Sunday, June 29, 2014

Superhero Sunday: Sweaty

It is simply too hot out today to wear anything...
...besides sunscreen and an awesome cape!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fanmail* Friday Contest** - Week 4

*"Fanmail" as in that I write, not that I receive. This may be a clarification you did not need.
**This name was one of many that were rejected, but I am living on the edge.

Not sure what's going on? I'm not either, but it might help if you click here. Since I am making some parfait type of dessert thing today with vanilla pudding, I decided to post this letter.

Dear Jell-O,

The magic and yumminess of jell-o gelatin has made me smile for four decades. I remember standing opposite my grandmother in her kitchen as she stirred red jell-o in her metal pan. She would always give me a small juice glass of the warm potion to tide me over until the refrigerator had a chance to do its thing. Watch it wiggle, see it jiggle.

At some point in the seventies, my family was introduced to the phenomenon of orange jell-o, mandarin oranges and Cool Whip all mixed together. No gathering has been complete without that quivering bowl since. Every now and then someone might give a berry jell-o mold of some design a try. I am happy with all of it, as long as nothing crunchy of a vegetable variety finds its way in. Crunchy walnuts in pistachio whip are completely acceptable in a different product line’s story.

Since I have hinted at your pudding products, I should mention their place in our kitchen cabinet as well. I mixed a lot of boxes of instant vanilla pudding during my teenage years. I can still taste it as I sit here, and it is delightfully distracting. Your cook-n-serve chocolate and lemon puddings hold quite the secret to some impressive desserts. I have been given much credit that was due far more to your products and my stand mixer for whipping cream or meringue than to any extraordinary abilities of my own.

I have yet to meet a jell-o flavor I haven’t liked and cannot think of a time I passed on a square of jell-o. I am also pleased to mention that in my adult years I have, on numerous occasions, prepared and drank the entire batch of jell-o.

Making some fun,
Andrea Casarsa

The response? A letter and a coupon for a free box of Jell-o pudding or gelatin. Great!

The problem? I was initially willing to accept the form letter, as I did a happy dance around my kitchen to celebrate my free box of Jell-o. However, I quickly realized that my form letter had not been filled in. See that second paragraph there?
My response? Why another letter, of course, addressed directly to the person who sent mine.

I was so pleased to get your letter in the mail, and to find out that someone had taken the time to read the correspondence I had sent. At least, I was happy until I actually read your enclosed letter, and noticed that you neglected to even fill in the product I had written about.

I understand that the volume of mail received by your department is probably very large, making form letters seem like a necessary evil. However, they are still basically evil, especially when not constructed properly. However, I did appreciate the coupon for a box of Jell-o brand pudding or gelatin.

Have a jiggly day,
Andrea Casarsa

There was no second response, but I will enjoy my {null} just the same!

Add 5 points to my previous 6 for a grand total of 11 points!

Make sure to see who Marianne is sharing the love with this week. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Random food for thought

The original Rice Krispy treat recipe calls for three ingredients. I am a purist and that is pretty much the only way I can truly enjoy them. I do not know what my husband was thinking, not only bringing these generic "crispy rice bars" into the house, but then placing them to lay with my pure treats? Unacceptable!
Good thing they were at least wearing protective plastic.

Sometimes a person doesn't even realize how distracted she is until she walks by the dinner table a couple times.
No tartare for us, and if I ever do try it, I think I might go with a slightly different presentation.

There can just be something slightly offensive about raw meat, I guess.
We had no idea that getting chicken ready for 158 people was so exciting...
 ...especially to the chicken.

I cannot believe this has happened to me again...
...And I thought it was bad last time when I noticed the intruder as soon as I got home from the store. This time when we had eaten half of the loaf! This just raises a few too many questions for me, and all of them are gross! I have had this sitting on my counter for a week. When my daughter asked why it was still there, as of course I keep reminding people not to eat it, I had no good answer. I guess I thought maybe I'd return it...or name it!

In other things that make me pout...
Apparently one of my SEVERAL (ahem, ahem) sticks of Burt's Bees (Peony, no less) suffered a heat stroke in the car. Please note that I just smoothed it out and considered my makeup applied.

We kicked off the first official day of summer by getting a new badminton set. (We are just that wild and crazy sometimes.) The line judge was not included with the set.
This is actually one of the safer spots he decided to plant himself.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Superhero Sunday: Secret Protege?

What is this?!?!?! Who is this red-haired darling wandering around in my cape?
Alas! It is my daughter...too shy tell tell me of her aspirations to grow up to be just like me, all the while just waiting for the right moment.  I am so proud, moved beyond wor-
Oh, sorry, my mistake. I did not realize you were doing your Shakespeare video out here with your friends...(sigh) Carry on!

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Contest* - Week 3

*It's kind of catchy, isn't it?

Are you wondering what's going on here? You can find out all about it by clicking here for my version of the story, or here for Marianne's.  Since my letter writing rival shared one of her beauty secrets last week, I figured I'd share one of mine this time.

Dear Burt's Bees,

"You're wearing lipstick!" That statement has never been said to me in a way that sounds like cause for celebration or compliment. It was almost as if someone was concerned that I may not have realized that I left the house without washing off a fun round of dress up. As if people were thinking less corpse-like, but less model-like as well. Make up scares me, like most other things that I do not know, which might explain why my current collection consists of mascara. How far can I really stray with three color choices and one application method? Some days I know I need more, but colors like Fuschia Shock, Rich Girl Red and Socialite are far too intimidating for my face as well as my ego.

When I get invited out with my more pulled together friends, I want to make an effort, but do not feel compelled to Enamor, Smolder, or Captivate. How are those even colors? There is nothing in my palette like that. I also ran across a product called lip stain. That certainly sounded far beyond any health and beauty commitment I was willing to make.

My lips tend to be chapped very often...just another perk of being a mouth-breathing, seasonal allergy ridden kind of girl - very Smoldering and Euphoric as you can imagine. One day I decided to give your lip balm a try. I knew it was working wonders immediately when I felt that tingle. Instant gratification. Soon after, I spotted your tinted lip balm, so I grabbed some for days when I feel just a little jazzy.

It wasn't long before I found myself standing in front of the grand Burt's Bees display. Shimmer sticks. Watermelon, Rhubarb, Caramel, Raisin and Champagne! All things I had heard of, that are found in nature and I enjoy. I knew I could not go wrong and collected one of each. No tissue blotting necessary, nor any alerts needed as to what has appeared on my face. I can feel confident that discerning eyes will know that I have made some effort, but in a more natural, less Ringling Brothers kind of way. I have never even seen your shimmer on my teeth. My lips feel fabulous!

Sealed with a kiss,

Andrea Casarsa

The response? A letter. They were very happy about my love and positive feedback for their products. So much so that "Heather" suggested I get the word out by visiting their website to share my feedback with other users. Do other users really need to know the products they already use are swell? Would my endorsement have made them feel even better about their choices? Maybe if I had been done a favor, say a coupon in that envelope, I'd have returned it by checking in at their www address. I guess instead I will just share my love for them with all of you...while I pout...with my moisturized Peony lips.

1 point. Add that to my 5 from last week for a total 6 points. Visit the Yeti Marianne to check out the object of her affection for this week! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Random assistance

Sometimes I get distracted by shiny things.

Or things that get baked on shiny things...

Or wondering what the heck washed up out of the lake...

Or how they managed to make wet dog food even more gross...

Luckily there is someone keeping her eyes open, staying focused. You may remember her from such fabulous finds as Subtle-butt, Niplomats, and Double Trouble. Her latest offering left me no choice but to give her a segment of her very own, so without further ado, here is...

Monkey in the Field (or near a lake)
...and here is what she has to offer us...(take your time, and take it all in)...
Just in case you missed both mentions, the Butt-erfly fits IN the buttocks. Nothing like it, indeed! I am concerned that Renee's teeth are still very clenched, and can't help butt but wonder what else might be.

Needless to say, the Monkey in the Field and I shared equal levels of amusement and shock over this ad.
I look forward to her next great discovery!


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Superhero Sunday: Dad Edition

I hope all of you are lucky enough to have someone in your life who has always made you feel super, put wind beneath your veil cape, a song in your heart, a smile on your face...
...and made you feel like you could dance!

Much love, Dad! Happy Father's Day!

Just in case you missed our singalong this past April, you can click here.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Contest* - Week 2

It's Friday again, so that means it is time for Marianne and I to each post another letter. This correspondence was one of the first ten that I wrote, a part of the bursting-with-passion-love-letter series, if you will! Let's see if that exuberance paid off, or just scared folks away like the unrequited loves of my early teenage years.

Dear Nabisco:

S’mores aren’t just for campfires here at our house. We have perfected the microwave technique, and when a troop of eleven Girl Scouts was eagerly awaiting snacktime at my kitchen table, the oven and some cookie sheets proved invaluable. I have really only found one way to screw up a s’more, and that would be pulling graham crackers out of anything other than a navy blue Honey-Maid box. Recently I was standing outside at a friend’s house, with my marshmallow stick dancing carefully near a flame, when I heard teenage voices saying “these graham crackers taste stale or something”. I smugly asked if they were Honey-Maid, knowing full well what the answer would be as I popped the toasted marshmallow into my mouth and just ate the chocolate on the side. No Nabisco, no s’more for this cracker snob. (Please note: I would have eaten the Nabisco red box variety, but the blue is by far my favorite.)

I was not a big fan of sweets when I was younger, a late bloomer of sorts. One of my favorite after dinner treats was a graham cracker dunked in milk. The trick was getting the cracker just soaked enough to be mushy, but without breaking and falling in. Only Honey-Maid had just the right crunch to be paired with the soggy side and superior flavor. If I pass our kitchen pantry on my way to sit down, I still grab that glass of milk, but if I am just wandering by the snack shelves on my way to do something else, I just grab some graham crackers to eat plain on the way. Or, if I am getting out staples for dinner, I might grab a rectangle, or maybe if I have the pantry door open to look at the calendar, I eat some, or maybe if the potato chips I ate weren’t quite what I wanted afterall, I will grab a quick square. I am always so relieved that two full rectangles is a serving size. That can be broken down into sixteen smaller rectangles to be spread out over the course of an afternoon. Who am I kidding? It is more a matter of my finding that two servings seems acceptable as I realize that eight broken halves adds up to more than two full crackers.

Years ago, when my son was a baby about to be introduced to solid food, of course I had Cheerios on the brain (and in my pockets and all over the floor). However, the second item on the list that the pediatrician rattled off was graham crackers. (I am sure the “blue box only” was implied.) I may be the only one around here who still has hankerings for plain Cheerios, but the graham cracker crumb trails could be from any one of the four of us. My husband is a big fan of the cinnamon variety, and after over eighteen years of marriage and two teenagers, he has learned that using the word “bargain” in a sentence with graham crackers that are not Honey-Maid will not impress anyone here.

On another note, some people might think you can cheat on your graham crackers when making a crust. Why don’t they realize they just end up with crummy crumbs? I would like to thank you for saving me the trouble of sacrificing my snacks, and having to get out the food processor, by having that blue box of graham cracker crumbs just waiting for me in the baking aisle. I also appreciate the larger sized blue box of graham crackers that you have made available, as it gives me a much greater sense of security that we will not run out before my next trip to the grocery store.

A graham cracker by any other name really isn’t the same, unless that name is “dram crapper” as spoken by my son’s four-year-old friend many years ago.

Happily dunking,

Andrea Casarsa

The result? I did find an envelope in my mailbox! While the form letter style may have masked any strong feelings Mondelez International has for me, they did include a coupon for a free nabisco product. 5 POINTS!
It would have been greedy to expect s'more?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Just keep randoming...

Crazy week here as we wind down the school year and get ready for final exams next week. I kind of made that sound like I was doing some studying, or at the very least somebody was. I think their vacations have already started; and, between the son's AP exams and the daughter's common core nonsense I can see why they have assumed the summer position. Basically, my work is to make sure the teachers receive some homemade chocolate chip cookies. I am not saying that such a token is commensurate to the gratitude we would like to show them, but people like cookies so we are going with that. Plus, bottles of booze in the teenagers' backpacks seems like a bad idea. 

My first thought was to complain that my husband is away this week and missing out on all of the merriment, but then I remembered what he would actually contribute to the situation...another mouth to feed and more dirty laundry in my line of sight. I will get through the extra chauffeuring duties taking me out of the house at 7:00 a.m. so that four other people's houses can get cleaned while my own cries out from neglect. (I ran the dishwasher in an attempt to show some love.) Yes, instead of bemoaning the husband's absence, I have opted for a very unstylish hairdo that is working with the humidity, nothing fancy for dinners and showers for me being optional. Yes, I have sent sexy so far away it may never return.

Maybe this will help?

I could have bought myself this item, and played it to my heart's content every evening...
...I hit enough keys at the store to embarrass a teenage boy...go figure! I didn't even get to the vomit sounds.

I could go to a friend's house and eat whatever candy I found...
...hmmm, maybe not.

This candy was no more appealing quite honestly...
..."all natural", eh? Do the words "cream cheese flavored white chocolate" sound natural to you? Wait, does "red velvet" even sound natural based on the amount of food coloring it takes to achieve? 

Gotta go do something...probably ought to start with a list...I hope I can remember what to put on it...

p.s. While brewing up Taco Tuesday, and catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I feel that I must admit that this week really isn't much different than any other week in terms of both meal options and appearance. There, I feel better now. (Or do I feel worse?)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Superhero Sunday: Swiffer

Wearing one's cape is completely acceptable, in fact recommended, when doing housework. However, do not be tempted to used that glorious flowing fabric for less than super jobs. Instead, attach some Swiffer sheets and you are ready to go!
(Magnifying glass is optional.)

Friday, June 6, 2014

It's Friday...what's this thing called?

It's here! The first day of our new series. Marianne and I have thrown around a lot of ideas for names, and at this point we should just be thankful we didn't try to name a child together. I imagine at some point my children will pick out of a bowl to see which of her children will get to draw the lucky series name out of a hat. Enough about this one point of indecision, and on with the next. 

Which letter was I to post first...The one with the highest reward? The one I thought was funniest? The one Marianne thought was funniest? The first one I actually mailed? I dug deep and decided to start at the beginning. Hanes was the first company I chose to scribble some thoughts on, and here is the letter that I actually sent out back in January.

Dear Hanes,

In my never-ending, yet half-hearted, quest to support myself properly, I converted my bra straps so that they criss-cross. The concept was not unfamiliar to me; however, the elaborate cats cradle design I was looking at rendered me nearly helpless to actually put the item on myself. After almost strangling myself due to some strap length factors I had not considered, I was actually one small step closer to being able to wear a more fitted shirt with some confidence. Thank goodness I do not have to go into crisis mode when it comes to the rest of my undergarments, by which I really just mean underwear.  I have to pause here for a few seconds while I let the Underoo commercial theme song play out in my head.

I have been a loyal wearer of your 'wears for over ten years. Your low-cut cotton undergarments even saw me through both of my pregnancies, saving me a bundle of money and a shred of dignity by not having to have giant parachutes spinning around in my dryer. Our relationship is exclusive on my end, butt I realize you comfort other women, and I can accept that.

I understand that there are women out there who pay top dollar for what they may consider sexy panties. I personally have a hard time feeling sexy while dealing with a wedgie. Thanks to Hanes cotton "wedgie free" undies, I don't have to worry that my undergarments will stray.  I don’t even have to be concerned with the mazes of shiny racks, and instead can just direct myself to the economical multipacks of size 6 comfy cotton, with the red and white label. Luckily for me, this does not mean that I have to be a granny pants kind of gal. I am just a sensible wedgie-free girl who occasionally does feel a little wild. I am talking bikini brief or lo-cut kind of wild, and maybe even a package of prints.

I am a creature of habit, so I buy Hanes underwear for everyone in our house (adding two men’s mediums and one girls’ sixteen to the mix), minus the dog. (OK, that might have gone without saying, but you’ve seen what some people do to their pets.) Laundry day around here could be a fine beginning to a commercial for Hanes products, since there are socks in the midst as well. Unfortunately, on most of those days it dissolves quickly into a bad reality show when the wayward clean clothing has such trouble finding its way to where it belongs.

One of the “Hers” from Hanes Her Way,


Marianne assured me that this was the kind of letter she had in mind. I now realize that she is a brilliant strategist, as the results from this letter were...nada, zero, zilch! Well played, Walshie! Zero points for me. Now let's go see who Marianne wrote to, shall we? 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A glorious random return!

I should save this bit of random for the end of the post, but I just can't! I almost made an extra appearance on Sunday afternoon, so waiting just a minute more is not an option...Look at what was in the coupon section...LOOK I SAY!!!!!!
How can you be done looking already? Are you sure you took in all of the true glory this creepy adorable monkey has to offer? Do not short change Bouncing Balika! She. Is. A. Handful...literally! Look at the surprise on her face, as she cannot believe she is only $50 either! By the way, good luck trying to contain yourself while we wait for "Jumping Jeko".

It was ninety degrees here yesterday, and in case you don't recall how much I love the heat, I don' all! I considered a s'more for snack last night, but the kids told me it was too hot. It was nice of them to be concerned for me, so I decided to just heat up these fixin's and then put ice cream on top.
Before you run to the cupboard, I will admit that the heated marshmallow was a little iffy once assaulted by the freeze of the ice cream. This concludes my cooking lesson for this post.

Let's move on to crafts. I used to love going to the fabric store with my mom when I was a kid, and not just because of the promise of her making us matching outfits. (Stay tuned on that thought.) The workers were so nice, and I loved watching how they measured fabric - always making sure they didn't short the yardage by giving a bit extra in their thumb movements. Here is how things have changed...
Yesterday I bought the rest of the material left on a bolt, and apparently it measured three yards plus one inch, and I was charged for that extra inch. That was almost more insulting than the fact that $1.99 calicos are up to $7.99!

I was very disappointed that during our trip to the music store (you know, where we procured our snark) that nobody came in looking for a kazoo.
"Hmmm...these violins and violas are a bit pricey. I think the ninety-nine cent kazoo suits my talents just fine."

Let's see, what else in going on here at the aviary house! These birds are a bit camera-shy, but I fully intend to get photos... soon as I get my husband and my camera up there!

Did you all just gloss over the rest of this post because Bouncing Balika distracted you? Are you even still reading? Well if you made it all the way down here, the least I can do is reward you with a flash back to Little Lu Lu...'re welcome!

 Stacy is bustling with random over at her place too!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Superhero Sunday: Steps to Summer

Put your sunglasses on folks because summertime is coming, and because the color of my legs could blind you, and because those UV rays aren't good for your eyes! Yes, Pedomemom has a whole list of cares and concerns associated with the new season.
Here I am getting the lay of the land on the new dock at my family's camp. I need to make sure there is ample room for pacing, and find the best vantage point for keeping an eye on things, in my attempt to triumph over evil. Things like making sure no food has sat out too long and people have properly sunscreened themselves. This isn't a popularity contest folks. We're talking safety, and this is my watch! I gotta walk the else will that pedometer keep moving?