I know there are people who have a fear of the number 13 and find this year, 2013, to be inauspicious. I’m not one of them. I’m really feeling good about the New Year.
On Sunday, I completed The Daily Sentinel’s Sunday crossword puzzle all. by. myself. I filled in every square and didn’t look up a single answer.
Usually, my mom and I work on the puzzle together taking turns filling in parts. The two of us can typically get a big puzzle done unless there is some stupid clue. We object to stupid clues, puzzle makers!
I’ve never been able to get it on my own … until Sunday.
Yep, felt pretty good.
Last month, our 2-year-old dryer (a Maytag!) started making a horrible noise. We did some research online and learned that many dryers had similar problems and that we could probably fix it ourselves. Being that we were getting ready for Christmas and for our vacation, we decided to just ignore the noise until after the holidays.
What? You don’t think that was a good idea?
It seemed when we got back from our trip and tried to wash the eight loads of laundry we accumulated, that it was a bad idea to keep using the screaming machine. The screeching that came from the dryer was almost unbearable — I say “almost” because if we turned up the television enough, it wasn’t too horrible. (Of course, it was much worse for my mom and Mar whose bedrooms are on either side of the laundry room.)
But you know what? We fixed it! OK, Bill mostly fixed it, but I held the light. The best part? The janky part cost a grand total of $6.46 to replace.
So, yeah, I’m feeling pretty good about the New Year.
Stay classy, 2013!0 comments
It's super cold outside if you haven't noticed. It means forced R & R.
These two certainly aren't complaining.1 comments
Yesterday, I walked into the new Tractor Supply store and explained to an older guy that my kid wanted a rope for Christmas. I thought he'd think I was a complete idiot. Instead, he said "Sure, 'lil lady, follow me," and led me to an end rack filled with children's lariats.
Holy cow — I felt like Super Mom — I could hear the theme song playing behind me and the confetti falling from the sky as I exited the store with the final, weird item my boys had requested for Christmas. It was a weird hodge podge this year of electronics, games, WWII play sets and ropes. Seriously, who asks Santa for a rope?
My high ended when I checked the status of a certain pony that is supposed to be coming via UPS. There wasn't a single spring-horse in this entire town so I had to scurry online for one from a Target in Illinois. They garunteed shipping by Christmas. I guess that means Christmas Eve, leaving me to fret over this stupid horse all weekend and hope beyond hope that it arrives so Christmas isn't ruined.
I went into our warehouse and explained the importance of this package to a coworker, making him promise me that this package would end up under my tree no matter what the cost. Tears came to my eyes.
Then I heard myself, all frantic about a pony, and I thought "The hell happened to me? How did I get to be this person who freaks over a pony and a rope?"
Right there in the warehouse, I just let it go and reminded myself that Christmas is about so much more than opening presents. That Santa can't always deliver on time, and that's okay. And that first and foremost, I'm never going to let myself become one of those people who fights over a Furby on Christmas Eve or cries in a warehouse because she doesn't have a pony.
I'm refocused on the more important things, like enjoying the drive this weekend to look at Christmas lights, the laughter and the wine in the kitchen as they pies get rolling, and the hugs from my family for no reason at all other than its Christmas.
It's gonna be great — with or without that pony.
Merry Christmas everyone!
(The Haute Mamas are taking a much needed vacation until 2013)1 comments
A coworker shared this video with Haute Mamas. Santa IS coming to town everybody!
There a a lot of games under our tree this year. Soren, who is obsessed with games, had declared that every single Saturday night for the rest of our lives will be family game night. In that case, I figure we had better gear up.
I was torn though about whether or not to post my games list before or after the holiday. I understand it's a gift guide, but games seem like they need a test-run before suggesting that our readers go out and buy them.
So, as a happy medium, I'm going to tell you what we have, then come back after the holiday and let you know if they are fun or not.
Our friends at Blue Orange Games, makers of Spot It! which is a family favorite, sent two new pocket games for us to try.
Shrimp Cocktail is for ages 7 and older and Speedeebee is for ages 8 and older.
I'll say right now that both games can be played in under 20 minutes and I already LOVE that. Soren has fallen in love with Monopoly which is fun, but can take hours and hours to play. We set the timer on the stove to 1 hour and tell him that whoever has the most money/property when it rings is the winner. I'm becoming more and more of a fan of the short game.
The one in the middle I bought for Soren online.
It's a Professor Noggin's Civil War card game and is similiar to Trivial Pursuit except it uses facts about the Civil War. It's supposed to make kids smart and I'm all about that.
Professor Noggin has similiar games about geography, world history, explorers, etc. If we like this one, we'll definately purchase more.
Also under the tree is Connect Four, Mickey Mouse Memory, and Clue.1 comments
No, I haven't been ignoring you, nor have I been simply basking the in the post-Joan Lunden interview afterglow (even though we did hear from Joan's PR gal who said that Joan enjoyed talking with us and looks forward to working with us again in the future). So, what have I been doing?
Scrambling. Scrambling and then trying to live in the moment.
We're going to be out of town for Christmas this year, so we celebrated early. I had to get all my shopping done for that, plus get the gifts for the out-of-town family and a special box to my beloved stepson, Sean, who is deployed with the Air National Guard in Africa.
Also, I decided to help Margaret sell her Calico Critter doll house and accessories on eBay. Have you tried to sell a bunch of stuff on eBay? No? Then, here's my advice: Don't do it! It was a nightmare. All the emails and complaints about the cost of shipping. It was a huge time suck. I spent hours setting up the auctions, managaing the auctions, shipping the items, answering more email. Totally not worth it even though Mar made a good chunk of change. Next time, we'll be donating her stuff to GoodWill.
I worked a little bit on a new class I'll be teaching next month and Bill and I have been working on our downtown rental house getting it ready for new renters. On that subject, I want to express my rage toward the person who thought it would be a good idea to spray the ceilings of a 1925 cottage bungalow with popcorn texture. Have you tried painting that stuff? What. A. Mess. The texture pieces fall off after they've been painted leaving a dusting of wet paint spots all over the floor. So, to whomever did that, I shake my fist at you!
So, phew. I decided to cut a few things out of my typical holiday season agenda, like Christmas cards. I didn't send any this year (the first time in 12 years). And yet, I still have a list of things to get done. But ,I wanted to take a moment to thank our lovely readers. I really appreciate all tens of you who read what we have to write and I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!1 comments
After talking to Joan Lunden last Friday, I took home my sample Twiztt pan and made Joan Lunden omelettes.
A Joan Lunden omelette is ham, cheese, and any assortment of vegetables I had in my fridge on a Friday night.
We haven't owned a nonstick pan in a long, long time. The reason is Marty and I had a pet parakeet that we LOVED in college and our vet and told us that cooking with nonstick pans in a small apartment would kill him.
It's something Joan brought up in our interview, the fact that traditional nonstick pans release PFOA or Perfluorooctanoic acid. It's a likely carcinogen, one that the EPA has been trying to eliminate for more than a decade.
Thing is, people like them some pretty eggs and pretty eggs can only be accomplished in a nonstick pan.
Having not used a nonstick pan in such a long time, I wasn't sure if I needed to spray some PAM, which led to another conversation between the hubby and I about hydroflourocarbons, isobutane and propane in cooking spray. Yeah, we'll probably stop using that.
And the great thing is, with Twiztt, there's no need for spray.
The first omelette I made was picture perfect. It slid out of the pan without so much as a crumb. I was so excited.
The second omelette was a little less pretty, which makes perfect sense. Ceramic is highly heat efficient and takes a long time to cool. I used medium heat but the pan was already hot which cooked my next batch of egg mixture rather quickly. It didn't stick, but it had a brown bottom when I flipped it.
It's something I think you'd get used to after using that kind of cookware on a regular basis. I'd guess that some dishes would need turned off prior to finish because the heat from the pan would finish the cooking. Most likely it could have a real advantage in a pot because water and other liquids would boil faster and return to a boil faster after adding pasta or rice.
I think Joan Lunden chose well when she decided to back Twizzt. I wouldn't want to put my name on junk and it's obvious from the quality of the cookware that she doesn't either.
Speaking of which, I think I'd love a Twizzt pot for pasta under the tree — hint hint Santa.1 comments
Richie and I had the opportunity to interview The. Joan. Lunden. by phone on Friday. I know! Joan Lunden.
We were very excited to have this opportunity. Joan was a pleasure to speak with. We spoke for about 35 minutes covering many topics. She’s articulate, gracious and informed. Her advice on parenting and healthy living is not just relevant, but realistic.
When Richie asked her about balancing family and career, Joan said when she’s at home with her kids, she tries to be very present. She puts away her smartphone and her computer and gives her kids her full attention. It’s so easy to check your Facebook page or answer an email while you’re sitting with your kids, but they notice that. They notice when you’re not completely with them.
It’s such simple advice, but so important and can be easily heeded.
Not only is Joan a model of motherhood, but she’s a role model for career women having broken into television broadcasting in the early 1970s at a time when few women were on news programs.
By 1976, Joan became a reporter on Good Morning America — no small feat. She shared with us that because she was a woman, she was not asked to cover hard news stories. Instead, was relegated to the health, food, family and fashion stories. Even though, those stories were the lighter side of the program, they were the stories that women were interested in … and still are. So many of the blogs that I read today deal with the same issues.
We spoke quite a bit about cooking for families. Joan has seven children. Three are grown and out of the house. But the other four (two sets of twins aged 7 and 9) each take turns helping in the kitchen with dinner every night. This helps the kids be invested in the meal and more likely to eat what they are served (such great advice).
I loved hearing how she learned cooking tips and techniques from many of the celebrity chefs she had on Good Morning America. Richie asked Joan who was her favorite. I was delighted to hear, she loved cooking with Julia Child — another great female role model.
The important thing about Twiztt pans is that the non-stick surface is made from a natural ceramic material. It does not use the toxic chemicals found in other non-stick cookware. I did a quick internet search for the dangers of non-stick cookware and found much information. Here’s the link to just one recent article about PFOA (a chemical used in Teflon coatings) and its connection to heart disease.
I had heard that the surface of non-stick pans could chip off and were not good for you, but I don’t do much of the cooking (OK, all I do is make instant oatmeal and pack Margaret’s lunches). Richie, on the other hand, was fully aware of the hazards of non-stick cookware and didn’t own a single non-stick pan, until now. We received a sample Twiztt pan which she happily uses knowing it is safe for her family.
Joan made the point that people use non-stick pans so they can save on butter and oils, to be healthier. But if the surface can make you sick, the risks outweigh the benefits.
But there are other neat features of the Twiztt cookware. Being a busy mom, Joan is all about practicality. The stainless-steel pots have measurement lines inside the pan. You can pour your ingredients and measure them directly in the pan eliminating the need to dirty a measuring cup. So smart! Also, Twiztt pans come with a lid which includes a built-in strainer and a melamine bowl. The pan fits into the bowl for stove-to-table serving.
When you are making pasta, you can measure your water directly into the pan, cook and drain the pasta in the same pan with the lid. Then, you slip the pan into the bowl which acts as a cute hot plate and take it directly to the table.
Fewer cooking utensils are used and clean up is easy. Even though I don’t do a lot of cooking, I’m excited about such smart, healthy cookware. I like smart people who promote smart products.
One thing I quickly gathered from our conversation with Joan Lunden is that she isn’t just about using her notoriety to make a buck. She cares about sharing her views on family, career and healthy living. She wasn’t just putting in time with us to market her pans. She was happy to talk with us about anything topic we suggested. And she did so in an honest and informed manner.
It was truly an honor for Richie and I to talk with such a positive, intelligent, woman. Thank you, Joan Lunden!2 comments
I have never been faithful about resolution making or resolution keeping. But this year is different.
This year is different because I’ve become accustomed to change (I still don’t like it, but I accept it) and I want to take advantage of that — until I get set in my ways again. This was not always so.
I’m an anxious person. Consistency and routine are essential to keeping me from … well, freaking out. When the going gets tough, I get freaked out. And it’s not pretty.
I’ve got a lot on my plate right now and I’ve been doing pretty well. I’ve been able to keep things in perspective and it’s felt good. But today a simple thing such as a call to an unhelpful customer service agent sent me into freak-out mode where I stayed all day. I started really fretting over all the things I can’t control right now.
In freak-out mode, my mind goes something like this:
We don’t have a renter for our downtown house. And it’s Christmas time when most people don’t want to be moving. And it’s winter and the yard is ugly. Who are we ever going to fine to rent our house? What if we do find someone? Will they be nice to the house and to the neighborhood? Will they pay rent on time? Oh no, we’re going out of town or Christmas, what if we can’t find anyone before we leave town?
It’s exhausting and not a good way to go through my day.
I need to learn to feel the anxiety coming on and talking myself out freaking out. I need to learn to stop before I get too anxious and let my nerves simmer down. I need to breathe, reflect and relax before I proceed. Easier said than done, of course, but changing oneself is hard. I welcome the challenge. I love working toward being a better, happier person, a person who copes better and doesn't waste time getting worried sick.
So, my resolution for 2013 is to learn to be patient with myself.
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