Monday, July 9, 2012

Best Things About Summer

Some good friends and the smell of a grill reminded me last night that Summer is an amazing season of sights, smells, and feelings.  Here are some of my favorites.  Feel free to add your own!

1.  Impromptu Barbeques
2.  Sprinklers
3.  The Food: Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, Corn on the Cob, Soft Ice Cream Cones
4.  Warm Evenings
5.  Sunsets
6.  The Beach
7.  Fireworks
8.  Baseball
9.  Backyard Gardens
10. No Alarm Clocks!

:Hope everyone is enjoying this fantastic time of year!  If you haven't been, there is still plenty of time to join in...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

"When I was a child, my mother said to me, 'If you become a soldier, you'll be a general.  If you become a monk, you'll end up the pope.  Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso."
                                                                                             -Pablo Picasso

Thanks Mom for always believing in us and never being satisfied when we didn't do our best.  Without you we wouldn't be able to be anything and everything that we want!  Enjoy your day:)

And ice cream cones are just 50 cents today, so let's walk on down...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Time Magazine Cover

Have you seen the new cover of Time Magazine? It shows a blond woman standing with a child, reported to be 3 years old. He is standing on a stool. She has a breast exposed so that he can have a drink. He is staring at the camera with a mouth full of flesh. It is absolutely horrifying and borders on kiddy porn. The boy could easily be running down the hallway at my school, using the same stool to drink from the water fountain. The woman has a look of unabashed superiority, like she is the May Playmate in Playboy Magazine. Woman who choose to breast feed their children, I applaud you. Woman who choose to bottle feed, I am you. I will not stand naked on the cover of Parenting Magazine with a bottle in my hand. So please La Leche League, cover yourself up and stop trying to make the rest of feel inferior.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Panera Bread

As anyone that has tried to stop for a quick lunch at Panera Bread knows, the line will inevitably be out the door, they won't be serving the cream of chicken and wild rice soup, and you might need to hip check your way onto a table. Why do we put ourselves through it? Their bakery case. Conveniently located right along the long line out the door! Of which they will try to entice you with a free sample. Their paninis are pretty awesome, too.

But to my absolute delight, I have discovered the perfect time to visit your local Panera. Friday morning at 7:00. Mom and I stopped there on our way home from the gym and were the only the whole store! No rushing to make a selection, no pressure to quickly select a tea bag, all tables were available (except of course the ones covered by plastic bags of yesterday's bagels). It was amazing!

Unfortunately, like all of you that face the weekday grind, I usually only have time for the
local drive-thru on most Fridays. But today was special and totally worth the unwait.

And those bags of bagels? They donate their left overs to local soup kitchens!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Say It Isn't So

Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli have split after 11 years of marriage. How did this happen? 90210 and Twilight, is there a better pop culture couple? Three young daughters, DWTS, and did I mention a staring role in Twilight (times 3).

Of course they are asking for privacy "at this time." Which is code for don't investigate the why because one of us cheated. Hopefully it was her and she has finally decided to go back to Dylan. Well, maybe not hopefully.

And what's next? Taking the cream from my Twinkie? Say it isn't so!

Friday, March 2, 2012

I love, but...

I am currently working but have been banished from my classroom for a few days.  I have an amazing Student Teacher and this is her week to shine.  So she is teaching my class and I am looking for ways to occupy myself for six hours.  My heart goes out to all of you that have to sit at a desk and do this every day, for eight hours!

It gave me an idea:

  • I love to have down time, but it makes the day longer!
  • I love to have clean laundry, but I hate putting it away!
  • I love to eat out, but reheating the left-overs isn't the same!
  • I love Girls' Night Out, but I die a painful death on Mom's Day In!
  • I love Sunday Funday, but dread Monday Workday!
  • I love pasta, but I dislike tomato sauce!
  • I love skinny jeans, but not on men!
  • I love my feet rubbed, every single day!
Feel free to add to the list.  And start enjoying the weekend that we all love.  Just avoid that alarm clock that is bound to return us to the grind on Monday.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Incredible Edible Egg

I love eggs. I will eat them near. I will eat them far. I will eat them in a car, watching the star(s), and even seated at a bar. Just kidding.

Tonight I discovered my new favorite way to eat them: with fresh asparagus and cheddar. The 'recipe' follows:

1 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
2 eggs whisked
5 asparagus spears cut into threes
1 oz sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter and oil over medium high heat. Quickly stir fry asparagus 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs and turn off heat. Using rubber spatula, stir constantly and crumble cheese into eggs. Plate and enjoy!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Post-holiday Sales

When I was young and a lot less frugal I used to buy birthday cards at the closest pharmacy, hair care products at my salon, and shop for groceries the day that I needed them. Then I moved out, met FICA, and had to start repaying my student loan. In hindsight, I got smart.

I am now one of those crazy people who go to (insert your favorite retailer) and clean up on after holiday sales. Today I was picking up a prescription at Target and found myself wandering through the 70% off post-Valentine sale aisle. I was tempted to pick up some Dora valentines for next year but figured 45 was a bit much for a will-be two-year old. Thankfully, I was not discouraged because I cleaned up in the candy/home aisle.

I bought a picture frame, candy, and stickers that, since they are pastel and pink colored, will be perfect for a cute little girl's Easter basket. All at 70% off! Good deal!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston

Two of the biggest pop music stars in my young life have died and it seems very surreal to me. I wasn't the biggest Michael Jackson fan, but I appreciated his music, did my best Moonwalk impression in my girlfriend's living room, and can proudly say that Thriller was the first albumn I ever owned. When I was young he seemed larger than life. Then drugs, depression, and weirdness destroyed him. So sad.

Last night, Whitney Houston was found dead. I was probably a bigger fan of her husband, but I Wanna Dance With Somebody was one of the music videos that my friends and I studied at nauseum to perfect our dance moves and crazy 80's hair, with scarf. I cried every time she started singing at the end of The Bodyguard, and fell in love with Kevin Cosner along with Whitney. I also thought it so cool that she named her daughter after her husband. She was a pretty big deal during my middle school years. Like Michael, drugs and craziness spun her life out of control.

I am not a drug user and don't understand how people, with important jobs and loving families, with loyal friends, and in this case adoring fans can't rid themselves of the poison that ultimately destroys them.

And if we continue to tolerate and even glorify that lifestyle, I can't help but wonder, who will be next?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Profile Picture

Did you know that when you Google someone who has a Facebook page, their profile picture shows up? Along with their name and pictures of anyone else who shares their name? Even if you have a private profile. A private Facebook... now there is an oxymoron.

As you all know, I do not have a Facebook page but discovered this today when my fifth graders were Googling their mom. A mom who happens to be a close friend of mine and has a private Facebook page. There was her smiling profile picture, complete with her smiling husband and two minor children. For any unmentionable to view, copy, and enjoy with all of their unmentionable friends. There were also many other pictures of people with the same name whom I don't know, in various states, including tongue wrestling with a bare chested and quite fit young man.

A word to the wise: make sure your profile picture, private or not, could be comfortably viewed in the presence of your mom, dad, employer, and ten-year old's fifth grade class.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chicken Wing Cupcakes

For the past two weeks, I'm sure, like me, you have been bombarded by recipes and ideas for your Superbowl Party. I have seen too many recipes for the "ultimate" guacamole, sensational chili, and more dip than even Paula Deen could consume.

The one that I can't stop thinking about is Coccodotts' Chicken Wing Cupcakes. (I even dreamt about them last night.) Coccodotts created my wedding cake, so I know that her cakes are beyond delicious. It's the chicken wing part that has me so intrigued: the cake is topped with blue cheese and cornmeal frosting. Rounding out the unique treat? A real chicken wing!

I just checked their website and they are open until 2pm. I might have to find my way to Central Avenue in the next few hours...

Saturday, January 28, 2012


I hate paying full price for anything.  If I am clothing or shoe shopping, I will rarely even try on something that is not on sale.  Or if I am at Macy's, that I don't have a coupon for.  Every Sunday I scan all of the ads to decide where I am going to do my grocery shopping that week, where the best deal is on diapers, and what restaurant is giving away a BOGO meal.  I won't even let my 18 month old interrupt me until I have finished the whole Sunday paper and all of the ads.

My husband might say I am obsessed with coupons.  I have a drawer full of them, they often fall out of my planner, and my fridge is covered.  I subscribe to coupon sites.  I cut them out of newspapers, fliers, and magazines and follow this amazing blog called Money Saving Mom. 

I have found amazing deals on this site like winter hats from LL Bean for $1.99 (shipped).  I use it to accumulate Pampers Gifts to Grow points and Swagbucks.  There are also postings for inexpensive recipes, home improvements, and vacation deals.  I haven also gotten a ton of free samples of all sorts of products.   The blogger devotes ALL of her time to scouring websites and fliers for the best deals imaginable.  She is an extreme couponer and something that I aspire to.

Last night she did her grocery shopping for the week and only spent forty-four dollars and change between Target and Aldi.  Though I have never been to an Aldi, I have been known to frequent Target multiple times in a week.  As I was looking through what she was able to purchase, with utter amazement, she noted that every single thing she bought she used a Target coupon to save money.  She also used a manufacturer's coupon for additional savings. 

Once again my shopping guru has opened my eyes to savings!  I now know that multiple coupons can be used for the same item and that Target has its own coupon site.  AHHHHHH...

Check out the link below for your own enlightenment.  I am off to Target with my coupons to save a bundle.  I will check back later with my results!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hannaford Supermarkets

I am not a Price Chopper fan. Yes, I find the Advantage gas savings alluring, but unless I am buying gift cards or they are having a buy one get three free sale I try very hard to avoid their over-crowded and high priced stores. I am a Hannaford shopper.

Hannaford has a policy that states if you are over-charged for something or if your receipt is incorrect, they will refund your money and give you a dollar for your inconvenience. Really! You simply go to the customer service counter, explain your situation, and hand over your receipt. Or not, like I found out today.

It all began yesterday when I was checking out. I asked the cashier if they still sold stamps at the register. She responded yes and commented that I was the first one to buy the new stamps from her. Stamps went up again you see and I was exactly one day late in buying them. My favorite mailman must have gotten another raise...

Anyway... as we continued to discuss how the post office is going to alienate the only customers that they have left by bankrupting us, we must have gotten distracted. When I got home and looked for my stamps, they were not in any of my bags.

I returned to the store today, went to the customer service counter, and explained my situation . The extremely helpful rep didn't even ask for my receipt. She appologized for my inconvenience and handed over a book of stamps. Just like that.

Take that, Chopper Shoppers!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Blue Monday

Did you know that the most depressing day of the year is not your birthday? It's not even the day you mourn your dead cat, curse your ex, remember your first love, or step on the scale.

The most depressing day of the year is Monday; Blue Monday in fact. Apparently this is a reaction to a combination of factors: winter is in full swing (or in our case beginning), New Year's resolutions have been broken, post holiday credit card bills are pouring in, and W2s are showing up in paychecks.

But before you start shelling out your money to Citibank and The IRS, head to Cold Stone Creamery in Stuyvesant Plaza. They are offering half off all of their ice cream. Guaranteed to turn that frown upside down!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Have You Noticed?

Over the past few weeks, you have probably spent a good deal of time surrounded by family. Some you may see often and others only on special occasions. I noticed some things about myself and some habits that I noticed that are a direct result of my family. Here are my top five:

1. Autopilot. My dad always had a "short cut" that we had never taken before. In truth regardless of where we were traveling, if it involved any portion of a route that Dad often traveled he would automatically head for the familiar. I don't know how it happened, but every time I go to my sister's house I miss the turn and end up on the highway. Even when I'm waiting patiently at the light to make the turn, as soon as the light turns green I am through the intersection and headed south on I787.

2. Baking. Inevitably when you make cupcakes you never quite reach the tewnty-four the box says you will. You could try a measuring cup, ice cream scoop, or the "eyeing it" method and will still lose some to the sides of the bowl, beaters, and the occasional taste test. What to do with the extra spaces in the pan? Fill them with water of course! Why? Because mom always did. I'm quite certain that if the spaces between the cups don't burn, the actual cup won't either but I still fill them, every time.

3. Breakfast. There are many choices available for breakfast each morning. One of the most versatile and convenient is a bowl of cereal. I'm sure there are daily recommended amounts of both cereal and milk, but it's not something that was followed in our house. If it fit in the bowl it was enough. Except when it wasn't because there was extra milk left over. Since warm sugary milk grosses me out, there was only one thing to do: add more cereal on top. If the pour was a little too generous, add more milk. Continuing until, as my brothers have proven on many an occasion, the half gallon of milk and box of cereal are as empty as your bowl.

4. Socks. If you are like me, one of the saddest days of the year is October 1st. This is the day where you have to accept the fact that summer has passed you by and you have to retire your sandals, flip flops, and barefoot carefree days. It's time for socks... Having hardwood floors on the majority of my first floor, it can be chilly walking around in your bare feet. And it can be annoying to take your socks off to sit on the couch and relax, then put them back on to search for your IPad that is charging in the other room. The solution? Roll your socks down over your heal to let your feet breathe. And keep your toes warm. Bliss...

5. Egg Salad. Hard boiled egg, mayo, freshly cracked black pepper, and chopped green olives. Mix carefully and spread between two pieces of white bread. Dad's perfect sandwich... Followed closely by baloney and ketchup.

At this time of year, relish in the time you spend with family. And instead of fighting it, embrace the fact that you WILL one day become your mom, dad, or crazy Aunt Kate! Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What Goes On?

What goes on in Cohoes? It seems like every time I open the paper lately, someone ends up dead.

First an elderly good Samaritan opened his door to a stranger who turned out to be a homeless grifter who was high on drugs. He had been knocking on doors until someone opened up. Someone who he subsequently robbed and beat to death. Tragic.

Then a body was found in the Hudson River near Peebles Island. They fell, jumped, were pushed into the frigid water and surfaced in Cohoes. Bizarre.

Walking home from a bar shift on NYE a third Cohosian was crossing a rail bridge from Green Island when he fell to his death. He had been talking on his cell phone when he plunged to his death in Cohoes. What are the odds?

What goes on in Cohoes? I can't say. But my advice: don't jump, walk, or answer your door. It may be hazardous to your health!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hello 2012

My friends and I tried something different this year to ring in the new year. We reserved a hibachi table for ten, ordered some saki, and stuffed ourselves with quazi-healthy food. The chef was entertaining and the food very good.

We then thought we would bar hop and were quickly reminded of why we usually have a house party. It is hard for that many people to come to a concenses and driving while drinking is a pain (at least for one revealer). And further, what bar owner in their right mind isn't open on NYE? Wolf Road Recovery Room...

We eventually ended up at Bootleggers, a new bar that used to be a favorite hangout in my previous decade. The decor hasn't changed. Neither has the music. The crowd is still full of twenty-somethings sweating it out on the dance floor and making a mess in the restroom. Another reminder that next year we should revisit the houseparty. But being the popcorn machine!

Anyway, with all of the driving and non-commitment I woke up today without a hang over and an offer from my mom to entertain my 17-month old for a few more hours. (Or is Kendall entertaining them?) Oh, and did I mention we topped off the night with fries and gravy. Hello 2012!