Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Obama strikes again!

finally, a president worthwhile!
his new plan to give every child internet connection is the bomb:)
i, for one, live by the internet. if it wasn't for my pc, i wouldn't even know what time it is or day it is....(ok slight exaggeration, but only slight)

he is stated as quoting: "Here, in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they'll get that chance when I'm President -- because that's how we'll strengthen America's competitiveness in the world."
only one question....where was he when i was a kid? oh yeah, there wasn't internet back
so whats your feelings on it? pro or con?

read the article here

Big Brother...all of them

once again, there will be repercussions for this post. But plain and simple, big brother is not entertainment.
this is the part where i would normally say, "i'm sorry, but...", but i won't. i'm not sorry. they place a handful of people in one house (mansion actually) for a few months and they all start whining about lack of privacy. i'm guessing that they are all "only children". i survived 18 years like that.
i grew up in a house with 4 sisters, foster kids (my parents were foster parents), and my mother was an in-home day care provider. you want to talk about lack of privacy?!
yes, i know they have cameras, but so did my parents...nothing like having your picture taken as soon as you wake up christmas morning. i think there are more pictures of all of us with dumb looks on our faces than us smiling. why? because we were caught off guard. and don't even get me started on the number of times my parents taped us when we were sleeping christmas eve night...good thing we wore pajamas.
and if that isn't reason enough to stop whining, then they should watch the show "The Waltons".
they too had no television or computer and it was mom, dad, grand mom, granddad, john boy, ben, mary ellen, erin, elizabeth, and jim bob, all in the same house. and they didn't even have a swimming pool or hot tub! i remember one particular episode when the walton family had a guest staying for a few days. john boy gathered some of his stuff together to go stay in the barn. yes, the barn...not the guesthouse. the following dialogue is the best:
guest: i don't want to kick you out of your bed john boy
john boy: oh, it's not my bed. i just sleep there when we don't have company

LOL.....enough said. he summed my entire childhood up in that one phrase:)

Decorating on a Budget

As a single mom with 2 kids, the holidays were great, but were also a financial burden. It was hard enough to balance my budget for presents, let alone try to decorate the house.

I remember one year, I went to the store and found a great deal for a 6 foot artificial Christmas tree, only to get it home and realize that my 3 year old could almost reach the top. Made me wonder how small the person was to think that tree was 6 foot. Any ways, I had about $20 to my name for decorations and the tree cost me $10 of that. So what was I to do?

Here are a few ideas that I have implemented over the years that I would like to share with you:

  1. I know it sounds old fashion, but stringing popcorn instead of using garland is not only more cost effective, but It is something the whole family can do while watching a Christmas movie. Your kids would get a kick out of it. Note: just make sure your 3 year old does not sit by the tree and use it as a snack buffet:)
  2. Go outside with your kids and have everyone gather up pine cones. Fill your kitchen sink up with water and give the cones a quick rinse. Shake excess water off of them and place in a large bowl. While they are still damp, sprinkle them with a little cinnamon, nutmeg, or whatever fragrant spice you have lying around. Place them around the house in decorative dishes or baskets. If you want, just rest the cones on top of a bed of pine needles. This is quick, easy, fragrant, and best of all, free!
  3. I usually end up with extra Christmas cards every year, rather the ones I bought and don't use, or the ones people have sent me. I am sure you have extras as well, so instead of the ever famous ˝stick them to the wall with scotch tape ˝ routine, put them in the picture frames you have around the house. This adds an elegant touch and your friends and family would love how you display their cards.

Like I stated before, these are just a few simple ideas for cost effective decorations and you can have quality time with the kids as well.

Do you have any ideas you would like to share? Please feel free to post your suggestions as I am always looking for new tips.

Tex-Mex Stove Top Casserole

1 can of tuna

250g pasta noodles

½ cup sour cream

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp salt

1 tsp paprika

1 cup cooked kidney beans

½ cup each of canned or frozen corn, green beans, and peas

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

hot pepper (optional and to taste)

Cook noodles according to directions on package. Drain thoroughly and then add extra virgin olive oil (this prevents the noodles from drying out and sticking together).

Cover and allow to chill about 1 hour in the refrigerator (this is also optional, but I prefer mine to be cool, though you can serve this as a hot meal as well)

In a large bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Stir until evenly mixed and coated with sour cream. Add noodles to mixture and toss.

Holiday Chocolate Bark

Towards the end of the holiday season, I usually find my pantry and refrigerator to be disaster areas filled with open bags of baking needs. Has this ever happened to you? The day after Christmas, I find myself with left over marshmallows, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, colored sugars, pretzels, potato chips, and don't even get me started with candy canes.

So here’s what I did one year and it, not only became an instant hit, but I had people offer to pay me to make it for them. Follow these simple instructions and you will not only be the designated desert maker from here on out, but might make some extra cash.

In a double boiler (its ok if you don't have one), melt chocolate chips, stirring constantly until smooth. I usually end up with a half of bag of each: semi-sweet, milk, and white. If you don't have all of those, that is fine...remember, you are cleaning out your cupboards, not trying to add to them.

Crush up candy canes, pretzels, and potato chips.

Once the chocolate is a smooth consistency, add pretzels, potato chips, candy canes, marshmallows, coconut flakes, and whatever else you have extra. Mixture will be very thick.

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper or aluminum foil (do not use saran wrap as it will melt). Spread mixture evenly onto the cookie sheet. Sprinkle colored sugar on top and set in refrigerator for 20 minutes or until hard.

Take sheet out of refrigerator and lift one corner of bark. It should break fairly easy. Continue to break into smaller pieces (about the serving size of a brownie or cookie).

And that is it!

Remember, you do not need all of these ingredients and you may add whatever you wish.

Hint 1: In case you do not have a double boiler....Take 2 pots (1 extra large, 1 large), fill the extra large pot about 1/3 to ½ full with water. Once water comes to a boil, turn off heat! Place smaller pot inside of larger one and add chocolate. Stir constantly to avoid burning the chocolate.

Hint 2: If you would like to package these to give to individual people (they do make great gifts), then go to your local thrift shop or craft store. They usually sell cellophane bags and ribbon. Pack broken treats into bag and tie with a ribbon. If you want, take left over Christmas stickers to decorate bags.

Quick and Easy Cleaning Tips

As stated in other articles, having 2 kids and a full-time job, I never seemed to have enough time to do everything else. These are a few tips I have picked up through the years.

  1. Cleaning the microwave: I always hated this job. Trying to scrape off baked on food from the top was nearly impossible. Almost as impossible as covering the food before turning the microwave on in order to avoid food splatter (I am sure this is difficult because no one ever seems to do it). So to avoid a half hour of scrubbing, place a coffee cup full of water in the microwave and turn on high for 2-3 minutes, or until water boils. Do not open the door when the timer goes off. Let the cup sit in the microwave for about 10 minutes, allowing the steam to do its job. Open door, take cup out (be careful, cup is hot), wipe out microwave with a damp cloth. That's it! Simple and easy.
  2. Window cleaning:I don't know about you, but it seems to me that cleaning products are getting more and more expensive. To clean windows, forget the window cleaner (average price $4 a bottle) and paper towels (average price $2 per roll). Instead, try using rubbing alcohol and coffee filters ($1 for a bottle of alcohol and $1 for an entire pack of coffee filters and you can clean windows for a month or two). Not to mention that the latter will be streak and lint free.
  3. Laundry: There are so many products out now that have the word Oxy in them, and they charge about $5 more for their products. However, if you want to get blood stains, chocolate, grass, whatever, out of your clothes, pre-soak them in water with ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide (available at most grocery stores and pharmacies for only $1 per 16 oz bottle). If it is just one or 2 stains, you can just put a capful of peroxide directly on the stain itself and let sit for about 30 minutes before washing.
  4. Drains: not exactly cleaning, but still, no one likes when their sink drains clog. Instead of buying those expensive drain products, boil a large pot of water and dump it down the drain once a week to keep your drains clog free.

Lost in Croatia and Love

ok..i do not type in capital letters..only what i feel and do not have time for punctuation.
have you ever felt alone? have you ever felt so lost even though you were "with" someone? have you ever felt you were unworthy of love?
i have..its not a good feeling:(
have you ever had the one you love tell you you are not loved by him/her? can you watch the last 5 minutes of your favorite romantic comedy and cry?
if so, then you are like me..a hopeless romantic..or just plain hopeless. i am not sure yet. its been 37 years and i never found anyone to say "i love you" and mean it. i found plenty to say it...but they take it back.
i don't know what to the song goes "should i stay or should i go"
i am guessing i should go...but i am 37 years of age now....when will love find me..if it will. am i capable of being loved? i am not sure...i don't even know if I love me. not anymore.
i have a severe fear of the "boyfriend" just took my fan ( my noise control). is this his way of controlling me?
i am begging for answers..for opinions. anyone else have something like this?
i have been abused before...had phone cords taken away so i could just clean and cook...i have had my head put through windows and have been body slammed...i have been cheated on....
i was never prepared for this.. i was never prepared for bela ( a guy btw...not that it matters).
he said he loved me..i left everything i knew in america and moved to croatia to be with him. a country where i do not speak the language, but stayed because i loved and still love him.
i don't know what to do. i am too old to be playing games like this. please, if you have been through this, let me know.
i am lost:(