Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Cooked The Turkey Upside Down

And that's not all...........!

My friend gave me a turkey. I thought it was frozen, but it was already in the process of thawing, so I had to cook it. It's for nibbling, dinners and lunches this week.

I pulled up my handy 'How to Cook a Turkey' recipe, and took to washing the bird. I pulled out the neck and wondered where the gizzards and stuff were. Oh well, my last turkey didn't even have a neck inside, so maybe this one didn't have innards. 

Hmmmm...I realized there was another end when, after what I thought was a thorough washing, I discovered the buttocks. And the innards. Got that figured out and washed out. Whew!

Now, I couldn't find the weight of the bird anywhere. I searched and searched. No weight. I went to my digital scale and weighed myself (Dear God! I've got to lose weight!!). Then I held the turkey. I've never seen numbers that high on a scale, in my life!! I wish I could tell you it was a 45 lb turkey.

Back in the kitchen, I separated the skin and put butter and thyme in there. Added salt and pepper to the skin and put it in the oven at 475 for 20 minutes.

My in-laws are in town, so I set the timer - 250 for 300 minutes - and we went to tour Chicago!

Only I realized I didn't turn the oven down from 475 to 250!!!!

We headed back home, concerned the loft would be smokin'! It wasn't. I turned off the oven, pulled out the turkey, and found it black in some parts of the skin, but it was actually moist!! Wow!! This is an AWESOME recipe.

Later, when we all returned home, my husband, mother-in-law and I were leaning over the kitchen island, hand pulling pieces off the turkey (If you've never eaten a turkey this way, you should!). By this time, the turkey had dried up a bit but was still great. Lots of juice in the pan. 

I commented that there wasn't much meat on the bird. My mother-in-law said, "That's because the turkey is upside down." OMG! 

Friday, November 28, 2008

Finished for Friday - Teddy Bear

I can FINALLY join forces with Lit and Laundry on her 
weekly Finished for Friday edition!

I am officially a crocheting amigurumi fool!
I am making all of our Christmas gifts for our nieces and nephews this year. Here are 3 that I have completed this week.

Do you think he needs eyes?

Pink Cat
I just love this guy. And he's huge!

Blue Whale
Historic Route 66 runs through the Oklahoma town J and his family grew up in.  There is an actual Blue Whale on the route that used to be part of a water park, giving this little guy have more significance.
I never thought I could do any of this, much less get all of these done in one week. Who knew I had it in me. 

Check out Finished for Friday's home.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful Thursday - Thanksgiving Kickoff

I've been meaning to do a 'Thankful Thursday' edition since my dear, OLD, OLD, OLD (and preggo, might I add) friend, at The Mommy Project started doing these about a month ago. Each week, I've thought about what I am thankful for, but have kept it to myself, sadly. I keep nothing to myself so what gives, eh?

Anyway, it's the American Thanksgiving - not to be confused with the Canadian Thanksgiving - and I thought it appropriately cheesy to start my 
Thankful Thursday on Thanksgiving.

Time Zones
I live in the Central Time Zone, making me a full hour YOUNGER than my Canadian friends and family, the majority of whom live in the Eastern Time Zone.

Being Canadian
Canada has all the benefits of America, except the whole world loves us.

My Husband 
I know, I know, I know. But he makes my dreams come true. Even the tiny, little ones no one really knows about. Like the calla lilly picture he gave me - calla lilly is my fav flower. And the matching watches he gave us for our wedding present, or the pearl necklace he also gave for my wedding present. These were things I had wanted for years, but never dared tell a soul. There were other things. But fast forward to the loft in downtown Chicago. I love where we live. Dream come true. And I not only went to the Oprah Show, I was strongly considered to be a guest on the show. All of this not possible without my husband. I really must be nicer to him. I think he deserves that at least.

My writing instructor and now, friend. And employer. MAM has been the biggest, most positive influence on my life since moving to Chicago. While she doesn't realize it, she is the person, outside of J that I am closest to these days. MAM has been so encouraging and free with her time and resources to get me going/started on projects. When she hired me to be her personal assistant, it restored my faith in myself as marketable and of value. We are even having dinner at her home this Thanksgiving Day.

My Small Group 
My Small Peeps as I call them. Normally, we meet on a Thursday evening - but not tonight as it it Turkey Day. They are a great group of people that I look forward to getting to know. They do stuff outside of group and pull me in to that. I find myself getting really insular these days, so to have my Small Peeps pulling on me is nice.
Orange Juice
I LOVE orange juice. My kids don't care for it, so I seldom have it in the house, unless we have overnight guests. My entire career as a computer consultant, I drank a bottle of orange juice every day. 7 years. I love the stuff. Really, I think I don't buy it because I know if I did, I would drink it all and it is so high in sugar, that wouldn't be a good idea.

Widney Woman - You forgot to say you are thankful for your kids. I didn't forget. On a deep level, I'm always thankful for them, but not at this moment. They are pissing me off right now.

What are you thankful for?
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Play Date

Each week, Mini Me has a play date at JuJu's home. 
Have I told you this? 
Hmmm...If I did, I didn't include a picture of JuJu. 

Tonight, we are going to have dinner at JuJu's house. I think it's going to be a traditional African meal. Her father is Kenyan, I believe. I've never had African food, so it is sure to be a treat.

JuJu sitting up like a perfect little lady
My girl is all over the place *-sigh-*
Wait! If you catch her off guard she's still for a second!
I wonder if people wonder if they are twins...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mom's Craft Day - Pink Amigurumi Cat

I made this!

I can't believe I made this!!
In just a few hours, I made this cat.
It's a Christmas gift for one of my nieces. 
Look at it again - I can't believe I made this.

Motor Mouth just saw it and said, "Mom! You put it together!! Aw, Mom, it looks better than your bears."

I have to give credit to the pattern originator. I searched and searched today, but can't find the link to the person who translated it into English and posted. When I do, I'll post her link. You know I like to give credit where credit is due. 

I have a few more gifts to make, but no more wool, so off to the craft store I go!!

Tackle It Tuesday - School Applications

16 schools

The plan is for Motor Mouth to go to a 'real' school next year. The homeschooling this is only for this year, even though it is going well. 

In Chicago, if your neighborhood school does not meet your standards, you can apply to schools in other neighborhoods. I researched the schools in the downtown Chicago area and applied to 16 schools. 

I studied the scores, the type of curriculum offered, looked for schools with proximity to either our home, or J's office.  I did a Google Street View to check out the neighborhood and the school building. I took into consideration the location of the school and its proximity to government housing and ethnic communities. I read what parents said about the schools as well. I put together a spreadsheet listing the school, address, proximity, type of school (magnet, magnet cluster, classical, montessori, etc.), why this is of interest, bus route available, my preference ranking, etc.

16 schools. I've been told one lady applied to the same number and her child did not get into any. I will be researching schools with slightly lower testing scores and apply to at least 5 more. If those don't work, I'll homeschool for another year.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Awana Hair

This is my son at Awana last week.
It was crazy hair/crazy clothes week
Motor Mouth attends Awana each week. It is one of the places he gets religious schooling outside of our home. The other day, he came home quoting John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, he gave his only son, Jesus, that whoever believes in him will have everlasting life." My Mom was soooo happy she said she would put some money in the bank account for him. 

Curtains - What?????

Can you believe it?? We have curtains!!
I'm soooooo glad we took the shorter curtains back. 
They only went to the top of the door. 
These curtains are more impressive.
I must say, it is ODD to have curtains up. The effect of the light coming through in the morning is almost completely gone. The curtains are great at blocking light. But they also block the comings and goings of our neighbors. I LOVE our neighbors and enjoy feeling a part of their lives by seeing them come and go. It makes me feel like I have more adult contact during the day.
Having curtains is AWESOME because I can wait an extra day or two before putting away all the stuff we accumulate in the kitchen. 
That's probably good and bad....
Curtains are great because the chances of our neighbors seeing something they shouldn't are greatly reduced...provided we actually close the curtains!

I like our curtains. Thanks for hanging them last week, Babe!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Michigan Ave Lights On Parade & Fireworks

On Saturday, we bundled up warm and took the El down to Michigan Ave to see the Michigan Avenue Lights On Parade. 

Waiting for the parade to start

My J

Gotta let our little light shine!
God Bless Jesse!!!!!
This kind stranger held Mini Me on his shoulders for most of the parade. I have a whole new appreciation for men. I was in so much pain holding her on my shoulders!
At Chicago River for fireworks!
Motor Mouth is the littlest one
We were right next to Trump Tower
during fireworks - which were awesome!
Some of Trump Tower

39 But Not Holding

It's true. I'm 39 years old. Keyword is 'old'. 
What exactly does it mean to be 39?

People always ask you how it feels to be 'x' age. Not sure why, 'cause they know darn well it feels the same at any age. It's just another day. Another 'X' or '/' on the calendar, if you still use paper calendars - really, now THAT is old, using paper calendars when the online ones are so much more efficient. I digress. I feel the same today as I did when I was 10 or 15 or 22, even 32 or 36. 

Often, people are shocked when I tell them my age. I rather enjoy hearing I look 28 or 32. It's a pride thing, I'm sure, but who doesn't like to be told they 'look good for their age'? The last couple of years have been hard on my looks. I have some lines UNDER my eyes, not so much at the sides (crow's feet). I think it's the crows feet that age you. For some reason, my skin is breaking out more these days, than when I was in high school!! The moles are appearing faster than ever and people don't seem to tell me I have great skin anymore. Hmmm...That saddens me the most. 

I have 1 gray hair that I can see. It is in the very front of my head. J often points out the grays in the back of my head that I can't see. If he can see them, others can too. To me, if I can't see the gray, I don't have any back there. I don't have a problem letting the gray hair come in. It's a natural part of the aging process.

The biggest change I've noticed is my ability to withstand fools. I've lost it. I can't stomach fools. That probably means I'm the biggest fool, but I find myself being pretty honest about the people I do or don't want to hang out with. I'm too old to suffer fools, I think. I don't have to like you. And you don't have to like me. And life for both of us goes on. Imagine that.

The other big change is my honesty level. If I don't want to do something, I'm not going to do. It has taken me almost 40 years to realize that, truly, I don't have to do things other people want me to do. Refreshing. Wish I had this gumption 20 years ago.

To be honest, and you know I will be, because I'm too old to give a damn what you think, but well, I am looking forward to 50. Not just because my kids will be old enough to fend for themselves, but because Oprah and her croonies say life gets better at 50. They were right about the freedom you find at 40, so they must be right about 50. I'm looking forward to living my best life yet, the older I get.

My Birthday

I LOVED my birthday!!

J made breakfast and we had my favorite
- Orange Juice!

Then it was off to the Museum of Science & Industry

Mini Me ON a tractor wheel
Motor Mouth IN the tractor wheel
We went to the museum to see the Christmas tree
It's HUGE!!
Motor Mouth wanted to stay at the mini Chicago
But I could have stayed at the chicken exhibit 
These 2 chicks hatched right there!
2 more eggs were cracked and working on it
All Day. I wanted to stay here all day.
24 hours old
And to think, I ate eggs that morning!!
We ate lunch at Cafe Trinidad. 
It was fitting, considered I was born there 39 years ago. The owners brought out a piece of AH-mazing pie and sang Happy Birthday to me!!

The rest of the day, I got to spend ALONE. By myself. NO kids. J took them somewhere so I could be alone. I spend so much time with our children, I just wanted to be without them for a few hours. It was a wonderful day. Thank you, J.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mom's Craft Day - 1st Amigurumi Attempt

My friend, MAM, has got me crocheting.
Back in the day, my Granny taught me to crochet. But I never finished the scarf I was making. I skipped the scarf and went straight to bears - amigurumi!!!

1st Attempt
There are soooo many errors!

2nd Attempt
He's not done - he needs eyes and a nose

J said I should do pink inner ears - cute!
Both bears still need to have their sweaters made.

This was so much fun!
Less than two weeks ago, if you had told me I would start crocheting again and have 2 bears done, I'd have laughed at you. Who am I turning into????

She's Packin'

My sweet, innocent, 2 1/2 yr old, baby girl 
made THIS with Lego
She's hard core.

Ever Wonder?

Ever wonder how sports teams, like the team that CRUSHED the Chicago Bears last Sunday, get from the sports arena to the airport? 

They get a police escort
And travel in big, chartered buses
(clogging the highway, causing you to be late)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vested Interest

Mini Me is potty trained. We are VERY proud of her. While I am proud of her accomplishment, it brings validation to me finally. 
You see, we had a wonderful miniature poodle, named Carter. Carter was sweet and prissy. But he was not potty trained. Never could get that dog house broken.
Then there was Bailey. While this little Yorkie was cute, she was satan's lap dog. We thought she was potty trained, but she was eating her poop. Uggh!
Motor Mouth was almost 4 by the time he was 
potty trained!!
Mini Me redeemed our parenting abilities. 
Thanks, Mini Me!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day One of Seven

We were both so tired last night we didn't want to maintain our commitment. But a commitment is a commitment and so we trudged along and did our due diligence. Ever dread going somewhere or doing something and then when you get done you are so very happy you did? Yeah. It was like that.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Our favorite church in Dallas is Fellowship Church, pastored by Ed Young, Jr.  This week, J and I are going to partner with Fellowship Church for their upcoming series entitled: 7 Days of Sex

For 7 days, beginning on Sunday, November 15th, I am purposing to have sex with my husband. It will be a challenge, but I'm up for it!

Are you up for the challenge? If you so, I recommend you watch/listen to Fellowship Church's podcast on Sunday to hear the message and understand the significance to your marriage.

Here is the promo from Fellowship Church

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Oprah Debut

Today, J and I were guests of the Oprah Show.

I always daydreamed of being interviewed on the Oprah Show. Typically it was for a fabulous book that I wrote, or some long lost family member reunion!  In my daydream, I was on stage, one-on-one with The Great One, herself.

The building is beautiful inside. Cameras are not allowed, so there are no photos to post. They checked in our coats, iPhones, and my book! (I carry a book everywhere so I can read while I wait.) We walked through a metal detector and went upstairs. While waiting to load into the studio, we met 2 fun older ladies. We so wish we had our cameras - there was a guy there that looked like Prince!! He was short and tiny, and eccentric, just like Prince.

Guests of the producers were seated first. They called a lot of people before calling us. When they called our name over the PA system, we went downstairs, into the studio and were seated in the back row of the center section. We did a high 5, because we realized we were not going to be interviewed in front of 40 million viewers! J enjoyed looking at the cameras, lights, and all that technical stuff. I enjoyed learning about it.

My lesson was cut short when a staffer asked our names. I told her and she escorted us to 2 seats in the FRONT ROW with our names printed on them!!! Soon, the producer I spoke to introduced herself. It was nice to meet her. We knew there was a pretty good chance we would not get on the show, because it was so packed full of content.

I should backtrack to say I saw an episode of the show and commented on it the next day, via the Oprah website. I didn't think it went through when I hit submit. Two days later, I got a call from an Oprah Show producer. The next thing we knew, we were shopping for outfits!

J sat next to 2 ladies from Ireland, who flew in the night before and were flying out the next day. On my right was a lady from Toronto!! 
The audience warm up staffer got everyone excited. It was during this time we shared what we went to the show to discuss - got a few laughs and Oprah heard us while backstage. I don't think the cameras were on at the time - but they could have been as we had to sign an additional waiver after the show. I didn't read it. I usually do and probably should have.

The stage seemed smaller than on TV. But that is because they removed 2 pieces of stage and  added rows of chairs. Basically, we were sitting in the front round part where Oprah normally sits to interview her guests. The remaining stage was set back farther. There were some people on sofas on stage, around the host and guest chairs. We were in the first row of audience.

While waiting for the show to start, the crew was slip covering chairs and moving set pieces around. At one point someone said, "Remove the flowers." and the floral arrangement was gone. J was surprised at how much work was going on while we were sitting there. He said there was no way he could get away with setting up the room while people were sitting, waiting for church to start.

Soon, it was time for the show!! Out came Oprah Winfrey!  She walked out wearing her comfy slip on shoes and changed into the really expensive ones before the cameras turned on. We sat 10 feet from one of the most powerful women in the world! She made eye contact with us both. 
J commented on how real Oprah seemed in person. I had heard people talk about how much taller and beautiful she seems in person. Truly, she is just a lady who is so good at her job, she doesn't need to do multiple takes. She seemed very comfortable in her element but somewhat humble too. Oprah really relies on her people to do their jobs and make things happen. At showtime, she followed their lead.

The show was fun. While I can't say what the topic was, I will tell you we received take home gifts and I'm looking forward to doing the homework from the show. 

Oprah was so funny off camera! She wore diamond stud earrings and joked that the rappers have given diamond studs a bad name. The shoes she had on were beautiful and talked about how great they are - but she doesn't enjoy walking in them. They were NICE eye candy. Oprah made a number of topic related jokes but I can't say today. Check back on January 9th.

During a commercial break, we got to see Andre, her hairstylist, in real life. Andre was smaller than I had envisioned. I have his book!!

It was a wonderful experience attending the Oprah Show today.

500+ phone calls to the ticket reservation line.
1 connected friend who got me an October reservation.
(But that show cancelled, very rare)
In the end, it was 1 well worded e-mail that got us on the Show.

This blog entry is about Oprah, but I have to say I love my husband. J has made so many of my little dreams come true. While it was my e-mail that got us to the show, it was J being the wonderful husband, best friend, and lover he is that enabled me to have an e-mail to write. Thank you, My Love.