Saturday, February 27, 2010

Phat Tuesday...on Friday

We were in Mexico for the kick off of Lent and I missed Fat Tuesday.  I like Fat Tuesday because I get a chance to play with cajun foods.  So yesterday we had friends over for dinner and I cooked up a storm!  For the kids, I made a homemade baked macaroni and cheese with ham.  I have lots of recipes but decided to experiment and used Martha Stewart's and it was YUMMY.  I also made a pan of brownies and the kids had brownie sundaes.

For the adults, I made jambalaya, corn muffins, a salad of mixed greens, peppers, heirloom tomatoes and avocados.  For dessert, banana cream pie.  I was telling our friends about having found the jambalaya recipe in Men's Health magazine (my sister actually found it and passed it on), when he told me of a clam bake recipe he tried recently...also from Men's Health.  Who knew Men's Health was a bastion of  excellent recipes.  I may have to trade in my  Epicurious magazine for Men's Health...but then I'd also be subject to more info that I really care to know about a man's prostate.

So, we fed the kids, ate a yummy meal, did a little hot tubbing, ran down town to a local bar for a quick game of pool and back home with the promise of banana cream pie.  But no one was up for it, so we postponed the pie to this morning.  After TWO pots of coffee ( Key West's Baby's Private Buzz....last legal high in America), we had breakfast burritos and banana cream pie.  The REAL breakfast of champions.

Then...I planted myself on the sofa.  I may move.  I may not. I can do that because I'm Phat! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

ring Ring RING....

We (read I) switched the family (well, all but the boy...his contract isn't up until June) over to Verizon on Sunday and our phones arrived yesterday.  It was a deal too good to pass up.  The phone I researched thoroughly and coveted, the Samsung Alias 2, was not only the cheapest I have ever seen it ($30) it was buy one get one free.  I added my oldest daughter to our plan and she also received her first phone, the Samsung Intensity (that one was free too).  She was very excited to get it although she was initially a little envious of my phone, she quickly embraced hers.

So, I have a new toy.  I took our phones to the Verizon store last night to have the contact information transferred and while they were able to easily transfer my info, they were not able to transfer my husband's.  Guess what he'll be doing today?

Now, I just have to figure out how to get all my ring tones back without having to leverage off Beanie (but leveraging Beanie is NOT off the table...ahem).  I happened to like my ring tones.  I like knowing when my husband calls, I don't have to look at the phone to see who the call is from, that he is the only caller who rings to "You Shook Me All Night Long".  Or when my children call from home and I hear "Sweet Child O'Mine", I am free to ignore the call.  Ahem.  My son hasn't been pleased with his ring tone, expressing to me that he wants ANYTHING but " Soulja Boy".   He did say ANYTHING.  I love it when a door is wide open. Heh, heh, heh.  I haven't even thought about what to make my daughter's.

So...I'm off to read the manual, which is thicker than most of the novels I'm reading.  Oh, and I need to find some cool accessories. I come!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Swingin', Tarzan Style!

My husband and I have been to Playa del Carmen 3 times before this trip.  Each time we have added to our experience by trying new things, and each time we will return to some of our favorite haunts.

A particular favorite watering hole of ours is Pez Vela...aka the Swingin' bar.  Known for its swings that hang from around the bar.  So, it's both an adult AND child's playground.  See for yourself.

No...the beer is not theirs.  That's ours.  We needed it.

Surprise, Surprise...

I tried to plan this vacation 2 years ago and had issues with getting commitments from people.  When I finally had to give up, we decided when we planned this vacation, we'd do it on our own but we would let everyone know when we were going and where we were staying.  If they chose to be there at the same time, then all the better.  My sister and her boyfriend decided to join us.

One night, we were at Sr. Frogs (ONLY because it was raining) and I swear, one of the waiters looked just like my husband's cousin's husband.  He wasn't.  At the hotel another guest reminded me of one of the neighbors who live close to my ILs cabin.  It wasn't him either.  It seemed like everywhere I went,  people looked familiar to me.

So, on Tuesday morning as we were just settling into our beach chairs, I really shouldn't have been surprised when I glanced over my shoulder and saw a couple who looked like my in laws...walking towards us.  I glanced again and it WAS my in laws walking towards us.  They had planned their trip to overlap with ours so that they could surprise us.  And surprise us they did.

They were staying at a different hotel but we managed to spend a little time with them, which only added to our Mexican experience.  Because, you know...paradise really is meant to be shared.

The Little Mermaid

After talking to other hotel guests, we decided to take the kids on a snorkling tour through the hotel.  It was only about 2 hour long and the boat took off from the hotel and went just up the coast about 15 minutes to a small reef.  We figured that the kids would handle it fine, although I had some serious concerns with Beanie.  She's a good swimmer but has never snorkled and I wasn't sure if she might not be able to handle it.

So, we go out in the dive style boat, get our gear on and follow the "dive master" into the water.  *I* was a bit concerned as the waves over the reef seemed too big to handle snorkling, but I found quickly how wrong I was.  The husband hung back with Beanie helping her become acquainted with the whole snorkling process and before we knew it, she was off and a pro.  He passed her off to me and I spent the last half of the tour listening to her squeal underwater while frantically pointing at all the different fish, the sea urchins, the schools of fish, the unexpected colors...  PLUS the dive master would lead us in one direction and she'd be off in a completely different direction.  I swear, that child is fearless.  She took to snorkling, like a mermaid to water.


Breakfast of Champions

I love breakfast in Mexico.  I normally don't eat breakfast when I'm home...yes, I know, that's not healthy.  But in Mexico, I LOVE it.  And this week was no exception.

The hotel where we stayed was an all inclusive.  I've stayed at all inclusives before and in the food department, they're usually just OK.  This buffet wasn't really any different, but it required one to think outside the box.  For me, that meant a HUGE platter of fresh fruit which included: cantaloupe, honey dew, watermelon, pineapple, banana, grapes...and on a couple of occasions, they put out kiwi and grapefruit.  They also had papaya (which I DO NOT like) and mango (which I do, but they left the skin on and I was lazy).  So...plate full of fruit.  Then I toddled over to the cooler and removed a container of plain yogurt.  Next to the yogurt were several containers with granola, pepitas, sunflower seeds, raisins, coconut and flax seed and I would make a mixture of the granola, raisins, coconut and flax seed in a small bowl.

Back at the table, I would spoon the yogurt over the fruit, and top with the granola mixture and spend 15 minutes in fruit heaven.  Occasionally, I'd grab a couple pieces of wheat toast, but the fruit was definitely the star of my breakfast.

Normally I'm an eggs girl.  My absolute favorite being, warmed flour tortillas filled with scrambled eggs and bacon and topped with fresh salsa.  All were available at the buffet but you had to move around to find it all.  A little like a scavenger hunt.  Oh, but the prize was worth it!

Now that we're back to reality, I want to know...who is going to cut up all that fresh fruit for me on a daily basis?

¡Ay, Caramba!

That was my thought as we landed back in Minneapolis, after a week of paradise in Mexico.  Since last week was President's Day, we decided to take a break from the "lovely" Minnesota winter and take the kids to Playa del Carmen a week of sun, sea and siesta!  That meant us pulling the kids from school for 4 days vs 5.  We left last Saturday in what was a somewhat auspicious beginning.

Our flight was set to leave at 10am and we were there well in advance of the 2 hours recommended, only to be greeted with a check in line that stretched from here to Nebraska!  Note to self...when given the opportunity to check in online...DO IT!  The line, while long, moved quickly and we made it to check in with JUST enough time to race through security to our gate...only to have to wait as the plane was being readied for the trip.  So we were about an hour and a half late taking off, which was no big deal.  We were on our way to MEXICO!

We arrived in Cancun about an hour late and needed to take a bus from the flight line to the terminal were a mass of humanity greeted us at immigration.  Seriously.  I have NEVER seen anything like that in all my concert going, black Friday battling, crowd pushing days.  EVER.  It wouldn't have been bad if there was some rhyme or reason to how these travelers were to get through this mass of people, but there wasn't.  After standing for about 10 minutes without moving, we moved to another spot.  Only to find that there WAS a spot where people eventually funneled into a maze of roped off lines.  BUT..this funneled two separate masses into one line in two different spots.  And if you were not in one of those two spots, woe be unto you.

You can call me Woe.

We finally made it into a roped area only to have (according to a line stander) airport security come and take down the ropes that held people back, causing a rush of people who in effect "budged" in front of all the others who had been standing not moving for an hour and a half (not that I was counting...ahem).  So, it took us almost 2 hours JUST to get through immigration.  Luckily, customs was quick and easy and we were soon on our way to our hotel...just a short hop, skip and an hour drive away.

Luckily, our driver aimed to please...and he stopped so we could grab "refreshments".

Our adventure had begun, somewhat unexpectedly, but I decided to look at it optimistically...things could only get better.  And they did! 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


If it's Tuesday, it must be game night!  Tonight's game...Guesstures.  For those not familiar with this game, it's similar to charades.  You place 4 cards with a word on it you need to "act" out.  No talking.  You have only 15 seconds per card and if your team doesn't get the word in that time, it falls into the holder and the card is no longer in play.  Or if you get the first one quickly, you have the remainder time to get the next cards.

Teams this time were me and the older two girls, and the husband, boy and Beanie.  My older daughter had a bit of an attitude going into the game but she snapped out of it.

That's what I'm liking about these games.  No matter the mood (so far), we all come out of it just a little happier, even if we lose.

And who can argue with happy, right?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Are You Ready for Some FOOTBALL?????

It's Super Bowl Sunday and guess what?  It's snowing.  Again.  Thankfully we're not expected to get close to what the East Coast (you have my condolences) is getting, with the top amount being maybe 12 inches when all is said and done (that mean, by Tuesday morning).

This morning we went to church and I was humbled by the service.  I have chosen a Joyful Attitude.  We came home and I pulled together some Chicken Chili "straws" (sorta like a mexican eggroll), that just need to be baked and a jalapeno honey dipping sauce to take to the Super Bowl party.

I'm a little ambivalent about the game though.  With the Queens having given away what should have been their Super Bowl slot (look at the numbers...we won by all numbers but turnovers, and we lost because we won in that dept too), I'm not sure who to root for.  Do I root for the team that beat us?  Sorry all you N'Awlins fans but you don't get to win a Super Bowl just because you had a hurricane  5 years ago.  BUT...In the Saint's favor is the fact that their QB went to Purdue...MY alma mater.   Of course, then there's the Colts, lead by Payton Manning and you get that whole "Manning-brothers, and one having TWO super bowl rings and the other only having one" controversy.  You just KNOW that will lead to some tense family situations.    Right now they're even Steven. Need they rock the boat? BUT...the colts are from Indiana and Purdue IS in Indiana.  Hmmmmm.... 

I may have to go with the Saints on this one.

And YES...I do pick horses with the same logical precision and with what is usually the same degree of success.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pants on the Ground

It snowed today.  It's Minnesota.  It snows almost every day.  

Today I went to pick up the boy from school, because, I AM da MOM.  I pulled into the activities entrance, where I usually pick him up (only because that entrance is the closest to pop machines...but you didn't hear that here) and there was a line of cars behind a line of buses.  Normally, buses do not park at the activities entrance but have their own parking area, but these buses had trailers attached.  I pulled behind a  truck with a mom unloading a snowboard and thought...SKI CLUB.  Yes, yeah for snow in Minnesota as it is PERFECT for skiing/snowboarding. (usually snowing means it's WARM enough to actually enjoy your day vs skiing when it's colder than hades!)  So, I pull around the mom and young man removing the snowboard and equipment bag from the truck and move forward to just behind the bus with trailer so that my son could see "HEY...I'M HERE" when the young man of the snowboard went to load his snowboard into a trailer.  At that point my jaw hit the ground.  He bent over to put his equipment in the trailer and his pants were BELTED BELOW HIS BUTT CHEEKS.  I SO wish I had my camera because writing what I saw does not do it justice.  Seriously...his jeans weren't just "riding low", they were BELTED below his butt cheeks.  I got a full back side view of exactly what brand, color and fit of boxers this boy was wearing.  My first impulse was to back up to the aforementioned truck and smack the mom around and say..."WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING???"  

But I didn't.  I held court with my son and his two friends on the way home and they informed me that this was NOT unusual.  They told me all the different variations of the aforementioned style, you could say, giving me a HS young men's fashion education, and thankfully, they ALL dissed (see, I can talk HS) it, although not quite with the same vehemence that I did.

And I find it ironic.  Because my girls recently have been parodying the "pants on the ground" song from American Idol.  Which I find funny because we don't watch American Idol.  Yet they all seemed aware of the contestant.  Have you seen it?  No?  Well, take a gander.  And know that I fully agree with the sentiment.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Powers of Observation and the XY Chromosome Pairing

It's a two-fer Wednesday!  Lucky you.

So, this morning I'm running a little late and need to take my son to school (yes he's spoiled but in his defense it IS -4) and I ask my son to run out and start the 'burb.  He said, I can't find your keys.  Now, I have been known to put my keys on counters or in my jacket pockets.  I've tried to get better at this by making a conscious effort to hang my keys either on the key board or on the strap of my purse.  So, I'm on my way to a panic because where could I have left them?  I start at the counters (where I am most likely to leave them) but no.  I check my jacket pocket but no.  I glance at the key board and there they are...hanging on the key board.  He claimed that he didn't know which keys were mine.  I had issues with his explanation because of all the keys hanging on the board, only one set had car keys.  He most definitely knows what a car key looks like (he's 15...believe me, he knows)  An thus the root of my problem.

/begin rant
What is with the XY chromosome combination with being able to look almost directly at something and not see it.  Late last year, I was taken to task, and perhaps I was a bit harsh, for telling three men, who were STANDING IN FRONT OF A RESTAURANT we were going to, to "grow a pair" and turn around and find it instead of calling me (we had driven separately) to tell me that the restaurant isn't in the EXACT spot that they expected it.  As if I can do what?   Exactly?  Jump on my broomstick, rush to their side, whisper oh so gently in their shell like ears that perhaps they should...turn around?  The "grow a pair" was directed to all 3 men as any one of them could have found the restaurant by simply turning around.  Do you have this problem?    Do you have to find what is right in front of them, whether it's moving the milk to one side to find the blue cheese dressing, or thumbing through a stack of shirts for the one they want because for some reason the one they wanted wasn't magically on the top?  I have to do that to a lesser extent with my girls, but the key here is "lesser extent".  They KNOW at this point to make sure they've done their VERY BEST at searching something out before calling for help.  But my boys?  Nope.  

/end rant

Here is the irony.  Both my husband and son are hunters.  They can spot a deer at dusk  moving silently along a tree line at 500 yards (I'm lucky to make out the tree line).  They can spot a wild turkey roosting in a tree (tree...yeah I see the tree...the turkey, not so much).  But for some reason, their powers of observation in domestic situations seem to desert them if there is a woman within yelling distance.   I think this dichotomy helps explain the male/female relationship.  At least as it pertains to missing car keys.


Tuesday is one of our down nights.  No dance, no basketball.  It's nice.  The only problem is that the kids finish dinner to rush off to the TV/DS/X-box/*insert device of choice*.  So, last night my husband dubbed Tuesday as "no electronics night". (and as we all know, they'll put all their grey matter to the question of how to get around said ruling...if only they applied that much persistence to things that REALLY mattered).  They can read, they can play games (which at this point excludes the Wii...but I see this as being the chink they'll be looking for), play cards, etc.

 So, the kids pulled out Taboo.  Have you ever played Taboo?  No?  Well it's a fairly easy game to play.  You have cards with a word that you are trying to get your team members to say, AND 5 words that most accurately describe that word that you CANNOT say (Taboo words). So...the word you need to get your team to say is Airport but they cannot say plane, fly, takeoff, travel and runway.   A team member from the opposing team watches the word giver to make sure they don't say any of the Taboo words and buzzes them if they do.  They have one minute to get their team to say as many words as possible.  So we split into teams: me, my son and Beanie *insert eye roll* and my  husband and two older daughters.  I knew we were in trouble when my older daughter got the Eiffel Tower, used the clue "it's a big thing" and my younger daughter said..."Eiffel Tower".  THAT just doesn't happen.  Oh, wait, it does happen, but only on very VERY OLD episodes of The Odd Couple (when Oscar and Felix are on Password,  Yes...I just dated myself)  Here's the episode:

Taboo...a guessing game where you have to talk around what you really want to say... also known as... My Life as a Board Game.