Monday, October 31, 2011

Smarty Pants

Happy Halloween!  Did you dress up?  I didn't follow through with my whole Black Swan idea today (a little too chilly for NY!) but I did go with a wonderful last minute costume that sounded funny....
Yup.  I'm a smarty pants.  Don't know why that's really "dressing up" for me, but hey, at least if I get hungry or need a sugar fix to wake me up, I'm good to go :-D.  At least I tried....
So, who's handing out goodies tonight?  We have a crap ton of kids in our neighborhood...last year the hubster and I learned that one the hard way when we had to turn off our lights at 8pm because we ran out of goodies!  Don't worry, I'm prepared this year, though.....
Just kidding :-D (x3 that amount is ready to go!)
I'm thinking some sort of Halloween exercise is in order tonight....10 crunches for every witch, 10 push ups for every super hero, and 10 jumping jacks for every teenager trying to pass off a hoodie as a costume, perhaps?
Dear lord, I'm going to be dead after that. 
At least I'll have a good costume :-D

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sometimes, you can pick them: For my amazing Uncle

Yesterday was a special day around these parts-my amazing Uncle and best friend ( I have a few, not to worry, hubster :-)) had a birthday.  See, I'm a lucky girl.  Most kids don't get to pick their dad.  But since my Mom is divorced and I don't have contact with my bio dad, I am lucky enough to have a godfather that rocks my world and treats me just like his own kid.  In the ahem 29 years that Uncle Alan's been around  (we're the same age, imagine that!)  he's taught me more than I ever thought possible about life, love, and how to be happy with what you've got. 
So, without further adieu, I'd like to honor one of the  most special people in the world to me, and share with you a few golden truths I've learned from someone infinitely wise for their years and my role model.

From my Godfather, I've learned....

1.  Life doesn't hand you anything.  You have to go and get it.  And that means you'll appreciate it that much more because you've worked for it.
2.  Live simply.  Things are just "things".  And make sure you save a busk or two when you can.
3.  Take time out of your day to the Sunday comics, at the world, at yourself.
4.   You never know when you'll hit the big one.  Keep trying, even if you don't think you're getting anywhere. 
5.  Be thankful for what you have.  Even if your job isn't what you want, at least it's helping you pay your bills.  Sometimes you have to work hard in life to get what you want.
6.  Along with number happy with what you DO have, instead of focusing on what's wrong with your life.  If you want what you have instead of always trying to have what you want, you will be so much happier.
7.  Protect the ones you love AKA....Don't mess with the Father of the Bride.  (He loves the hubster, he was just kidding :-P.....kinda.)
8.  Sometimes a cup of coffee and a long godfather/daughter chat is all the therapy you need (and it's much cheaper!)
9.  Have faith.  God never gives you more than you can handle.
10.  Eat your vegetables, drink your milk and get your protein.....but don't be afraid to go after the good stuff once in awhile, too.  After all, you only life once!

Happy Birthday Uncle, Godfather, and most of all friend.  I am such a lucky girl to have you in my life and I won't ever forget it!  Here's to another year and many many more memories :-D

Friday, October 28, 2011

Last Minute Halloween

Whew.  Let's get this weekend started, shall we?  Ok, fine fine.  I'm no wild party animal.  We all know this.  But shockingly, I do have a few things on the agenda this weekend other than swim, bike, run, sleep, eat repeat.  Shocked?  So was I :-)

The hubster and I are actually going to a Halloween party and we also have a family thing to celebrate my uncle's birthday.  I'm a good niece (sometimes) so I've got the whole present deal covered but regarding Halloween, I'm a bit behind :-P.  Now, this isn't necessarily a costume party, but since we all know I like to act like a 5 year old, I figured I would at least see what kind of costume I can scrounge up.  So I consulted the best creativity (bahahahaha), my friends, and the Internet and I found some here ya go:


Fun last Minute Halloween Costumes
1.  Puffy paint a shirt with the word "ceiling".  Carry pom poms.  You're a Ceiling fan.
2  Wear a rabbit tail and ears.  Drape cobwebs over your sweatshirt.  = Dust Bunny.
3.  Go to BJ's or Sam's and buy a big box of cheerios.  Eat.  Cut out a portion of the box to frame your face.  Pick up a plastic knife.  Bingo- you're a serial cereal killer!
4.  Cut out a bunch of numbers and pin them on your shirt or pants.  Now you're "someone you can count on!"
5.  Take a computer (or any other) large box and cut a hole in each side and the bottom.  Cut out the top flaps completely.  Wrap in any type of wrapping paper.  Put a bow on your head....bam, you're a present!

A few of these I have done myself, some I have heard of from people.  I also have another one up my sleeve for Halloween this year....stay tuned!

Are you dressing up for Halloween?  Any fun plans?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Party!

I'm pretty sure our future children are shaking their heads in disgust.  MOM....DAD!  You guys are SOOOO silly!  Yeah, we know.  And I'm ok with that.  If carving a pumpkin as an adult is wrong....I don't wanna be right :-D
Attacking the pumpkin.....

I'm gonna kick your butt!!

I'm scared of the knife wielding hubster.....

Scooping out the flesh...


We don't want no stringy guts!!

There are no words....I am certain.

The innards!

Transforming to a healthy snack!  Sprinkle on some black pepper and roast.  Delish!

Knife for carving?  Pshhh....for AMATUERS!

Anderson the pumpkin guy

Super scary Halloween glow :-)
Yup.  We're about 5 years old.  It's good practice for the future, I'm told :-D  Happy (almost) Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Win Some, Lose some.

And sometimes you gotta take your sugar with lumps :-D Its been an up and down and up and down and roundy round day.

Winning - Starting the day off a mug of pumpkin coffee.
Losing- Dumping said coffee all over my lap on the first sip

Winning - Having banana oats for breakfast.
Losing-Exploding the oats in the microwave.

Losing-Ridiculous phone calls (we'll leave it at that)
Winning- Caller I.D.  (tee hee hee)  Just kidding.  I answered it.  Then wished I had some pumpkin coffee to dump on the phone.  pfffft.

Winning- Super awesome 8 x 400 repeat workout on the 'mill during lunch
Losing-  Dropping my mp3 player in the (clean!) toilet pre-workout.

Meh.  Clearly, I need to just wrap myself in bubble wrap and call it a day.  I'm sorta scared that I set our self-timer for the oven so dinner will be ready when I get home from dance class....let's hope I still have a house!  And the fact that the hubster has declared tonight pumpkin carving night....I think I'll take pictures and let him weild the knife :-D

Anyone think the ole phone in a bag of rice can translate to mp3 player in a bag of oats?  I'm trying it....

And is anyone else's Wednesday as ridiculous as mine is so far? :-D

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cha-Cha-cha changes!

Theme of my life lately :-)  Sometimes it's good, sometimes, it's bad, but at least it keeps me busy enough so I don't sit on my duff and go crazy, right?  Right!  (That's half full thinking, folks!)

It's a busy week here at the house....we got trainings, classes, holiday errands (hello costume shopping!), parties to prep for (Halloween and a birthday party!) and also tackling some much needed projects before the snow flies.  The hubster has replaced our garage door opener, I've tried to break the garage door already (hey, what's a marriage without teamwork?) and we've both been on outside leaf and clean up detail.  Something about non-exercise activity thermogenesis...right? (Doesn't that language make me sound smart?  Don't be fooled!)

It's fall.  And off season.  I can tell.  And while part of me is happy to be done with 2011, part of me is sad.  I did my year in review and have made peace with 2011, but it doesn't mean I can't miss my favorite season...TRI SEASON!  How do I know the season is over?  Aside from the obvious....there are subtle ways....

* I no longer have enough trainer sessions to get me through a week of Y&R DVR'ing.  I'm 2 weeks behind.  It's tragic.  How will I know if 5 year old Delia is attending college yet?  It could happen!
*  It's dark out by 7pm.  Next weekend, we lose even more daylight after work.  Booty.
*  I no longer need to do wash 3 times a week in order to have enough bike shorts to get me through the week.  Incidentally, this means I am wearing more of my wardrobe, rather than recycling the same capris :-P
*  Speaking of capris, it's getting cold enough for pants.  I hate pants.  I still will wear flip flops till the snow flies though.  You can't stop me.
* I can't eat like I did during training :-P  My eats are pretty healthy, but boy do I like to eat!  And I refuse to succumb to post season weight gain like I did last year....bring on the fall produce! (And yes, I am buying butternut squash like it's my job.  There are worse things.)
*Snuggies are back!  Well, according to Alexa, they never went out of style.  And I agree.  But now people won't think we are strange because we live in them.  At least that's what my story is.
*I'm totally not motivated to run.  Is that bad?  I still am enjoying cycling and swimming, and lots of random cardio and strength, but running....not yet.  My feet are a mess.  And it's just not happening.  Then I feel bad.  But...I realize I did a flippin' IRONMAN 31 days ago.  And I give myself a pass.  Next week, perhaps :-)

All signs point to OFF SEASON!  And although I miss the races, I think I'm ok with that! 
Is it your off-season yet?  What does that mean to you?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Makin' Potato Pancakes....

(Sung to the tune of Jack Johnson's awesome ditty)
It's Monday.
Back to the real world.
And it's cold out (well, ok, not really...but colder than last week :-D).
What's a girl to do?

Plan a fun dinner with the hubster, of course!  A fun breakfast for dinner Sunday brunch kinda feeling :-)  But we don't got no ' it's time to cure more Polish Heritage with some Potato Pancakes....yum!

Tater Pancakes: Serves 2-3
3 medium potatoes, peeled and shredded
1.5 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (more or less depending on your batter consistency)
Add ins:  hot sauce or cinnamon and vanilla (hubster likes it savory, I like it we went his way :-))

Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Add in egg and milk, whisk together untill batter is smooth (2-3 minutes). 

 Enlist your super serious helper to chop chop chop up them taters.  Of course we have a super handy dandy slap chop to get the job done, but you could use a food processor or a grater to do it as well.  But you won't get cool faces like the hubster pretending to be Vince Offer.  It could be worse, I suppose.  At least he hasn't gotten beat up by any hookers lately.
Moving on.
Ahem.  After you have all your taters shredded, add it to the batter and stir it up.  Now, my great grandmother did these babies in the fryer, but since we like our arteries, I decided to PAM up a skillet and cook them like normal pancakes.  Pour 1/4 c (or so) of batter onto a PAMed skillet and cook until bubbles form, flip....lather rinse repeat until all your pancakes are cooked up!

Bubbling on the stove.....

                                      Nice and golden brown.
Plate with a pat of butter (or a sprinkle of sugar for the sweet variation) and serve!  Makes 8-10 pancakes.
"I'll make you banana potato pancakes....Pretend like it's the weekend now"
Smart guy, that Jack Johnson.  :-)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Punkin Patch!

AM pumpkin love....(mmm pumpkin oats!)
PM pumpkin love! usual!

Pumpkin time!

He measures up :-)

My man likes grass.....just not right!

Corn maze for tots (and us....)

Pickin' a punkin!

Our new lawn mower.
x 2

Perfect fall day.

Friday, October 21, 2011

There is no Spoon

Time to get back on the soup bandwagon!  The hubster and I agreed that it's been a crap week, we are so ready for the weekend, and we both feel run down and sick.  Other than winning the lottery (I've got my uncle working on that front) what can you do to cure a crazy week and feeling sick?
You make soup.  (It's the little things, people). 
Not ordinary chicken noodle soup though.
We need power soup!
So with some cookbook research and some major tweakage, a new recipe was born:  African Spicy Peanut Soup!  But since it happened in MY kitchen and I did NOT follow the recipe, we'll just dub it:

Supah-Spicy Peanut Soup!

Ingredients:  6 cups chicken broth, 1 c. onion, 2 sweet potatoes, 2 big carrots, 2 parsnips, 1 c pumpkin, 1/2 c peanut butter, 2 tsp honey, 3 jalapeno peppers, salt and pepper to taste.

No pictures of the prep-I was otherwise occupied (details to follow).  Of course, I feel I would be insulting your intelligence to draw this one out.  Chop up all the veggies (de-seed the peppers!).  Add the chicken broth and veggies to a pot, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 30 minutes.  Add the salt, pepper, honey and peanut butter. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, and either use an immersion blender or regular ole blender and blend blend blend till smooth!  Serve with tortilla for dippin and a drizzle of maple syrup (optional). pictures.  Well, I told you that the hubster and I are really 5 years old, right?  In lieu of allowing me to show all my pretty choppin' pics, the hubster decided to show me his latest and greatest trick:
 I Kinda thought it was better than silly ole veggies.  More amusing, at least.  So I had to try it:
But of course had some technical difficulties. 

So the hubster stepped in to lend a hand.  Err....a spoon.
And now I am fulfilled.  Clearly, it doesn't take much.
Yeah.....we're not right.  But at least we're funny.  In that You guys are so beyond help that I have to roll my eyes and laugh in pity kind of way.
It's been THAT kind of week.
And OF COURSE we washed those spoons.  Yeesh :-D

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How to Play for Less II: Owning a home

Welcome back to "How to Play for Less"! (Check out post 1 if you missed it!). Today, lets talk about houses, k? The hubster and I got married 2 years ago (aww how sweet) in August. We had been looking for a house for most of 2009, but didn't want to go through the paperwork until we were stuck together forever joined in marriage. 3 weeks after after we tied the knot, we found our house! How exciting! We were homeowners...
And it was EXPENSIVE. I won't even get into the headache of closing on a home and how much it costs ($$wise and stress wise)....that's enough material for several (sleep inducing pages). Lets jump ahead to....we moved in, settled up our old renters quarters, and now have this half an acre property to taxes....and mortgage. And groceries. And, um, living. So how do you do it?
1. Make out a "loose budget". The hubster and I have a joint account where 80% of our paycheck money goes (we both make about the same, so it's no issue. Ok, he makes more than I do. There. I said it. Phew). he other 20% IRS our "play money" but the joint account money goes toward mortgage, groceries, gas, and anything we do "together" (i.e. my makeup and his video games don't go there. I know. What make-up? That was just to fake you out). Ahem. I have a loose budget drawn up with what we usually pay in gas/electricity, Mortgage, water, refuse, joint credit card, and "miscellaneous". We make sure that amount plus an extra few hundred go into the joint account each month, so we can pay our bills.
2. Escrow your Account, if you can. Not really a "money saving tip" but it makes it so much easier not to have to remember when your taxes are due or see that $2000 bill in the mail.
3. Have a safety cushion. We know about what the monthly bills are, and have enough money tucked away to pay them for 3 months without a problem...just in case. And I won't touch that money for anything else. This is a sanity saver, if nothing else!
4. Learn how to fix it. When you own, the maintenance guy disappears. I know, it sucks! And, pretty much without fail, things break at 9pm on a Sunday night or whenever it is most inconvenient. Recently, our dryer stopped spewing heat (that's kind of important!) Instead of buying a new one, the hubster researched options online and bought a kit to fix the issue (thermostat) for 13 bucks. Awesome.
5. Get smart with your mortgage. The average mortgage takes 30 years to pay off. If you buy a $150,000 home and take the full 30 years to pay of the loan, your house will cost roughly $290,000. Woah Nelly! If you pay it off in 20 years, however, the same house will cost $237,000. BIG difference. Yes, interest is tax deductible. Yes, it's an investment. But if you have a few hundred dollars extra at the end of the month, throw it toward your mortgage. You won't even miss it, but it will pay off (Note-if you have credit card debt or loans that are higher interest rate, obviously those should get paid first, since mortgage is "good debt")
6. Do it yourself! Aside from electrical work, please. Unless you're a professional :-P. Get a push mower and mow that lawn-it's good exercise! Plan a garden. Weed your yard. Paint your ceilings. Install your own garage door opener. Seriously, there's not too much that cannot be learned from a manual and that will save you big bucks. It also gives you a sense of pride....yup, I DID THIS. (Note-my to do list is a mile long-no one said it was time prudent, but the hubster and I enjoy chipping at it bit by bit!)
7. Save on utilities. Get a programmable thermostat and agree on what is comfortable. We keep the heat set at 65 during the day and 60 during the night. No, we don't freeze. We put on a sweater if we get cold. And since we are always moving, it's not an issue. Besides, when you sleep, isn't snuggling under the blankets preferable anyways? :-) Check out your cable/Internet providers every few years to make sure you are getting a good deal or that you need what you are paying for. Check out discounts that you may be eligible for regarding cell phones or energy saving rebates. FREE MONEY!
8. Make Friends with your neighbors. I love our neighbors to death. Of course, we got the lucky draw of living next to the retired cop/neighborhood socialite who knows everyone and also protects our house. He snowplows our driveway. He gave us his push mower when our tractor broke. And he watches our house when we go away. I am jealous of his wife. (I'm teasing, Chris!) In return, we try to help them whenever we can, including babysitting or trying out my cooking skills. Hey, I'm learning. This type of relationship is not only helpful $$ wise (sharing resources) but also sanity wise. And you can't put a price on that!
9. Watch the sales. Mowers go on sale in September. Snow blowers in May. And Patio sets in August. Need something new and it isn't an emergency? Wait until the season is almost over and things go on clearance- I got so many fun lawn toys this year that way. Of course, if you don't need them, don't buy it. Now there's priceless advice, right? :-D
10. Re-Evaluate each year.  Should you refinance?  How old are your appliances?  Do you need your furnace cleaned?  How old is your roof/windows? Some basic preventive maitenance might cost a bit of money outright, but will save you money in the long run, either by saving on utilities or costly TOTAL repairs later on.  Stay on the ball....remember, this is your investment!

Not an expert of course, but just a few tips the hubster and I have picked up along the way.  Any that I missed or you can think of?