Call me narcissist if you must but this blog is all about ME. I have another blog about my kids, whom I love and adore writing about. But I was Nicole a long time before I was mom and I don't intend to give up being Nicole overnight.
You can read all about my kids at Naptime Optional.
Or you can follow along on our Arizona adventure on my 365 project blog.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Okay, ready? Here's your quote:
"There's a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. 'twould be a pity to damage yours."
It's more fun if you play along. So go ahead, give it your best guess.
And, as promised, here is your free movie code: LA45W7
It's good until midnight tonight. Watch, enjoy. But remember to return it on time or it's no longer free. :)
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Yesterday I made it again, and it was a complete disaster! It tasted like sand. I figured I must've accidentally left out an ingredient. So I threw that loaf away, washed out my bread pan and started another loaf. With similarly disastrous results.
What went wrong? I'm using the same recipe! I'm so confused!!!! Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I'm back to square one again. Sigh.
Anybody actually tried my recipe? Is it working for you? It is user error I have going on here? Or is my recipe somehow flawed...even though I used it twice with perfect results? sigh. Now what?
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
About the same time a neighbor around the corner poured a new patio and pad for a shed, requiring another cement truck to come rumbling down our quiet street.
Then about a month later the house down the street wanted one of their own.
And this morning the neighbor just across the street had one just show up at their house to re-pour their RV parking strip.
And as long as it's the neighbors paying for it, I say bring it on! It's cheap entertainment for my kids. Right now they refuse to come down and eat breakfast because they are still watching the show.
Got to love the summer of cement!
Monday, September 22, 2008
What you are looking at is a Vita-Mix. And if you have never heard of a Vita-Mix you are missing out. Don't make the mistake of thinking this is a blender. This is so much more!!!
Let me give you an idea of why I SO love mine. I'll do this by outlining my day for you.
First, you must understand that my kids are picky eaters. (Which they DIDN'T get from me, no matter what my mom says! She used to call me picky niki because I didn't like sweet and sour. Oh, if sweet and sour were the ONLY thing my kids didn't like.) Anyway, I have a hard time convincing them to eat fruit or vegetables. It's quite frustrating, to say the least. But, if I make them a milk shake they will drink it in two seconds flat. And here is the beauty of the Vita-Mix: it liquefies everything so I can throw in anything! This morning I threw in: An apple, seeds and all (the seeds have all the live enzymes that are SO good for your body!) Strawberries with the green stems still on. A handful of carrots. A little cabbage. Some spinach. A banana. And a little bit of protein powder for good luck. Try that with a regular blender! You'd have little chunks of apple and carrots floating in your drink. And I don't even want to think about putting spinach in a blender and trying to it homogeneous with the rest of the ingredients. But in my Vita-Mix, no problem. Everything is completely liquefied and you end up with a delicious and nutritious shake that my kids love!
After a quick rinse I filled it with wheat which I ground into flour so I could make a fresh loaf of bread.
For lunch I used it to whip me up a cup of Dr. Oz's Green drink. Which, by the way, tastes much better than you think it's going to. I actually enjoy it. Unlike green drinks I made in the past that I had to plug my nose to drink, all the while reminding myself that it was good for me.
After lunch it was onto fruit leather. I have Asian Pears rotting in my garage and I needed to do something with them. So, I pureed them in my Vita-Mix (once again, with seeds and skin) which is right now in my oven dehydrating. (post coming soon!)
As an afternoon snack we pulled out some frozen peaches and some fat free yougurt and the kids and I enjoyed a nice cold Peach Gelato. Yum!!!
And yes, I really REALLY did do all that just today! (and worked out, and went to Costco, and did laundry...wow!)
The point is that I'm NOT domestic and so if I did all this in one day you KNOW it's got to be easy, thanks to my Vita-Mix. Because there is no complicated clean up in between projects. And it just works so effortlessly. It's seriously the most used item in my kitchen.
Because that was just today. Tomorrow I may use it make fresh salsa and guacamole.
Or Pesto with fresh basil.
Or Pureed food for the baby because he still only has a handful of teeth.
Or Strawberry ice cream.
Or Tortilla soup.
Or a fat free vegetable dip with fresh garlic and dill.
Or fresh, homemade Peanut butter. (Choosy moms don't choose Jiff!!!!)
The list goes on and on and on.
And I'm not even getting paid to say this!
So, do yourself a favor if you haven't already. The next time the Vita-Mix guy or gal is at your local Costco go watch the demo. And after you've watched the demo and sampled all the yummy, fresh food do yourself a bigger favor and buy one. Yes, they are expensive, but YES it is SO worth it! Plus if you buy it at Costco it's cheaper and you get an extended warranty.
And I promise you will love it as much as I do.
I like to watch movies. I mean really REALLY like to watch movies. Mostly because I wish I was making movies. And because I like to watch movies I also like to throw random movie quotes into my normal conversation, just to see if people notice. And because script writers work really hard to create witty dialogue and I sound funnier when I use what they have written.
So, here's how it works. I'll give you a movie quote. Some will be easy, some will be hard. (okay, who am I kidding, they'll all be easy.) Try to be the first to correctly identity the movie and leave your answer in the comment section. Don't cheat by looking at other people's answers. See if you can figure it out on your own.
Now, I'd love to say that there will be some fantastic prize for whoever is the first to correctly identify the movie. But, I'm not one of those bloggers who actually makes money off of my blog, so you'll just have to settle for feeling really special if you are first.
So, now onto the game! Here is your first every Name that Movie Monday movie quote.
"The thing is, a person's life is like a TV show. I was the star of The Will Show. And The Will Show wasn't an ensemble drama. Guests came and went, but I was the regular. It came down to me, and me alone. If Marcus' mum couldn't manage her own show....if her ratings were falling, it was sad, but that was her problem."
This one will be really easy for anybody who's been reading my blogs since the beginning. But don't cheat. Don't go look at the answer until you've made a guess!
Friday, September 19, 2008
I just downloaded the newest version of itunes and it has this new "Genius" feature. Has anybody seen this? It's supposed to create playlists from your music library of songs that it, the Genius, thinks "go great together." And then, as if that weren't enough, it also suggests new songs from the itunes store that would also go great with said playlist.
I haven't tried it yet because, well, I haven't purchased a song from itunes for awhile and, well, I can't really remember my login info. So I was wondering if anybody had tried it out yet and if it was worth tracking down my login info. Because I'm a really busy mommy/blogger and can't be bothered if it's not really REALLY worth my time.
Oh, and as long as I'm getting all geeky here....have you seen the new "I'm a PC" ads?
I'll admit, I'm typing this blog post right now on a Dell laptop....but I still think the Mac ads are WAY better. That's just my humble opinion.
Okay, enough geeky blogging for one day.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Now the weather is cooling, and the grass is well established. But in the past few weeks I've begun to notice really how much they are watering the lawn. The sprinklers come on EVERY morning AND EVERY night for several hours. Now I am by no means what you would call a tree hugger. (much to the dismay of my younger brother who just spent 2 years in Seattle where everybody is a tree hugger) But even I think that so much watering is this desert state often plagued by drought is a bit excessive. Not to mention expensive!
So I keep thinking I should call the real estate agent. The house is vacant and part of me believes that it's an accident that the sprinklers are coming on so often. But then I try to play out in my head the conversation I'd have with the agent and I really don't know what I would say. Because what if they really do want to water it that much and they just think I'm a nosey neighbor who should keep my tree hugging opinions to myself. And I always talk myself out of calling.
But sitting here tonight, listening to the sprinklers running yet again, I'm trying to convince myself to get up the nerve to call the agent in the morning. What do you think?
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
On Sunday I said enough was enough and I started to search the internet for a decent recipe for whole wheat bread in a bread maker. A task that was not as easy as it sounds. Google is pretty good to me, but this time I had to click through several pages of hits before finding what I was looking for.
But believe me when I say it was worth all the effort. Because the bread was fantastic!!!! And oh so quick!
Here is my bread still in the pan. See how it raised all the way to the top of the pan.
See how pretty it looks. Not short or squaty at all.
See how tempting it looks, sliced up, steam rising off of it because it's still warm. I'll bet you can almost smell it.
And now you're wondering how I did it, eh? Well you are in luck. I happen to be in the sharing mood. So, get your fingers ready for a little ctrl+c and ctrl+v because I KNOW you are going to want to copy this recipe.
4 c. whole wheat flour
2 TBS wheat gluten
1 TBS dough conditioner
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 TBS canola oil
2 TBS honey
1 3/4 c. water
1 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS yeast (scant)
Put all these, in order and without the yeast, into the bread pan of your bread machine. Put the bread pan into the machine and select “Quick Bake” “XL” “Light” and press start. Then measure the yeast into the handy yeast dispenser at the top.
Well, I don't have a fancy bread maker with a yeast dispenser at top, so I just dumped my yeast on top of the rest of the ingredients and, as you can see, it still turned out just fine.
I like fresh ground wheat. (super easy to grind in my vita-mix!)
And, believe it or not, I randomly had gluten and dough conditioner on hand in my fridge. My mom had given it to me some time ago and I'd tried using it several times but it never seemed to make a difference in my short, squaty loaves of bread. So I did call her today and asked her where she bought it. She got it at Kitchen Kneads. I've never looked at my local grocery store for such items. I suppose they may sell the gluten, but the dough conditioner may be harder to come by.
Which is why I also found for you, my faithful readers, a recipe to make your own, should you so desire.
4 C powdered milk
¾ C lecithin
3 T ascorbic acid (can use “Fruit Fresh” in the canning aisle)
2 T ginger
3 T cornstarch
So, there you go. Enjoy oh happy bread eaters.
DISCLAIMER: Writer of blog will not be held responsible for anybody cheating on their low-carb diets. Be warned....if you make this bread you WILL want to eat it. A lot of it.
After awhile I realized I really missed writing (it's what I did in my former life before kids) and that I wanted to write about stuff other than being depressed, so I started two more blogs.
Being so new to the blogging world I didn't know that 1-other people would actually read what I wrote and 2-that other bloggers actually went around giving out blogging awards. Seriously. Did you know about blog awards?
So you can imagine my complete shock and awe when Holly over at Tropic of Mom actually awarded me my first award. Wow! (Holly also has an alter ego, Damselfly from Growing a Life. But you didn't hear that from me.)
So here I am, FINALLY getting around to accepting my award. (She gave it to me like a month ago!)
And, as an extra treat I now get to pass it onto other bloggers, so they too can feel the love. Here are the rules:
1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog.
2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of the people you’ve nominated.
Okay, 7. Believe me when I say it was a difficult choice. But here it goes, the winners of this lovely blog award, in no particular order:
1-My husband over at Michael's Humble Opinion. Because he started his blog years ago and I sort of internally laughed at him but externally said "okay dear, whatever makes you happy! Go for it." 3 blogs and nearly 200 posts later this self proclaimed blogaholic isn't laughing anymore.
2-Karen over at Surrounded by Sea Monkeys because I like to take credit for getting her started as a blogger. And I used to secretly pop over to her profile at least once a week to see who had more views. But I quit doing that because she has WAY more than me! And, I was also hoping that if I gave her an award she would forgive me for all the times she has tagged me and I haven't done it....which is a lot. (sheepish grin with arms held out in the "can you ever forgive me" pose.)
3-Andria over at My Meandering Musings because she is my cousin, my soul sister, my partner in crime. We were the 2 musketeers growing up, living just down the street from one another. Many a night was spent curled up on her bed watching a chick flick. When we each got married we kind of got busy and never spoke much. Blogging has made me feel close to her again. I love reading her blog because of her special brand of humor that I so get!
4-Heidi over at Pie Happens because she is the 3rd Musketeer to mine and Andria's 2. The cousin who lived a bit further away but get the 3 of us together and we were inseparably connected. The one who will remember riding the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland over and over again because we thought the guy that told you to "keep your hands and feet in the car" was really cute! She's only begun to dip her toe into the blogging waters so I'm hoping that if I give her an award she'll start writing more, because I miss hearing her voice.
5-Bonnie over at That's life! because I love seeing all her quilting projects (even though she hasn't posted any in awhile....) Plus I'm hoping if I give her an award she'll finally let me come over and teach me how to quilt the quilt she started for Adam's bed. (scroll towards the bottom, it's the Cars quilt and it's awesome!)
6-Krista over at Shades of Blonde because she's just funny. Just trust me on this one. The story about her daughter and her hamster is a classic.
7-Last but not least, Rita over at CoffeeShop Free PS/PSE Actions because she gives away free Photoshop actions! I'm really not a photographer, but I like to pretend. And I really don't know how to use Photoshop, but I live to pretend. And with her free actions I can pretend a little better.
Whew, that was hard work! Now get out there and share the love.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
So maybe you could think of this as my sisterly advice post. And my advice is this: knowing when you know is different for everybody, so nobody can really tell you when you'll know, you'll just know. How's that for crystal clear.
But if it helps any I'll tell you how I knew. My story isn't near as romantic as Karen's, who was puking her guts out on the bathroom floor when she realized she had found "the one". But almost.
See, I have my dad's genetics when it comes to hair. And I'm not just talking about the color. I mean he has a LOT of hair. (sorry dad, it's true.) My cousin's used to call him Uncy Bear. He'll try to tell you that it's because his name is Blair, and they couldn't say it correctly. But the truth is, it was because he's downright hairy. And so am I. I shave my legs in the morning and have a 5 o'clock shadow by noon.
So, it probably won't surprise you that on occasion (okay, ALL THE TIME) I get these stray red hairs growing on my neck. It's something I usually quite mortified by and I do my best to keep them plucked. But neck hair is tricky. Sometimes it grows just out of sight. You know it's there, you can feel it there, but you can't turn your eyes far enough in your head to see it well enough to pluck it.
Can you guess where this is going yet?
Well, I had one of those pesky neck hairs once and I did something that surprised even me. For some reason I still don't understand I was desperate enough to get that hair that when Mike showed up at my door while I was still primping for our date, I handed him the tweezers and asked him to pluck it for me! And, shockingly, I wasn't utterly and completely embarrassed. I was okay with letting him know that I had unsightly neck hair. I was comfortable with him knowing this embarrassing fact about me. And, to add to the shock and awe, he didn't act as if he was utterly and completely repulsed. He simply took the tweezers, plucked the hair, and then kissed me.
I wasn't embarrassed. He wasn't repulsed. It had to be true love!
Would you call that love at first pluck?
First, I hate Hate HATE grocery shopping. I must admit some of that may stem from the fact that I usually have 3 children with me while doing it. Those of you who have been grocery shopping with 3 small kids will understand. That in and of itself could be an entire post. But that's not the purpose of THIS post. So let's just leave it at "I hate grocery shopping." I hate loading it all into the car. I hate unloading it from the car. I hate finding places to put all the food once I get home.
Second, I'm not much into cooking. I know some people have a real love for it. I'm not one of them. I cook out of necessity. And let's face it, what I do can hardly be classified as cooking.
Third, I hate doing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen after cooking.
Fourth, I hate gaining weight.
So, this is my brilliant plan. If I give up food I no longer have to grocery shop, no longer have to cook, no longer have to do dishes, and I lose all those stubborn pounds.
Plus, as an added bonus, I'll save oodles and oodles of money, and since I won't be grocery shopping or cooking or cleaning I'll also have a lot of extra time to spend that money! It's perfect.
Too bad I really like eating.....
Saturday, September 13, 2008
And wouldn't you know, on the same day that the decision was made my passport showed up in mail.
So, for now I will be returning all those London guidebooks to the library. And taking the Reading, England weather widget off my homepage. And tucking my passport away somewhere safe, ready and waiting for the next opportunity to use it.
Saying I'm sad that it didn't work out would be an understatement.
But this has taught me one thing: I really want to start making travel a higher priority. We haven't traveled much because we are always neck-deep in some new home project that is eating up all our time and money. But we've just about come to the end of home projects. Don't get me wrong, there will always be something to do. But the projects from here on out should be a lot smaller. (you really only need to finish the basement once) So with the house in good working order we can turn our attention to travel. And I'm SO looking forward to that!
Friday, September 12, 2008
I went to the dermatologist today to have mole examined. It was supposed to be a simple appointment. In my head I imagined it going one of two ways.
Scenario 1: I show Dr. the mole. Dr. says there is nothing wrong with that mole, it looks perfectly harmless. I say thank you and go home, relived that that's over with.
Scenario 2: I show Dr. the mole. Dr. says it's probably okay but let's remove it just to be safe. He removes mole. I say think you, and go home, relieved that that's over with.
The visit started out like scenario 1, but didn't end that way.
Yes, I showed him the mole, he said it was fine, and explained it looked different in size and shape because it got stretched when I was pregnant. So, that should've been that. But then the Dr. said "what next?" I said "um, nothing, that's it." And he genuinely seemed disappointed. He said, "are you sure? You're already in my chair and you've already paid your co-pay."
Well....I do have these pesky planters warts on the bottom of my feet. They've been there for years. One I even had cut out by a podiatrist last year. But it came back. And they are really starting to hurt. So, I casually mentioned them to him. He told me to take my socks off. I asked him tentatively if I'd still be able to drive myslef home. He assured me I would so I took my socks off. And then as soon as he laid eyes on my pretty little warts (did I mention I had one on each foot?) he started shaking his head. "You've had these for awhile, haven't you. You should know that the longer you wait the deeper they become and the harder they are to get rid of. Turn over on your stomach."
I should also mention that I was in a gown at this point because, well, the mole in question was in a location that required me to remove my pants. And the gown was open in the back. So really the LAST thing I wanted to do was turn over onto my stomach. I wanted to ask if I could put my pants back on first because I hardly thought having my pants off was necessary for the removal of warts on the bottom of my feet. But I didn't. Instead I obediently turned over and tried my best to pull the skimpy gown around myself. (I failed miserably, thanks for asking.)
I must insert a little something about myself here. I hate going to the doctor. No, let me rephrase that, I DESPISE going to the doctor. When I have an appointment coming up I think and worry about it all week long! Which is why even picking up the phone to make an appointment takes me a very VERY long time. So, I'd been telling my husband for months that I needed to get my warts taken care of, but had just never gotten around to it. So, when the offer was extended to just take care of them while I was already sitting in his chair, well I had to bite the bullet and say yes because I KNEW it would be months before I got around to making another appointment.
This same little tid-bit about myself is the same reason that last year around this time when I went to have my wart removed the first time that I walked (er, hobbled) out of the doctor's office that day with not only my wart removed, but ingrown toenails on both feet cut out and cauterized, too. And believe me when I say the timing of these things is never convenient.
Okay, back to the story at hand.
The Dr. begins freezing off my warts, and starts telling me about how I'm going to hate him this weekend, (after he told me I would be able to drive home)and how I'm going to limping around all weekend. And how I get to pay for the privilege. At one point it started to REALLY hurt and I told him so. Well, what I actually said was "just for the record, that doesn't feel very good." His response "Just for the record you're the one who let these go so long before coming to see me. And here I get blamed. Everybody wants to blame the doctor." Yea, he was quite the comedian.
Finally the freezing was over and he sat the chair back up again. But, you know me. Sitting there, my feet in pain, listening to him tell about blood blisters and oozing and stuff I began to feel very faint. The room started spinning. And not wanting a repeat of that fateful day in July I stopped him mid sentence and asked for a glass of water and if I could lay back down for a moment.
So he laid me down, and his MA got me some water, and a sucker, and a puke bowl, just in case. And the doctor went on with his wisecracking ways. First he gave me some mood lighting to help me feel better. (turned off one bank of florescent lights.) And then went over to the computer to also give me some mood music. Oh yes. The dermatologist gave me mood music. "I've got you under my skin."
He also chose this moment to tell me that my warts were deep and would need at least 2 more treatments just like this one. Great!
So as he left me in the darkened room, listening to his itunes playlist, feet throbbing, I thought about how on earth I was going to drive home! Well, not home exactly. Because Mike had a business lunch to be to and I was supposed to be meeting him there to do a kid swap before he went into lunch.
After I was feeling a bit better I sat up....only to have to lay back down again. But finally I was able to get up and get my shoes back on. But I had to take them back off as soon as I got to the car and drive with just my toes to keep from putting pressure on the soles of my feet.
Then there is the part of the story that I stay to eat with Mike because, well he invited me, and because I thought some food might be useful before I started to drive home in my lightheaded condition. And how I had to squeeze my shoes back on, And how the kids made a big scene the entire time while Mike was trying to talk to his old boss. But we'll leave that part out.
So here I am now, with my feet propped up for the third time in a year. Man I have expensive feet!
And there go our plans to go to the State Fair tonight. Who likes fried oreos anyway?
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Many of the blogs I read have just been extra thought provoking and I start leaving a comment and suddenly all this good stuff comes flowing out of my keyboard onto somebody else's blog! So then by the time I get back to my own blog I'm all written out.
I have half a dozen posts written that I just can't seem to get around to finishing.
Maybe someday. Soon. Or maybe later. Tough to say.
If you are really starved for my writing I supposed I could link you to all my fabulous comments on other people's blogs. What do you think? Just how narcissist is it to send you to another writer but then request you just skip down to my comment?
Okay, I wouldn't really do that. Probably not.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
So I've been on a diet for about 4 weeks now. There has been a slip up or two. But for the most part I've been trying really REALLY hard to eat better.
And I've been exercising. A lot. Everyday in fact. For close to 4 weeks now. Which doesn't sound like much but it's a HUGE accomplishment for me!
My husband just started dieting with me. On Monday to be exact. 4 days ago. Me, 4 weeks. Him, 4 days. And he's not been exercising.
So imagine my dismay when he stepped on the scale today and was already down 5 pounds. I've only lost 2. 4 weeks of dieting. 4 weeks of excercising. And I've lost a measly 2 pounds.
Believe me when I say the urge to single handedly eat an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's all by myself is quite strong right now. Especially since the England trip, which was my original motivation to start now, is more than likely off now.
But I will be strong. I will NOT drown my sorrows in food. I will not begrudge my husband for his instant success. I will persevere. I will be skinny, sleek, slender, strong, sexy, successful. I will!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
But then Mike came home yesterday and told me it was a "maybe" again. I guess upon a second review of the numbers they are now considering bringing the English employees over here instead.
Mike claims the final nail is not in the coffin, and it still MAY happen, but I am not holding my breath.