Thursday, February 28, 2013

Oh, the Irony!

Life is funny, hilarious, really. I borrowed this book from the library about 10-months ago. I know, it seems like a long time to loan something to someone, but the online renewal is just so easy! Sorry, I I got this book because I wanted to make a concerted effort to tighten the ol' budgetary belt; lean things up a bit and make the mighty dollar go a little farther at the good homestead. Had I known it was going to cost me money, I never would have requested it in the first place.

Yes, months went by and I just kept renewing. The book ended up at the bottom of my "box-o-junk" in the car. I'm pretty sure it had been there since the summer. And, no, I never did get to reading the final page of that book. You wouldn't believe all the numbers you had to gather to determine your net-worth (too much trouble). Besides, saving money is like weight-loss, if you spend less, you'll save more; it's that simple. Why do we complicate the basics? I digress, again...I thought it was time to get the book back to its original home and, perhaps, into the hands of another good-intentioned money-miser Samaritan who would be willing to put in the time to gather the data necessary to pave their way to millionairehood. Away went the book down the little Book Return chute. I'm pretty sure I saw dollars with wings just flying away. I was right!

I checked my library account today and found a $20 fine! If Super Hubby is reading this, blood pressure is rising right now. 

Where my can is parked during the summer months.
I immediately called my friendly librarian to get the details of this shocking revelation. Turns out I'm being charged for the book due to water damage. WATER DAMAGE? Yes. Apparently, the book I returned was a bit thicker around the middle I know how that feels than when I picked it up. I'm a person who takes care of my stuff. I also take special care of stuff I borrow. In my defense, I never dunked the book in water. I do recall reading the book all summer-long at the community pool, though. Is it possible for water particles to travel through the air to embed themselves into the fibers of the book's pages, positioning themselves for some covert plump-up operation? This, I do not know. Another thing I do not know: I think I actually received the book in this condition. I can't be 100% sure, but it may be possible? You see, this book was found in the catacombs of the library's closet. My book request revived the poor thing's purpose. My conversation with the librarian went something like this:

Librarian: Well, if you received the book in this condition, all you have to do is say so and we'll drop the fine.

Me: Well, it was so long ago, I can't really say for sure.

Librarian: But, all you need to do is tell me you received the book in this condition and we'll drop the fine. (leading the witness)

Me: Well, I can't do that because I can't remember. Besides, I'm an honest and truthful person. This I know: I did not expose that book to water. This I also know: the library searched their deepest, dark crevices to pull-out this book from who knows where to get it for me. It's distinctly possible it was in this condition when I received it, but I don't know for sure?

Librarian: Well, do you want to say you received it like this or don't you?

During this time I'm looking up the book title on Amazon (I'm a multi-tasker) and I find out the book is only $10!

Me: Can't I just buy you guys the book for $10? That's half the fine and fair considering I'm not exactly sure I'm responsible.

Librarian: So, if that's the case, I'll only fine you $15.

Me: $15 is not $10.

Librarian: $5 processing fee.

Me: FINE! I guess I have to pay better attention when I receive the book in the first place!

Librarian: Have a nice day. Oh, and you can't take out any more books until you pay the fine. Your account is blocked for fines exceeding $10.

Me: Mmph. Panic ensues.
I'm still in love with the library!

So, sometimes you get screwed for being honest. 6 little words and I would have been off the hook; "I received it in that condition," is all it would have taken, you see, to wipe the slate clean. But, is my value system, my path to the Pearly Gates worth a lousy $15? NO! So, I paid the fine and righted it in my mind as a donation to the library (we've got the best one around, with the best people there, too).

In the end, a book that was supposed to teach me how to save more money ended up costing me $15, but I've insured my salvation and kept my conscience clear. And a bonus: I got to keep the water-logged book, so now I may actually get to reading that last the bathtub, nice bubblebath, no worries the book will drop.

The irony of it all has me in stitches. However, I may be the only one under this roof in a giggle. It's OK Super Hubby, I'm not doin' time for the "alleged" crime!           

Have any library injustices you'd like to share?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What I Made Wednesday {Shares on Display V}

 Wow! A fifth installment to the school's Shares on Display display case. The year is whipping by; there's only 2 more themes left to do!!!!

Click pics to view larger.
This month's theme for the kids is Favorite Video Game or App. Keeping in mind the subject matter, I couldn't just put out a slew of video game cases in the display case. It would be against my better nature. Sooo, instead I decided to get some educational content in there and display a make-shift museum of Video Game Consoles through the ages!

It turns out, Super Hubby has at least one video gaming console from each of the generations of gaming history. Yea, I know!

So, we created cards detailing the history of each console, and also made it interactive by listing ALL the gaming consoles included in that generation, so kids and adults could see which generations they owned, now trapped in the basement in some forgotten cardboard box.

This case was a lot of fun to make. I even cut out some Space Invader aliens and circles for PacMan. And only by sheer luck, I was shopping at Michael's and stumbled upon 3-D stickers of cherries. Perfect!
With the help of Super Hubby's gaming collection hoarding habit, I have to say, my anti-video game self and I are at peace with this display.

The fave games of the students participating this month: Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the entire dynasty of Legend of Zelda, and MineCraft, of course!

Click this link to see which generations you own!

If you are interested in seeing Displays from previous months, here's the list of themes. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Moms Speak, McDonald's Listens

I went to a blog event sponsored by McDonald's last year, and wrote this post, click here. The event had some who's who from the McDonald's organization and I got to speak with many of them, one on one. I suggested to one executive that, during the Lenten season, we take McDonald's off our quick-bite list because the Filet-o-Fish sandwich isn't exactly kid-friendly. I told him McDonald's should really think about adding fish sticks, or something like it, to the Happy Meal menu.

Have you been to McDonald's lately? Have you seen these scrumptious Fish Bites? Absolutely delicious, and available as a Happy Meal, too!

Now, I'm not saying that it was MY idea that they leapt from, but it is quite a co-inky-dink, no? Just sayin'.  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Gratitude Journal Monday

It's a foggy start to today's Monday. Goes perfectly with the state of mind I'm in, a fog. Oscar Night had me up late, Super Hubby took Kiddo to school today, so my schedule is a bit unnatural, which leaves me feeling uncertain. It's funny how our daily routines become mindless activity, doing instead of being and enjoying. I think it's good to shake up the routine every now and again. It helps us to remain human, not robotic zombies of monotony.

So, when you're routine gets a bit off track, think of it as a wake up call; your alarm clock awakening you to an opportunity to do something different, see the world differently, and think in different ways. I've been gifted an hour today, and I'm off to cherish it, right after I express some gratitude.

411. I am grateful for the creativity contained in the human spirit.
412. I am thankful for being given the gift of easing into Monday sans traffic and frustration.
413. I am grateful for the chirping birds outside my window reminding me that the hope for Spring is strong and near.
414. I am grateful for my life, just as it is, as I live it out on a purposeful path.
415. I am grateful each new day brings new opportunities, if you seek them out.

If you'd like to start your own Gratitude Journal, I can promise you, you won't be disappointed with the results. Click here to see where I began.

Happy Monday, friends.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 83.

Goodbye oozing talent from all directions at the 4/5th grade music concert; you kids rocked!
Goodbye baking mistake when I tried a new cookie recipe that turned out cookies that look like nipples.
Goodbye welcoming another bouquet of flowers into the house from Super Hubby.
Goodbye school bake sale and thanking wonderful parents for all their support and participation.
Goodbye skipping all the Linky Parties this week - but not on purpose, just too busy.

Hello National Margarita Day - I need chips and guacamole, ASAP.
Hello final February weekend (enjoy it, as March brings tax-prep for us - yuck).
Hello last baseball training session and seeing great impact.
Hello fun birthday party with school pals - any good gift suggestions for an 11-year old boy?
Hello Red Carpet and "...the Oscar goes to..." all evening long.

My Lesson Learned this week is we owe it to our children to raise them right. That means teaching them well, being a good example for them to follow, and placing priority where it needs to be. And, like anything worthwhile, it takes work, hard work, to achieve this. It also takes up a lot of your time. Time to be present and to listen, to love and to gently guide. But, if you do your job well, you have done the world a favor. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it. Thanks to all those great parents out there that take the responsibility seriously.  

"The debt of gratitude we owe our mother and father goes forward, not backward. What we owe our parents is the bill presented to us by our children." - Nancy Friday, Writer

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Two Types

As a person, I believe you're either waiting for something to happen, or making something happen. Which one are you right now? I'm in the waiting phase...that one may be the hardest one to be in.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What I Made Wednesday {Spinach-Artichoke Dip}

March is just around the corner. That means St. Patrick's Day and Pub fare - yum! This dip recipe is smooth and creamy and best when piping hot, right out of the oven.

What You'll Need
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, diced into teeny, tiny pieces
1 package frozen chopped spinach
1 small jar of artichoke hearts
salt and pepper, to taste
Small baking dish
Tobasco, optional for an extra kick
Dipping accoutrements like tortilla chips or veggies

What You'll Do
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Chop up the garlic clove. Thaw the spinach and rinse. Be sure to squeeze all the water out of the spinach.
The artichoke hearts I buy are sometimes marinated in an oil. If this happens to be your case, too, rinse the artichoke hearts under cold water. Dry slightly, then chop up into small to medium-sized pieces.

 To save money, I buy my Parmesan cheese in a block and use my mouli grater to shred the cheese into a fine, meltable size. Don't know what a mouli is? Click here. I absolutely adore mine!

If you don't have a mouli, you can use a regular box grater. And, if you're Miss Big Bucks or you're pressed for time, you can buy the already-shredded cheese in a bag.

Mix all your ingredients together until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to an oven-proof baking dish and place onto a baking sheet. All that bubbling could cause spill-over and you don't want clean that up, now do you?

The oven should be pre-heated to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and bake for approximately 20 - 30 minutes, or until slightly browned at the top and warmed completely through.

What You'll Need to Know to Finish
While the dip is baking, get your dippers ready to go. Usually, we dip with Tostitos Bite Size tortilla chips. We warm them slightly in the oven to get all toasty.

Another great dipper, and if you're low carbing it, is green, red, and yellow peppers. It's strange but dipping with peppers gives this Spinach-Artichoke dip a completely different flavor. It's hard to explain, but it tastes so good in a rustic sort-of way. I hope you try it!

And, finally, this is my latest find. We tried these Wild Riceworks chips for the first time with this dip and it was absolutely delicious.

My advice: try all three and let me know which dipper is your favorite.

Once out of the oven, let the dip sit for about 5 to 10 minutes (if you can wait that long). It will help save your mouth from 3-degree burns!   


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