Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On the Right Track

Let me start by saying, no laughing! Yes, that is me. In the middle of a 600 yard run at the University of Maine indoor track during a High School meet. Circa 1985-ish. And yes, I am that far ahead of everybody. (Really, I am!)

Why am I posting this photo you ask? Because my son is going to follow in my footsteps. (So to speak...) And I'm very excited about it. He had his first official track practice today. He's not sure exactly what events he will compete in, but he's leaning towards the 400/800 meters and the long jump and/or high jump. It has been fun listening to him talk about it and it's bringing back lots of great memories... so much for not living vicariously through my child!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Last week was an easy menu week for us. We had no kids to feed, so we decided to simplify the menu. This week we're pretty much back to normal. We didn't end up making the potato soup last week, so we'll try again this week.

Menu for next week:

Sunday: BBQ pork, Au Gratin potatoes, corn & rolls

Monday: Chicken & Rice with carrots

Tuesday: Potato Soup

Wednesday: Cheeseburgers, baked beans and fries

Thursday: Nachos & Burritos

Friday: Pizza & Wings

Saturday: ??

Be sure to check out the Menu Plan Monday website with hundreds of Menu planning ideas at "I'm an Organizing Junkie".

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Great Cola Taste Test

We decided to stage a "Cola" taste test in our house to try to prove a point. Eric did the happy dance once the test was over. He was 100% correct with his theory, and the evidence overwhelmingly supported it... here is how the test went:

Eric was convinced that the "generic" cola was just as good as the name-brand. Kelsey and I were very skeptical. Kelsey is a Coke fan, I am a Pepsi fan. (Or at least I was until I stopped drinking it, however I wanted to take part in the test, so I did.)

The 3 colas we tested were Coke, Pepsi and Walmart brand (aka Sams Cola). We had water to drink between sips to cleanse our palate. Eric set up the test while we were in another room. I thought I knew immediately which was the Pepsi. Kelsey thought she knew which one was Coke.
Tasting. Thinking. Tasting some more.

Trying to smell if there was a difference. (There wasn't.)

These are the results. (You can click on the image to see it better.) Neither of us was correct on any of the 3 colas. We were both completely wrong. As a matter of fact, we both put down totally different answers for each of the 3 choices. The cola that we both thought was our favorite, ended up being the Sams Cola.

Very interesting results. And now, instead of buying the expensive cola - we can buy the generic store brand instead. (Well, maybe we will...)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Toys and Things

Looky at what we got! It's so much fun. The iPod Touch. It's an iPod, it's the internet, it's games, a maps, email, texting, a calendar... even a calculator (Oh my, a calculator...) I can check my Facebook account at the press of a buttom, my email too. I can check the weather anywhere in the world, see what time it is in France if I want, or find out the weather there too. I can watch YouTube videos and play basketball or skeeball too. The only thing I can't do is talk on the phone, but I don't do that very often anyway, so for me, this is perfect! I love it. And I think everyone should get one.

We're heading out to the flea market in a few minutes, we haven't been in a long time. Hoping to find some bargains. Speaking of bargains, the weekly grocery bill was only $51 this week. We skipped Aldi, but had a lot of things in the freezer for dinners. Buying in bulk is good. We need to save our money where we can so we can afford all those neat new tech gadgets!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I thought of a half dozen things to blog about today, but do you think I could remember any of them now? I need to start writing things down more. I like lists, lists are good. They help me stay organized, remember to pick up milk or to call the doctor. Maybe if I try hard I'll remember a few of my random thoughts...

1. I've never wanted to live vicariously through my child and don't like when parents push their kids to be better than they were or to do things that they want them to do. However, I will say I had a twinge of excitement today when Alex told me he wanted to run track. He's been talking about running Cross Country in the Fall, but today he announced he'd like to do track this spring. I really, really hope he does decide to do it, but I won't push him. Well, not out loud anyway.

2. I just created a donut in the Dunkin Donuts Create a Donut contest while I was trying to remember what was on my list. You should too. You could win $12,000.

3. SU is in the Sweet Sixteen and they're playing tomorrow night. We get to wear Orange tomorrow at work. Kind of like "Hawaiian Shirt Day", but different.

4. We're refinancing our house! I know we just bought it last summer, but the rates are so low it was a no-brainer. We'll be saving lots of money.

5. I can't think of any more things to add to my list. I knew there were a bunch of things, but my brain isn't functioning properly. But I know I really should get a new blog post up so that my regular readers don't have to read the Mamma Mia post anymore...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mamma Mia, Here I Go Again

One of my favorite movies ever is Grease. I just love it. Maybe because it's the first "real" movie I really remember seeing in the theater. Or maybe it's because I wanted so badly to be Olivia Newton John. I'm not sure what the reason, but I love everything about that movie, the storyline, the music, the actors, everything. I could (and quite possibly have) watched it a hundred times.

Eric and I watched Mamma Mia yesterday. (Yes, he willingly watched it with me! I know, he's a very good man.) I really thought that I might have the same feelings for this movie that I had for Grease, but sadly, I did not. Sure, it was fun and I really enjoyed the storyline. But I found myself fast-forwarding through most of the musical numbers. (An appreciative Eric thanked me for that...) A few of the songs I enjoyed, like Dancing Queen and Mamma Mia. But the others, not so much. Maybe it's because I have never been a huge Abba fan, I don't know. I thought that all of the actors did a fantastic job, even Pierce Brosnan wasn't that bad of a singer (well, maybe a little), but overall, the cast was great.

I'm glad that I watched the movie, but I will probably not purchase it and watch it 100 times like I did with Grease. Did anyone else see this? If so, what'd you think??

Menu Plan Monday

Last week, we followed the menu almost perfectly. We only switched 2 days around. But the entire menu was completed. This coming week, we don't have to feed any kids (except for tonight and Friday), so the menu will be very simplified. (On a side note, I do take salads to work for lunch quite often to at least get some green leafy vegetables into my system!)

Sunday: Chicken Pot Pie with mashed potatoes
Monday: Cheeseburgers, sweet potato fries and corn
Tuesday: Potato Soup
Wednesday: Burritos & Nachos... and maybe a beer or two
Thursday: Hot Dogs, beans and corn bread
Friday: Pizza & Wings
Saturday: ?

As always, be sure to check out the Menu Plan Monday website with hundreds of Menu planning ideas at "I'm an Organizing Junkie".

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend Activities

We had a pretty quiet weekend. Friday night we had pizza and watched a movie. The movie was "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", it was pretty funny... the pizza was good too. We tried the new "OIP" here in town. I picked it up on my way home from work. We seem to be on a never-ending quest to find great Garlic Pizza. OIP probably had one of the best Garlic pizza's I've ever had. They also had excellent wings. We'll definitely try them again, even though their prices were a little higher than other places around.

We kept our grocery bill to around $65 this week, doing our now usual Aldi/Wegmans trips this morning. Tonight we're having Chicken Pot Pie for dinner. It's usually a favorite all around.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happiness is...

1. Fresh hot cinnamon swirl bread, right out of the oven.

2. Being in my jammies by 8pm.

3. A brand-new episode of LOST.

4. A clean child.

5. Eating said fresh hot cinnamon swirl bread, while in my jammies, watching a brand-new episode of LOST, and listening to Alex singing in the shower.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's All Downhill After 40

I'm beginning to believe it when people say once you hit 40, you start falling apart.

Two weeks ago, I started getting pain in my right calf, down my Achilles tendon. I haven't been exercising (I know, I really should get on that...) so I knew it wasn't muscle pain from over-exerting myself. Today, I finally went to the doctor to get it checked out.

The good news is, I don't have a blood clot. The bad news is, I have tendinitis. At least that's what the doctor thinks. He put me on some anti-inflammatory medicine. It also happens to be an arthritis medication. Yes, arthritis.

Where'd I put that Ben Gay?...

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Irish Dancers

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Happy St. Patrick's day!

Menu Plan Monday

I can't believe another week has already sped by. This coming Tuesday St. Patrick's Day, so we'll have a special dinner that day. I bought a nice ham today at Wegmans, and am already looking forward to leftovers. (We decided none of us really liked corned beef all that much, so we're skipping that tradition and going with good old fashioned ham.)

Oh and last week we didn't end up making potato soup the night we were supposed to, so we had that last night. (As you probably saw in yesterdays blog post.)

Here's our menu for the week ahead:

Sunday: Potato soup with bacon bits and crescent rolls

Monday: Cheeseburgers and fries

Tuesday: Ham, red potatoes, cabbage, carrots and rolls

Wednesday: BBQ chicken, sweet potato fries and corn

Thursday: Homemade Mac N Cheese and corn bread

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: ??

And this week, the Menu Plan Monday is being hosted by a different site while the regular host is out of town. So be sure to check out $5 Dinners for more menu ideas!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Potato Soup

These spices are our favorites. We use them in just about everything. Sometimes just one, sometimes all three. But always at least one...

Today I made a big pot of potato soup... I don't follow a recipe, I just make it up as I go along. And I used all three of the spices pictured above. This is the recipe, to the best of my recollection:

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large pot over medium heat.
Add 1 tsp of all the above spices.
Mix until butter has melted.
Add 1 can of Campbells Cream of Potato Soup and mix well.
Add 1 can (use the soup can) of half & half and mix well.
Add 2 cans of 2% milk, mix.
Add 1 chicken bouillon cube, dissolved in about 1/4 cup of water.
Mix into the soup.
Cut up about 5-6 medium potatoes into small pieces.
Add potatoes to soup mixture.
Sprinkle more (about 1 tsp) of the Cavender's Greek Seasoning.
Cook on medium heat until bubbly.
Turn to low heat for about an hour.
Stir frequently.
Add about 2-3 tbsp bacon bits to soup. (Real ones are better.)
Mash some of the potatoes in the pot to help thicken the soup.

I then spooned soup into bowls, added some shredded cheddar cheese and more bacon bits to the top of the soup. Served with rolls. It was deeeeelicious!

For dessert we had iced sugar cookies with shamrock sprinkles in honor of St Patrick's Day on Tuesday. (I doubt any cookies will be left by then...)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Highest Honors

Today was Kelsey's Earth Science Symposium. The process began last October and it finally ended today. There was much relief among the 100+ students who participated. The above photo was taken in the gymnasium where the student project posters were on display.

Each student had to present their project to a group of judges and viewers. Kelsey would not let us watch... but we heard nothing but rave reviews when she was finished. Another part of the project was to make a poster, those were also judged.

After all the presentations were over, they handed out medals for the best presentations. Kelsey received a medal for "Highest Honors". She also won a $50 gift certificate to the Carousel Mall for having the best presentation in her room! (I see a trip to the mall in our future!)

Congratulations and great job, Kelsey!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Friday the 13th, Part 2

In honor of Friday the 13th tomorrow, one of 3 such dates in 2009, I've done a teeny bit of research on the number 13. And here are 13 things that I've learned:

1. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.

2. The number 13 suffers from its position after 12, according to numerologists who consider the latter to be a complete number - 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 days of Christmas and 12 eggs in a dozen.

3. Many hospitals have no room 13, while some tall buildings skip the 13th floor and some airline terminals omit Gate 13.

4. Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.

5. President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal.

6. Quarterback Dan Marino wore No. 13 throughout his career with the Miami Dolphins. Despite being a great quarterback, he never won a Super Bowl.

7. In Formula 1 racing and Nascar, there is no car with the number 13.

8. On the back of the dollar there are 13 steps on the pyramid, 13 stars above the eagle's head, 13 war arrows in the eagle's claw, and 13 leaves on the olive branch.

9. Many airplanes do not have a 13th row.

10. Hangmen were once paid thirteen pence halfpenny.

11. The British Navy built a ship named Friday the 13th. On its maiden voyage, the vessel left on Friday the 13th, and was never heard from again.

12. Legend has it, if 13 people sit down to dinner together, one will die within the year.

13. The Apollo 13 spacecraft malfunctioned after being launched on April 11th at 13:13 CST, forcing it to return to Earth without a landing on the moon and imperiling its crew.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Random Things

All my formal "ex-acto" knife training continues to pay off. Tonight we helped Kelsey put together the poster for her Science Symposium project. She worked really hard researching, writing and creating the diagrams. Below is a photo of the poster, the diagrams are all on separate pieces of foam core to give it some depth. Kelsey was very pleased with the finished project, and I must say, it looked great! (I have no idea what any of it meant though... she's much smarter than I am with Science!!)

Also, we'd like to welcome another family member to the wonderful world of blogging! Diane & Greg have decided to take the plunge and create a blog. And I must say they're doing a fantastic job so far! I'll post a link under my favorite blogs, but please be sure to check it out and make it part of your blog reads. I'm sure they will be keeping up with it religiously. (Heh heh... no pressure!) Click to go to their blog. Now it's your turn Paula!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Alex and I have a new favorite show on Food Network. Chopped. The premise is simple. 4 chefs compete against each other through 3 courses, (appetizer, main course and dessert). The best chef wins. There is a catch though. They get 4 "mystery" ingredients that they have to use to create each course.

This wouldn't seem too bad, but the "mystery" ingredients always seem to be random. And one thing usually stands out as odd (or absurd as one chef put it). In the last episode we watched, the mystery dessert ingredients were dates, a pie shell, caramel candies and beer. Each chef gets 30 minutes to create a masterpiece using these ingredients plus anything else they can find in the kitchen. I was amazed that anyone could put those 4 things together to create a dessert. But they did and they looked amazing.

Has anyone else seen this show? Do you like it? Hate it? What other Food Network shows do you watch?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Change of Scenery

For the last month or two, I have created a very unhealthy evening routine. I come home from work, help fix dinner, help clean up after dinner then head upstairs. I put on my jammies and hop into bed with my laptop to surf the internet, read blogs and chat with friends on Facebook. All while I'm watching TV. I have officially become a slug. A big, giant, lazy slug.

I am very hopeful that with the approaching warm weather and the lighter skies in the evening that I will somehow snap out of this sluggish state I have become accustom to. I can't wait to go for walks in the evening or sit on the deck with a book or do some yard work. It can't be too much longer, can it??

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I'm trying something new again. (Uh oh!) Let's see how long I can keep it up.

This is from a great site called "I'm an Organizing Junkie". She has a million different ways to stay or become organized. This particular feature is about planning menus. I haven't created a menu in years. But last weekend, I created one for the week and I think it actually helped. We didn't follow it exactly, we ended up switching a day or two, but other than that it worked perfectly. It's nice to know before the week begins what's for dinner every night. And it also helps to use up what food you have in the house.

I think their menus usually go Monday - Sunday. But I'm going to start with Sunday. Since I haven't planned next weekend yet! (And I'm actually writing this on Sunday, not Monday.) You might also notice that there is a lack of green vegetables in my menus. Certain people in the house don't eat "green things"... but sometimes I'll make them just for me.

Sunday: Pulled pork, baked beans & mashed potatoes

Monday: Ham steak, au gratin potatoes, carrots, rolls

Tuesday: Baked Chicken, baked potatoes, stuffing & corn

Wednesday: Fried shrimp, fish sticks & french fries

Thursday: Potato Soup with cheese & bacon bits

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: ??

To see many more Menu planning ideas, head on over to "I'm an Organizing Junkie"!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Farewell to a TV Station

This was a sad week for us. On Monday, one of the local TV stations in our town decided to close its doors forever. Eric and I both used to work there, so it made it very personal. Although we had both moved on to new jobs, we have very fond memories of WTVH. Not just from the station itself, but all the people we worked with too.

Last night there was a farewell gathering at a local bar. I was amazed at the turnout of former WTVH employees. Many of whom had just lost their jobs. There was some sadness, but overall it was an uplifting, memorable evening. Lots of memories, well wishes and hugs were shared.

Here is one of the group shots from the evening. It got to be such a huge crowd of people, we ended up outside in back of the restaurant. It's a good thing it was a nice, warm night! Click here to see more photos from the evening.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Spring Fever

This is a photo from Red Sox Spring Training in Fort Myers. Sheila sent it to me. She and Rich went to a game yesterday. I'm not sure which I am more jealous of, the beautiful weather or getting to see a Red Sox game!! It makes me very happy knowing that it won't be much longer for that nice weather to be up here too.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Happy Birthday, Diane!

Today was Diane's birthday. She's my sister-in-law, married to Eric's brother Greg. But they live near Boston, so we weren't able to see them. But it doesn't mean we didn't hold a party in her honor! We went to Gary & Paula's for a fantastic chicken dinner and then had cake afterwards. We called her, sang to her and wished her a very happy day. There was much celebration and Wii playing. Click here to see all the photos.