While the Woo Girl is Away...

25 January 2009 | 1 Comments

Dave and Finn will go shopping:

Or visit Dougie:

Or just run around town, exchanging a few Christmas presents, washing the car, getting my saxophones tuned-up, getting an oil change, sweeping out the cars, setting-up Rico's webcam, touching up the paint on the bedroom ceiling, and having dinner with Oma.

None of which is necessarily, "woo-worthy," but having five straight days to chill with the little man certainly is.

Cliches and Facebook.

22 January 2009 | 3 Comments
Well peeps, I am leaving on a jet plane as my ex-fling (or whatever the heck he might be, we used to have lots of sex back when I was fun) told me this morning via Facebook. That's right people, I caved. I joined Facebook. But more importantly, I'm off to cut a rug, to live on the edge, to have more fun that way with Natalie Jane. We are going to have too much fun, drink too much, laugh too much, and sleep in too much. Oh yes, 5 days of SLEEPING IN people. FIVE WHOLE DAYS! This is quite possibly the best part. I don't even have to chase a toddler around.

So keep an eye out for me on Facebook and look for some special guest posting. I'll see y'all when I get back from the Bahamas. Wooooooooo! (Just practicing my drunk girl wooooo in advance... yep, I'm gonna be THAT girl.)

Is this do-able?

20 January 2009 | 3 Comments

Does this necklace work with the dress? I don't want to take any of my real stuff with me. Anywho, I had about 4 decent choices, but this one I liked best. Does it look too costumey or is it ok? I super don't want to go out and buy something new if I don't have to. Thoughts?

Tomorrow is going to be a better day.

19 January 2009 | 0 Comments
MySpace Celebrity and Katalyst present The Presidential Pledge

What are you going to do to contribute to the movement of change in our country?

Speaking of parties...

While we're on the party subject, I'm going to let the cat out of the hat and show you the inspiration board for Finnegan's 2nd Birthday. We kept his first birthday really small since he didn't really know what was going on and we didn't want to overwhelm him. For his second in April, we're still keeping it to family but also inviting a few of his little buddies. Inspiration came from his favorite books, The Foot Book & Mr Brown Can Moo, both by Dr Seuss. There are a million and a half ideas swirling around in my head, but I don't want to give too much away because some readers will be attending. I'll post more as we decide on invites, favors, food & drink.

Finn's Seuss Birthday

Elise's Grad Party - Cast Your Vote

So last night at dinner we decided that I was going to plan Elise's grad party and Daddy O would be footing the bill. I'm sure there are going to be budget constraints that we'll have to live within, but right now I'm just dreaming up some options. Which is your fave? I'll also take any other suggestions you might have. The party will be at my dad's house in the backyard with the pool that guests would be free to use.

Party #1 is Elise Yellow. It would be an afternoon casual glam party poolside. Lemon sorbets would be served inside hollowed out lemons. Yellow and white flowers everywhere. A yellow and white candy buffet. Yellow and white stripped towels spread out on chaise lounges alongside mini black bistro tables. Invites would be girlie, black and white. Lemonade would be served out of glass 2 gallon jars. Buffet tables would be skirted in black with damask runners with food served on crisp white platters. Elise would wear a cute yellow sundress like this one from Urban Outfitters, then a cute yellow bikini like this one from Tara Matthews. Yellow spider mums could float in the fish pond.

Elise Yellow

Party #2 is Elise Tropical. This would be a casual, late afternoon/early evening party. Tables would be covered with turquoise & lime green linens with hurricane jars filled with sand & candles. Buffet tables would be covered with grass skirting and woven seagrass mats. Food would be served on cute Isis dinner plates found at Plum Party, tropical flowers would be throughout. Drinks would be frozen and fruity. Elise would wear a cute sundress like this one from Charlotte Russe and cute yellow hibiscus flip flops from Wet Seal. For pool time, she would sport this cute bikini from AE. Leis in tropical colors would adorn guests' necks. Daisy could wear a cute little sundress from Puppy Coat Junction. Guests would stay into the night and the pool could be lit with tropical colored submersible lights.

Elise Tropical

Party #3 is Elise Posh Picnic. The color scheme would be red, black, and white with small pops of turquoise. This one would be an early afternoon party. Tables would be set up next to the pool and in the yard with black and white checked table cloths. Large red Ikea vases would line the pool near the diving board. White Christmas lights would be strung along the privacy fence. Clusters of mason jars would be on the tables with red and white flowers and white tealight candles. Food would be fried chicken, corn on the cob, potato salad and sweet tea served in mason jar mugs. Ice cold watermelon slices would be dessert. Elise would wear plaid shorts from Charlotte Russe and a cute white eyelet top from Tilly's. Her swimsuit would be a cute red and white striped retro halter bikini. I'm not sure we can get dad to spring for the $300 Balenciaga turquoise bag, but we could certainly try. He'll be more apt to spring for the cute Jackie O sunglasses from Fred Flare.

Elise Posh Picnic

Little sisters.

18 January 2009 | 3 Comments

In the next few weeks look for some idea boards for my sister's GRADUATION party. It's going to be the best party ever according to her. I have a mass of ideas swirling in my head. It has to be over the top amazing and fun. So if you have any ideas, post them in the comments.

And so, in our quest through the box of old stuff last night, I found this little gem:

A little back story. I used to get my little sister Elise completely obnoxious birthday cards, even when she was little. So Elise thought that she would reciprocate, she took one of her old cards and just copied the text, then she drew this picture. She was maybe 6 or 7 at the time. That's me there on the left with the HAWT side pony tail. She's the little one with the pigtails. It's amazing how now roles are reversed and she's taller than me.

So Miss Elise, I thought you would get a kick out of this little trip down memory lane. You were an artist of epic proportions back then. Oh, and that last word is supposed to read CONTINUE.

The Grocery Game

I've had a lot of questions about the grocery game lately from people. I've had people ask me if it was legal, tell me they just didn't get it, to asking how hard it is to do. My favorite is people see the amount of cereal we have and look shocked... well, it was all FREE. I won't ever pay more than FREE for toothpaste or toothbrushes either. Chapstick, add that to the list of things I won't pay for.

Listen, we're foodie type people. We love to cook, both of us. We love to have friends for dinner. We try all kinds of things and aren't necessarily brand loyal for most stuff. We don't have a whole lot of pantry space, so we set up some shelves in the basement for our stockpile and we have a small chest deep freezer for the frozen items. So, the grocery game works out well for our family.

I will say this, it's a little time consuming. It takes me about an hour a week to decide what we're buying from the list and to cut out the appropriate coupons.

I decided that this week, I would document what I did so you can see a typical week. Now, I've been doing this for several months so I am at the point where I can just buy the sale items and we have enough produce and meat frozen that I didn't need to buy those things. At first, you will be a little suprised at the weird items and amounts of things you are buying. And you'll also have to keep purchasing some things that aren't on sale at first. That's ok too. You'll start seeing a significant savings anyway.

It's actually kinda funny that I picked this week to document because it wasn't even a good week! I had to get two packs of diapers which ate up almost half of my total spend for the week. I also had Dave putting a few items in my cart that weren't on sale, impulse buying is a big no no with the grocery game. At the end of this post, I'll also show you some of the receipts from good weeks.

So here goes...

First, each week we go over to the Dollar Store and buy 2-3 copies of the paper. You can get the Sunday paper at the DS for only $1. Bonus. I also ask my family members that get the paper to please save any coupons for us they won't use themselves. I put all of the coupons in a large envelope and write the date on the front. Usually I have about 12 weeks worth of coupons and when the coupons for that week expire, I put them in the recycle bin and re-use the envelope for a newer week.

Then, I log on to the site and select the items I want to buy and print my list. The list is color coded, black items you buy if you need them, blue items are rock bottom prices for that item so you should stock up, and green items are FREE! I shop at Giant Eagle because they double coupons up to $1 and anything from $1-2 is worth $2. I find that I can do a lot better there than say Kroger. They do have lists in my area for Kroger, Meijer, GE, Walmart, etc... in addition to places like Rite Aid.

Then I match up the list with the coupons that I need. I also decide how many of each item I am going to buy. For example, this week I bought 20 of the Yoplait yogurts. If you bought 20, you get an additional $2 off automatically (special deals like this are also listed on the list). I cut out 3 coupons that were buy 6, get 40 cents off. At GE you can use up to FOUR of the same coupon in a day, so anytime there is a coupon that will give me something free, I use four of them (remember I am buying 2-3 papers + getting some coupons from family so I always have several of the same coupons).

Then I shop! Here is what I bought this week... 2 packs of Pampers diapers, Redbook magazine, 20 Yoplait yogurts, Mustard, Franks Red Hot, Suave for Men gel, Suave gel, a hydroponic tomato, 2 Scunci claw clips, Sunsweet prunes, Gillette shave gel, Quaker quick oats, Gillette disposable razors, windshield wiper fluid, 2 Green Giant boxed veggies, 4 (FREE!) Rubbermaid premium containers, Sucrets (FREE!) cherry lozenges, 2 Pillsbury cinamon rolls, Neutrogena for Men face lotion, and Quaker high fiber oatmeal packets. There may be a thing or two in there that I missed.

And here is the receipt. We paid $45.04, we saved $55.34 total between on sale items and coupons. It ended up being 56 percent saved. I usually hover around 60 percent off and sometimes have gotten it closer to 70 percent off.

For me, this is a great contribution to our household. We still shop some things at Costco and Sam's. Butter and cheese in general is cheaper there. I also get things like tp and paper towels there because it's easier to get those things in bulk. I could probably get them cheaper doing the game, but the convienience factor outweighs the savings for those things.

I leave you with a few more receipts. I couldn't find any of the big ones, most have been pitched. If you have any questions, leave a comment or shoot me an email AND if you'd like to try it, please use me as a referal. (mma128@gmail.com) I would recommend that you save up 3-4 weeks worth of coupons before starting the free trial so you can really take advantage of the savings from the get go.

Vanilla-Lime Iced Tea

Vanilla Lime Iced Tea
Vanilla-Lime Iced Tea is my current obsession and it's super easy to make.

Boil 6-7 cups of water.

Put in two of the large tea bags or about 6 of the small ones and let steep until pretty dark.

In a small sauce pan, bring just to a boil one cup of sugar and one cup of water. 

Meanwhile, juice 2-3 limes & retain limes.

When the sugar is fully dissolved, it will look like clear water, remove from heat. Add a vanilla bean split lengthwise, seeds scraped, the lime juice, and lime rinds.

Allow to steep and cool completely.  Then strain and add into the tea.

I also squeeze the limes again just to get all of the juice out.

Serve over ice.

Fiesta and laughing my ass off.

17 January 2009 | 5 Comments
The Menu
Black Beans
Spanish (Red) Rice
Romaine Salad with Breaded Queso Blanco & Tobasco Honey Lime Dressing
MYOT (make your own tacos)
Chicken & Beef Tacos
Corn (hard) & Flour (soft) Tortillas
Black Olives
Lime Sour Cream (YUM!)
Assorted Sorbet

The table was kept simple, just fun bright colored placemats and napkins.

Lots and lots of yummy food.

I love the submersible LED lights. They're fun to stick in flower arrangements to add some glow to the table. The flowers were just floating in margarita glasses.

One of the dessert sorbets. All of the flavors came in what ever fruit it was. The mini pineapple was absolutely adorable. There are 6 different flavors and all sound yummy.

All of them except vagina flavored. I had to turn this pic upside down to illustrate. Doug chose the lemon, that remarkably resembled a vagina. He said it was delicious, but he had a hard time saying the word vagina.

Well Michelle, your dinner looks very nice, but why were you laughing your ass off? Was it all of the inappropriate talk between Doug and Ann Marie about Doug's vagina looking lemon sorbet? Nope. It was this... (I apologize for the quality, it's a picture of a picture)

Yep, that's Jackie. At my 13th birthday party. There are no words, only shrieks of laughter.

As if that weren't enough. We found the "class prayer" that she wrote in the 8th grade. There are two things that are amazing about this.

1. I was able to actually find my grade school yearbook within moments of getting up from the table.

2. Jackie is ummm shall we say not the most religious person in the world. Yes, yes, she does fundraising for the Catholic Church, but she doesn't actually go to church.

Cheers to 32 years of friendship (except when we hated each other in 8th grade) and thank God I'm too old to remember Tim Reiner's name. For without him, we wouldn't have had our trip down memory lane.

*** A great big shout out to Gigi for keeping Finnegan overnight! Yay for rum drinks, Mexican beer, and not having to get up in the morning!!


14 January 2009 | 0 Comments

You know what's better than my new discovery? My new discovery in a monkey business mug. If you haven't tried the Mott's hot apple cider, you have to get some. It comes in four delish flavors: granny smith, red delicious, macintosh, and apple pie. Perfect for warming you up on frigid days.

I *looooove* mail!

Today was a good mail day.
  1. The dresses have arrived. After trying both on, I have a clear favorite. We'll see what Dave says tonight when I show them to him.
  2. No bills!
  3. The new Parents & Real Simple arrived!

Thank yous.

13 January 2009 | 2 Comments

We've been writing thank you notes. Usually Finn is good for a couple per day, so it takes us awhile. Mommy writes the thank you and Finn colors it with his crayons. It's always nice to say thank you when people go above and beyond... or even just do something small. Gratitude and gratefulness is something Dave and I both want to instill in Finnegan.

We've had a lot of things to be thankful for. Aside from the overload of Christmas gifts, my friends have done wonderful things for us. They've been gathering pictures for us to replace those that are missing because of the grinchy bastard that took our laptop.

It makes me sick to think that all of the day to day photos of Finnegan from his whole life are gone. Family photos that we had, photos of my friends learning that I was pregnant, videos of Finnegan in the pool for the first time, of him cooing into his mirror as an infant... it all makes me incredibly weepy. I could care less about the stuff, it's the sentimental irreplaceable things that break my heart. Anything that wasn't uploaded is gone. Thankfully, we've been pretty good about printing pictures for the grandmas so we can get copies of those things.

Back to those amazing girls... they put together a great cd of photos from different things we've done together. Lots of Finnegan pictures. Some I hadn't ever seen before that made me smile. I'm so thankful to those girls, especially Amy for collecting them in the midst of her own craziness lately.

And then there is Danielle. I can't even express my thankfulness that she contacted Jennifer and got the digital files of Finnegan's photos. I had nothing from that timeframe, I cried when I opened the mail and got her touching letter. So thank you to Jen and to Danielle.


12 January 2009 | 0 Comments
We got 12 inches this weekend.

That's what she said.

We're supposed to get another 9 inches this week.

That's what she said!

I'll post pics tomorrow when it's light out. We've been removing so much snow that we haven't had time to take any pics. Oh, and by we, I mean Dave has been removing snow and Finnegan and I have been inside watching and drinking hot cider. Oh, that reminds me when I post the snow pic, I need to tell you all about my new hot cider love.

Left over pork for New Years? Make this.

We made a traditional pork roast, sausages, homemade apple sauce, potatoes, and cabbage dinner for New Years Day. So what do you do with all of the leftover pork, aside from eating it for days and days? Make these super delish sandwhiches!
Caramelize some onions in a pan with olive oil. After they've started to caramelize, add 1/3 cup dried cranberries to the pan along with some thyme, sage, black pepper, and parsley. Allow them to plump a bit, then add a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, some apple juice (maybe 1/4 cup?), and a little white wine. Allow to cook down for a minute or two, then add the leftover pork that you shred between two forks, cover and let it simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed into the pork.
To assemble the sandwhich, place a slice of swiss cheese on the bottom of a bun and top with the pork, cranberry, and onion mixture. So so sooooo very good.
I served it with chips and this salad made of romaine, cranberry, pecans, cranberry white cheddar cheese, and crunchy chow mein noodles.
For Christmas, the little bug got a very cool tiger flashlight that ROARS when you activate it. Aunt Sue picks the fun gifts along with practical gifts like savings bonds. It's the fun gifts that the Finnster likes, the practical gifts that mommy & daddy like.

Among other things like chasing the poodle ROARing away, Finnegan "feeds" his tiger flashlight Boo Kitty's food. You see the tiger mouth opens to reveal the flashlight, so of course that means he's hungry and what better to feed him than the cat's food?

Bucket Residence.

Lady of the House Speaking.

At the risk of only Amanda knowing what the hell I am talking about...

Allow me to show you our new dining room table & the site of what I hope to be many many candlelight suppers! I am so geeked, it's not even funny.

Which do you like?

09 January 2009 | 10 Comments
And may I say that I got the deal of the freaking century from Lane Bryant? Both of these dresses are marked down to $50 right now, but I got both for $40 total. I don't know what the deal is, but the sale price is now much higher than what I paid.

One of the nights of the cruise is a formal night so I need something dressy, but I wanted something that would work for after too. Both of these I would wear again so I will probably keep both provided they look good on.
Which do you like better?

Long time, no see.

08 January 2009 | 1 Comments
Do I have any readers left or have you all given up on me? Sorry for the long ass blogging hiatus, like I said in the last post, we've had a rough bit of a go lately. And blogging on the desktop, sitting on the floor of our bedroom (yes that is where my lovely freak of a husband has decided to plop the old dinosaur for "the time being" which, to date, has been 3 months at least) anywho, it's not fun. So we solved that issue tonight by picking up an HP Mini 1033CL. It is freaking awesome and I love it. And it's cute and fun and I can take it with me when I travel to the BAHAMAS on a cruise with my bestest and it's free and we are totally going to have the most freaking fun ever. That is a wholenother post people. OK, so I have lots to blog about including the upcoming trip, the cute dresses I ordered for said trip, my sweet ass friends that do wonderful and suprising things, Christmas lovelies, some good recent dinners and a whole host of other things like wii hernias. So hang in there will you??
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