November 30, 2010

10 Great Christmas Gifts for Teens!

At several points over the weekend I had a house full of teenagers, so I asked them for a some ideas for those of us shopping for teens. Here are their top ten suggestions:
  1. Money
  2. Gift cards - iTunes, Best Buy, and gas cards were top hits
  3. Netflix or other movie subscription
  4. Magazine subscriptions
  5. DVD's or movies
  6. Fleece blankets
  7. Any type of food
  8. Tickets to sports or concerts
  9. Health club membership
  10. Electronics like iPods, cameras, and phones
Ready to shop? Save the hassles. Try Amazon.

squirrel update

Conservative talk radio blaring from the attic has not encouraged our squirrels to leave; it's only made them angry, right-wingers who believe the government is trying to control their lives and constitutional right to property. So on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving we borrowed a live trap from the humane society, loaded it with peanut butter and sunflower seeds, and put it in the attic. Damn conservatives don't believe in handouts....

November 29, 2010

Black Friday starts in the dark

So my oldest makes the observation about the irony of the Thanksgiving weekend and my middle daughter invites friends over to go Black Friday shopping at 3am, with me as their chauffeur.

They wanted to start with Target until they saw the line stretching 200 feet along the front of the building and another 100 feet around the side. They decided to go to the 24 hour Walgreen's down the street to check out all the "as seen on TV" products, followed by breakfast at McDonald's. We got back to Target just in time for the stampede as the doors opened, but it was uneventful.

At least I got coffee out of the trip. Well ok, I got a cami, long-sleeve t-shirt, and sweater for half off at Vanity too....

observing the holiday

My oldest made an funny observation this holiday weekend. She said, "You know, it's kind of ironic how we spend Thanksgiving being grateful for the things we have and then we go out Black Friday morning and spend tons of money to buy more stuff." Ironic indeed....

November 20, 2010

Don't skip the turkey!

Most of us are making plans for our Thanksgiving dinners. But what if one of your guests is vegetarian? Don't panic. I'm here to help: 

First, be careful about the vegetarian label. There are different types of vegetarians: vegans eat no animal products at all, complete vegetarians don't eat red meat, fish, or poultry, and partial vegetarians might eat chicken but not red meat or pork.

Avoid the urge to shop special for a vegetarian guest. Just because someone is a vegetarian doesn't mean they eat tofu and soy protein foods, just like all meat-eaters don't like veal or liver. Many of the meat substitute products are really good and others are barely edible. Unless you know what your guest prefers, I would stick to foods you normally make.

You should still eat your turkey. People who choose to be vegetarian do so for a variety of reasons. When I was pregnant meat made me sick and so I just stopped eating it. I found other foods to replace it and never saw the need to start again. Over the years I have developed more of an animal rights perspective, but that is for another post. The key is respect - I won't bring up how the turkey is raised and prepared if you don't make an issue of me not eating him.

Don't worry about feeding me a complete dinner. If all I eat is mashed potatoes and stuffing that's ok. I love stuffing. Most vegetarians do not get all of the right nutrients in a single meal anyway. We look at the whole day, so I will make up the difference somewhere along the way - probably by adding my beta-carotene through a double slice of pumpkin pie or loading my broccoli with cheese for protein. What? Vegetarians do it too - it's all about the balance....

If you are the type of host who must go the extra mile for your guest, or you really want to make your vegetarian guest feel extra special welcome, just ask ahead of time. Most vegetarians are happy to share the things they prefer, and many will offer to bring a dish to add to the feast. The key to making all of your guests feel comfortable is to keep the focus on celebrating all of the things we have to be thankful for like spending the holidays together.

December Daily - Cover

I started my December Daily album project. It's a mini-album idea from Ali Edwards that documents the 25 days leading up to Christmas. Watch as the project unfolds!

November 18, 2010

Armed and dangerous

My brother-in-law came over to assess the squirrel situation. He headed up to the attic armed with a flashlight, a walkie talkie, and a bb gun (don't post hate comments - we're gonna trap them - the bb gun was only for protection). Thanks, BIL!

November 15, 2010

Ah, Wisconsin.

As we pulled out of the driveway this morning my middle daughter, dressed in a short sleeve t-shirt, cranked the heat all the way up. "You should be wearing your new Columbia," I offered. "Yeah" she replied, "but I am waiting for winter." I pointed to the 33F on the temperature display and she said, “I mean like snowing.”

you just never know

Last time I went grocery shopping I picked up a couple of boxes of cous cous because it is fast and easy to cook and I like it. My middle daughter has eaten it before, but I always kind of thought it was just because it was the only thing available. Last night she was staring into the cupboard looking for food, then all of a sudden smiled and blurted, "Couscous? Can you make this for me?"

Experts say you have to offer a new food several times before kids will like it, or even try it - I guess so.

an award would be nice

Earlier this week I called my sister to brag about my morning. At 7:30am I finally got to looking through the mail that had been piling up since last week while I was sick. In the stack was the closing paperwork for our mortgage refinance – that had to be in their hands the next day. 

I dropped all three kids off at school, made closing payment by phone, picked the Hubby up at work, ran to the notary's office (do you have any idea how lucky we were to find a notary on Veteran's Day with all the banks closed) and UPS store to ship… and picked up and delivered copies for work - in just two hours. So when I called my sister to brag and she said, "Yeah, you're a mom." 

Like what do you want? An award?

We have company!

A pair of squirrels has moved into our attic above the bedrooms. We hear them scurrying around over my head just before the alarm goes off. Supposedly turning on the lights and leaving a radio on should encourage them to find a new home. We’ve had AM conservative talk radio on for the last three days – which I would think would make anyone leave - but they are still there. All I can picture is the movie Caddy Shack. They are up there laughing at us, “Hey, you guys, gather round. It’s time for Limbaugh.”

November 14, 2010

making a registry, and checking it twice...

On my way into work the other day, the radio DJ's were talking about a birthday invitation they got for a nephew that included a "Ryan is registered at..." enclosure. I can see both sides of this. As we head into wish list season for many people, I am wondering what others think of kids creating gift registries.

November 13, 2010

it's all in the paper

I'm attending a conference in Chicago and the hotel is beautiful. Not as detail-oriented as my last Chicago hotel conference experience, but I guess you have to cut somewhere....

November 11, 2010

Down for the count

What day is it? I spent the majority of this week knocked out by the flu. Or maybe twenty pounds of Halloween candy finally caught up with me. I have a few stories from this past week, although I am not sure which were real and which I imagined. Either way, they're funny. I'll pull them together for weekend reading....

November 3, 2010


Whew. I am trick-or-treated out. Now, what do I do with the pumpkins we did not get to carve?