Saturday, March 31, 2012

Recent Recipes

So these recipes actually aren't that recent, I have been meaning to post them for a few weeks now, but the craziness has temporarily died down.   I guess this will last about a week or semi-calmnees (if that) as I just created a mega to-do list of things that I want/need to get done before the babies come, and so much of it needs to get done sooner rather than later.   Of course, I do have pregnancy brain - so if there is something you think should be on my list, let me know so I can either double check it is there or add it (or just ignore you :)

Anyways, on to the recipes.   Back in February I had a few of my AU Crew friends and husbands over and made one of many chili recipes Ive been wanting to try - and it ended up being a big hit with everyone.   So Beth and Julie, here is that recipe you wanted :)

I made this Slow Cooker Tequila Turkey Chili but with a few variations.
  • I like beans in my chili so I used half the amount of ground turkey needed and replaced that with beans.   In this instance, I actually just doubled the recipe since it was feeding 6 (plus two fetuses), so instead of doubling the meat, I used 2 cans of kidney beans.
  • I don't like mixing meat and dairy, so I cut out the milk and bread and just got rid of the first step.
  • I didn't have tomato sauce in the house, but I did have crushed tomatoes, so I just replaced that
If you like chili, or just don't know if you like chili, I highly recommend this.   Its so simple and tastes delicious, and a further added bonus - just as with most slow cooker recipe - it leaves the house smelling delicious.

Also in February, and I believe that same weekend, I went to go visit my friend Abbye and her newborn son, and I was thinking that I wanted to bring some food along for them to enjoy, and I had bananas that were too ripe, so I was going to look for a banana bread recipe when this recipe for pumpkin banana bread came along on one of the blogs I follow.   I must say it helps that I have two cases of canned pumpkin on my shelves because I love using it in my morning oatmeal and I knew that I wouldn't find it so easily once thanksgiving passed.

If you like banana bread - I highly recommend this one, it was quite yummy!

Well with that, I'm off to go be productive around the house - and maybe make that bread again since I have more bananas that are too ripe.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Verizon doesn't know who they are messing with!

I received an email this past week saying the cost of my DVR was going up by $1.   In all reality $1 makes no big difference to me - I understand that prices increase on items, and we just have to deal with the fact that while our salaries are staying the same or decreasing, everyone is raising their prices.   Do I think its fair?  Obviously not, but unfortunately, I have become accustomed to it.

What I take issue to is the fact that I am locked into a 2 year contract where I can not make any adjustments to my plan - but apparently they can.  

About a month after we locked into this plan, I regretted my decision.   I had already been set on going TV free, but then what I thought was a good deal came along and I stupidly signed an agreement (at least with Comcast I didn't have to sign any agreements).    Even worse, the agreement was a 2 year agreement of which I'm only a year plus into - and trust me I count the days until November when I can finally cancel with them.   

When the person sold it to us, she showed us all the tv channels we would have and the cost for Prime.   The thing is their advertising along with the way the sales person worded it was VERY deceiving.   They list all the channel on one sheet, and just have them in different colors - and she pointed to all the channels.   So stupid me was thinking the higher plans were for the extra packages (Movies, Sports, etc).   There are a ton of channels we got with Comcast, that we no longer got with Verizon - some of which I would say are more basic.    We get HGTV, but we don't get DIY Network.    We get Food Network, but we don't get Cooking Channel.    We get History Channel, but we don't get other similar channels.  

After just a couple weeks, I called to see if there was any time frame in which I could back out and if not, what the penalty was to back out.   Since this post even exists, there obviously was no opt-out time frame and the penalty was too high.   I even asked if I could just downgrade from a quad-play to a triple-play - that was a no-go.

Additionally, the WHOLE reason I even have cable tv is to watch my beloved Phillies.   I must have had games knocked out a dozen times or so last season because of poor connections on their side.   And their response?   There isn't anything we can do...its the connections they are given at the games...

So here I sit - waiting for the day I can cancel the TV service and just buy a computer to hook up to the TV and watch TV and movies from that, even if it means I just listen to my games on radio -  when along comes that e-mail that says they are increasing the price of the DVR.   And so I called Verizon to fight the increase.   Its obviously not the $1 less cost that I want - I really want out of the damn contract.  

I talked to a service rep, who I felt bad for as soon as she answered, cause I know its not her fault, and very nicely told her that I received this email, and I wanted to know how they can be making changes to my agreement, yet I can't.    She tried to tell me I could make changes, I just can't cancel services, but I can go up or down within a bundle.    Well, I'm already at the bottom of the bundle - where the hell else am I gonna go without cancelling a portion of the bundle (which is not allowed)?

So I said again, how do they have the right to change the agreement on me, but not I on them?   She tried to tell me it was a nationwide price increase.   So what?   When a nationwide price increase goes up for my cell, I'm grandfathered in to my current plan and rate until I have to re-up.   This should be the same.   That's why there is a freaking agreement - so neither of us gets screwed.

She continued to give me the same BS and try to tell me it is what it is and she can't do anything - which I know she can't.   So I said I want to speak to her supervisor.    Do you know you have to wait up to 2 business days for a supervisor to CALL YOU BACK?   WTF!!  

You can be sure that no matter what they do once they finally call me back, I'm going to be dropping their assess the minute I have the opportunity!  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dear Douche-bag Driver...

Dear douche-bag driver,

I'm talking to the guy in the gray ford focus yesterday on 295 who did multiple things to annoy me.   Yes ,you, with the PA tags HWV 4283 (that's right, I'm totally calling you out - not that you are even reading this).

First you drove for 6-8 miles in the left lane of a 65mph highway going 70mph.   The left lane is for passing - and I'm fairly confident the only thing you passed was the grass and trees on the side of the road.   NJ especially does not like when you do things like that in the left lane, which is why they are looking to increase those fines for people like you.  When the middle lane is going the same speed or more than you - that should be the millionth sign that you shouldn't be sitting in the left lane!

Then when I finally passed you - and the 7 other people behind you and in front of me being stuck there by you - by driving in the far right lane, you were quite a distance behind me, but then sped down the exit ramp that we both exited on and cut me off at the merge off the ramp and on the road - WTF!   Pick a speed and stay there.

Finally, I got ahead of you because yet again, you chose to drive in the left lane, but this time you got stuck behind someone turning left, which gave me the opportunity to get around you.   This time, you were stuck behind me and I watched you do the following while driving.   You took your glasses off and put both hands over both your eyes to rub them as if you were tired.    We weren't slowing down or coming to a light or anything.    That is reckless driving!     After that I couldn't stop keeping my eyes on you, worried that you would slam into the back of my car because of your erratic driving behavior.  

Oh, did I forget to mention, all this occurred in a period of 10 minutes or so?

You make me question how certain people have driving licenses, don't get in accidents and/or don't get tickets.    Now with that, please get off the road or learn to drive.   If you want to drive 70 mph, that's fine with me, but don't do it in the left lane.    Don't cut people off - especially pregnant, hormonal women - and finally keep your hand(s) on the wheel and your eye(s) on the road!  

Lynda (the pregnant woman in the dark blue Chevy Traverse who gave you evil looks)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Reaching a goal

At the beginning of the year, I wrote about how I don't make resolutions, but I have continuing goals that I create throughout the year.   One of my many goals that were created in the last few months of last year that I discussed was "De-clutter" my house.   You can ask anyone who has been to my house, I don't live in a clutter-filled house.   It's well kept and everything has a place - I just have a lot of "everything"'s :)   Over the past couple weeks, I have made a lot of progress in putting together piles/boxes of things to sell at my family's annual yard sale this year - many of which I am quite proud of myself for.

When I was in high school, I had a friend whose parents had tons of VHS tapes and DVDs (DVDs were just starting to come out) - probably half a wall full of.   I really liked that idea because I could just be hanging out searching for something to watch and whalah - lots of options right in front of me.   And thus started my "addiction" to buying movies.    I always bought movies at a discount price (pre-viewed 4 for $20 or 5 for $20 sales at blockbuster, columbia house, flea markets, etc).   My collection  included over 250 movies, a full bookcase full.   Unfortunately, I rarely got up and picked a movie from my collection.   

At first I decided I was going to get rid of all my movies, and then I started looking through it, and there were just some that I didn't want to part with.   Some were good classic movies such as Shawshank Redemption and ET; others were great movies for kids (for when the kiddos are older) such as Cars, Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc; some just never get old like Crash and Mean Girls; Others were good cinematic education for the kiddos when they are much older (if DVDs still work) like John Adams (tv series), 9/11 movies, An Inconvenient Truth, Pearl Harbor and Holocaust movies; and finally there are just the ones that are just enjoyable to watch now and then - the Harry Potter series, Office Space, Thank You for Smoking, Mighty Ducks series (yes I really do own all 3 movies AND find them enjoyable).  

But even with that - I made a lot of progress.   I went from having 6 shelves of a bookcase full of movies and TV shows down to 2 and a half!    Maybe in a few more years Ill be more willing to get rid of more - but at least now Ill stick to renting through RedBox or something.

I also have cleared through most of my Phillies stuff, and gotten rid of most of a bookcase full of items.    Just like the movies, I'm getting rid of about half of my stuff and calling that a lot of progress for now.  

On the list to go is 90% of my bobbleheads, little knick-knacks, some mugs, the media guides, Phillies magazines and half of the books I had.  

On the list to stay is all the phanatic stuff (for the kids bedroom), all the autographed memorabilia, the games that I kept as collectors stuff but will keep for playing with the kiddos (Phillies 2008 Champions Monopoly, Phillies 2008 Champions puzzle, Phillies Checkers), half the Phillies books and the Phillies Yearbooks.   Oh and of course staying and was never a consideration of going was my collection of baseball cards, the seats from Vet Stadium and the things that I actually use such as hats (got rid of half of them last year), shirts, blankets, etc..   So I guess I didn't quite get rid of half the stuff - probably less than a quarter of my stuff - but this is a BIG step :)

I still have a few more smaller areas to go through, but now I really just need to post the furniture Im looking to sell and have the yard sale (already scheduled for April 21st) so I can really get started into turning our den into a guest bedroom/playroom, which means going back out and spending money....but I promise to try and reach my goal of being more of a "minimalist" as well!   Its all a work in progress throughout my lifetime, not throughout a year.

Only real things left on the "goal" list that I made are get more active in judaism and pick up a new skill or two.   But for those skills - gardening will be out of the picture for a little while, Im thinking more like photography and knitting...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The sex of the babies

I bet that title caught your eye since I have clearly stated I don't want to know :)    Well, sorry to spoil your excitement, we still aren't finding out!

Oh and for those few of you who read this blog, but don't actually know me in real life - I got too busy to be consistent with my blog updates, so I never made the announcement on here - but my husband and I are expecting twins!   It was a big surprise, but one that we are so thankful and excited for!

So anyways, I saw this quiz, Should You Learn Your Babies Sex, on one of the HUNDREDS of baby emails I now get.   And although I knew we didn't want to find out, I decided to take the quiz anyways.   A couple questions in, I was starting to get annoyed, because the questions and answer choices were clearly going to lean this quiz to state that I should learn.

For example, here are some of the questions, my answer choice is in red:
Would you categorize yourself as a control freak?
  • Yes
  • No
  • I'm not sure
MY NOTE: I could never deny this - I need to plan everything out, everything always has a place in my home.   I fully admit I don't just have OCD tendencies, I am probably mildly OCD (I don't fully freak out when things are out of order, but I usually fix them as soon as I notice, and after I while it really irks me if it continues or I don't have time to fix things)
You're the type of person who likes to go on:
  • A Vacation that is clearly planned out
  • A road trip with no destination
  • Somewhere in between
MY NOTE: It would probably be an understatement to say this.   If I go away for even just a weekend, I usually have agenda from wake up to meal-times to things to do.   We don't follow it 100%, but I plan it to the max, and then knock it down a bit.    Just ask my friend Kelsey - Adam and I went to visit her our in Oregon a few years back (when they were still state-side) and I sent her my agenda to see if she thought it was possible.   I can't imagine her immediate response or her facial expressions, cause she nicely said it was a lot for a short vacation (and it WAS, we ended up cutting 1/3 to 1/2 of it out when we were there).
Do you like surprises
  • Yes, I love them!
  • No, I hate them!
  • Somewhere in between
MY NOTE:  I love the idea of being surprised with something awesome, but I usually figure things out first or am disappointed because it isn't as great as I thought.
Are you really hoping for one sex over the other?
  • Yes - I've always wanted a boy/girl
  • No - as long as he/she is healthy, it doesn't matter to me
  • I have a preference, but its not a strong one
My Note:  To be honest, the answer choice that fits me best wasn't there.   Its more a combination of the No and the one I chose - what I really wanted to say was "I have a preference, but as long as he/she is (are in my case) healthy, it doesn't matter to me.

These are just 4 of the 11 questions - but that's still a third of the quiz - so you would guess they would tell me I should find out - right?

Well apparently, I answered the rest of the questions on the opposite side (i.e. Do you have to dress your kid in gender specific clothes?   No) and enough in the middle that it actually said I shouldn't find out.   I was really shocked that it said this based on how I was going through it, but I was also really excited.

So there, even parents magazine agrees with me - I shouldn't find out :)