Monday, April 30, 2012

the weekend that was

New sunny yellow coffee cup courtesy of Le Dollar Store

There was one lonely peep in that box, getting stale per MFD's preference

Food prep for the week, including new recipes (all clickable links):
mexican quinoa salad (I added more lime juice to taste and used tomatoes instead of corn), zucchini carrot bars with lemon cream cheese frosting (I used the zest of three small lemons in the icing), scalloped potatoes in the crockpot (I prefer them in the oven, these were just ok), and crispy greek yogurt baked chicken - make this. According to MFD, it was superb.

Zucchini Carrot Bars pre-frosting

Not turning the TV on at all on Saturday


Hausfrauing, including rendezvousing with the dishwasher what seemed like 476 times

We spend a lot of time together


Going to three stores in search of the second Fifty Shades book with no luck.
Amazon, please be speedy.


A lovely time at Uptown Stringband's 75th Anniversary Party. The energy in the room was very positive. It was a happy night.  It was great to see so many good friends, reminisce about past shenanigans, and catch up on life.


Sucked into the timeless vortex of the Uptown clubhouse until after 4:30 a.m. laughing, singing, and carrying on, which we used to do every weekend of our youth.

"It's a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning." - Jimmy Buffet

Sunday spent talking, laughing our faces off, eating a LOT of bad delivery food, and watching the Flyers win with Frank, Amanda and MFD.
Yes, we ordered all of this for four of us. It took us an hour for Amanda and MFD to decide what they wanted...and 15 minutes for me to place the order, during which time I gave my debit card info 6 times for the lady to get it right. It was a comedy of errors.

the weekend that was

I have an absolute screamer of a week this week. I will be out of the house from 6:30 a.m. until past 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Deliver me.

AND it's the last Monday of my Free Iced Coffee Mondays Dunkin Donuts card. I am bereft.

Looking for a quick, meatless weekday meal? Try this:

Adios, amigos.

Friday, April 27, 2012

In case any genies want to grant me three wishes today

I wish I had $58.6 million dollars so I could sit around reading books all day and frolicking at our beachfront estate in Strathmere, NJ. You're all invited unless I don't like you. Then you're not. 

You can't beat the sunsets

Dogs can be on the beach much more freely than in other beach towns

I wish cancer was eliminated from the earth. It is the biggest asshole around.


I wish I was eating a bagel, toasted with cream cheese and topped with cucumbers and tomato.

Yes, I wasted my last wish on something I could bring to fruition by taking the elevator down 17 floors and walking about 100 yards to the left. I was up until 2:10 reading on a school night. Obviously I'm not in my right mind.

The rhythm of the weekend, with its birth, its planned gaieties, and its announced end, followed the rhythm of life and was a substitute for it. 
~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Get some weekend, people.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Green Machine

Crouching tiger, hidden Bronco, circa May 1983
When I was young, my Dad had a green Ford Bronco. We called it the Green Machine. I remember riding around in the back seat singing along to Thunder Road and Another One Bites the Dust (a song that I now hate, but not due to my association with the Green Machine).

These days, green usually pertains to the environment. Planet-friendly. A Green Machine would be someone who kicks ass in the sustainability department. While I am not a Green Machine, I try my best to think about what I'm doing and the resources I'm using. These are some of my attempts to reduce, reuse and recycle. Please share yours with me.

1. The last time I used paper towels to clean the whole house was December 2011. In January 2012 we started using washable rags and microfiber cloths to do the bulk of our cleaning. I still use paper towels on the toilets in the bathroom, but that's it.

2. I can't remember the last time I bought paper napkins because they seem to last for an eternity, but in January 2012 we started using cloth napkins for daily use. We use paper when people are over. I feel really good about this and the paper towels because I'm not throwing out money or useless waste in the trash.
Napkins to the left, fake paper towels to the right, lucky bamboo stuck in the middle with you
3. I stopped buying bottled water. On a daily basis, I carry water in a reusable bottle. For parties, I serve water in pitchers with some lovely lemons and refill as necessary. When I buy water by the gallon it's so I can reuse the gallon to hold homemade iced coffee.

4. Our recycles outweigh our trash three to one.

5. Ninety-five percent of our light bulbs are compact fluorescent bulbs.

6. I avoid individually wrapped stuff whenever possible.

7. I use baking soda and vinegar to unclog drains instead of Drano. I use other enviro/make at home cleaners as well.

8. I pass my magazines on to my Mom so they get more than one read. She passes them along to her friend Sue, so they get more than two as well.
Magazines for mother
9. I don't receive any bills in the mail and I pay all bills online. The exception is the Philadelphia Water Revenue Bureau. Hey fools! You deal in water, which is a finite resource. Think about the trees and offer a paperless billing option, and allow people to pay online!!! I don't mean the auto-deduction you just came out with, either.

10. I use reusable bags at every store. If I don't have them in the car, I will go to the store another day or I will carry my purchases out without a bag. I only get plastic bags when I need new trash can liners or backyard poop bags.
This is actually the very first reusable bag I owned. All these years later, it still has sass. 
11. I group errands together to save on gas and carbon emissions.

12. Before throwing something out or recycling it, I think of ways I might be able to reuse it. My Pop loves to go to flea markets, and he got me a wooden popcorn bowl. I'm not using it for popcorn, but I am using it as a planter outside this year.

13. I try to eat seasonally and locally. I don't have much room ground-wise to plant veggies. I do herbs in pots every year. This year, I'm trying some veggies in pots as well. Fingers crossed I don't kill them, animals don't eat them, and dogs don't attempt to pee on them (edit from 2015: I killed them and the dogs peed on them until they died. The End.)

14. I am a heat and AC nazi. A house shouldn't be 75 in winter and it shouldn't be 65 when it's 95 degrees and humid outside. No matter how much either of those scenarios would be to our joy and comfort, it's not good for the environment. In the winter I turn the heat down, put on a sweater, and get under a blanket. In the summer I wear a tank top and shorts and resist the urge to be hot under a blanket. MFD does not subscribe to this philosophy. See previous post on Thermostat Wars.

15. I wash all clothes in cold water. Sheets and towels in warm.

I don't compost, but I think about it. Does that count? Nope.

I hope something got you thinking hey, maybe I can do that too...and I also hope you can give me something else I can do to be more environmentally friendly. We are responsible for being loyal stewards of this planet so that future generations have a planet to live on.

Have a wonderful Wednesday! Only two more days in the work week for the typical Monday - Friday crew. Make them count! Crunchy granola cha cha cha, kumbayah and earth hoo-rah,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Won't you be my neighbor?


You know that party question, if you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

Here's an off the top of my head glimpse at fictional characters and famous people I would have as neighbors, in a much larger version of Melrose Place.

Louis Skolnick from Revenge of the Nerds

Dr. Peter Venkman from Ghostbusters

Jason Bourne

Ice-T, Coco and Spartacus

Kat Stratford from 10 Things I Hate About You

Joan from Mad Men

Garrison Keillor


Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries

Brad & Jane from Happy Endings. Oh hell, Penny too. And Max. Not Alex. Ever.

Patsy Stone from AbFab

Lafayette Reynolds from True Blood

Dana Cannon from Moving Violations


Liz Lemon from 30 Rock (or just Laura, since she actually is Liz Lemon)

Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation


The Bloggess, who would of course bring along Beyonce the Metal Chicken and HER BFF Laura.

Bill Clinton

Bobby Flay

Kelly Taylor, Brenda Walsh, and Dylan McKay from Beverly Hills 90210. Minute 2:26 in the video below is one of the best lines and deliveries in the history of television. Don't step to this.

Paul Finch from American Pie

Ina Garten

MFD's additions:

Pee Wee Herman

Owen Meaney

Roger Sterling from Mad Men
Yoda from Star Wars

Fozzie Bear from The Muppets

William Wallace from Braveheart

Mango from SNL

Tom from Parks & Recreation

Neo & Trinity from The Matrix

Cameron from Modern Family


The parties would be so interesting.

Sweeping off my welcome mat,

p.s. VOTE TODAY, Pennsylvania residents!

Monday, April 23, 2012

the weekend that was

Walks and quality time with the dogs to make up for leaving them alone most of last weekend
Geege loves to roll in the grass
Sleepy Gussie

A lovely Saturday afternoon bridal shower for the next Doyle to be.
The shower called for hats. I love all occasions that call for hats.


A visit from AJ & Kim on Saturday night, along with a late night visit from mummers


Sunday afternoon shoe shopping in the comfort of Jill's house.
I saw Carol wearing these two weeks ago and am very pleased to make them mine.


Vodka rigatoni Sunday dinner with Jenn & Debbie 


Khloe & Lamar. Ice Loves Coco. A lot of both. I couldn't help it.



New recipes, all of which are clickable links - crockpot stuffed chicken (I would finish them in the oven, too dry in the crock), zucchini tots (super easy and they rocked), quinoa buffalo chicken mac & cheese (fabulous) and tortellini spring vegetable bake (excellent, using two chicken breasts, one more carrot and more mushrooms and grape tomatoes)

Quinoa buffalo mac & cheese topped with goat cheese and broiled till the cows come home

Tortellini chicken bake
Monsoon rain

the weekend that was

I am beat, people. I was hoping for more relaxation and sleep this weekend, and I didn't get them.

I am going to to be in bed by 9 tonight and asleep by 10. I keep wanting to fall asleep around 8, then I don't, and then at 10:30 I'm still reading a book. Madness.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cleaning till it shines like the top of the Chrysler Building

And if this floor don't shine like the top of the Chrysler Building, your backsides will. Y'understand?

Yess, Miss Hannigan. We love you Miss Hannigan.

I wouldn't say I like to clean. I wouldn't say I dislike it either. I recognize that personally, my existence is improved by orderly spaces, so I schedule it into my week. We also pay a lot for our home, utilities, etc., so I want it to be kept nicely. I don't subscribe to the "good moms have sticky floors, dirty ovens, and happy kids" philosophy simply because I don't think it takes much more than 15 minutes a day to keep things on the level. I know everyone is busy. I also know everyone can probably spare 15 minutes a day.

Does my house get messy when I have a particularly busy week? Absolutely. Do I want to spend my weekend setting it to rights? Absolutely not. So gradually over the past few years I've migrated to what I call a daily do, and I try to keep it to 20 minutes or less. If you don't want to spend hours every weekend cleaning, consider switching over to a daily do list.

A lot of people ask me how I get so much done in a weeknight or on the weekends. I attribute it to two things: loving to cross things off of a to do list, and a regular weekly cleaning schedule. When you clean on a rotation with regularity, you don't have to spend hours on it because it's already clean so it's basic maintenance. Things don't pile up, and nothing is a time suck unless you allow it to be one.

Here's a glimpse at how I approach hausfrauing. I hope one of these tips or tricks helps you streamline your routine.

General tips
  • Assemble what you'll need to clean before you begin.
  • Take an empty laundry basket with you - put anything in it that does not belong in the room you're in. Put these things away later, do not set about doing it immediately. That will bust up your groove.
  • Take a trash bag with you and throw out anything that needs to be discarded. Put anything recyclable in your laundry basket to drop off later.
  • Quickly put away anything that belongs in the room but is out of place.
  • Clean top to bottom. Cobwebs, dusting, vacuuming/mopping.
  • Don't dilly dally.
  • Do not get side tracked by organizational, redecorating, or deep cleaning projects. Make a note to do those things at another time.
  • If you're going to move to a weekly cleaning schedule, get up 15 minutes earlier to do your daily dos in the morning before you go to work, right when you get home while dinner is in the oven, or immediately after dinner. When it's 9 p.m., the kids are finally in bed, and Modern Family is on, you're not going to want to get up and wipe down the book shelf.

On the daily
Doing things as you're moving through your home daily will keep your weekly cleaning short and sweet.
  • Wipe down kitchen counters.
  • Wipe down bathroom sinks and toilets as needed.
  • Assess laundry situation and do it when you need to.
  • Pick up around the house and put your crap away. If it doesn't have a place, find one for it, donat it, throw it out or recycle it. Don't leave it where it doesn't belong. That's how hoarding starts, y'all.

My weekly cleaning schedule
It currently looks like this, although I adapt it often.

Monday - nada. Who feels like doing things on Monday night? Even Satan takes Monday off.
Tuesday - dust and vac living**, dining, basement (this takes about 30 minutes)
Wednesday - nada
Thursday - change sheets, dust and vac top floor (20 minutes)
Friday - Open mail.
Saturday - clean bath & powder room (20 minutes combined - MFD does the shower), wash all towels
Sunday - clean kitchen (15 minutes, unless cabinets are being deep cleaned)
**MFD usually does another vacuuming on the main floor at some point since those dastardly dogs shed like beasts. He also takes care of both sets of steps.

If I have things scheduled on weeknights, it's easy to modify a schedule. For example, last Tuesday night I had to run errands and Wednesday night I had to get my hair done. So  I dusted and vacuumed the whole house on Thursday night. Flexibility is key.

In the summer months, I push Saturday and Sunday inside chores to weekdays so I have weekend mornings to garden and do yard work before I head out in the afternoons to parties and pools.

I attend to baseboards, windows, ceiling fans, closets, and window treatments as needed.

Chores I really loathe
  • Changing the duvet
  • Anything involving trash and recyles and removing them from the house (MFD does this)
  • Wiping off the stove
  • Cleaning floors
  • Foldng and putting laundry away
I am happy to share any tips I have to make cleaning less nasty and more efficient, and I hope you'll do the same.

Coming soon: my chosen cleaning products. I know you're shivering with excitement.

Get your rags out and go go go!

Monday, April 16, 2012

the weekend that was

Errands and lunch with Grandmom Saturday

Welcome to the family, new body wash


Thankful for firefighters, volunteer and paid


Relay For Life Happy Hour at Doc's


Two Flyers wins, and oh yeah I won this jersey at the happy hour


A good reminder to be aware that swamp ass is the enemy of light colors 


Solving all the world's problems at the Mo with two of my bffs, Michelle & Debbie

Bring purses, beer and money

We really did solve an old man's problem at 1:30 a.m. when we found his dog and then found where the dog belonged. I was ready to take it home.


Tried the new Dorito loco taco. Come to mama.


Those of you who know of my aversion to any white in my sneakers will be surprised at this purchase. It's the most sneaker white I've had in eight or nine years.
And these were $20 with shipping. I love this website for their cheap shoe deals


Food prep for the week


Looking out our bedroom window and seeing Gus's bone...up in the tree. Smooth move, squirrels.


Lovely Sunday afternoon Ferko stringband concert at the Pitman Theater with Gamma and Debbie


On the Border and Target trip


Fabulous new nail polish, thank you Jill!


the weekend that was

It's going to be so nice today, working inside should be illegal.

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