Friday, June 10, 2011

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Mom, today I learned that grounding the kids from DVDs and computers for a week is so pleasant, I might have to look for sneaky ways to extend it...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Awesome Product: Boa Bottle Monkey

 I've had this Awesome Product in my blog waiting list for a while now. By a while, I mean...well, just see for yourself.

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Yep, that's a Christmas tree and a non-refinished dining room floor. Why have I waited this long to tell you about the Boa Bottle Monkey? Well, because I've been busy. There was Christmas...and then I refinished the dining room floor.

My failure to post this should not be misconstrued as reluctance. I LOVE this product. We don't drink a lot of soda in our house, but the times when we do, we use this product to great results.

The commercial below will give you a better idea of how this Awesome Product works. Unfortunately, it starts with the typical, As Seen on TV situation in which the spokesperson can't do someone most people can. Don't let that turn you off from the product. I know you're not usually grabbing your soda bottles from the middle and spilling them all over the table because you're reading this. Reading this shows me you know how to read, and people who know how to read are smart enough not to do that.

That said, there are still problems inherent in serving soda from a bottle, like the "glugging" that can cause spills even if you are smart enough to read or the lack of a handle, making pouring unnecessarily squirrelly. As you'll see below, the Boa Bottle Monkey fixes those problems nicely.



While I don't love the image of a little girl having ready and easy access to a caffeine filled, sugary soda, for those occasional times you want to let your kids drink soda, the Boa Bottle Monkey does, indeed, help kids pour their own drinks with less fuss and mess. That frees you up at the grill or the cake or the game of pin the tail on the donkey.

We got our Bottle Monkey for about three bucks at a local grocery store. You can find them online for about the same price. I suggest buying more than one, since most parties will have an array of different bottled drinks available for guests.

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Mom, today I learned that burned brownies still taste like brownies...mostly. When you allow yourself one sweet treat a week, that's good enough.

Look at My Dinner! Sarah's Corn Chowder

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The picture's not the best because I took it with my cell phone mere seconds before devouring this bowl full of deliciousness.  A few bites as I made this soup told me I'd done very well, so I had no desire to leave the table and track down my digital camera.  I did, however, have a desire to share this recipe with you.  Feel loved.

This soup is heavier on the carbs than dinners I usually make, but I figure that it's a fine meal for every now and then. Cheese and milk add protein.  Fresh veggies would round the meal out nicely.  My family decided they were happy to chow down on slices of the homemade bread the kids and I had made earlier in the day, and Richard had great pleasure in dipping his bread in the last of his soup (both last night and again today, for lunch.)

This is an improvised recipe.  I knew I would start it with a white sauce base, and online recipes called for cans of creamed corn to add to it.  I'm not a fan of canned vegetables when I can avoid them, so I made my own creamed corn in the blender.  Where the recipes called for cream, I substituted skim milk without any problems with flavor.  In a perfect world, I would have sauteed onions and garlic together before adding them to the soup.  I was short on time, and I have a daughter who is rebelling against onions, so to keep the peace, I settled for garlic and onion powder instead. 

The soup is super easy to make and quite tasty.  

Ingredients:
32 oz bag of frozen corn
Water
5 tablespoons butter or margarine
5 tablespoons flour
6 cups skim milk
onion powder
garlic powder
Salt
Pepper
6-8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

Submerge frozen corn in hot water and heat on low until corn is no longer frozen. Drain.  Place half the corn in a blender and reserve the rest. Add just enough water to the blender to cover corn.  Blend to the consistency of creamed corn, about a minute.  Melt butter in large pot, add flour and mix over medium heat.  Add milk and whisk well while heating over medium to high heat.  Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until sauce starts to bubble and thicken. Reduce heat to medium low.  Add creamed corn, reserved corn, and cheddar cheese. Add spices to taste stir until cheese is melted.  Serve hot.  Makes about 6-8 servings.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Adventures in bread eating.

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Mom, today I learned that 3 loaves of homemade bread last exactly 16 hours in my house, and that's just because the kids don't eat while they're sleeping.

(The first loaf is suspiciously absent from this picture. It was, in fact, consumed in about five minutes.)

Ever since I profiled the LED Toilet Seat in the Stupid Products section of this blog, I thought I'd never find a bathroom product as stupid.  I stand before you now, officially corrected.  The iPod Dock Toilet Paper Holder has cured me of my former belief.

This product is just the way it sounds.  It's an iPod dock with speakers and a handy little arm to hold toilet paper.  It can sit on a counter in your bathroom or be mounted into a wall.  At $60, it's a pricey piece of ridiculousness meant to fill a niche that probably doesn't actually exist.

Now, I've been known to take my tunes into the bathroom a time or two.  It's just that these are not the times when I require toilet paper.  Those times, I prefer to just keep things strictly business.  When I want music in the bathroom, it's generally because I'm taking a "relaxing" bath and need to drown out the sound of small fists banging on the door and disgruntled voices shouting, "Mooooooooo-ooooooom!"

So, yeah.  I understand wanting music in the bathroom.  I just don't understand the need for an iPod dock that is JUST for the bathroom.  I mean, are users going to be listening to music every time they go in there?  Do people really spend that kind of time in the bathroom?  Are people who spend that much time in the bathroom the kind of people who can afford to spend $60 on a toilet paper holder?

If I could talk to the makers of this product, I expect our conversation would go something like this:

Sarah: So, why would anyone want to buy this when they could just bring a portable iPod dock into the bathroom with them and not spend the money on this?
Ridiculous Product Maker: Well, if they had this, they wouldn't have to move their iPod dock from one location to another.  It's convenient!
S: But it's expensive!
RPM: But it has a toilet paper holder right in it!
S: But I already have one of those in my bathroom. In fact, I think it's safe to say that everyone has one of those.
RPM: But that's the beauty of it!  If you don't need the toilet paper holder, the arms fold in and disappear!
S: So, what's the big deal, then?  It's an iPod dock you could use anywhere, and I already have one of those, and I could bring that into my bathroom and save myself $60.
RPM: But it has a toilet paper holder right in it!
S: We're not going to get anywhere in this conversation, are we?
RPM: It's convenient!
S: I didn't think so.

Maybe someday I'll be rich and I'll give stuff like this another look, simply because I can.  Then, I'll put the money into savings or donate it to a homeless shelter or expand my community garden instead.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

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Mom, today I learned...oh, who am I kidding? I didn't learn anything from this picture. I just want you all to say, "Awwwwwwww!"

I found the Captain Disillusion videos when I went looking for footage of "ghosts" in the Stanley Hotel. If you remember, we were mysteriously drawn there on our way home from Texas last Christmas.  (Actually, I mistakenly thought we could drive home via that route and we ended up in Estes Park, Colorado, for the night.)

Anyway, watching Ghost Hunters videos led to watching Ghost Hunters debunk videos, and that led to Captain Disillusion. This is what happens when you watch YouTube, and it's why there are people who have been missing since YouTube was created.

Since adding all of CD's videos would take a bit more time than I have (I have to plot out at least 3 hours today to pretend to work), I've embedded my favorite. As a psych major one semester away from graduating (I'll mention that at least 4576 times before December), I love the sound psychological concepts he uses to debunk the paranormal on YouTube.

This video isn't so much a debunk as a public service announcement, and if you've ever been on the receiving end of one of those scary prank videos where a face flashes onto the screen and you lose control of your bladder and years from your life, you'll want to watch this and learn.

Then, go watch everything else he's made. :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

I guess there's not a lot of crime out in Vernal, Utah.  I imagine the police sit in their squad cars and wait for something, anything to happen, so when the Vernal police received a call that a man had entered a doctor's office with the malicious and criminal intent of paying his bill with pennies, they were more than happy to stop citing citizens for dandelions in their lawns and do some real police work.

Yes, Jason West, the hardened, violent criminal, went to the Basin Clinic in Vernal with dark thoughts in his mind.  He claims he had already paid his bill and had the bank statement to prove it.  But after going the rounds with the staff at the clinic, he'd had enough.  He would pay it again, but he wouldn't make it easy for them. He asked if the clinic would accept his payment in cash, and when they said yes, he presented them with 2500 pennies and asked for a receipt.  (The news story says he "dumped" the pennies on a desk. A comment attributed to West says he did no such thing.)

You know...the last time someone tried to pay me for services rendered, I was ready to call the police, too.  I mean, what is our society coming to when people can flagrantly walk in to local businesses and PAY THEIR BILLS?  This is an OUTRAGE!  There should be a LAW!  What are our civil servants doing to protect us from monstrous criminals like Jason West?  What's next? People sending checks in the mail?  Callers harassing companies with requests to pay over the phone?

*tears up*  *fans face*

The police, having no murderers or car thieves or abusive doctor's offices (wait...) to arrest, issued a citation for disorderly conduct to West, which could cost him another $140.  West plans to fight the citation up to and including a jury trial. I, for one, am willing to send a penny or two his way for his legal defense.

There's no word on whether or not the doctor's office ever decided to accept the cash payment from Mr. West or what became of his mountain of pennies.  No word, also, on how the dogged police officers spent the rest of their day.  My two oldest girls are currently embroiled in a dispute over a game of cards and one has vowed to call the police on the other.  I think I know exactly which police department to call.

(Thanks to Heidi S. of Portland, OR, for the tip on today's Outrageous News story.)

Evil among us...

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Mom, today I learned that supervillains aren't being very subtle anymore. Where's Batman when you need him?