Tuesday, December 11, 2012

10 on Tuesday.

1. I've almost got all my Christmas shopping done. This is quite the accomplishment for me. Usually I'm  dashing around last minute. Well....there's still time,  people. And still a few more gifts to buy.
2. I had to return one item to Amazon. I can't believe I was totally swindled. Usually I'm pretty good at online shopping and I trust Amazon. I've learned though...Not all Amazon sellers are created equal. I guess it was really my fault though. I didn't realize the Lego guy I bought was actually a collectable. I bought this Hero Factory Lego guy for $30. THIRTY DOLLARS. What was I thinking?! I was thinking that I've seen these things at Target and the bigger they get, the higher the price...so that had to be the case on Amazon too, right? Wrong! I got this thing in the mail at it was SO SMALL. Only 16 pieces!  and in a tiny box. WHAT?! Then I looked it up online. I guess the one I bought is a collectable. But they've remade this character and I can get him for EIGHT BUCKS. Yeah, I promptly returned it.
3. We finally got our Christmas tree. Pete and Jake were gone hunting all weekend and promised to bring me back a tree. They did! It's huge and I'm not exactly sure how it will fit in the house. It's a total Griswald tree...cut down from Pete's friends property. So it's a real bonafide Christmas tree ;-)
4. I'm not looking forward to January. I don't know why, but I've been thinking about it a lot earlier this year. I just really don't like January. Cold and rain and fires and sweaters and boots are all fine up until Christmas. After that....I'm totally over it.
5. We have some brand new outlet stores near us. They are super high-end designer names stores like Juicy Couture, Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade etc....  My friend and I went out there Saturday just to check them out. They were all really good and really, even for the designer names, I felt like most of the prices were pretty reasonable if not down right steals. I was surprised.
6. I was also shocked and surprised when we walked into the Prada outlet.  Talk about a fish out of water.  First of all....there was an armed guard in a tuxedo at the front door. O_o  I'd never seen anything like it....especially at an outlet mall. Then we walk in and....it was completely dark in there except for the handbags that were backlit against the mirrored walls. Not a single price tag on anything in the store. Not one sales person looked at us except to watch our children like hawks. I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Except less slutty.
7. We pretty much turned right around and high-tailed it out of there.
8. We overheard that there was a 4 and a half hour wait at the Kate Spade store. o_O I didn't even go in to look.
9. I'm wanting to do a little reorganization with our homeschool next semester. But I need some new things like certain office supplies and.... I just don't want to spend the money to do it. Torn.
10. Looking forward to decorating the tree tonight! It's required that we watch Christmas Vacation as we decorate. My favorite Christmas movie of all time.
11. This kid. My friend warned me about the changes between the ages of 9 and 10. Honestly I wasn't sure what she meant except that I did notice that her son had become more emotional. I haven't seen that really in Jake. But this kid is beginning to show me a level of maturity that I just didn't expect to see at  age 9.  He is growing up. I love it and hate it all at once.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Thursday Things. OR Random Rants of an Old Person.

Hello November.

*So far my calendar this month is much, much cleaner than last month. But it's only the first day!
I'm hoping it stays clean though.

* We didn't go out last night for Halloween. I figured the 10lbs of candy the kids got over the weekend was plenty.  Living way up on the side of a hill doesn't make for very good trick-or-treating, or trick-or-treatERs for that matter.

* I saw on Facebook today a bunch of pics from everyone's events. HOLY COW the amount of slutty costumes just gets worse and worse. I think there is a WHORE costume for everything. Slutty Big Bird? They make it.  When did Halloween go from scary and cute to lets see how much of a cheap dirty street walker I can make myself look.  I know it's not anything new. But what bothers me the most is the teen agers. How can a mother let her 13 year old daughter go out with a "tutu" that barely covers her ass and FISH NET STALKINGS and she's supposed to be a 'fairy'??  How can someone let their 17 year old daughter go out dressed like a "police woman" with a garter belt??! Oh my goodness. Can someone be a parent here? THIS IS NOT APPROPRIATE attire for anyone under the age of 21. Call me a prude.

* Whew. I just had to get that out. Lord help me with the teen age daughter I will soon have.

* Speaking of teen agers....What is with this thing they do when on FB or texting or what ever....they add extra consonants to the ends of the words?? Do you know what I mean? My friends daughters' user name on FB is Nancyyyy With 3 extra Y's. At first I thought it was a privacy thing...like she would be harder to find if her name was spelled weird. But then I noticed that my cousin's daughter did the same thing within almost all of her status updates. Like: I'mm so happyy todayy. Is that supposed to emphasize how we read it? Like when I write sooooo. ??

* Ok I'm officially an old fart.

* Also, who or what is Honey Boo Boo?

* I don't like holiday cards that say Merry Everything. It kinda seems like a cop-out to me. Like I don't know if it's ok if I say Merry Christmas...I might offend someone!! What if they're not Christian?! What if they don't like Christmas? ! What if.....OH FINE just Merry Everything then. Nope. It doesn't work for me.

* I really can't wait until this election is over. I'm so sick of the political stuff everywhere I turn. It makes me not even want to talk to certain people. Plus it's so confusing sometimes.  One add says one thing, and I think YES I'm going to vote for that. Then 5 minutes later another add comes on and says if you vote for that then you're going to hurt all the farmers and the mom-n-pop shops and blah blah blah...and dang it! I don't want to hurt anyone. I just want the right to know exactly what's in my dang food. Why is it never that easy?

* It's so hard being an adult some times.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Camping

I know...it isn't even Halloween yet. But we've already celebrated! This is our 4th time going to this event and we're still loving it.
I will say that I think things have changed a bit over the years. I'm not sure if it was because it was all new to us then, but the decorations were the best the first year. I think people (us included) are realizing that it takes A LOT of effort to bring everything, set up and then of course take down. That's the worst part. Not to mention packing it all up, bringing it home and putting it all away again.
But we had a great time. Sometimes it seems like such an effort to get ready to go camping. Especially getting our 5th wheel off and then back onto the side of a hill that we happen to live on. I'm telling you, it's practically insanity. But once we're there....man it is just so nice to get away.

Pete enjoying the first morning sitting in the trailer. 

 Out of focus, but this is Mike, my mom, Megan and my mom's friend Saryia. Megan LOVED Saryia. They were the best of friends all day Friday!

Our campsite and trailer. The parents kept calling our trailer a "dinosaur" because they are all old and actually have money to spare, apparently ;-) and have nice brand new trailers with TV's and slide-outs and such. But we like our dinosaur! A lot! 

Excluding the couple hours we took to trick-or-treat, this kid stayed in front of the pond the entire weekend. He LOVES to fish. Like crazy love. He caught 17 fish total in 2 days! The kid is dedicated. You should have seen all the other little boys come over with their poles and then walk away after 5 minutes when they hadn't caught anything.

Finally time to trick-or-treat Saturday afternoon.  We changed up the costumes almost completely from what they each originally wanted to be. Megan wanted to be a bunny....however, I was starting to be afraid of her looking too much like a certain male magazine bunny.... you know? I just didn't want to go there. So I convinced her to go with this modest mermaid instead. :) Jake ended up being a hunter instead of the green army man. That was easy, we already had everything. He also carried a fake rifle and had a hat and vest on too.

LOL. Oh gosh, his ears.

I took this pic and said, "are you an evil mermaid??" 
"NO!," she said...and then gave me this face: 

Durring trick-or-treating...one set up was making and serving up FREE cotton candy. It was so sweet, we just couldn't eat it. But the few bites were fun on the tongue. 

Every year there's usually a few groups that do a 'group costume'. This year a group did the US Olympic team. Oh my gosh it was funny! As you can see, some guys dressed up as girls etc. They all went as a group with flags and everything through the campground shouting "U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!" It was hysterical!

Here are a few collages of some of the campsites. I could have posted WAY more, but ugh....it's just too time consuming! So here's a sample...

Already made reservations for next year!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday Things

1. Last Thursday the boys left for a weekend of hunting in Wyoming. Pete was supposed to go with another friend but that guy backed out at the last minute. I HATE the thought of him driving all that way alone, so he decided to take Jake along with him. I kind of hated that too, because I'm a control freak but I'm so glad they went. They had the best time and came back with an antelope. Not sure what we're supposed to do with it, but....
2. Jake was SO excited to go. Pete said he was the best kid. It's a long drive....about 12 hours if you don't stop and Jake did not complain one time. Never asked "are we there yet". He soaked in every bit of his 36 hour trip and loved every minute of it. 
3. Megan and I had a pretty fantastic weekend of our own. I had a photo shoot to do with my cousin and his fiance on Saturday in San Francisco. I'd never been to this location before and really, really needed to get over there before hand. I think that's part of my job as a photographer if someone is hiring me. Right? To be familiar with the location and lighting etc?? So we got up Friday morning and headed over. We spent all day looking at the location my cousin had chosen and then looking for a few other spots as well. Megan didn't complain or whine one bit. Never said she was tired or wanted to go home or that she was bored.  She wasn't the best model for me that day, but that's ok ;-) 

4. Saturday was the photo shoot. We met Jeremy and Marissa at 10 am. I wasn't planning on bringing Meg with me, but with Pete out of town, and I didn't know exactly how long I was going to be gone, I didn't feel right leaving her with a friend/sitter. So off we went again for another full day. And again she couldn't have been a better partner. She was helpful and entertaining and silly and never complained. Although, I think she was a little bored this time since we'd been to all these places the day before. But I couldn't have asked for a better kid.
5. The weather has been crazy around here. I kind of like it though. It went from super hot (90*) a week ago, to Friday I was wearing a sweater, scarf and Uggs, to Saturday....which was some of the best weather I've ever seen in SF....Seriously gorgeous sunny, warm day.  Sunday was cold again and now we're expecting highs in the 80's the rest of the week. October, you kill me!
6. Poor Pete has been working a TON of overtime lately. With the exception of last weekend, he's worked every Saturday for nearly a month. Plus OT during the week too. This week he won't be home till after 9 every night. The extra cash on the paycheck is nice, but I'm not sure it's worth all this time away.
7. Has anyone noticed that Target's Halloween section this year really sucks?  Well at least it does at my Target. I feel like they don't have nearly as much "stuff" as they used to. Like for decorating. They have a bunch of purple and orange lights and a few party things, but no fake tombstones or caskets or mummies....you know stuff like that. I don't really want any of that stuff, but I'm just surprised they don't have it. 
8. Also, I really hate those stupid costumes they sell. The ones they want you to spend $30 bucks on and don't come with any accessories, look really, really cheap and.....well they just look cheap! Especially the ones for boys. Like Star Wars and super heroes... I just can't stand to spend money on them. However, I'm rapidly running out of time. My plan for Green Army Man is dwindling as the days pass quicker and quicker. We leave next Thursday for Halloween camping.
9. I find girl costumes, however, to be really easy every year. There are a multitude of cute and or  ghastly girl costumes. And for some reason they don't look quite as cheap as the boys' do. {although so many of them are so trampy and that scares the crap out of me!} I got Megan bunny ears, a nose and a tail for $5. She already has a cute pink leotard and all I need to do now is find a little tutu or make one myself. EASY!
10. Ten...ten...ten....Why do I alway stumble on ten?? I always think I have SO much I can put into one of these posts and then I get stuck on 10 every time! oh well. Working on editing pics from Saturday and will probably post them here soon. :)

The end.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Go-to Recipies

Oh yes, I'm blogging again! I will admit, having a computer that actually works, makes this task much, much more desirable. So hopefully I can keep this up.
Not too long ago Chrissy posted a few of her family's go-to recipes and I thought about it and figured I should do the same. Especially because there's been a few new things come up lately that are pretty surprising. At least to me, anyway.
Like Chrissy, Pinterest has been very helpful in changing how I cook and what we eat. It seems like there is an endless supply of yummy looking recipes to find there. I really like cooking most of the time and I especially like trying out new things.
Anyway the first recipe is super surprising to me. Because my family LOVES IT. Especially Pete. And if you know him.....it's just weird. The man does not like soups. Or anything soup like. He doesn't like to wait for something to cool down. He doesn't like to have to blow on something. He never finds soup or stew to be satisfying. He says it's like eating a bowl of cereal. So basically, he has no appreciation for comfort food ;-) So When I made this and he said, "This is soooo good." I knew I had a winner. I added sausage and tortellini to a Minestrone recipe to sort of bulk it up a bit, thinking that he might like it better that way. I guess I was right.

Minestrone Soup/Stew--but not really. I don't know what to call it.
Adapted from Minestrone Soup from SkinnyTaste.

1lb Italian sausage
1 small onion diced
2 or 3 carrots diced
2 or 3 stalks of celery diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock (I use the 'intense flavor' organic from Safeway or Trader Joes)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 can cantenelli beans (white beans)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried (or fresh) basil
cheese tortellini or any other kind of pasta you desire
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the sausage in a stock pot and then add in the onion, carrots and celery and cook till veggies are soft. Add in the garlic and cook for just a minute. Then add in the tomatoes, chicken stock, parmesan and spices. Simmer on the stove about 20 minutes.  Add in the beans and pasta and cook until pasta is done and beans are soft but not mushy. (you can also add some zucchini and spinach in at the end as well...it is more traditional in Minestrone)
Serve up warm with crusty bread and extra parm on top.

The next one surprised me as well. I made it one day because I happened to have all the ingredients and I thought....what the heck. Turns out this is seriously one of the most asked for things in my house. Who would have thought Sloppy Joe's would be anyone's favorite meal?? Jake ate four FOUR sandwiches one night. o_O I first posted about Pioneer Woman's Sloppy Joe's here a while back and have since made them many times over.

If you make the sloppy joe's, I recommend making your own buns for them. Seriously. They are SO easy and delicious! You will never buy buns for burgers again! They are the perfect taste and texture and I promise they are easy. And they take hardly any time at all. (they also freeze well)
Perfect  Burger Buns from Annie's Eats

The next thing is again--delicious. Like seriously addicting. The recipe calls for fresh corn off the cob, but I've made it with frozen sweet white corn many times and it works just fine. Also, the recipe calls for Mexican Cojita cheese (i think that's how you spell it) but I use Feta. Don't fear the jalepeno or chili powder in the recipe, it's really not that hot at all. My kids eat it up.
Mexican Corn Salad from Closet Cooking

And one more because we should end in something sweet....
Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake from Two Peas in their Pod
This isn't a go-to yet, but I think it will become one. I just made it last night and it is DE-licious!

The end.
Tell me if you try any of these :)

Monday, October 08, 2012

River Adventures

As I mentioned before, Pete bought a boat. It's not a ski boat or a pontoon or a fishing boat. Well, maybe it is a fishing boat. I don't know. It's a hunting boat. It's a boat made for going in shallow water and mud. It's a boat that when you look at it, just looks like a simple little green boat that still shocks me when I think of the price tag. RIDICULOUS. 
But anyway, regardless of my loathing of the price, we have had a lot of fun on it. The last three weekends in a row, in fact. 
I was paranoid to bring my big camera out on it at first.  But Pete begged me. I think he's beginning to appreciate my photo taking after all ;-) .  I told him that I was really afraid of my camera getting wet. But of course, since he has everything (and I do mean everything) he produced a padded, waterproof (it even floats!) shoulder bag big enough for my camera and lenses. If you ever need anything, just ask Pete. Cuz, he probably has it.
So anyway, here are some pics from our adventures the last two weeks.  I'm not much of a landscape photographer, and I hadn't had my big camera out in a while, so these aren't the best. But memories documented!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Test photo

Just testing to see how this image looks online. Most of you who read here know I just got a new computer.
I know.....after I just whined about it over and over. I was super surprised to be able to get it this early. Turns out Pete had a secret stash and just said "Go get it. Today. Now." So, I did. Before either of us could talk our way out of it or change our minds!  Anyway, I totally love it. No buyers remorse what-so-ever. Still getting used to a few things. This tiny keyboard is weird. And I miss my 10-key on the side. Oh well, it's fine.  Also, I'm having a little trouble getting used to the filing system and iPhoto. It's just way different than how I organized my photo's before.
I also purchased the newest version of Photoshop Elements. (that's version 11) It's pretty much the same as any other version I've used, but I've got to learn the Mac shortcuts now. I'm also using the Organizer that comes with PSE, which I've never used before. I'm kind of wondering if it's redundant to use the PSE organizer AND iPhoto?? I don't know.....I'm sure I'll figure everything out in time.
Anyway, I wanted to post a pic.....if your reading this can you tell me how it looks? White balance ok? It's not overly green or red? Sharpness? Too much? Feel free to be honest, please. Thank you!