Thursday, February 28, 2008

You put de lime in de coconut....

I rocked the family dinner tonight.

I made coconut chicken , which you most definitely should make soon. Don't worry, I don't like coconut either, but this is an exception (it's coconut milk not coconut flakes so that's a million times better). The only changes I made to the recipe were that I added mushrooms (on the grill with the chicken) and added some cilantro in the blended coconut milk mixture (I also did Janssen's trick and used the jalapenos from the jar). It.was.awesome.

In addition I also made a variation of Ralphie's delicious salad. Here is the original and I will put how I varied at the bottom

Avocado and Apple Salad
1 (10 oz) package of baby greens
¼ cup chopped red onion
½ cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup crumbled feta or blue cheese
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 apple- peeled, cored and sliced
1 avocado- peeled, pitted and diced
4 mandarin oranges, juiced
½ lemon, juiced
½ tsp lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
1. In a large bowl, toss together the baby greens, red onion, walnuts, cheese, and lemon zest. Mix in the apple and avocado just before serving.
2. In a container with a lid, mix the mandarin orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, olive oil, and salt. Drizzle over the salad as desired.

We have it or variations of it like every other night, which is great because I think it's got to be pretty good for you. The variation tonight (our favorite so far) was to add strawberries (today we went to Costco and I got the most delicious strawberries that are the size of my head), replace the feta with Gorgonzola, omit the avocados, omit the nuts.....and I never have an actual lemon laying around so I usually always omit the lemon zest. Oh yes and also I use spinach instead of the baby greens (spinach is a lot less expensive, well like fifty cents, both ways are good). Uh and reading it now I guess I forgot to add the red onion, that's a shame because red onions rock. Oh and also who has real mandarin oranges? I drain a can of half the liquid and then smoosh the rest in a bowl. Wow. I have really adapted the salad, once you try Ralphie's recipe you will want to have it every night too and to keep your family satisfied you will start variations. Please, send them to me. It'll be great! Thanks Ralphie!

Speaking of Ralphie's salad. I have to tell a quick story about that. We had a can of mandarin oranges that I think we got for our wedding shower. Folks that sucker moved with us from Provo to Oregon back to Provo to Minnesota and back to Provo again. The same can. Finally I threw it away (I think it had finally expired) because we were moving again soon. Then for Christmas my mother bought us a bunch of food storage, including a 24 can pack of mandarin oranges [insert that freaky violin screeching from Psycho here]. I am happy to admit that I just ran out of mandarin oranges about two weeks ago and I am happy to go and buy more because I cannot live without the delicious dressing recipe for this salad. It is delicious.

Blaine also just informed me that he can't stop thinking about what a good dinner this was (is there a higher compliment to be given?). He says it is the best meal he has had in a long time. Think about that. We just spent x amount of dollars at the Melting Pot (x=an amount I am embarrassed to admit, but please keep in mind it was our FIVE year anniversary and Valentine's day), and he liked this dinner better. Wow. You should make it tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Miracle Diet

In the last week, in addition to my normal food consumption, I have

*eaten a whole pan of these almost single-handedly (you MUST make these, they are hands down the best treat ever created, if you bring me the caramels I will make them for you but I require that you leave me at least half the pan to eat for myself; and Janssen I will never forgive you for introducing me to them because I am sure they will utlimitely lead to my demise)

*eaten two whole packages of girl scount cookies (did you know the carmelitas are 170 calories per serving. One serving is two cookies. That's disgusting)

*eaten "The Big Night Out" at the melting pot. Wow.

*missed the last three workouts with Ralphie

So I grimaced as I stepped on the scale this morning. I had lost 2 lbs! I was the lightest I have been since before Gwen was conceived. Bring on the caramel bars, that's all I've got to say!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The truce

Blaine's peronal philosophy about being a "romantic guy" is that unless I am willing to play the part of the typical romantic comedy female lead and pause in the middle of a big argument to pull him close for a big smooch he is not willing to act like the romantic guy and bring me flowers everyday, etc. Well, we have come to a truce on that because when I am mad the last thing I want to do is kiss someone. So I open my own door and don't expect too many little romantic surprises in general. Not to say that there are never romantic surprises, there are.

HOWEVER, once a year when holidays align (our anniversary is on Valentines Day), he throws his "unromantic guy" image out the window and puts all other men to shame. It's true. And it has been true every year of our marriage. The year we got married he wrote a song (music and lyrics) to sing to me at our wedding dinner. See romantic. He has really pulled out the big guns in the most recent years though.

In 2006, the year we spent in Minnesota, was an "anniversary for the senses". So all throughout the day I kept receiving little gifts for each sense. My favorite of which was when a string quartet showed up at our door and sang me a song and gave me a rose. I guess one of the guys is someone Blaine works with, it was very memorable. I have never been crooned to before.

And every year he compiles a list of memories from throughout the year. This is very thoughtful and very fun. And it works great for people like us who are horrible at keeping journals.

This year, as you all know, Blaine was busy on Valentines Day (I spent the evening eating sugar at B and Ralphie's house, which was also very fun and tasty, but how can you not feel like a third (or fifth) wheel on Valentines day?). So we were all scheduled to celebrate on the 25th (yesterday).

However on Saturday Blaine surprised me with a note saying that since it was our five year anniversary we were going to celebrate it with a five day cruise! Okay, not really, but he did say we were going to celebrate for five days. So on Saturday he went with me to home depot to help me build my garden (which after seeing how much work it would take to actually build a garden we decided on buying some pots instead) on Sunday he surprised me with two boxes of girl scout cookies (yes they are all gone now, no I did not share, yes each box contained over 1,000 calories of goodness, yes I look like I am five months pregnant again.) and day three was a romantic dinner! I am going to write a seperate post about the dinner so as to not overwhelm you!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I am morally opposed to preschool. Well, that's not necessarily true, but I am financially opposed to preschool. Who in their right mind would pay $200 a month to send their kids to preschool for two days a week? The answer to that question is a resounding EVERYONE! Everyone in Texas sends their toddlers to preschool which really has left me in a pickle because no one wants to do a co-op preschool with me. I can think of about a million things I would rather do with $200/month before putting Gwen in preschool, the first of which would be getting a car that would be less likely to spontaneously combust than the one I currently drive. I'm not picky. It doesn't have to be a new car, or a fancy car, just one that won't blow up. That's a good way to spend two hundred dollars a month....but preschool? Come on.

That being said my mental well-being has been somewhat questionable lately, mostly due to lack of sleep I think. Poor Gwen is really getting the short end of the stick because I spend all day just trying to get enough sleep so that I won't go insane but it never happens so I spend all day in kind of a weird dreary little funk and with an exceptionally short temper. So, I had to do something for her sake.

So I signed her up for this little class at the Rec center. It is just once a week for three hours, but I get to drop her off and then go home and get something done (I always claim I want to clean but it ends up more like I am still doing the dreary funk thing only I don't have to feel bad because Gwen is somewhere else having fun). The class was less than half the cost of preschool, plus no registration fees plus it was only a month and I was desperate.

Gwen was so excited for the first day of "preschool". We got her little lunch all packed and sang songs all the way. When we got there I was a little embarrassed because ALL of the kids had these cute little backpacks with coordinating lunch sacks tied on the back. Please see exhibit A below.

Exhibit A

Gwen's lunch, however, looked more like exhibit B below.

exhibit B

Except that not only was it in a plastic grocery bag with a knot tied on top, but I had also tried to write her name on the bag (silly me, I didn't know the other children would have embossed lunch bags) and I couldn't find a magic marker, so I tried to write it with a black pen. Ever tried to write something on a plastic bag with a pen? Doesn't work. So it had various renditions of "Gwen" scribbled on all parts of the sack in faded ink. Awesome.

As if this wasn't bad enough we had stopped at Randall's on the way to preschool to pick up some Valentines for her class party. I grabbed a box of valentines and a package of candy and once we got there began ripping the perforations and writing Gwen's name on the "from" line. How did I know that EVERY SINGLE CHILD and I am NOT kidding, had made homemade valentines for the class. Homemade with stamps, ribbons, hearts, etc. And then to make it worse each child also had a very elaborate Valentine for the teacher. Whoops.

I am a fast thinker though so I threw an extra Mickey Mouse valentine and snickers (No I did not even have tape to tape the snickers to the valentines) in for the teacher. Phew. Dodged that bullet.

Poor Gwen. It's a good thing this is just pre-pre-school and not high school. That would have been social suicide for sure. I mean, I just figured it was a short little class with no required materials to bring, how was I to know that I was supposed to go spend the big bucks on a backpack with matching lunch pail? No one told me. And the whole Valentine thing.... I didn't even get Blaine a valentine let alone Gwen's teacher. Handcrafted valentines. Sheesh.

Someone should really write a book about this whole parenting thing because at the rate I am going my cute little adorable, born to be loved daughter is going to be a social outcast, all because I pack her lunch in a plastic HEB bag.

*This is just a little sidenote to personally thank my mother for purchasing the Doc Marten shoes for me in the 7th grade. I know they were like $90 and totally pointless, but everyone who was anyone had them. I can't believe I actually had some. I would never never NEVER spend $90 on shoes for Gwen. I can't even fork over the $14.99 for a backpack for preschool ( don't worry I plan on sending her with a backpack to kindergarten, you know when they actually are supposed to take stuff to school.).

Friday, February 22, 2008

In the zone.

I don't know if you remember several months ago a post I wrote about untapped it I expressed that I thought one of my untapped talents may just be basketball. I think I was right.

Our stake has basketball games on Thursday nights and I have wanted to go the last little while. Unfortunately I do not venture very far outside of my house unless accompanied by Ralphie, and she was hesitant to go. She didn't want other members on the team to feel bad because she is so good. Understandable.

Anyway my good friend Gretchen sent out a plea asking me to consider coming to the game on Thursday (yesterday). It was the perfect excuse to go. I was excited.

Though my knowledge of playing basketball is limited I went into the game with three excellent strategies.

1- Cough like crazy so that if I had the ball and touched it no one else would want to get near it for fear of infection (see, this is how sneaky I am, the cough is real but it is just a cough---no virus or infection, I wouldn't want anyone to really get sick, that's probably some sort of technical foul or something.)

2- Whenever someone not on my team has the ball wave my arms like crazy and do a little annoying scream or whoop/holler.

3-Pass the ball to Gretchen. Do not pass the ball to Katie. (These were the only two recognizable faces of people there---Gretchen was on my team, Katie was not).

With this line of defense it was hard to imagine anyone scoring on me. And it must have worked because I noticed soon after I got in that I was being guarded by the opposing teams strongest player. That'sssss riggggghhhhht.

My team kept saying something to me about staying in my "zone" whatever that is supposed to mean. I am guessing it meant my mental state of awareness or something, which I don't know why they kept yelling that to me while I was trying to attack the person with the ball--obviously I was in my "zone". See I asked Blaine about this later and he says they meant they wanted me to stay in a certain part of the court, which I think is a bunch of hogwash because really what is going to happen in my section of the court if the ball is elsewhere? Nothing. Go where the ball goes, that's my philosophy. Well....go where the ball goes but if you notice Katie standing alone and someone else has the ball maybe go and try to psych her out with your wild girl screaming. I had to do some of that too, or else someone would throw her the ball and she would pull a Michael Jordan. That Katie, she's an animal.

The good news is that I scored a basket. The bad news is that I scored it by doing a granny shot. Hey, it's still two points no matter how you look at it. I couldn't help it. I didn't know what to do. Someone passed me the ball, I looked for Gretchen (the only person on the court who I actually could recognize as a team member), briefly considered yelling "if you are on my team raise your hand!" but then realized that even though it was church ball I couldn't be sure if people would be honest. Having found all of my options for getting rid of the ball unworkable and being way too far away to shoot like a grownup I did what any reasonable logic thinking ten-year-old would do and took the granny shot. I had weighed the cost; if I missed then surely social suicide would be my doom. Luckily though, I made it.

All things considered I think I played well. I wanted to leave on a high note though so as soon as I scored my granny shot I was outta there. Until next week....of course.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rootie Tootie

On Valentines Ralphie had me over for dinner (Blaine had to work late- sad!) Bart and Janssen joined us and brought a fun dvd. I thought it was pretty hilarious, especially this part.

And if someone could please teach me the finer points of embedding a youtube video in my post I would appreciate it. I try every time and I fail every time. Enjoy!

Buyer beware...

I think it is only fair to warn you. Do not buy something from me off of craigslist. If you do bad things will happen. I must be jinxed. So as a friend I beg of you, do not buy something from me. Just in the last week horrible horrible things have happened to people who were scheduled to come pick something up at my house. One woman's daughter got sick, another's mother had to be rushed to the hospital, a guy got called in to work even though it was his day off and finally, another guys water heater broke and flooded his apartment, leaving his funds too depleted to complete the purchase with me. Did anyone bother to call me ahead of time, before I spent my day waiting for them to show? nah. That would be too easy. So for your own safety (and for that of your friends and family) avoid buying stuff from me on craigslist. Please.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I owe my soul to the company store....

Wow. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be drowning in credit card debt. Or rather, I CAN imagine it because I got to experience it yesterday. I pay all of my bills online (in a timely manner of course!). I got on to check our credit card balance yesterday and was floored to see that my payment had not been deducted and as a result I owed $39 in late fees and about $75 in finance charges.....for being ONE DAY late! I wasn't even really late because I know I scheduled an online payment. Apparently I didn't click all the way through though. Needless to say I was sick, SICK to my stomach. $100+ for absolutely NOTHING! How boggy is that? Anyway, just a small plug for discover card..... I called the company in angst and spoke to a really nice person who reversed all of the fees. Though I don't feel like I should have been charged them in the first place (I SCHEDULED AN ONLINE PAYMENT!!), it would have been easy for her to say there was nothing they could do, but instead she took care of the problem. So viva la discover card. And pay your credit card bills on time or you will be nauseated.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I sound like a Mary Kay sales woman.

Okay, so I know you are sick of hearing about ebates. Just so you all know though it is for reals. Just got my first check. Twenty five bones in my pocket for doing absolutely nothing except going to their website before going to the one I intended to go on in the first place. PLUS the referring a friend bonus is $10 per friend now until the end of March, plus if you refer two friends you get a bonus $10 target gift card. That is $30 for referring two friends. So let me refer you and then you go refer two friends. I know, total pyramid scheme. I love it though. I just signed up for a service to rent games for the wii, I signed up for a free trial and got $10 through ebates. I love it. Remember sent you.


Aren't genetics funny. I don't have hair, I have feathers and yet look at my daughter.

Sisterly love.....

From the other room---- "BENTLEY BENTLEY HOLD STILL!"

I thought I should go check out why Bentley needed to be holding still....

Saturday, February 16, 2008


This is a picture I took of outside our house this afternoon

Just kidding. Please read below.

Valentines day was our five year anniversary. Five years. It's a long time. Blaine has a really big project due at work, it was due on the 15th so he spent 14+ hours at work on our anniversary. Kind of sad. He has also been working really long hours for at least the last month trying to get something done. So we decided to go on vacation this weekend. We didn't have the time of the money to fly, or to really go anywhere, BUT we had priceline at our fingertips and bid on a hotel in Austin for the weekend (note:this was not a romantic weekend, but an escape weekend with children included). An added bonus to this was that on Friday I was checking the weather and the forecast read something like this:


So I was not opposed to planning this little trip and staying in a nice, huge, secure hotel while nature's wrath was upon us.

Gwen was so excited and we have had the best time. It was a weird, but truly good idea to take a vacation from our life--even if we are only ten miles away. We've gone swimming, eaten pizza, watched movies, etc. And tonight we look forward to going and checking out the town.

However, I feel a little cheated because as we have been here I keep checking the weather (because I am an insane person who must know what mother nature has in store at all times, in all things, and in all places), and surely every time I check it the outlook gets better. Why just this last time it read something like "rainbows, butterflies and happiness are forecast for the austin area today". So really....the one time I am in a secure structure there are no violent storms. What gives?

See, I am a normal person when I am safe. I think it would be cool to see a big storm. Just not in my house while hiding in my closet. Oh well. Maybe for our six year anniversary!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I never thought it would come to this.....

Today we ate our cereal with powdered milk. Gag. I swore I would never let that happen, but I am an opportunist and last night when I was supposed to be going to the store to get milk (and valentines for Gwen's class party today...whoops) Bentley fell asleep and I passed by my bed. It beckoned me, and I lost all defenses. And here it is, half an hour till Gwenie's class, no valentines and we are using powdered milk for breakfast. Gag.

Don't worry, we are going to stop at the store on the way to her class.

ABCs of me

I got tagged by Katie to do the ABCs of me. And since it is 7:ooAM and I am awake and Ben is still screaming in my room, I choose this instead of helping him (hey, I tried to help him all night long with no success, so he can wait.)

A: Attached or single: Attached (really I am very attached, to Blaine, Ben and Gwen!)
B: Best Friend: Well if stuffing you full of awesome desserts and night then dragging your rear end to the gym the next morning three times a week doesn't make you a best friend I don't know what does, so I will say Ralphie
C: Cake or Pie: Texas sheet cake and any pie with chocolate (no fruit, yick). I refuse to choose between the two.
D: Day of Choice: Currently Thursdays, Gwen goes to a little class for three glorious hours. It's scary how much I enjoy it.
E: Essential Item: My bed. It is so big, and so comfortable and I bought it online for a great deal. Match that with the awesome one million thread count sheets and I choose my bed over any other bed I have ever slept in. I wish I could be in my bed right now, but it has been taken over by Bentley....grrrr...
F: Favorite Color: whatever color is left after Gwen has asked everyone in the room theirs (she gets a little upset if we have the same, I usually wind up with green, really though I like them all)
G: Gummy Bears or worms: definitely bears, but not a huge fan of either
H: Hometown: West Valley City, Utah
I: Indulgence(s): paying the big bucks to get Gwen in that class, the wii, and I am currently tempted to indulge myself by paying someone to come and clean my house (note: I know, I am a stay at home mom and it is totally my job to clean my house, but seriously I cannot get on top of it right now. We are seriously in a downward spiral of filth....well, that made it sound bad, but it's not that bad )
J: January or July: in Texas defintely January, anywhere else, July
K: Kids: Why yes, I have two adorable children who are the picture of perfection, nary a peep do I hear from either one. (Wait, I have to take out my earplugs, I think Blaine is trying to say something to me).
L: Life is incomplete without: My family and ice cream (I refuse to just give the obvious answer)
M: Marriage Date: Okay folks this is why I was excited to do this my marriage date? FEBRUARY 14, 2003 -- Happy five years (so what if Blaine went to work at 6AM and won't get home till 9PM, it's our anniversary dang it!).
O: Oranges or Apples: Apples of the Pink Lady variety (or gala, fuji, honeycrisp) but I would choose the worst orage over a red delicious apple any day.
P: Phobias or Fears: Wow, I can't think of any off the top of my head........except for flying, tornadoes, nuclear war, regular war, killer bees, snakes (rattlesnakes in particular), door to door salesmen, tsunamis, public speaking, something happening to Blaine or one of the kids, terrorists, heights, earthquakes......I should really speak to someone about this
Q: Quote: "Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day, but give a fish a man and he will eat for weeks!" sorry I just came across that yesterday and thought it was funny. I used to be really into quotes and have them plastered all over my locker, etc. Not so much anymore, I enjoy hearing a good quote but I don't have lots of favorites or anything.
R: Reason to Smile: The guy from the FBI who came to our door yesterday was indeed NOT there to talk to me about the leapfrog books (which was a relief), still it is somewhat disconcerting that the FBI came to my house.....that's another blog post. Another reason to smile is that there is a small possibility of going on a cruise (for the five year anniversary thing) sometime in like November.....
S: Season: There are three seasons in Texas; October-March is the Celestial season full of perfect, and I mean PERFECT weather. It's seriously the most beautiful weather ever. April - June there is a higher risk for tornadoes, so it's the season of terror and June-September this place is like a fiery inferno (quite the opposite of celestial), so I choose the Celestial season. Anywhere else in the world though I would choose summer.
T: about Cheyenne Alvarez (is that your last name?)
U: Unknown Fact About Me: I nearly lost my eyesight in one eye when a ferral cat jumped on my head and scratched my face when I was a kid (yikes).
V. Vegetarian ? Not really but we eat a lot less meat than we used to--mostly replacing it with portabella mushrooms (it's good you should try it!).
W: Worst Habit: As if I am going to post my absolute worst habit, no way. I can tell you some pretty bad habits though---like letting Bentley sleep in our bed, not folding the laundry until it is all wrinkly again, eating too much junk, not getting Gwen to bed early enough. The list could go on for miles....
X: X-Rays or Ultrasounds: ultrasounds? Never really had an x-ray, but if I had a brain tumor I would definitely choose x-ray.
Y: Your favorite foods: ice cream, homegrown tomatoes, olive garden anything, salmon, any treat (particularly any treat recommended by Ralphie or Janssen!)mexican food, oh wow, it is only 7:45AM but mexican food sounds so dang good right now....
Zippers or Zebras: Uh, zebras, I guess.....I am determined to come up with a better z question.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Summertime Blues

So I actually wrote my congressman a while back, like several months ago and today, randomly, he wrote back. It was kind of weird. He does not support the issue I wrote to him about, but it sure was nice of him to write back.

I just thought it was funny, cross that off my life goals

#876 - write my congressman ----- check!

You know this is Earth, right?

presented by TravelPod, the Web's First Travel Blog ( Member of the TripAdvisor Media Network )

My friend Kris put this on her blog and said she made it to level 10. Well, she has a PHD folks so I can't compare myself to her (or else I feel really like an idiot at how far I made it). So try it you must and tell me how far you got and hopefully you won't put me to shame. I am embarrassed to say that the computers response more often than not was "you know this is Earth, right?". Maybe this is the secret reason I want to homeschool, so I can re-learn a thing or two. Couldn't hurt.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

My kind of charitable contribution

Um, YES. Only I couldn't find the light version but the un-light version (featuring chocolate mint ice cream instead of vanilla) was only twenty more calories per serving. Each year I am so tempted by the cute little girls selling cookies outside of every store I go in to. I have a soft spot for thin mints. Blaine reminds me that I can buy the same cookies inside wal-mart for $0.99, only they are the "great value" brand. "But what about the CHILDREN!I want to support the children!" I remind him. It never works. Girl scout cookies are a whopping $3.50 a box this year, and the caloric content makes me shudder. The girl scout thin mint ice cream though (full fat version) is only 140 calories a serving (that is less calories than 2 girl scout cookies), plus the girl scouts still get $0.30. I think this means I can deduct the cost of the ice cream from my taxes, but I'm not sure. Go get some, and then invite me over to eat it with (for) you.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Five a day

A night out on the town! That's what we deserved today since Blaine had been gone since 6:30 AM and it was fast approaching 6:30PM and we didn't expect to see him until past 9:00. I racked my brain trying to think of what fine dining option would tickle my fancy. I decided that since I was going to have to deal with Gwen the whole time I might as well give her the choice of what she wanted, so I asked "Gwen, what sounds good for dinner?" expecting a half hearted "nuggets" or the typical "PBJ" response. Imagine my surprise when instead I got an enthusiastic "Broccoli! I LOVE Broccoli! Lets have Broccoli for dinner!!"

To me this says one of two things
a) I have raised my kid right and she has an appropriate love for vegetables
b) Her little body is so deprived of nutrients that her toddler brain is on it's last legs and in an act of pure desperation she actually requested broccoli.

I choose the first option though I fear it may be the second.

With such an honorable request though I did spring the extra thirty-five cents and got her a fruit cup instead of fries at chick-fil-a. We'll save the broccoli for tomorrow......

Monday, February 4, 2008

These are a few....

So, I am no Oprah, BUT I can offer you a list of some of my favorite things, or recent discoveries. So for lack of anything else to post I will do just that.

* Perfect Pasta - maybe I am an idiot, but I recently learned how to make perfect pasta. Boil your water, add your pasta, when it gets back to boiling put a lid on the pan, turn off the burner and wait 13 minutes. Perfect I tell ya, perfect. (thanks to my mother-in-law)

* Cilantro - So you know how you buy a honkin thing of cilantro only to have it go bad after you have used only a tiny bit? Well, and again this may have been obvious to the rest of you but I just discovered, you can freeze it! You chop it up tiny, or you can leave it as is, put it in a ziplock and voila, your cilantro will last as long as you need it to. Awesome. (thanks to my mother-in-law)

* Kirkland brand boneless skinless chicken breast. You get them at Costco. It costs more. There is hardly any fat, very tender, totally worth it. Ralphie, Meleah or Jamie will let you go to Costco with them if you don't have a membership, they're just awesome like that. (Thanks to Ralphie)

* coupon codes galore for every online store you could imagine, and along the same vein (thanks to me)

* Oxyclean - the spray! So Ben averages about three or four blowouts a day. Seriously. And I have been able to salvage almost all of his outfits with this magic stuff. It's amazing, and it is like $2, go get some.

* These little morsels from heaven : ate a whole pan, all by myself, in one day. Sooooo good. (Thanks Janssen)

* My new savings account. I don't know why it did not occur to me to shop around for interest rates on savings accounts. Blaine and I had the same account for four years making like .00000000000000001% interest, after a helpful post from Bart and a visit to, I got hooked up with nearly 6% interest and have been loving life ever since (did I mention the account was from the same bank I was currently using....?). Please, shop around for good rates, you may not even have to leave the comfort of your own bank.

* Did you know you can get free shipping supplies from the post office website? It's true; wish I would have known that before I shipped a thousand leapfrog books and paid for all of the envelopes.

* Did you know you can sign up for free samples from They mail them to you it's great.

* Texas weather. My sister called yesterday saying they got 13 inches of fresh snow and church was cancelled yesterday. It was nearly 80 dgs here. I have to say September-now has been the most beautiful winter of my life--at least temperature wise :).

Okay, well that is it for now. Favorite things must be in the air. It is what we are doing for enrichment this week and what Laurie posted about. Please, share at least one of your new favorite things in a comment!