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Holiday Eating Tips

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I just got an email from Joy Bauer with the subject line, “12 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain.”

Say whaaaaat?  Weren’t the holidays invented to give me an excuse to gain weight?  If not, I guess I’ve been doing it wrong all these years.  But it’s so much more fun my way!

(tips snagged from an email)

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas Spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly.  Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnogaholic or something. It’s a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you think. It’s almost Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people’s food for free.

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year’s. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10 lb. plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind,you’re never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert?  Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all costs. I mean, have some standards.  (The one exception: Friendship Fruit Cake.  If you receive one, hide it from the family and eat it quickly before they have a chance to impinge on your fruit cake joy.)

10. One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Now that’s the holiday spirit I’m talkin’ bout!


Thankful Thursdays #87: a (good) birthday cake-tastrophy

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If you are wondering how a cake-tastrophy could be good, then I’ll tell you.  I told Dennis all I wanted for my birthday (earlier this week) was for him to make me a cake and while he presented me with the ugliest cake I’ve ever laid eyes on, he really put a lot of time and effort into it and all of his heart.  So yes, this was a wonderful cake.  And a wonderful birthday.

The best part, however, was that he actually recorded the process so I could watch it.  I edited the footage down to 5 minutes and pretty much die laughing every time I see this.  I’m thankful to have lived another year, and to have such a wonderful husband to do this for me, and pretty soon you’ll be thanking me for the belly laughs!

Who else thinks I may have a submission for Cake Wrecks? ;)

My notes about the video:

*Did you notice Dennis changes his apron three times? Thankfully he stuck with the least feminine one for most of the video-lol.

*He actually glued a used cake box back together for the scene with Jessie to make it look like she was destroying a new box.  He also threw it to get her to play fetch with it.

*Ugh, he did the creeper face again!  Did you notice it?  While he was at the mixer, he looked back over his shoulder and did the face. Stop with that face!

*”Be well, the thrust of my sword”??? LOL! He meant beware but didn’t notice he misspoke until we watched the video together.

*Yes, he tried to kill our dog by giving her chocolate frosting! Thankfully it wasn’t much and she has managed to eat a lot more than that several times in her life with no ill effects, so she was OK.

*When he looks at the cakes in the oven and says “I thought the cake levellers were supposed to handle that dome thing,” he’s actually referring to the Bake Even Strips around the pans. A cake leveller is something different.  And they did improve the doming–the cakes would have been significantly more domed if he hadn’t used them, but he was under the impression that they would bake completely flat.

*When he’s mixing the white frosting, you will notice that there is a loud clacking sound…that would be the dislodged beaters beating against each other. He made the whole batch of frosting without noticing one had fallen out!  I had to watch like 5 minutes of footage listening to the clanging and cringing. I have yet to check to see if my beaters survived…frankly I’m a little scared.

Oh, and since this is Thankful Thursday, I hope you won’t begrudge me sharing another thanksgiving. Baby is working again! Thanks to the help of a friend and Dennis’ mad mechanic skillz, she’s back to her former glory! :)  You have no idea the feeling of freedom I have now, not having to wait for rides or borrowing cars. I’m thrilled!

Thankful Thursdays #72: oh no he didn’t

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If Dennis had written today’s post, it would have been called “Thankful Thursdays #72: nose hairs.”

Every week I brainstorm with Dennis about what my Thankful Thursday should center around.  This week, he said, “One thing you’re probably thankful for, but not aware of, is your nose hairs.”

I lost it.  I think I laughed for a whole minute straight, doubled over, even while he continued on to explain his point.

“I mean, think about it.  They’re with you twenty-four hours a day and they’re always working for you, doing what they need to do.  But pretty much the only time we notice them is when a booger gets stuck in them.  They’re basically the unsung heroes of the facial orifices.”

Seriously, I could write another tribute of thankfulness for my husband based on how many times a day he makes me laugh.  But he has a point.  I mean, without nose hairs, who knows what kind of foreign objects we’d be sucking back into our lungs.  Nose hairs (OK, at this point, I’m starting to cringe whenever I say “nose hairs.”  Once is funny, but now it feels grody-lol.) trap dirt, viruses, bacteria and toxins until we blow them out, sneeze, or swallow.

Wow, I don’t know if I’ve ever felt like my blog was going this wrong before.  I’m really sicking myself out! lol

But I think you get the point.  NH’s (there, that sounds much better), just like every part of our bodies, serve a very necessary and important purpose.  People with not enough NH are three times more likely to suffer from asthma!  (Men, you can use that as an excuse when anyone gets onto you about your excessive NH.  It’s saving you from buying an inhaler.)  So let’s sing some praises to our nose hairs today, shall we?

And since we are completely crazy (as if you needed any further proof after reading this blog), we made two different songs to pay tribute to our lovely nose hairs.  Enjoy!



Thankful Thursdays #67: ding dong, the glasses are dead!

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Happy happy, joy joy!  I never thought the day would come when I would be thankful for the death and destruction of Den’s glasses.  I often threatened to burn them, to run over them, to toss them in the trash, but alas I couldn’t do that to my hubby, who was hopelessly devoted to them.  He was bound and determined, it seemed, to keep them for all eternity.  But blessedly, the day has finally come when they snapped under the pressure of being the ugliest, oldest pair of glasses on the planet.  I think the shame of their ugliness led them to commit suicide.

Dennis bought these glasses in 1985, people.  I was five years old when he bought them!!  Who keeps a pair of glasses that long?  They turned gangrenous the way cheap metal does, and there is some really horrid-looking stuff seemingly growing beneath the nose piece. BLARF.

I can’t believe I even touched these. *shudder*

I feel the urge to soak my hands in bleach just looking at this photo.

By the way, on a total random note, but sort of related since I’m thinking of my poor hand, check out the wicked manicure I did for St. Patrick’s Day:

ANYWAY.  Although this style of glasses actually came back into fashion recently (seriously, who keeps something so long that it goes in and out of fashion before you get rid of it???), they were never a good look for him.

To prove my point, I submit exhibit A, B & C:

Not. a. good. look.

In contrast, here is Dennis wearing the glasses that I helped him pick out:

Much better.

The old glasses have made me gag since the first time he put them on in front of me.  He doesn’t wear his glasses all the time (though he’s supposed to), only for driving, so the first time we went for a ride together, despite not knowing him very well, I laughed out loud.

“What us UP with your glasses?!  They make you look like a beefcake.”

Unbeknownst to me, beefcake actually refers to a hot semi-nude male, which Dennis took great delight in telling me.

Only momentarily flustered, I countered, “OK, well, it makes you the opposite of a beefcake, then.  Like a beefy jock, and not the beefcake kind, that is illiterate and maybe was dropped on his head as a kid…and uses steroids that makes him look fluffy instead of defined.  Those glasses totally take away your definition.  They are so. wrong.”

Yes, I was harsh, but need I remind you how bad his glasses were???

Dennis never had any great rebuttals to my tirades, which he was exposed to many times over the years as my hatred of the glasses grew, as did the many ways I plotted to destroy them if he refused to throw them away, but he always found them hilarious.  (Honestly, I would have stopped if it hurt his feelings, but I did it mostly for the satisfaction of making him laugh.)

My hatred for his beloved glasses became a running joke between us, to the point that when we witnessed the ear piece fall off when he tried to put them on before an errand, we both laughed uproariously.  Dennis asked if I was going to burn them the next time we went camping, a scenario I had vocally fantasized about on numerous occasions, but I told him no.  They had suffered enough.  They deserved to rest in peace.

Fare thee well, my tenacious gangrenous foes.  Enjoy your afterlife in the dump.

Amen and amen.

P.S. Can you tell what kind of recipe I’ll be sharing on Friday? :)

Quacking Up With The Millers

Despite all the teasers I’ve been giving you in the recipe department lately (deodorant, red velvet cake, butterscotch swirl cake, etc., etc.), I am not ready to post any of them because I have no photos.  The photos of my deodorant-making process were accidentally deleted (along with butterscotch syrup pics that I needed for the butterscotch cake-oy!), and I have to make the cakes I promised recipes for a second time because me being me, I can not possibly post a recipe using only photos of the cake in a box, and the only picture of the inside being a stale piece behind glass in low-lighting on a paper plate.  I may not use a fancy-schmancy camera, but I do have some standards.  I’m sorry to those of you who could care less about the quality or lack of photos, but please be patient while I re-make everything and take more photos.  Thank you!

While I do have other recipes with photos I can share, I thought I’d change things up and share a video I shot in the poultry exhibit at the Kansas State Fair last Monday instead.  They have such interesting birds in there, and I’m only showing you a smidgen of them.  Usually we skip the poultry exhibit because birds aren’t as cute to look at as other animals, but we had so much fun in there (maybe a little too much–we are easily amused, as you will see) , it is now my new favorite exhibit.  I hope you enjoy!

My Week as a Farmer, part II: When Arliss Attacks

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Continued from My Week as a Farmer, Part I.

Last week, I introduced you to all the animals on the Allen family’s farm, except for one.  There is one canine that they couldn’t leave out with the others.  Because he’s a menace and a danger.  A chicken murderer, and as we would soon discover, a thief to boot.  Meet…ARLISS! (Cue scary music.)

Don’t let the smile fool you.  This boy is a trained killer and is frequently unleashed to go hunting.  Failure to recognize the danger could result in serious mayhem and injury.  Knowing the risks, we disregarded our better judgment and let him out every day to get his exercise.  The first sneak attack came when Dennis decided to rest in the hammock.  Arliss went straight for the jugular.

He didn’t count on Dennis knowing kung fu and putting up a fight, however.

So Arliss changed tactics and decided to come at him from the other side.

But Dennis was ready for him and put up a good defense.

The battle was fierce, but the match so even that in the end, they called a truce.

Trouble started again when Dennis picked the summer squash and threw it to dislodge the bugs that were crawling on it.  Arliss saw his opportunity and went in for the kill.

Utterly thrilled with his catch, he proceeded to roll on his back with the squash in delight.

After his victory roll, he wasted no further time in devouring the squash.

“I is Arliss…”

“I crush mines enemies…”

“I takes no survivors.”

Later in the week, he managed to paw an egg that Dennis had placed on the other side of fence so he could roll it in closer to eat it!

His next attack was focused at a female of his species.  Unfortunately for him, it was our Jessie!  He was determined to pick up a scent on her that she has never had, since she is spade, but he wouldn’t give up trying and things got ugly fast.

It started in the pool.  They circled each other, forming a yin yang in the murky water as his nose grew ever nearer to her butt and she went ever faster to avoid his invasion of her personal space.

Arliss made no bones about what he was after.

The constant presence of his nose in a private area started to irk our girl.  She promptly jumped from the pool and he chased after her tail.  Pun intended.  And we soon had to break up a dog fight!
Sorry, Arliss, this is one battle you will never win with a spade female.
Jessie found a private corner to herself and the peace was restored.
Feeling pretty pleased with himself, Arliss rewarded a hard day’s work with a soak in the pool as I filled it with fresh water.
 Until I made the mistake of putting myself in a prone position.  And again, he goes in for the kill!
After taking a siesta in the sandbox.  Of course.
Wet dog + sand box = messy human that receives his love.  I went home each night covered in mud, dog hair, and scratches.

And I wouldn’t trade my week as a semi-farmer for the world!  I hope one day we will have a little farm of our own so I can come in each night covered in mud and poo, feathers and fur, thorns and blisters, each blissful, horrible, exhausting day.  God love the farmers.

Flashback Friday: when skinny dipping goes wrong

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My sisters and I the year this story takes place, 1996.  Left to right: Danielle (14), Lacey) (10), and me (16).

During my high school years, it became a family tradition to go camping at El Dorado Lake every summer.  And from that tradition sprung another one amongst my sisters and myself: skinny dipping in the lake after dark.  (Note to parents: if your young daughters ever ask to go swimming after dark, be on the alert!  Our own parents were never aware of our shenanigans.)

No, we weren’t so bold as to strip nude at the beach at noon with everyone gawking, and we weren’t even so bold as to fling off our swimsuits on the beach even after it got dark.  Rather, once it was pitch black, save for the moonlight and starlight, and the swimming area was completely deserted,  we would enter the water with suits on, then pull them off once we were safely submerged in the murky depths.  We managed to convince ourselves we were brave, bold, and ridiculously rebellious to dare to be naked in a public place, despite the fact that we never gave anyone even a glimpse of our nude bodies.

The last time we went “skinny dipping,” I offered to hold onto everyone’s suits so that they could swim more freely, and my sisters foolishly handed theirs over once we were in the water.  We swam around a bit, and as you can imagine, it’s not easy holding onto three bathing suits while swimming or paddling water.  Suddenly Danielle jerked, and her eyes got really wide.

“Something just slithered past my ankle!” she cried in alarm.

We all freaked out and swam like crazy to get away from the slimy underwater creature that was surely coming at us with teeth bared, ready to bite us in all manner of unprotected places.  Then Danielle’s eyes got even wider as she came to a different conclusion.

“Do you still have all the swimsuits?” she asked.

My eyes mirroring hers, I raised them up out of the water, and we all quickly did a visual count.



One pair of bikini bottoms was definitely missing.  Danielle’s bikini bottoms.  The underwater creature had just been identified, which caused a new kind of horror amongst us.

We walked all around the area where they had last slithered, feeling around the bottom, to no avail.  We finally had to face the facts.  Danielle was going to have to walk back to camp.  With no bikini bottoms.  Without even a towel to shield her poor, glistening, white butt.

When we could put it off no longer, Lacey and I got dressed and Danielle pulled her bikini top back on, looking rather pathetic.  We situated her between us to hide her the best we could while we walked what seemed like five miles back to camp.  We were as quiet as we could be and had a few close calls, but if anyone saw us in the moonlight, they were polite enough not to give a cat call or outright laugh.  We managed to even evade our parents, and keep the secret of what happened between us so they wouldn’t know what we had been up to.

The following day, Lacey and I were swimming (poor Danielle was back at camp, now unable to swim…thus proving I’m a horrible sister because I should have been the one not swimming while she wore my suit), and a woman suddenly thrust a pair of blue bikini bottoms in the air and shouted at her friends to, “look what I found!”

I screamed loud enough to raise the dead and started running as fast as anyone can run under water, screaming the whole way.  “Oh, thank you!  I’ve been looking for those everywhere!  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!”

I snatched the blue bottoms out of her hands and left her bewildered in my wake, as I ran out of the water and beat a victorious trail back to camp as fast as my legs could carry me.  I wish I would have looked back to see the reaction I left behind while the entire beach tried to figure out why those bottoms had been in the water in the first place. Their conclusions were probably not as innocent as we were, I’m sure!

And now you know why that was the last time we went “skinny dipping.”  Young people, you see, can learn from their mistakes, if the consequences are drastic or embarrassing enough. :)

The only swimming photo I have of us is when Danielle and I swam ghetto-style in the street when it flooded in 1988:

The closest photo I have is the right time of year (although two years prior to the missing bottoms incident), the right location (El Dorado Lake’s swimming area) but the wrong girls! This is me (far right) with two friends whose names I’ll keep private to protect their reputations. :)


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