Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Randoms - 50 Shades of Grey, Working 80+ hours a week

Hey you, reading this blog? Are you a mom? Do you live in the suburbs? Are you computerlly social, on the Twitters and the Facebooks and the Pinterest? If so, I bet you have heard of the hottest "Mommy Porn" book there is right now - 50 Shades of Grey.

I will confess that I am a little annoyed by the whole thing. 

Remember that time in 7th grade when you thought you were so fucking cool because you bought Green Day's Dookie because your best friend's older, college attending brother talked about how cool it was? And then you walked around school, trying to be punk rock in your uniform and you thought you were badass, until the more popular girls started talking about it and sang all the lyrics to Basket Case at the next school dance? And you couldn't help but roll your eyes and call them out as posers, since everyone knows you totally liked Green Day before they were popular? 

Yeah, that's what I feel like when I see that damn book mentioned. Did you know they did a piece on it in the New York Fucking Times? I rolled my eyes and snorted and thought to myself "50" was soooo two winters ago. I read that shit back when it was Master of the Universe and Snowqueens Icedragon had the playlist linked to every chapter.

You see, the bestselling book was once one of many, many, Twilight fan fiction pieces. I used to read Buffy the Vampire Slayer FF in college but abandoned it years ago. And then a little over a year ago, I stumbled upon Twilight FF. It was a strange day that day, considering I hate and refuse to read the original Twilight. I was sent, by a friend, a link to a very dirty, very graphic, wonderful FF. I devoured it in a day. And then I asked her for more and low and behold 50 was one of them. And I read it in a day too but it was and never will be my favorite FFs.

So when I hear people rave about it now, I can't help but think they are reading SPAM quality writing, when they could be reading grass fed, free range, humanely raised Kobe beef quality writing. But then I would have to reveal just how much Twilight FF I have read over the last year. And that is embarrassing. Even more so is the fact I can recommend better BDSM FFs or Happily Ever After FFs or Angsty FFs and on and on.

The other day it was mentioned on CNN and when I did my snort, eyeroll thing, The Good Husband gave me the side eye and asked if he wanted to know.

No. You don't. These things are better left unsaid.

I am coming up on the busiest time of year for me at my job. 80+ weeks are routine. The last time I routinely worked 80+ hours was my junior year in college. I had one job that I worked from 6 am to 2:30 pm, followed by my second job from 3:30 to midnight. The Good Husband and I were just dating, so we would see each other for about an hour after I got off working my second job. I was a major bitch and I am surprised he stuck it out with me. It was draining but it paid well.

But now I am too old for this shit.

And I can't even up my caffeine intake to offset the hours.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Complete Customized Household Binder Giveaway

~~~~This giveaway is now closed. Thank you.~~~~

I am very excited to announce a giveaway for a complete, customized Household Binder!

Do you love the Brains of the Operation aka Household Binder templates I have created? Do you wish you could have your very own but customized for your own needs?

Say you love the weekly cleaning checklist but would love to modify it. Or you love the daily checklists but you don't have diapers or children's clothes to wash. Or you would love different categories on the budget templates.

Now is your chance to have you very own binder as well as every BotO template customized as you like. You can include your name on each template as well as customized categories. I will be happy to work with you to create your very own, personalized BotO binder.

What you will win
You will receive
~One 1 inch binder, patterned (such as the one above) or a solid color containing:
~One business card holder page
~Customized printed templates including:
      Automobile Log
      Budget Worksheet (Monthly Bill Checklist, 2 page Monthly Budget worksheet, Monthly Budget Overview, Yearly Bill Tracker)
      Calendar (2012, blank perpetual)
      Cleaning Schedules (Weekly Cleaning Checklist, 2 page Spring Cleaning Checklist, Monthly Cleaning Checklist)
      Important Account Numbers and Contact Lists (3 page Important Account Numbers List, Emergency Contact List, Restaurant Contact List, 3 page Business Contact List, Personal Contact List, Blank Business Contact List)
      Daily and Weekly Dockets (6 page Daily Docket, Weekly Docket, Daily Food Tracker, Weekly Food Tracker)
      Home Maintenance Log
      Medical Logs (Healthcare Costs Tracker, Medication Log, Physician Log)
      Menus and Shopping Lists (Freezer Inventory, Fridge Inventory, Pantry Inventory, Weekly Menu Calendar, Monthly Dinner Menu Calendar, Shopping List Template)
      Party Planning (2 page Party Planning Template)
      Pet Log
      Sitter Notes
~Digital copies of all the templates listed above to print extras  

How to score the complete customized Brains of the Operation Binder
Leave me a comment below for each entry to be counted. This is mandatory. Include your email address somewhere in your comment.

Score more entries

~Become a follower of the blog and post telling me

~Subscribe to the blog via email

~Follow me on Twitter and tweet this. Tweet: "Complete Customized Household Binder Giveaway from @thegoodwifeblog" Leave a comment with a link to your status.

~Like me on Facebook, The Good Wife Blog. Leave me a comment telling me you did.

~Follow me on Pinterest and pin this post.

~Post about this giveaway on your blog or elsewhere. Leave a comment with a link.

Good Luck!

The giveaway ends Wednesday, May 2 at Midnight Central. The winner will be selected using and announced on the blog on Friday, May 4. I will contact the winner via email and they will have 24 hours to respond. If they fail to respond, a new winner will be chosen.

If I do not have an email address for you, you cannot win.

This giveaway is sponsored by The Good Wife.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Week 5 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 5 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on organizing the freezer.

We are now at the half way point in having a wonderful, completely organized kitchen. Aren't you just bursting with excitement?!

I can't believe I made it to week five before I fell behind in posting. I am sorry for the delay. I was sick this weekend and now The Good Daughter is fighting off a zombie infection, so I have been running on a little sleep and a lot of caffeine. I will also confess that my freezer could stand a major organizing overhaul but for now, I will give you the basic principles I use to organize it.

Just like with the pantry and kitchen cabinets, I like to group similar items together. For the freezer, that translates to roughly veggies, meat, sides and treats.

The organization flow for the freezer involves keeping meat that needs to be used first on the top shelf, at eye level, as well as treats for The Good Daughter. I also like to keep this shelf as uncluttered as possible, so the light in the freezer will work it's way down to the lower shelves. 

The second shelf holds sides like taters and frozen pasta. The third shelf holds meat that doesn't need to be used right away. I like to check dates at the end of the week and move anything close to getting freezer burn to the top shelf so I can use it in the coming days. Frozen veggies live in the bottom shelf to keep all the bags contained.

The shelves hold ice cream and frozen fruit.

I am planning a huge overhaul of the freezer in the coming months as I prepare for the arrival of The Good Son. I have collecting freezer recipes galore, in the hope that he doesn't decide to come three weeks early like his sister. Once I have most of my meals prepared, I will feature my new and improved freezer in another post.

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sloppy Janes

Traditional Sloppy Joes call for ground beef but I like to use ground turkey or chicken to make it healthier. I also like to make mine from scratch, so I can avoid HFCS. 

Who am I kidding? I usually have to make the sauce on my own b.c I am too lazy to go to the store and actually buy a can.

But when you make it on your own, you can also add some spices and different flavors and then try to convince your husband it is from a can. Good times!

1 pound lean ground turkey or chicken
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1-2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup ketchup
3 teaspoons brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

~Brown meat in a large skillet over medium high heat until cooked through. Drain.

~Combine the remaining ingredients and heat on medium until hot. Serve immediately. 

recipe by:The Good Wife

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

BotO - Babysitter Notes

I'm told that normal people leave their kids with babysitters while they enjoy a night out. We have done that once in the almost 3 years that The Good Daughter has been alive. We need to get out more. 

One source of anxiety for me the one time we left her with a sitter was making sure she knew what to do. I wish I had had this template then. It would have given me peace of mind and allowed me to enjoy the shitty movie The Good Husband and I went to see that night.

I also babysat a lot in high school and college. So much so, that I almost made as much money from my babysitting jobs than I did my actual job at the time. I would have loved something like this when I watched kids for a new family the first few times. Everything is laid out clearly and easily accessible. Hanging this on the fridge or next to the phone would have been super helpful. And by seeing all the areas on the template, it reduces the chance that Mom or Dad might forget to tell the sitter something. 

The template includes where you will be at while the sitter is watching your children,  emergency contact information for both parents and additional emergency contacts, instructions for each child including what and when they eat, if they have any homework, activities they are allowed to do, rules they need to follow, bath and bed times as well as any medication needed. In the event of a true emergency, the contact information for the police, fire and doctor are listed along with your address if the sitter needs to relay it.

The template will help relieve any anxiousness you might have when leaving your kids with a sitter. Now, just don't pick a shitty movie to see.

You can download a copy of this template for your Brains of the Operation aka Household Binder, here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Homemade Chicken Stock

This is the first time I made chicken stock. I don't know why I was always intimidated by it. It couldn't have been easier since you just throw everything in a pot and forget about it. We had a whole chicken left over after roasting the other night, so I just threw the body in the stockpot along with some veggies and a few hours later - walla! - the perfect base for soups and to flavor rice.

1 - 2 whole chicken carcases, bones and meat
3 large yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered 
6 carrots, unpeeled and halved 
4 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds 
4 parsnips, unpeeled and cut in half 
20 sprigs fresh parsley 
15 sprigs fresh thyme
20 sprigs fresh dill 
1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in 1/2 crosswise 
2 tablespoons kosher salt 
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns 

~Place everything in a 16 to 20-quart stockpot. Add 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil.

~Simmer, uncovered, for 4 hours. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and discard the solids. Use immediately or store in containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

recipe modified from: Ina Garten

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Week 4 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 4 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on organizing the refrigerator.

The fridge is probably the most used appliance in the kitchen. It holds the majority of our food but did you know that it is estimated that up to 40% of food purchased in the US is throw out without being consumed? That is a lot of food and I bet one of the reasons is due to lack of organization. Food can get lost in our massive fridges, shoved in the back, on the lowest shelf where it molds and then ends up in the trash. 

A well stocked and organized fridge can help you waste less food and eat healthier.

Here is a look at our fridge.

It it organized to allow for maximum storage as well as encouraging healthy eating.

We tend to eat the first things we see at eye level, so to ensure that is something healthy and not, say, chocolate cake, I like to store washed, pre-cut fruits and veggies on the top shelf. This week, I have grapes, pineapple, oranges, apples, baby carrots, cucumber, celery and hard boiled eggs. I also like to keep a pitcher in the fridge of something like chai tea or flavored water. Since I am pregnant, I need to drink a lot daily. It is easy to make just one big pot of tea rather than multiple cups during the day. I also drink more when I can be lazy and just pour from the pitcher into my glass.

The next shelf is for dairy and lunch items. Here, next to the cottage cheese, all our yogurt is contained in one area with a clear bin. I also have cheese cubes in individual containers for easy snacking. Hummus, a pre-made sandwich, and jelly round out the lunch items. 

Below the dairy/lunch shelf is the deli drawer. This contains the lunch meat and cheese I use to make The Good Husband's lunch. I also have some sliced, cooked meat in there for me.

The next shelf is the smallest and to avoid having food get lost and turn moldy, I use this shelf as our protein station. The meat we are going to eat for the week hangs out here. Sometimes marinating until I am ready for it. I also have our eggs on this shelf.

Below the protein station, I have washed produce that I use to make meals. Shredded carrots and diced cucumber are within easy reach so I can add them to sandwiches and salads. Also, after I eat the small container of baby carrots on the top shelf, I can refill it with carrots from the bottom shelf. I also like to have at least one salad prepped so I can just grab it and eat it for lunch.

The bottom two bins are the farmer's market of the fridge. Fruits and veggies that don't require prep or are overflow live down here until I need them. Once we eat all the sliced oranges, I can pull the remaining out of the bin and prep them for later.

I also have the produce we will use for dinners in the bottom drawer such as green beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts and asparagus.

The door shelves of the fridge contain mostly milk and condiments.

I keep the butter in the covered drawer to keep it cold despite the constant opening of the door. Below that lives our milk and other drinks.

Next comes our most used condiments - mayo, bbg, chili sauce, mustard, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce - the stuff I really should make but have been too lazy to.

Below that reveals our pickle obsession. Yes, that is five jars of different kinds of pickles. Clearly, we need help.

The bottom door shelf houses less used condiments and salad dressing. Hoisin sauce lives down here, along with tahini and horseradish.

Washing and prepping produce and other snacks saves me time during the week. You can see why I don't clean on Sunday, since I use that time when The Good Daughter naps to prep all the food I bought the day before. I also love to use containers to keep everything organized and within sight. By having healthy snack food at eye level, I can make healthy eating a bit more easy.

Next week we will tackle the freezer, where long term food storage is the goal.

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Week 3 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 3 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on the kitchen pantry, spices and food storage areas.

I've talked before about how I organize my pantry.  I like to group similar items together. The basic breakdown of my pantry is: canned veggies, tuna, soups on the top shelf. The next shelf is for all my baking supplies, while the third is for pasta, rice and side dishes. The fourth shelf is for onions, garlic and taters, while the bottom is extra condiments and canning supplies. I am still not 100% happy with my pantry and probably won't be until I get some pull out shelves, but for now it is organized enough.

Need to know what you should have in your pantry? Check this out. Need a way to track what you actually have in there? Use this pantry inventory.

The next area was spices. Originally I started with this and ended up with this. I am very happy with the results.

The final area for this week focused on food storage. I already store the containers I use the most for lunches in the lunch command center cabinet.


Currently I use the Fit N Fresh Lunch on the Go containers (the purple one). You can pack a ton in these things. Usually The Good Husband eats a sandwich, crackers or chips, grapes, baby carrots, raisins and celery and peanut butter. I can fit all that into the container and it holds its own ice pack to keep everything cool. I also have the Salad Shaker (the green one), which I love too. I also have mixer water bottle that is good for making protein shakes on the go. I also have some Stay Fit Snack Stackers and a Stay Fit Snack n Dip container that I loved to use in the diaper bag when The Good Daughter was a baby.

The other food storage area I use mainly for food prep and leftovers.

I like to use the Kinetic Go Green Glasslock Assorted 8-Piece Food Storage Container Set for most of the foods I will use for meal prep. There are three shapes - rectangle, square and circle. I like to stack each shape according to size and store the lids in the center. The really nice thing is that each shape has a different color lid for ease of access.

The bottom shelf of my food storage hold all my Rubbermaid containers. I have both the Easy Find Lids containers and the Produce Saver containers. I like to use the easy find lids (red lids) for lunches and leftovers. TGH takes these to work with him a lot as well. I like to use the Produce Saver containers (green lid) for produce storage and prep. These normally stay at home with us.


I bought both container sets years ago, close to 5 years or more and stored them in their boxes in our closet at our old apartment. Since then, Rubbermaid has come out with a line of glass containers that look interesting and should I ever need more, I might purchase them. In the meantime all the containers I have are BPA free, so that makes them safe for my family.

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Random thoughts on pregnancy

I didn't post a lot about my last pregnancy since the focus on the blog was still 99% food posts with crappy photos. Plus The Good Husband was laid off. My joy was a bit tempered since I didn't want to write in The Good Daughter's baby book,  "Your Daddy thought of you all day while he was waiting in the unemployment line. We don't know how we are going to make rent this month, but we love you."

Thankfully things improved rather quickly and I was able to be excited and enjoy that first pregnancy in the wide eyed way that only first time moms can, thinking that sleepless nights and breastfeeding struggles will only happen to other moms.

Round two is markedly different. Whereas before when people would ask me how far along I was, I could name the week and day without thinking, now it's more like "23 weeks? I dunno." Gone is the excitement of baby showers and registries; replaced by the white hot panic of how I am going to handle a newborn all over again but this time, with the added bonus of a demanding 3 year old.

The excitement of making baby food and setting up the swing is now "I have to bring all that shit up out of the basement." I am scared the new baby smell won't last as long this time around. And since I am fairly sure this might be our last pregnancy I am trying to savor the last few weeks with a bittersweetness I might never have again.

I'm more than half way finished now and it still all feels unreal.

Noteworthy things about this pregnancy:
~It's a boy and a little weird knowing there is little baby junk just hanging out in me

~Pregnancy nightmares are the shit; in the last week I have dreamt my family was eaten by wolves, we were attacked by zombies (which is a fairly common, nonpregnancy dream for me, actually) and the baby is try to eat it's way out of my stomach

~I forgot how bad snail trail is

~I have gained 9 pounds so far, which is not bad but considering I am only "allowed" to gain 15 at the most, is depressing

~No flat, orange soda drink for me. I got to skip straight to a shot in my ass 4 times a day to control gestational diabetes

~The Good Son is going to get mostly hand-me-downs, including the nursery but I am getting a dresser for him since not having a changing table with TGD was a rookie fucking mistake. This means he will wear pink cloth diapers. But will be fabulous in them

~I have a very real and terrifying fear of labor and delivery since TGD was an unplanned and unexpected c/s

~My feet and my tits are having a competition to see which can get the biggest and most painful first. My feet are currently in the lead

~I forgot just how unique the feeling of being kicked in the vagina from the inside is. TGD always kicked my ribs and so far this boy aims below the belt.

~I haven't had any real heartburn or sciatic never pain, but I know both are just lying in wait.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

25 Noncandy Easter Basket Goodies

The Good Daughter is spoiled rotten. I didn't do this to her. It's the fault of my folks. Since TGD is the first grandkid, they tend to go way overboard in terms of gift giving. My mom always adds "just one more" thing and that's how we ended up with with enough Easter candy to last us until winter. 

Seriously, 4 full sized bags of candy. And the good stuff too. 

So since we celebrated Easter with my folks early, it left me to give TGD a candy free basket. The following are 25 ideas for noncandy Easter basket goodies.

1. Crayons

2. Sidewalk Chalk

3. Popcorn

4. Gummy Bunnies

5. Stickers

6.  Card game like Old Maid or Go Fish!

7. Cheddar Bunnies

8. Paper Dolls

9. Coloring Books

10. Sunglasses

11. Bubbles

12. Nail Polish

13. Board book

14. DVD or CD

15. Money

16. Jump rope

17. Socks

18. Big girl undies

19. Hair pretties

20. Raisins

21. Little People

22. Legos

23. Playdoh

24. Stuffed animal

25. Window clings

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Blueberry Banana Yogurt Muffins

Now that I am pregnant, I am diabetic once again. My blood sugar numbers are always out of whack first thing in the morning, so I found a breakfast that was safe and stuck with it. But after 20+ plus weeks, I have grown tired of eating the same thing every single morning for breakfast.

So I decided to find something else I could eat that wouldn't be too sugary. I normally love a big bowl of cereal in the morning so that was out. I decided to try my hand at muffins. But healthy, diabetic friendly muffins. I created these blueberry banana yogurt muffins. They contain healthy, whole ingredients like oats and blueberry yogurt and banana.

I added some spices to give it a hint of warmth. The yogurt gave the muffins a slight tang but imparted a strong blueberry flavor. The muffin was dense and moist and with a small glass of milk and some turkey sausage is a great start to the morning. Way better than an English muffin and cream cheese.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 12 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1/4 tablespoon ground ginger
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups mashed, ripe banana
4 ozs blueberry greek yogurt, I used Chobani 
2 beaten eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla

~Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients thoroughly and set aside.

~In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients until well blended. Slowly mix in the dry mixture until well combined.

~Spray your muffin pans with nonstick spray. Using an ice cream scoop, fill each muffin cup 3/4 full and sprinkle with oats.

~Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

recipe by:The Good Wife

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Week 2 of the Weekly Organization Challenge

This is week 2 of The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenge! This week focused on kitchen counter tops and sink.

This is one of the hardest things for me to keep clean and organized in the kitchen. I mean, I think all the counter tops are clean and clutter free and then in the morning I wake to discover the dishes have fucked in the sink like bunnies and BOTH sides are full. The crockpot on the counter was also whoring it up the night before and invited the toaster and some food containers and a box of crackers and some chip clip and the random plastic bag from American Beauty floated in.

In short, its a totally mess and sets me off on the wrong start every morning.

The biggest problem is deciding what has to be on the counter and what needs to be put away. As someone that cooks 95% of our meals at home, there are just some things that need to live on my counters - my knives, the stand mixer, the toaster. I like to have everything handy but I also don't like everything cluttered.

I also like to create stations on the counters, so everything doesn't feel so cluttered.

Above the minioffice drawer in the kitchen, I have a lamp and the phone. This part of the counter is mainly used for office and paper work.

Again, using the same principle that states like items with like, I have put near the stove the things I use the most. I have this spice rack for common spices, as well as a plate to hold other spices. Keeping things on a plate or in a basket, allows them to be within reach but also contained to one area to be neat and tidy.

To the right of the stove, I have my utensils and my knives. I keep these here because I am right handed and when working in front of the stove I prep on the counter to the right of the stove and drop things in the pan that usually sits on the right front burner. In this corner I also have my electric can opener and my stand mixer.

Next to the sink I have containers with flour, sugar and tea. Since we use cloth instead of paper towels, I have a basket next to the sink that houses a few of them. This is mainly to keep them within reach and to appease The Good Husband, since he was a hard core paper towel user. I found that if I don't have them handy he will bitch about not having paper towels.

On the other side of the sink, I have a candle warmer, a bowl of fruit, my sad and ignored coffee maker, a plant I am slowly killing, the toaster and my cookbook collection.

Keeping the sink organized has posed a challenge for me. At one time I had a fancy soap and brush holder but it made the sink looked cluttered. I ended up swapping that out for a decorative soap dispenser. Then I didn't know what to do with the sink stoppers and my scrubbers.

Then I saw this at Target.

The small basket attaches to the side of the sink and holds my stopper and my scrubbies. The open wire allows things to drain and dry quickly. I put in on the side of the sink sans disposal, since that side is the one the collects the dirty dishes. I also put in on the inside wall to allow for slightly more space in the sink. I like that from far away, it's not too noticeable.

Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges