Thursday, December 1, 2011

And the Cats Choose....

Have you ever wondered whom your pets would sleep with if they had to choose?  My husband and I ALWAYS sleep in the same bed.  Since he is narcoleptic, it doesn't matter how much I cough, snore or wheeze - he sleeps through it all.  I'm a pretty sound sleeper, too.  If he wakes me up snoring (very rarely), I shove him and tell him to roll over.  Problem solved.

Our two indoor cats sleep on our bed and normally sleep on or near me.  I always thought that was because  Chris has wiggly legs and tends to get grumpy if they try to sleep on his head.

(This isn't me.  However, the cat's position seems pretty familiar.)

My daughter wanted to watch the movie Rio so I got it from Netflix.  I decided to make it a "Theme Night" and made a huge pot of Feijoada, Brazil's national dish.  I've never made it before since it takes multiple pounds of various meats and cooks for hours.  I found an abridged version of it that included meat that I could buy only forty minutes away from the house.  (I live in a food "desert".)

(The picture is from Maria's Cookbook but I used the recipe from here.  It didn't taste like Brazil Brasileiro's version.  That is a Brazilian Buffet near where I used to work.  There's is the BEST EVER.)

I spent all day, lovingly making the dish and spreading the aroma throughout the house.  My husband came home from work, took one whiff and turned green.  He had caught a stomach bug at work and was quickly quarantined to our bedroom.  (I had a baby shower to attend the next day and I didn't want to give the mom-to-be the present of the stomach flu.)

Meredith and I went ahead and continued on with the evening while I made visits to Chris and brought him things.  When it became bed time, I couldn't sleep next to him.  With a sad heart, I slept in our guest bedroom.  When I woke up, I was surrounded by our cats!  They had chosen me (much to my husband's dismay).  So, now the age-old question has been answered ... cats prefer their Momma.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Holiday Hoppers

I have a big pet peeve - holiday hoppers.  There is ONE normal holiday that I really enjoy and it is Thanksgiving.  There are no forced decorations, buying of presents, parties, expectations, etc.  You just have to worry about not overcooking the turkey, having the television on the right channel for the football game and eating with family at a decent time.

Apparently, since people can't make money off this holiday they have decided to start promoting Christmas BEFORE Halloween.  Christmas decorations shouldn't appear until the day after Thanksgiving.  Why can't we just enjoy a holiday before we start trying to celebrate the next one?

(This is from Chuck & Beans at

We have people near us that have already put up Christmas lights and they've started lighting them at night.  My daughter and I have declared that they are "Holiday Hoppers".  Shame, shame on you...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Music Video Parodies

I know musicians spend alot of time, effort and money on music videos.  They pour their artistic souls into them trying create their inner vision of the song.  Unfortunately, these videos ruin their songs for me most of the time.  Take, for example, Lady Gaga's Bad Romance.  I loved the song on the radio and made the mistake of viewing the video on the internet.

What?  Huh?  I'm so confused...  Luckily, I'm not the only one who finds these videos funny or just plain bizarre.  My first experience with internet music video parody was with Rad Bromance.  (Don't watch this with kids around as it has some bad language.)

Now, whenever I hear the song I insert their lyrics in.  It is hysterical!  Of course, then there is just the straight parody of their video.

Of course, not all music videos at You Tube are parodies of the song.  While I was looking through the CS Monitor, I saw this clip from China.

Apparently, China also has a problem with extreme, excessive reality shows.  I actually like this video better than Lady Gaga's original, even though it is pretty strange.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

National Corduroy Day

A rare day is approaching in history - 11/11/11.  This, of course, means that National Corduroy Day is approaching.  If you think I'm joking, just google it.  There is a big meeting in New York City to celebrate this day but to attend you have to wear at least three different pieces of corduroy clothing.  If I lived four hours away, I would HAVE to attend this.  (Texas, however, is just too long of a drive.)  It isn't that I love corduroy (although I do love a nice fine wale shirt), it just sounds like a really funny, offbeat kindof meeting.  Something that you could throw out at boring, conventional dinner parties.

Other:  "So, do you think the economy will improve if the Jobs Bill passes?"

Me:  "I don't know but I hope the economy recovers soon.  I really need to buy some new pieces of corduroy."

Other:  Look of extreme confusion.

Me:  "I'm a member of the Corduroy Appreciation Club and everyone has already seen all of my corduroy clothing options.  With the national event arriving, I need to wear as many pieces as I can find.  Hey, do you want to come with me?"

Other:  Look of extreme confusion.  Future plans to gossip about this with fifty acquaintances about that odd Sarah and her little "quirks".

It sounds like much fun.  I actually have some friends that would probably attend with me.  If anything, it sounds like an unusual event.

I thought about buying corduroy for everyone in the family but I am too cheap thrifty to do so.  My husband would never wear it again.  I've been mulling over food to serve for this day.  Twizzlers, of course, come to mind but they don't make a very good main course.  I guess I could make a Shepherd's Pie and comb the mashed potatoes on top into thin lines.   Hmmm....

Puss in Boots

We don't watch many movies but we try to occasionally see one that we know our daughter will like.  Puss in Boots sounded like the perfect match - it involved cats and humor.  We all loved this movie.  The music in it is spectacular, it is visually beautiful, it is funny, and the cat dance sequences are really fun to watch.  It was well worth the money and we all highly recommend it.

Unfortunately, I can't really talk too much about the movie or I will give things away.  We're hoping that there is a sequel in the works.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism

Running along with theme of TV shows and DVD tie-ins, I thought I would give this DVD a try.

I like Jillian Michaels but there is NO WAY that I would want to work out with her.  She is really good at finding out exactly why people are eating themselves to death.  By pushing them physically, they seem to lose their guards on their pain and their unresolved wounds become exposed.  She is part trainer - part psychiatrist.  I would probably end up screaming "I hate you" at her if she was my trainer, though.

For those people that don't watch much television, she has been a trainer on The Biggest Loser.  People either love it or hate it.  It is a good show to watch while I'm doing the dreaded strength training.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Every October, we have our own version of Oktoberfest.  Out holiday is centered around the making of sausage.  I own a Kitchen-Aid Mixer (best wedding gift ever) and have the grinder and sausage stuffer attachments.  We were listening to Frank Yankovic & Friends - Songs of the Polka King at full volume.  (This is a very funny CD and we highly recommend it.  Here is one of their songs so that you can get a sense of their sense of humor.)

We had ground four pounds of various meats and were mixing in all the herbs and spices when we got The Phone Call.  Our house is for sale and we had potential buyers that wanted to look at the house.  Now, this doesn't sound like much of a problem until you realize how messy of a cook I am.  Add a six year old daughter, a kitchen strewn with equipment, all three of our arms up to our elbows in raw meat and the problem becomes more apparent.  The semi-mixed meat got throw in the fridge, the grinder got quickly disassembled, things hurriedly cleaned and put away, and then we were running out of the house just before they arrived.  We stuffed the sausage later and then got to eat it.

It was our first attempt to make Bockwurst and it was great!

(Picture from the Food Network)

Dancing With the Stars - Latin Cardio - Verdict

Since I enjoy dancing, I thought I would try out one of the Dancing With the Stars workout DVDs.

The routines appear to be done on the same set as the show.  There are some background dancers that surround the instructors.  They proved to be helpful especially during Cheryl's sections.  While you can customize the dance workout, here is the Play All routine.

Cha Cha
Toning Work-Out

This really wasn't that fun of a workout.  Even the background dancers didn't appear to be having a good time.  Cheryl gave her instructions leadenly.  Maks was definitely the better of the two.  He gave frequent reminders (both verbal and nonverbal) about holding in your stomach and utilizing it in the steps.  Cheryl taught the Samba and I was totally confused on how to do the basic "bounce" step.  Oddly enough, I was watching Dr. Oz and Maks showed up to teach the audience how to do the samba (for exercise).  There, I learned that I had been doing the technique incorrectly.  I did the routine again after the Dr. Oz segment and still had trouble with Cheryl's instruction.  Luckily, there was a blond dancer with really good hip action that I could follow.

(This is the only clip that I could get on my blog.  It does have some scenes from the video.)

Maks also had the funniest quote on the DVD.  "I can't see you but I think that you're doing fine."  I broke out laughing.

I wouldn't recommend this DVD.  It just felt like so much was lost in translation and I just didn't really enjoy myself.

Hummingbird Farewell Fiesta

Since we live in the country, we have a large amount of hummingbirds that visit our feeder.  As winter approaches, they start to fatten up for their yearly migration to Mexico.  Before they leave, they look like ping pong balls with wings.

(This picture is from another website.  Our birds aren't quite this size but pretty close.)

Our home group leaves but then we have waves of traveling birds.  Suddenly, these really thin birds arrive.  They'll drain the feeders, fatten up and fly off, too.

To mark the beginning of the migration season, we have a Hummingbird Farewell Fiesta.  I have a really good picture of a hummingbird that we place a sombrero on and he becomes our guest of honor.  Meredith and I made a bunch of tissue paper flowers for the centerpiece.

I made a contemporary spin on traditional Mexican Fiesta food -- Bacon-Flavored Gorditas with Roasted Poblano Guacamole from Rick Bayless' book Mexico One Plate at a Time.  We listened to Cajunto during dinner and talked about the hummingbirds' upcoming adventures in Mexico.  We'll sure miss the noisy fellas.

Alternative Holidays

I don't know if I'm the only person but I feel overwhelmed by the holidays.  There are always such high expectations.  Between the extreme decorating, party hosting, extended family feeding, etc., I get to the point where I don't even enjoy the day.  Christmas is the worst!  Having to add thoughtful presents to the mix and a month's worth of activities wipes me out.  So, I rebelled.  Oh, we still celebrate the major holidays but I've given up competing with Martha Stewart.  I try do the minimum that keeps me in the "good parent club".

(We don't celebrate Festivus but this was too funny to pass up.  I was looking up pictures of alternate holidays and ran into this classic Seinfeld reference.  The picture's website lists their yearly grievances on comics and TV.)

Instead, we celebrate Alternate Holidays.  Nobody has expectations or a predetermined vision of these.  Since I'm a food person, most of them center around food.  My daughter and I normally make some type of decoration but not always.  We keep it "in the immediate family" and drop/add holidays at will.  It's great!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dancing with the Stars - Latin Cardio

The next DVD up for review is Dancing with the Stars - Latin Cardio.  I've always loved dancing but unfortunately my husband hates it.  I once drug him to a couples dancing class and he managed to make fun of it nonverbally.  I haven't taken him back since.

I was excited to find out that the cast from Dancing with the Stars has multiple exercise videos.  I'm not quite sure how you can get a Latin dance workout with just one person but I'm excited to find out.  It should be arriving in the mail soon.  Thanks Netflix.

Anne Hathaway

I secretly wish that I was Anne Hathaway.  She just seems like a fun, really nice, kindof quirky person who just happens to be stunningly beautiful.  Somebody that could enjoy almost any situation and be able to tell a funny story about it.  (There I was, sitting beside the highway with steam coming out of my car and this guy on a Harley pulls over to help.  Now, his beard was so long it got wrapped in his handlebars.  When he tried to get off, he fell off the side of his bike and sprawled out on the ground.  His pants fell down and there, for all the whole world to see, was a tattoo of Tinkerbell on his butt.)

I don't stay up late enough to see late night television but I saw the funniest clip on Blog Site List.  Apparently, Anne relives stress by making up songs.  This is a hilarious rap about paparazzi.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Lara-Type Bars

One of my family's favorite snacks are Lara-Type Bars from Enlightened Cooking.  My six year old daughter actually broke down in tears this morning when she found out we were out and she couldn't take any with her to school.  I'll leave the recipe to her blog.  She did an excellent job describing and showing how to make them.

I found this by accident when I was searching for home-made snacks for my recently diagnosed wheat allergy husband.  (I believe it came up on a gluten free search.)  This snack also works perfectly for me since I am hypoglycemic.  The mix of protein and complex sugars fill and satisfies everyone in the family.  I had never had a Larabar before but we are now hooked on these!

I have three notes of advice.  First, make sure to buy pitted dates.  The first time I made this, I didn't realize that I had bought the wrong type of dates.  It sounded like I had rocks in my food processor.  Second, it will seem like the paste will never form.  Right when I'm getting ready to give up - the nuts at the bottom will start to incorporate.  Finally, buy the ingredients on sale.  If all the items were purchased at full price these bars would cost a fortune.  However, by watching for sales I've bought the items for half price.

Now, I'm off to try to make some apple pie bars.  Yum!  Thanks Camilla.

The Verdict - Bollyrobics

I wanted to do a Bollywood exercise video first because the dancing style is so exburant and fun to watch.  It looks like a blast to dance to.  I was first exposed to this style on So You Think You Can Dance.  (This show is excellent to work out to.  How can I complain about being tired when these kids are leaping all over the stage.)  There were several different DVDs available from Netflix so I picked this one out at random.

It proved to be an interesting but much shorter workout than expected.  There are three dance workouts on the DVD but they all share the same Warm-Up and Cool-Down portions.  Here is the set-up for all three routines.

Step By Step

It makes sense to reuse the first and last parts but they make up a HUGE portion of the routine.  Using my highly unscientific method of glancing at the clock during the middle dance segment, these sections took up 40% of the routine.  The Step by Step portion is an extremely light workout since the instructor layers the moves.

The instructor is very hard to see since she wears all black.  This makes it impossible to tell where her legs are located.  Is the right or the left leg supposed to be in the front?  The editing in the Step by Step is very jumpy and the picture is fuzzy.  During the dance routine, the producers have copied the same dancer into three spots.  It is very disconcerting.  The first routine involves scarves which seems pretty cheesy and the computer animated background completes the cheese.

I started out really disliking this DVD.  It didn't seem like much of a workout or much fun.  However, once I moved on to the second and third songs I started to enjoy it more.  The more I do the routines, the more I like them.  Now, some of the songs are stuck in my head.

Verdict:  I wouldn't count on this DVD to provide a vigorous workout but it would be an occasional nice change of pace.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Who am I to Judge?

Before I rate the first exercise DVD, maybe I should talk about my exercise "IQ".  I am not a natural athlete!  In fact, I have no hand eye coordination or balance.  I have been hit by or hit myself with almost every type of sporting equipment possible.

Bowling ball --- Check
Badmitton shuttlecock --- Check
Field Hockey Stick --- Check
Field Hockey Puck --- Check
The list goes on and on....

Needless to say, I missed out on the athletic gene.  I also missed out on the ability to balance and anything resembling coordination.  We have a friend who is a police officer.  Jokingly, I told him that I was scared that I would fail an alcohol sobriety test just because I am such a clutz.  He put me through my paces and, well, I failed.  I couldn't walk in a straight line, hold one foot up without falling, etc.  He told me that if I ever got pulled over by the police to beg for a breath analyzer test.

After college it became very apparent that I needed to do SOME form of exercise.  (Nothing like having rapidly tightening waist bands to prove that point.)  I tried Jazzercise and found it annoying.  I really hated having to hop up and down the step to the beat of some old song.

Next, I tried yoga.  I loved it.  Unfortunately, as I've mentioned, I am very uncoordinated.  It took me two years before I could do a basic tree pose without falling over.

Then, we moved into the country.  No classes were to be found so I started to exercise the more conventional route - walking, weights, etc.  It isn't the most fun way to get exercise but it gets the job done.

The first DVD that I am going to review is Bollyrobics.  I thought I would try something that sounded super fun and different.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Post

Why should another miscellaneous blog be added out on the web?  Well, this one started out for motivation purposes only.  I live out in a rural area and finding exercise classes can be a bit of a challenge.  I do best with exercise if I am tricked into it.  Some people love to exercise.  Me, I hate sweat - with a passion.  I do best when I feel like I am doing something fun that just happens to be good for me.  For example, with yoga while I am working some muscles I am stretching something else.  With a Zumba class, I can feel like I am just dancing to good music.  Unfortunately, most of that isn't easily available where I live.

Mulling this problem over in my head I came up with a solution - Netflix.  We already have an account with them and they have various exercise videos.  Why don't I go through their selection?  That way I can try out new things and get some exercise.

One problem with this solution, I can be lazy.  What is my motivation for getting these exercise videos and actually doing them instead of letting them sit by the television for several months collecting dust?  I know, public humiliation!  I'll tell a friend that currently blogs and she will keep me honest.  If I haven't posted in awhile about a new DVD, I'll get a friendly phone call or e-mail razzing me.  Solution found to the problem!

However, this would mean that I would just add a post every two weeks or so.  Hmm... Why not blog about other things that matter to me?  My husband has recently been diagnosed with a wheat allergy.  I'm still learning how to bake and make desserts for him.  I might as well blog my results on this, too.  For that matter, I could make this like my journal and write about various things.  Why not?  Well, we'll see how it goes.