Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween... Pinterest-Style!

Happy Halloween! The candy is bought... but just as of yesterday morning... kind of forgot about that... or maybe I was waiting for a sale... I've heard it both ways... the pumpkin isn't carved... there's really no need to get on that...

When Michelle from You're my favorite today wrote about her (mis)adventures with the squirrels in her neighborhood... I chuckled... because squirrels around here just don't do that kind of pumpkin sabotage.

Everyone has pumpkins out... and I have never heard of that happening in my neck of the woods.

Clearly, the juvenile delinquent squirrels on her street have found out that I read her blog and have decided that any friend of Michelle's is no friend of theirs. The used-to-be-sort-of-cute squirrels in my 'hood... are gone. They have been replaced with squirrels like this:
This looks better...

 This is what my pumpkin looks
The second picture shows the vast extent of my artistic/computer talents...

So... no need to actually carve the pumpkin this year... Here are some Pinteresting Halloween things:

So funny!

Here are some great costume ideas:

 This one is a major award, you know...

Source: via Sally on Pinterest

Rosie the Riveter would be an easy costume to throw together at the last minute... for all those parties I get invited to.... by all my friends... now I'm depressed.

Pretty sure my chunky little Grand Boy could totally rock that biker costume!

But if you had moon boots, ahem... Kati, you could be Napoleon instead!

Pretty sure Wednesday and Thursday will be days where kids learn almost nothing.
Source: via Sally on Pinterest

Bahaha... this made me laugh out loud... and so did this last one... I'm pretty mature...
Source: via Sally on Pinterest

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Risotto, baby.

I love risotto... and I actually love making risotto... it gives me a chance to stand in my kitchen and create a dish that shows my family just how much I love them even though I have to stand over a hot stove for over an hour to create this masterpiece of deliciousness,

I never make them feel too guilty...

Well, that's a damnable lie, but I love doing this for them... mostly because I get to drink copious amounts of wine while slaving away over said stove.
Last week I performed a little experiment. I tried making risotto four different ways. I made a half of a recipe for each method:

1. Oven No-Stir Method
2. Stovetop No-Stir Method
3. Robo-Stir Method
4. Drink-Multiple-Glasses-of-Wine-and-Stand-at-the-Stove-Forever-Stir Method

Here's how it turned out... each recipe started with:
Arborio Rice
Warmed chicken/vegetable broth/stock 
 chopped onions and a small cloves of garlic
1. Oven No-Stir Method

I sort of followed this recipe for Easy Parmesan Risotto from the Barefoot Contessa.

Then I added two and a half cups of hot broth/stock to 3/4 cup of Arborio rice. I threw in 1/4 of a chopped onion and 1 small clove of garlic that I put through my garlic press... stirred it up, covered it, and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
When I took it out, I added the rest of the ingredients but I added 1/4 cup of stock in place of the wine.

I figured I would feed this batch to the Angsty Teen and the wine changes the flavor a little too much for her liking. I added the peas and cheese and stirred for a couple of minutes. It was done.

2. Stovetop No-Stir Method

I melted a little butter in the pan and sauteed the onions for a few minutes. Then I added the pressed garlic clove for a quick minute... then added the rice... 3/4 of a cup... and the 3 cups of broth/stock.

I stirred it, put the cover on, and put it over a lowish heat.

It simmered for about 45 minutes... I didn't lift the lid once! But it was hard to just let it be... it looked like it was boiling dry... and that made me nervous. I didn't want to burn it... but Kati had a friend who told her how to make it this way and she was very clear that I wasn't allowed to lift the lid.

When it was time to lift the lid... I added a little bit more broth/stock and peas and cheese... stirred for a minute and it was done.

3. Robo-Stir Method

First I will tell you as briefly as I can... apparently it is a pretty long story... sorry... how I came to own a Robo-Stir...

About a year ago I was eating lunch with my parents and afterwards I went to get the mail for them. There was a BIG package for them... they were surprised and said they had no idea what it was...

We went back to their apartment and opened one of the three identical boxes that were all taped together. Inside was a RoboStir. Well, three RoboStirs to be exact. (Oh, and three free gifts of the cheapest plastic spoon I had ever seen.)

"Oh, your father ordered that for you, " my mom said. She said he had felt bad that when I made risotto that I had to slave away over a hot stove for such a long time.

The blind guy ordered me something? Really? He read the phone number from the television screen, found the phone, dialed the number, found the credit card, read that number, read the expiration date, read the three digit code from the back of the card, told them his address which he never learned, and ordered this for me? I don't think so.

And whenever I say, "I don't think so." I hear this guy with the pierced tongue from the movie Rat Race saying it. (This isn't that clip, but you get the idea.)

Pretty sure it was his idea... but she had done the ordering.

What was in the other two boxes? Two more Robo-Stirs... and not the original cheaper ones with free shipping but upgraded models... with exorbitant shipping fees added on. Instead of the bill coming to under $20... it was over $85.

My mom was very upset. "We didn't order all of those. It was supposed to be under $20!"

So I called the 800 number... I wanted to return the two additional ones, get credited for all the shipping fees, and have them send me a prepaid label to return the extras... got someone who couldn't help me... so I asked to speak to this person's supervisor to someone else.

I told the guy I wasn't impressed that they took advantage of a vulnerable senior citizen and switched her order to something more expensive.

I told them I was going to call the Better Business Bureau.

I told them that I would make sure everyone I knew found out how they treated customers.

Finally I got someone to say that I could return them, that they would credit the shipping fees, but that I still had to pay the shipping costs to send them back...


I'd made this phone call from the breakfast room because I didn't want my mom to hear me say that she didn't know what she was agreeing to... that she was kind of losing her mind and they took advantage of her.

When I went back to their apartment... I told my mom that that we were returning the extra units and that they were crediting her the shipping fees... but that they wouldn't pay the shipping to send them back or pay the difference for the deluxe version that they had tricked her into ordering.

She thought for a minute and said, "Oh, now I remember ordering the deluxe version... but I think I only ordered two of them."

AHHHHHH!!!!!! See why I said the other day that I have learned to not drive my stake in the ground before I have all the facts... or maybe this is more of an example that you shouldn't believe everything your parents tell you... yeah, that's probably what it is.


Actually... this post is ridiculously long already. I think I will finish it up on Thursday. It's late... and I don't need to write a book here... I definitely need my beauty sleep.

Find me on Thursday when I will tell you about the RoboStir Method and the Drink-Multiple-Glasses-of-Wine-and-Stand-at-the-Stove-Forever-Stir Method... which is personally my favorite.

Are you surprised?

Oh, and I will let you know which method reigned supreme.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Week 27)

Well... I've decided that I really don't like Sundays... or at least I don't like Sunday mornings.

There is nothing simple, peaceful, or worshipful for me and something's gotta change.

I need to create a space for me to put on makeup and do my hair when the Stern German is home. That bathroom can't accomodate the two of us... well, more specifically, it can't accomodate me along with the smells from him...

I'll work on that.

For now I'm linking up with Kati and Kate to bring you:
Incorporating Color

Here's the scoop on my weekend:

The Good:

FRIDAY- We survived the first choir concert of the year.

SATURDAY- The Stern German took me out for a dinner date on Saturday night. Three margaritas later, I was quite mellow.

SUNDAY- The Stern German ate lunch with my parents and I didn't have to eat.

The Bad:

FRIDAY- I had to take my mom to the local ER... after 4-5 hours they sent her home and couldn't figure out what was causing her pain... at least the pain med they gave her helped her.

Also, the choir concert that evening seemed to last forever... but this one was relatively short... However, no matter how long you are there it seems like too long of a time to sit on hard bleachers... and listen to groups that your kid isn't in...

SATURDAY- The Stern German decided to start cleaning windows... they were soooo dirty! It's probably bad that he waited until it was 30 degrees out to do this project.

SUNDAY- My morning consisted of getting reading for church, teaching Sunday school, and going back to pick up my dad for church after teaching preschool Sunday school. But I also had to get my mom to Urgent Care for a blood draw after her Friday afternoon ER stint... and this was all just a little too much... Unfortunately, the day was about to get uglier...

Why didn't I have to eat dinner with my geriatric parents? Well, I sat in the lobby at my parents' place dealing with some of the fallout from Kati's awful situation while they ate lunch with the Stern German.

The Ugly:

After a less-than-ideal Sunday morning I was dropping my mom off at her place after her blood draw... and heading to church where I had already dropped my geriatric, bariatric father off, done a quick bathroom assist, and handed him over to the Stern German about an hour earlier... and my cell phone rang...

It was Kati. That was a little surprising that she was calling as she knew I would be in church (usually) and she would've already finished going to church and would've gone to work out.

When I answered the phone she was crying... and it was hard to understand her. Finally got it figured out that her car had been broken into and her purse had been stolen. Poor kid. What an ordeal.

I am sure this will make the "ugly" of her weekend... We spent quite a bit of time on the phone to each other along with her talking to police and me calling debit and credit card companies.

I have thought that subscribing to a service that would do all of that for you with one phone call sounded great in theory... but had never experienced this kind of ordeal before... so I had never checked into something like that before.

Maybe we should sign up for something like that... maybe someone from a company like that should read this post and offer me a free subscription if I blog about it... Yeah, I know... that's probably not a real thing...

Hope your weekend was better than Kati's...

If you read Janet Evanovich books... I can tell you that people who steal stuff from other people are a lot like those cable guys...

Friday, October 26, 2012

High Five for Friday (Week 26)


That doesn't usually seem like a big deal to me, because my days are all kind of the same... but this week? I'm glad it's Friday... Don't ask me why.... I'm not really sure!

Here are the highlights of my week:

1. Kati!

Last weekend I got to spend a couple days with Kati. I know that, technically, it wasn't part of this week... but I am counting it... because all week I would think about the great time we had and smile.
We were so mature at Sur La Table...
2. The Stern German was light-hearted... and maybe just happy to be home... ahhh... he missed us.

He helped the Angsty Teen redesign her rocket... and it flew more than the required 40 feet... yay!

Then he decided he was going to take up a new hobby... Interpretive Dance with a Rocket.

He shouldn't quit his day job.
Who's not amused now?
Not sure if this video will work... but if it does it's short and kind of funny.

3a. I got to go out with a couple of friends to celebrate one of my friend's birthday.
These aren't all the birthday girl's... or mine... unfortunately.
3b. It was a downtown trick or treat night last night... I didn't have to take any children out in the 33 degree night to go from business to business... These girls I know came into the Mexican restaurant we were at...
Good makeup job.
4. The Angsty Teen's nose isn't broken...
She didn't really want her picture taken... can you tell?

She ran into a friend of hers on Monday afternoon... literally. There was no spurting of blood... no bruising... no crookedness... no cockeyedness... is that a word?

Yes, she complained... because it hurt like a son of a gun. But she is known for being vocal about pain... or tenderness... or ever-so-slightly mild discomfort. So I don't always pay a lot of attention to what she is complaining about. (There goes that Mother of the Year Award... dang.)

But as a parent... or really, just in life, I have learned that about the time you drive your stake in the ground and declare something to be true... it turns out to not be so true.

In other words, I was 99.99999% sure that her nose wasn't broken. But I know that just about the time I  tell her we won't go to Urgent Care... it will turn out, weeks later, that the thing was broken and now would need to be rebroken to be set... story of my life.

So we went to the Urgent Care in the next town over... because I don't have a ton of confidence in our Urgent Care department for things other than basic strep...

And, guess what? If you can plug your nose on each side, one side at a time, and you can inhale through your unplugged side... your nose isn't broken.

I should've Googled that business.
5. We are still eating risotto... yum!
That's it for my week. Hope you have a great weekend.

Find me on Monday when I link up with Kati and Kate to bring you:
Incorporating Color

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Day in the Life...

Two days ago I had a long list of things in my head that I wanted to write about for today... now I can't remember what any of them were! Oops.  Sucks to suck... apparently.

I will just share a little about my day yesterday...

Took my father to work out... that makes it sound so simple...

When I checked back on him near the end of his time, I thought, "Where did he get the sweatband?"
He did a good job of working out!
Oops. Headphone fail. My bad...

Then we went back to his place and we were going to make some no-bake cookies.

See? They look pretty good... No-Bake Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies.

I thought my dad and I could whip up a batch of these little treats in the breakfast room and we could stay out of my mom's hair busy a while longer.

I brought a big bag with oatmeal, oat flour, and all the rest of the ingredients...

Here is the progression in pictures...
He did a great job of mixing... and he rarely licked his fingers... and when he sneezed I mostly got the bowl out of the way!

That big smile of his? Well, that had a lot to do with being happy that he had made something... and very little to do with how those things actually tasted.

His comment? "They're one step above awful." And, they were... just ever-so-slightly...

But when you are really hungry? You will eat almost anything! Actually I think the oats had softened a little by the time the Angsty Teen got home and the cookie tasted better by that time of the day.
So that recipe wasn't exactly one we will repeat... but next week? I will give you some secrets to making some great risotto! This was Mushroom, Peas, and Scallop Risotto. Yum.

I tried making it four different ways...
1. Oven No-Stir Method
2. Stovetop No-Stir Method
3. Robo-Stir Method (Really!)
and my personal favorite:
4. Drink-Multiple-Glasses-of-Wine-and-Stand-at-the-Stove-Forever-Stir Method

On Tuesday I will let you know which method(s) worked best!
Obviously MARvelous

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

That's Slightly Pinteresting...

A couple of years ago the Angsty Teen and I (although back then she was probably an Angsty Pre-Teen) and I went to the Minnesota State Fair to help out at a Minnesota Library Association tent.

While we were meandering a little bit we came across a booth that was selling something called Go Girl!

Saw it on Pinterest this week...

"GO GIRL. Because life's greatest adventure shouldn't be finding a bathroom."

That would be a lot like having a ding dong... which would make me so much more valuable as a person in my family of origin...

But, I don't think I would want/need one of these... because most of my life's greatest adventures right now are finding bathrooms... just not for me... for my geriatric, bariatric father... and he already has a GO BOY built in...

Do you think you would ever need for a GO GIRL for yourself?

I am pretty sure that this is true... especially if you have good aim.

The Stern German's mom passed away a couple of years ago... His dad got remarried to a very nice lady and decided last winter that he was ready to get rid of stuff and sell his house.

With five sisters, four of which show up to claim stuff, and one brother... all of whom have pretty strong personalities... this has been kind of a trying time for everyone.

The Stern German ends of being the one who tries to help the siblings be touch with their feelings... Really? He's the sensitive one? That's a new one. The world is probably ending soon.

Source: via Sally on Pinterest

I like wine... and I like words... so, in theory, this looks like a great game... but, I don't speak French.

Hate when this happens.

This makes me laugh.. hold on, girl...

That's kind of true... except I don't think I would like a surprise party...

Hope your Wednesday is great.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Who? Who?

A while ago I pinned these cute little cupcakes on Pinterest:

I thought they were great... and they looked pretty simple to make, too.

Today I baked up a batch of chocolate cupcakes and since the Grand Boys were coming over and the Angsty Teen would be home from play practice while the boys were here... it seemed like a good time to make these little woodsy creatures.

Here's the basic supplies:
             CUPCAKES!                       M&Ms                   Chocolate Frosting         Oreo-type cookies
Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Classic Chocolate frosting is the only chocolate frosting I use.... so good.
If you are going to do these with small children... or maybe even with just yourself... here are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Oreos or Oreo-type cookies just don't split that nicely... I am assuming the person who made these little buggers scraped off all the little chocolate crumbs to make them look pretty. Seriously? Who has the time to do that? Maybe she just liked off the crumbs... I should've tried that.

2. There just aren't that many brown M&Ms in a regular size package... we ended up with some very creative eye colors.
3. Apparently it is really tricky to get the eyes perfectly lined up.
4. Clearly this little guy had been partying a little too hard the night before...

             We made treats.                                  We ate treats.                        We were in sugar comas.

Yep, I think we nailed it:

So... anything you've tried from Pinterest that has turned out fine enough... but not that great?


I also linked up with Kate With an E: You're Gonna Love It! (But I couldn't find the button.)