Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nineteen millions to call my own

Check out the nugget that came to my inbox yesterday:

FROM: Mr.Liu Yan
Bank of China Ltd.
13/F. Bank of China Tower
1 Garden Road,
Hong Kong.

To whom it may concern:

I have a transaction of mutual benefits, which I like to share with you. It involves an amount of Nineteen millions Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars only,in our Bank, which I like to acquire with your help and you will be compensated adequately as your commission.

If you are interested please reply instantly with your contact information and forward your telephone number so we may discuss and I shall provide you with the details of this transaction.

If interested send your response to my personal email address:

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Mr.Liu Yan.

I cannot wait to get my hands on my nineteen millions United State dollars. This SO has to be real. I mean, he's a bank officer. Look at his email. You can't have those words in your email address unless it's true. People don't lie. Ever. I've already forwarded all my personal information, credit cards, and bank account numbers, plus those of my friends and family. I cannot wait to get my nineteen millions United State dollars.

When I get it, the first thing I'm going to buy is a giant Santa blow up globe to put on my front lawn. You can come visit and see it. I'll use my nineteen millions United States dollars to fly you here.

This is going to be the best Christmas ever.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Good hair day

So day one of Operation: De-junk that Trunk went well. I logged my calories eaten at 1,400 on this website, and was disappointed to wake up this morning and not have lost eight pounds. I figured surely because I withstood eating the donuts at pack meeting last night that I would be due a big reward on the scale. Oh well, I'll try to accept that it won't happen overnight and keep slogging away at the lard on my thighs. I do promise to not make this a testimony meeting/sappy blog journal pertaining only to food deprivation. I'm far too narcissistic for that. But if you want to check in now and then, send me an email and we can chew the fat, about my fat.

So right now I'm heading out to try and find a new dress for The Husband's work party this weekend. I had planned to rake the leaves in our yard today, but decided not to on account of the fact that I'm having a really good hair day. And it's windy outside. And I already got sweaty this morning on the treadmill. So I'll carefully tiptoe through the mall, trying not to muss my once-in-a-lifetime good hair day, and wish you all happy Wednesday. Anyone have a hair net I can borrow?

I told you I was narcissistic.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Operation: Dejunk that Trunk

I am not quite sure, but somewhere between October 25 and November 27, I think there was a little bit of eating. And some tasting. Maybe a teensy bit of snacking. And possibly (though I won't admit it freely) some gorging. And as a result, I woke up this morning and saw this happening in my mirror:

So it has come to the point where I put the brakes on the eating and start to back up this buffet train before it crashes into McDonald's and never comes out.

What is a little frightening to me is that I actually do exercise six days a week. I have not missed more than a day or two for probably three years. I run 3-5 miles every morning. I am sure that is the only reason I have not put on 20 pounds this month.

Can you just imagine would I might be looking like today if I WASN'T exercising?

So here's the new plan, for a new me:
  1. No sweets. (I know, you can hear the Hostess factory screaming, "Noooooooo!!!" all the way from here).
  2. Chocolate only once a month (and you ladies know when that becomes a necessity).
  3. Small portions.
  4. Healthy meals.
  5. Snacks will consist of a fruit and/or low-fat protein.
  6. Nothing will cross my lips but water after seven p.m.
With any luck, before the new year, I will look less like this:

And more like this:

Anyone care to join me in this endeavor? It's always so much easier to suffer the misery of dieting with someone else. We could have our own little blogging diet support group.

Anyone? Anyone?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Going off the grid

We spent Thanksgiving in the middle of Amish country, Ohio. It was just idyllic. We met this family and stayed in these sweet, charming cottages set in the middle of several large farms. This was our backyard:
This was our front yard:
This was the local version of heavy traffic:

This was our hilarious, late-night game-playing, nut-eating company:

Here is what we did (when we weren't busy eating and fire building, of course):

It turned out to be a technology-free weekend. We had no cell phone service, no landline, no internet access. We drove 30 miles to a neighboring town to see a movie (Enchanted - LOVED it!), which oddly enough was a mere two dollars per person (yes, really. I tried to correct the cashier that, no, I wasn't only buying ONE ticket, I needed FIVE. And she said that ten dollars WAS the price for five tickets. I about died).

The kids spent their time hiking in the woods, paddling around on the lake, and chasing a three-legged dog we called Tripod. Tripod had a dog friend that the kids named Little Dog. Little Dog had all four legs, but sometimes only walked on three. We think he didn't want Tripod to feel bad, so he chose to ignore his fourth leg. He's a good friend like that.

Our Thanksgiving meal was spent at the only restaurant in town - The Swiss Chalet. It was such a treat to not have to cook. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it IS possible to sit down for a Thanksgiving dinner and not already be full from all the tasting that happens during cooking. It was nice to finish eating and know that I could walk away, and have no mess to clean up.

It was bliss. I was so sorry to have to leave it and come home.

Upon returning to civilization, the only problem has been convincing The Husband that he does not really want to be Amish. He was loving the no-shaving, live-off-the-land, horse-and-buggy lifestyle. He's ready to go off the grid.

I keep reminding him that for me to go off the grid with him would require at the very least a Target, a telephone, a cell phone, internet access, TIVO, and the blog. All of which pretty much makes up the grid.

Fortunately for me, there are no t.v. football games when you're off the grid. Especially games like this one.

Turns out, convincing him wasn't that hard after all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Gluttony Day

Just packing and laundering - getting ready to head out of town to spend our holiday with this family that we love. Hope you all eat until you have to undo that top button on your pants, and then sit around with a bottle of Tums and recount your blessings (as I will be doing). Not sure how much blog access I will have in the remote corner of America we're heading to, but I'll be back to regale you with my exciting tales on Sunday.

Adios, amigos.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving Teepee Cupcakes

Since I still have traffic flocking to my little blog looking for photos of Martha nekkid, I thought I'd offer a little Stie-invented / Martha-esque craft so as not to disappoint the pervs when they get here. Plus, this little ditty might be useful to some of you non-porn seekers.

So without further use of the word porn, I present to you: My Thanksgiving teepee cupcakes. I made them for the cub scouts, but they are equally functional as a centerpiece or place card holder for your thanksgiving table.

You will need a package of sugar cones, a cake mix, and an aluminum disposable baking pan.

Mix the cake mix according to package directions. (Or if you're one of those annoying people who only make things from scratch, then mix up your hoity-toity cake batter.)

Take a disposable baking pan, turn it upside down, and cut a few holes in it with scissors. You'll need this to stabilize the cones while they bake. It's funny, but you just can't put the pointy end of a triangle in a pan and expect the triangle to stand up. I don't know why that is, but it just is. So the powers that be require us to find a creative way to bake these little teepees. Stupid laws of physics.

Now pour a few tablespoons of batter in each sugar cone. You don't need very much. You'll want some room at the top for the cake to rise. If you fill it all the way up, it will explode on you and make a big mess on the bottom of your oven that will stink every time you turn on the oven. Not that I'd know anything about that, ahem. So just a little bit, okay?

Then bake at 350 degrees for about ten minutes. You'll have to keep an eye on these in the oven. They like to tip over. I reached my hand into the oven a few times to right the ones that toppled over. I have super powers which allow me to do that. You should probably use an oven mitt.

The cones get a little brown around the edges, but they still taste delicious. Eat a few when the kids aren't looking if you don't believe me. Especially while the cake is still warm. Mmmmmmm.

Once the teepees have cooled for a few minutes flip them upside down. Then snip off a little bit of the cone with kitchen shears. I would not advise doing this before baking as all your batter will fall out the bottom. Again, the physics, you know.

Then stick in a few toothpicks (although I actually used BBQ skewers. For some reason, I buy toothpicks and they're never seen again. I blame the children and fully expect to find boxes and boxes of toothpicks someday. But the skewers worked equally well):

And voila! Beautiful, delicious, homemade teepee cupcakes for your thanksgiving table. If you are more crafty and creative than me [read: not as lazy] then you can decorate your teepees with frosting and candy and whatnot. I made mine for the cub scouts, so they got them as-is (and ate them in all of three seconds).

Happy Turkey Day! God bless gluttony.

Friday, November 16, 2007

34 things you need to know about me

Tomorrow morning at roughly 8:20 a.m., I will be 34. I know some of you are saying, "'re a baby. What do you know?" And others are saying, "Holy crap. Are you really that old?" And you know what? I think I feel somewhere in between.

And in honor of my awesome self, here are 34 things you may or may not know about me, on this, the eve of the anniversary of my birth:

1. I was born absolutely, solidly perfect.

2. That state lasted a solid two-and-a-half years, then Daniel was born and ruined everything.

3. I was going to be a world-famous ice skater.

4. Until I broke my arm skating, had six surgeries, and realized I had no grace.

5. I was a tomboy and had only one Barbie.

6. Whose head I filled with sand.

7. I have four brothers; one older, three younger.

8. I learned how to fight well at an early age.

9. I had a huge crush on Johnny Depp when I was 13. Still do, in fact. Can't wait to see this.

10. I have always been afraid of the dark.

11. I secretly wished I was Jo on the Facts of Life.

12. My first kiss was a short, skinny, blond boy named Rocky.

13. I think we 'broke up' a week later.

14. He was heartbroken and never forgave me.

15. I always wanted to be a Broadway singer.

16. I realized that dream would not come true (seeing as I can't sing at all) and resigned myself to a life in the audience instead.

17. I am, however, a theater snob and will not watch any show from the balcony or in the back.

18. I spent 75 percent of my senior year cutting class. I probably only graduated because I was taking five Home Economics classes.

19. I still have nightmares about classes I skipped regularly.

20. I have a secret dream to be a professional photographer.

21. When I met my husband for the first time, I knew we would get married.

22. He knew a short few weeks later.

23. I have lived in six different states.

24. My first job was at Subway sandwiches when I was 16.

25. I had bad eczema on my hands and used to tell people I saved my baby brother from a fire, and that the red marks on my hands were burns.

26. I will probably go to hell for that lie alone.

27. I had my first baby without the blessed miracle of science that is an epidural (not by choice).

28. I gratefully had the other two babies while fully numb from the waist down, as god intended.

29. I am extremely afraid of heights and speed. Which explains why roller coasters and I don't work well together.

30. I love hosting parties.

31. I am neurotic and worry about really dumb things.

32. Like the fact that the Husband still has not registered his car in Missouri and has no problem getting speeding tickets.

33. I could never have imagined how much I would love my life today.

34. I am very happy to be me.

So happy birthday wishes to myself. May the next 34 be just as good as the first have been.

P.S. Feel free to send gifts. I'm not bashful that way at all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

E.T. phone home

I have caught The Husband watching this show. Oh, yes, indeed.

More than once.

Our friend Jack, and his LOVELY wife, Rexella, claim that all the floods, earthquakes, and catastrophes of the world are caused by a group of aliens, controlled by one evil alien, sent by Satan himself.

Oookkaay. Interesting.

I have to say that I don't really get the whole televangelist thing. You see these guys on t.v., preaching hellfire and damnation 'til the sweat runs off their hair plugs and down their face, and it just leads me to wonder -- if I watch them, does that count as church for the week? Can you just pick a religion on t.v. and call it good?

I'll be honest, if I'm going to forsake my Religion and pick something to follow on the television, it's probably going to be something with a little more zing to it.

You want resurrection? Plentiful on Pushing Daisies. How about sin and deception? Nobody knows more about that than the hoochie mamas on Wysteria Lane. The fact that CSI can come up with a new spin-off show every year is nothing short of a miracle. And let us not forget Mr. Hefner and his three granddaughters/girlfriends who remind us weekly of the perils of living in sin. [Although most men would probably classify this as a show in which they learn envy. Stupid men.]

So I guess what it boils down to is this: To each his own, right? I am sure the ladies sending their monthly social security check to Jack Van Impe do it because they believe in him. I spend a [crazy] three hours every week at my church because it's what I believe in. And that's good enough for me.

I only hope that if the evil E.T. returns as Jack has prophesied, he brings us the Reese's Pieces.

I could tolerate hell if I had me some peanut butter candies to munch on.

Monday, November 12, 2007

If you thought the picture of bad dog was scary, you should see what came out of my crockpot yesterday

All right, internets. The time has come for a cooking intervention. I served this to my less-than-thrilled family last night:

I know, I know.

So I've decided to stage my own intervention. And every recovery process begins with admitting you have a problem:

Hi. My name is Stie and I cannot cook.

Now those of you who know me in real life, let me clarify that statement by saying that, yes, I can bake like nobody's business. I have never met a baking recipe that I cannot master. But give me a piece of meat? Ten times out of ten I will ruin it.

A large portion of the problem is not really knowing what to make. I tend to recycle the same four recipes each week. My poor, long-suffering husband can take no more. After almost 14 years of marriage, it is time I got some new recipes. He can only smile politely across the table for so long.


What I am proposing is this: I need you to send me your VERY BEST dinner recipes. Send me one; or send me five; but please IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, send me something. Please send me things that you KNOW are good. Your tried-and-trues. Recipes my picky kids will eat, but also recipes decent enough for the husband's slightly more gourmet palate.

[However, I do need to ask that whatever you send me does not include any form of fish. I do not like the fish. I will not eat it in a house. I will not eat it with a mouse. I do not like fish, Sam I am. I do not like fish, that's my stand.]

Here's the kicker, internets. I will try each and every recipe I get. My family will review it, and the overall favorite recipe will receive a $25 giftcard from Amazon for you to spend on yourself (you don't even have to tell your husband you won it, hee hee). It will probably take us a few weeks to get through them all (as I really only tend to cook a few times per week), but before January 1, I promise to have declared a winner.

You can email me the recipes at or leave your recipe here in the comments. Enter as often as you like. But please help. You do not want my family to eat that soggy beef stew again.

I leave my fate in your hands.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Some of life's most valuable lessons

Because I'm so kind and often find myself wanting to help people, I've prepared a tutorial that should enable you to safely navigate your way through life. I've put it in real simple terms so people like my brother Dan could understand it. All you need to know is what's good and what's bad. M'kay?

Good hair:

Bad hair:

Good dog:

Bad dog:

Good clothes:

Bad clothes. Very, very bad clothes (note the prominent camel toe. Ouch, girlfriend. You can tell by the look on her face that she's feelin' it, too.):

Good Sign
(and one I really should have tried, seeing as I had four brothers I could have sold for a handsome profit):

Bad Sign:
Good music:

Bad music:

Good boyfriend. Very, very good boyfriend. [not that I'd know anything about that, ahem]:

Bad boyfriend. For questions on this one, refer to the bad dog above. Stay away from any and all bad Dogs:

And according to the P.E. teacher at my daughter's school, good shoes:

Bad shoes:


No shoes, no service

Lately, Hannah has been expressing a lot of anxiety about P.E. at school. Every morning as we're getting dressed she wails, "Oh, I hope I don't have P.E. today. Do you think I have P.E. today? Oh, please, NO P.E. TODAY!" One would think that she is being asked to spend her childhood in a hot, sweaty factory assembling plastic toys for ten cents a day instead of playing a little kickball on the playground with her friends.

This has been going on for several weeks now. She loves and adores absolutely everything else about school. Riding the bus? Awesome. Her friends? Perfect. I think she even has a major crush on her music teacher, Mr. Eddy. But when it comes to P.E.? It's a nightmare.

And I'll be honest, I have for the most part ignored this. I've simply not worried about it. Felt like it was one of those things that would work itself out.

Because you know what, kid? I hated P.E., too. I'm still traumatized by those years spent in my middle school gym uniform - an orange shirt, blue short-shorts, and knee socks - holding my head and bracing for the worst as the boys pummeled the girls in dodge ball. I was never what you would call athletically gifted and did not enjoy humiliating myself in front of my entire class. So I get it. But what can I do? She's at the beginning of what will be several years of torture.

But finally, I decided that the time had come to have a talk. I thought I'd use this proud parenting moment to help her understand that even if she doesn't like something, it's important to try. I'd even throw in my favorite lecture on the necessity of physical fitness (just hold on, let me put down my donut first). I was going to help her toughen up, deal with these issues, and get past them.

So I sat down and began to ask her what she hated about P.E.

And do you know what I found out? Apparently, because she is not in sneakers, they will not let her participate with the rest of the class. Anyone who doesn't wear sneakers, has to stay inside and bounce a ball against the wall, while the rest of the class plays outside.

It has come to this.

I have become THAT parent.

You know who I'm talking about. The one that sends their child to school with a lunchbox full of candy and cheetos. Or sends them without lunch. Or money, even. Or shoes, in my case.

Now you have to understand that the child wears dresses and tights EVERY. SINGLE. SECOND that she is awake and breathing. And because I am trying REALLY HARD to deny all that is white trash inside me, I refused to let her wear sneakers with a dress.

At the beginning of the school year, I bought her a very cute pair of Sketchers, which in my mind, WERE her sneakers (not to mention the ten other pairs of non-sneaker-like shoes taking up space in her closet). These have a rubber sole on the bottom, just like a sneaker, and cost a lot more than those ugly, light-blinking princess ones she wanted. But because they don't lace up and look like a traditional sneaker, the gym teacher has kept her inside.

Had they sent a note home, or called, I would have immediately gotten her the proper shoes. I may go to Wal-Mart in my sweats, and [gasp] without make-up, but dammit, my kids are well-dressed in public.

So now, in the eyes of the school, I am white trash mom no more. And in true Hannah form, she proudly wears those ugly pink and white sneakers with her dresses and tights. Which makes us look like white trash anyway.

I think I'll give up. I'm just going to throw my hair into a scrunchee, put on a moo-moo, rat my bangs, and celebrate with dinner at Chuck-E-Cheese.

At least there, I'll be with my own kind.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Things I learned this week

  • Raking leaves before the trees are all bare is a very, very stupid thing. You WILL be raking again.
  • Paying your children to help you rake is a good idea.
  • In theory.
  • They will want to play in every pile they make. Thus voiding all your hard work.
  • And costing you money.
  • When you are having a fight with The Husband, it is a good idea if he actually knows about the fight. Otherwise, you end up pouting and stewing for nothing.
  • Having spiritual friends is a good thing. They will find creative ways to get your sorry soul to important church meetings like Saturday night stake conference.
  • And you will still like them in spite of this.
  • When The Husband buys a fire pit for the backyard, you should never let him "just get it started" inside. He will come very close to burning a hole in the floor.
  • You should still try to like him in spite of this.
  • Hiding the Halloween candy will not help you ignore it. You see, HALLOWEEN CANDY IS DELICIOUS, and it calls to you with its sweet, chocolate siren song.
  • Favorite thing this week: Listening to my baby girl read ME stories for a change.

Monday, November 5, 2007

My favorite google searches

One of the coolest things about having a site meter (besides spying on all those lurkers who read my blog and never comment, HINT! HINT!) is being able to see what people are googling when they accidentally stumble my way.

I am pretty certain that when you type "Favorite things in the dark," you most definitely do not intend to read about my ramblings on such intellectually stimulating topics as pee, childbirth, and freckles. Okay. So I've never actually posted about pee. Or childbirth. But I could. I really could. I've got lots to say on those subjects if I wanted to.

But I won't.

Here are a few of my favorite Google searches. May you crazy people eventually find what you're looking for:

"Is it possible to make your eyeballs look bigger?" Oh, I sure hope not. But in this wacky world of ours, nothing would surprise me. It may be an untapped corner of the market for brave plastic surgeons. Don't be surprised when we see Dr. Rey doing one of these. This could be the before and after:

"Favorite things for old people." I get a lot of "favorite things for..." queries due to my title. I'd be interested in favorite things for old people, too. Any geriatric readers out there that can enlighten the rest of us? Depends? Blue hair dye? Denture adhesive? Polyester pants that go up to your armpits? No?

"My favorite vacation long paper." Can't you just picture some high school kid somewhere googling to find a paper he can steal on HIS favorite vacation, that was of course written by someone else. It made me laugh. Wonder what he thought when he pulled up pictures of my kids instead. Hee hee. Served you right, cheater.

"Who said you get them piping hot after 4 a.m." I don't even want to know what someone is looking to get piping hot after 4 a.m. All I know for sure is that Satan comes out after midnight. The Sunday School teachers told me. And I believe them.

"Least favorite thing about a bathroom." I can safely say that just BEING in the bathroom is my least favorite thing about a bathroom. But maybe that's just me. Maybe there are people who enjoy spending a lot of time there and have favorite things about the experience. Daniel? This one seems right up your alley. Do share. Actually, don't. Never mind.

"Is it possible that I'm not as attractive as I think I am?" Yes. It's not only possible, but it's a fact. You ARE ugly. Accept it, as I have, and move on.

"Hannah's world." I live in Hannah's world and I'm always looking for ways to get out of it. It's not very fun to be bossed around by a five-year-old that thinks one should always wear pink lace dresses and tiaras when out-and-about on the town. Even if one is almost 34.

"Scrapbook divorced dads." Yes, a scrapbook about divorced dads would indeed be a treasure. Provocraft - here's a new angle you might have missed in the scrapbooking product line.

"Things to do with your kids on a Sunday afternoon." How about declaring martial law, sticking them in front of a movie, and taking a four-hour nap? It ALWAYS works out well for me. I even find it useful on other days of the week. Like Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. And Wednesdays and Friday, too.

And my absolute favorite (which, oddly, has come up several different times) is:

"Martha Stewart naked."

Yes. Really.

Help me understand, internets, why ANYONE on god's green earth would want to see M.S. naked? Seriously? I guess there's all kinds out there.

And now they've been led to me. Awesome.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Internets, I need your help

I'm hoping to find out which Target sells this mirror. Does anyone know? Have you seen it in a store near you? I DESPERATELY need one. Today. Halloween candy does not a slim girl make.

[*Got this from my friend Cindy, who REALLY, REALLY needs to start a blog of her own. PULEEAASE!]

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A simple math equation

What do you get when you add one rope + one large tree in the backyard + one gorgeous fall day + The Husband's ingenuity?

The answer? You get this, our new favorite toy:

Here's to simple, old fashioned things that keep them outside and away from the television. I am LOVING this. They're loving it, too. So much so that I find them out there at 6:30 in the morning, still in their PJs, gloves on their hands, swinging away.

Now THIS is a good thing.