Saturday, June 27, 2009

Is This What You Want To Teach Your Daughter?

When Caitlin started Operation Beautiful I thought it was a great idea - I even blogged about it. Having dealt with body image issues during my life I really think that this is an incredible idea and I love that it has taken off so much. And I think that this could be a really great teaching item for young girls. Now, I don't have any kids yet but I do watch tv with my bff's daughter and buy her gifts, so I've seen the items that are marketed to kids (Bratz doll anyone - side note for future reference: these will NEVER be allowed in my child's toy box, just fyi). But today I saw something that totally drove home the point that Operation Beautiful is a very needed project.

I was in the infant section at Wal-Mart looking to finish off a gift for Doug's cousin's baby shower. She's having a girl so I was looking around with girls in mind when I spotted two purple onesies stuck at the back of a rack of bright pink ones. So I went over and grabbed one off the rack and saw this:

In case you can't read that it say "Does this diaper make my butt look big?"

Really? REALLY?? This is the question someone thinks should be worn by a small child? I'm sure that the person who came up with this shirt thinks it is funny and, yes, I realize babies can't read, but do we really want to put this image on our daughters? Aren't we supposed to raise our children to know that they are worth more than the size of their butt, or any body part for that matter? Don't we want to raise strong, self-confident children, so that one day maybe there will be no need for Operation Beautiful because everyone will know that they are perfect just the way they are?

Now, maybe I'm overreacting, but there is no way I would buy this for my child, or anyone else's (after I snapped the picture I stuffed this back to the end of the rack in disgust). And this is the first time that I really wished I had some paper with me to write an Operation Beautiful note to stick next to this stupid shirt. You can be sure I'm adding some post-it notes to my purse today.

So, what do you all think of this shirt? Is it horrible? Funny? Am I overreacting? Would you buy it for your child?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Have News!!

But first, let me catch you up on the house hunt.

- Two weeks ago we went and looked at a house - 2 bedrooms, eat-in kitchen AND dining room, laundry room, 1 bath, mud room, awesome deck, enclosed porch, detached 2 car garage with an indoor/outdoor dog run. But it also had - a huge (apparently) attic that you could only reach from a tiny little hole that was located in the top of the tiny little closet in the second bedroom, those odd/old cabinet "closets" on the wall in the master bedroom (I have no idea what these are actually called) where you could hang your clothes in a three foot box, a tiiiiny sink in the bathroom that didn't even come close to waist level and was crammed in between the wall and the front of the tub, a laundry room that slants - yes slants, I walked into the room and immediately noticed that the floor wanted to throw me into the opposite wall (anyone seen the episode of Mad About You where they flashback to buying their apartment and Jamie keeps saying that the floor slants and doing the slide with her foot? that was me).
But with all that we were still considering it (some of us more than others).

- Then last week we went to see a three bedroom I had been looking at online for a while. Oh my gosh you guys, I cannot explain this house to you well enough so I'm not even going to try. Let's just say: fridge wedged under the stairs, tiiiiiny kitchen, decent bathroom, no central air and it would be really expensive to put in, and let's just say you could really tell that they had cats. This did not make the list.

But.... when we saw the 3 bedroom house the realtor (not ours, she had something come up and someone else filled in) showed us a paper for a house that had literally been listed that morning that she said our realtor thought we would love. So we figured, why not go look.
So we went and looked at it. Two bedrooms - but these are nice and big, a huge living room, a huge eat-in kitchen, detached garage, nice backyard - almost totally fenced in, just needs a gate by the garage, nice front porch, and so many closets! Closets every where! It's in really nice shape, the owner had lived there for a really long time and had recently gone to a nursing home. So we looked around and checked everything out and then went home and talked about it.
We liked it - a lot. It's a great price, incredibly great neighborhood, way better than that other two bedroom. So we decided to make an appointment to go see it again the next day.
So, we went again - this time with both of Doug's parents, my mom (my dad was at work), and 3 of the kids my mom watches (including my bff's 2). Doug's dad had been with us the day before but his mom had skipped, so she and my mom were checking everything out and they really loved it, they couldn't believe the closets either, lol. And having the kids there was actually pretty helpful, we got to see what it was like with a toddler running around (not bad, you knew where she was but yet you weren't right on top of her) and she loved the porch and the yard (although she asked where all the "stuff" was in the backyard, silly girl).
Our realtor told us that she knew we wouldn't like the 3 bedroom but that she thought of us as soon as she walked through this one she thought of us. She also informed us that there was another showing of the house right after ours and another right after that! And that they seemed pretty interested.
So Doug and I looked at each other (we'd already pretty much decided the night before) and said "let's go make an offer." So we did. We played it off real cool when leaving because the next showing was already there and we didn't want them getting wind of our impending offer. So we went up to the office, made our offer, gave them a check for earnest money, and then left to go wait it out.
We went home and sat around for a while waiting for Doug's cell to ring..... finally about 8pm we gave up on it. But around 9pm it rang.... it was our realtor saying that she had called the son of the owner who has Power of Attorney and given him the offer and he had verbally said yes but they had to fax him the papers. So Friday morning Doug called me at work to say that the papers had been signed and it was official!
So Monday we had our inspection and it went really well. Just a couple of really small issues, mainly just things where code has changed from when the current owners bought the house. And the inspector said we were getting a really great house. And then last night I saw on our bank account where the earnest money had gone through, so I guess it's official!
So, prepare for lots of posts about packing and moving (this will be only the second time I've ever had to move! So expect lots of complaining!!) And then lots of posts about getting the house in shape - mainly painting and organizing. And if anyone has any packing, moving, or unpacking/organizing tips I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Really Cool Giveaway

Just wanted to let you all know that Kristin at Iowa Girl Eats has an awesome giveaway going on right now.
You can enter to win a Real Simple & PURE Bar package. There are some really cool Real Simple items in the giveaway, like Magnetic To-Do and To-Buy lists, Multi-Purpose Bags, and a Memo Sheet Mousepad.
So check out the giveaway and Kristin's blog, it is really great! And, I love that she's a fellow Mid-West girl :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Legs Are Like Jelly

Ouch, I'm really sore right now! I did 30 minutes of Namaste yoga this morning and then 30 minutes of Shimmy - FitTV's belly dancing workout. And seriously you guys my legs hate me!

The yoga workout was all floor work basically - lots of cat rolls and downward dog. It also included a one-legged downward dog, which I seriously surprised myself by being able to do! This is the description for the episode (the Sunbird episode) from FitTV:
The Sunbird sequence wakes up the spine, and energizes the limbs. All levels will enjoy this energy-freeing sequence, which includes Cat rolls and Dog poses.

I really did enjoy this workout. It was probably the hardest yoga workout I've done to date but it felt so incredibly good! My shoulders are starting to hurt too, I have a feeling I'm going to be very sore tomorrow.

Apparently the Shimmy episode was Episode 17, this is the description:
Dancers teach a new sequence of moves including head-slides, hip-circles, and the more challenging shimmy-layered hip-circles, tremor figure-eights and sa'idi turns. The combined moves are demonstrated in a choreographed dance.

It was hard too! Not really strenuous but just difficult to get down. The tremor figure-eights really are hard! I love this workout though, it is so much fun, which I think is really important when you are trying to add working out into your life. If you enjoy what you are doing you are much more likely to do it often, at least in my opinion.

And luckily I am really loving both of these workouts! Now, if you'll excuse me I'm off to make my legs hate me some more by running to the basement to get the laundry (ouch).

Friday, June 19, 2009

Camping Trip Part 3

Part 1 and Part 2.

So Sunday morning dawned bright and beautiful. It was Doug's actual birthday, so like any loving family we immediately put him to work making breakfast.... I'm not kidding.
But don't worry, I was his trusty partner and helped as much as I could...... and he's just better at cooking outside AND at cooking breakfast.

After we ate and Doug opened the rest of his gifts we relaxed and watched almost everyone else leave. Usually Doug's parents leave on Sunday but we all had Monday off so we were staying for another day, so we just watched almost everyone else leave. It got really empty there.

Later in the afternoon we went geocaching. Are you familiar with this? Basically you look up caches in your are online, put them into your handheld gps, and then go find them. Doug had programed in ones that were nearby, so we set off in the truck to go find them. We looked for 4 I think and had no luck with any of them. There was just nothing to be found for 2 of them, we couldn't easily get to 1, and the 4th one was supposedly in an area that was incredibly overgrown. So we ended up just driving around.

After we got back to the campground we saw on the weather that storms were expected, so we ran around getting everything put away and a tarp on the tent...... and then it didn't rain for about 5 hours.

I made dinner that night and Doug made his cake - a pineapple upside down dump cake, which I hope to have up on Central Cooking soon. It was really good and it's a fond memory for Doug- they used to make it at Boy Scout camp.

It ended up starting to rain around 9pm and rained pretty much all night. We sat in the camper for a while watching the Tonys because it was raining so hard outside.

It was a challenge getting into the tent to go to bed because the added tarp made it really hard to open and close the flap - so midnight bathroom trips were totally out of the question - lol. But we made it in and I fought the zipper and actually won!

We all woke up Monday morning to gray skies and incoming storms, so we hurried to get everything taken down, totally skipping breakfast in favor of just getting the heck out of there.

In a rare moment of genius I suggested we take the tent down so we did - and literally as we finished rolling everything up it started to poor. So yay for not having to set everything back up in our basement to let it all dry!

We got everything thrown into the trucks and then Doug's parents got the camper all hooked up to the truck in the pouring rain, then his dad got all the tanks emptied in the pouring rain, then they played the back-and-forth game of backing the camper into it's storage unit in the pouring rain (fil backs it up, mil shouts directions at him from the back end)..... and as soon as it was finally in the garage the pouring rain stopped and the sun came out - figures.

After that we went back to the inlaw's house, sorted out all our stuff and we finally came home, where we proceeded to take showers, unpack and just generally try to not smell like a campfire any more.

Overall it was a fun trip and Doug really enjoyed it, so that's all that matters :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Look at my Morning

Have a look at my lovely morning. We woke up about a quarter to 5 with horrible thunder and bright flashes of lightening - lovely. By the time I got up a little later it had calmed down, but the weather channel said more was coming. I tried to check with the local news channels but every single local station was off the air, I had the 2 stations from just inside the Indiana border, but we're just on the edge of their area.

So I left the house knowing I was probably going to hit some storms. It wasn't too bad in our area but I could quickly see clouds and lightening up ahead.

This is what I see at first.

Then this. And lots and lots of lightening.

Then this. Do you see the slightly darker gray there in the middle of the sky? That's a cloud, a very long and scary cloud. I watched many lightening blots split right through that cloud.

Right after this is got incredibly dark, like couldn't even see my hands dark, and then it started to pour. I had my wipers on the fastest speed possible and could not see anything out in front of me. If I looked down toward the ground I could just barely see the lines directly in front of me. I ended up slowing way down, like barely 20 and sometimes less, turning on my hazards and finally at one point attempting to pull off. Except I had no idea where I really was and couldn't really see the side of the road, so I didn't want to pull too far. So I sat on the side of the road for a few minutes while my car got battered with rain, a little hail, and horrible wind and, total truth here, I just prayed that it would stop soon and I'd be ok.

Finally it let up just enough that I could see a little more and I started going again. I quickly passed a stop sign ahead sign and realized that I was farther than I had thought. Luckily once I turned onto the next road it had stopped raining so hard but there were small limbs everywhere and a few flooded areas. The poor cows I drive by did not look happy (side note, one of my favorite Jerry Seinfeld jokes is about his leather coat and how it can't get wet and then how cows don't freak out and go up to the farmhouse yelling "let us in! We're suede!!").

Thankfully by the time I made it to the interstate it was much clearer and I only had to deal with a little rain and wind for the last 20 minutes of my drive. Right now it's getting darker again, I hope we're not about to get slammed again!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Getting in on the game : Operation Beautiful

A little while ago I posted about how Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point was trying to end fat talk and how I thought it was such a great idea. Well, the genius girl has struck again. Caitlin just posted on her blog about how she is starting a thing called Operation Beautiful.

She is going to go around and leave notes on the mirror in public bathrooms telling whoever sees it affirming messages, like "you are beautiful." She has a pic of one she did on her blog.

I think this is such a great idea and so I wanted to spread the word. So, check out Caitlin's blog and then go out and do it! She wants you to send her an email with pics of your Operation Beautiful notes (and totally feel free to post them here too).

So, I'm in, are you?

And for good measure, here is her blog again :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Camping Trip Part 2

You can check out part 1 here.

So, we went to bed Friday night about 10pm.... but I didn't fall asleep until after 1am. And then I literally woke up at the crack of dawn. All of a sudden I just jerked awake and the tent was bright and the birds were chirping. I looked at my phone and it said 5:25.... I later saw on the news that sunrise was... yep, you guessed it, 5:25. grrr

So I grabbed my flip flops, threw myself through the tent flap and decided to walk to the shower house, the one you couldn't shower in because there was no hot water. Then I walked back to the site and tried to go back to sleep.... no such luck though.

So I got up, threw on my tennis shoes, threw myself out of the tent again and went for a 40 minute walk. It was really quiet still... not sure what I expected at 6 am. There was one older man setting up for breakfast and a father and son out eating with the little boy asking why they couldn't go do something yet and the father responding that no one else was up. Then I went back to the site and did some yoga.

I've never done yoga outside before and I felt kinda dumb, but I just kind of hid between our trucks to where no one could see me. It felt awesome to stretch out after trying to sleep on the air mattress. My back was so stiff :(

Then I tried to figure out what to do since everyone else was still asleep. I read a magazine for a little while before I decided I couldn't take it anymore and I needed a shower - stat.

So I crawled back into the tent, grabbed my stuff, told Doug where I was going and headed to the truck. I threw in my shower bag, my wallet and my keys and set off.

Ok, did anyone catch that. Think about this. I took with me: 1. my wallet 2. my keys 3. my shower bag with shampoo, soap, etc in it.

What didn't I take?? Go ahead and think, I'll wait.

::Jeopardy music plays::

Anyone? That's right, a towel or a washcloth. Yep, I went to take a shower towel-less. Wouldn't have been so bad except I didn't realize this until AFTER I had gotten under the water. I have never felt so dumb. So I quickly finished my shower and then ended up drying myself off with my shirt.

I drove back over to the site and proceeded to tell Doug what I had done. I'm not sure he has laughed at me that much in a long time :)

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. We ran into town, sat around and read, and fought the crazy wind that was trying to blow everything away. I took a little tour with my camera for you :)

Doug's parent's camper and our picnic table.

Our tent.

The other main thing we did was play bags. This is a set that we (mainly Doug) actually built. I think I'll do a big post about bags and how we built this later, since I know at least one person who reads this isn't familiar with the game :)

Do you see the bag up at the top? Oh and those are Doug's parents.

There it is again. Our game is in the University of Illinois Fighting Illini colors. They're Doug's (well and everyone around here) favorite team.

That just left making dinner and Doug making his cake. I hope to get these posts up on Central Cooking soon, but here's a teaser for you.

Basically the rest of the night we just sat around the fire. After it got too dark to read I turned to my trusty cell phone to pass the time. I had signed up for a 24 hour Internet pass earlier in the day because we thought the weather might get bad. So I used the phone to get on Twitter and follow the DMB concert playlists and the IRL race. I get bored really easily and there was really nothing to do, so the phone and Twitter totally kept me from going crazy :)

Ok, I think there will be one more camping trip post. Not sure when though, probably Thursday because we're going to look at a house tomorrow!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Camping Trip Part 1

So I've been really bad about getting this up! The first weekend in June we went camping to celebrate Doug's 27th birthday. It was us and his parents, we stayed in a tent and they stayed in their camper.

I was kind of worried because I've never really been a camper. I had been 4 times in my life before this trip: twice with Girl Scouts and twice with Doug and his parents. So needless to say I still have a lot to learn.

Doug went over early on Friday afternoon and I rode over with his parents after we all got off work. We camp at a park next to one of the bigger lakes here that is about 20-25 minutes or so away from our hometown.

Doug already had everything set up and had dinner going. We had burgers, coleslaw, and potato salad, then we had a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing that I had picked up.

Funny story on the cake. Doug's mom and I both had asked him what kind of cake he wanted, he told us he'd make his own in the dutch oven his parents got him for his birthday. Cut to 4pm Friday, I'm on my way from work to the inlaws' house talking to Doug when he asks if I have a cake. I reply "no, you said not to make one" and he responds "oh, ok" in a super sad voice. So I felt bad and made a stop by the grocery store before meeting the inlaws. I grabbed a cake I knew we'd all like because it was really similar to the groom's cake from our wedding. As we ate the cake we both told Doug that if he ever pulled this again he'd be sol and without a cake, lol :)

After cake Doug got to open a couple presents (his birthday was actually Sunday but we stretched it out). I got him Lewis Black's latest book, Oh Me of Little Faith. He loves Lewis and I wanted him to be able to read it over the weekend. He totally loved it :)

The rest of the night was pretty uneventful. I did have to get a lesson on how to open the tent, I've never stayed in a regular tent, just the big ones at camp. I felt pretty dumb.

Doug and I took a little walk down to the shower house and discovered that our campsite had no hot water. That made me totally sad :(

We sat around the campfire and just relaxed the rest of the night, while I went back and forth between freezing and sweating.

We went to bed about 10pm......and I proceeded to stay awake for hours. It was just too quiet, I'm so used to cars going by and semis flying over the train tracks. Geese "talking" and deer walking around outside freaked me out!

Around 12:15 I realized that I needed to run to the bathroom, this was not going to be fun - the inlaws have a small bathroom in their camper, but it required getting to it. So I struggled out of my sleeping bag/sheet combo, flipped myself off my air mattress, had a fight with the zipper and flung myself out onto the ground, grabbing my flip flops on the way. So then I managed to make it across the site without running into the picnic table or stumbling on any deer. I opened the door, stepped inside, started to walk to the bathroom and suddenly Doug's mom goes "hi". I seriously almost peed my pants, I had not expected any one to be awake! I somehow managed to make it back to the tent, unzip the flap, launch myself inside and get it zipped up. And then I was awake for another hour :(

More to come tomorrow, with pictures! I'll show you all what bags/cornhole looks like. Is anyone else familiar with this game?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My First Green Monster

This has nothing to do with the Red Sox (sorry Jess) :)

So I've seen these Green Monsters (started by Angela at Oh She Glows) around on a lot of blogs and was always kind of grossed out by the thought. Spinach? In a smoothie? No thanks.

But then Jenna started posting about how she got her boyfriend (who used to be a Taco Bell nut) to try a GM and he is now begging for them. So I figured if he could try them and like them then maybe I should just one sometime.

Well, last night I bought some spinach for tonight's Sausage and Spinach stuffed shells and I ended up with a lot of the scary green veggie left over. I say scary because I'm pretty sure that up until my first bite of pasta tonight I had never knowingly eaten Popeye's favorite food.

I was an incredibly picky eater as a kid (I'm still working on it) and pretty much refused to eat anything green. I'm happy to say that I now love many green items, but I do still have a hard time eating leafy greens. So I figured a GM was a good way to try it.

And guess what: it worked! I was really afraid to try this scary colored drink but it's actually really good! I always thought everyone was so full of it when they said "you can't taste the spinach at all!" but they were telling the truth!! My first taste all I thought was "too much banana" and then I thought "really? that's my first thought?" lol.

My Green Monster consisted of:
about 1 cup of Organic Vanilla Soy Milk
1 Small Banana
1 Teaspoon of Simply Skippy Peanut Butter
2 Frozen Peach Slices
a Handful of Spinach

I just mixed it all up in my Magic Bullet.

And it's actually really good! I think I could even add more spinach next time. I will definitely be having many more of these. They seem to be a great way to get in the foods I'm so bad about eating during the day.

And the other day Jenna said that a GM helped her headache, well I've got a killer one right now, so I'm waiting to see if it helps. I'll let you know!

I was watching Enchanted off and on tonight (after I watched Princess Diaries), so I thought I'd see if Patrick Dempsey wanted to try a GM :) This is what happens when Doug is at work all day and I'm all alone, lol.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Lesson From Mother Nature

About a week and a half ago I noticed some big popsicle wrappers flying around our neighborhood on a particularly windy day. They flew off before I could grab them and I didn't think anymore about them. Until this morning.

I walked out our front door and noticed that a nest had fallen out our tree in the wind and rain we had yesterday. Then I looked a little closer. The bird had apparently tried to use one of the popsicle wrappers as the base of its nest and I guess the bird learned that, when wet, popsicle wrappers are slick and like to move around. Hard lesson for the bird, I hope it can rebuild. I didn't see any eggs or anything, so hopefully it wasn't too big of a loss.

So, what have we learned here? Garbage makes a poor choice for home building. And plastic is slick. And that my mind is mush this lovely Friday morning. :)

Some random things for this Friday morning.

- I have a post about our camping trip last weekend coming soon, promise!

- We found a house we might like, although it has a few things I'm not thrilled about. But I'm going back to look at it again tomorrow with my parents. And I found another one I want to look at.

-My bff Sarah started a blog! I've finally corrupted her! ::evil laugh:: Check it out. She has an awesome story on there right now. And her daughter is 1. the cutest and 2. freaking hilarious, so I'm confident there will be lots of great stories on there.

- Watch for another book review sometime next week. I'm current reading a book I won from Goodreads and it's really good.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Book Review: Bright Lights, Big Ass

Bright Lights, Big Ass is Jen Lancaster's second book. I ended up really liking Bitter is the New Black, so I was really excited to read this one.

And I have to say, this one is even better! This one follows Jen as she finishes up Bitter, gets ready for the book to come out, and ultimately sees her finished product in a store. It's full of the same wit and insight as Bitter but in my opinion is even funnier.

I think I liked this one better because there isn't as much meanness (for lack of a better term) as there is in Bitter. She's much happier and has realized how evil she used to act and makes sure she doesn't do that again. There is still some snark though, so it's not boring - promise!

I thought this book was so funny that I ended up reading parts of it (ok, huge chunks) to Doug. At first I think he was a little hesitant but after the first few parts he really got into it, at one point he actually tried to get me to just read out loud because I had literally read him everything I had already read!

I'm really excited to read the next book and then the one after that, and I was really excited to see on Jen's web site that she has signed for 2 more books, yay!

So read these both, I promise they are great!

Monday, June 1, 2009

What I Read in May

May looks rather disappointing if you just look at this list quickly. I think this may be the fewest books I've read in a month so far this year. However most of these books are pretty long and took a little while to read.

Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster. I loved this book. It was so funny, witty, and smart. I'm already reading her second book, which I hope to review in the next day or so.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling. I love this book. This was actually the second time I have read this but the first time was right after it came out and I flew through it so fast I didn't remember a whole lot (which is true for the next two books also).

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling. Again loved this book. I love moody Harry, it's perfectly accurate of a moody teenager, just magnified because of everything he goes through.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling. Love this one too. This book is so intense and good! I read it the first time in about 2 days I think and tried so hard to take my time on the re-read but still flew through it in about 4 days.

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon. This is the last of the books in the Outlander series so far, An Echo in the Bone is supposed to come out in September. I loved this book. It is now definitely one of my favorites in this series. It's action-packed, intense, well written, and just one of those books that will suck you right in. I read this with Jess and Jenny and had so much fun talking about it with them. I already miss the characters and cannot wait for the next book.

So that's it, a pretty short list right? These put me at 33 out of my goal of 75 for the year. I have some fairly quick reads in mind for this month and have two (at least) planned to take with me on our camping trip this weekend (including one I won from Goodreads!). So watch for those reviews in the near future. And hopefully June's list will be longer.

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