Monday, January 16, 2012

The Room

I downloaded this book on my kindle, not knowing much about it, and let me tell you, am I ever glad I did. The entire premise of the story is just brilliant. I started reading it in the bath the other night, and then 3 hours later I sneezed and finally noticed that the water had gone cold some time ago and that I had totally lost touch with reality - It's that good.

The plot takes place around a boy, whose entire existence is the 11x11 square foot room he was born in. His mother has been a captive there for the last seven years and has raised him solely using the few books she has and her memory. I won't tell you much more and spoil it for you but the amount of detail the author gives in the telling of this wonderful but dark story makes the characters become a part of you as you read it. I couldn't go to sleep until I had finished the last page.

The ramifications of such a childhood are endless. Every time I think about the world that the author had to dream up I'm amazed. It is a heart-warming story about a mothers love for her child, and how she will stop at nothing to make sure that child is safe, secure and happy.

Have you read it?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Apple Chiffon Cake

I was going to make blueberry cobbler today, but discovered I only had 4 cups of blueberries, not 6. I did however, have 2 delicious looking apples and made this:

It looked better before we ate half of it.

Apple Chiffon Cake


1/3 cup light vegetable oil

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger ( I was out so I substitued pumkin pie spice)

1 cup finely chopped apples


2 tablespoons sugar ( i used brown sugar)

2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350F

For cake - combine oil and sugar in large bowl. beat at medium speed until mixed. Add eggs; beat well.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and ginger in small bowl. Add to oil mixture. Beat just until blended. Stir in apples. Spread in ungreased 9 inch square pan.

For Topping - combine sugar, nuts, and cinnamon in small bowl. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 min until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temp.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mission: Purse Minimization

Last week I was reading a post about purses and the junk we keep in them over here at Carolina's called Reading Handbags. This post, of course, made me think about what I keep in my own handbag and why I keep it there. Carolina is a minimalist, while I am most definitely NOT, but greatly admire. I was going to take a picture of my purse so that you could understand the self-made chaos I battle on a daily basis, but am too embarrassed. Particularly by the jar of Dry Garlic sauce which made it in there last week (it rolled out of the grocery bag in the truck) which has STILL not made it out of my purse and into the house. So I have stolen the lovely picture of a most coveted lap-top bag, (which I really really want... imagine what I could pack in THERE) from here. If you are at all interested in girly bags you should check it out because they are exceptionally awesome, if pricey.

In my purse right now:

  • 14 receipts which need to be filed with the rental stuff

  • wallet - jammed with more things that need to be filed and one speeding ticket which should probably be paid soon

  • 1 jar of dry garlic sauce.

  • 2 household bills which need to be filed.

  • random make-up that is there for emergencies which i never seem to need

  • a package of pens - you never know when you'll need 3 ball point pens all at the same time

  • my blackberry

  • a pair of mittens

  • a gift certificate for a clothing store

  • a receipt book

  • a recipe for cake balls (this looks really good)

  • pay stub

  • earrings

  • hair clips\

  • 3 different colours of lip gloss

  • a calculator

  • small bottle of Tylenol

Wow. It looks really bad when you write it all down. Its a wonder that I don't need back surgery. Why do I need all of this? I don't. Particularly the dry garlic sauce. For someone who has a purse buying addiction you'd think I'd be more organized.

I'm not even going to TELL you what's in my laptop bag.

Mission: Purse Minimization!

  • Find laptop/purse combo so I can only have ONE bag full of junk instead of two.

  • Clean out and file stuff that most definitely does NOT belong in said bag.

  • Make spare ribs with dry garlic sauce

  • put business paperwork where it belongs to make tax time a little less frantic

I have printed off this list and put it in the purse. I realize that this is probably the wrong idea, but putting it in the laptop bag practically guarantees that I'll never see it again.

What a perfect excuse to go purse shopping.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Fia The Destructor Part II

If you've been reading for a while, you've seen my earlier post about Fia's Destructive Tendencies, and you know that she is nearly the perfect dog... until you leave her alone. In an attempt to curb her destructive enthusiasm, we started crating her while we were at work. The first steel crate she had lasted 3 whole months before she bent the bars so much that she was able to climb out of the top of the crate and escape. Did I mention she was Houdini reincarnated? She has also figured out how to open every latch, clip, door, slide bar and hook in existence. Or she just eats them, you know, whatever is easier. Unfortunately I didn't take pictures of the first crate. The second crate looks like this --->

She had a hard time bending the bars, (she only weighs 20lbs), so she was forced to lick and drool on them until they rusted for easier breakage. This crate also lasted 6 months and had to be wired back together several times after Houdini escaped.

I always feel guilty locking her in such a small crate. Even though that is the size the vet recommends she has and says it's perfectly fine. To ease my guilt, hubby suggested we buy a gate for the downstairs "closet" and she could stay in there. The "closet" is the full length of the den and 6 and a half feet wide. I felt much better about this. I could envision her playing with her toys and having a gay ole' time while we were at work.

On day one, she figured out how to work the gate latch, which is pretty impressive considering it's 4 feet of the ground and she is less than 2 feet high. We then used a clip, like you would see on a dog leash, to secure the lock. She ate that on day 2. We then wired together the latch. She couldn't quite figure that one out so on day 3 she just ate a hole right through the chain link fence material on the gate. It isn't plastic either.

Hubby wired the hole closed in the brand new $75 gate and we tried again. Nothing happened for several days. It was then that we noticed dry wall dust on the carpet and took a look inside the crate. She had been scratching at the wall to try to open the door. Luckily our new wired latch seemed to be holding. About 2 weeks in she figured out that if she tried hard enough, she could jump over the 4 ft high gate, so hubby secured a piece of plywood over top to keep her in.

At this point I'm just frustrated. I love the dog dearly, but am terrified that she will eat the whole house when we're gone.

Last week I left work early because Fia had a vet appointment. I opened the front door and there she was, tail wagging, with a big, excuse the expression, shit-eating grin. I went down stairs to see the destruction and it turns out she had become frustrated with trying to escape through the gate and decided to eat her way through the wall. She had eaten through not one, but TWO layers of drywall. There was a little pile of drywall dogie puke sitting on the carpet, and her feet were covered in dust. Good thing we were going to the vet.

I was already running late and didn't have time to clean her up so we jumped into the truck and rushed over. The vet looked at her drywall caked feet, and looked at me as if to say, "what the hell have you been doing to this dog!" I carefully explained the entire story, including the reason for the crating. Halfway into the story he started to look sympathetic. By the time I was done he was shaking his head and his mouth was hanging open. "What should I do?" I asked. He looked at me, scratched his head, and said, "normally I would never suggest this, but have you thought about tranquilizers?"

Not excited about having a dog who was stoned all the time, I went home without the drugs. Hubby went to Home Depot and bought some plywood to cover all the walls inside the crate. She is continuing to eat holes in the gate and escaped again today. Hubby will go back to Home Depot and find something to cover the door.

It started out so nice. A pretty little gate, and a nice clean kennel. Now it looks like Dr Frankenstein bought a house and this is what happened.

Note how she somehow managed to eat the edge of the carpet, and bend the little Simpson's Fence sign from INSIDE the kennel. Suggestions, anyone?

She doesn't LOOK like Houdini, does she?

Thursday, January 05, 2012

I am such a 6 year old

Parents of the year bought The Boy the best gift ever. Skylanders! A better photographer would have taken a picture of the Christmas excitement or the actual present, but I took this --->

The boy brought skylanders over when he visited last weekend. On Friday night we watched him play a bit, and it looked like good fun, but I was happy when it was time to turn it off and we could move on to other things. Saturday morning, The Boy got up early and spent the morning patiently chatting with me while I fixed breakfast, and then tentatively asked.. "do you want to come and play Skylanders with me? You can play with two players!" Super unexcited but happy he wanted to spend time together, I went with him. 15 minutes later I was hooked. 4 hours later hubby came down stairs to say it was lunch time and to ask us if we planned on eating... 5 hours later we took a break to run to walmart and get more Skylanders so we could get more stuff in the game. At 10 we guiltily went upstairs to find Hubby... it was New Years Eve after all! All my careful planning for games and fun went down the tubes as we had blown the whole day playing video games. However, I have never seen ANYTHING hold The Boy`s attention for this long. Not even the precious IPOD.

Sunday morning we got up and played until he had to leave, taking the game with him. I`ve been in withdrawel ever since.

What the heck is a Skylander you ask? It`s this ---»

I tried to go buy one for myself, but they are sold out all over the place. I am patiently waiting for the boy to come back on Friday... so I can play with his toys!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

A Present For Me? You Shouldn't Have!

I love Christmas. I've always loved Christmas. I still can't sleep on Christmas Eve, and I still wake up way too early on Christmas morning. No one, however, loves Christmas more than Fia.

This is her opening her present from Hubby's parents on Christmas morning. I thought it silly, at first, to wrap presents for the dog, but after watching her hilarious display of excitement I am a reformed pet owner. She somehow knows that the presents are not to be touched until she's told to, even though I'm sure the rawhide treats smell delicious through the wrapping paper. She carefully pulls the wrapping paper off in pieces to get to her treat. It's like watching a four year old open toys. The look of betrayal when you take the whole package away after she's done opening it and only give her one piece back is priceless. Like she won the lottery and then had to split it with 50 other people. If she was a person I would explain to her that eating 30 rawhide sticks all at once would make her sick, but this is the dog that will eat anything. She even likes broccoli. And onions.

I realize now that I am slowly becoming one of those pet owners that treats their dog like people (you know, those ones that I usually make fun of). However, I draw the line at dogie clothes. That's just ridiculous.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

It's just a freaking coffee maker!

Hubby has hummed and hawed about getting a tassimo or a keurig for some time. A really long time. Way longer than the usual century he spends mulling over a purchase of this nature. Last Christmas he decided that he thought he may want one, someday, and if he was to purchase one, hypothetically, he was sure he would get the use out of it. Hubby drinks a lot of coffee... A LOT of coffee... and tassimo runs at about 5o cents per cup. Which adds up. Hubby, being the thrifty man that he is reluctantly agreed that this was probably not the coffee maker for him. (I should mention at this point that whatever store we are in, hubby must ALWAYS look for a new coffee maker... it's sort of a compulsive thing). So last Christmas I decided against buying him one and everyone was satisfied.

Recently his boss brought a Keurig to work. Hubby bought some cups for it and quickly became addicted to the smooth richness that is brewed out of the tiny contraption. Hubby began talking about how much he loved it, and how he wanted one REALLY bad. I, being the caring soul that I am, secretly bought him one for xmas, wrapped it, and put it under the tree. Two weeks later, I found it at another store for $30 cheaper, so I ran home, unwrapped it, returned it, in favour of the exact same, but cheaper, Keurig. That same day I had a lovely conversation with hubby in which he mentioned how the Keurig fanaticism was wearing off and how he didn't really need one after all. So now it's the week before xmas and I have no gift ideas. AHHH. I ended up purchasing tickets to see American Idiot (which hubby has been talking about for a long time) instead. On xmas morning, everything was fine until the end of the present opening came and hubby said..."what, no Keurig?" I nearly lost my mind.

Hubby: Well can you get me one?

Me: NO! I've already spent enough, and the tickets are not refundable

Hubby: But I REALLY want one.

Me: Than you will REALLY have to get it yourself.

Later that day we arrived at his sisters house for supper and he noticed that his sister had received a Tassimo for xmas. This started the moaning and groaning all over again. Why, oh why didn't HE get a coffee maker?

Even later that day we arrived at my fathers, opened our gift, and beheld the glorious, the beauteous, Tassimo coffee maker extraordinaire! Hubby was properly grateful. I was relieved that xmas was saved and everyone was now satisfied, and life went on as it should.

I would like to note here that hubby really was grateful for the tickets, he simply wanted the coffee maker ALSO. And thanks to my dad and step mum for saving the day.

Also the coffee is good.

Really good.

Worth the 50 cents.

I'd pay a dollar

(shhh.... don't tell).


picture shamelessly stolen from here

Monday, January 02, 2012

Definitely A Kitchen Aid

When hubby asked what I wanted for Christmas this year, I promptly answered - with no hesitation - A Kitchen Aid Mixer.
Hubby: Really?
Me: Yes. Really.
Hubby: Is this some sort of trick?
Me: No... why would it be a trick?
Hubby: You mean, when you open it and it's not a puppy or a video game you're not going to be disappointed?
Me: Absolutely not! Do you have any idea how much easier this is going to make my life?
Hubby: Ya. Right. 10 bucks says you use it once and then it sits there collecting dust for the next 25 years.
Me: Doubtful.
I don't think my case was very convincing, however, as weeks went by and hubby noticed me leaving out fliers displaying my coveted mixer, I believe he finally considered buying me one. And low and behold, on xmas morning, I opened a tiny box that looked like this ----->
I thought at first that it was a cruel joke (hubby's intention), but quickly came to the realization that he was simply too lazy to wrap the huge heavy box and so cut out the picture from the flier and wrapped it in one of my crafting boxes, (the contents of which he dumped out on the shelf). I am proud of him for excersizing his creativity to such an extent. It always amazes me when he does so... that and the enourmous amount of effort he will expend by picking up a sock with his toes to avoid having to bend over. It really is incredible. But I digress.
Here is my treasure ---->

Isn't it lovely? So far I've made mashed potatoes, 2 loaves of banana bread, biscuits, chocolate cake with butter cream frosting. YUM. It makes everything much easier and faster. If you don't own one, you should.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Welcome Back

I didn't make many resolutions this year, but this blog is definitely one of them. I hereby resolve to take at least one daily photo, and blog at least twice per week. I will do this for the entire year, come hell or highwater (<--- who came up with that expression anyway?).
Now that business is out of the way, I should tell you that this picture is of the stone in my front garden. Pretty huh? Thank god the people who owned this house before me knew how to garden.
Also part of the New Years tradition, is my goal to be healthier. After the last year of hell, this will not be a challenge. I worked way too much, and ate horribly as a result of it. When I wasn't working, I was in a zombie-like-coma until the alarm went off again. It was dreadful. However, my boss has promised me that things will be looking up for me in the new year, so here I am, making promises. Fingers crossed.
Not only am I making promises for myself, but also my furry four-legged fiend, Fia. It's -1 degree outside but we tortured ourselves by sneaking out for some fresh air anyway. See ---->

She had much more fun than I.

Happy New Year Everyone
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