30 January 2008

Easiest & Tastiest Chili Ever!

It's Wednesday...it's a balmy -10ยบ on the Hinterland temp guage, and we aren't even going to talk about the wind chill, because I'll cry.

Bugaboo and Mr. A wait all summer for it to get cool enough in the fall so I'll make chili again for dinner. A single pot used to last a minimum of two dinners, but with the boys getting older and finding the access port to their hollow legs, it now stretches to one family dinner and one Nonnie lunch. But this recipe is so easy, that I can throw a pot together even on the most chaotic mornings, and come home later that afternoon to a warm bubbly pot of comfort.

To make it even easier, when hamburger is on sale, I'll fry up five pounds or more, divide the browned hamburger and then freeze it in chili pot portions, so all I have to do is grab a bag out of the freezer on those chaotic mornings.

I got this recipe years ago during one of my wedding showers. All of the guests brought a recipe to help me build up a recipe box for my future family. I don't know who gave me this as I've since lost the original recipe card, but if I could remember, I'd kiss their feet.

So, how easy is the recipe you ask?

A Can of This and a Can of That Crock Pot Chili

1 1/2 lbs hamburger
1 1/4 ounces taco seasoning
2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans condensed tomato soup
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes with jalapenos
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
1 (28 ounce) can baked beans

Spray crockpot liner with PAM or other cooking spray. Brown hamburger, drain, rinse to remove excess grease and place in crockpot. Sprinkle taco seasoning over the top of the hamburger. Add soup, tomatoes and beans, without draining liquid from tomatoes and beans; mix well. Cover and let simmer on low for 8-10 hours. Serve with cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips.

You can change up the taco seasoning from the mild variety to the hot variety and even use the hot variet chili beans to pump up the heat in this.

That's what works for us this Wednesday. If you're looking for more tips that might help you out, head on over to Rocks In My Dryer for other ideas. Hmmmm...maybe tomorrow would be a good day for chili.

Until later...

28 January 2008

Remind Me Again Why I Live In The Hinterlands???

Urgent - Winter Weather Message

A strong arctic cold front will plow into the Western Hinterlands late this evening reaching the Eastern Hinterlands Tuesday morning. Northwest winds behind this front will gust to 30 to 40 mph as very cold air blasts across the area. Behind the front temperatures will fall quickly and a period of snow is likely. Snow amounts should be generally an inch or less across western and central Hinterlands but could reach 2 or 3 inches further south. Any newly fallen snow will be susceptible blowing with significant visibility reductions possible. Wind chills will reach 30 below in the western Hinterlands by Tuesday morning with 20 to 25 below zero wind chills in the eastern Hinterlands by evening. Even colder wind chills lie ahead for Tuesday night.


Until later...

Bloggy Giveaway Carnival


Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer is hosting a Bloggy Giveaway Carnival at her Bloggy Giveaways site this week.

I'm not giving away anything...this time around, but that doesn't mean that you can't, or shouldn't stop on by Bloggy Giveaways this week and see what everyone else in Bloglandia is giving away.

Until later...

Free Money? Not Hardly!

There's been a lot of stuff in the news lately about the tax rebate our government is going to be sending out in May. I'm still not exactly sure how the government is figuring out who gets how much, but I'm honestly not all that worried about how much my check is going to be.

What I am worried about is how in the hell GWB and Congress are going to pay for this largess. We have reached record deficit spending in the country and NO ONE seems to be able to stop.

I don't believe that this check we're supposed to get in May is going to boost the economy the way they say it will. There are too many other factors involved in what is happening in the US and World Markets for a paltry thousand dollars to fix.

And is it REALLY free money? Of course not. You'll get the slight jump in your checking account balance for a short time and then it'll be gone. Not to mention that you'll end up being TAXED on that in 2009. But no one is talking about that now.

If the PTB (Powers That Be) thought about this, they'd cut spending on all of the crap they earmark tax dollars on. They'd pass a Balanced Budget Amendment, or better yet, a Flat Tax and they'd QUIT SPENDING MONEY THEY DON'T HAVE! For Pete's sake! If I was deficit spending the way they are, I'd be in jail!

There are so many things that I find irritating with the way this Tax Rebate is being discussed and when I hear people talk about how they're going to pay bills and get caught up, I just roll my eyes. Maybe some will, but I can bet that the majority of people will continue to look at this as FREE MONEY and they'll spend it on things they WANT, rather than what they NEED.

But then isn't that the way the government is teaching the populace to act, when they do the same thing?

It gives me a headache.

Until later....

Keeping My Tongue In My Head...

I've been AWOL on my blog for quite a few days...Not due to a crazy, hectic life (although there was some of that) or an illness, but because I don't think I could keep a civil tongue in my head. So instead of spewing venom and hate all over my blog, I stayed away.

It's hard sometimes to know exactly what to post and what not to post here. Yes, I want this to be a chronicle of my life with the boys, but how much of that do I share with the internets?

I could go on and on telling you about how horrible I think a certain male is being, but really, what good will that do? And I've tried, LORD how I've tried, to remember that he is the boys' father, and as such deserves a modicum of civility and respect from me. Especially when the boys might hear me talking, or see what I've written. In the past ten years, I've done my best to keep from pushing my frustration and irritation with him onto my boys.

Maybe some day, they'll see that for the gift that it is. I hope they do, because when I got divorced, I vowed to keep it about THEM, not about me or my feelings and irritations.

So, that's why I've been away. I hope you've been good while I've been gone.

Until later...

16 January 2008

Remembering Last Minute Items

It's Wednesday! That means that it is half-way through the week, which is always a good thing. It also means that it is Works For Me Wednesday.

Bugaboo and I have had a hard time this year remembering those projects for school that can't be put in a backpack at night for whatever reason. Dioramas, play-dough that needs to be refrigerated...you know the stuff I mean. There's nothing worse than getting him all the way to school only to have to turn around, go back home and pick up the missing item. Or worse, getting all the way to work and remembering it there...I work too far away to just run home and get it for him.

So Bugaboo came up with the idea that we should write a note and use one of the refrigerator magnets to attach it to the steel garage door. This way, as we're walking out to the garage, we see the note and can remember.

So that's what works for us this Wednesday. If you're looking for more tips that might help you out, head on over to Rocks In My Dryer for other ideas.

Until later...

13 January 2008

It's Sunday Again...

It's the last day before heading back to the salt mines. Due to my self-pity yesterday, I did almost nothing around the house. But the day of wallowing has refreshed my outlook on life, and I woke up this morning raring to go.

By 5:30 (yes, am!), I'd taken my shower, eaten breakfast, drank a pot of coffee and planned out this week's menus. I'd created my grocery list, read the Target ad and figured out if I needed to visit Target. Since they have the jeans the monsters wear on sale, and since Bugaboo put his knee through a pair on Friday, I actually DO have a reason to visit Target.

So, shortly here, I'm going to put on my tennies, my coat and run out to grocery shop and visit Target.

I have some work-work to do also, but that can wait until later this afternoon.

I think I'm going to veg some more today...it felt good to do that yesterday and everyone needs one of those weekends now and again, don't they?

Until later...

12 January 2008

Feeling Sorry...

For myself that is.

It's been a rough week with the kerfluffle that Bugaboo dealt with on Monday, the ensuing parental outrage on Tuesday, the need to kick some Mr. A butt when I checked his grades online and saw a score that should never be associated with his brain and finally a new worry that I won't go into that popped into my less than orderly life on Friday.

So this morning as I sit here drinking my coffee, I'm feeling sorry for myself. Sorry that all these things piled up and worry over a monster has consumed so much waking time this week. And then sorry that I'm so obviously selfish that I'm sorry about that.

I'm sorry that I have no energy to go finish the purging that I started last week. I felt so much better about the state of my house after last weekend. And to be truthful, the state of my house wasn't horrible before last weekend. But the purging made me feel good, and reminded me that I'm not my grandmother, and there is no need to keep something "just in case".

So I think today will officially be "Sorry Nonnie" Day and I'm not going to do a damn thing. Maybe tomorrow I'll feel more like myself and I'll do something constructive with my weekend.

But for today? Today I'm going to whip up a batch of Caramel Chocolate Ginger Swirls, drink a tankerful of coffee, read some of the kajillion books in my TBR pile, take a nice luxurious bath, slather cream over all areas of my body and in general just pamper myself. Because really, if I don't, who will? And I don't care what anyone says...sometimes you just have to wallow in selfishness in order to be a selfless Nonnie...

Until later...

09 January 2008

Helping The Monsters Get Organized

It's Wednesday, and that means it is another installment of Works For Me Wednesday...this week however, it's a backwards WFMW, in that we're asking for help on our blogs rather than offering our own tips.

My dilemma is this: I'm having a difficult time teaching the monsters how to get and stay organized. Their school folders are tattered and filled with crumpled, unnecessary papers and while we go through them monthly, I don't know how to go about teaching the monsters how to stay better organized.

What are your favorite tricks to teaching your children how to keep necessary information in the proper place and how to learn what can be tossed? How do you help them understand the difference, so that they aren't pack rats of school papers?

Any help you could offer would be appreciated, so leave a comment on my dilemma, and then head on over to Rocks In My Dryer to see what help you can offer others!

Until later...

08 January 2008

Worrying About A Monster...

Yesterday was not a good day for Bugaboo at school. He seemed to drag himself out of the building and moped to the car. I try to stay upbeat when he has days like this, so we talked about what he'd had for lunch, what kind of homework he had and what he and his friends built in the snowpile on the playground during recess.

Once we exhausted those conversation avenues, he piped up from the backseat and asked, "Nonnie, why is Mrs. F so mean to me?" My heart dropped. I've not had good feelings about this teacher-student pairing all year, but I had thought things were getting better.

It seems that Bugaboo was missing a sheet in his folder (which was entirely MY fault, and that I had contacted the teacher about) and when the teacher asked the students to pull it out yesterday, he just sat there, knowing he didn't have it. Mrs. F then went over to Bugaboo's desk and repeated her instructions. He told her he didn't have it, and she proceeded to dump all of the contents in his desk on the floor. She then told him that he'd be staying in from recess to clean up the mess, and went on with the lesson. Bugaboo sat there while the rest of the students did their work, and finally was able to borrow a sheet from another student to complete his work. Recess was a ways off...depending on who you ask, it was either two hours (Bugaboo's estimation) or an hour (the teacher's) and Bugaboo sat with all of his things strewn around him on the floor for that time.

Recess came and Bugaboo stayed in to clean up the mess. He was left completely unsupervised in the classroom during this time. That just added to my fury over the way he was being treated.

So, after getting the story from Bugaboo yesterday and quizzing him on the details fifteen different ways to see if the story changed (it didn't), I called my ex-husband. We discussed the situation and agreed that I'd go into talk to Mrs. F today.

When the final bell rang today, I was waiting outside the classroom to talk to her about this. She saw me and stated she didn't have a lot of time, but she wanted to let me know that they'd had a couple of bad days. Apparently, Bugaboo was very defiant and disrespectful today. Which, while I don't condone it, I could certainly understand after the way he'd been treated yesterday. I asked her to tell me what happened yesterday, and her story mirrored Bugaboo's. I explained to her that I was very concerned at her actions towards Bugaboo in front of the other students and that I was concerned at the fact that he had been left unsupervised. She acknowledged that she had let her frustrations get the best of her, but she was hardly contrite.

After we got home today, I talked to Bugaboo, and let him know that while I understood that he was angry with Mrs. F, he needed to give her the respect her position deserved and that he needed to be on his best behavior. I then called my ex again to let him know what she had said, and he wasn't happy with the resolution. He and his wife fired off an email to the principal and copied the teacher on it this evening.

No sooner than my ex had sent the email, and the time was allowed for someone to read it, but his phone rang. Fifteen minutes later, my phone rang. It was the principal. Mr. S had been working late at the school and when the email came in, it caused him great concern. He wanted to have the full story from our side of things, so that he could discuss it with Mrs. F tomorrow. He apologized to both my ex and I for the situation and made sure we understood that he would be dealing with it immediately.

I'm very happy with the response we received from Mr. S. I think that it shows great concern for his students, that he would take the time late in the evening to contact a parent due to an email we'd sent. He could have left it for the morning, but he had the integrity to contact us tonight. This is Mr. S's first year as principal at my son's school and while I've had no contact with him until this point, I'm pleased to know that he (from all appearances) has a great deal of interest in his students and their ability to receive an education that is stress and bully free...whether that bully is the teacher or not.

However, I'm worried about the backlash that Bugaboo might experience because of this. I don't want to be an over-protective parent, but yet something like this needs to be addressed.

So, I'll be sitting on pins and needles for the next few weeks to see how it all shakes out. Cross your fingers that Bugaboo will come out of this without any retaliation and that things will improve in his school life.

Until later....

06 January 2008


Yesterday I contemplated why I don't ever accomplish anything on my "To Do" list when I'm home alone...well, that must have lit a fire under my arse, because lo and behold, I purged all day.

When the monsters and I moved in June, a lot of boxes ended up in my bedroom closet. Many of these boxes hadn't been looked at since I moved out of the house my ex and I were sharing when we split up. That's 9 years people! Nine years and 3 moves of hauling around boxes that I honestly didn't know what was inside.

So, yesterday, I emptied out my closet into piles...piles of craft boxes, piles of book boxes, piles of "What is in here???" boxes. Then there were the bags. Bags of stuff. I do that a lot. If I come home from shopping, and put a bag in my room to "get to it later", it will eventually end up in my closet when I clean. Oh, you'd think it would be easier to get to it immediately...put it away where it belongs, as I so often tell the monsters. I guess I'm firmly a "Do as I say, not as I do" parent in this regard. So, there were bags of stuff in another pile.

I went through one box that had pictures of when the monsters were small. It was so sweet to sit and look at those first pictures and remember when I was overwhelmed by this new being I was responsible for. I'm still as overwhelmed, but now it's because I'm the taxi for this being.

I also came upon a lot of things from high school, some things from my wedding and other "What should I do with this, now?" things.

I managed to go through 15 boxes and condense them down to six. A lot of stuff ended in a trash bag, and really, if I think about it, more could end up there, but I couldn't purge EVERYTHING this time around. I think the world would tilt on its axis if I did something that major.

My closet no longer looks as though it will explode if the doors get opened when I'm not around to put my hand just so as I slowly slide the one side open...you know what I'm talking about!

Today, I'm thinking that I'll do the same thing in the laundry room. Then again...Sundays are to be a day of rest, aren't they? Maybe I should just rest. But the energy to purge is here, and I think I'll take advantage of that before it's gone.

Until later...

05 January 2008


Like many 9-5'ers, I enjoy having my weekends to myself. Knowing that I don't have to get in the shower immediately, wake the monsters and get us all out the door...well, that's slice of heaven for me.

What I don't like, is the fact that I'm still up before the crack of dawn. Granted, dawn comes at about 8am during the Hinterland winter, but I'm up well before that. By 8am, I've consumed at least one pot of coffee. If I'm in the mood, I've baked something, and a load of laundry has been started, if not finished and put away.

On the weekends, the boys are at their dad's. Every weekend...it's just the way our agreement was created. So I really have no reason to be up and at 'em so early.

Today is no exception. I was up by 4 (yes, that's am)...I've consumed one pot of coffee and I'm halfway through my second. The animals have been fed and a load of laundry is in the washer. I'm thinking about baking something, but the angel on my shoulder is trying to talk me out of it. She's right, I really don't need the calories, but it's winter...I like to bake in the winter!

My plans for today include closet organization and serious purging. SERIOUS purging. I really don't think that 3/4 of the stuff in my bedroom closet should be kept. I have pack-ratitis, but I come by it honestly through genetics.

I'd also like to get some work related stuff done, but at this point in my day, I don't have the gumption for it.

Maybe part of my problem is that on the weekends, I have no one to be accountable to. I don't have to explain why I'm still in my flannel pj pants at noon...I don't have to explain that yes, I really have sat on my arse and surfed the 'net all day.

Then again, I think about how much the monsters and I are on the go during the week and I think, so what if I've not done a blessed thing other than take up space! I deserve it!

So, are your weekends guilt-ridden because you've done nothing? Do you have huge plans that never seem to come to fruition? Or do you actually accomplish as much on the weekends as you do during the week?

Until later...

02 January 2008

2008 Reading List

Anders, Donna

Sketching Evil (N)

Barton, Beverly

A Time To Die (N)
Blackwood's Woman (RR)

Frank, Jacqueline

Jacob (N)
Gideon (N)

Garwood, Julie

Shadow Dance (N)

Janzen, Tara

Crazy Cool (N)
Crazy Hot (N)
Crazy Kisses (N)
Crazy Love (N)
Crazy Sweet (N)
Crazy Wild (N)
Cutting Loose (N)
On The Loose (N)

Roberts, Nora

Dance of the Gods (RR)

Sala, Sharon

Ryder's Wife (RR)

Keeping The Kitchen Decluttered

It's my first WFMW and I've thought and thought about what to share that works for me...

Last Easter the monsters received their loot from the Bunny in a wire basket. Mr. A got a baseball basket, and Bugaboo got a soccer basket. Rather than put the baskets away, I decided to use them in the kitchen.

I'm not sure about you, but the kitchen counter in my house was a catch-all for their stuff. Stuff of all kinds...school papers, things that need to go to their dad's on the weekends, little knex pieces, etc...

I'd been fed up with the piles for a long time, but as I was tossing out the old Easter candy, I realized that the baskets were a great option to helping to keep clutter down. So they now reside on the end of my counter. As the boys empty out their packs at the end of the day, anything that needs my attention goes on the counter. Anything that should go to their dad's that weekend, gets put into their basket until we get the travel bag packed on Thursday.

As I pick up throughout the week, I also put the little odds and ends that I find into their basket. That way, there aren't piles of stuff laying around waiting for attention.

On Thursday as we're getting things packed up for the weekend, I take out the papers that need to go to their dad's and put them into the travel bag. Then whatever remains, the boys know that they need to take down to their room and PUT AWAY. With the baskets being coded by sport to each boy, it is easy enough for them to identify what is theirs and what isn't.

So that's what works for me to at least, in part, keep the clutter in my kitchen more manageable.

Head on over to Rocks In My Dryer to see what works for other busy families.

Until later...

01 January 2008


I'm not sure why I'm doing this...it's not as if I don't have enough in my life that requires time and attention. However, I used to journal, and really should get back in the habit. And since it is New Year's Day 2008 (WTF??? 2008? Are you kidding me?), I figured now is a good time as any to start.

I am a 36 year old single mother, living in the Scandahoovian Hinterlands. I can't imagine living anywhere else, no matter how I might whine about the weather in January or July for that matter. I have two wonderful monsters that live with me. I also lost my mind in late August and added two kittens to the mix.

I used to call my monsters little, but at some point over the summer Mr. Attitude shot up, so he's only about an inch shorter than I am! I'm pretty sure it was only yesterday that I left the hospital with him. Mr. A entered middle school this year, and seems to be doing okay...the consensus from his teachers is that he is a smart, respectful and friendly young man, who is more than a slight bit lazy.

My other monster is Bugaboo. It's getting to the point that he isn't appreciating that nickname. I try not to use it when we're out and about where others might hear it, but I've not quite gotten to that point yet. Bugaboo is just a slight bit shorter than his brother, and I'm sure will be hitting his own growth spurt here shortly. He entered fourth grade this year and for the first time has a teacher that his brother has already had. It's not a good thing, as Bugaboo is very sensitive to being compared to his brother. We also get told the same things about Bugaboo that we are told about Mr. A.

I'm hoping to make this a twice weekly blog at least. I need somewhere to record the goings on of this busy little family...it would be nice to have something to look back on years from now...Until later!