, and incredibly hard to get out of the bowl of the ice cream maker.

I trashed the whole thing... I will keep looking... I am sure there is another nutella ice cream recipe out there somewhere...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Is Being Anti-Child the Next Big Thing?

This is a rant, I will put that out there right now. 

In the last week, I have read several news stories about certain airlines not allowing children in the first class cabin and this week I read about a restaurant in Pennsylvania called McDains (which advertises "Cocktails and Fine Casual Dining") is not allowing children under 6 into their establishment. Ok, so both are private companies that can make whatever rules they want to.  Ans ok, I can choose not to patronize establishments with rules that I disagree with... however... don't you think we are taking this all a little too far....

I get that not ever child is well behaved when they are out of the house and I get that not every parent is as vigilant as we would like them to be... I'm not always as vigilant as I would like them to be... but children are part of this world, does the fussy baby at the next table in Bertucci's really ruin your meal?  Seriously people... is your cocktail less cold in TGI Fridays because there is a kid coloring at the next table?  Is your big evening out less special because a small person is eating mac and cheese somewhere in the restaurant?  Quite frankly, I don't want to eat next to someone who chews with their mouth open, or who doesn't have very good personal hygiene, or who talks on their cells phones at the table... but no one is making any kind of ruling about that now are they?

When did the world get so Anti-Child?

First the Airline... Malaysia Air has a ban on babies in their first class cabins.  Reason cited... they make too much noise and they passengers, who paid a lot of money for their seat, want to sleep.  Boo-Frickin-Hoo!  I will admit that I am not an avid traveler, however,  as I see it you are paying the airline to transport you and hopefully, your luggage to a particular destination.  The added entertainment, food, drinks, pillows, blankets, etc. are a nice bonus, but they are just that, a bonus.  It is the transport across oceans, etc. that you are really paying for.  If you can sleep that is nice, is does make the travel easier, but it is not a necessity... and it is certainly not what you are paying for.  If you purchased a first class ticket you are paying for the extra room around you (and maybe the added attention of the flight attendant)... but not the extra quite.  You can't sleep?  Oh poor baby! 

Stop being so selfish for just a minute and think about what is must be like to travel with an infant.  All you have to take care of is yourself.  Think of how the parent, who is schlepping a kid around and trying to keep them quite so that you can sleep, feels.  Not only does he/she had to deal with your dirty looks and you quite or, perhaps not so quite judgement, but now they are told that their money isn't good enough either.

Second the restaurant... First of all, if you have the word "casual" in your description, you do not have a leg to stand on baring children from your establishment, just my opinion.  Second of all, lets take the phrase "children under 6" and substitute oh... I don't know... any other group of people... do you think it would fly?  I don't.  Here, let's try it.  Substitute "People with blond hair" or "Protestants" or "People over 65" or... how about this "people without children"  for "children under 6" and see how far the ban goes.

I am more than a little pissed off about these bans. 

We live in a world with all sorts of people, some whose behavior we like and some whose behavior we don't. There are plenty of teens and adults of all ages who behave in ways I personally find unacceptable, but I can't tell every restaurant I eat at to ban rude people... they wouldn't have any clientele left.

I think everyone needs to take a collective deep breath and relax a little bit.  Children have minds of their owns, parents may be exhausted, parents my be lax (I am not denying that some are) maybe everyone had a bad day... maybe everyone had a good day and they are a little over exuberant... maybe we need to stop dictating that everything go the way we want it to and be a little more flexible and understanding.

Not only that but, children learn how to behave in public and in restaurants and on airplanes by being exposed to those places and experiences when they are young.  You ban them when they are little and when you deem them old enough to come in they will have no idea how to behave... good luck with that!    

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Everyone knows about Groupon and Living Social... but do you know about Zulily

Zulily is another site, like Groupon or Living Social that offer special deals to members on brand name products.  Zulily bills itself as "Daily Deals for moms, babies, and kids," but although they do have a lot of kids stuff, they have a lot of other stuff that someone without kids would love, like clothes, shoes, household items, rugs, decor, books, etc.

Just the other day I bought a set of four Envirosax, this set infact:

which retails on for $36.95, for $16.99... that would be more than 50% off, ladies and gentleman... more than 50% off.

Check out Zulily if you are in the market for deals.  I won't lie, I will get money credited to my account if you signup and buy something after following my link... but seriously, these deals are unbelievable... and it is never too early to start shopping for the 2011 holiday season... or Christmas in July... or just becasue it is Sunday... you get the idea....

Friday, July 08, 2011

I love the Muppets

Have I mentioned my undying love of all things Muppet?  Never, you say... really?  Well I do, I love the Muppets... as do most people from my generation I think.  The Muppet Show and all the Muppet movies were such an integral part of my childhood, imagine who excited I was when I found out that there is a new Muppet moving coming out in November!

I was ever more excited when I actually got to see the trailer for it when we took Nate to see Cars 2.  It looks awesome, by the way, and I don't know if I am more excited to see the movie myself or to take Nate to see an actual Muppet movie in the theater.  Anyway, I am excited about all things Muppet... then I found the Muppet Wiki... seriously... a Muppet Wiki... you can check it out here:

It was through the Muppet Wiki that I found out about the Muppet Stars Wars toys which will be released in the fall:

and that OPI will have Muppet themed Nail Polish in stores around Christmas time

I seriously can't wait until November!!!

So, until then I will have to satisfy my Muppet craving with Youtube videos of The Muppet Show.  THis is my all time favorite episode, with Alice Cooper as the guest star:

Produce Outlet Prices

I made a trip to the produce outlet today and even though their prices are up a little bit (what prices aren't up?) it is still a bargain.

6 pounds of carrots
2 bunches of celery
1 bag of limes (about 6 limes)
1 bag of lemons (about 8 lemons)
1 bag of macintosh apples
1 bag of anjou pears (about 6 pears)
3 pounds red grapes

$17 total... I wonder what that would cost me at the supermarket

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Low Carb Baked Tortilla Chips

I am a genius!  Ok, it is not like this is even an original idea, but it is SOOO easy and SOOO good that I had to share.

Last weekend my parents had a BBQ.  One of my dad's friends makes this amazing crab dip which we usually eat with either tortilla chips or pita chips.  Oh the pita chips... I should really not get this excited about snack food, but I do <>.

Anyway, there was crab dip left over which I ended up taking home.  Hubby had hockey last night which meant I was on my own for dinner.  There was really only one choice for dinner and that was the crab dip.  I was planning on going to the store to get some pita chips, but life got in the way and that didn't happen, so I was planning on tortilla chips out of the bag. 

But then it hit me... I could make my own tortilla chips with the low card flour tortillas I had in the fridge.

They turned out great... sort of a cross between a regular tortilla chip and a pita chip with less less carbs, fat, and salt.  Plus they were super tasty and crunchy with the crab dip.

1.  Take two (or more) low carb tortillas and, using a pizza cutter, cut them into wedges. (I cut each tortilla into 8 wedges)
2.  Bake the wedges at 375 for about 10-15 minutes.
3.  Enjoy with the dip of your choice.

P.S.  This method works great with regular flour tortillas and corn tortillas too!