Sunday, November 30, 2008

Weighty matters part 2

Just thought I'd give you guys a heads up on the weight battle: as of this morning, I'm down 14 pounds! There's just one problem: I don't feel it.

I was totally feeling it 3 weeks ago. All of my clothes felt looser. I was fitting in some things I haven't worn for years. I thought I was looking good. But now. . .I feel like I always have. The number on the scale, instead of sounding astounding, looks too big again. It seems so unbelievable that I really was so big, so the numbers up there now are my new big.

I know what a big part of this problem is: I've been sick for the last 3 weeks. I haven't been exercising much, since any aerobic makes me cough up a lung, and the other stuff just doesn't feel like real exercising. I'm one of those people that feels like if I'm not sweating and panting, I'm not really working (I know it's not true, and my body's stiff the next day, so I know it does work, but still). I'm at my high school weight (I think. I'm waiting until I go to my mom's and use her super accurate scale to be for sure). Loosing one pound will put me in another 10's digit, one I haven't seen since a few months after my wedding. I just need to get my brain in gear, and start feeling great about my success!

My Mommy face

Do you remember that commercial from way back when? It started with a wife sitting at the breakfast table. The husband comes in.
"How could you?" She asks in horror. "Did you think I wouldn't find out?"
The husband looks worried and starts apologizing for EVERYTHING
"I'm sorry I lost my job, but I promise I'll look for another one soon"
"But Honey, a cubic zirconia looks just like a real diamond"
"Is this about the time I spent in prison?"
The wife just looks on . . ."You used the last of the milk"

I don't know why, but I remembered this commercial in the shower this morning (have you ever noticed some of your best thinking happens in the shower? At least for me anyway.) I need a Mommy Look like that. The wife doesn't need to say anything, and all sorts of confessions come pouring out of the guy's mouth. Ok, I'm glad my hubby doesn't need to confess anything that bad, but I love the idea of just looking. . . . My voice has been WAY TOO LOUD around here lately. The hormones have been a rampaging (thank heavens a certain aunt finally showed up so life can get back to normal!), kids have been couped up with sickness, and everyone has been on edge. I need to cultivate more looking and less yelling. That whole gentle persuasion thing has been waaaaaay beyond me.

Ok, I feel better now that I've confessed. Today is my day to be a better person!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bleck!

When I went shopping a few days ago, I remembered all the baking I'll be doing in the next few weeks. Fortunately, chocolate chips were on sale so I picked up a few bags. It wasn't until I got home that I realized one of the bags was "sugar free". Yuck! I thought. Who wants sugar free chocolate (unless you're diabetic, or something, in which case I'm glad they make these for you!) I just opened the bag today, and I was right. They are nasty! They do have some artificial sweeteners in there, but to me it tastes a lot like bittersweet chocolate. I know the more bitter the chocolate, the better it is for you, but I was raised on 100% milk chocolate, and to me, anything more bitter than that just isn't worth the calories!

Friday, November 21, 2008

My killer deal of the day


Can I just share: apples are one of my favorites. I grew up with a mini orchard of red delicious apples. If you've never had a freshly picked red delicious apple, you are missing something. They are nothing like the waxy mushy apples you get in the store. Alas, now I live a couple thousand miles away from that goodness, so I've needed something different. I've discovered that I have two favorite kinds: Fuji's and Gala's. Fuji's I believe to be superior, but also much more expensive. As a result, we eat almost exclusively, gala apples.

So almost a month ago, Albertson's had gala apples for only 88 cents. Now that's a killer deal. I waited a few days (ok, I waited until the paycheck came) and went to get my apples. I walked in to the produce department. Right as you walked in, there was this large display. It was covered in happy Halloweeny paper, surrounded by nasty prepackaged fake caramel stuff, you know, the whole schebang. Only there was a small problem: not a single apple was visible. I looked around, hoping there was another display, but they were sold out. I asked the produce guy, who told me I could get a rain check, since they had more in the warehouse, and should be getting another shipment any day. I've never gotten a rain check before, but at the rate my family eats apples, this one was worth it.

The rain check was good for 30 days. A few days ago I found it (again) when I was cleaning out my purse. I realized I only had a week left, and thought I'd better go buy some before I spent that $10 on something else! This morning I bundled up the kids (it was a glorious 42 degrees this morning!), put them in the stroller, and walked over.

The apples were beautiful. An overflowing selection greeted me. I let the kids help me pick some out. Soon we had two of those flimsy bags stuffed full. At 9.68 lbs, it was a bit short of the 10 I was planning on, but I didn't want to spend more than that $10 bill I had.

We go to check out. The cashier looks at the rain check like she's never seen such a thing. I even hear her mutter "do we do these?" She tries a couple of different options, even charging me 88 cents for the whole lot. Finally she calls a manager over. The manager is also a bit lost. Apparently they don't get many rain checks for produce. Since they only have 1 register open, the line keeps getting longer and longer behind me. Finally, I honestly think she just estimated in her head what it should cost. She rang one bag up for $3.00, and the other bag for $3.50, and I left. I knew they had tried everything, so I wasn't going to fight them over undercharging me so much. When I got home, I added it up: it works out to be $.67 a pound. Man, I really wish I would have gotten 15 lbs!

Picture: my crisper drawer full of apples. Isn't it a beautiful sight! And in case you were wondering, I am feeling a bit better. Still have a nasty cough, runny nose, etc, but I'm not ready to die anymore!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mini Muffin tin Advent Calendar

Last weekend I helped with our ward's Super Saturday, this was one of the projects I was in charge of. Since I had such a hard time finding instructions for it, I thought I'd share how I made this one.
Supplies:
* Various Chistmasy scrapbook paper. (I used three different colors, and I got them from Hobby Lobby if you want the same paper. The red and green are both 12 x 12, the polka dot is 8 1/2 x 11)
* Black card stock (either 8 1/2 x 11 or 12x12 will work)
* Magnet tape (the kind that is sticky on one side. You want one that is moderately strong; we used one that was rated a 3 on a scale of 1-10)
* mini muffin tin (you can use one you already have, since you will still be able to use this throughout the year for cooking. If not, Walmart right now has them for $4.50)
*Numbers. I just typed them up and changed to cool different fonts. This part actually took the longest when I was designing mine, because I had to actually decide what each square was going to look like.
* embellishments: I used some tags (about $2 for like a 100 at walmart), some jute, some black and white ribbons I had laying around, some little buttons I also had laying around, and a package of seriously cute holiday buttons from Hobby Lobby for about $2. - you won't use the whole package.)
* 1 yard ribbon to hang the whole thing up if you want to.

Also: a paper cutter (mine's a cheap one from Hobby Lobby for $7), glue stick, and either Elmer's or glue dots (which are easier to use, but more expensive), and some good old patience.

If you buy everything, you will actually have enough stuff to make up about 3 of these, which would be a very cute early Christmas present.

First step: decide if you want to hang this up or not. If you don't, that's by far easier. Some in our group decided to glue super strong magnets to the back and hang this on the fridge. I decided to drill holes in mine. I used a bit that looked like this:

Don't ask me what kind of bit this is. It's a flattish 1/2 inch bit that fits in either a drill or a drill press. We used a drill. Here's how to do it if you're by yourself and don't have any clamps. Find a block of wood to go under the muffin tin. It needs to be thin enough to fit next to the cup part of the tin without lifting the edges. Ok, actually we couldn't find the right size, but I did use a scrap 2x4 for the drilling into part, and I also had a 1/2 inch slab that I balanced the rest of the tin on, like this:


Decide how far apart you want your holes, and mark with an x. Then set up the tin on the floor next to the wall. You're going to stand on the tin, and push it into the wall to help stabilize it. The just put the point in the middle of the x, start the drill and push hard. Just a note, if you end up drilling like 10 of these, the bit will get rather dull. It still works, but it also heats up the metal enough to leave burn marks in the wood. You do want to drill from the front, since it will leave a little jagged part.

Next, cut the black card stock into 2 1/4 inch squares. Cut the colored papers into 1 7/8 inch squares. Glue everything together with the glue stick. Embellish to your heart's content. The holiday buttons you can snip the posts off the back with a pair of fingernail clippers. When you're done, cut little squares from the magnet tape and stick one square on each corner of the black square. Fill the cups with treats/scripture quotes/etc, and cover with the squares. Thread the ribbon through the holes and tie a cute knot or bow at the top. And that's it. I'd also post the number sheet, but I did use some digital scrapbook numbers, and I'm not allowed to share those.

If you want to use the muffin tin throughout the year as a muffin tin, just put the numbers somewhere safe, and untie the ribbon.

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My name:

Ok, so someone asked on a previous post if my name really was Laree. Having no way to contact her (Hi Janelle in case you ever look at this again!), I started on a really long comment. Half way through, I realized this was getting marathon in length, and decided to just to a post on it (even though I still feel lousy. I know, you're all rubbing your fingers together for the world's tiniest violin)
Janelle,

Yes, Laree really is my name. People always spell it LaRee, but my Dad was anti two capital letters According to a facebook app, that scans the latest census records, there's about 1500 Laree's in the nation. I've met about 5 myself . . . The first Laree I ever met was about 98 and in a nursing home. I think she was about 4 foot 3, and was in the tiniest little wheel chair. I don't think she understood me when I told her that was my name too, but she did ask if she could sing me a song. In a very broken monotone voice she began "Jesus wants me for a Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn Beam!" It was very cute.

Since then, I've met several people with Laree/LaRee as a middle name. There is a little 18month old in my ward (that's a congregation in my religion) with the same name. It makes me very happy to talk to her.

Most people have ever never heard of my name, or they had a great aunt Laree. Apparently it was pseudo popular around 1900. I've always really like it. It's unique (and in a family of 8 kids with 7 girls, unique was always something I was looking for.) People either instantly remember it because it's unique, or they can NEVER remember it because it's unique.

In case you were wondering, actually all 8 kids have L names. Yup, we were one of those crazy families. Something I was determined to not do to my kids. I remember when we were young, and we'd play computer games. Back then memory was scarce for computers, so most high scores you could only list your initials. None of the girls had middle names, so the whole list was "LN" it bugged. But really, I'm over it now.

Ok, now I get to go lay down and die again. Really, I'm done today

Um, can we say obsessed?

Ok, so even though I'm super sick, I'm also super sick of the blah background on my blog. So I thought I'd change it up with "cutest blog on the block" I really love their selections.

But really people. On their homepage, you can now make your background Twilight themed, so Edward Cullen's face is plastered all over.

Now, I enjoyed the books (but also had some major problems with them . . .) but I'm really not into plastering someone else's face over my blog. That just seems so, dumb. But I'm sure they've had a lot of takers, 'cause some people are . . . Ok, I'll just take my foot out of my mouth and stop there

Sick, Sick, Sick

I am sick. Seriously. I'm so sick I'm ready to just lay down on my bed and never rise again. Death sounds so much more appealing right now that life. To just escape to somewhere where I'll never hack up a lung again, never have a nose so full of . . . yah, so full that you can't breathe, yet it is still just running and running and running.

So sick.

Not to mention that my head is pounding, my abs are sore, my throat is sore, all from that constant hacking that doesn't even feel like it's productive at all, since .5 seconds later you're hacking again.

Ugh.

Ok, maybe I'm a baby. Ok, so I know I'm being a baby. But seriously. I don't ever remember having a cold that made me feel quite this miserable. "Cold" just doesn't seem and adequate word for it. "Death warmed over" would be closer. All I want to do is curl up on the couch with a warm blanket, an endless mug of hot chocolate, and 48 hours worth of chick flicks. Instead I'm just being a slacker mom, with my kids eating cereal for two meals a day (hey, they requested it), and we're watching 48 hours worth of kid flicks, while I contemplate dieing instead of being a human. So don't expect anything profound from me for a bit. My brain has left the building.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What we're watching: Expelled

Hubby and I watched Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed last night. It was a fascinating, disturbing experience. The basis of the film is that in science of all places, politics is squashing questions. Seriously. The idea that science won't allow certain questions to be asked. . . .Isn't that the idea OF science? To question everything in order to better understand?

Here's a fact: evolution is a theory. It is presented as fact and law, but there MANY many holes in it. For example, it only starts after the first cell is already present. It cannot explain how the first cell got there.

But anyone that wants to put something else forward will be blacklisted. Literally. The documentary Chronicles several examples of this. The alternative to Darwinism is "Intelligent Design". Many have called this movement "trumped up creationism". While it has a few themes similar to creationism, it is actually very different. The basis of intelligent design, is not to prove that there is 1 certain God, or even that there is a God at all. It is simply that life is too complex to be completely explained by evolution or natural selection. It is the idea that there is proof (they say) that there is a "design" behind life, and that it is an "intelligent design" that started it. Think of it like a "god" but not necessarily a "God".

I felt the film was brilliant. Many of the ideas put forth I had never considered, but rang true. On of the frustrating things about evolution, is it in turns leads to atheism. To remove any purpose of life, also removes any personal responsibility for actions ("eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die and that is the end of it"). It removes good and evil because it turns everything into just instinct.

The most telling example of this was the link to Darwinism and the Natzis.

I recommend this to everyone. If the science community is refusing to let people ask questions, who can we trust?

Stomp: an awesome experiance

Yesterday my sister and a few friends came up for a short visit. The plan was for all of them to attend a performance of Stomp. Much to my joy, one of the girls canceled last minute. Since they now had an extra ticket, and I had a willing husband to watch the kids, I got to go to.

It was like a dream come true.

Seriously. I've wanted to go see Stomp since I was in High School. They are flippin' awesome! Apparently they've done the same show for like 15 years, and after this year they are retiring the show and will start something else.

For those in the audience that are not familiar with Stomp, basically they are a percussion band (and by definition, percussion instruments are ones that you hit), that use real life items for their songs. For example: the show started with an amazing number where the whole group was pushing brooms. Seriously. They push their brooms in alternating rhythms, adding in the occasional bang from the broom handle, or stomp of the foot. The next number was done with boxes of matches. There was one with folding metal chairs, with lighters, with flexible pipes. You name it, they can make a song out of it. And as they are doing all this baning around, they are also dancing, climbing, jumping, all over the stage. For almost 2 hours they did this, with out stopping.

I expected the show to be musically awesome. I expected it to be visually astounding. I did not expect the humor. The whole audience was laughing.

My sister and I spent the entire time with huge grins plastered to our face. I also spent a considerable portion just shaking my head in amazement. The incredible talent displayed by these people was astounding. The rhythms they produced literally banging on pots and pans - I just can't come up with enough words. So I'll sum up the whole experience with one word.

Wow.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Oh, a mom's day

Ok, not that I really agree with this movie TODAY ('cause today my kids were perfect angels, and life is awesome!), I have SO had days that I've needed this. Watch, laugh, enjoy. It rather rocks.


The Mom Song- LIVE from Northland Video on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I guess my city is cool . . .

Ok, so I think the name of this site is quite telling. If you look at the url, you'll notice it's Euless not Useless. Because, honestly, that's kind of the way I feel about my city. I haven't lived here that long, but there really isn't anything here. Most of the city is just houses and 18 million apartments (I have no idea if that's an exaggeration, but it feels like at least that many). To do anything, you have to go to another city, but that's not saying much since Euless is like 1.2 miles square anyway. But I guess I'm going to have to change my tune.

According to this article in Business week ( http://images.businessweek.com/ss/08/11/1110_best_places_for_kids/index.htm?campaign_id=yahoo) , Euless is the best city to raise a family in the entire state of Texas. That's a large order to fill people. I mean, this isn't Rhode Island here people, we're talking about in all 293 counties, I happen to live in the best city.

Wow, maybe I should start being happy about those 18 million apartments. 'cause I won't be buying a house around here soon.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Today . . .

Ok, so this is me slapping myself for not posting more! I'm never going to make that "cool blogger" status if I never blog! I've been letting life happen instead - oh well!
I had great plans for a touching post for today, but of course, it never happened. So here's my little bit:

There are not adequate words to describe my gratitude to those who have served in the military for me. I have never had to, and I appreciate that very much. I know that all we have is due in part to the hard work of our men and women that serve their time. I have family in the military, have had friends serve and die, and I respect their time and service. There is no other country on the earth that gives us the freedoms we have. We are so blessed that those freedoms are willingly protected by a volunteer force that is willing to die for them - even for those who don't support the military or the freedoms they enjoy. So thank you. Thank you for all you do for me and my family.
Blogging tips