Monday, December 31, 2007

Be careful in the bathroom: Part 2


A few months after the previous bathroom mishap (having learned nothing), I was in the upstairs bathroom one day, realizing that with all the beets (yuck!) and other vegetables (yuck!yuck!) that my mom made me eat, I was probably pretty strong. Super strong. Wonder woman strong!

I flexed my muscles in the mirror. I imagined flying my invisible jet and beating up bad guys. I looked around the bathroom to see what I could do to prove that I was strong.

A ha!! I thought. I'll do chin ups! So I grabbed the long towel bar holder that was attached to the back of the bathroom door. I summoned all my super strength to do some chin ups but instead I pulled the towel holder right off the door.

Having proved my point, that I was indeed strong, I quickly flew away in my invisible plane (I had to flee before Mom found the carnage I had made).


Want to have your own bathroom fun, but currently stuck behind the computer? Try this.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Be careful in the bathroom: Part 1



Let's go back in time a bit...back to the 1980's when I was about 6 or 7. I was in the upstairs bathroom with the beautiful black and white tile (the future site of this incident).

When it occurred to me, that with my pants around my ankles, I was just like a bunny. In fact, I was exactly, like a bunny!

And what do bunnies do? Yes, yes, they eat carrots. What else? Give away Easter eggs? Right, right...anything else? Hop! Yes they hop. I looked like a bunny, therefore I decided to hop around like a bunny.


I think I got in one or two lovely hops before I tripped, smacked my head on the floor and chipped my tooth.

Thank god I didn't pretend to be a skunk.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Show it off, baby!


Merry Christmas! And for those who celebrated on the 24th, Merry Belated Christmas, and for those visiting where they are a day ahead of here, Merry Day After Christmas!

The carols have been sung, the food devoured, the presents opened. Gifts are great, but half the fun is showing everyone what you got! Use Treasurelicious to quickly list your presents and then show them off in your blog or web page (mine is in my sidebar).

Treasurelicious uses OpenId, which makes signing up a breeze.

Have a safe and restful holiday!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Turn off the TV when you leave the room.



3 quick reasons to turn off the TV when leaving the room.

1. You will save on your electrical bill.

2. You will prolong the life of your TV.

3. Later, when you step out of the shower, you won't think someone has broken in to your house, and frantically search for something to defend yourself with.

Shampoo? No. Loofah? No. Hairspray? Sure, let's try that!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Create a wish list.



Every Christmas my brother and I would make wish lists. I think we skipped the whole mail it to Santa thing and gave it right to the source: Mom and Dad.
The older I got, the more detailed they were (see photo).

Even though my husband and I don't exchange presents, we both keep lists (his is on a web page, mine is in my brain) for various relatives that really want to get us gifts. This way, the relative doesn't have to do any work to figure out what would be a good gift and everyone is guaranteed to be happy. In addition, because we have relatives all over Europe, we try and pick gifts that we can get at Amazon.com. It makes it much easier to buy, ship and send.

So make yourself a wish list! And please include #10 World Peace (not yet available at Amazon.com but I'm sure they are working on it).

Monday, December 17, 2007

Get a flu shot.


Jennifer Garner told me to get a flu shot, and I really don't want to piss her off.

Granted, she didn't bust through the door, guns a-blazing like in her hit TV show, Alias. She just sat there on the Rachael Ray show, sitting very preppily (not that it's a bad thing, and yes it is a word) telling Rachael about her new movie, Juno (which sounds pretty great).

But then, the moment that really got my attention, Jennifer Garner said, "I am the face of the flu."

What?? I quickly grabbed the phone and called my doctor, while muttering under my breath, "If I get the flu, I will get her face? Please god no." Luckily, I was notified that there was a flu clinic from 2-4pm that day. Phew, crisis averted.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Lose weight with vegetable porn.



Hang on...hang on... don't go, let me explain. In the TV food industry they often refer to those beautiful shots of the food (like when Rachael Ray says :"And that's what's for dinner tonight...") as food porn.

Even Wikipedia has an article about it. And you know if Wikipedia has an article about it, then at least one person thinks it's true!

So anyway, my point. If you want to eat more veggies, tape a beautiful picture of some up on to your fridge or on the inside of your cabinets or cupboards. Next time you want a snack, you will see that picture and practically rip the door off getting to the vegetables.

Please note: make sure you stock your fridge with veggies before you begin this experiment or you might begin convincing yourself that potato chips count as a vegetable.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

If your child hates people dressed up in costumes, skip seeing Santa.


(You asked to be featured, Titania, so here you go!)

To be fair, I don't think that my niece is still afraid of Santa, since she is now practically a teenager.

However, I hate all mascots, Disney characters, clowns etc. and always have. I remember very clearly being at an Easter Egg hunt when I was young and being horrified of the Easter bunny. I try to avoid people dressed up in costume, but I think they can smell my fear as they have the tendency to come after me. My sweet husband tries to shield me from these monsters, but by the time he realizes there is one in our midst, it is often too late.

I was at the mall last week and walked the longest detour possible to avoid Santa, so I doubt our future children will get their picture take with him.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Get by with a little help from your friends.


Some things my friends have taught me:

1. If you are calling at a bad time, I will tell you. Just don't give up on calling.

2. Sometimes I just need someone to talk to, you don't need to fix my problem.

3. Talking over a cup of tea can be better than a fancy night on the town.

4. Everyone gets lonely, everyone worries and we all have things about ourselves we don't like.

5. Believe in yourself.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Have breakfast for dinner.


Once a week my mom got a break from making us all dinner; dad was in charge on Sunday nights. He would make us pancakes. Pancakes are great for breakfast but even better for dinner!
My elementary school must have learned this lesson too, because once a month we had waffles and sausage for our hot lunch.

So switch it up, have breakfast for dinner!

Happy Birthday Dad!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Code your gifts.


(REUSABLE) MAIL BAG:

Missburrows, I've run out of hiding places for my wrapped presents! The kids always find them and figure out what is for them, what can I do?

frazzledmom


Dear Frazzledmom,

Do what my mom used to do. Wrap all the presents but do not put the TO/FROM tags on them. Instead create a code, e.g. A=Sarah, B=Matthew, and just write the code for the recipient on the bottom of the package.

Take out your master code/solution sheet the night before Christmas and put the labels on the packages then.

Enjoy!

missburrows


Update #1: Since you have all been clamoring! Yes, clamoring to see if I actually follow my own advice, I have updated the photo for this post.

Update #2: The blog gods are listening! Look what I just got from the FedEx guy! Maybe I should write a post about winning the lottery!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Keep those exits covered.


This is an old photo of my husband. What a cutie, right?

This is probably the most clothes he has ever worn.

It snowed yesterday and is stormy today, so remember to keep your exits (head, hands, feet) covered to prevent heat loss!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Give presents that don't cost you a penny.


The government not included, most people would rather you didn't go in to debt, in order to buy them a present. Here are some ideas for great presents that won't cost you any money at all!

1. Donate blood together.
On Season Two of 90210, Brenda and Dylan donate blood on Valentine's Day, 'cause it's cool, baby.

2. Become an organ donor.
Do good, feel good.
Sign up at Donate Life.

3. Wear your seatbelt.
Don't start the car until everyone else puts theirs on too!

4. Stop doing something that drives you friend/family member crazy.
Don't wear the perfume that makes Aunt Sally sneeze, put the dog in the basement when Donald comes over and drive like a normal person.

5. Tell them that you would rather take a walk.
Takes the pressure off of them to get you a present, too!

6. Write a letter.
To your future self, to a friend you've lost touch with, to a soldier stationed over there.

7. Double a recipe and bring some over to a friend.
Yum!

8. Leave a nice comment on their blog.
Hint, hint...

9. Give yourself a present: take a deep breath and just do what you want to do.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Celebrate without a tree.



All the magazines I'm reading are debating the buy a real Christmas tree vs. buy an artificial tree dilemma. Which is less costly to the consumer? Which is better for the environment? On and on the debate rages. I say, forget the trees and get wreaths instead.

1) Celebrate multiple winter holidays? Wreaths are a symbol of winter, not any particular holiday. Decorate them as you wish.

2) Wreaths are made out of branches that have been trimmed off of trees. Thus, they have already been recycled once.

3) They are much easier to handle and much faster to decorate. And you can play Frisbee with them too.

Still addicted to decorating a tree?

Decorate the living trees in front or back of your house with lights, buy a small rosemary bush to decorate/use for cooking or just display ornaments in large glass jars.

And most of all, don't feel like you need to compete with Martha Stewart. (She doesn't do it all herself, anyway.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Learn a foreign language.


I recently got in to a heated debate with my favorite 3 year old. I can't remember what started the exchange, but we quickly resorted to one word responses:

"No." She said pointedly.

"No." I said back, in the same tone, showing her that I was an equal.

"No." She retorted without even blinking.

Ha! I thought to myself. I'll pull a Bugs Bunny (Rabbit Fire) on her! So I said, "Yes."

"No." She responded, not amused.

I know, I know, I thought...I'll best her by using my foreign language skills! "Si!" I said, switching to Spanish.

"No." She said, with a little smirk on her face.

I'll get her, I thought. I'll say no in Spanish, then I will win. So I drew on my six years of high school Spanish, and said..."No."

She looked at me, sighed, and went back to eating her locally grown, heirloom, sustainably harvested, hand picked, delivered by a biodiesel truck, soon to be composted, organic apple.

Next time, I'll try Italian.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Toss that top sheet.



(REUSABLE) MAIL BAG:

Missburrows, you think you are so cool. I bet I can stump you. Do you have a way to reduce my laundry loads, save me time and find something to occupy my kids, so that I can sit down and have a martini?

jenn30764



Hi jen30764,

Here is my suggestion, toss that top sheet. My husband could not sleep in a bed where the sheets were tucked in and I am forever bored with doing laundry, so we decided to ditch the top sheet. We switched to a down comforter with a washable comforter cover (duvet). It is now faster and easier to make the bed and do the laundry and the top sheet makes a very cool fort in the living room.

Thanks for not asking about a recipe for a martini, then you would have stumped me.

missburrows

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Always have some diet soda available when throwing a party.



Please note, I said, soda, not pop. I don't care how long I live here, With god as my witness, I will never call it pop.


(Knock on the door)

Me: Hello?
(Men dressed in dark suits with dark glasses are at the door.)

Them: We hear you are refusing to use the word pop. Is this correct?

Me: Whaaaa???

Them: Is this correct?

Me: Yes, yes it is.

Them: Then you need to come with us...

Me: But, but....I'm a true Washingtonian...I know that the state fruit is the apple, the state mammal is the orca...the state fabric is fleece (right?), I'm a frequent and habitual voter in both state and county elections....I make mean faces at people that smoke within 25 feet of buildings...I don't understand...Wait, did former Rep. Richard Curtis send you? He never really liked me....

Them: Sorry, but we need to take you in. We have places for people like you...

(A short time later)

Them: Here, you deal with her.

New Them: Welcome to Oregon. So we hear that you are refusing to say the word pop. Is this correct?

Me: Ah, crap.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Fleece is a lovely thing



and it makes a fiery ring.
Covered by warm desire
I fell in to a ring of fire.

I fell in to a burning ring of fire
I went down, down, down
and the flames went higher.
And it burns, burns, burns
the ring of fire
the ring of fire.
And it burns, burns, burns
the ring of fire
the ring of fire.

The feel of fleece is sweet.
I even like it on my feet.
I fell for you as a child.
Ohhh, fleece you make me go wild.


(missburrow's remake of Johnny Cash's classic song, Ring of Fire, inspired by a recent laundry experience and the onset of a wet, cold winter.)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Do a turkey test run.


Cooking a turkey is easy...unless you've never done it before. I suggest you do a turkey test run. You can do it on one of the days leading up to Thanksgiving, or any time of the year. Here are some turkey tricks I learned the hard way:

1) If you need to buy a roasting pan, measure the inside of your oven so you buy one that will fit.

2) Allow lots of extra time for the turkey to defrost. Then allow even more time.

3) The turkey will have two cavities. These cavities usually come filled with either disgusting stuff or yummy flavor makers (it's up to you). Take them out. Do not cook the turkey with them inside.

4) Do not pick up a hot cooked turkey with your hands. Martha Stewart thinks these are the best for that task. (Then again, she does make them.)

5) Do not carve the turkey in front of your guests. Rachael Ray even recently mentioned that she makes two turkeys. One goes on the table for presentation while the other gets sliced up in the kitchen. Later, she brings the second turkey to the kitchen and carves that one.

6) Freeze some of the cooked, sliced turkey to make sandwiches in the future.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Create a sick box.



At some point in time I realized that 1) my husband cannot read my mind and 2) when I am sick I have a hard time communicating what I need. To combat this, I have created a Sick Box. It is located in the pantry and includes all the foods I prefer to eat when I am not feeling well.

Included: Lemon-Lime Gatorade, Chocolate Slim-Fast Shakes,Tazo Tea, Ramen Noodles and Oyster Crackers. I also make sure we always have at least one bag of Sugar Free Ricola on hand and a stash of facial tissue.

When I was sick as a child, my mom would always put a little bell by our bed, so that we could get her attention without having to yell downstairs. So my husband and I have one of those too. (It takes awhile, but she shows up eventually.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

If you are going to see the doctor, wear short sleeves.



Whether getting my blood pressure taken or getting blood work done, experience has taught me to wear short sleeves when I am going to see the doctor. That way, I don't have to pull my arm out of the sleeve and sit there semi-dressed. In the winter, I often layer a sweater over the shirt so I don't freeze to death while meeting with the doctor.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Make opportunities for wishes.




Back in the days when I used to ride the school bus to school, I was told by a fellow classmate that if you put your finger on a screw (in the bus), and lifted your feet while the bus drove over the train tracks, you could make a wish. Strange, yes, but I wasn't going to question the possibility of getting a wish.

I no longer ride a school bus, but whenever my husband and I head in to Portland we pass by the new Portland Aerial Tram. If one (or both) of the trams is out, I get to make a wish. Who doesn't want more opportunities for wishes?
It also counts if you see the tram on the news. Wish away!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Talk with your sibling(s) about your childhood experiences.


My brother and I recently realized that no amount of photos, videos or tours of our childhood home will really help someone else understand what it was like to grow up. Siblings however, already know.

Talking with your sibling(s) can also clarify some unpleasant memories. I had always felt guilty about the time I threw up Honey Nut Cheerios all over my brother while he was in the bathroom. I'm glad we talked about it, because I guess he had always felt guilty about preening in the bathroom mirror as I pounded on the door for him to let me in. Eventually he opened it....

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Always take off your shoes when you are in the house.


All the talk shows and magazines are touting this as a new thing to do to keep your house cleaner and keep outside toxins off the rug. Martha Stewart even has a sign in her magazine that you can frame, so that you can ask nicely "Please remove your shoes."

But I was first taught this, back in high school, by all of my Italian friends' mothers. Sicilian to be exact. I of course, did not get any explanation as to why I had to take off my shoes, but as I walked by the ubiquitous living room that was not touched except during holidays (often with furniture draped in plastic furniture covers) I did not dare to ask. And although my feet often got cold, within 10 minutes of entering the house I was offered something warm and yummy to eat.

These days I also ask people to remove their shoes in the house. My parents have their own slippers already in my closet and I have nice warm slipper socks for everyone else.

While I will probably not have homemade spaghetti sauce with meatballs or Italian Wedding Soup slowly simmering on the stove, I will have hot tea and guest cookies (if we haven't eaten them already).

Monday, November 5, 2007

Sign up for automatic mortgage payments.

My dad bought me David Bach's book, The Automatic Millionaire, a few years ago. Granted, it took me a bit to finally get this set up, but after reading the same suggestion in some of the books by Suze Orman, I finally got my act together. I even added an extra 10% to each month's payment to chip away at the mortgage a little faster.

Setting up the automatic monthly payment with my lender was easy and now I need not worry whether or not I have mailed the mortgage check. Hey, and since I am not using a stamp or an envelope, it counts as being green too!

Technorati is cool.

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Always have a pen nearby.

I've learned from my mom to always have a pen with you. I have one in each one of my bags, about 6 in the center console of each car and numerous others in designated spots throughout the house.

While they are useful for crossing off items on my grocery list, jotting down phone numbers and making mustaches on people in magazine ads, they are also handy for jotting down blog ideas.

Always have some chocolate in the freezer.

We try not to have too much candy in the house. But experience has taught me that it is smart to have some chocolate tucked away in the freezer. Having a little chocolate on hand keeps me from driving to the supermarket and buying an entire cake. Plain chocolate candy (no nuts, no caramel) seems to freeze the best. I prefer Dove's Assorted Miniatures. These guys have nice rounded corners too.

If you are going to a child's birthday party, bring a small gift for the siblings.

My mom taught me this one and I have had many a parent thank me for the thoughtfulness. First off, make sure the sibling is old enough to even care that it is not his/her birthday, otherwise hold off until they are older.
Small, wrapped gifts that you can hide in a purse, pocket or bag work the best. Always make sure the gift is age appropriate. It is also nice if it will keep the sibling occupied. I have had good luck with individually boxed toys from Playmobil and the Nerf Pocket Vortex Football

Keep the extra toilet paper and room deodorizer in plain sight.

I have learned from experience that it is cruel to both guests and home owners to hide the extra toilet paper and room deodorizer. Like the book says, Everybody Poops. So you'd better deal with it!

Put two extra rolls in a pretty basket on the back of the toilet and your guests will never have to ransack your cabinets with their pants around their ankles.

Keep the visit pleasant by having room spray in the bathroom available and obvious. Many companies make some pretty ones. Try Method's Aroma Spray or something from Bath and Body Works. Even old perfume will work.
You are welcome.

Sporting events are better in person.

My dad took me to many sporting events. We saw the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, The Hartford Whalers (former NHL team), the Harford Wolf Pack and various other teams. While I am impressed by the sexy new flat screen T.V.s (especially those from Sharp) there really is no comparison to being surrounded by screaming fans, having your feet stick to the floors, eating stadium food that tastes great (then sits like a rock in your tummy) and the louder than you can believe music.

I am so grateful that he instilled in me the experience of being a sports fan.

Now, if only I could remember the names of the various sports teams here in the Pacific Northwest. Is it the Portland Puddles? Maybe the Washington Waterdrops?

Looking for a great gift idea? Take someone to a game. Just remember the ear plugs and Purell.

Use old envelopes for grocery lists.

My mom taught me to open envelopes horizontally with a letter opener. After you take out the mail, you can use the back of the empty envelope to write your grocery list. You can even put coupons into the envelope. This also works for errands.

I post the envelope on the fridge next to an IKEA pencil I've attached to a magnet with thread.

With eco-conscious living being "in" right now, I can tell people that I'm being "green", not just dorky.