Free Movies WFMW

29 September 2009 | 2 Comments
There is a chill in the air around here, fall is upon us in this area of the country.  We're on the go a lot in the summer, but in the fall and winter we like to slow down and do more around the house.  That means catching up on the new fall shows, hosting game nights, and watching movies & tv shows that we don't get because we're a cable-free house.  {Another thing that Ash, my bloggy BFF and I have in common!}

Just a little aside because I get asked lots of questions about going cable free... Yes, it was a little difficult to give up cable when I first did it about 9 years ago.  No, we don't miss it.  Yes, Finn watches TV, PBS Kids has amazing programming.  We have all of the major stations NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, and PBS.  Each of those has 3 digital signals apiece, usually a "weather" station, old programming {similar to TBS}, and their regular programming.  PBS has their regular station, Create {with programming similar to HGTV}, and PBS Kids, so that is what we watch most.

So back to my WFMW tip!  Here is the big secret to FREE movies... the local library!  That's right, the library!  They carry most movies, tv shows, etc. that are released.  We have borrowed everything from entire seasons of Entourage {LOVE} to Elmo's World to our current obsession, The Tudors.  FOR FREE! 

Not many people realize, unless they are regular library users, that you can get more than just documentaries and old stuff at the library.  Take advantage of this community provided service and keep some cash in your pocket!  Check with your local library on their rules, but ours allows you to keep new releases for two weeks, older movies can even be renewed online and you can hang on to them for a month.

This post is a part of Works For Me Wednesday over at We Are THAT Family.  Head over there to link up and/or check out the best hints, tips, and ideas on the web. 

Happy reading & happy Wednesday!

Spooky Halloween Dinner Plans

28 September 2009 | 3 Comments
Spooky good things are coming this Halloween...  We're really excited to host a small dinner party for some of our friends.  Since most of the kids are still really little, we're going to have some fun little games and a kid friendly dinner.  And maybe these for the big people?

Here is a peek at the invitations!  They were super easy, I just made them on the computer and glued a glow in the dark squishy spider (they came in an 8 pack) to the front of the card on the spider web.  I am hoping they make it through the mail without coming unglued!  The web was repeated inside along with the dinner information.  We gave each of the kids a spooky Halloween name & mailed them out!

We're sticking with a purple and green color scheme for the party.  It's something different and a little more fun and less scary than the traditional orange and black.  I've been over at One Pretty Thing checking out all sorts of amazing ideas in her Halloween Round Ups.  Do you have any ideas or places I should check for ideas?


27 September 2009 | 2 Comments

This morning we did the Komen Race for the Cure in our community.  There is something so powerful about 18,000 people united, supporting those who are battling, remembering those who have lost, and celebrating those who have conquered this shitty awful disease.  If you haven't participated in your local race, I encourage you to do so.  And ladies, feel those tatas monthly, you never know when it's going to save your life.

I laughed really hard & then messed up all my pictures.

26 September 2009 | 7 Comments
What happens when you're faced with the meet and greet of your 15 year class reunion, you leave your hubby at home and go out with your BFF?  {Pssst... Ash, I'm not cheating, I swear!  Natalie is just the IRL BFF.}  You drink.  Copious amounts of vanilla vodka and ginger ale with a lime. Thankyouverymuch.

That reminds me.  Once I was drinking vanilla vodka and ginger ale and this was before I was married to Dave, I had TWO of them and had to be put to bed by two very dear friends.  {Hi Chad & Nikki!}  So anyway, the next morning I woke up only wearing my socks and I had to walk down the street to my friend's house and ask him if I happened to get naked in front of him while collecting my keys.  He also told me years later that he was sorry for peeing in my back yard that night, but he could have kept that secret because I don't even vaguely recollect it.  I didn't get naked in front of him and I will have the pleasure of seeing him tomorrow night at the 'real' reunion because we're still friends despite the fact that I can not hold my liquor.

That also reminds me, I am the fastest get ready-er ever.  I won a bet tonight and the first VV & GA was on Amy.  And doesn't VV & GA sound better than vanilla vodka and ginger ale.

Thankfully there were the sober {knocked up} among us who hopefully didn't get photos that turned out like  this. 

Who the eff put me in charge of an $800 camera?

And Amy... THIS is what happens when you drunk blog. I blame you.

I'm so going to regret this in the morning.  About as much as I regret wearing Skidz, pegged jeans, an Outback Red shirt and 4 pairs of colored socks the last time I saw half these people.  Go Rebels!

Um fall TV is back. I would be clever, but now I don't have to think.

25 September 2009 | 6 Comments
If I were a better blogger, I would come up with a witty clever post to tantalize your Friday morning, but really, I spent my Thursday night watching tv.  I should preface this with the fact that I don't have cable or a dvr, so I have to watch things live, on the major networks, just as God intended.  So instead of a great post, I bring you a collection of random thoughts that came to me brilliantly incoherently while watching the goodness that is Thursday night tv. 
  1. This post was supposed to be about pomegranates.
  2. V is coming back.  What???  My sister and I were obsessed with this show as kids.  The green blood.  The alien baby!  I am thinking that they must have replayed it because I don't remember being seven watching it, but I do remember being scared shitless.  I thought it was junior high.  I just called her and she doesn't even remember it.  I am highly disappointed in her sisterly skills.  Sigh. 
  3. I am pretty much hooked on Flash Forward after one episode.  Did you watch?
  4. Did you know that Cleveland from Family Guy The Cleveland Show is a middle age white guy?  Really. 
  5. The Office was so funny that it renewed my faith in humanity and created world peace.  It was that funny.  It was so funny that if I had incontinance issues, it would have made me pee a little.
  6. Which brings me to... Do your Kegels!  That's my PSA for tonight.  If my little PSA didn't do it for you, perhaps the arrival of a 19 pound baby would?  I can't believe I am saying this, but makes my 10 pound 12 ounce baby seem like a peanut.  Oh yes, you read that right. 
  7. Ok, my sister just called me back and she remembers some of it. She is still on notice, but is slightly forgiven because she remembered the jist.
  8. I can't wait to see the Where the Wild Things Are Movie. But what if it's not as good as the book? 
  9. I am concerned that I might have adult ADD.  Tonight's blog post pretty much solidifies it for me. 
  10. Our 15 year reunion festivities start tomorrow.  Watch out class of '94... I'll be the drunk one laughing at with at with at my BFF and calling my mom husband for a ride home.  Oh, and I also don't have a clue what I'm going to wear.  Any ideas for me?  Friday night is a football game, then the bar.  Saturday is dinner.
  11. I don't get pro football.  I can watch college football for evah and evah, but pro ball... pffft.  No thanks.  Go Bucks.  Seems like the paycheck takes the heart out of it for me.    
  12. Aaaand my sister just texted me with a single word.  Jem.  She is now forgiven. 
Happy Friday to you!

Chicken Gyros & Tzatziki - It's all Greek to me.

24 September 2009 | 0 Comments

My Meme is a great cook.  I mean, she is great cook and can cook for 25 people without breaking a sweat.  She has six children all with spouses or significant others, three grandchildren with spouses, three tween grandchildren, four great grandchildren, and one on the way!  We're a screwball loud-mouth lively bunch too.   In my family, the first dinner you attend as an outsider (boyfriend, girlfriend, plain ole friend) is crucial to your future success with the family.  If you don't just jump in feet first, you may not make it.  We STILL make fun of my step-dad for showing up in a sport coat and writing a thank you note to my Meme after coming to dinner the first time.  With our family, the thank you isn't in the note, the thank you is in enjoying the food and making it known right then and there, maybe bringing flowers, and making sure the dishes are done before you leave.  My Meme can do a lasagne dinner {always one meat and one vegetarian} with her eyes closed and her hands tied behind her back, even at 85 years old.  I want to be her, I never want the family dinners to stop as long as I'm alive.

She taught me how to cook and I blame her completely for my LOVE of a gorgeous set table because she put me in charge of setting the china {her wedding present and then her gift to me for mine} every year at Thanksgiving.  Things aren't really written down and you better know what a pinch of this and a handful of that will do to the dish because there aren't teaspoons and cups of anything.  It drives my cousin's wife insane because everytime she asks for a recipe it's the same story... "Well there isn't a recipe, but I can tell you how to do it."  So that is why most of my 'recipes' on here are guessimations.  Half the time I make something, even I can't remember what went into it, but I can tell you how to do it.

You're thinking to yourself that I MUST have mis-titled this post, but I'm getting to it, I promise.  We all get together in July every year, my aunts and cousins fly or drive in and sometimes October too, but always July.  We have a family dinner most every night they're here and the last couple years, I've hosted a night.  This is a big thing.  So this year I went with a Greek inspired dinner and it was delish.

Fast forward months and here we are.  Half a roasted chicken in the fridge, and the need to come up with something for dinner.  Without further ado, I give you the worlds easiest chicken gyros.


EASY Chicken Gyros
Shred into largeish chunks a roasted chicken.  {This is great for what to do with leftover chicken OR you can even BUY a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.}  Cover the shredded chicken with greek seasoning, olive oil, & a little lemon juice.  I made my own mix by searching online and making my own.  Set aside in the fridge until needed, I did this a day ahead of time when making it for the whole fam and used 2 rotisserie chickens from Costco.  Tonight I did about a quarter of a leftover chicken for the three of us and there is some for tomorrow too.  Get a pan hot and throw the chicken in just till fragrant, then add some water and let simmer in the spices until heated through and some of the water has evaporated off a bit.  Um, that is all for the chicken.  BEYOND easy!

Peel, remove seeds, and cut up half a cucumber.  Put it in a strainer over a bowl and sprinkle liberally with salt.  Put in the fridge for an hour or two.  Use half a big container of greek yogurt... in case it needs to be said, use the plain & not the one with honey.  Grate a quarter an onion into the yogurt, finely mince about a heaping teaspoon of garlic and add that.  Go out to the garden, grab a handful of mint and cut that into fine strips and add.  Add the cucumber.  Mix it all up and let it sit in the fridge until you're ready to eat. 

Cucumber Salsa
Cut up the other half of the cucumber (also seeded) from the tzatziki.  Cut up a quarter of red onion into thin slices.  Cut up a tomato (also seeded) if you want.  Mix it together.

To assemble... add a little bit of each either to naan, pita pockets, or pita flatbread.  Add some shredded lettuce to the mix and ENJOY!

And you MUST make this Orzo dish.  It's by far my husband's favorite.  It sounds really weird, but everyone loves this.  Out of any dish I make, this is probably the one I get asked about most.

Orzo Pasta Salad
Cook the orzo according to the directions on the package, I used half a package for the purposes of this recipe.  Don't forget to salt the water.  When cooked, drain and rinse with cold water.  While the pasta is cooking, toast a handful {1/4 - 1/2 cup} of pinenuts in a pan.  Set aside until cooled.  Chop up the same amount {1/4 - 1/2 cup} of dried cherries.  Finely cut into strips a handful of fresh basil leaves.  Zest half a lemon directly onto the cooked orzo & squeeze the juice onto the pasta.  Dump all the stuff in and add about 1/4 cup of olive oil & sprinkle liberally with lemon pepper or just plain black pepper.  Mix the whole thing together, then add about 1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese and mix that in.  Refrigerate until you're ready to eat.

So tonight I just made the gyros and orzo.  The full menu from this summer follows:
  • chicken gyros
  • cucumber salsa
  • tzatziki
  • orzo pasta salad
  • roasted potatoes {baby reds quartered and roasted at 400 degrees with a quartered onion, lemon zest, garlic salt, oregano and black pepper}
  • iced mint sweet tea
  • pear, cranberry, and pistachio salad {half romaine, half spinach & with a homemade vinagrette}
  • spinach, feta, and pinenut phyllo cups
  • minted fruit salad with a ginger simple syrup
  • hummus & pita chips
Whew is that a LONG post.  Let me know if anything needs further clarification on any of the recipes!

Laundry Room Before & After... aka: making the basement less scary.

23 September 2009 | 4 Comments
It is amazing what some paint and some elbow grease can do.  I can't tell you how happy I am with our new laundry space, Dave did an amazing job with the painting and plumbing.  We added a utility sink {thanks to the inlaws} and used Dryloc oil based paint on the basement walls.  It is stinky, but after two coats the walls look amazing you can't even tell they are 92 years old.  I know you can't tell from the photos, but Dave also added a new light fixture {yay for non-fire hazard fixtures} and it has a plug in the fixture which is a great addition because we sort of had an extension cord all rigged weird to the other one.  We took down the wood nailed into the 1st floor beams and the scary pipe that served as a clothes rod.  The rickety old table {more on that to come!} was replaced with a Broder laundry table system that we created ourselves from IKEA.  It also has a large hook on the side that I can use to hang stuff that needs to air dry.  And the cheapie art that is on the table still needs to be hung on the wall and the second shelf will be hung where the hangers are now when IKEA has their brackets restocked.  It will hold my large collection of glass vases that are currently housed in just about every nook and cranny of the kitchen and hall bookshelf.  I am also trying to sell Dave on a colorful outdoor {because it can get damp from time to time} rug for the space to make it even brighter. 

There you have it! 

WFMW: Finally figuring out Google Reader!

22 September 2009 | 2 Comments

I am resistant to change.  Once I'm through it, I embrace it like nobody's business, but it's hard to get me there.  Enter Google Reader.  So many peeps told me to try it.  *Cough*Jen Amy Britt Em Bunny *Cough*  Hello... I don't even Twitter!  It took me FOREVER to Facebook and then my blogging went by the wayside thanks to that little addiction addition to my online time.  {Love to Kimesha!}  So no thank you Google Reader! 

Anyway, I've always had most of my daily reads in my blogroll and didn't see the need for Reader, that is until I got my own fancy domain name and POOF for some reason my blogroll disappeared.  Wait for it... yes... DISAPPEARED!  I know that I'm a little dramatic, but once I stopped hyperventiling and freaking out Dave worked his magic mojo (not THAT magic mojo... get your mind out of the gutter) and POOF got me a screen shot of it so I could begin slowly re-adding.  Well, with that help came the lecture about why I didn't have a back up copy somewhere, alas I had to force myself to embrace the idea of Reader.  And as you will notice the short blog list over there in my sidebar, I've embraced it so much that the blogroll has been put on the backburner.

I would also like to take this short interlude to say I am an idiot for not embracing it sooner!  I LOVE Google Reader!  Like, love love, not just sort of love.

I really am not an expert, but here is a nudge from me to go explore a bit yourself.  I have added some great new blogs to my list of daily reads thanks to the SUGGESTIONS feature.  AWESOME if I do say so myself that it finds things you might like and it's not entirely random... they pick things I actually like!  I love that you can STAR A POST (for your own personal favorites), you can LIKE A POST (can be seen by others), and you can SHARE A POST (send it to your friends) if it is something you want to pass on.  I can even put a NOTE on it!  It tells me what I've read, what is ready to be read and I don't even have to think about it.  Swoon!

So, the only thing I'm not super thrilled-a-potumus with is the fact that I think it kind of strips the personality out of the blog a bit.  Sure pics come through, but I really love seeing headers and color and the personality of the blog I am reading, a simple click through (clicking on the blog name takes you directly to the blog) and that solves the issues of leaving comments also.

If you want to see the other loveliness that is Works for me Wednesday, head over to We Are THAT Family and check it out! 

And if you get your Reader figured out (or you are already a pro), you're more than welcome to add So Wonderful, So Marvelous to your list of reads with just a click of an RSS button over there on my sidebar.


Picky Palate LOVE

Perhaps I am the only idiot in the blogosphere who hasn't discovered the DELICIOUS resource that is Picky Palate?  For the love of all things food I will be visiting daily until the day I die.  This is when you wish the internet had taste-o-vision.  Too many words.... too too many words.... just feast with your eyes instead and then get over there and explore for yourself.

{Image & recipe link courtesy of}

{Image & recipe link courtesy of}

{Image & recipe link courtesy of}

{Image & recipe link courtesy of}

I'm BUSY & Stuff

21 September 2009 | 1 Comments
I've been attempting to keep fairly consistent on my blogging, but I'm busy lately.  So very much to do before the arrival of my BFF on Thursday and our high school REUNION on Saturday.  A special blog post is coming about the good things going on in her life, you will be inspired!  So... big reunion.  That's right.  Fifteen years.  And they just tore down my high school.  It's a pile of rubble... not unlike my youth.

{Apology: The terrible photos were taken from the car, ummm... as I was  sort of driving it...}

So, back to my being very busy and important.  I haven't even had a second to send an update to Sarah about the horrid, gawd awful, Jillian hating status of my September Shred.  Oh and a confession, I've been mainlining coffee and m&ms so that should be good. 

I've been cleaning and moving stuff and driving my husband completely insane, but it is almost done.  I promise to have a more substantial update of the fun stuff going on around our house, ahhh the joys of a 92 year old house and it's quirky charm.  For now I leave you with this little hint of the goodness to come...

{My DIY project tonight.}

Footloose & Fancy {Kid} Free

20 September 2009 | 3 Comments
In other words.... why a night at Gigi & Papa's amps our marriage, improves our home, and provides some much needed SLEEP to the deprivation that is our new nightlife.  I mean if you go on a bender with your best buds while they make asses of themselves hit on intoxicated med students or drink a bottle or two of wine with friends like last weekend and then wake up to James and Doug sleeping on your living room floor, not together mind you, but I have my suspicions there is an excuse for not getting sleep.  But it's just not as fun to say, I was up blogging at 2 am because it's the only time I have to myself and I'm reeeally trying to like Jimmy Fallon, but he's kind of sucking in the late night spot, oh and my two year old decided to wake mama up at 7:30 am.  I live for naps.

We really did used to be fun.  We try even now.  Really we do.  And we certainly have our moments, but we are not as fun as we used to be.  We can accept that because the trade off is Finnegan and he is worth it.  A million times worth it. 

So back to the real reason I am posting.  We {and by we, I mean Dave} are re-doing our basement.  Nothing major, just making the space more usable, brighter, and less scary.  So two years ago we had the basement waterproofed and now we're using Drylok on the walls.  Again... with the off topic{ish}ness.  The real point of this little interlude is, one sniff of our house and my mom came to whisk Finn off to her house for the night.  SCORE!

Incidentally, we are both completely high, of that I am sure.  I feel like a teen in one of those after school specials that needs an intervention for {completely un-intentional-ish} huffing.  And oh gawd, don't tell Dave he's high, it would break his heart to know his record of never having partaken in ahem, certain activities, is now null and void.

Where was I again?  Oh yes, in the living room, high on Drylok fumes.  By the way, a little irony here, we totally rented the first season of Weeds last night.  I must say, there were a few really hilarious moments, but all in all, I can't get into it.  I hear read on the net, that the first season was the most lighthearted and it only gets more dark and to tell you the truth, I'm just not that into you it. 

Back to my marriage, my house, and for the love of all things holy, the SLEEP!  We get to hang out, Dave and I.  Ahem.  Dude, we're married so don't get any ideas about other stuff and besides, my mom {Hi Gigi! Thanks ever so much for keeping Finn overnight!} reads this blog.  Aside from the alone time, I cleaned out the kitchen cabinet on my list of 101 Things in 1001 Days.  I will fully admit that it was only to make room for my most wonderful new Ikea drinking glasses.  My awesome husband even rented borrowed The Tudors Season 1 {also on that pesky list} at the library this afternoon right after he did some gardening while high on Drylok fumes and made a giant hole in the bush.  Get your mind out of the gutter.  And the sleep, the glorious sleep.  I am hoping for breakfast in bed & sleeping till noon.

Ooooh and as an added bonus, I got to eat an entire organic lemon blueberry muffin my ownself.  For those of you not in the know, when you have kids, your meals are not your own.  Apparently the little vultures feel that if mama has it, that MUST mean they get a bite {or ten} also.  Especially a midday snack, they polish those off in like 7.6 seconds, immediately are on to yours and yet can sit at the table for 57 minutes of dinner and only get half through.  And it was good, that organic lemon blueberry muffin, totally cured the munchies.  And poor Papa, I just know he's going to be giving up the one he bought to Finnegan for tomorrows breakfast.  Sucker. 

Happy Friday! 6 Fun Blog Posts This Week

18 September 2009 | 2 Comments
I have been discovering all kinds of fun new things this week.  I am constantly adding new things to my reader and meeting lots of really interesting fun new peeps.  Here are my highlights this week.  Some are old friends and some are new, but all are so wonderful, so marvelous.
  1. This post over at 86'n It.  Inspiration.  Motivation.  And the cutest baby bump ever.  Bunny, you rock.  There are no words for your fabulousness. 
  2. Speaking of babies, check out this unreal nursery over at Something Old, Something New.  I can't imagine how much her little boy is going to LOVE that space and all of the thoughtful handmade touches from his mama.
  3. Brooklyn Limestone is one of my favorite reads.  She is so insanely creative and she posted this fun freebie for the cutest toe tag Halloween invites.  I feel a party coming on just so I can use them! 
  4. Musings of a Housewife... I am uber jealous of this trip!  I mean, since we've been sweating our butts off to Jillian over at Shredding in September it would be great to meet her in person... or not.  You just KNOW she would yell at me for my wimpy push-ups.  Um.  Forget I mentioned anything. 
  5. THIS over at One Pretty Thing, well because that's the DJS party featured & I've met lots of new readers this week thanks to Rachel and her fantastic blog!  Hiya!  Hope you stick around.
  6. I laughed so incredibly hard at this post over at In the Trenches of Mommyhood.  Then I read it again and laughed some more.  Sarah, that is mortifying and hilarious all at once.   

GLEEEEE! Kind of like squeeeeee only more squeeeeeish.

17 September 2009 | 1 Comments
Fox is doing something right.  And you won't hear me say that very often.  Not only do they have the awesomeness that is Hugh Laurie on HOUSE (incidentally only 5 days till it's back!) but their new show for this season, Glee is hilarious.  Let me repeat... HILARIOUS and chalk up a side of great music in there too.  We're talking Salt n' Pepa - Push It, Color Me Badd - I Wanna Sex You Up, and Journey - Don't Stop Believin'.  Incidentally, I actually attended a Color Me Badd concert with the Fun One.  Oh yes, yes, I did.  But enough about my poor concert choices and back to Glee...     

So, I was never in Rebelaires, our high school's version of Glee, but I knew people that were.  Some of the characters on here remind me so much of people in high school that I can not help but think the producers of this show MUST know them.  It cracks me up.  The characters are sometimes so geeky it's painful, but the show is fantastic.  And they focus as much time with the misfit bunch of teachers and staff as they do on the kids.  We all know teachers like that from high school, the bleeding heart new teachers, the overzealous coaches, the ones who are a touch OCD, they're all there in full force. 
Watch it.  I hope you'll love it as much as I do.
And because I can not sum it up any better than this, I leave you with my friend Steph's Facebook status...
"Glee actually makes me miss high school. WHAT??!?"

WANT TO KNOW SOMETHING ELSE SQUEEEEISH?  Rachel over at ONE PRETTY THING featured the DJS Party on her birthday round up!  Click RIGHT HERE to see it & check out her insane site for all things party & crafty.  It's a must visit.

Dude where's your face?

15 September 2009 | 3 Comments
My husband loves me.  He loves me a lot.  He loves me enough to start laughing and say yes when I ask him if he minds if I do this post.  This is only hearing the concept and not having seen the damage it may do to his poor ego.  He knows full well that I would have posted it anyway, but it's nice to have his blessing.

He needed a new headshot for his LinkedIn profile.  And since, well, his jobby job the one supporting my shopping addiction habit hobby, I thought it best to make it a good one.  These, my dear friends, are the ones he should NOT use.  I can't state this enough Love, DO NOT under any circumstances use any of these.

LinkedIn? I think not.  So Wonderful, So Marvelous for your wife's personal amusement?  Oh yeah.  And Dude, where's your face?  Your shirt is there, your face inexplicably missing.  Um and what is up with the mug shot/two fingers on the chin pic???  Yep ladies, he's all mine for the next 60 years.
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