Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I told you so

Jack: "I did something you won't be happy about today."

Me: "What's that?"

Jack: "I scheduled a time to get my brakes fixed."

Me: "When's that?"

Jack: "Friday."

Me: "Oh, okay. I'm off on Friday."

Jack: " 7:15 a.m."

Me: "Oh no! I'm not happy about that!"

Jack: "I TOLD you!!!"

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

This guy will make me laugh until the day I die


{I made my own sushi tonight}


{Trust me when I say it did not look as pretty as restaurant/Pioneer Woman sushi}

{These were my first}


{But they tasted just as good.}

{Jack thought they had too much cucumber}

{I think you can never have too much cucumber}

{As always, I am right}

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pioneer Precept

Today I cooked The Pioneer Woman's "Malboro Man's favorite sandwich" for lunch. I got her cookbook for my birthday, and since then, Jack has been ecstatic. I've made her pot roast. Her homemade pie crust for my tiny pies. Her Cowboy Calzones. Everything has come out perfectly, and Jack has been practically circling recipes in it like it's a toy catalog.*

As I was cooking this afternoon, Jack was in the kitchen with me, doing dishes.

"I'm supposed to put another two tablespoons of butter in here after I combine the meat and the onions?" I read from the cookbook, surprised.

"If she says to do it, you'd better do it," he responded, solemnly.

"I don't know," I replied, "it just seems like a lot of butter."

"Remember the ricotta incident?" he asked. "You didn't think we should put ricotta in the Cowboy Calzones, and then it turned out to be really good? I think you'd better just do what she says."

Then, later:

"Do you want me to put mozzarella on the sandwich?" I asked. Jack looked at me skeptically.

"Did The Pioneer Woman say to put mozzarella on it?"

I laughed.

"It's optional," I replied. "Man, you're really strict about following her directions."

"Well," he replied "has she ever failed us before?"


*He didn't write in my cookbook, lest I become violent.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

If you're happy and you know it

During a commercial break, a preview for that new horror movie, "Happy Town," came on the TV, with the "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands" song in the background. Since what we were watching was on the DVR, I started fast-forwarding to the next part of the show. The room went silent and then all of the sudden, I heard Jack clap twice.

Clap clap.

Another silence.

Clap clap.

A longer silence.

And then again, clap clap.

"You were singing the whole thing in your head, weren't you?" I asked.

"Yeah, didn't you see the smile on my face during the 'your face will surely show it' part?" he replied.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I did not see that coming.

Before Awana this week, a little girl got up to open club with prayer.

"Dear Jesus," she prayed earnestly. "Thank you for this day, and that we get to come to Awana..."

It's so sweet to hear kids pray, I thought to myself.

"...and please help my friend Megan get better..."

Aww, how sweet. She's praying for her sick friend.

"...because her chinchilla bit her in the face. Amen."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

In which you fall in love with my husband

Blink. Blink. Blink.

That's my cursor. Mocking me. Well, not anymore. Since I'm typing now. You know how that works.

There are so many things to blog about, but for some reason, I can't get it done. Most of the stories I have in mind don't have endings, which makes for a really terrible blog entry. And things get it the way. Digital scrapbooking. Blog designs I haven't done yet for really nice people who donated to my BikeMS ride. Anniversaries. Work.

Oh, work.

The other night, I was talking to Ellyn on the phone and she was talking about all the drama drama drama in the blog world, and the hateful comments you get when you write a controversial post. And then she was like "oh yeah, I forgot, you don't write about anything."


She was referring to my stand against "transparent" blogging. Because regardless of how popular it is to share every little dirty detail of my life with the internet, I choose not to. Some things in my life are sacred and shouldn't be blogged about.

And other things in my life? Can get me fired and shouldn't be blogged about.

Okay, that's a little dramatic. I didn't do anything that can get me fired. But I have come to realize that any drama I have in my life has to do with struggles in my marriage or at work, and there are good reasons not to blog about both of those things, even though they're all "Woe! Woe is me!"

But I can't stay on "woe" too long, of course. Because, life, it's good. And my friends, the ones who pick me up when I fall flat, they're really, really good.

And that husband of mine, he's quite a catch himself.

Exhibit A:

Want to hug him, don't you? Yeah, me too.

On Saturday afternoon after Jack got home from work, he had a plan in mind.

"Pack a bag," he said.

"Pack a bag?" I responded, quizzically. "What for?"

"We're going away," he said, simply.

I packed a bag, asking a million questions for which I received gibberish answers.

"Where are we going next?" I asked.

"It's none of your business." he answered.

"Are we coming back home after dinner?" I asked.

"Raaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrr!!!!" he answered.

Clearly, this line of questioning wasn't getting me very far.

As it turned out, he planned a night out at a nice brand new hotel in our town, complete with dinner at Fogo de Chao and a dessert of chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne in the room.


The nice thing about the evening was that we were close enough to home that we could go home and grab anything we needed (like, my book) and far enough away that I got to forget just how dirty my house really was. (And it was.)

I felt very spoiled. I was very spoiled.

And then, after we got back to our 7th floor suite (Did I mention it was a 750-square-foot suite with a living room, dining room, separate bedroom, and insanely huge bathroom? Cause, it was.), it started snowing. On the first day of spring. I blame that on the fact that I planted flowers the day before. And ha, ha, ha, God, you got me again. Nice sense of humor.

So after Jack looked like this:

I watched this:

Because it's not often you get that kind of view for that kind of art.

(Before and after)

And then there was a wonderful breakfast together as we looked out at all the snow. And Jack was pretty perturbed by the fact that kids outside were touching the snow and OMG NO IT'S NOT GOING TO BE PRETTY ANYMORE IF THEY DO THAT! (Read: Crazy person)

But then we had to go home, where we had to clean a house instead of having everything cleaned for us. Sigh.

But I'll take this really messy "happily ever after" over any others, that's for sure.


Last year: Dinnerversary
2 years ago: Married!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy Spring!

It's Spring on the blog! Finally. See, Lori? It's not Valentine's Day any more. Told you I'd get around to it sometime.

So, my external hard drive crashed. AGAIN. That's the one I keep all my pictures, video, blog designs, and digital scrapbook stuff on. Fortunately, I had backed up the pictures and videos and didn't lose any of those.

The digital scrapbook stuff, however? Crashed and burned. The last time I backed it up was in November. And if I hadn't just bought a bunch of new kits and organized everything all pretty-like, it wouldn't be quite so heart-breaking, but it looks like I lost about 46 kits. I'm in the process of asking the designers from whom I bought them if I can re-download, but I feel like an idiot and I don't even know if they'll give them back, since they don't have to and all. (Big thank you to Chrissy W Digital, Ramona , and Kelly for doing extra work to let me re-download their stuff!) Also, a bunch of the kits I lost are the same ones I lost last time, so I'll have to ask my CT designers for the same kits again. Which, again, Mandy = moron.

But there are worse things in life.

Like not having a flower bed to do any gardening this beautiful spring. But guess what! I wouldn't know anything about that, because, behold:

A blank canvas!

We spent all day Sunday making this one tiny side of the front yard look like this. It's something I've been dreaming of for years. Having a flower bed instead of a mass of ugly, tangled stumps and roots. And trust me when I tell you that it was a serious mess.

Exhibit A:

The part above my hand was the part of the root that was showing above ground. The part below my hand? Was what we pulled out from under the ground.

20 years of letting it grow will do that, I guess.

Some people might dig them out, or cut them off and kill them, or hire somebody to do whatever it is they do, but we? Had one of these:

This is my dad's cherry-picker from his shop. And it is a MONSTER. An amazing, God-sent monster. It took this root:

...and pulled it all the way here:

In case you're wondering, that's Jack using the shovel to make sure my mom doesn't get hit in the face with the chain when the root inevitably snapped. Chivalry.

She and my dad were a lot of help:

But she?

...was no help at all.

Aren't dogs supposed to want to dig?

Guess not. But even without Maggie's help, we were still pretty happy with the result.

The very dirty...

...very very sore...

...perfect result.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Twenty Four

I don't want these things to get buried:
Help Ellyn keep her house in exchange for a chance to win prizes (like a blog makeover from me!)
Sign up for my brother's NCAA pool to support the MS Society
Buy digiscrap stuff from Jacabean designs this week to support the MS Society


My birthday was last week, and I had every intention of writing some kind of deep, introspective post that day, but as it turns out, I didn't make time to write a post. So here I am, another year older and nothing to show for it. At least, nothing to show for it on my blog.

Actually, I have plenty to show for it. Right now, my life looks pretty bright. I almost feel guilty about how great my life is when some of my friends are in such great pain, but I'm learning to take the blessings I'm given when I get them, because there are no guarantees that they'll be around forever in this life.

Blessings like being crazy about my husband and him being crazy about me. The times we run down the aisle of grocery stores with our cart or laugh until we cry about some stupid thing nobody else would think is funny. The way his hand slips so naturally into mine as we walk across a parking lot and the fact that he sings right along with me and the RENT soundtrack as we drive around with the sunroof open on a Sunday afternoon. Being the whisper-secrets-and-giggle-together kind of friends and spending all our time being glad we're together. This is definitely the "better" in the "for better or worse" and I'm sure as heck not going to let it pass by without noticing.

Blessings like somehow having the exact career that I've always wanted where I work with people who I actually want to be around all day long. The part where I actually get excited about solving a boring techincal problem and the fact that I can be proud of the videos and broadcasts I publish. The fact that I don't mind the days when I have to go in early and stay late because it means that I'll have something to show for my day. The fact that I'm able to earn a paycheck when so many are out of work or unable to work.

Blessings like the bigger-than-we-really-need house we live in that is truly a home, clutter, dirty dishes, un-vacuumed floors, dirty bathroom mirrors and all.

Blessings like the family that lives close enough to dog-sit anytime we want and give up their Sundays to dig in our flower-bed all day when they probably had better things to do. Or the other part of the family that lives really far away and still helps you raise money for your BikeMS ride in really fun ways. Or the other part of the family that comes into town to help you fix up your house all the time and sends you the coolest printer EVER for you birthday that prints, like, a million pages a minute.

I could go on. Because there are a lot. I don't know what I thought my life would look like at 24 years old. But whatever I had pictured, it was probably little off.

Because I couldn't have imagined that it would be this good.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It's a Love-a-Thon!! (Blog makeover giveaway!)

Hey, Mandy and Sarah here. You may know us better as Ellyn's friends, but that's just fine with us. Cause truthfully, it's pretty rare to find a friend like Ellyn, and we are both privileged to have found her in this crazy space called blogland.

She doesn't think she's strong, (even after losing her precious Eli, raising funds to allow her deaf fourth-born to hear and surviving a divorce that was just finalized this week), but she's far too strong to ever ask for this kind of help. Well, that's what friends are for, right?! We're happy to ask on her behalf (and, by the way, she has no idea we are doing this)!

In order to stay in her home, the only home Seth has ever known, she needs to raise $2,400 by the end of the month. If you don't know her story, and why she is in danger of loosing the family home, just click here. But we're warning you: you will fall head-over-heals in love!

To keep this little fundraiser completely legal, you will not be donating money in exchange for raffle tickets. Simply donate (any amount helps), and then comment to tell us you have done so. I'm giving away a blog makeover, and Sarah is giving away four Jared Anderson CD's. If you are interested in the blog makeover (and I know you are!), comment on this post. If you are interested in some rockin' praise music (and why wouldn't you be?), comment on Sarah's. If you're interested in both, comment on both!
Wanna help more?! Of course you do!

If you'd like to place this Chip-in on your blog and offer your own prize to commenters, just let Sarah know. She'll put you on a list so that all Love-a-thon participants will have a chance to enter your giveaway as well!

We have two weeks to raise the necessary funds. Let's see if we can do it in one!

Fabulous, wonderful, amazing people who are also on the list of giveaways:

Check out Renee's giveaway at Mi Querida Familia!!
Check out Chrissy's giveaway at God's Sweet Gift!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fun Thing #2

Today is my birthday, and for today's fun thing we went to "Alice in Wonderland." It ended up being WAY better than I thought it would be. I'm not a big Tim Burton fan, but I actually enjoyed this one quite a bit. Maybe it's because I looked so cool in my 3D glasses.

Here's the video blog to prove that we went:

Eric's video blogs for Days 1 and 2 from Israel are up here. Slightly more interesting material, I must say.

A really nice birthday present

I absolutely love working with Jackie on her Creative Team. Her designs are fabulous, but even more than that, she's just super-nice and fun to work with.

Case in point, she's doing this for me this week:

She's donating all her sales to my BikeMS ride! (I DIDN'T EVEN ASK HER TO DO IT!) How sweet is that? So please, go check out her store. You'll find some REALLY great kits there. Here are a few of my favorites (all images are linked):

Happy shopping!

Also - 100% of my Blogs by Mandy proceeds are still going to the MS Society through tomorrow, so make sure you let me know you want one before then!

You can find the link to my BikeMS page here!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fun thing #1

Several of my co-workers are in Israel right now for a work trip. The ministry for which I work takes a trip there every few years and the pastor gives a tour of many of the places Jesus walked. It's the trip of a lifetime, I'm sure.

Last week, Joel and Eric, the guys in our group who were going to go, sat all the rest of us down very seriously with an assignment.

"We have something we need you to do while we're gone," Joel explained solemnly, "and it's very important that you do it."

We listened carefully as he explained that we needed to appoint an "ambassador of fun," or have a contest between ourselves to decide who it would be. Our ambassador was to schedule five fun activities to complete during the two weeks they would be gone. These activities would have to be documented and sent to Joel and Eric in Israel as proof that we are completing our assignment, and well, I'm the blogger and therefore the documenter, so I'm obligated to report activity number one (and most likely all subsequent activities as well):

And if you just can't get enough of us, here's another video of Eric and Sharon putting in the last piece of our puzzle the other day. Yes. We have a puzzle at work. Yes. We realize how dorky we are.

Also, Eric will be putting together a video blog from Israel as well, if you're interested. He'll post there every day. But seriously, it can't possibly be as interesting as our "look, we played Wii and finished a puzzle" video blogs, right? Ha. Ha ha ha ha.

I will leave you with a few pictures from today, Eric and Joel, in case the video was not evidence enough of fun thing #1:

Monday, March 8, 2010

My mom's Multiple Sclerosis story

This week is National MS Awareness week (and 100% of my Blogs by Mandy profits are going to the National MS Society this week, by the way.) I realize most of you probably don't know people with MS, so let me introduce you to my mom, who has it so, so, so much better than most people with MS.

If you feel inclined, you can donate to my ride here (for my birthday!) - I really appreciate it!!

Ps - Please disregard how dorky I am in this video. Turns out, I can't edit that out.


Jack and I were standing eye-to-eye, when he placed his forehead against mine.

"Head-butt!" he said, clearly in a silly mood.

He angled his head up a little so our noses touched.

"Nose knock!" he announced.

I giggled as he angled his head up again and stole a kiss.

"Lip lock!" he said with a grin.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Coupon crime

There's really only one good thing about sports.

Thanks to the trend toward "brand everything everything everything and get all the advertising dollars you can," we, the fans, could look forward to a few perks along with all the intrusive promotions. A free t-shirt thrown by a skanky girl from the "dance" team. A coupon on the back of your ticket. A free trinket with a company name on it. And in the best games, a portion of the game that offered an incentive for the home team doing well.

For example, when the Rangers score in the eighth inning, everyone gets a coupon for a free taco at Taco Bueno. FREE TACO!

One time, I went to a Texas Rangers game with my Canadian friend, Darlana (the one in the shoe game video), and the usher man who was assigned to our section was a very friendly grandfatherly man who took great interest in the two of us, but more specifically, my ponytail. I'm not sure why he liked it so much, but he did. He talked about how he wanted to play with it (I know how weird that sounds, but really, he wasn't creepy).

So, the eighth inning rolled around, and as usual, they announced that it was the free taco inning. If the Rangers scored, I would be enjoying a free taco. Free! Taco! Does that excite anybody else? No? I know I'm not the only one out there motivated by food and great deals, people. Fess up.

Anyway, I cheered as only a true lover of free tacos could cheer. I participated in the wave. I prayed a little prayer. Did a rain dance. I wanted it. I needed it.

And you know what? They didn't deliver. I don't have to tell you what a letdown that was.

We started talking to our friendly usher man, asking him about the coupons that he had had ready but didn't hand out. What did they do with them? Would they miss them if, maybe, they ended up in the hands of a girl with a great ponytail?

"Oh, we have to return them right away if they don't score," he explained. "They even count them because they've had problems with the coupons being given out when they weren't supposed to be before."

Darlana leaned over to me.

"I'll be he would give you a free taco if you let him play with your hair," she joked.

I tilted my head and thought for a moment.

"Yeah," I replied thoughtfully, "I could be a hair whore for a free taco."

She laughed until she cried at that response, and to this day it is still one of her favorite memories of us together.

All this to say - I'm really serious about my sporting events. As you can see. At least, I'm really serious about the times when I'm personally going to benefit from how well they do.

In the third period of the minor-league hockey game we went to tonight, they announced that if our team scored a goal in the first minute of the third period, our tickets would get us 50% off our Saxby's Coffee purchase.

I perked up at this. Like, a lot. Because not only do I love a good deal as motivation to actually pay attention to a game, we have begun a rather passionate love affair with Saxby's. After almost every date, we treat ourselves to a cup of coffee (used to be at Starbucks), and then get to sit and talk. Since we discovered Saxby's, we haven't wanted to go anywhere else. They have a Snickers Latte. And a Milky Way one. And oh my cow, almost any other candy bar you can think of. It's 800 calories of pure love.

Jack was skeptical about our ability to obtain this discount.

"Only the first minute?" he challenged. "We're not going to make that."

But I had hope. I knew we could do it. And as soon as the play began, I cheered as I never cheered before. I watched with suspense as the puck as it passed from player to player, and all of the sudden a member of our team had it and was gliding down the ice. In one graceful motion, he brought his stick back, aimed, and took his shot. We held our breath as we watched the puck slide across the ice... right into the goal.

The entire stadium lit up, sirens went off, and Jack and I both screamed and shot our hands into the air, then embraced. WE DID IT! In the first thirty seconds, no less! We would only pay half price for our coffee! It was exhilarating.

I spent the rest of the game cheerfully visiting with Jack and our friends. At one point I looked up and saw that they had forgotten to put our point up on the board, but well, it was the minors. The audio had also been off the whole time.

All of the sudden, we heard the announcer declare that we were going in to overtime.

Jack and I looked at each other, confused. Overtime? But, our team just got its second point in the Saxby's period! It was 2 to 1!

I googled Saxby's phone number and called them, causing Jack to put his head in his hands and stiffle a laugh. I thought it perfectly reasonable to call them. If anybody would know if we got 50% off our coffee tonight, it would be them. A perky girl answered the phone.

"Hi, I'm sitting at the hockey game, and they scored a goal during the Saxby's period, but now they're in overtime and I'm confused and scared," I blurted out all at once.

"Yeah," she said "we got a call from them saying they got it, and then we got another call later saying they didn't get it after all."

"But... I was so excited about it," I said. She laughed, not really sure what to say next to the crazy hockey lady on the phone.

"I'm really sorry," she said.

Jack spent the next thirty minutes laughing at me even though I know he knew I was distraught over my loss. I was in pain. I was grieving.

But he kept telling all of our friends that I was upset because I didn't get my coupon. And they all looked at me like that was an over-reaction, and I was all "What? WE SCORED A GOAL. IT'S ONLY RIGHT."

And despite my incredibly logical arguments, Jack refused to take me seriously when I told him that it was a moral issue, and I really felt like I should write a letter to someone about this egregious situation they had put us in. Quite frankly, I'm shocked that the crowds weren't rioting.

Opening the door to my car, he asked me if I still wanted to go get coffee.

"Sure," I looked back at him with a little smile. "Let's go to Starbucks."

Friday, March 5, 2010

A non-ranty Awana story

Yesterday at game time, I told the girls that at Awana Games (the big multi-church Awana competition), the rule was that if they crossed the red line while the game was going on, our team would be disqualified for that round.

One of the little girls, H, really took the rule to heart and not only followed it religiously, but also policed the toes of others on the team.

"Ms. Mandy! K just crossed the line!" she pointed out, urgently.

"That's okay. It's really hard to remember not to cross the line, and that's why we practice. We're going to make mistakes sometimes," I replied with a smile.

"You know what we need?" H said, thoughtfully.

"What's that?" I asked.

"You should bring a laser. And set it up along the red line. And when people cross the line, it could like, shock them." she suggested.

I stiffled a laugh.

"That's a very interesting idea," I said "but I'm fresh out of child-electroshocking lasers."

"Too bad," she replied. "It could be really effective."

Old lady rant of the day

Last night, I had a dream. It was not nearly as profound as MLK's dream, but still, there it was. A dream.

Don't you love it when people blog about their oh-so-interesting dreams? Yawn. But regardless of how boring dream-posts are, it is my blog and here you are, reading it. Completely at my mercy. (Muah ha ha)

So the dream. I was at Awana, which was, for some reason, out on a country road. Because that's a normal place to hold Awana.

Anyway, I had two kids who just would not listen to me. One of them was Ashlyn, my little neighbor (who, ironically, in real life, has never disobeyed an adult, like, ever), and another was a girl I made up in my head, I guess. Every couple of minutes, they would run out into the road, after I specifically tell them not to. I would freak out on them and yell and tell them not to do it, and then 30 seconds later, I would see them running right back out into the road.

Seriously, how do parents not have more heart attacks!?

Eventually, I put both of the kids in the back of the SUV (you know, the random one that was sitting out there by the Awana country road) and told them that I would not be giving them their Awana bucks tonight because of their behavior.

Dun dun duuuuuunnnnn.

Ashlyn hung her head and looked all forlorn, apologized for her behavior, and ceased all the running into the road business. But the other one? The made-up kid? Looked me square in the eyes, and said:

"That's fine. I can just steal them later when you're not around."

My jaw dropped at her bold, uninhibited defiance. And that's when I woke up.

I can just steal them later when you're not around?

The confidence. It was haunting.

The sad thing about this dream is that I know exactly where it came from. Ever since I started Awana again last year, I have been shocked over and over at just exactly how defiant kids can be. Not all the kids, mind you, but a much larger percentage than I would have expected.

When I was their age (Bah! Where's my shawl? My cane? My bran?), I remember the sheer terror and mortification I felt whenever I got called out by an adult, especially one other than my parents. You can bet your osteoporosis medication that I sure as heck didn't do the thing I got in trouble for again. EVER.

And I can't help but wonder... Is this a generational thing, or was I just an exceptional child?

Maybe a little of each.

Ha. Ha ha ha. Anyway.

My point is: what is wrong with children these days? Over and over, I tell kids to do specific things, or not do specific things, and they look me in the eye and do the opposite. WHAT IS THAT?

(I'm afraid I already know the answer to this.)

I had a girl* last night in Awana who insisted on sitting on the stairs to the side of the game circle instead of standing on the line. I even gave her the option to sit on the line. And yet, every time I turned around, there she was, sitting on the stairs. When I confronted her about it, I got a blank stare and a "whaaaaaaa?"

I know you are smarter than you're letting on, kid.

Also. ALSO. The same girl had candy in her bag, and at the beginning of game time I saw her getting it out, and told her that we couldn't have candy in game time. I thought it a reasonable request, since, you know, she could DIE.

Toward the end of game time, I looked over and saw, shocker, the girl had a lollipop in her mouth. Just like that. I went to her and asked her why she opened her candy. She gave me a blank look.

"Uhh. I don't know." she said. "I wanted it."

"Do you remember when I told you that you were not allowed to get your candy out during game time?" I asked, outwardly calm.

"Uhhh," she paused, and repeated her same tried-and-true response. "I don't know."

Yes you do! You looked me in the eye and said "awwwww, man!" when I told you "no" the first time! GARRR!!!

"J, I did. I did tell you you weren't allowed to have candy during game time, and you went and you got it anyway. So because you disobeyed, now you have to throw the sucker away."

She looked at me like I had just kicked her puppy.

"But whhhhyyyyyy?" she protested.

Um, for all the reasons I just said. 

I realize this is what kids do. They have tiny little sinful minds of their own and they disobey. And I know that I only have to deal with that for two hours a week and most of you who read this blog deal with it 24/7.

But at the same time, I am frustrated by the fact that I have no power to change these kids' behavior. They come to me having already learned what discipline looks like, and I hate to say it, but not many of them are influenced by the discipline they receive. Or rather, they are very influenced by the lack of discipline they receive.

And do you know what tiny little selfish devil-children turn into? Big ugly selfish adults, that's what.

And I know, I'm going to get "you're not a parent! you don't know what it's like!" comments, but whatever.  Kids whose parents don't discipline them turn into bad kids.

So next time you want to just let your kid's behavior go, just that once, because you've had it up to here, think about the D-bag at the coffee shop who cuts in line while talking loudly on his cell phone. That's who your kid's going to turn into.

*This is not a bad kid. She is very nice. But at the same time, she disobeys so openly that it is frightening. And no, she is not the only one. Just an example.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A good day

Today is March 3. March 3 is a great day for the Hornbuckles.

On March 3, 2007, Jack asked me to be his wife. Obviously, I kind of enjoyed that. Since I said "yes" and all. (And this was the day I started blogging! You're welcome, internet.)

On March 3, 2008, I started my job at the company where I work. Since then, I've learned a ridiculous amount more than I knew before and formed some wonderful friendships with my co-workers.

March 3, 2009 wasn't anything spectacular, but I did make a diaper cake and see a nice sunset, so I can't complain too much about that.

March 3, 2010? Well, I'm not sure what it has in store for me yet. Since it's just starting and all. Good things, I hope.

But one thing I do know is that it has good things in store for you.

I'm sure you know by now that I've become fond of digital scrapbooking. Well, in the last couple of days, I've become even MORE fond of digital scrapbooking templates. Oh, the convenience. They are so very nice. I was afraid of them at first, but after reading this tutorial, I realized how very, very easy they really are. Just put the paper/photo on top of the layer you want to replace it with, give it a Control+G, and you're done! I can literally make pages using templates in minutes. Beautiful.

So the next step was to actually design a template for you to use. There are quite a few page design templates out there, but I have yet to see blog header templates. So I'm going to start making them. Why not? Then, you can use them to make your own super-cool headers!

Here's my first one:

And guess what! You can download it for free here! Yes, I know. I am so very, very, generous. Yay, me! (har har har).

But wait! That's not all!!

For those of you who want a pretty blog but don't feel like designing it/learning how to design it yourselves, I have some exciting news.

I design blogs!!

I know. You all knew that already. But what you might not have known is that next week (March 8-14) is MS Awareness Week. Not aware of what MS is? Then it's a good thing we have a whole week to tell you, isn't it?

MS stands for Multiple Sclerosis, and my mom has it. Every year, I ride BikeMS to raise money for the National MS Society, which helps people with MS and funds really important research for treating, and hopefully curing MS.

Know what else is next week? My birthday. You'd think I'd have some shame and not bluntly throw it out there like that, but the fact is that I freaking love my birthday. I take the entire month for it. What's not to like? There are presents! People I like come to see me! People write on my Facebook wall! I GET ATTENTION! (I know, you're shocked. I like attention and presents. Sue me.)

And you know what I like for my birthday? I like donations to my BikeMS ride. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy and makes all the work Lucy and I are going to do in May worth it. (And trust me when I tell you that it takes a lot to make that worth it.)

This post is getting long, so I'm going to cut to the chase and give you some simple math here:

National MS Awareness week
+ Mandy's birthday week
+ Liking donations for my BikeMS ride
+ Designing Blogs
 = 100% of the profits for next week's blog orders going straight to the MS Society.

That's right. Anything you order between now and March 14 goes straight to the MS Society. In fact, when you order, I'll have you just make the donation straight to my donation page, and it will even be tax deductible for you. A TAX DEDUCTIBLE BLOG DESIGN! WEEEEE!

So please visit the order form and order your new blog! Now.

I mean, I don't mean to be pushy, but yeah. Do it now.

(By the way, if you don't want a new blog design, you can still donate. Just sayin'. It is my birthday and all.)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pot roast pioneer

Once upon a time, my buddy Rachel recommended this pot roast recipe from The Pioneer Woman. I finally found a pot roast on sale this weekend, so I decided to make it tonight.

On the way home from work, I stopped by Market Street and grabbed the carrots, onions, and olive oil I would need to complete the super-perfect pot roast dinner. I was going to make Florence Nightengale look like the freaking Octomom, this pot roast was going to be so good.

The cashier started scanning my items and I made my way to the credit card swipey thing (yes, that is indeed the technical name for it), digging through my purse in search of my wallet. Wallet...wallet...wa...oooooohhh crap. Not again.

You see, the fact that I didn't have my wallet shouldn't have been a surprise to me. Because just six hours earlier, the same thing had happened at the restaurant where I was picking up my lunch, so my co-worker had to buy my lunch. Because I'm a giant idiot who can't remember to transfer all my stuff from one purse to another.

So I left my stuff there with the poor checkout girl at Market Street and walked out. Jack was not happy when I told him that.

"We hated those people!" he said, having been a Kroger employee all throughout high school and college.

Well, that's really too bad, but it was either that or just grab everything off the counter and run like crazy.

Anyway, eventually I did legally obtain the ingredients for the dinner, and I went home and began to cook it while texting with Rachel for support because REAL INGREDIENTS!? OH THE PRESSURE!!

But I did it. Everything was prepared by 8:30 so I started putting the pot roast into the oven.

Let's see... how long is it supposed to go in? One hour? Two? Um, nope.

"Put the lid on, then roast in a 275-degree oven for 3 hours"

Three hours. That puts us at 11:30. Usually Jack and I eat dinner at about 10 or 10:30. Ut oh.

So I take it out of the oven when he gets home, set the lid to the side, and tested the meat. Not ready yet. I picked the lid back up to put it on the pot and... OOOWWWWWWWWWW!! Holy searing hot ridiculousness, Batman!!

Lesson #3 of the day (the first two being "remember your wallet when you leave the house, dummy," and "hey moron, check the cooking directions before you start the meal"): When a metal lid has been in the oven for two hours, do not touch it with your bare hands. Because pay attention now, it's hot. I KNOW. You learn something new every day.

When I took it out of the oven an hour later, it was cooked, but not as tender as I would have preferred. At that point, though, Jack had already been chewing on the furniture for a half hour, so I had to let him eat. He was pretty excited about that, and he made what he called "pot roast burrito" using the onions as the "tortillas."

(This amused him far more than is socially acceptable.)

It ended up being a great recipe, and I will be making it again (except I'll leave myself enough time to actually roast it in the oven next time!). Though let's be honest. The presentation?

Wasn't exactly the same.