Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Wagon? What wagon? Where?

Where is this stupid wagon that I seem to have fallen off of and why can’t I get back on it?  I was so thrilled I’d been doing so well sticking to my eating plan. I’d lost about 3lbs. I know it was probably mostly water, but still, it’s nice to see on the scale.

And then, dun dun dunnnnn, we went away for the weekend and ate at all my favorite places. I think my eating plan got sucked out the window between here and there, b/c when we got back home, those 3lbs I’d managed to lose, they found me. Then last week I had some really weird stomach bug that gave me all sorts of strange symptoms. Normally, the whole stomach bug is an easy, albeit unpleasant, way to drop a couple. But I think once I was over it, I must’ve made up for the days I spent eating chicken soup, or nothing at all. 

This week is spring break. Our weather yesterday was horrible, not spring break-type weather at all. Cold, cloudy and damp. All I wanted to do was bake cookies. I didn’t do it, but I was perilously close! It seems I’ve picked up that bad habit again of grazing late in the day and not moving enough.

Ugh. Where is this wagon anyway? I’ve got to get back on it! this week will be tough, but I am going to do my best to eat well and stay away from the junk food and the late afternoon snacking and next Monday, I’m so on it! I will be feeling fine and have no kids home needing to be entertained.

Wish me luck! I think I can, I think I can…..

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Ghosts of blizzards past…..

This Snowmageddon, this Snowpocalypse and all the time I’ve spent indoors staring at the walls and watching my children play in it really had me remembering some of the snowstorms of my past. You see, monster snowstorms are pretty rare around here. The one we had this week was really one for the record books and one I hope isn’t repeated any time soon! I just wanted to share some of the more comical moments I’ve experienced.

Late 1980’s: I owned a 1985 Trans Am. And man was I ever cool! I loved that car so much, I washed and waxed it every weekend! Never had I done that before or since! So, since I was in my early 20’s, I could do anything. Really. I’m sure you remember that time in your life. Anyone who told you that you couldn’t do something would immediately regret telling you that because you set out to prove them wrong and do that very thing. I was living with my Aunt who lived in a really beautiful, posh neighborhood in a particularly hilly part of town. And of course her house was in a valley, which required driving nearly straight up to get to the main roads. Yes, it’s snowing, so what? I thought. I was going to go to the mall. There was no reason I couldn’t. Well, except that Trans Ams had exceptionally low clearance and absolutely no traction. I made it out of the neighborhood via the least hilly part, to the nearest main street, and almost immediately faced a steep hill (71st going to Yale). Somehow I managed to get up the hill, but the stoplight at the top prevented me from getting much further. Green light, I attempted to make it up another smaller hill, but got stuck, spinning wheels. A very kind man helped push my car so I could turn around and go home.

That storm continued raging for the next few hours, until my poor car was literally buried in a snowdrift up to the windows. For me to make it to work, I had to walk up the hills in knee-deep snow and wait for one of the salesmen to come and pick me up. Did I learn my lesson then? Are  you serious? Why on earth would I do something like that?

Winter 1991: The Trans Am had been traded for a Grand Am. What is it with me and the ‘Am’ cars? In November of 1990 I moved to LA. Long story, working on a novel. Anyway, when I initially left, I didn’t know how long I’d stay there and only took what I could fit in my car, mostly clothes. Once I decided I’d be there for a while, I convinced my roomie, dear sweet Barbara, a SoCal born and raised gal, to come back with me to pick up more of my stuff. It is a two-day drive in good weather. 1200 miles from LA to Tulsa, straight down I40. The trip back home was uneventful. We loaded up the car and headed west. It was in the day before GPS, smart phones, cell phones or any technology like that. Surely they had radars on the news then, but I didn’t watch it.

Barbara and I set out in my little Grand Am for the two day trek. We stopped in Amarillo for gas and I noticed the temps had dropped quite a bit. Hmm. Oh well, it was just cold and raining, no big deal. We hopped back in and hit the road. It was Barbara’s turn to drive, so I was in the passenger seat when I noticed the ‘raindrops’ were hitting the windshield with a characteristic ‘splat’ that looked more like snowflakes. Crap. We continued on and I noticed the ruts in the pastures were beginning to turn white. I told Barbara my thoughts, but she was ok driving. Until….the snow started to get deep enough there were ruts in the road and the slush was hitting the bottom of the car. I looked over and noticed that Barbara was white-knuckling the steering wheel and asked if she wanted me to take over. With a gasp, she said yes. She was terrified of driving in it!  Barbara was quite a trouper. That day we were able to make it to Albuquerque. And only then did we find out we’d driven thru some really bad snow.

March 1999: March equals spring right? Mostly. It was my last trimester in college in Dallas. We’d bought a house and were moving our stuff from Dallas. It’s a straight drive that is normally 4 hrs door to door. No problem. We had my stepdad’s brand new pick-up pulling a trailer w/our furniture in it. Also in the caravan, my BFF’s from school, Charlanne-another SoCal born and raised gal, Joey-a New Yawka, and Anuschka-my Canadian connection. Charlanne and Joey were in his car and Anuschka was in her own vehicle as well.  The trip was going well, nothing unusual. Once again, we hadn’t seen any weather reports and so were going ahead not knowing what was coming. Do you sense a pattern here?

About half-way there, we stopped at a Mc Donald’s for a rest stop, and it had started lightly snowing. Charlanne was jumping up and down, so excited to see snow, since she hadn’t seen it often in her life. Me, well, I was less excited, but not too concerned, it was only lightly coming down after all. You know, as I’m writing this and thinking about my life, I never thought I was stupid, or naive, but now I’m not so sure!

As we are driving north, the snow becomes heavier.  We were moving right along, no problem, until a genius highway patrolman decided he needed to pullover a Trans Am (what is it about those cars?) in about 6″ of snow, at the bottom of a long steep hill. Guess what, Mr. T.A. couldn’t get his car moving, and then the semi that was behind him got stuck too. Can you imagine? I was so pissed at the idiot cop! As we are trying to make our way up this hill,  we’d had to slow down from the stupid cop, our truck started sliding toward a 3ft deep ditch! Holy crap! Every time we tried to move, the tires would spin and we would go more toward the ditch. All I’m thinking is ‘how in the hell am I going to ‘splain this one?”  Joey saw that we were having problems and he pulled over ahead of us and got out to help. I had picked up bagels from my favorite bagel shop on our way out of Dallas and put those under the tires for traction! Somehow, between the bagels and Joey jumping up and down on the trailer hitch, the truck got unstuck. We finally made it home. The 4 hr trip had become a 6 hour trip. That night, we all sat outside in our new hot tub with snow all around us. That part, at least, was fun.

Can you believe there’s more? Just one more, I promise.

December 2002: We had only just found out we were pregnant with our daughter when my husband’s grandfather became critically ill. We didn’t know how ill he was until he passed away. He was a very sweet man and I”m honored to have known him for the short time I did. His funeral was December 23. All his life, Quentin had been a farmer. The day of his funeral, we woke up to snow. The big fat, fluffy flakes that pile up quickly. It had already been snowing for a while when we made our way to the church for the service. We were in Okeene, Oklahoma AKA podunk/one flashing red-light town. There are more students in our elementary school than there are residents of Okeene. The joke was that the snow was Quentin’s final practical joke on us because farmers hate snow. They can’t work when it’s snowing.

The drive from Okeene to Tulsa is 2 hours door to door. Not far at all. Unless you’re driving in a blizzard. When we left Okeene headed east, it didn’t take long before we were completely unable to see the road at all. We were in farmland and the snow was blowing sideways and I think coming from Kansas! Visibility was terrible and we were creeping along trying to stay on the road.  There were 5 of us in the car. My sister and brother-in-law were in the back seat with our 18 month old son. I was the white-knuckle co-pilot in the front. As we were coming up a short hill, we saw a mini-van that had gone off the road into the center median and the occupants were standing outside the van assessing their situation when behind us, a semi comes barreling along, as if there’s nothing stopping him at all. My husband saw this first, kind of gasped and let off the gas. I couldnt’ figure out what was going on at about the same time the truck literally blew past us and cut in front of us just in time to not hit those people standing in the median.  All four of us literally did not breathe for a minute. I had visions of bodies flying and a sudden need to change my pants! Someone was looking out for all of us then.

The trip took us 6 hours. It’s normally 2. The roads were in horrible condition and didn’t get any better until we hit Tulsa. If I hadn’t been pregnant, I’d have had a really stiff drink when I got home!

Sometimes when I think about these situations, I realize a few things.

Number 1: I am so glad I dont’ live up north and have to deal with this junk on a regular basis.

Number 2: Just like my father-in-law has always said, the Lord looks out for little children and dumb animals, you just have to figure out which one you are.

Number 3: I have been traumatized by those snowstorms and will not venture out of my house in snow unless I”m forced to, not just to go to the mall!

Number 4: I am so ready for spring and so sick of snow, I can’t stand it! The ground hog didn’t see shadow and says early spring, I hope he got right this year!

Now, aren’t you glad you haven’t been with me in snowstorms? I hope this finds you warm and dry and free of snow! Now, I”ll go and look at my beach pictures and think warm thoughts!

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10 Things That Make Me Happy

One of my friends wrote a post on her blog and I thought I’d give it a shot. You can read hers here http://www.bridgetmcguiresfillingstation.blogspot.com/

I don’t know that I can put these in any specific order, I don’t want anyone to get their feeling hurt, so I’ll just write them as they come to me.

10. Cooking. it’s so funny, I have become what I call your friendly neighborhood Betty Crocker. Ten years ago, I was a newly minted chiropractor out to save the world and cooking was the last thing on my mind. In fact, I was very pregnant and looking forward to becoming a mother, not a chef. I have found a love of cooking and especially trying new recipes. dinner in my house is never boring, I can tell you that for certain. My kids, well, they will say otherwise. They don’t love everything I make. I dont’ love everything I make, but that’s how you learn.

9. Traveling. I have always enjoyed traveling to new places that we haven’t visited before and seeing the architecture and learning about the history and culture of the places we’re visiting. We have been some really interesting places, like Bermuda, Bahamas, Mexico, Napa, US Virgin Islands, Hawaii. I still have a rather long bucket list of places I want to see before I die. At the top of my bucket list is Italy. My friend, ‘Bridget McGuire’ just returned from 10 days in Italy and the pictures she’s shared are simply amazing!

8. My children. I have been blessed with two beautiful and amazing children who have changed me immeasurably. You know they say you will never truly understand what it is to be a parent until you are one, and it’s true. I am so proud of these little people. They are adorable, precious, and maddening all at the same time. They fight and bicker with one another, but I love them more than I can ever begin to express. They are so much fun to be around, they make me laugh, cry, and scream every single day! Watching them grow is such a joy and privilege. I just hope that I can do a good job helping them grow into productive, respectful, intelligent people. My son is so handsome and sweet. He’s a very caring child who wants to make people laugh. When he was younger, he never had baby talk, he was very articulate at a very early age. People were amazed at how well he spoke as a two year old. My daughter is a beautiful, blue-eyed girl. She was the sweetest, most laid-back baby ever. But when she hit 22 months, it was as if someone told her ‘you’re almost 2, you’d better act like it’ and since then all bets are off! She’s very strong-willed and knows what she wants. She’s a princess one minute, and a tomboy the next.  She loves to perform, dancing and singing are what she really enjoys.

7. Writing. Writing in some way, shape, or form has been a part of me since high school, maybe earlier. I remember keeping a journal when I was younger. In my 20’s, my journal was my best friend as I was going through a particularly hurtful breakup. It was my therapist and my catharsis. I still journal, just not as often as I used to, I blog instead! I’m also working on a novel about a 20 something young lady who moves from the midwest to LA. She’s been languishing on my hard drive for years, and I’m determined to finish her story, if for nothing else, for myself and the knowledge that I’ve completed it. That and I’ve got another story in mind that comes from my friend’s incredible life.

6. Learning. I feel like the perpetual student, but I really enjoy learning new things. I can’t say that I learn something new every day, but I do enjoy reading and studying and discovering things that I didn’t know. My son is going into the 5th grade and last year in helping him with some projects, I learned things that I had no clue about prior, and it was really fun. I like to exercise my brain through learning. I keep telling my children that they don’t know everything, and neither do I, but we can find it out. The internet is such a wonderful resource. I really wish it had been around when I was growing up, it would have made researching topics for projects so much easier!

5. The beach. My friend wrote that Notre Dame is her happy place. Mine is the beach, any beach as long as it’s on an ocean. Although at this specific point in time, I’m very sad to know that many of the beautiful Gulf beaches are being polluted by the oil spill and it’s a real tragedy and a travesty. Anyway, maybe it’s because I’m a cancer, the crab, a water sign, that I find the beach so soothing. To have my toes in the sand, smell the salty sea air, hear the waves crashing on the beach, to me, that is heaven right there. If I get my way, we’ll retire to a beach condo. That’s a while off still, but I’ve put in my order!

4. My friends. I have been blessed with some really good friends that I’ve met in some really interesting ways. My friend Bridget McGuire, we met while on a cruise 10 years ago and have kept in touch with. My BFF and I have been friends for over 10 years, my husband met her at a bank while he was opening an account. Another friend, well, this one is pretty wild, she was the girlfriend of a boyfriend of mine (LOOONG story). He was a POS and neither of us knew it, but the best revenge we could’ve gotten on him was becoming friends. Facebook has helped me reconnect with so many people from my past that I would not be in touch with otherwise.

3.  My love. My husband and I have been together for 14 years now and it feels like the blink of an eye. He is my best friend, he still makes me laugh and tells me he loves me every night before we go to sleep and in the morning as he’s leaving for work. He was my willing guinea pig while I was in chiropractic school and my taste tester for my new recipe concoctions. We started off as co-workers and friends at Bed Bath and Beyond. Musci trivia was how we really got to know each other. I tried to set him up with my friends. He was a really good guy and I was planning on moving out-of-state to go to college. None of them were interested and I don’t know why. One night, we were going to a movie, as friends, and I looked at him and thought, ‘Boy, he’s really cute, why am I trying to set him up with my friends?” And that was it. He gave me a good night kiss that night and we’ve been inseparable ever since! funny how things work out.

2. Trying new things. I’m always up for something new, be it food, activities, places.  To me, that’s what makes things interesting. Some things I like, Cabernet franc anyone? Others not so much, like Alice in Wonderland. I really enjoy going to a restaurant and trying a dish I’ve never had before. Once we were in Cozumel, I ordered ceviche. I’ve had ceviche before, but this had octopus in it! that was pretty wild. And yes, I did eat it. It completely grossed out my husband, but he tried it too!

1.  Introducing my children to new things. Every time we travel with our kids, I encourage them to do or eat things they never have before. On our vacation last year, my daughter tried Brussels sprouts (gag).  My son tried them on our Disney vacation this year. I have been very happy with them at least taking one bite of something new before deciding if they like it or not.  Taking them places they’ve never been and showing them fun new things, or to help them appreciate all that we have is really amazing. We went on a cruise last year and one of the stops was Grand Bahama Island. We rode a bus from the ship to a beach and to get to the beach, we passed some really sad and run-down neighborhoods. It was such a contrast, you have the gorgeous beaches and people living in poverty. it really made me appreciate what we have and I try to help our children understand that every chance I get as well.

Now I challenge some of my blogging friends to do the same!

http://valcitygal.wordpress.com/

http://theonearmedchef.wordpress.com/

http://www.ontheglam.com/

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I’m back with new recipe ideas!

Wow! Talk about a hair-on-fire week! We just got back from a week+ at Disneyworld in Orlando and I never thought I’d be so happy to sleep in my own bed! I can tell you that at least the hotel beds were very comfortable, pillow-top in fact and plenty big enough for my 6’4″ hubby and myself to sleep comfortably.

We went full-tilt for 7 full days, and a little of the evening we first arrived. I wore a pedometer, just for grins and giggles and got quite a shock! The first full day we were there, we walked 7 miles! i forgot how many steps that was, but we were all wiped out!  It was a good time, lots of rides, meeting characters, including many that we didn’t get to see on our last visit, good food, and, well, standing in line! We were able to avoid too much standing in line by hitting the parks early, but it’s inevitable when 20,000 people want to be in the same place at the same time, there’s going to be a line where you want to be! My husband and I made jokes about the ‘line simulation ride’ because there was alot of that. We refused to stand in a line that was longer than 20 minutes, 30 minutes was max that we would try. Normally they would move faster than was posted, but still….

We ate lots of good food, and many things I’m going to attempt to replicate. At Ohana at the Polynesian resort they have pineapple bread that is just to die for! It’s not overly sweet or frosted, but it was amazing!  Oh, that and the skewers of grilled steak, pork, turkey and shrimp! All you can eat can be a bad thing sometimes! I would loved to make the Dole whip, but I don’t have the frozen smoothie machine, but I bet I could make a sorbet or ice. Then there were the parmesan rolls at the Rose & Crown. They were warm and soft and I love the taste of the browned parm sprinkled on top.  Oh, and I can’t forget the Oreo bon bons! They were fantastic! Oreo’s topped with some kind of cookies and cream creation then sprinkled with cocoa powder and a dollop of chocolate mousse.

We ate at a drive-in theater that was an indoor restaurant made to look like a drive-in. Very cool! You sit in little cars to eat while watching B movies from the 50’s and 60’s. The walls are painted to look like night. Very unique and fun. We ate at a Biergarten in Germany at Epcot. We were very lucky to be able to have dinner with princesses at Cinderella’s castle. And for the end of our trip, we ate at an English pub called the Rose and Crown in the UK pavilion at Epcot. I can’t forget about the Mickey bars!

We were very lucky to go on this vacation and eat at some of the restaurants we did, they are difficult to get reservations at. I’ll keep you posted on my quest to replicate some of the recipes and share if I have any success!

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