Tuesday, March 31, 2009

one of the last hurrah!s of winter

As I look out the window, huge white snowflakes are racing each other to the ground. Why they're in such a hurry, I have no idea. The ground isn't going anywhere. The snow is following hours of falling glop: freezing rain and sleet.

Actually, I LIKE rainy days. I just don't like glop. Or snow when it's next to April. April showers should mean RAIN showers, not SNOW showers. But, it's just weather. It comes, it goes. So what. I just like to complain. Ha!

I'm comforted, however, by the forecast for temperatures that are above freezing. In my mind, I can see it all melting within a couple of days. Then we'll see those flowers poke their sweet heads out of the ground. All this moisture will help them grow tall and bloom beautifully!

And when winter has been banished and spring is in full reign, this weather will be a distant memory. The anticipation makes the spring all the sweeter when it finally arrives.

Monday, March 30, 2009

baking and bedtimes

I'm so very happy that I do not have to get up at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow. Because that's what I did today. I tried hard last night to go to bed early, but I couldn't sleep well. It was SO not a pleasant experience. I hope to not have to repeat it any time soon.

I could never be a baker--I would end up hating my job. And really, I love to bake, but only if it's later in the day, however.

Last night, I made these delicioso Pumpkin Chip Cupcakes that DeeDee found in a Taste of Home cookbook. They're so good you would never think they were healthy! But they have whole wheat flour in them, you use vegetable oil, and they're sweetened with honey, not sugar. They do have milk chocolate chips in them, though.

Don't frown! Chocolate and pumpkin go great together, I found out!

Here ya go if you want to try them yourself, now that I've made you hungry!

Pumpkin Chip Cupcakes

1 cup flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup canola oil
½ cup honey
1/3 cup water
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips

Combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, pumpkin, oil, honey and water. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients just until combined. Fold in nuts and chips.

Fill 18 cupcake liners about ¾ of the way full.

Bake at 350° for 20 – 25 minutes.

Now you can put a cream cheese frosting on them if you want to, but I like them waaaay better with no icing at all. Obviously I swiped the picture from Taste of Home website cuz these have frosting. I did not frost mine. And even the health nuts at work ate them.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Yesterday's plans evaporated with an impromptu visit to Barnes & Noble after I made spaghetti for an early supper. We had a cup of Starbucks and lingered over our choice of reading: his, an oil painting magazine, and mine, Blue Like Jazz.

I read half of it there, delighted with what I was reading, laughing right out loud sometimes. I'll add that to my wanna-read list.

Today will be easy. After the dishes are done, I'll just swipe my to-do list from yesterday and work on that.

I'm so glad it's sunny today. Tomorrow we are supposed to get rain and snow again...winter's last fling? I hope so. It'll be April next week!!! I'm waiting with breathless anticipation for my crocuses and my purple tulips to come up!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

daily happenings

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY (date)...Saturday, March 28

Outside my window...robins and chickadees looking for bits of this and that

I am thinking...about cleaning my bedroom closet some more

I am thankful for...my children and my grandchildren

From the kitchen...pumpkin chip muffins are on my agenda

I am wearing...comfy jeans and a soft, leafy sage green shirt--my favorite color!

I am creating...happiness

I am going...grocery shopping today

I am reading...Mercy, by Jodi Piccoult

I am hoping...I finish my closet today so I have space to scrap

I am hearing...the water bubbling in the pot on the stove, waiting for me to put in the pasta

Around the house...Xavier is napping, Gail is reading, my honey is painting...quiet time

One of my favorite things...clean windows

A few plans for the rest of the week: going to bed earlier

Here is a picture thought I am sharing... love comes in such small packages! Our latest edition grandsweetie: little Jarrett Reid :o)

Friday, March 27, 2009

weekend plans?

Anyone have fun plans for the weekend?

I have no idea what's going to happen this weekend. I just feel some energy coming back...maybe it's spring fever! I have decided that when I get old, I am NOT living in snow country. This winter sucked the life right out of me. It's time for some changes! Changes for me.

I figured out that making a change is harder than I thought it was going to be. First I have to figure out what I want. And a decision-maker I am NOT.

But I want to be healthier. Working a desk job for the last several years has taken a big toll on me. So I have to make exercise part of my daily life. So it gets to the point where I'm not even having to think about it. Okay, the bottom line is that I don't want to be a fat old lady, okay? Let's just say it the way it is. Getting old is going to be tough enough without that.

Okay, so when am I going to find this time? I've got three options: before work, at lunch, or after work. What's the most feasible?

Well, at my morning job, there are...duh, workout machines! There's a treadmill, a seated elliptical machine, an exercise bike, a stair stepper, and one more that I forget. If I go in before work, I can use the equipment free of charge. Hello! Kind of a no brainer.

So. If I'm going to work out a half hour a day, I have to leave at least a half hour earlier for work. What does that mean? Go to bed earlier. This is not rocket science. I just work my way backwards. Be up by when? How many hours of sleep? 'Cause I do not do well without my sleep. Mmm mmmm.

Okay, so how long does it take to get ready for bed? And how long to get ready in the morning? And what can I streamline? Make into a routine? And all of a sudden, I'm making lists, and it's sounding pretty good. I'm thinking, "God, you must be putting this into my brain, because I sure didn't come up with this." Now don't laugh at me, because I am such a fly by the seat of my pants person it's not even funny. This did not occur to me before.

Okay, I thought about it a lot this week, but I still didn't get to bed early. Therefore I didn't get up earlier, because if I'm too tired, things don't make sense to me all day. There was one night this week that I couldn't fall asleep till like 2:30 a.m., and boy oh boy was that a tough day the next day.

So the key is figuring out how to get to bed earlier. Even if I only work up to it a little at a time. But that means planning the whole evening differently. Speed things up. Start dinner sooner. Maybe even start the prep the night before. That is a lot of work, people.

I know, I know. Stop laughing. Some of you do this all the time with everything. NOT ME! At least not yet. Just wait, though. God's not done with me yet. And He's a GENIUS.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

matt is safe!!

Matt G is safe on AI. Yes!

I am enjoying having my "babies" so big, because I can actually watch a show from beginning to end. Sometimes. But I got to watch American Idol all the way through last night AND tonight. (I'm just waiting to hear it, too. "We're not BABIES anymore, MOTHER.) Yeah, yeah, I know. You're all grown up now. Whining and all. :) Anyway.

Adam and Allison are still my favorites. Adam's song last night was nothing short of amazing. I'd buy his music already. In fact, I'm thinking about getting last night's song on iTunes. Last year I went in at the end of the season and tried to buy the songs I liked, and they had been yanked off the site. THAT made me crabby.

I haven't blogged about my job for a while. That's because they work me non-stop. As soon as I get the hang of one thing, they add something else onto my plate. So I am busy, busy, busy. But on the bright side, the days FLY by. I think that's why I haven't been blogging as much either. I think of something I could write about, and if I don't do it right that minute, phweeee! It goes right out the window, never to be thought of again.

I haven't blogged about my clutter for a while, either. I got two evenings in this week, working on my closet. I've been takin' out the trash, baby. Cleaning it out. Just that much closer to being able to work on my crafts in there. I did throw away something I should have kept...a couple of months ago, so no chance of retrieving it.

I have this addiction to containers, you see. Big ones, small ones, efficient ones, funky ones, anything you can keep whatnots in...I'm all over it. Well, I broke down and threw one away--it was a zip up little tote kind of thing for holding paintbrushes and craft supplies. I bought it for my scrapbooking supplies, but it just wasn't working out for me. So I finally tossed it. Big mistake.

My honey is taking up oil painting. That would have been PERFECT for his paintbrushes. And it's gone. It's my worst fear about throwing things away....that I'm going to need them when it's too late to get them back. I feel like I failed!

I know, I know. It's not the end of the world. But it is one of my little quirks. (Of which I have many.) But you probably know that already if you've read anything much here. Yeah.

But you know how cool it is that this fits right in with my Bible study chapter right now? About grace? It doesn't matter at all that I'm not perfect. I'm off the hook! Okay, well, that's another whole post. Another day. G'nite!

our next puppy...

Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about. Here's the best kind of dog--a virtual one! No hair to shed, no food to buy, and no poop to clean up.

I have no idea how they do this. After you click on link below, TYPE a
command in the box and click the Submit button. Sit, roll over, down,
stand, sing, dance, shake, fetch, play dead, etc. are recognizable
commands. It's also very cute if you type in a command that's not

Make sure you try typing in 'Kiss' too.

Click here: I Do Dog Tricks

Friday, March 20, 2009

in which i confess i'm not very good at follow through

I'm giving up on giveaways, unless I am not the one mailing things out. I am not good at following through. I'm going to stick my neck out and say that I still have NOT mailed out my giveaway from the last bloggy carnival. The one back in January. Yes, THAT one.

I love thinking about what I can give people. I love visiting and finding new blogs. It's a blast. BUT when it comes down to the nitty gritty of getting the stuff in the package and getting it in the mail, I am the world's biggest procrastinator. Seriously.

Poor CC has been patiently (or maybe not so patiently) waiting for her gift, and the whole time it's sitting here collecting dust because I forget to take it to the post office, and I forget to get a nice padded envelope for it, and then, it's getting later and later...oh, it's a big mess.

I was giving some homemade valentines away, along with a Starbucks card. Wellll, pretty soon it was after Valentine's Day. What in the world is she going to do with these Valentines now? I'd feel pretty cheesy sending them now. So I come up with the bright idea of making some cute other cards to go with these cards, like maybe some St. Paddy's Day cards. (Whoops, too late for that, too.)

Okay, maybe some Easter cards, or just friendship cards, or I'm thinking of you cards, or even some "sorry you lost your job" cards. Do you know, Hallmark does not have one card for that. Not one. I looked. A guy at our work got let go and I was looking for a "sorry you got laid off" card. No go. Nothing. The typical retirement cards just don't cut it there. "You lucky dog!" Or a picture of a guy with a briefcase jumping out a window. Not so much.

You almost want to buy a sympathy card, but those aren't so hot either. "Sorry to hear about your loss." "May God keep you in the days ahead." Well, of course you want that for them, but those are too morbid sounding to me. I'd be crying before I even wrote my name on it.

I finally found a goodbye card that was a little funny and I settled for that. But I didn't have to mail it. I just picked it up and brought it in to work with me. Much easier! But it's tough right now. I know so many people who have been laid off, or who have had layoffs at their companies. Fortunately I'm still working, so far. Sheer luck, or God's favor. One or the other.

But CC, take heart. I'm going to kick myself in the behind this weekend and try to finish some extra cards to send you. No promises, but I'm going to do my very best because I don't want to feel like a loser anymore. TTFN.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

wordless Wednesday

Yes! I have a picture for wordless Wednesday. Whoops, there I go breaking rules again. Words! My honey took this one. Doesn't it just shout SPRING?!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

wherein I wish Paula and Simon would just STOP

Good grief! Should we just call American Idol the Bickering Judges show tonight? Simon and Paula were getting on my last nerve. If I was their mother, I would have given them a hug break in the other room. Or outside. Give it a rest, already.

And Kara? She BUGS me. She's too...know it all-y, kind of cocky. Maybe it's that she takes herself so seriously. I think my dislike started a few shows ago when she was irritated with Simon and she barked at Simon to ask him if he ever shuts up. Really? Really, Kara? I just felt uncomfortable listening to that, and she doesn't seem to have any of the finesse to smooth things over after she gets in someone's face. I can't really explain it better than that except to say that when she's giving feedback, I have to hit the mute button.

Anyway, the reason I really sit in front of the boob tube on Tuesdays...the singers!!!

Michael is getting a little cocky with Simon--that's a wanna-go-home-wish, if you ask me. Not good. Every previous singer who has given him that "I know better than you do" attitude has gone bye-bye. It doesn't wear well.

I think Allison's bluesy style can fit just about any kind of music. That girl is going places in music. Whether or not she wins this.

Kris Allen's song was my favorite for the night. Wow. I kinda fell in love with country music all over again with this one. Soft but rich. Goosebumps. Mmmm.

And it was fun to hear Randy Travis give them feedback. He'd be a great judge. He has good things to say about them, and he gives them something to work on, too. In a nice way. He's gone from one of the original bad boys to one of the sweetest guys in country music.

I wasn't crazy about Lil Rounds' performance tonight. She can sing, and she's usually one of my favorites. I wasn't impressed with her version of Independence Day, though. Simon said she was like someone singing something they didn't want to do. I thought she wasn't comfortable with it. And Simon was just plain irritating with his "Little" nonsense. It could be "Lil" as in Lillian, not "Li'l" as in Little. C'mon now.

And then along came Adam! WOW! I love what he did with Ring of Fire. A little Arabian nights kind of feel. Randy Travis' reaction to him was classic! I love his straightforwardness, though. "I never saw a man wearing nail polish before," he says. He's just so honest. And for once, Kara was almost speechless. Yes!!

But Simon and Paula busted out with the bickering after Scott sang. Yeah, yeah, whatever. Shushup. Then Alexis put her own little spin on Jolene...it was okay, but she could just stand up there and smile and I would have liked it better.

Then, the rest of the show just kind of disintegrated in my brain because everyone was sitting in the living room talking and whining, and I completely lost any recollection of what happened or any coherent things I could have said.

Except for Anoop. I remember Anoop. He did a Willie Nelson song, and I think I like Anoop's better than the original. I hope my honey doesn't read this or I'll never hear the end of it! He loves Willie Nelson. But I think I'll download this one on iTunes. That was a keeper.

And the whole night I was bouncing back and forth between DWTS results and Idol. Do you know, I'm going to have to go look up online who got kicked off DWTS? Grrr.

And after that, I'm going to have to go chase the stubborn one out of her room to do the dishes. This dish night is turning into a weekly war. Every Tuesday night we butt heads. By the end of the night she's not speaking to me.

And all the other kids are more than willing to get their two cents worth in on the subject. Mmmmmmm. I'm clenching my teeth on all the sarcastic things trying to get out of my lips. I'm just going to be quiet, get out my cattle prod (figuratively speaking), and head for the battle.

Monday, March 16, 2009

wherein I have not much to say about anything at all

It's true. Unlike DeeDee's nickname for me, AKA "motormouth", I have nothing to say today. I am exhausted from this dragging-on-forever cold winter weather. I need about a week at home just to catch up, clean house, throw away stinkin' stuff, and generally get my house in order.

I go to look for things, and when I can't find them, I have no additional places on my mental map. I'm one of those people whose room looks a total mess, but who can still lay their hands on a particular item in two minutes flat. I just think for a minute, and I can remember where it should be. And 96 times out of 100, it's there.

Well, lately, that is not true. When I lose something, or put it down, I have nothing in my little brain map. I go look for it, and nada. Zip. Zero. There are a bunch of things free floating around in my house and I have no clue where they are. My stapler. Some of my favorite CDs. Storage containers.

I think it's because I've started throwing things away, and I forget that I tossed them. Something's not right. Now my kids would probably say I need to throw more things away. All I would do is just turn them around to look at their own stuff. Ha!

But until I finish cleaning up my room, I think I'm going to be discombobulated. Just thoroughly out of sync. And with the way my nights and weekends are going, there's going to be NO time to clean. None. You'd think for someone who doesn't like to clean, that would be a bonus! A great excuse. But no. It's only a good excuse when I have the time and don't want to clean. How does that work, I wonder?

Monday, March 9, 2009

more fun

Thanks to Gail for this funny one--same little kid. Turn up your sound for best effect. If you can watch it without laughing, you need some therapy.

ChiChi does this, well the first part, anyway, but usually it's after he's watched Kung Fu Panda.

DWTS report later. Maybe. But I got to watch most of it. I am seriously going to secretly take the phone off the hook when my shows are on. It's only an hour. They can call back! Seriously. They'll get a better conversation anyway, if I'm not trying to catch a word here and there so I know where to say uh huh. LOL

But maybe I should write it tonight. The rest of my week is pretty much booked. Tomorrow--Idol. Wednesday and Thursday, well Idol, but then my honey's ex-wife is coming over so I can teach her how to use the computer. Do not laugh. It's a long story. And it's...you're laughing, aren't you! I'm not explaining. Not tonight. THAT would take all night. And I have to get up early. So. Friday - we're either going out for coffee or going grocery shopping. Or both. My honey and I, just to clarify that. You can stop your snickering.

So when will I find time to write about Dancing with the Stars? Now.

First one out was Lil Kim. I missed the first half of hers, so I'll have to replay to see it. I've given up voting. I just watch for fun, so it's okay if I wait til morning to see the ones I missed. But I was a little put off of her before the show even started because of her raunchy image in her music. There's that judgmental side of me, but come. on.

Then Belinda Carlisle...and Carrie Ann compared her to Cloris. What?? Cloris was deliberately campy. Belinda just doesn't know what she's in for. Anyway, she won't last.

Gilles Marini is going to be a tough one to beat, and so is Shawn Johnson.

I like Lacey Schwimmer, but I didn't get a chance to watch her dance tonight.

The ones going home first in my opinion? Steve Wozniak, Ty Murray, and Belinda. Ty's so high up out of his comfort zone he's going to get a nosebleed.

I wish the blond Barbie from the Hefner mansion would get sent home first, but her looks will probably keep her in there for a few weeks. Sorry--there's that snotty judgmental lady jumping in with her two cents again. But I just can't imagine how she can hope to be taken seriously with that for her credentials. She's got a giggle that's almost as grating as Tatiana's.

Kay, I'm done crabbing for the night. Hafta wait till next week to find out who gets booted!

Friday, March 6, 2009

This cracks me up every time I watch it.

Short but sweet!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

zzzzzippp! another week gone!

Wow. How can this week go by so quickly when last week dragged on for, I swear, at least a month!?

Maybe it's because American Idol was on for THREE nights this week--woot woot! So they're throwing a few little twists in there to keep people guessing or something. Top 13? Since when? And a new judge? It's so hard to decide if I like her or not. I don't know what her "thing" is yet.

Does it mean that one of the judges is leaving? I hear that Paula's contract will be up after this season. Maybe they're training in her replacement. Who knows? All I know is the judges are just as much fun to watch as the contestants are. Did you catch the little way Paula was batting at Simon, and the snake bite arm-twisting thing she did to him? So funny. Reminds me of when I was a kid, trying without success to hurt my big brother when he picked on me.

I can't see Randy or Simon grabbing Kara and planting a big kiss on her the way Simon has done to Paula. I wouldn't really call her alternative. In fact I'm not sure how I would describe her. She's more of a tomboy. Definitely not a girly girl in the way that Paula is. She comes across as ultra-confident, more than slightly opinionated, but I think she's pretty smart, too. A modern day Maureen O'Hara! Resourceful.

How about this? If she hadn't gone into music, I could see her as a geeky technology junkie. She would be like Ross in Friends. She knows so much about something she's passionate about, and doesn't even care if it's relevant to what other people think about.

And Anoop made it through! I like Anoop. I wish miss Minnesota girl, Jesse, would have made it through. I think she's got a future in entertainment somewhere. At least I hope she does! I'd buy her CD today. A little Bonnie Raitt flavor, but more sultry. I just found out tonight that she is Jonny Lang's sister. Good pipes must run in the family.

So here are my top three picks at this point:

Lil Rounds
Allison Iraheta
& Adam Lambert

I also like Danny Gokey and Alexis Grace. It's kind of hard to remember Alexsis from three weeks ago, but I do remember liking her.

I'm indifferent about Jorge, Michael, Scott, Jasmine, Megan and Jasmine. No strong feelings one way or another. But I could easily have given any one of them up for the two I was most disappointed about: Jesse Langseth and Ju'not Joyner.

The two I'm happiest didn't make it?

Tatiana and Nathaniel. I don't think there's a place for drama queens in this competition. Take that to the theater.

Johnny couldn't believe that American Idol was on again tonight. ANOTHER night? What!? he says. AGAIN??? And he was even more pleased (not)when I reminded him that Dancing With the Stars starts next week. Yee-aaah! I'll be lucky to blog at all until this is over. If you don't hear from me, don't worry. I'm not suffering. I'm just having Jell-o for the mind three nights a week. One night of Bible study, one night of grocery shopping, two weekends, and there you go. Two weeks at a time--gone. No spare time.

But I am reading! I'm partway through Breaking Dawn. I carry it in the car with me so I can read every time I'm waiting for something. I don't want it to be over...I'm trying hard to savor every page.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

a little treasure trove

I finally made it to the little shop I've been wanting to visit: Ruby Anna's, in St. Michael. It's set up in a little old two-story house that has been converted into the cutest little store I've ever seen!

Purses and bags of all sizes, shapes and colors! There were at least a half a dozen that I could easily have happily come home with. Unfortunately my budget didn't match my thirst for purses.

Then I found the kitchen area. I know I missed half of what was in there...too much to look at. But I did find the coolest silicone funnel. It collapses to fit in your drawer and you can expand it to fill whatever...your jar or whatnot.

She carries specialty coffee and tea, and so-cute coffee mugs, and all kinds of kitchen doo-dads. Candles, pictures, home decoration, cutesy things that you don't find most other places. Loved it.

It was just like a little getaway adventure. It reminds me of Bella Vista, only more things packed into less space. It's a place I will go back to often.