Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Mr Furious Style

She Does Have A Point

Last night during dinner Mr F, Kid, and I were talking about "Parent's Night Out" a babysitting service offered at her school. Kid didn't understand the point of "Parent's Night Out" (why would she... we never go out) and I explained it was for grown-up dates.

"What do you think we do on dates?" I asked Kid.

"Talk." She responded and then sheepishly smiled and added...

"And eat."

Mr F and I laughed because... yep... that about sums it up.

"Well, there isn't anything else to do if you don't have any kids with you." Kid explained.

Mr F and I laughed even harder.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Design On A Dime

I love holiday decorating and I love making a big deal out of each special day. This year, even before the budget crisis, I had decided to stop buying holiday decorations as part of our compacting efforts. I find it is very hard not to want *new* decorations for every holiday... every single year. Places like Target do an amazing job of turning out new and improved decorations that always seem to one up the ones that they put out (and I bought) the year before. I am always fighting the strong urge to give into this marketing powerhouse. It's amazing how effective it is. Who would know that you can actually feel somewhat humiliated about your past heart shaped purchases upon spying new Valentine's Day decorations of all things? I wish I was kidding... but seriously... those marketing folks know what they're doing. And that is mostly the point behind the compacting. To sit with what you have. To enjoy what you already own without feeling that something *new* is something *better*.

And so I give you tissue paper hearts.

I cut out about 20 hearts (using every single scrap) from 2 pieces of old tissue paper. The kids hung them *artfully* with plenty of scotch tape and hung them in all of our windows.
The light shines through them like stain glass (not so much the 12 yards of scotch tape... but whatever).
And our house was instantly transformed into the most festive house on the street... both inside... and out.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Oops He Did It Again

Snack Time

One of the main ways I'm saving money is by slashing our food budget. I buy hardly any pre-made packaged foods (in fact I don't buy any). But my kids are just as hungry as they used to be. So once or twice a week I make muffins. They are tasty, cheap, and quick. They are also a really good way to use up fruits and vegetables that are starting to fade. These come together so fast that I can throw them together when we walk in the door after school and they are out of the oven about half an hour later... which is just how long it takes Kid to actually put away her coat and backpack so it works out just fine.

Basic Muffin Recipe
taken from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

2 c all purpose flour
6 T sugar (1/2 c if you like them pretty sweet)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 c milk
3 T melted butter (or veg oil)
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt

Heat oven to 400.
Whisk dry ingredients together.
Stir in wet ingredients just until incorporated. Do Not Over Mix... lumps are fine!
Bake in muffin tins until toothpick comes out clean, about 16 minutes.
Makes 12 muffins.

You can take this recipe and change it up any which way. I add shredded apple and carrot and cinnamon. Or I throw in frozen blueberries and cranberries, orange zest, and vanilla. You could put in mashed banana. They are infinitely flexible.

I always use half all purpose and half whole wheat flour. I also always dust the tops with raw sugar (the big crystals) before I bake them to give a little something special to them. This recipe is not too sweet, so it doesn't kill you calorie wise either... they are about 130 calories a pop. His original recipe calls for 1/4 c sugar as the base and adding more per your add ins. I find the 6 T works fine for most everything, but if you like a pretty sweet muffin you might want to start out with 1/2 c.

I store these in a big tupperware container with a paper towel underneath and the lid just slightly ajar. You want a little circulation or the tops will get moist.

Self Fulfilling Prophecies

Ever since I went to the doctor my tailbone actually hurts more.

Just goes to show you how big the mental aspect is.

If you think you are healed you can block out the pain.

When you find out that you aren't... it all comes flooding back.


Or is just that the stupid bloke of a doctor jabbed me right on the broken bit?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Anger Management

I've crossed over.

Today I'm just pissed.

Pissed about the way things are.

Pissed about the way things are going to be.

Pissed that things aren't the way I thought they would be...

or wanted them to be...

or, quite honestly, felt I deserved them to be.

I'm not too big a person to admit that, though, I'm not proud of it.

I'm having a hard time not wanting to blame someone.

Mr F is closest.

Unfortunately for him.

The good news is TCM is airing 31 days of Oscar winning movies from years past. Oh I enjoy me some strange mix of movies when I'm feeling down. Last night was The Devil and Miss Jones (excellent). Tonight it's Never Cry Wolf.

All Men On Deck

We've got pukers!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Doctor Doctor Give Me The News

Well it's been six and a half weeks since that fateful ice skating trip.

I don't know what I was expecting.

I was kind of thinking that he would tell me it's been healing up nicely and to return to business as usual.

Or that I'd totally messed things up and needed a butt amputation.

Not that I like things to be all or nothing... or anything.

I had three sets of xrays (cannot wait for that bill) and the verdict is:

"Not healed"

What does that mean exactly? I don't really know. The doctor graced me with his presence for all of 2 minutes.

Basically it is healing slower than he had expected. I haven't done anything to screw it up though... it's just taking awhile.

"You did break it." He said.

Yes. I thought we'd established that 6 weeks ago.

He said I still need to watch my sitting. So that's a hinderance.

"No bike riding."


I go back in 6 more weeks.

So that is a total of $120 in copays and all the xray fees... which will be repeated next freaking month.


One More Thing I Hate About Asheville

Yesterday I took Baby to the mall for the first time. Not the first time to a mall... the first time to the local one here in Asheville.

We were trying to snag some deals at the Land's End sale at Sears (and sadly we were a little late on that front). I parked in front of the Sears and loaded Baby in the stroller and in we went.

But before I opened the door to the store I noticed something.

A "no guns" sign on the glass of the door.

I don't know if that is supposed to make me feel safer... like "don't worry little lady with your little child no one in here has any guns." or what? That's not exactly the feeling it gave me.

Because it would never occur to me that my fellow shoppers would be packing heat.

So when I saw the sign my heart sank and I got a pit in my stomach. Much like I did when I saw the "no gangs" sign on the local public school door when we first moved here. Or the "no guns" sign on the door of the city preschool building that I take Baby to "Mommy & Me" classes at. Or on our doctor's office door for that matter.

When I see those signs I don't think "Well... PHEW... no guns in here!"


What the hell is going on here?

This is not a big city folks. It is less than half the size of Ann Arbor.

I'm not hanging out down by public housing. I see these signs in my neighborhood. If you are trying to tell me my neighborhood is not safe... then it sure as hell shouldn't have cost us this much to move here.

I've lived in NYC, for crying out loud, and worked in the inner city public schools there. In NYC they had security guards sitting at desks in the front of those schools. Bring that on if there is really a problem... don't just put a sign up.

And at the Sears?!! Seriously? I have NEVER seen anything like that at any of the city stores I have ever been to. EVER.

Am I really to believe that someone toting a gun is going to see that and think "Oh shit... that's right I can't bring that in here... what was I
thinking?" smack their forehead and go stash it in their car?

Cause that is not what I think.

I think... enough people are carrying guns that they need to state where it is and isn't legal to carry them.

And that scares the shit out of me.


Get me out of here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Don't Lose Your Heads...

I'll be back to my usual 10x daily posting soon.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Our Daily Bread

This bread is a perfect sandwich bread. The crumb is nice and even and tight without being too dense. It is easy to slice to boot. I have messed around with this recipe a lot and have tried all sorts of combinations. It is really difficult to produce a good sandwich loaf at home using 100% whole wheat flour. This balance turns out a really good loaf. I have also discovered using white sugar instead of honey (or molasses, or brown sugar) makes for the most consistent crumb. Go figure.

1.5 c water
2 c bread flour
2.25 c whole wheat flour
2 T powdered milk
3 T white sugar
1.5 t salt
2 t yeast
2 T butter

I'm using a bread machine and this is the order in which I load my machine. Check your manual. I bake it on the regular bread setting with the light crust setting. If you don't have a bread machine... or have one that you've never used... hop to! It has made it possible for us to make bread frequently with little trouble. It takes a couple of minutes to load the machine and then we're done. I usually make our right after dinner. When it is done I take it out and let it cool then double bag it in gallon ziploc storage bags that are inverted into each other (I do not seal them!). The bread stays nice and fresh this way for a couple of days.
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