March 31, 2015

Life Presently

My life, once again, is revolving around sports. I suppose that is life with boys who like to play sports! However, the spring soccer and lacrosse seasons are off to a rough start. And for added fun, my 13 year old has joined a tournament-only team for lacrosse. If you're going to jump, you may as well jump big, right?

Soccer:  The first game was on Sunday after 4 straight weeks of game cancellations due to the-winter-that-just-won't-end.  The boys played very well and we actually had more shots on goal but the ball just would not go in the net.  After a very bad penalty call and resulting penalty kick, the score was now 0-2 and there just wasn't enough time to recover.  This weekend our team is playing in an Easter Tournament so hopefully a game or two (or all three!) will go our way and boost the boys' spirits!

Lacrosse:  The first game we blew out the other team rather easily. But the second game was a complete and utter disaster and we were blown out.  The third game (yes, all in one week due to trying to make up games!), things were looking much better and the score was back and forth most of the game but it got away from us at the end.  They are supposed to play another make-up game tonight but of course it's supposed to start raining so my guess is the re-rescheduled game will be postponed yet again.

Can we catch a break, Mother Nature? Please??  We had a light layer of snow covering the ground yesterday morning. I wish I was kidding. Enough is enough!!

So I'm once again playing taxi, shuffling kids back and forth to practice and eating dinner from Wawa is now the norm. Weekend leftovers and frozen dinners are now my very best friends. If I were more ambitious, I would prep something for the crock pot in the morning. But you know what? No one would eat it. It's much easier to do sandwiches, frozen pancakes, pizza, or Wawa.  There is less complaining from that kids this way. I look forward to the day when I can enjoy adult food!

I leave for Girls Weekend 2015 in 4 weeks, 2 days, and 11 hours. Nah, I'm not counting down or anything! ;)

March 27, 2015

Hello? Anyone?

Is there anyone out there that doesn't own a black North Face fleece?  Is there some secret society that I don't know about?  It's almost laughable at this point to walk down the street and see 8 out of 10 people wearing the same coat/jacket/fleece. If you are under the age of 30, there's a 100% certainty one will be on your body. And if your over the age 30, chances are you will be wearing one too trying to blend in to the under 30 crowd.

Sure they are nice, soft, and warm (I guess?) but this is one out-of-control trend I won't be joining!

March 26, 2015

Jelly Bean Tree

I've been hanging out on Pinterest again. I pinned this idea some time ago but finally acted on it because it's the right time of year.  It cost me $1.49 to complete.

All you need:

~ Some branches you stole borrowed from your neighbor's yard

~ jelly beans

~ a hot glue gun

~ a vase of some sort

Trim the branches down as you see fit and put them in the vase. Begin randomly gluing jelly beans to the branches and then fill the vase with the leftover jelly beans. And you're done. I think this took me 15 minutes, from stealing gathering the branches to sitting the finished product on my dining room table.

And yes, the men in my house rolled their eyes at me and asked why. I replied, "Why not? It's festive!"

March 24, 2015

Meet My New Friends

Yesterday my sister and I took the day off from work and visited three local wineries for taste testings. I had no idea this was something that could happen in the middle of the day on a week day. Yes, I live under a rock.  My sister suggested we do this as a birthday present to me. It was the perfect suggestion.

I live in a semi-populated area but within 5-10 minutes of my house, you quickly see nothing but farms and open fields with cows and horses. I absolutely love it.  One of the wineries was tucked away in one of those open areas and it just might be my new favorite place to visit - Auburn Road Winery.  It's a quaint place with lots of seating and they even have special Friday night dinners - who knew?!  For a very small fee, we were allowed to choose 8 wines to samples. And that we did. I bought a bottle of my favorite - Blessington.

The next winery we visited was The Wagonhouse Winery.  This placed smelled so good.  They use and sell Stone Wall Kitchen products of which I am now a huge fan!  Again, for a very small fee we were able to sample 20 wines - I kid you not.  The hostess/bartender knew her stuff and had a very specific order in which we sampled the wines.  There were a few I loved and some I didn't and after some deliberation between the Ornery Apple and Peck's Bad Boy, we both purchased a bottle of the Bad Boy wine.

The final winery of the day was Heritage Winery which I've driven past a thousand times but have never visited.  This winery was the most restrictive on what you were allowed to sample which was a little disappointing. You have to choose between sampling dry or sweet wines and only 5 samples are allowed.  Since we almost always don't like dry wine, we chose sweet wines. I liked all five wines. They were all very good! I ended up purchasing two bottles of wine: the Jersey White and the Jersey Moscato.

The next stop? FOOD. We ended the day with a late lunch at a local restaurant called Carolina Blue. We drank water with our meals.  We had a such a nice time. I think this will become an annual tradition!

March 19, 2015

Chobani Grape Greek Yogurt

It says on the container that this is a limited batch. Chobani people, can we unlimit this blend?  It's very good!!

You can get rid of the line with the steel-cut oats mixed in. I could not swallow that stuff but this concord grape blended yogurt is delicious!

Sold in a store near you, I hope!

March 17, 2015

Diet Coke

I wasn't a big soda drinker when I was kid. I didn't like the carbonation in any soda and when I had a soda, a few sips is all I would take. I didn't find it thirst quenching at all. I remember drinking juice, water or my mother's homemade iced tea.

Fast forward to my twenties and I wouldn't drink regular soda because all the sugar in it so diet soda seemed like my best friend. And it was, I guess, to a certain extent but I didn't drink it all the time. When I entered the work force, drinking diet soda became a 2-3pm habit as a pick-me-up in the afternoon. Again, I chose diet soda because I didn't want to drink the calories - I'd rather eat them.

Many people drink diet soda as a excuse so they can indulge elsewhere. That was never me. I just didn't want to drink the sugar. I've been able to maintain a healthy weight for my height but as I stare age 42 in the face, I can't deny that my body is changing and not for the better.

I try my best to eat well and restrict the junk but it's hard. I know my body and if I let down my guard for five seconds, I will gain weight. I enjoyed a lazy winter and spent a lot of time on the couch under a warm blanket watching movies with my kids but I gained 7 pounds doing that while eating a salad with cucumber, chicken and a light dressing for lunch almost every day. I watch the carbs and either skip the starchy side or have a very small portion of it and it still doesn't matter.  In the end, it's all about calorie consumption but shit, is 1,200 or less a day the only way to lose weight? That seems to be the only way that works for me!  I have no excuse for not making it to the gym a few times a week other than it was just too damn cold to leave the house.

Anyway, back to the soda ... I know diet soda isn't good for you. I've read all the articles. I've tried to give up Diet Coke before and I think I lasted about 2 months. What is in that stuff?!  I don't even drink it every day but knowing it's an option is where the temptation lies. I think it's time to give it up for good and see if anything changes.  The weather is starting to be nicer and I enjoyed a very long walk with the puppy on Sunday.

Recommended weight for my height is between 128-133 pounds. Now I'm depressed. I need to lose a good 15lbs to be in the vicinity of those numbers. 

Sometimes I wish I didn't care what the number on the scale says. But I do. I long for a day when I don't care and it doesn't matter.

March 13, 2015

American Idol Should Change the Name of the Show

I've been watching American Idol for a very, very long time. I go back to the Kelly Clarkson days.  Some years I've watched religiously and others I've used the fast forward button a lot. I even experienced a period of mourning when Simon Cowell left the show.  Why do I watch now? Harry. I love me some Harry.

I had high hopes for this season as I watched the auditions. I even liked that they cut out a lot of the fluff and didn't make us a slave to a two hour show three nights a week. Finally - they get it! Let's get to the point!  I noticed there seemed to be a lot of teens making the cut this year and now it finally all makes sense.

Scott Borchetta.

It was announced that the winner would be signing a record contract with him. He's best known for giving us Taylor Swift (thanks, dude - yes, that's sarcasm - I am not a fan!).  What better way to mold a new one? You need a teenager, so I present to you the Top 12 - Teen Idol 2015:

1.       Sarina-Joi Crowe ... decent
2.       Rayvon Owen ... decent
3.       Daniel Seavey ... his cuteness is wearing off quick. Can he hold a note for more than a nanosecond?
4.       Maddie Walker ... just no.
5.       Tyanna Jones ... brilliant every time.
6.       Nick Fradiani... you must feel like you're stuck in some sort of twisted groundhog-day-meets-high-school movie set ... get out while you can!  You're a decent singer but you sound exactly like Chris Daughtry.
7.       Jax Cole ... buzz is wearing off, IMO
8.       Qaasim Middleton ... can you actually sing some time soon?
9.       Clark Beckham ... brilliant every time.
10.     Joey Cook ... I like this girl. She's different, she knows it, and can really sing.
11.     Quentin Alexander ... broadway only, please.
12.     Adanna Duru ... eh, she bit off more than she could chew Wednesday night.

We all know this show is fixed to some degree but if there's an ounce of decency left in the show, Tyanna Jones or Clark Beckham should win. My bet is on Tyanna, solely because she's still a teenager and because of Borchetta's involvement with the show.

March 12, 2015

Here We Go Again

Good news!  Spring sports have started, forcing my children off the couch.

Bad news!  Spring sports have started, forcing ME off the couch!

When I pulled up to the first lacrosse practice the other night, I actually sighed when I was reminded about some of the company I will be for the next 3-4 months. It has already started. I've  decided we live in the mecca of "my son is so great he should be playing a level up" and when it's convenient for us, he'll also play "down" on your team too, taking playing time away from other kids on the "lower" team.  Pick a team. PICK A TEAM!!

This should not be allowed unless a team has s shortage of players and that is not the case. This whole era of parents need to be put in their place.  Your son is in 7th grade? Then he should be on the 7th grade team. Oh, he's in 8th grade? He should be on the 8th grade team. It's pretty damn simple.

I'm so glad I found new wine I like. I think I might need a case or three to get through this season.

March 10, 2015

The Philadelphia Flower Show 2015

I'm not very knowledgeable about plants and flowers and design so I strictly went for the scenery and to remember what flowers smell like, since it's been a really long winter. Plus, girl time with my sister.  All of the exhibits were based on Disney movies. Next year's theme (I believe) is US National Parks.

The bonus was the free wine & spirits tasting event we discovered so it made the price of admission completely worth it!  I probably enjoyed this more than the flower show so maybe we should have just gone out to a bar?!  I did find 2 new wines that I really liked and purchased them! (more on them soon)

Ahhhhhh, spring ... please come soon!

March 9, 2015

Winter Blues

I'm not sure how an entire week has passed. In that week I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show and enjoyed a free wine & spirits tasting (price of admission was worth it for that alone!), we had a big snowstorm, 2 missed days of schools, and I hurt my lower back shoveling heavy, wet snow.

Winter can suck it. I'm ready for Spring.

For added fun, I opened our gas bill for the month of February and it was over double our normal billed amount. The January bill was around $260 and this bill was sitting at $651. I don't think so. We just got a brand new furnace and our thermostat is firmly set at 64 degrees.  After eliminating the chance of a gas leak, we looked at the actual meter and compared it to the billed amount.  The meter reading was wrong. It also turns out that the reading we were billed was an estimate, although finding that information on the bill wasn't easy.  I attempted to called our gas company this morning to dispute the bill.

What. a. nightmare.

South Jersey Gas: get your shit together. 75 minutes on hold is absolutely 100% ridiculous.  You keep hiding behind this "we've upgraded the system please bear with us" excuse but it's been over 6 months. You seem to be the only ones who haven't figured it out. Customers are using the new system with ease. And how about you stop billing people on baseless estimates!  In over six years of service, I've never paid a gas bill higher than $350.

Our adjusted bill stands at $305.21.  Given how cold the month of the February was, this seems right. If only I get back those 75 minutes of my life.

Maybe I should send South Jersey Gas a bill.