Wednesday, August 21, 2013


My husband and I approach decision making and change very differently.  I make snap decisions and he likes to take his time with them.  Sometimes he can take weeks or even months to make a big decision, which drives me crazy!  I will yell at him, "Just make up your mind!"  I understand he is thinking it over logically, but in my mind, the solution should already be made.  Once we've arrived at a decision and we're making a big change, he goes with the flow and I push back.  This seems counter-intuitive.  Why do I make a snap decision to make a change but then get cold feet when it is time for the change to happen?  It might be the way my crazy mind works, it might be because I am just naturally resistant to change.  Who knows?  Fortunately, my husband knows I'm like this so when we're doing a big change, for example when we bought a house and moved across town last November, he built it up for a long time and prepared me for it.  We took it a little at a time and managed to keep our apartment for an extra week so we weren't all moved in at once.

Since this blog post is all about change, you've probably figured out I'm gearing up to tell you about a big change going on in my life right now.  We have decided to be foster parents, with the possibility of adopting later on.  I just spoke with our county DHS rep this morning and she is mailing me all our paperwork we need to get filled out and we need to go to the courthouse to be finger-printed so they can run a background check on us.  After all that is done, they will be doing a home check on us and an interview, to make sure we're not totally crazy and we actually have room for a kid or two.  Then after they approve us, and I'm just assuming they will, Mr J and I will have to take 27 hours of foster care training classes.  And I guess after that, we'll get a placement.  So hopefully we can get all this done by the end of the year and get a baby or child in January or so.

You might be wondering "What about all that fertility treatment you were doing?"  Well, we decided that stuff was way too expensive and invasive and it made me overly crazy anyway.  So we're not continuing with it.  Since we've been trying to get pregnant for well over a year, both with treatments and without, and nothing has happened, I'm going to just assumed it will not happen and move on.  Mr J and I have talked about this at great length and while we would love to have a biological child, it is not the end of the world if we can't.  It just makes so much more sense to put that money and energy toward helping a child who genuinely needs it rather than trying to get pregnant, especially when it wasn't even working.  And to prove to myself that I'm done with all this, I'm selling my infertility and pregnancy books today.  I posted them on craigslist on Monday and already have a buyer.  Hopefully they will work for her and I wish her the best.

I have grown a lot in the past year and a half.  I will be 31 next week.  I never in my life thought I would still be childless at 31, but here I am.  At least with fostering, I am guaranteed to get a child.  He or she won't look like me, but I've finally figured out that's really not that important.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Let's Get (Slow) Cooking

Disclaimer: I will be talking about specific brands and products in this blog post.  I did not seek permission from these companies to mention their brands, however all opinions are my own.  The pictures were simply taken from a google images search and the images belong to the company represented, not to me.

Let me start out by saying I adore my slow cooker.  I use it at least once a week, often more than that.  I would say the major reason why I love it so much is because I'm lazy.  I love being able to throw a few ingredients together before work and have a meal ready to eat when I come home in the evening.  Now I don't claim to be a great cook, in fact I know I'm just slightly better than mediocre.  Fortunately my husband will eat just about anything and call it delicious.  So I open a couple of cans of this and that, throw in some spices and add some meat and tada! I've got myself a meal.

I've asked around a few of my friends and found that almost everyone has a slow cooker but the problem is they don't really know what to do with it.  So it sits in a cabinet, collecting dust, and my friends instead cook a full meal every night.  Come on!  Break that baby out, dust it off and start slow cooking!  (And if you are one of the few who doesn't have one, I just checked and they have a nice 6-quart one for only $30.  Trust me, it is well worth it.)  The next most important thing you can get is your Reynold's liners:
These things are amazing.  They never quite fit into my cooker properly, but I just fold the extra edges over and it works out fine.  But they really work most of the time.  Occasionally they will leak and I'll have to wash out my cooker but for the most part, they hold everything in and there's only a small amount of condensation inside the cooker that I just wipe away.

The greatest part about slow cooking is you can get really creative with recipes.  I like to look up regular baking recipes online or in cook books and then just put it in the slow cooker.  As far as my experience has gone, if it fits in the cooker and doesn't require too much liquid, it will cook up just fine.  Soups, of course, being the exception.  You don't want to add a lot of liquid to your recipes because slow cooking releases liquids from foods anyway.  Example: if I'm feeling really lazy but know that I want some spaghetti, I'll put the frozen ground beef (extra lean because you won't be able to strain the grease out) and a jar of pasta sauce in the cooker all day.  Then just boil up some noodles, toss it all together and serve.  The general cooking time for frozen meats is about 8-10 hours on low.  I don't advise cooking frozen meats on high because they don't turn out too well.  If your meat is defrosted, you can cook it 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.  Basically until it looks done.

I recently discovered some new slow cooker sauces from Campbell's:
That's the only flavor I've tried, the Hawaiian Luau, which I made yesterday.  I defrosted a 2.5 lb pork loin, put it in the slow cooker and poured the sauce pouch over it.  That's it!  It cooked about 7 hours.  I made some rice separately, shredded up the pork and served it over the rice.  It was quite good.  I thought it had just the right blend of sweet and savory spices, but my husband thought it could stand to be a little sweeter, so I might stir in some more pineapple chunks or serve it with a side of grilled pineapple next time.  There will definitely be a next time, and I'll likely have to try out some of the other flavors too.  Plus it made a lot of leftovers so we're having pork sandwiches tonight for dinner.

One thing I have not been successful with is baking desserts in the slow cooker.  I found a recipe for peanut butter brownies that sounded amazing.  Basically it involved a packet of peanut butter cookie mix and brownie mix and all the wet ingredients.  They just didn't blend properly I think.  I don't really know what the problem was but they turned into a gloppy mess.  Maybe too many wet ingredients?  Like I said, too much liquid in slow cooker recipes is a bad idea.  So if anyone's been successful with that, I'd love to hear their tips.  My next project I'm going to try is a flaky pastry with a Brie cheese wheel.  Somehow this is supposed to be good in the slow cooker, but I am uncertain.  We'll see how it turns out!  Except I don't have any occasion to make this for and I don't want to be eating an entire wheel of cheese by myself...though god knows I could probably do it!

So, am I making you hungry yet?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Adventures at Wal-Mart

Today I went grocery shopping.  Yes, at Wal-Mart.  I'm a bargain shopper and I'm also ghetto.  That is all beside the point.  The point of this post is etiquette and basic decency.

So there I was, trying to decide exactly which pork tenderloin looked like the one for me, while Mr J was staring off into space looking bored, when a woman approached me from behind and asked if she could give me a card.  I said "Sure," because usually I like helping people out with fundraising and whatnot.  Well, this was different.  She went on to say that this company helped her get off all her medications and lose 15 pounds in one month.  My husband and I both stared at her, completely flabbergasted.  I swear I almost asked her, "Do you go around grocery stores looking for fat chicks to hassle?"  Instead I gave her what I hope was my best bitch please! look, said "No thank you," and quickly turned back to the pork.

How can anyone think it is socially acceptable to approach a total stranger and more or less tell them they need to lose weight?  Granted, yes I do need to and am trying to lose weight, as documented here.  But it is still none of her damn business.  I was hopping mad (I still am!) at that woman.  I don't know how I managed to keep my big mouth shut and not just tell her off, or lecture her about etiquette.  So, instead, I'm going to make a list of dos and don'ts for you all:


  • Ever tell anyone who is not a family member or very close friend that they need to change their appearance.  And even then, tread lightly.  Phrase it out of concern for their health, not simply that you can't stand being seen in public with a fatty.
  •  Ask a woman if she is pregnant or when her due date is unless you are absolutely sure she is pregnant.  IE: she is showing you an ultrasound picture or is complaining about a foot in her ribcage.  I have recently made this mistake and have also had the question asked of me.  It sucks being on either end, trust me.
  • Stare at other people in the gym locker room.  Whether you're a fat-fatty or are totally ripped, we all feel weird changing in front of each other.  Keep your eyes to the ground.  OK, I'll admit it, I'm guilty of this one too.  What can I say?  I like to compare breast sizes.  But I'll try to stop.
  • Go to restaurants and leave a huge mess for the staff to deal with.  Or, conversely, let your offspring run around like maniacs.  It is not safe for them or anyone else.  Remember, public places are not your house so do not treat them as such.
  • Talk incessantly about your precious offspring in front of your infertile friends.  If they want to hear stories, they will ask.  Otherwise, it is just insensitive and, to be frank, cruel.


  • Compliment as many people as possible.  This is one I try to remember always.  At the grocery store, at work, at the gym, wherever I happen to be.  If I happen to see something I like, such as a cute hairstyle or a manicure, I will be sure to compliment the woman on it.  It is simple enough, makes you feel good and can possibly just make her day much better.  Everyone likes to be noticed.  (But not stared at!)
  • Tell your husband/significant other you love him every day.  It doesn't matter that he already knows, or that you've been together 40 years.  Everyone needs love and they need to hear the words.  Going along with that one, I kiss my husband every single morning before work and every night before bed.
  • Tip your waiter.  I cannot stress this one enough!  The minimum wage for wait staff is $2.13, so they literally make their living off their tips.  It used to be customary to leave 15% of the bill as a tip, but that is outdated.  20-25% is considered customary now, but I often leave 25-30%.  Sometimes, if the bill is low and the service is above and beyond, I will leave 50% or even more.  A good waiter is hard to come by these days so if you find one, reward him or her well.  (Side note to waiters: do your damn job to the best of your ability or quit.  There is no need to half-ass it anymore.)
  • Mind your Ps and Qs.  It is not so hard to say "please" and "thank you," whether you are just at home or out in public.  It will make you a more pleasant person, both in appearance and demeanor.  Also, start teaching your children their Ps and Qs from an early age, but do not criticize them for not saying them.  That will give these nice words a negative connotation.
I'm sure I could think of a million more, but these are my basic etiquette rules that I think everyone should live by.  If we did, I think society in general would be a much more pleasant place.  What rules do you have to add to the list?