"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Costume Changes

>> Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Peed through

Peed through

Peed through


Stayed dry. But only because bath time arrived first.

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Another Use For Your Toddler

Today has been spent in the basement watching Sesame Street and movies with spurts of block stacking and hide-and-seek. The reason for the basement isolation is two-fold. One: today has been full of heavy rain showers with periods of drizzle. Icky. And two: today Brenna has been in big-girl panties (except for nap time). And since I had the upstairs carpets cleaned last week I don't necessarily want them peed on.

As the day closes in on 5pm we are all in need of something. Movies are done, Oprah is dull and Daddy won't be home for another hour.

Then the phone rings. Not my cell phone, but the home phone. Which means it is probably a telemarketer of some sort. Brenna runs to get the phone- like she always does. To add a little spice to the caller's day I tell Brenna how to answer that phone. And I hear this conversation:

"I poopy on the potty"

"I built a tower over here" (walk stage right)

"It's over here"

and then some unintelligible garble.

Serious fun.

As for the potty training Brenna is on her 3rd pair of panties today and she used her Pull Up during nap time to poopy... Of course. Nothing in the potty.

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Cue The Cabana Boy

When I was young my parents bought a rope hammock. It was supported on a metal frame and, at the time, seemed enormous. I can remember tangling my limbs in it, flipping upside down – and alternately flipping my sister out of it so I could get in – and generally using it as a toy. Probably not what my parents had planned when they bought it. In fact, I am pretty sure we ruined it. And I’m not sure that my parents had any of the relaxation that they had actually purchased it for.

Rope hammocksseem to be making a comeback lately. I know I’ve thought about making that ever so decadent purchase a few times in the past couple of years. I could string it up between the posts below the deck and gently sway in the evening breeze…moon and stars overhead…drink in hand.

Of course there is Brenna to think about. My fearless little tot would surely be inclined to test such a wonderful toy. Not that I would blame her. If I close my eyes I can see it: Brenna, hanging upside down, so twisted in the ropes that they have to be cut apart. Oh, yes, it could happen. So maybe a fabric hammock would be a better choice. With a couple of pillows and a snuggly blanket I could easily use it until mid-October.

Something else I’ve seen quite a bit are hammock chairs. Still very comfy it would be more difficult for Brenna to tumble out of. Almost like being enveloped in a gigantic hug. The ones I have seen come with a foot rest and, man, can you kick back and relax. Come to think of it, they might even have a beverage holder…

Maybe I should buy my parents each one first. Now that I have an idea of the stresses of parenthood I’m surprised we didn’t get a bit of a beating for the destruction of that long ago hammock.

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Really,It's Nothing

So, I'm watching Dora the Explorer with Brenna the other day...

Yes, I know, that sounds like a punch line of sorts. Doug laughed when I led with that sentence.

Anyway, I'm listening and since I know a bit of 9th grade Spanish something popped out at me.

"De nada" (did I spell that right? 9th grade was a long time ago.) trandlates to "it's nothing". But it means "you're welcome".

Hmmmm... It got me thinking...

In this age of "everyone's gotta feel good about what they do or someone's gonna get their poor little feelings hurt" it just doesn't seem correct when someone says "thank you" to reply "it's nothing". Because doesn't that either imply that what you did means nothing to you so you weren't really doing anything to help that person or it could mean that because what you did was "nothing" than it wasn't important, therefore you aren't important.

See... it has to be "something" for our feel good society to, well, feel good, right?

Does anyone else follow my wierd, twisted logic?

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Time To Work On My Swing

>> Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I’ve said it before: I love to travel. So it will come as no surprise that I click around the internet when I have a spare minute looking for deals. And since the weather here has been rainy with short spurts of partly rainy I have been looking at travel deals more than I usually do.

I’m not a “beach” girl so I don’t usually even look at vacations near the ocean. But some of the deals for myrtle beach golf caught my eye. What a great site to plan a golf getaway. You can choose packages and customize them to fit your desires. And, with no stake in the hotels or golf courses, you will get the best deal, no preferences.

These deals are so good that I, who have played golf once in my life, am tempted to pick up the clubs and book a trip.

Now that would make for some blog-worthy stuff…

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Not a smart thing

It's not a smart thing to take both daughters to see the creek at the same time. This is especially true when it's muddy. I thought about giving this post titles of "How to have a heart attack" or "Brenna falls in" or "Daddy to the rescue", but the reality is that Daddy wasn't smart. Never, I mean never, take both girls to see a fast moving body of water, even if it's knee high to an (almost) 3 year old.

You see, Brenna loves to throw rocks into the creek that conveniently meanders through our back yard. She's very good at it. The rocks get wet every time. It's something she's done dozens of times without incident. (insert mood music) Until now.

I had Caelan in my arms and was right beside Brenna when she slipped in the grass and fell in.

I turn.

Put Caelan down.

Turn to the water.

See Brenna bob up.

Lay flat, reach out.

She goes under.

I grab her and pull her out by rolling away from the water.

Brenna is breathing.

I know this because she is not happy. "Daddy, I went under!" In the bath tub, she likes to "swim" by lying flat on her belly and kicking her legs. This was not the same. She is such a big girl; she was sobbing, but she really didn't start crying until Mommy saw her and had a very understandable reaction.....

Note: Jody and I are still married.....

Note2: We haven't put the house on the market....


Yet.



Note3: Hmmm, I did actually get to use the skills forced upon me because I was an Infantryman.

Note4: We took the girls up for baths right after that. They did well. Brenna didn't want to put her head under the water to rinse shampoo, but she did it. We read books. We brushed teeth. She repeated rude comments Mommy made about Daddy....

I deserve it.

We will not be playing zone defense when we go to the creek from now on. Mommy and Daddy have had enough excitement for now.

**Jody: I didn't make rude comments. Earlier in the day Doug was fixing the canopy on the deck. Brenna was watching from right in front of the chair he was standing on. Doug, thinking she was further away than she was, stepped down on her ankle. So, when this happened I said something about Doug trying to "do her in" today. Brenna held on to that, myna bird that she is; hence the "rude comments".

And although my heart skipped a beat to see Brenna walking up that hill soaked to the skin, Doug muddy and Calean flustered I do have to admit that it was better that I didn't experience what happened first hand. My heart would have stopped.

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Rain Rain Go Away

Our forecast is calling for more rain. Of course all you people in the south and west where it’s dry and on fire may wonder about my sanity. And you surely don’t want to hear that for every sunny day we’ve had there have been two days of rain. There are streets in Des Moines that have been closed for weeks due to flooding. When the water recedes enough for them to reopen it rains and they close again.

Yesterday, with the windows open to catch the breeze, I could actually feel the moisture from the air settling into the carpets. Which can cause problems in the long-term. We have a small dehumidifier in our basement just to keep the musty smells away.

My mom, who has had her basement actually retain water, has a more powerful unit. I don’t think she has turned it off all spring!

If you are experiencing any problems in you home relating to excess moisture I encourage you to check out these dehumidifier tips. If you need a dehumidifier it can help you decide what size dehumidifier to buy to alleviate your problems. Which will save your sanity in the future.

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Things that make you go MMMM

>> Monday, May 28, 2007

Mark Steyn that is.

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Mamma's Got A Brand New Bag

>> Saturday, May 26, 2007

I know at least one person has been waiting out there for me to get on the stick and make the bag that I purchased this fabric for: (Yes, TKW,I mean you)


Well, today I got to finish it! I now have my new-toss-everything-in-and-go bag! And it will truly hold everything. I think it may even hold the new laptop! (Watch for the laptop slip case next!) It's roughly the size of a diaper bag. (Amanda... Did you get that? Can you say "custom diaper bag"?)
I gotta say that I am pretty darn proud of myself for this. Of course I didn't do it alone. No,that's not what I mean. I did sew it alone. But I had help... See, I just can't make that come out right. What I'm trying to say is:

Thanks to Randi who I turn to whenever I need help finding a great pattern. She can find anything. And she's soooo crafty. She even has an online shop: Simple Things. Go visit, say hi.

I also have to thank CreativeLittle Daisy, whose purse tutorial I used. (Thanks again Randi!) Want to make one? Just click "Tutorials"on the right hand side and scroll down. Because if I can do it anyone can.

Interior pocket...
Other interior pocket that has 3 sections so I can be organized!

Yep, I'm pretty darn impressed with myself.

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Candyland

I picked up Candyland at a garage sale a couple of weeks ago and it has quickly become Brenna's favorite game.

It only took a couple of games for her to get the hang of it and now she's a pro. In fact, she's such a pro that she wins... Every time.



And since you really can't cheat at Candyland the only thing I can figure is that she has an "in" with Plumpy.



And now, to age myself, here is the board I remember playing on:

No Plumpy, no Princess Lolly or Queen Frostine. How antiquated.

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Fab Food Friday

>> Friday, May 25, 2007

Cream Horns with Vanilla Bavarian Cream



I made these cream horns as part of Mother's Day brunch a couple of weeks ago. And let me just say: YUM! They were so good I even took a couple over to Meritt who gave them a thumbs up- even though I used puff pastry.

These were a bit time consuming but so easy. I promise you will never want to buy them from the bakery again - these are that good!

Recipe from Cuisine at Home magazine.

Cream Horns

Prepare:

8 sugar cones

2 sheets frozen puff pastry (use Pepperage Farms, just trust me), thawed and sliced (use a pizza cutter) into 1/2' wide strips (Note: the puff pastry sheets will be in thirds, you will get approximately 6 strips per third)

Whisk together:

1 egg

1 t. water

Roll in:

1/2 c turbinado (raw) sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Prepare the sugar cones by wrapping each in foil and coating with non-stick spray (no "forms" to buy and you can use the cones for ice cream later!) Cut the puff pastry into strips and form horns by wrapping 4 strips of pastry around each mold, overlapping strips to prevent gaps.

Whisk the egg and water together in a small bowl; place turbinado sugar in a shallow disk. Lightly brush each horn in the egg wash, roll in sugar and place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Cool on a rack for 2 minutes then carefully remove from molds. Cool completely before filling with Bavarian Cream.

Bavarian Cream

Heat:

2 cups whole milk

Whisk together; add and cook:

1/2 c sugar

1/4 c corn starch

1/4 t kosher salt

2 eggs

Hot milk

Add:

2 T unsalted butter

1/2 t vanilla

Whip; fold in to:

1 c heavy cream

2 T powdered sugar

1 t vanilla

Pastry Cream

Heat the milk in a sauce pan over medium heat until bubbles form around the edge.

Whisk sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a bowl while milk heats. Add the eggs, whisk until smooth, then whisk in half of the hot milk. Return the egg/milk mixture to the remaining milk in the pan; continue cooking over medium, whisking often, until thickened. Boil 1 minute to eliminate starchy taste and thicken further, whisking constantly. (It may look curdled- whisk until lumps disappear and texture is smooth and glossy)

Add the butter and vanilla, stirring until butter is melted. Transfer to a bowland place the bowl in an ice water bath to cool. (Basically you will put ice and a bit of water in a bigger bowl and place the bowl of pastry cream on top of it. This will cool the cream.) Stir until pastry cream reaches room temperature- about 10 minutes.

Whip the cream, powdered sugar and 1 t vanilla to medium peaks in a large bowl. Fold whippd cream into cooled pastry cream until just incorporated. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes (can be made up to 2 days ahead).

Transfer to a piping bag and pipe into horns.

Feel like chocolate? While the pastry cream is still hot (before you add the whipped cream) stir in 4 oz melted semisweet chocolate until smooth, then cool in the ice water bath. When cooled fold in the whipped cream.

Tip: to free both hands for piping place the horn in a small glass so it stands upright.

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Got Something You Want To Discuss?

Right now I’m part of a message board due to my new “toy”- my Wishblade. It’s a great forum but I would really like if it was a bit easier to use and had a few more features.

Well, ask and you shall receive. GoBoardz Free Forums has the features I want. And it’s free which makes it even more attractive!

I can embed videos from Revver and since it has Photobucket account integration I can upload photos with ease!

GoBoardz also supports RSS feeds; how cool is that? You can also set email notifications and create and avatar.

Hmmm… No I just have to decide what to name my forum….

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Help Needed

>> Thursday, May 24, 2007

Help The South of Iowa Blog caption this picture.....


Edwards is having a tough week trying to sell his two America's theme.

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Rainy Day Activities

Blech! It's raining out. Alot. Kind of ruined the mom's group plans to play at the park and then have ice cream. They are, instead, going to a local mall that has a large play area. Yeah, them and about every other mom's group in town. No thank you, we'll skip it.

I had the carpets in the living room and dining room cleaned yesterday. It's amazing just how much a dirty carpet bothers me. I almost feel lighter. And since stuff was all spread around I went ahead and re-arranged the furniture.

I have a love/hate relationship with the open floor plan of the living room. I love the open-ness; I hate the limited options for furniture placement. Because I moved the couch my antique sewing machine had to be moved to the dining room. And because of that the small table from the dining room will go... somewhere. Probably the storage room in the basement.

Unfortunately I do have to go out in this mess today. I have to get stamps. And since I'll be out I may as well take the bikes in to the bike shop for a tune up. And run to Target. It will gie Brenna a chance to use her "rain-brella".

Other than that I suppose we'll just stay in, play Candyland and watch movies. Maybe I'll get to work on that bag I bought the fabric for a couple of weeks ago. Or maybe I can add another post to the travel blog I've been working on.

No matter what I'm sure I'll stay busy...

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The Allure of Plastic

>> Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I remember when I first got out on my own. Back then it was difficult to get a credit card if you didn’t live with your parents and had to support yourself. My very first credit card had a limit of $300. And boy, did I use it!

Thankfully as I have grown older I have also become wiser in the ways of money. Which you have to be with all the credit card offers that flood your email and snail mail on a daily basis. I keep track of my credit score and make sure we are getting the best interest rate possible. I do my research and call my credit card companies to get my rates lowered if I think it is too high. And if they can’t lower it I will – and have – transferred balances to other cards with lower rates.

I was clicking around for info on 0% Credit Cards and found some interesting information. Over half (59% ) of credit card users pay their balance in full each month. That actually surprised me because the media spin really points the other way. Most articles you read in the main stream media tell you about the “big bad credit card companies who are extending too much credit and ruining people’s lives”. According to the article only 9% risk deeper debt by getting more credit to pay off existing credit. Hmmm… Interesting.

Paying off your balance each month is obviously the best way to use your credit card. But if you can’t you definitely want to make more than the minimum payment. Here’s an interesting tidbit

“According to the banking code, credit card providers have to demand a monthly minimum repayment that more than covers interest accrued. This way, customers who repay the minimum will still be paying off a proportion of the outstanding debt instead of just treading water paying off interest.”
Still it seems that some card companies are lowering their minimum payments in order to bring in more revenue.

Here’s a bit of math for you:
Research from Moneyfacts shows that a customer with a £1,000 debt on a card with 14.9 per cent APR, paying only a 2 per cent minimum payment, would take 20 years to finish paying the debt back, including £1,116 in interest. By contrast the same customer paying three per cent would clear the debt in 11 years. Repayments at the rate of seven per cent would allow the debtor to pay off the debt in just five years. Crazy, isn't it, how only 1% can make such a difference?


All of our credit cards have rewards. We have earned hotel stays, restaurant gift cards, credit back to our account... You name it and you can probably find a card that provides it. Of course you don't want to over-spend on a credit card just for the rewards. That gift card may look good but is it really worth 5000 points?

Credit cards make it easy enough to forget that you are playing with real money. A bit of advice from someone who has been there: do your homework, know your worth and pay more than the minimum.

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Congratulations x 2

My brother Jarod and his girlfriend Amanda are expecting a baby right around New Year.

Oops. My mistake. I should say :
My brother Jarod and his fiancee Amanda are expecting a baby right around New Year.

Yep, Jarod is taking the big step in a big way and I couldn't be happier.

Congratulations!



And I'm sorry about the photo- it's the only one I could find of the two of you on this computer! TeeHee!

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This policy is valid from 23 May 2007


This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. For questions about this blog, please contact Jody (traveler@havekidwilltravel.com).


This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content.

The owner(s) of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.


To get your own policy, go to http://www.disclosurepolicy.org

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Adult Content

>> Tuesday, May 22, 2007

HA! Got your attention didn't I? WEll,now that I have it...

Not long before Brenna’s birth Doug & I began acting like adults with children. We upped our life insurance, we made our wills and we began discussing our finances in more ways than “what has to be paid?”

I recently increased our SEP contributions (OK,I increased his and created an account for myself) and am still trying to work out a budget that Doug can live with. I gotta admit that is difficult because Doug is a contractor so we don’t have a “regular” amount of money coming in each week- it really depends on how much he works.

Something that has caught my attention lately is high yield savings accounts. eMoneycentral.com makes it easy to find the best rates available in your state and to compare those rates to find the best deal for you. And, honestly, who couldn’t use the extra cash?

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Ahhhhh....

>> Monday, May 21, 2007

Of course there are things I should be doing. Things I actually have on a "to do" list for today. And I'll get to them. But right now I am sitting on the deck, enjoying a hard cranberry lemonade, listening to the creek and posting this little bit of nothing.

Did you see that I finished my Ireland scrapbook? Yep, finally. It's here.

Did you get to see last week's Fab Food Friday? Snicker's Cheesecake... Simply decadent.

Potty training is not progressing as planned. Brenna has peed on the floor once and has gone into the bathroom and put on a Pull Up before pooing. She knows when she needs to go; she just needs to use the potty.

Caelan is making a little progress with the sippy cup. Unfortunately there are new spots of milk and juice on the carpet.

The carpet cleaner is coming on Wednesday.

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Drug Rehab

If you’ve been around any amount of time you know that I have many friends who have addiction issues. And you also know that one of my best friends died of a heroin overdose quite recently.

K has been through treatment a couple of times, as has J. E was through multiple programs, including that very famous one in MN that Matthew Perry went to when he was addicted to painkillers. None have worked long term.

I’m not sure why this is… Maybe it is because the people doing the treating have never had to kick such a terrible demon? Recently a new drug rehab has come to my attention. Staffed with former addicts and boasting a 76+% success rate this facility could possibly have succeeded for E where others failed. If it had only come to my attention sooner…

So here’s my little PSA: if you love someone with an addiction don’t let them push you away and don’t give up on them. Help them. This drug rehab would be a good place to start.

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It's Done!

It only took a year an a half but it's finally done!

Yes, I finally finished my scrapbook from our trip to Ireland! It is almost 2 1/2 inches thick and I should really find a new binder for it- one that is made to hold such a monstrocity! Maybe if I didn't stuff it full of CDs, maps, notes, books and stuff it would be thinner...



Here is my "Intro to Dublin" page: It has one of our Dublin Pass cards and the guide book (both removeable), an illustrated map (also removeable) and tickets from the Dart and the Luas. I made the lettering down the side with my Wishblade.

I also include lots of facts and little notes about what we did. I guess I'm a journaling scrapper. More WB fun with the title!

Here is the page of a B&B we stayed at in Cashel. Business card, notes about our stay, fancy accents. Seriously, it'sno wonder my book is so thick!

You can't visit Dublin without stopping to see Molly Malone... I love that the WB can use almost any font!

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Income Inequality

Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are "concerned" about the rich/poor divide. They really don't know much about economics. Even China is experiencing an income gap. And they are seeing the same thing we see here in the States, everyone's standard of living is increasing.

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Wanna Decorate?

As many of you know I am often awake in the middle of the night. Want to know what I do when I’m online with nothing to do? I furnish my house! Yep, I cruise home office furniture I absolutely drool. Look at all that space! An organizer’s dream!

I honestly can’t wait to move Brenna in to a “big girl bed”. So many options, so many ideas. I just love bedroom furniture for girls. I can see it now… A trundle bed, a vanity, a pretty dresser. All in white. It looks great in my mind. Of course we would probably go with something a bit less likely to get outgrown. Thankfully the options are endless.

We live in our basement. It’s where the big TV is, where most of the toys are. And it is still not completely furnished. I think I have found what I have been looking for: I love this sectional sofa! The quality looks great, I am in love with the color and the shipping is free! I might be able to talk Doug into this soon.

Unless he sees the selection of leather furniture. Doug loves leather furniture.

I could peruse this site for hours.





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History of the Conservative Movement

>> Sunday, May 20, 2007

I don't know if I can do this justice in a simple summary. Read this if you are a conservative and a history junky, like me.....

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Royal Blunder

>> Friday, May 18, 2007

Prince Harry entered the military on his own. Admittedly, it is his family's tradition to enter military service...the better to show the leadership expected from royals. The British military, and I do love this headline (though the reality is troubling), was defeated by a press release. He will not be sent to Iraq, because senior military officials are wussies.

The terrorists have become masters of propaganda, made easier by a willing press corp. This hurts the British Military, the Royal family and bolsters terrorists' claim that the West is weak.

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I Want to Get Away

I collect travel sites. My “favorites” file is full of them. Sites specific to regions, sites specific to countries, and travel planning sites. I just added a new one to my list today: TripWiser - social trip planner for the USA and Canada.

This site looks great! I typed in “Alamo” and had over 40 itineraries pop up. Best of all these are “road tested” and full of first hand comments and suggestions. There is even a filter so you can find the best trip for you. Or you can “build your own”.

This is a seriously fun site. I can see myself going to it first for all my US travel.



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Fab Food Friday

Last Friday was my youngest brother's birthday. I asked his wife what kind of cake he would like and she said, "Oh, he's not really into cakes. I suppose a cheesecake would be ok." My SIL loves cheesecake so I'm sure that it would be "ok". I asked what kind. "A Snickers® cheesecake would be fine.”

I like to call it my $30 cheesecake because that’s about how much it costs to make. But it is sooooo worth it!




The recipe I use is from epicurean.com. Don’t let it intimidate you. The most time consuming thing is cutting the Snickers® into little pieces!
Ingredients:
Crust:
1-1/2 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted

Filling:
1-1/2 lbs. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 cups small pieces of snack-sized SNICKERS® Bars

Topping:
4-1/2 cups small pieces of snack-sized SNICKERS® Bars

Fudge Sauce:
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup boiling water
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp light corn syrup

Garnish:
Whipped Cream
Directions:
1. To make crust, combine wafer crumbs and butter.

2. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-1/2 inch springform pan. Set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

4. To make filling, with an electric mixer set on medium speed, combine cream cheese and sugar, beating until smooth.

5. Add eggs, one at a time.

6. Add vanilla and heavy cream. Beat at medium speed for 5 minutes.

7. Fold in SNICKERS® Bar pieces.

8. Pour filling into crust and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until cheesecake is almost set in center.

9. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 1 to 2 hours.

10. Top cooled cheesecake with SNICKERS® Bar pieces and chill for 4 to 6 hours.

11. To make fudge sauce, combine chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring gently, until mixture has melted.

12. Stir in boiling water, sugar, and light corn syrup, mixing until smooth.

13. Increase heat to medium and stir until mixture starts to boil.

14. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes without stirring.

15. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Drizzle over chilled cheesecake just before serving.

16. Garnish with whipped cream. (we don't do this)
Yield: One 9-1/2 inch cheesecake.

And just a little FYI: that restaurant that serves cheesecakes so much that it's part of their name... they sell one like this for $42.95. I'm just sayin'.

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Give Me A Ticket For An Aeroplane...

>> Thursday, May 17, 2007

I live for my next big vacation. I spend the two years in between planning destinations, studying maps and scouring guidebooks and websites for information, history and interesting tidbits. By the time my vacation rolls around I usually have 2-3 books and a folder full of paper to take along.

Now I can make travel a little lighter with an MP3travel guide from VariantGuide.com. This audio guide, along with the free maps, will take you to all the places of interest on your own schedule. Composed by professional guides and full of cultural facts and interesting tid-bits you can tour at your own pace and not miss a thing!

Hmmm, maybe Paris for Christmas?

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Well, I'm Still Mostly Sane

>> Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I had Brenna running around the house with no drawers on.

Potties were strategically placed throughout the house.

There were no accidents on the floor.

There was also no action in the potties.

My child has a bladder or steel.

Running water has no effect on her.

Neither does putting her hand in warm water.

Those tricks do, however work on both Doug and me.

All pottying took place when Pull Ups were put on for nap and bedtime. Well, I'm making an assumption about bedtime but she hadn't pottied since about 4pm and she went to bed at 9. I'm guessing that diaper, and maybe her bed, will be soaked by morning.

As for Caelan...

She thought the water in the sippy cup (with no plug to keep it from dripping) was great fun to play with.

The strawberry milk in the sippy cup that had a no-drip plug she actually drank. And still managed to make a mess.

But the only way she would take the breast milk was in a regular cup held by Mommy or Daddy. If she held it the cup became a missle. And, let me tell you, that girl can throw with some force.

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Saving Money = Shopping More

Once upon a time I had a job that paid quite well. I didn’t worry much about money because it managed to come in day after day. I was able to afford a house, a couple of cars and vacations. And I was able to shop without thinking much about anything other than what time the stores opened and if I needed to stop for cash.

Now I’m a stay-at-home-mommy with a limited income and even more limited time. I download every coupon that I will use and do a lot of shopping online- just because it’s so easy and I don’t have to hear Brenna say, “Mommy, what’s that?” with my answer being followed by, “I like that”.

Oh, yes, my daughter is a born shopper. Thankfully I can shop online while she’s asleep. Of course, much of what I buy is for her…

Which makes this website full of coupons, coupon codes and online savings one of my favorite finds. One of my favorite stores is Target. With a quick click I have Target coupons and I am ready to shop. With over 1000 stores to shop with online coupons codes I may just be able to shop more!

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I Feel Like A Parental Failure

It is 4:25am. I am awake. And have been for over an hour now. Grrr...

My darling daughters have gotten the better of me. They know my weakness. They take advantage of it. And now.... Now I am paying the price. Of course it is easy to think that I can fix it at 4:28 in the morning. It is easy to read all the advice and think, "OK,I can do that."

Ummm, yeah. Thinking I can do it is one thing. Actually doing it is completely another.

Brenna is still not using the potty. It doesn't bother her to be so poopy that I can smell her across the room. It doesn't bother her to be so wet that her Pull-Up explodes and the nasty,wet innards are stuck to her.

Caelan is not taking liquids from anything other than "the source" (i.e. breast) or a regular glass held by mommy or daddy. It doesn't matter if the beverages are the exact same, she only wants it how she wants it.

Of course these thoughts are going throught my head, now,at 4:34 am, because Caelan woke me for the second time tonight to eat. Yes, my daughter still won't sleep through the night. My fault, again, because I had the monitor close to me at night and continued to go to her when she cried so she wouldn't wake Brenna.

Of course, I created these monsters. And since there is noone to come to my rescue I suppose I must vanquish them myself. Crap.

So... Should I just take this all on at once? It will, of course, make me completely insane for the next few days. Poor Doug. He'll have three girls who will be terrors to live with.

Oh, well, should be good blog fodder.

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Meritt May Not Like It Here...

>> Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Des Moines is one of Kiplinger's Top 5 Best Cities for Married With Kids

Yep, it's true.

To be honest I always said that I would never move back to Iowa. Never say never. And, honestly, I don't regret it. My family is all here, the suburb we live in is nice with great schools and low crime.

Sure, I wish we had more live performance theaters, a bigger zoo and more bike trails (honestly, Minneapolis/St. Paul spoiled me for those) but otherwise I can get and do almost anything my little heart desires.

And, besides, if I had IKEA and H&M here I would have no excuse for a weekend in the Cities.

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So Nice to Have Her Home

>> Monday, May 14, 2007

Brenna had a great time with her grandma this past weekend. One-on-one time with the woman who spoils you rotten... What's not to enjoy?

My understanding is that they went to an exercise class, saw baby horses and goats, filled bird feeders multiple times- whether they needed it or not- gardened and cooked creme brulee. Whew!


When Brenna got home Sunday morning I was in the office trying to ready myself to go upstairs to begin preparing brunch. Brenna came rushing into the room with a bouquet of flowers and a big hug for me.

"Happy Mother's Day!", she said.

Happy Mohter's Day, indeed.

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Happy Mother's Day

>> Saturday, May 12, 2007

Yep, there it is: The card I made for my mom. Yes, it is supposed to look like a tattoo. The inscription inside says:

"Mom- I love you so much that I designed this tattoo in dedication to you. And I would get it... If I didn't think you would try to ground me"

They just don't make cards like that...

And for the rest of you moms out there, a little story that will make you laugh and nod in agreement:

So, we had this great 10 year old cat named Jack who just recently died. Jack was a great cat and the kids would carry him around and sit on him and nothing ever bothered him. He used to hang out and nap all day long on this mat in our bathroom.

Well, we have 3 kids and at the time of this story they were 4 years old, 3 years old and 1 year old. The middle one is Eli. Eli really loves Chapstick. LOVES it. He kept asking to use my Chapstick and then losing it. So finally one day I showed him where in the bathroom I keep my Chapstick and how he could use it whenever he wanted to but he needed to put it right back in the drawer when he was done.

Last year on Mother's Day, we were having the typical rush around and try to get ready for Church with everyone crying and carrying on. My two boys are fighting over the toy in the cereal box. I am trying to nurse my little one at the same time I am putting on my make-up. Everything is a mess and everyone has long forgotten that this is a wonderful day to honor me and the amazing job that is motherhood.

We finally have the older one and the baby loaded in the car and I am looking for Eli. I have searched everywhere and I finally round the corner to go into the bathroom.

And there was Eli.

He was applying my Chapstick very carefully to Jack's rear end. Eli looked right into my eyes and said "chapped." Now if you have a cat, you know that he is right--their little bottoms do look pretty chapped. And, frankly, Jack didn't seem to mind. And the only question to really ask at that point was whether it was the FIRST time Eli had done that to the cat's behind or the hundredth.

And THAT is my favorite Mother's Day moment ever because it reminds us that no matter how hard we try to civilize these glorious little creatures, there will always be that day when you realize they've been using your Chapstick on the cat's butt.

Happy Mother's Day

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Ah.... Now To Relax

Well,I didn't get my entire list completed- but I got really close.

The animals made it to the vet on time and cost a small fortune to vaccinate. And I got to hear about all the "great" things I can do for my older pets. Things like "Senior Wellness Checks", toothbrushing and joint relief medications. Terrific.

The package was sent from the post office before it closed. Which really didn't matter as I used the computer terminal and did all the work myself. I was very thankful it was there as the post office had a line out the door. Seems the price of postage goes up on Monday and the "Forever Stamps" were released today. All new restrictions on size, shape, thickness... Yippee!

Groceries were purchased. Items were forgotten. Another trip to the store was necessary. But I did get to experience my local grocery's answer to Subway. Yep, back at the deli meats counter you can have sandwiches made. And toasted. I had a Rueben; Doug had a Panini. Pretty smart of them to do that.

Fabric was purchased for my tote bag project:

Unfortunately time just ran out and I haven't even cut out the bag yet. I'm alittle nervous as I am using an online tutorial and not an actual pattern. I haven't made a bag like this before and it is actually practice for a bag I need to design to tote my Wishblade to scrapping nights. I'm really liking the colors and the polka-dot fabric fot the lining is so cute...

My kitchen is clean. Doug actually did quite a bit of that while I was cleaning Brenna's room (which wasn't on my list) instead of cleaning the humidifiers (which was). It didn't make sense to do too much as I'm just gonna make a mess again tomorrow when I cook.

Speaking of cooking, I did get the "horns" made for my Cream Horns. One broke and may I just say YUM! Better than any I have ever had from a bakery. I can't wait to make the Bavarian Cream to fill them!

And I did get the card made for my mom. Watch for it tomorrow. Yes, I used the Wishblade. Yes, I am pretty proud of myself.

And I did 2 loads of laundry. And took care of Caelan. She really enjoyed having Mommy & Daddy to herself.

I think that is enough. It's 9pm. I'm gonna make up my post for tomorrow so all I have to do is publish it in the morning and then I'm gonna watch Music & Lyrics.

And if you're wondering about Brenna, she didn't miss me at all today. Grandma kept her busy and she had fun, fun, fun. I can't wait to see her tomorrow.






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I'm A Bit Lost

>> Friday, May 11, 2007

Brenna is at her grandma's house. Until Sunday morning. I feel a bit like I'm missing an appendage. Not that I'll have time to miss her... Tomorrow I have to/plan to:

  • take the dog & cat to the vet
  • go to the post office to mail a package
  • shop for groceries for Mother's Day brunch
  • make the Cream Horns "horns"
  • go to the fabric store
  • use above mentioned fabric and make a tote (I can't find "the perfect" one so I am going to attempt to make my own
  • clean the kitchen
  • clean & put away the humidifiers in the girl's rooms
  • make a Mother's Day card for my mom

Oh, and take care of Caelan!

I know that Grandma has great plans for her time with Brenna. And Brenna has been talking about going to her house for days; she was very excited. I was trying to hug on her before she left and she was wiggling to get out of my arms. She was waving and smiling as she left and saying "Have a good time!"

A good time, indeed. I'll probably spend half my time looking for her...

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Fab Food Friday

>> Thursday, May 10, 2007

Well, it's Friday again and time for another recipe tested right here in the Geek household.

Brenna had so much fun starring in the post last week that she is back for another go. This week we made Jell-O Magic Mousse.

Here is Brenna posing with everything you need:
3 cups boiling water
1 pkg. (8-serving size) or 2 pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Brand Strawberry Flavor Gelatin (we used raspberry)
1 tub (16 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed (or two 8 oz tubs, which is what we used because I wrote "1 tub Cool Whip" on my shopping list- and got the wrong size)

After you have all your stuff you stir the Jell-O into the water for 2 minutes until completely dissolved.
Then add the whipped topping stirring with a whisk until topping is completely melted and mixture is well blended.
Then pour into 10 cups, a 6 cup mold or a glass bowl sprayed with cooking spray.
Refrigerate 8 hours or over night. The mixture will separate and form layers. Magic!
Ours have only been sitting for 4 hours in this photo but you can see the layers forming. (Check out the Kraft website - linked at the top - for very pretty pictures.

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I Feel So Random

>> Wednesday, May 09, 2007

And uninteresting. I seriously have next to nothing going on in my life. If it doesn't involve the girls, cleaning something or preparing meals I don't seem to have anything to say.

Speaking of preparing meals I have been working on the menu for a Mother's Day Brunch. When I mentioned that I would like to make a brunch my SIL asked "Why do you want to cook? It's Mother's Day."

My reply? "Because I like to." So the menu is : Creme Horns (homemade- if they turn out nicely I may have to run a couple over to Meritt), Breakfast Bruschetta, Artichoke and Spinach Cheeseball with crackers, Potato Crust Quiche, Cabbage and Apple Slaw with Golden Raisins, all washed down with Mimosas. Mmmmm.....

My youngest brother's birthday is Friday. Another cake is in the works. This time it will be a cheesecake. A Snickers Cheesecake, to be exact.

All of this will give me Fab Food Friday fodder. Speaking of which: how do you guys like that? Do you enjoy the weekly recipe? This week will be another installation of Fun For Kids by Brenna.

Now, to move completely away from the topic of food- I have to see my gyno this afternoon. Blah. It has been 6 months since my last visit. Now that I am "back to normal" after having Caelan I get a full workup. Yippee. Gah!

On a happy note- DSW is having a one day sandal sale. And, since I am a DSW Rewards Card holder I get an extra 250 points if I shop today. Hmmm, up to 50% off sandals and an extra 250 points (which is equal to a $25 gift card). I'm there. This couldn't come at a better time- my favorite sandals broke last Sunday.

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It Was A Long Time Coming

>> Sunday, May 06, 2007

But it has finally made an appearance! After much pain and anguish- for everyone involved (mostly Caelan and me)- the first tooth has worked it's way through and will soon be able to be seen in photographs!

Yes, the tiny little bumps of the tooth are poking through and Caelan is desperately chewing on anything and everything that ends up in her mouth. Including her favorite food source.

She'd best not bite me or she'll be learning to love a bottle real quick.

Updated! It's a bit blurry but if you look really, really close you can see that teeny, tiny tooth at the bottom right.


At least one more is working it's way in tonight- possibly three more. Caelan is oh so fussy and not even a popsicle soothes her for long. sigh It may be a long night.

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Fab Food Friday

>> Thursday, May 03, 2007

Fun For Kids Edition

Brenna has hijacked FFF this week to show you the treats she took to playgroup.

Easy S'more Clusters from the Hershey's website.

Have Mommy buy:
  • 6 (1.55 oz each) Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars, broken in to pieces (how convenient that they sell these in a 6 pack, hmmm?)
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 8 graham crackers, coarsely chopped
  • Mini-muffin cups (we made about 36)

Instructions:

Break candy bars into small pieces, swiping only one small square per bar (to check the quality, of course).


Measure your marshmallows. Be sure to taste test for freshness.

Break graham crackers into small chunks (no need to test any of these as you only need 8 and most packages have 9 crackers and, really, you don't want that poor cracker to be left all alone in that package, do you?)


You will need to have your mommy melt the chocolate (in the microwave on medium heat 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until chocolate is melted when mixture is stirred).

Then you dump in the marshmallows...


And the graham crackers...


And stir. A lot. Mom said she "folded" it. But I didn't see any laundry so I think the chocolate may have gone to her head.


When everything is covered in chocolate spoon it into mini-muffin cups. Mommy says not to eat off the spoon. I did. A couple of times. And got more spoons. I think it worked in my favor.

When all the cups are filled have your mommy put the goodies into the refrigerator while you do the necessary clean-up.


Ta Da! The finished product. I know, I know, it looks like I toiled all day in the kitchen. Maybe if show Daddy and act exhausted he will take me out for dinner. (It works for Mommy.)

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Happy Beltane

>> Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Or, May Day to those of you who don't follow the Celtic Calendar.

It is Tuesday, which means Brenna has school. It is also Brenna's day to bring treats. No problem. We discussed it yesterday and she decided on Teddy Grahams and Goldfish. I picked up those, and 100% juice, at the store last night.

It was only this morning that I remembered that it is May Day. Crap. What to do... What to do...

While Doug was still home I made a quick run to the corner convenience store and purchased an overpriced bag of M&Ms and a bag of gummy worms. Using plastic cups left over from Lord-knows-when and cutting strips of paper from my scrapbooking paper I created a lovely little cup:

It's a goodie parfait: 15 M&Ms (yes, I counted), a layer each of (uncounted) Teddies and Fish and one gummy on top of each.
I made 20. I'm pretty sure that's enough...

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