Wednesday, July 28, 2010


It is amazing how much time it takes to prepare for a vacation, whether a weekend trip or longer. We are going on a 3 day mini-vacation to camp and canoe this weekend. I have been going over camping lists to make sure I am not forgetting anything, and I always do despite the lists as each trip is different and requires different things to be taken.

This year I was not asked to bring any food so that is one huge or small item I don't have to worry about. I do plan on making some chex mix up for Matt and I to nibble on - at least its semi-healthy. I'll have to go grocery shopping tonight to get the rest of the ingredients and make it. I actually use Crispix cereal instead of the rice & corn Chex. I like the taste better and the kids agree with me on that. I do use the wheat Chex along with honey roasted peanuts. I found a recipe about a year or so ago using a slow cooker to cook the mix in and have found that we really like doing it this way even though the time is longer as it reduces the burned pieces I got when making it in the oven. I also need to figure out what we will be wanting to drink and get all our drinks purchased. I will wait and purchase the ice Friday morning prior to leaving.

Matt put the tent up Monday night to discover some mold on the inside walls so last night he got some cleaner for that. We had to let it dry overnight and take it down this morning due to storms being predicted for this afternoon. Tonight we have to take the futon cover off and get that washed. I do not sleep on an air mattress, but take a futon, which is way more comfortable to sleep on and you never have to worry about waking up on the ground because your air mattress had a hole in it. Another advantage is that if you want you can take and prop it up against a tree and use it for a couch. I would definately keep a tarp or rug or something to put under the futon if you put it on the ground to protect it. We use a waterproof mattress cover on ours to protect it against moisture and dirt. If I know the weather is due to be cold I also take my down comforter with. No reason to be uncomfortable while camping if you don't have to.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I cannot believe how much our garden has grown this summer. In this picture you see the 6+ foot tall pole beans, red cabbages, oregano in the front left corner of the picture and the tomatoes in the back. The white pvc structure is something we built 2 weeks ago after the storms broke and bent the bamboo poles we had used to stake the tomato plants. The heavy vines were just laying across the ground they were so heavy with tomatoes. It was a sorry site to say the least. The vines were so heavy Matt was having problems lifting them all up so I could get the poles in underneath to support them. It wasn't a perfect solution but it appears to have worked and it is supporting the plants and keeping them upright. The huge plant you see on the right bed is the tomatillos. The fruit is really uniquely intriguing, they look like miniature paper Chinese lanterns. The fruit grows inside and fills up the paper like cover. The parsley is in front of the tomatillos, growing over the edge of the bed.
Here's another picture showing the other bed with Roma tomatoes in it. We harvested those sweet red tomatoes after I took the picture. The broccoli plants are next to it and we're waiting the next batch of broccoli after the wonderful first cutting. There are actually jalapeno peppers between the tomato plants and broccoli, but they're hard to see.
Tonight's supper:
Brisket in the crockpot
with fresh cabbage from the garden
quartered red potatoes
and quartered onions
I'm a bit behind on the cleaning chores but not horribly so since I lost a day yesterday due to judging at the St. Clair County 4H Fair. I judge 4H dog agility. Its extremely enjoyable to work with the kids; although, sometimes frustrating. Yesterday was one of those days were it was very frustrating as they kids and dogs were just not ready and I only had 2 that had qualifying scores. The rest I had to disqualify for a variety of reasons; i.e. fouling in the ring, not completing the course, refusing to do obstacles, etc... I have never had to disqualify that many kids since I started judging and it really bothers me. We were able to have a good laugh as a dog jumped on top of the tunnel and tried to walk down the top of the tunnel instead of going through it. I've seen dogs jump on top and then off the tunnel or jump over the tunnel but never walk it - it was a good laugh that we were able to have in the sheer joy the dog was having despite being disqualified.
Chores completed today:
4 loads of laundry (so far)
living room: decluttered, dusted, swept, mopped and de-furred
bedroom: decluttered, dusted, swept, and mopped

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Since Matt was gone all weekend he decided to spoil me yesterday and let me sprawl on the couch and work on the baby blanket while he cooked. I had planned to go to yoga but came home absolutely exhausted, so I decided it would be better to stay home and rest. While I was at work and still planning on going to yoga, I came up with the idea of lettuce wraps since its hot outside and I liked the idea of a light meal. I did some searching and found a copycat recipe for PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps. Never had their lettuce wraps but figured they should be pretty tasty. Matt got the ingredients we didn't already have on hand and prepared the tasty meal. Due to their not liking various thing like mushrooms and water chestnuts we decided to put everything in individual bowls to serve instead of mixing everything together. This recipe was a hit with both Matt and I, but the boy didn't like it. Basically he didn't like the lettuce wrap. I'd suggested a tortilla wrap but only had multi-grain tortillas which are too healthy for the boy to eat. I'll have to stock back up on plain tortillas apparently. My lunch today was leftovers.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Actually I've come to notice that I'm enjoying my weekends less and less. After this weekend I finally realized why, I spent the entire weekend cleaning the house. I'm going to have to work on this issue as I need my weekends to be enjoyable and to have a break from work and that includes housework. I realize this cycle came about while I was working 2 jobs and weekends were the only time I had time to clean or the energy.

Part of the problem this weekend was Matt was working the boat races downtown in Detroit at the Detroit Yacht Club (DYC) and wasn't home for the entire weekend. He works on one of the tow boats every year. He even had a front row seat for the boat hitting the wall. None the less, I don't like being separated from him. I also can't sleep when he's not home so I go into cranky sleep deprived mode - not a good thing.

The boy unit had to work doubles Friday and Saturday night so I couldn't even suggest that we go see a movie or anything. Friday I did go to a BBQ for my friend, Becky, who was visiting from Tennessee. It was awesome seeing her and a really enjoyable BBQ. I got to see another friend, Ralph, whom I haven't seen in probably 2 or more years and catch up with him.

I went to a psychic fair with Matt's sister and then out to lunch afterwards Saturday. It was interesting as I've never had a psychic reading or any other type of reading to be honest. The woman I chose was a tarot and playing card reader. It wasn't a bad reading. The Lover card was the first card drawn showing my partner really loved me - as if I didn't know that - but it was still nice to see in a reading nonetheless. Scary part was that the pregnancy card appeared 3 different times in back to back shuffles. I'm to old in my opinion at 44 to start another family and I'm hoping its none of my daughters (or sons) as I'm not ready to be a grandma yet. I'm hoping its all the pregnant females I have around me.

The rest of Saturday and all of Sunday I pretty much spent cleaning. As it was hot and the air unit isn't working well, I had to take frequent breaks to cool off. Saturday the living room got a thorough cleaning along with the hallway. Sunday the kitchen was thoroughly cleaned. I'd hoped to knock out the bathroom and our bedroom Sunday also, but just got to tired. The boy and I went out and grabbed Jimmy John sandwiches for supper as I wasn't about to dirty the kitchen after spending that much time getting it clean. I think Matt's comment after walking to the bedroom to drop his stuff off and coming back out was "Wow, were you bored or what." He was impressed enough that I received a nice foot massage for my work.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


This morning I grabbed my coupon organizer and all the loose coupons that I have been needing to sort and brought them into work with me. I also decided to try a 4 week trial subscription to The Grocery Game to see if it is worth the expense and if it would help me get better deals. I'll let you know what I think at the end of the trial. Got my coupon organizer straightened up and the coupons sorted this morning and then pulled the lists from The Grocery Game website for my local stores. I also went to the Kroger webpage and loaded digital coupons to my card. Ran down to Kroger at lunch and did a fine job playing the game if I may say so myself. Between sales and coupons I saved $24.94 and paid only $46.85 for $71.79 of groceries. Not bad if I may say so myself. About $4 of that amount was my lunch too. Its definately not the best I've ever done but its pretty good.

I bought 2 deli chicken sandwiches ($1.99/ea) and had Kroger online only coupons (digital) for $1.00 off each sandwich. I only ate one of the sandiwiches, so I'll save the other one for tomorrow's lunch. Still 99c for a chicken sandwhich isn't bad.

Another good buy was A&W Root Beer 2 liter - on sale for $1.00, digital coupon for 60c = 40c.

They had Starkist Tuna pouches (regularly $1.79 ea) on sale for $1 and I had coupons for $1/2 pouches & B2G1 free so I picked up 5 pouches for $3 = 60c each.

Twizzlers (17.6oz) were on sale for $1.49 (regularly $2.19) - $1/3 coupon = $1.15 each


Last night we had a pretty good family time. We went out to Angelo's Avenue on Van Dyke & 15 Mile Rd. I tried their pan fried perch with red skin potatoes - yummm. I also had a bowl of chicken noodle soup for my appetizer (came with the meal) along with a slice of their yummy fresh bread. There were peas on my plate and even though I love peas I don't touch canned grey things. Matt decided to try their Italian combo and he also said it was very good. The boy decided on 2 coney dogs and fries - not adventurous at all is he. Matt and I typically get the polish combo when we get over to this side of town and get the chance to eat here. The polish combo is absolutely delish and sooooooo much food. All the combo plates are actually about 2 to 3 plates of food. I have to agree with the boy that the restaurant is noisy. He seems to have developed an aversion worse than my own for noisy restaurants, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but a rare thing for an 18 year old to complain about. I'm really not sure why this restaurant is so noisy either. He's also started critiquing the food he eats now that he works at a restaurant himself and recently they've been teaching him to cook.

After our meal we went to see Twilight Eclipse, which we've all been waiting impatiently to come out. The boy had to work doubles the whole weekend so we didn't get a chance to go see it. This was my least favorite of the books, but I have to say I liked the movie. In the books, Bella's back and forth emotional roller coasters drove me nuts. I felt like she was playing with both of them and that's something in a female I detest and it actually almost made me quit reading the book. Matt and I also both read "The Short Second Life of Bre Tanner" and would have liked to have seen that incorporated into the movie. For those that aren't as Twilight crazy as we are, "The Short Second Life of Bre Tanner" was written after the original series. Actually she wrote it after the second movie came out and prior to the third one being released. Its a short novella I guess you could call it to give more background on a character that appears in the third book and movie. As for the movie, definitely considered a good movie by all of us.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


The garden is at full throttle with tomatoes growing and baby green beans appearing. I'm dreading the tomatoes ripening as we're going to end up with a TON of tomatoes - I have 13 tomato plants. How somebody that is allergic to raw tomatoes ends up with that many tomato plants I'm not sure plus we have another 4 tomitillo plants. I need to get a food mill, pressure canner, and lots of jars so we can process and can them. We harvested several good size zucchini's and I made my first batch of chocolate chip zucchini muffins. Matt hates zucchini so the fact that not only did he try one but had them again today for breakfast is impressive. My theory is that if you add chocolate chips to something everybody will eat it and like it. We also harvested 3 heads of broccoli. It taste so good. We did up a foil packet adding italian dressing to the broccoli and a couple ice cubes then put them on the grill.

The baby afghan is coming along. I've got about 7 inches completed (planning on 36 inches total). I would have had more completed but last night realized I'd made a mistake multiple rows back and had to do the frogging thing (or ripping out the stitches thing) for about 3 inches. Heartbreaking, especially since I'm on a tight timeline with starting this project so late. The needles I have are double ended hooks and the stitches kept falling off the end when I had the entire row on the hook (this is why the tunisian/afghan stitch is different then regular crochet). I thought I'd been diligent about picking them back up but obviously not. My plan had been to get some polymer clay and make some type of cap on one end but hadn't gotten to it. After frogging back I went on a hunting expedition to find something that would work to keep the stitches from falling off. Matt and I searched and searched and then I found it - a rubber knitting needle tip - perfect!! So I've now caught up with where I originally was before having to frog and hopefully will stay on track.

Supper last night was skillet steaks that I'd picked up on a manager's special for 50% off - they were less than $3 for 6 smalls skillet steaks. Matt marinaded and grilled them. Being so thin these take minutes to cook and would be easy to overcook but Matt's really good about not burning food on the grill. We wanted a light meal so I made a crunchy chinese slaw with asian ginger dressing that I've been wanting to make. Matt liked it and my son hated it. I put chopped green onions in it and my kids hate onions. I put some of the slaw mix without dressing into a container to bring to work today and then put some dressing into another container so it wouldn't get soggy. I also brought my leftover fajita from Monday's dinner out to use that up.