Monthly Archives: October 2014

I Made Peace with Our Poltergeist

Yes, we have a poltergeist.  I’ve been aware of him since 2005 however, looking back, the hubs realized that he’s probably been with us since the beginning (1995).  Yes, I said “he”;  It is a man and we know who he is.  I have always believed in ghosts and been deathly afraid of them.  I hoped that they would leave me be, because I scare very easily.  I’ve believed my whole life that the manner in which I die would be scared to death.  Truly!  Always been a scaredy cat.  I don’t watch horror movies; i get nightmares from the commercials.   As a child, I thought the Gremlins lived under my bed, Darth Vader lived in my basement and the Boogie Man roamed the halls of my house after everyone turned in.  If the hubs is away, I bring B into our bed at night, lock the bedroom door and leave the TV on all night.  So when I realized we had a poltergeist in our house, I thought I would go mad with fear.  I mean it literally.  I felt the panic that I had once felt during those two years of hell after I was raped.  But this morning, I realized I am finally at peace with him.  I actually love him and am glad he’s around, although I wish he’d stop messing with me!

So, let’s start at the beginning.  Actually, this is not the real beginning – not when he showed up.  But this is when I became aware of a poltergeist in our home.  The hubs had suspected who he was for some time but didn’t share the identity with me until a few years ago.  So, let’s head back to 2005…

It was a lovely, warm day and I was folding laundry in our bedroom.  B was playing, going back and forth from our bedroom and his.  We were renting a 3 story town home and the bedrooms were on the top.  There was no basement to the house; all 3 stories were above ground.  First floor had the front door, sliding glass doors in the back,a one car garage, family room and full bath; second floor had a kitchen, dining room and living room; third floor had 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.  For some reason, I did not have the TV nor radio on, so it was fairly quiet.  All of a sudden I heard the sound of a dining room chair being knocked over on the floor below.  I froze.  My heart stopped.  (As I type this, I’m reliving the fear from that day!  *shudder*)  Within 10 seconds, I heard the sound of a glass being knocked over on the kitchen counter.  Someone was in the house!

Before having B, this scaredy cat would have curled into a ball and either, a) been killed by the ax murderer who broke into the house or, b) died of fright before he made it to the top of the stairs!  But I was a mom and the instinct to protect my child got me moving.  I grabbed the phone on the nightstand, called the hubs at work and went to the top of the stairs.  When the hubs answered, I said loudly, “Someone’s broken into the house.  You need to come home now.  NOW!”  Luckily, my hubs is an action man, not a “Wait, what?  Calm down and give me all the details” kinda man.  He said, “Is B with you?”  “Yes.”  “Barricade yourself in your bedroom.  Call 911.  I’m on my way.”  He hung up.  I had not heard any more noise since the glass fell and no one had proceeded up the stairs yet, so I didn’t call 911.  I had hoped that the person thought the house empty since it was so quiet and now, realizing it was not they were thinking of leaving.

I spoke loudly and angrily from the top of the stairs, “Whoever you are, you better get the Hell out of my house RIGHT NOW.  My husband is on his way.  He carries a gun for work and his office is less than 5 minutes away.  I promise you, you will regret being here when he arrives, because the police will NOT be called and no one will find your body.”  I don’t know where that speech came from!  The hubs was at least 20 minutes away and had no gun.  But I was so mad that this person dared to come into my house with my child that I clung to the anger.  The alternative was panic.

I slammed the bedroom door, locked it and pushed my hope chest, nightstand and one bureau in front of it.  I grabbed the golf club under the hubs’ side of the bed and took B into the bathroom.  I locked the bathroom door and we both got into the tub.  I held the club in my left hand and the portable phone in my right.  I punched in the numbers 911 and hovered my thumb over the send button. I didn’t realize how tightly I was gripping both items until I heard our secret, family knock on the bedroom door, and had to put them down  to open the bathroom door.  I stood in the open bathroom door, silently, and waiting for the knock again.  It came, followed by, “Jessie?  It’s me.  It’s OK.  I’ve searched the whole house and no one’s here.  Open the door.”  He’d driven home like a bat out of Hell and spent 10 minutes searching the house.

After I moved the furniture and opened the bedroom door, he scooped B up in one arm and me in the other.  After I stopped shaking he told me what he’d found when he came home: the entire house was locked – all doors and windows – no one had broken in.  The only things out of place were a knocked over chair in the dining room and a glass in the kitchen.  “Well, someone was here!  Neither one of those were knocked over when we came upstairs and I heard them fall!”  “Then someone used a key,” he replied.  “But I doubt they’ll be back.”  We were renting the house at the time.  The owner got the house in her divorce settlement and she was currently living with the boyfriend that broke up the marriage.  I’d not heard good things from the neighbors about him and we thought it must have been him.  The hubs promised to call the owner and have a talk with her.  Despite my begging, he had to go back to work.

But I soon realized that no one had used a key to get into the house; it was a poltergeist.  A week later he started messing with me daily, but never in front of B or the hubs, so the hubs thought I was imagining things.  The owner’s bedroom was in the back of the house and in the front were 2 bedrooms side-by-side.  One was B’s room and the other the office.  B liked his door left open while he napped, so when I was on the computer at nap time, I shut the office door.  We had a loud, clacky keyboard and I didn’t want to wake B up.  Every time I was in the office, I heard footsteps walk down the hall from the stairwell to the office door and then the ghost knocked on the door!  I’d open it up but there’d be no one there.  On the nights that the hubs went to the basement to watch a game while I watched one of my shows in the bedroom, I’d hear the ghost’s footsteps start outside B’s door and walk down the hall to the threshold of our bedroom.  I kept the door open so I could hear B.  He would pause in the doorway for a few minutes,  Staring at me?  Watching TV with me?  And then I’d hear his footsteps head downstairs.

Then one time, several months later, I was out running errands on the weekend, B was taking a nap and the hubs was in the office with the door closed.  There was a knock at the office door.  He opened the door, but there was no one there.  Because of what I’d been telling him about my encounters, the hubs just stood in the doorway and waited.  After a minute or 2, he heard the footsteps walking away from him down the hall and down the stairs.  I was so relieved it’d finally happened to him!  A year after the ghost (I know, I switched from calling him a poltergeist to a ghost a little bit ago; it’s just because ghost is shorter to type) first appeared, our lease was up and we moved.  I was so happy because I believed that most ghosts haunt in one place – where they died, where they were buried, etc. – and that the ghost would stay at that house and bother the new occupants.

We moved over the Summer of 2006 and enjoyed a ghost-free new home for 2 months.  Or so I thought.  The hubs goes to bed earlier than me because he goes into work early.  I would watch TV, after he and B were in bed, downstairs in the family room.  Every night before going to bed I would change the channel on the set top box to Noggin (OH, how I miss Noggin!).  Every morning, B would wake up, come wake me up and then head downstairs while I peed and brushed my teeth.  The TV was on the floor in the family room and he would push the on button on the TV and watch Noggin until I came down to make breakfast.

When September began, despite the fact that I had put Noggin on before going to bed, ESPN was on the TV.  Not on the weekends, when the hubs got up with B, but on the weekdays, when the hubs was at work.  Not that ESPN was bad, but we didn’t want B watching anything other than Noggin without us present.  After a couple of weeks of coming downstairs and finding ESPN on, I told the hubs that if he’s going to watch ESPN in the morning before heading to work, could he please put it back on Noggin before leaving.  He didn’t know what I was talking about.  He never turned the TV on before work, he said, because he didn’t want to wake us.  I asked him if he recorded anything on ESPN during the night; that would account for the channel change.  He said no and I checked the DVR – no recordings on ESPN at all.  We didn’t have any pets to walk on the remote and I put it up high before bed.  B could not change the channel, volume, anything.  He could only reach the buttons on the TV, not the remote, not the set-top box.

DAMN IT!  It was the ghost; I was sure of it!  The fear only lasted a few seconds before being replaced with anger.  If I’d been calm at the time, I might have wondered why he came with us.  That meant he was attached to some possession or some person in our house and was sticking with us.  But I didn’t.  The hubs evidently did, but kept his theories to himself.  He knew my fear of ghosties.

I dropped B off at preschool one morning, came back home and stood in the middle of the family room.  I yelled, “I DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU WANT BUT I’M TELLING YOU TO GET. THE. FUCK. OUT. OF. MY. HOUSE!  LEAVE MY FAMILY ALONE!  GO BOTHER SOMEONE ELSE!  I HAVE A CHILD AND I WILL NOT HAVE YOU SCARING HIM!”  The next morning, and every morning after that, the TV was on Noggin.  No footsteps, no bumps in the night, just peace.  He, kindly, did what I asked of him, but not forever.  In 2007, the hubs went to Iraq.  My nerves were frayed enough as it was.  If that ghost had made itself known I probably would have gone into the funny farm!  But as soon as the hubs returned, the ghost made himself known again – crashing and banging on the upper floors.  I think he was as happy as the rest of us to have the hubs home safe and sound.

In the Summer of 2008, the house we were renting was sold and we moved to our current home.  (BTW, we’ve been together for 19 years and have moved 11 times.  We owned a house for 5 years and have lived in this house for 6 years, so the rest of those moves happened in the remaining 8 years.  I’m moving ONE. MORE. TIME. PERIOD.)  Once in this house, our ghost started walking up and down the hall at night again and stopping in our bedroom doorway to have a look.  In 2011 I received two kittens for Mother’s Day and it was quite apparent that our ghost enjoyed playing with the cats.  The ghost was also starting to make himself known to B.  B came to me, upset, about things he’d seen and heard.  I did not want him to know, but I was done talking to this guy.  He didn’t listen to me for long so I sat down with the hubs and asked him what we should do.

He finally told me he believed he knew who it was and, upon lots of reflection, he realized this person been with us since 1996.  It was the hubs’ brother, who had passed away 4 months before the hubs and I met.  Although it made me feel better to know it wasn’t some random serial killer, I didn’t know my BIL (brother-in-law).  I knew I didn’t like his behavior in my house, but the hubs said that was his personality.  The hubs told me to take B out of the house and he had a talk with his brother to please tiptoe around B.  And he does.

The hubs and his brother weren’t very close growing up but, before he died, they spent a road trip together and really got to talk and connect for the first time.  The hubs is glad to have his brother in our house.  The month of November, when my BIL died, used to be very dark  and hard for the hubs.  But not now.  He talks to his brother all the time, is happy to have him with us, watching his nephew grow up into such a wonderful young man, and he’s glad his brother no longer suffers.  I’m happy for the hubs and that my BIL doesn’t mess with B, but I wished that he didn’t constantly remind me he was here.  He’s always moving my stuff!  Taking it and having a good ‘ole laugh watching me tear up the place looking for it, and then putting it right back where it was.  However, recently, I’ve had a change of heart.

I thought I didn’t know my BIL, but I realized this month that’s not true at all.  He’s lived with me for 19 years.  He even talks to me.  He calls our names.  Isn’t that amazing?!  I thought it was creepy before but it’s actually endearing.  He calls my name when I’m in the house alone.  He knows I’m a scaredy cat and I think he’s letting me know that I’m not really alone; he’s here.  He calls my name before I fall asleep sometimes.  I don’t know if he’s saying good night or messing with me by not letting me sleep.  He was a big prankster!  But it makes me feel like he sees me as his sister and I am “blessed” with all the sibling pranks that the others got when he was alive.

This month, though, he’s stepped up his game.  Halloween time is, apparently, his favorite time of year.  He crashed something in the bedroom last week just as I was dozing off.  The hubs had fallen asleep on the couch downstairs watching a game.  My BIL would have never pulled that stunt if the hubs was in the room!  LOL  And I’ve actually seen him in the house twice this month.  I’ve come downstairs with my eyes down because I have a habit of falling down stairs and I have to pay attention.  Out of the corner of my, I’ve seen a man in the kitchen and I look up just in time to see his back retreat out the kitchen door into the front room.  And you know what?  I wasn’t scared.  I wasn’t pissed.  I’m honored, in fact.

I’m finally at peace with my BIL, the poltergeist.  The whole time I’ve been typing this, I’ve wondered if he was standing behind me, reading over my shoulder.  I wonder what he thinks of this post.  Is he saying to himself, “Hold on, that is NOT what happened.” or “Lighten up!”  Maybe he’ll tell me at bedtime tonight.  ;o)

 

It’s the Little Things

I had a conversation with an acquaintance online this morning.  She and I became Facebook friends recently because we are in similar lines of work and I love to network with others for support and encouragement.  We live in different parts of the country, but are both adoring moms, proud daughters of God and spread positivity and love.  The conversation we had was quick, since we both have plenty to do, but it was meaningful because it made me see good in the cold and dark season we are entering.

Me: Are you enjoying Fall? Are your leaves turning color or are they already gone?

Her: Oh yes I am! Yes, they have changed color and have already started falling off. There is a small tree I have on one side of my driveway where I park the car under during the day to shade it from the sun. Yesterday I realized the leaves are almost all gone, no more shade. LOL It’s the little things we need to pay attention to.  🙂

Me: Yes. But with the cooler temperatures, you won’t need the shade. You’ll welcome the sun warming the car for the next time you get in it. Just another reminder that when God closes a door (the leaves fall and trees look bare and lonely) he opens a window (makes way for the sun to shine on us and warm us).  🙂

Her: DEFINITELY!  😀

Please Start Writing Obituaries

Throwback Tursday from April 2011: Please Start Writing Obituaries

You, Me & B

I am an avid reader of obituaries in my local paper and I have a love/hate relationship with them. I cannot stop myself from reading them. Every week when the paper arrives, I open to the obit section hoping that, THIS time, I am going to read something that will make me smile through my tears. Most weeks, however, I am just saddened. But those rare occasions that make me smile are so worth weeding through the rest. So, I have to speak up about this issue, because everybody deserves a great obituary.

There are so many great things about obituaries. The lovely, full names, some of which have not been used in decades or generations. The number of years this soul lived here on Earth. Anything over 80 gets an automatic smile and no tears from me, because I tell myself, “they lived a good, long life”. But I…

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Awesome Transformer Birthday Party under $80!

I soooo did not want to do a birthday party this year!  I just didn’t want to take the time to research, plan, search for deals and put it together in addition to my jobs – COO of Casa de You, Me & B; Director of Education at You, Me & B Academy; and Editor & Writer of You, Me & B Blog.  I just wanted the three of us to do something special together or to take B and a friend or two to do something fun.  *sigh*  But B really wanted a party  and, since he was turning 12, this would be the last birthday party.  So I caved and agreed to do it and accepted his desired theme – Transformers.  I went online that night, looked up ideas and saved some links in my favorites (without reading them) for later.   Then I proceeded to procrastinate for a month.

Two and a half weeks before the party, I finally realized that invitations needed to go out, so B and I spent the morning creating them.  Actually, he spent the morning creating them and I was his lighting and prop gal.  He selected a picture of ours and pulled it up on the computer screen.  I stacked a small suitcase in front of the monitor, covered it with black material and B arranged 3 of his Transformers on it.  Smokesceen is in pieces in the background on the left (destroyed by Bumblebee) and Deep Desert Brawl has a gun to Bumblebee’s head in the forefront on the right.

B spent a lot of time with the camera, focusing in on one part and fuzzing out the rest, then trying a different part, then another and another and another.  Then he decided he didn’t have the lighting he wanted, so I stood over him with a desk lamp pointed at the computer screen, and he moved my arms around until the lighting reflected off the computer screen to get the effect he wanted.  What looks like fire in the middle of the screen is from the lamp I’m holding.  Finally he had The Shot.  We uploaded it to the computer, added wording and ordered copies from Staples.

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I’m so proud of him; he did an excellent job on the invitation!  Staples had a minimum order requirement of 25 invitations even though I only needed a dozen.  They were printed out on 4″ x 8″ cards and came with envelopes for $14.99.  They were ready for pick up at our local Staples in a few hours.  Some we delivered in person; some we had to mail.  Then, I still procrastinated until one week before the party.  But once I got started, I was on a roll and the kids had a blast.  The hubs and I did, too, to tell you the truth.  I received ideas from BirthdayPartyIdeas.com and Pinterest.  Here’s what we did.

Once everyone arrived, we went into the kitchen where I had covered two tables with plastic, yellow tablecloths and put bowls of regular sized marshmallows and thin pretzel sticks.  We told the kids to build themselves a robot out of the pretzels and marshmallows.  Some kids were finished before others and asked if they could eat their creations, but we made them all wait until everyone had a robot completed.  We all admired the robots and then threw the kids a loop: using only the pieces already in your robot, transform it into a vehicle.  Some complained they didn’t have enough pieces to make a vehicle, but we asked them to at least try, use their imagination, a vehicle doesn’t have to have 4 wheels, etc. before they they reached for more parts.  They got creative!  🙂

Since they were all so keen on eating their creations (but we hadn’t washed hands before everyone dug into the bowls of pretzels and treats) we had everyone wash hands and eat the snacks I’d set out: veggies and dip; crackers & hummus; cheese sticks; pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.  While they munched, I filled cups with water and passed them out.  Each cup had the child’s 1st name written on it with a Sharpie, as well as their Transformer name.  They loved to hear all the names I got from this Transformer Name Generator.

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After they’d all had something to eat and drink, the hubs took the kids into the front room to play a Transformer Memory Game.  I got the idea from Tip Junkie, but did not use their free printable (I don’t have enough ink in my printer!).  Instead, we took pictures of 6 of B’s transformers – one in robot form and one in vehicle form – and uploaded them to Costco’s Photo Center.  The twelve pictures costs me $1.65 and were ready in a couple of hours.  I glued the pictures to blue construction paper and laminated them with a laminator and sleeves I already owned.  Punched holes in the bottom and top of the laminating sheets and connected with red yarn so that each card could be turned independently.  I hung the game on the coat closet doors.  Although only a few of our guests had ever seen a Transformer movie, I told them they would still be successful at the game by matching colors of the Transformers in the pictures.  The hubs played the memory game with the kids while I ran out back and hid several items in our backyard and my neighbors backyard.  I came back inside just as the memory game ended.  All the kids were up at the board asking the hubs if they could take one of the pictures home with them. 🙂

I told the kids that in the 1st Transformer movie Sam Witwicky’s dad told Sam if he got A’s and earned $2,000 he’d buy him a car.  I was going to ask each child a question and they had to get it right in order to get their A.  For the younger children, I asked them how old they were, what their last name was, their favorite movie, favorite animal, etc.  For the older kids I asked them what the capital of the US is, what country is our neighbor to the north, to the south, etc..  The homeschool mom in me had to inject learning into the party but still ensure they would get their question correct.  😉

After they’d all answered a question correctly, (we cheered & hi-fived everyone when they did), I told them how to earn their $2,000.  Items were hidden all over our yard and the neighbor’s yard (the fence is open between us so the kids can run back and forth easily).  Some of the items had price tags on them and some didn’t.  Each child needed to find and bring to us $2,000 worth of items to buy their car – no more, no less.  If they found a disguise item that did not have a price tag, they would have to put it on and perform for the hubs and me and we’d give them “money” based on their performance.  We had white ping pong balls (representing the ice that Megatron had been trapped under in the Arctic) with $1,000 written on them; we had glow sticks (Sam’s great-grandfather Captain Witwicky needed light down in the ice cavern where he found Megatron) with $500 price tags on them and Captain Witwicky mustaches with no price tags.  We made sure everyone knew that this was not a race to be first nor to collect as many items as possible.  They needed to use their Math skills just to get $2,000 and then help the others.  I loved the accents they came up with when they talked to us with mustaches on!

So, they’d earned their A and $2,000 and it was time to get their cars.  I told them the car picks the driver, the driver does not pick the car.  We went into the alley behind our house and lined the kids up at the base of the neighbor’s driveway (because it is on an incline).  The plan was to roll the cars, one at a time, down the driveway and whomever the car went to, the car chose that child.  Unfortunately, I was using B’s Hot Wheels and the small tires didn’t go but a few inches on the blacktop.  So, we just had each child reach into the bag of cars and select one.

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I hadn’t used a sifter in a really long time and I shook too much sugar on the cake! Don’t worry, when I cut the slices for the kids, I knocked it off before they ate. The top middle section actually has an upside down triangle of card stock inside of it that I was supposed to remove after shaking on the sugar. However, it was so covered, I forgot it was there until I started cutting that part of the cake. It was removed and no one ate any.

We went back inside for cake & singing, next, because the scavenger hunt was the last planned activity and they could burn off sugar marching through the neighborhood.  I made B’s favorite cake (which was my fav as a child) Triple Chocolate Cake.  No icing needed!  The hubs cut our an Autobot symbol stencil for me and I used that to shake powdered sugar on the cake (I used too much, but shook it off before putting slices on their plates).  The kids were impressed.  We sang, ate cake.  Remember the invitation B created?  The Decepticons were holding the Autobots hostage and we had to find them before it was too late!  There were 8 clues that sent the kids up and down the alley.  I sent the kids outside to receive their 1st scavenger hunt clue.  Here are all the clues:

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I found these Decepticon & Autobot symbols online and glued them to each clue envelope.

  1. If you’re looking for your Autobot brothers,
    It’s not hard to see;
    You’ll find your 1st clue
    Where you watch a movie.
    (They successfully went to the living room DVD player and found the next clue.)
  2. If you want a clue to help save Ironhide,
    Look where B puts his drink when he goes for a ride.
    (They successfully went to the garage and found a clue in the water bottle holder on B’s bike.)
  3. Someone on this street
    Makes lemonade popsicle treats.
    So don’t sit a spell.
    Go ring her doorbell!
    (After some debate over who’s mom made the best Summer popsicles, they decided on the correct mom, rang her doorbell and she handed them the next clue.)
  4. He dribbles the ball.
    He shoots; he scores!
    He finds another clue
    At one of these outdoors.
    (There are 2 permanent basketball hoops in the alley out back, one at each end, plus a couple of the kids have the Fisher Price ones in their garages.  They had to search them all to find the right one and they did.)
  5. When you take out the trash
    You have to choose-
    Will it get thrown away
    Or can it be reused?
    (They realized it was a recycle bin and since most of the kids lived on the alley, they all wanted to check their own recycle bins first.  B thought it made sense to check his first, so that’s what they did and they found the next clue.)
  6. The enemy is scared.
    Your search has been bold.
    Now look in the box
    Where milk stays cold.
    (Everyone yelled, “THE REFRIGERATOR!”  and started to head for the house.  But B stopped them and said we had a fridge in the garage and that’s where we keep the extra milk.  They found the next clue.)
  7. The Decepticons are getting close to defeat.
    Your next clue lies where The Smiths wipe their feet.
    (They all yelled, “DOORMAT!” and headed to the Smith’s house.)
  8. You’ve found the last clue
    But you’re running out of time!
    Put this puzzle together
    To get your last rhyme.
    (Then they dumped several cut up pieces of paper out of the envelope and they all worked together to fit the pieces of the last clue together.)
  9. There’s a honeysuckle bush
    That smells so sweet.
    It’s real close by
    But you must cross a street.
    Will you pick the right one?
    Which way will you go?
    Will you save them in time?
    Or will they fall to your foe?
    (Their first guess where the honeysuckle bush was located was correct!  They found a clear Ziplock bag full of Autobots behind some thorns at the base of a honeysuckle bush.)
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There were 20 minutes left before the parents would pick up their kids and we went to the alley out back to play.  Everyone who lives on the alley shared their bike, scooters, swords and Nerf guns with those who didn’t and there was a mighty battle of Decepticons vs. Autobots.

When it was time for a child to leave, I gave him or her their personal Allspark full of Energon to keep them going.  I decorated plain cupcake boxes to look like the Allspark and each one contained 2 Honeycrisp apples and a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin.

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This morning, B decided to do another Transformer picture to include in the Thank You notes.  We had 10 guests, including 3 sets of siblings, so we ordered 7 pictures.

Thank you note 2 copy

Cost of party breakdown, with tax:

Invitations $15.89
Pictures for Memory Game $1.65
Thank You Notes $0.96
Decorations, plates, napkins, cups, tablecloths, ping pong balls, glow sticks and mustaches from Dollar Tree $13.78
Cupcake boxes from Webstaurant.com ($11 of that was shipping) $19.98
Broccoli, hummus, pretzel sticks, marshmallows, organic Honeycrisp apples $27.34
Cake & muffin ingredients, carrots, dip, crackers, cheese sticks I already had $0.00
Total $79.60

My Copycat of Chicken Flautas from Costco

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B loooooves to stop at every demonstrator in Costco and try the food samples, just like his grandpa.  Last month, we tasted, and then bought,  Don Miguel’s Chicken Flautas – delicious!  However, they were all gone in 2 meals.  B asked if we could go buy some more so, of course, I looked at the ingredients and thought, “Pshaw!  I can make these!”  Last week, I happened to have all the ingredients on hand, so I made some tortillas, dumped a bunch of stuff in a skillet to mix and heat, rolled it up in my tortillas and we all loved it!  Here’s what I did (Mind you, I did not follow Don Miguel’s ingredients list exactly.  As always, I made it my own.):

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I heated some canola oil in a skillet, added a can of drained and rinsed black beans and mashed them with a potato masher. Once they were hot and sizzling, I added diced meat I’d picked off a leftover rotisserie chicken and some of my homemade salsa. Stirred and heated until it was bubbly.

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This was all the frozen corn I had, so I rinsed it under warm water in a colander, drained and added it to the pan.

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While the corn was warming up in the pan, I shredded a bunch of Colby Jack cheese and added that to the pan, as well. Kept stirring until the cheese was melted and mixed throughout. I tasted it and it was SO GOOD I didn’t even want to bother with the tortillas! No seasonings were added because there was so much flavor in the mix already from the rotisserie chicken and homemade salsa.

I could only fit six, filled tortillas on the pan, so I stopped there and popped them in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.  One was enough for each of us for dinner!  The remaining filled tortillas went into the freezer to pull out for future lunches.  The rest of the filling I heated up the next day all by itself and ate it in a bowl.  It was DEELISH!

 

Scandal S4:E2

WARNING: If you have NOT watched last Thursday’s episode of Scandal yet, do not read the following!

For the rest of y’all, I told myself after watching S4:E1 that I was done.  I can’t take the ugliness and dregs of human nature towards each other.  It affects me and stays with me the rest of the week.  I finally shake it by Wednesday and the Thursday, I think I can watch another one.  *sigh*  Anywho, onto Episode 2…

It never ceases to amaze me how conceited some men can be!  How could Cyrus Beene possibly think that the “gentleman” who approached him in the bar was actually attracted to him?!   OK, I guess there was one, remote possibility: that the man recognized who Cyrus was and was attracted to the power and influence that Cyrus has.  I don’t understand people finding power attractive, but there are some who do.  (Donald Trump keeps getting married.)  Even if he wasn’t attracted to power, I knew that the man had to be educated enough to know that it was The Cyrus Beene he was approaching and, therefore, it would not end well for Cyrus if he got involved.  The man would have something on Cyrus, to hold over his head, something with which to blackmail him.  When I saw him the 2nd time, it dawned on me that he might not be acting alone, that someone had hired him.  I didn’t know who, but certainly was not surprised at all when we found out.

Cyrus totally deserves it, though.  He was a monster before, the way he used his husband, James among many other things.  But now that James is dead, he doesn’t even pretend to be nice in certain circumstances anymore.

Oh, and I agree with Cyrus and disagree with Mellie in regards to whether or not their pain is the same.  The are both in the worst pain that either of them could possibly feel.  Cyrus could not feel worse nor could be broken any worse than he already is, and Mellie is the same place.  Cyrus’ love for James was the deepest he’s ever felt and James is gone.  Although Cyrus & James adopted a baby, that baby was never Cyrus’; he feels nothing for her, so he is not a parent.  The only love he’s known is for James.  Mellie is a parent and, therefore, has loved deeper and wider than Cyrus can even imagine.  When Mellie compares the pain she knows she would feel if she lost Fitz to the pain of losing Gerry, losing Jerry, of course, is worse!  But Cyrus, never being in Mellie’s position, can’t be compared to Mellie.  Does that make any sense?

Before we had B, I truly believed that if something were to happen to the hubs, my life would be over.  He was my world and I would not want to live without him.  Once we had B, I realized I didn’t even know what love was before becoming a mother.  I had no idea I had the capacity to love someone instantly, fiercely and as unconditionally as that.  Becoming a parent helped me to relate to, and finally have a relationship with, God.  I know now how He feels about me because it’s the same way I feel about B.  So, if something were to happen to the hubs, I would grieve, a piece of my heart would die.  I would never give another man the time, energy and love that I gave the hubs, but I could and would go on.  I have someone more important to live for and take care of: B.

So, even though their capacity for love is not the same, both Cyrus and Mellie loved their lost ones as deeply as they possible could.  And, therefore, their are experiencing the worst pain they each possibly can.

I bet you didn’t know I was a lyricist, too, did ya?

My dad LOVES music and passed that love unto me. I grew up listening to the local oldies radio station in the car; it played songs from the 50s and 60s. We didn’t get the best radio reception inside, so when my dad cleaned the house, he would sing his favorite songs, a cappella.  The thing is, he never remembered all the words. That didn’t stop him, though; he just made up words to fill in the blanks. It was quite entertaining to the rest of us!

I kicked it up a notch.  I break out into song quite frequently in this house.  I use the tunes from songs I know and like, but make up words on the spot that apply to whatever situation we’re in.  For example, this morning I needed a glass to get a drink.  I saw the dishwasher was full of clean dishes so I grabbed one from there instead of the cupboard.  You should always grab from a clean dishwasher instead of a cupboard or drawer; the one who’s job it is to empty the dishwasher will be mighty appreciative.  That job belongs to B in our house.

So I said called to him, “B, the dishwasher needs to be emptied!  I just took a glass out of it, so there’s one less item to empty.”  DING!  The lightbulb instantly went off in the lyric part of my brain (that happens to me several times every single day).  “One less item to empty” = “one less problem without ‘cha”.  I went to the other room where B was, got in between him and the TV and started singing Ariana Grande’s Problem, the part in the chorus where the guy is whispering:  “You got one less item to empty.  You got one less item to empty.  You got one less item to empty.  You got one less in the dish-waaaaaaasher.”  I crack myself UP!

And that, dear readers, is one of my secrets to making chores and lessons fun in this house.  I’ve been making up lyrics about anything and everything for decades, but I didn’t start doing it on a daily basis until I became a mom.  My mom’s favorite is one I made up to Frère Jacques during B’s first year.  My version went like this:

Are you pooping?
Are you pooping?
Ben-ja-min?
Ben-ja-min?
I think I smell something.
I think I hear something.
(Stick my tongue out with my lips tightly around it and blow 3, short times, like a fart noise.)
(Stick my tongue out with my lips tightly around it and blow 3, short times, like a fart noise.)

Twelve years later, and I can still crack my mom up with that one!

So B’s not only grown up listening to my lyrics, but also making his own.  He gets better every year, so it was no surprise when he decided he wanted to take a songwriting class next semester.  Proud mama!  On the last day of class, all the kids have the option to preform their creation and I know my attention-loving son is going to do his.  I don’t know if parents are aloud in the class that day or not, but I will be in there.  And I’ll be recording.  😀

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