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Friday, February 27, 2009

Living Dangerously

I am not brave enough to bungee jump.

I'm way too chicken to even think about sky diving.

I even get a little tense on escalators.

But I will totally drink milk FIVE days after the expiration date.

Frank thinks the "Sell by" date really means "Drink all of this two days before this date." I think it means "Smell it and see. It's probably okay about a week after, depending on when you opened it."
But then again, I'm kind of a dare devil like that.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

God Bless Leo

Leo wasn't sure what to think about the ashes they put on his head at church today:

But he grinned for the camera anyway:
And he was excited to see his favorite clergy man, Deacon Leo James:

When we got home we talked about what Leo would give up for Lent. He immediately said, "Naps and clothes!"

So if you see a very tired, naked boy over the next 40 days, that's Leo.

Wine Snob

I've become a wine snob. I never wanted to be one because it's a habit that leads to three things I don't like:

--Spending lots of money

--Gaining weight

--Cluttering up my house

But I realized that's just what I've become after two events took place:

1. I started to dislike my favorite wine, Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joe's. I was fine drinking TBC at home and even serving it to guests but when I'd try other wines that cost more than $2.50 at other people's homes I'd say, "Wow! This is what I've been missing?"

2. Last night I actually SENT BACK wine. I've never done that before. I've seen people do it and thought, "Oh, what a wine snob. Just give me some Two Buck Chuck and I'm happy." But last night (at Pappadeaux for Fat Tuesday where I guess I should have been drinking a hurricane instead of wine anyway), I ordered their cheapest red. The guy filled the glass up really high but after the first sip I looked at the tall glass and thought, "How am I gonna drink all this? It has no taste." So when he asked if we'd like anything else I asked if I could upgrade to a better wine (of course after consulting my friends to see if this was crazy rude or not). The new wine he brought me had a bite to it. That's what I need. A bite.

And back to TBC: Not only does it have no bite, it kinda tastes like Kool-aid. It's too bad because I used to buy the stuff by the case.

From now on I'm only buying wine over $3.00 a bottle. And no more jugs, boxes or giant bottles. If that makes me a wine snob, I can't apologize.

But it's not like I'm getting a wine cellar or anything. You won't catch me sticking my nose way down into a glass. I still don't know the difference between a pinot grigio and a pinot noir. And I only avoid Merlot because that guy in Sideways said so.

I do know the names of some reds and some whites. And I recently learned which glass is for which color. I guess I'm more like a middle-class wino.

Here's an old pic of me with Cul de Sac Carrie, another middle-class wine snob.

And here's an oldie but goodie that Cul de Sac Carrie sent me after reading this blog. Ah, pizza and wine.

Now what am I gonna do with all this TBC?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

All Done!

Leo has succesfully learned the sign for "all done." In this video and picture, he's demonstrating it in his high chair as baby sign language intended:

But he has also figured out that it works for all sorts of other situations:

--He's "all done" getting his diaper changed

--He's "all done" with me putting pants on him

--He's "all done" with Miss Chantal's Chihuahua

I suspect he will use this throughout his whole life--homework, his summer job at Kroger, boring lectures in college, his wife's nagging...that'll teach you to show your kid baby sign language!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Beatles Mania

Leo loves the four guys from Liverpool. And since he digs the drums, Ringo is his favorite:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My lovely lady lump

I have a lump in the back of my head. Well, it’s really in the back of my hair, to be specific. It causes the back part of my hair to look like I just took it out of a pony tail. A pony tail it appears has been in my hair for 17 years:

But the thing is, it looks like this even when I haven’t worn a pony tail for days. After it’s been washed, conditioned and blow dried.

I know what you’re thinking: you’ve got all sorts of solutions for my lump. Trust me, I’ve tried them.

The Chi works great on the rest of my hair but the lump starts right at the base of the hair line so I can’t quite get the Chi over it.

Hair products have done little to de-lump-ify me. I’m a sucker for anything that says “straightening” on it. Cost is not a factor. I recently shelled out $20 for a small bottle of “hang straight.” No luck.

I’ve tried putting extra conditioner right on that spot and leaving it on there. Still lumpy.

I’ve tried blow drying it all sorts of different ways: clipped up the top layer to reveal the lump and dried just the lumpy part; swooshed all my hair over to one side, turned upside down, split my hair into two parts…it won’t straighten!

I’ve consulted experts. And actually, when I go to a pro, they CAN get the lump out. So I know it’s not impossible. Oh, I love the feeling of running my hand over my lumpless head.

Usually I just let the lump live. But sometimes I get determined to get rid of it and when that happens I say, “I’m performing a lumpectomy.” Frank knows it’ll be awhile before I’m ready. I try all my little tricks—putting on the hair product while my hair is still wet, blow drying very thoroughly, using the cool setting on the blow dryer after everything is dry, putting in more hair product, using my Chi, putting in more hair product, using the Chi again…

After each step I use my hand-mirror to check the lump. Sometimes I’ll get out part of the lump and I’ll have sections of it still remaining. That is so frustrating! I’ll de-lump and de-lump until my arms feel like noodles. Then I usually cover up the last of the lump with the top layer of hair and hope no one will notice. Of course, I still notice because I put my hand back there the rest of the night, cursing my lump.

Thanks for letting me rant about my lump.

Next up in Writinggal’s hair saga: My whispie woahs.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Leo's full of Love

Leo showed lots of love for his favorite person this Valentine's Day--himself.

But when he wasn't gazing at his own reflection in the oven window, Leo showed lots of love for daddy too:

As special as the manager

Frank and I don't really do gifts. I mean, come on. A gift for birthdays, Christmas, anniversary and Valentine's Day? That would be like...EIGHT gifts a year!

Instead, we'll just do little things like cupcakes or cookie cakes or brownies...usually something edible and sweet.

Yesterday, I surprised Frank with a beer variety pack. He always considers getting a variety pack but ultimately ends up with Miller Lite. So when I saw the sign for "Dundee" beer, I thought, "This is the perfect gift! He wouldn't buy it for himself, it's on sale and we love the word Dundees."

Frank also made a trip to Kroger for my V-day gift. I was excited when I came into the kitchen and saw, sitting patiently on the table, a cookie cake that said "I love you" on it. How sweet and yummy!

"I see it was on sale for $4.49," I said. "And it's the manager's special."

Then Frank said the most romantic thing: "Yes. You deserve the manager's special."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Leo says, "What's your sign?"

Leo used to be so cooperative about holding up signs with messages. Here he is at about 2 and 1/2 months:

Now that he's nine months old, though, this is a trickier task. My mom left yesterday and Leo wanted to send her a message. Here is a chronicle of our attempt:

"Yum! I want to eat this sign!"

"Fun! I want to wave this sign!"

"Cool! I want to tear this sign!"


"Oh? You still want me to hold up this sign? No problem! CHEESE!"

"Hey, what is this thing?"

"Almost got it!"

"Mommy, you don't have to hold it for me. I can do it!"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hunting for Cheerios

Leo changed his mind about Cheerios. He loves them. He loves to eat them. He loves to hold them. He loves to try as hard as he can to pick them up and put them in his mouth.

Most of the time, though, they end up on the floor.

Luckily, I've already trained him to get down on the ground and clean them up!

"What? I don't see any Cheerios! They're all in my tummy!"

"Oh, there's one! I want to put it in my mouth!"

"This table is funny. I'm easily distracted!"

Monday, February 09, 2009

A bakinggal success story

At the risk of turning this into a food blog, I have to share with you some baking success I had this weekend:

My mom, who’s visiting, had a recipe for the “Ultimate Chippers,” some awesome cookies. They involve three different kinds of morsels. What’s not to like?

We made them on Saturday and when Frank tried them he said, “How did you do it? What did you do differently?” (referring to my past baking disasters).

“Well, my mom helped,” I admitted. Okay, she pretty much made them all but still, I’ve got some baking secrets that I can pass down to future generations (or just blog readers):

--don’t grease the cookie sheet
--put it on the middle oven rack and even move them if you have to
--take them out when they’re not quite done
--Take them off the baking sheet after a couple of minutes and put them on cooling racks

You probably knew all these things but this last one was new to me. I mean, not “new” because I read it all the time on recipes. I just choose to ignore it. Why am I such a rebellious baker?

Not anymore. Not after tasting the Ultimate Chippers. From my obedience came the reward of soft, non-burnt cookies! And with their mix of white, dark and milk chocolate morsels, they just ooze deliciousness. It’s like a chocolate trifecta!

And with that, I give you the Ultimate recipe, courtesy of Writinggal’s mom’s friend from church:

Ultimate Chippers
Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
Ingredients2-1/2 C. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 C. butter or margarine, softened

1 C. packed light brown sugar

1/2 C. granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 T. vanilla

1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 C. milk chocolate chips

1 C. vanilla milk chips (same as white chocolate!)
1 C. chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a medium howl. Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat until well blended. Stir in chips. Stir in pecans. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2-inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Let cookies stand on cookie sheets 2 minutes. Remove cookies to wire racks; cool completely.

Instruction from Writinggal: Immediately give away three dozen and freeze another two dozen. Try not to eat the dozen you have left in one sitting.

Friday, February 06, 2009

"If you're social, you're smart"

That's what Leo's doctor said today at his nine month appointment. Leo charmed everyone at Roswell Pediatrics.

Leo also got weighed (19 pounds); measured for length (28.5 inches) and played with the throat stick thingies. In fact, he was so fascinated by them that I'm pretty sure he's going to be a doctor. And since he's so social, I have no doubt that he's smart enough to get into a good medical school.

Monday, February 02, 2009

It happened

On Saturday afternoon Frank said he would marinate chicken for our dinner that night. The next thing I know I hear, "Uh-oh." I look over and he's holding a baggie full of uncooked chicken in one hand and the dish soap bottle in another. Since my discovery of the "olive oil holder can be used as a dish soap holder," I, too, have almost made the same mistake. Almost.
But the worst part is not that he did actually dump the dish soap on our chicken. The worst part is that we ate it! In fact--after some good rinsing in hot water--we ate it that night on a pizza and repurposed the chicken the next night for fajitas.
What's even stranger is that we both thought the chicken was the best we ever made. So maybe marinating in Palmolive is not such a bad thing. Ooh, lightbulb moment: it does have the word olive in it; perhaps that's what makes it so tasty.
Side note: Since Frank wouldn't cooperate with my original photo idea of him holding both bottles and looking perplexed, I leave you with this shot of the two bottles on their own. You can see how it could be confusing to an untrained cook (and untrained dishwasher).

Leo's First Superbowl

Leo says, "Nothing beats watching the game with daddy."