Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Tradition

My mom and I just got home from one of our favorite holiday activities.  On Christmas Eve afternoon we like to go to the mall, get Starbucks, and sit outside Victoria's Secret.  There is a constant parade of panicked men shopping for their special women.  Most men aren't too comfortable in that type of place anyway, and to go in knowing they have to buy something in there today is a ton of pressure. 

One young, good looking guy was in there with another guy (friend, brother, cousin?) looking at the flannel pajama sets.  He looked at the giant display, picked up a traditional red plaid set, and gave his buddy a helpless look.  I cringed.  #1 Those pajama sets will be half price the day after Christmas.  #2 It is over 70 degrees in Arizona.  People are wearing shorts and they're not crazy.  #3  Giving your lady flannel pajamas is pretty much saying, "I don't want to see you in the other Victoria's Secret stuff." (so if he was shopping for his mom the flannel pajamas would have been appropriate)  Maybe I should have said something.  Oh well.  Hope he got a gift receipt.

So men, thanks again for another year of procrastinated shopping.  You bring joy and laughter to my Christmas Eve.
(Image from

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Gingerbread Masterpiece

I'm a very competitive person.  And I like candy.  So when I received the e-vite to a friend's gingerbread house party with prizes for the winners, I naturally responded "Wouldn't Think of Missing It!".  So what if I didn't know anyone else on the evite?!  Competition and candy awaited!  I googled "gingerbread houses", strategized my building plan, printed directions to the party, and bought graham crackers and candy.  I thought I'd also get a poinsettia for the party host as a thank-you, but when I got to the party house and looked at the poinsettia I realized part of the leaves had shriveled and were pretty ugly.  I figured it'd be offensive to give a wilted plant, so I left it in my car. 

I walked into the party house, confirmed that I really didn't know any one except my one friend, deposited my building supplies on the counter, and felt incredibly awkward.  I get awkward in those situations.  Everyone else knew each other and was significantly older than me.  So I helped make some frosting, and got to work on my masterpiece house.  I wasn't there to socialize and make friends.  I was there to win.  I made my structure, let it dry (which took massive amounts of patience), tolerated Barbara Streisand's Christmas CD blaring in my ear, and then I noticed- every one else was using a KIT to build their house!  They all had gingerbread house KITS!  And the lady next to me had a fully built house kit!  She opened her box to reveal a fully assembled house!  She only had to peel the plastic from the mass produced instant gingerbread walls.  She proceeded to use the necco wafers I had brought to roof HER house!  I was still waiting for my house base structure to dry and she was using my neccos!  NOOOO!!! 

Then a latecomer came in the front door.  She said hello to all of her friends, looked at me, and said, "You must be Amanda.  I knew everyone on the e-vite except Amanda, and you're the only one here I don't know."  Reeeeally?  Was I just transported to Miss Congeniality? (" -I'm Cheryl from Rhode Island. -Hi, I'm--  Gracie Lou Freebush. I memorized the orientation pamphlet. I know all ladies by name and picture. Fifty, including myself. Your picture wasn't there, so I knew it was you from your lack of picture.") 

Once my house structure dried I improvised with a red hot roof and peppermint walls.  It wasn't exceptionally pretty, but hey, it's a house made out of graham crackers and powdered sugar frosting.  Finally I put the finishing touch on my house, the one element that I was SURE would win me the grand prize: a porch with a roof!  I built it, and it WORKED.  I'm AMAAAAZING!!!  I proudly carried my house to the judging table and noticed someone copied my porch.  I had wondered why she kept coming over to my table and "getting marshmallows".  She was totally SPYING!  Oh well.  There were 6 structures to judge, and 5 prizes.  I should be fine.  They announced 5th place, 4th place, 3rd place, 2nd place...  so I thought, "Yes!  They realize how hard I worked and I won!  I won! I won!"  And then, they announced the other person as having first place house.  I GOT LAST PLACE!  Dude!  I challenge those people to abandon their kits and build a house with mere graham crackers.  As we were all leaving my friend said to me, "Oh!  Do you want to take your gingerbread house home?"  Me,  "Umm, no.  You can just throw it away."  What was I going to do with that loser house? 

So, lesson learned.  In this modern age, ALWAYS take a kit to a gingerbread house making party, preferably a house that has already been glued together.  And if you bring special candy, hide it in your pocket.

This is not a picture of my gingerbread house, but in my research it was my faaaavorite house and inspired my porch!
(Image from, and I think she got it from Better Homes and Gardens)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Do Blind People Need 3D Glasses?

Last Christmas my family went to the movies to watch Avatar.  The theater was kinda crazy, so we got there early, picked up our 3D glasses, then had to wait in the hallway for an hour.  While we were standing there with 100 other people another movie was just getting over.  In that exiting crowd there was a blind guy and I guess he could tell there was a line of us waiting for another movie.  He said, "What are you all waiting for?"  We said, "Avatar."  He said, "Oh, I saw that.  Great movie."  I laughed so hard I almost fell over.  I wonder if Blind Man spent the extra $4 to see Avatar in 3D.  

Today in church there were two men behind me, several seats apart from each other.  At one point during the music portion they were singing super loud (and not real well, but who am I to judge singing?)  One of them was singing higher than me, and the other was singing soooo low.  Like Josh Turner low.  I found it hilarious.  The music leader was saying something super spiritual like, "Make this your prayer!" while I was trying not to laugh my head off.  I was thinking, "I wish I could somehow bottle this up and put it on my blog."  Probably not exactly what I should have been thinking about.  :) 

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Pink Fist Pump

Yesterday was another terrific day in preschool children's church.  We had a few new kids, including one very precious little girl.  The darling 4-year-old had a blond ponytail accessorized with a pink flower, a pink dress, and little pink mary janes.  We shared crayons and put together a puzzle.  At one point in the morning she was sitting in a chair in front of me, she turned around and put her little hand in between the chairs.  She wanted me to do something with her hand but I couldn't figure out what.  A few minutes later she did it again and whispered, "Fist!" Could this little bundle of pink sweetness want a fist pump?  Oh yes.  I gave her the fist and then she did the explosion!!!  Ahh!!  Too cute!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Starbucks Brings Early Christmas Cheer

Starbucks invites customers to bring a friend to participating company-operated and
licensed stores in the U.S. and Canada on Nov. 18-21 from 2-5 p.m. to receive a free
beverage when purchasing a holiday beverage of equal or lesser value, which includes
the Caramel BrulĂ©e Latte, Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread Latte, Eggnog Latte,  Peppermint White Hot Chocolate and Peppermint Hot Chocolate. 

It is SO hard to get my butt out of bed while it is still dark outside.  I'm asleep before 10pm, so I know I'm getting enough sleep. I've started bribing myself with Starbucks.  I know it is overpriced coffee and frivilous calories, but if $4 can get me out of bed, isn't it worth it? 

I think the legendary Proverbs 31 Woman not only went to Starbucks, she also got Starbucks for her assistants:  "She gets up while it is still night... and provides portions for her female servants."  What a great woman!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Guts on the Floor

One day last week I got in my car at 6:30 am to do my regular commute to work.  The sun was just coming up, the roads were starting to stack up with traffic, my brain was barely waking up.  I drove out of my neighborhood, down the street, turned left at the light and got on the entrance ramp to the 101.  As the morning radio talk show host was giving sports updates over my speakers I saw something on my dashboard that wasn't normal.  My morning brain slowly processed: that thing on the dashboard isn't usually there, it is a bug, it is a spider, it is kinda big, IT IS ALIVE!  So what the heck to do when I was in the middle of a long line of cars entering traffic going 65 mph?!  I had to accelerate and merge into the lane to the left, BUT THERE WAS A SPIDER!!!  Somehow I managed to slip off my shoe, smack the spider, merge into traffic, all while screaming.  But then I didn't know what to do with the shoe (with a dead spider on the sole) in my hand.  So... I put it back on my foot.  There are probably spider guts on my floor mat.  Yuck. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Costumes and Menus

Today I was driving down a normal road and noticed a man standing on the sidewalk. He was talking on his cell phone and wearing a head-to-toe getup of hospital scrubs. I thought, "Ha! He's in an early halloween costume!" And then I realized I was right by a hospital. Probably not a costume.  Probably a legit doctor.

In other news, have you noticed the ridiculousness of restaurant menus? Chipotle's menu reads, "Chips and Guacamole: $2.95. Guacamole: $1.80 Chips: $1.15" (Chipotle Menu) Do people seriously need to know that $1.80+ $1.15=$2.95? And Modern Steak had a special menu that was $29 per person, or $58 for two people. That's saying the same thing twice! That's saying the same thing twice! It's annoying. OR, maybe it is really hard math and I'm actually a math genius.

This video is hilarious. I love that he jumps through the entire video.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Almost Free Coffee @ Starbucks!

Go to Starbucks and get a free sample of new flavored instant Via coffee! And if you buy some Via, you get a free tall drink of your choice.  Here is the schedule of samples for the week: 

Wednesday, October 6 – Vanilla: Rich, sweet vanilla flavor
Thursday, October 7 – Caramel: Smooth, buttery caramel flavorFriday, October 8 – Mocha: A deep, dark chocolate flavor
Saturday, October 9 – Cinnamon Spice: Blend of coffee and cinnamon, accented with a hint of ginger and molasses.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hilarious Preschoolers

Yesterday I was a helper in preschool childrens church.  I love preschoolers.  We made King David scepters (using paper towel rolls, balloons, and stickers- the BEST preschool crafting ingredients) and as the last couple kids were finishing, the rest of the crew was getting restless.  So I played a game with them.  Me, "Raise your scepter if you're wearing a green shirt.  Raise your scepter if you have blond hair."  For some reason the kids were highly entertained by the game.  Me, "Raise your scepter if you have a pet cat."  Most of the kids raised their scepters and one of them, Lexi, added some detail, "We have 20 cats."  Me, "Well that's kind of scary."  I asked all of them if they had litter boxes and one kid said, "My cat doesn't go to the bathroom."  Well that's amazing.  I asked, "Do you guys feed your cats food from a can or food from a bag?"  Lexi-with-20-cats, "I don't know."  Then several minutes later she said, "We feed our cats food from a tuna fish can."  Me, "Oh!  I bet they really like that!"  And then...  I heard it.  A little girl yelling from the adjoining restroom, "HELP!  HELP!"  And with that simple plea the scepter game was over.  I reluctantly went in the bathroom and the little girl said, "I can't get my underwear back on."  (which is better than a kid saying, "WIPE ME" which has happened before, I told them they'd have to try to do the best they could)  We got the underwear issue taken care of.  

I'm scheduled to help again at the end of the month. I'll let you know if anything good happens.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

National Coffee Day!

Happy National Coffee Day!

I tried to round up a Free Coffee Coupon for you, but it looks like everyone is being rather stingy with their coffee this year.  The only thing I could find is "select" Dunkin Donuts are giving away free coffee.   So... if your Dunkin Donuts is select, you should go and get a cup of joe! Here are a few fun coffee-related items:

Study on the caffeine content of various drinks: 

Target sells coffee-scented candles (but only online):

This auto-heated coffee mug can plug into your car adapter OR the USB port on your computer!!

Does anyone else have random tid-bits of coffee knowledge?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Soup and Gloves

I love fall.  One of the things I love most is soup!!  Wildflower Bakery has some delicious pumpkin soup (they usually only have it for one month, so you have to  be there at the right time).  mmm  I also love chicken tortilla soup.  Last fall I decided to make chicken tortilla soup for a work function.  I made it from scratch.  I spent a few days searching the internet for the best recipe.  I was going to make the soup the night before and let it simmer in a crock pot. I carefully measured the ingredients, cut the onions, the peppers...  The peppers.  Jalapenos.  I cut and cut and cut those peppers.  And my hands started burning.  I washed them and continued cooking.  And my hands continued burning.  And they got worse.  By the time I was done making the soup my hands burned so badly I was almost crying.  I googled everything I could think of,  "pepper burn",  "salve for jalapeno".  I WebMD'd it.  I guess many people have been afflicted with deathly jalapenos.  Things I tried:  bleach, ice water, milk, vinegar, aloe vera, and found the best thing: sour cream.  Ahh... relief.  But one problem: I needed to go to bed.  Solution:  found some random plastic gloves in garage.  Put sour cream on hands, then put on plastic gloves. Gross, but tolerable.  If only I would've put the gloves on BEFORE I cut the jalapenos.  ::Sigh::  Lesson learned. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Why Are You Talking To Me?

 Yesterday I went to Target to get some thank-you cards and found myself perusing the bedding section.  (They had 600 thread count sheets on sale for $30)  I noticed some exciting red "CLEARANCE" tags peeking out from the Shabby Chic aisle.  That doesn't happen often, so I had to check it out.  The aisle was congested.  Evidently there were other ladies who couldn't resist pink floral sheets with a sale tag.  There were a couple ladies taking up more than their fair share of room, I was trying to get around them so I could see what was on the bottom shelf, and then...  another lady started talking to me.  WHAT?  She pointed to a bedspread, "This is on sale."  I smiled, hoping she'd think I was mute or didn't speak English.  Didn't work.  She pointed to an identical bedspread on the next shelf down, "Isn't this one preeettty?"  "Yes.  Looks like it is a twin size."  "Ohhh.... that's not big enough."  I squeezed by the two lady space-hoggers and ran to another aisle before she could point out another identical sale-priced, pretty, twin-sized bedspread on the third shelf. 
It made me remember all the times random people talk to me in stores.  Once I was in WalMart and a lady talked to me for 45 minutes in the plastic laundry bin aisle.  Not kidding.  I just smiled and nodded.
Then today I went to DMV (even though the giant sign on the building reads "MVD" I will always call it DMV).  Somehow I only waited 10 minutes and J645 popped up.  I went to Counter 9 and was greeted by a lady with red frizzy hair and reading glasses.  I told her why I was there and she proceeded to tell me she has 3 payments left on her truck.  $499 a month.  (I hope it is a nice truck)  And she has to leave by 12:30 because she has an appointment.  And she loves the hamburgers at Greasewood Flats, and her daughter's friend's dad owns Buffalo Chips (and they have bullriding on Friday nights), and she never gets any time to herself and I should wait to have kids because life totally changes. 
I sat there and thought, "Why is this person talking to me?"  But you know, I'm glad they do talk to me.  It makes life entertaining.  Life would be so boring if random people didn't share random details.  Wait, isn't that what a blog is?  Sharing random things that go through your mind with the potential of complete strangers reading it?  AH!  I'M ONE OF THEM!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Surprise

I can't go to Starbucks every day (it would be around $960 a year), but I have been going on Fridays the past few weeks.  This morning I pulled up to the insanely long line at the drive-thru and ordered my grande caramel latte.  When I finally got up to pay the nice lady said, "The person in front of you bought your drink.  It's been going on for about 20 cars.  Would you like to buy for the person behind you?  No obligation.  If you don't want to you're all set."  Seriously?  That's pretty cool.  Sign me up! 

Happy Friday :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Don't Eat Fast Food... Sort Of

I think I might have an eating disorder.  Don't be fooled by my small build and constant snacking.  Oh no, there is something else and it isn't normal.

In the past 6 months or so I feel like it has become increasingly trendy to say, "I don't eat fast food."  I can understand the reasoning behind a statement like this.  Fast food is not healthy, contains questionable ingredients, is poor quality, and not worth the money.  I get this.  I've seen Supersize Me.  I even worked at Wendy's a couple summers.  I don't want to eat fast food either!


I don't really want to make my lunch everyday. I'm lazy.  It is my major flaw.  So...  here's what happened:  One day last week my lunch break appeared at the usual time. I got in my car and had my normal daily inner dialogue, "What do I want to eat today?  Not fast food...  but what else is there?  Umm..."  and then it hit me!  I could go to Whole Foods and pick up some fruit!  Excellent.  Except, when I got in that store I suddenly wasn't hungry for fruit anymore.  It's all organic so it lacked that glossy sheen like the fruit in the real grocery stores.  Lackluster fruit?  Gross.  So I forced myself to get a couple non-glossy plums and some overpriced $5 juice that I'm convinced was just bottled kool-aid with a fancy wrapper and made-up vitamins (seriously, "Bioflavonoid Complex"?).  So I took my bag containing 2 plums and "juice" to my car and went to Wendy's drive-thru.  Spicy chicken sandwich with no mayo, lettuce, or tomato, and add a packet of ranch dressing.  Perfect.  And that's when it happened.  Without thinking I took that bag and put it in my Whole Foods bag.  And I went back to work and carried in my Whole Foods bag containing contraband (The security guard looked quite pleased that I wasn't carrying in fast food.  What he doesn't know won't hurt him), settled in at my desk and opened bag one and bag two.  I ate my fast food and non-glossy plum, and drank my bioflavanoid complex kool-aid.  I did it!  A lunch that wasn't fast food... sort of.

If you ever see me with a Whole Foods bag please don't say anything.  Just let me be happy with my own version of "not eating fast food".

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My Most Embarrassing Moment. Ever.

I had just moved to a new town and didn't know anyone.  I was entering 6th grade middle school.  Middle school!  The world of gym class uniforms, band, lockers, and changing classes.  Why did that seem so glamorous as a 12-year-old?  After the first couple days I found a routine and started to feel comfortable.  One major problem:  I never had time to go to my locker and change books, so I kept all of my books in my backpack.  (Keep in mind I was a scrawny little 12-year-old girl and textbooks are heavy.)  One day during the second week of school I was walking from my Second Hour class to my Third Hour class.  I had a library book in one hand, my 50 pound backpack strapped to my back, and 2 of the coolest girls in school decided I could walk with them.  Every 6th grade girl's dream!  Awesome!  Except, I dropped the library book I was carrying.  When I bent down to pick it up the weight of my backpack threw me on my back.  It was so heavy I couldn't get up!  I was in the middle of the packed hallway, with the two coolest girls in school standing there, and I was laying there squirming like a dying bug.  I tried to get up a few times, but I kept falling backward.  The girls were laughing at me and I couldn't get up!!  I finally rolled to my side and got my humiliated butt off the floor.  The girls never walked with me again. 

The next year I home-schooled.

I thought my 6th grade yearbook photo would be a great addition to this post.  So... 15ish years later I found myself digging through a dusty old box and thumbing through a yearbook.  Names and faces I had totally forgotten.  Guess who I found?  The boy in 6th grade who "asked me out".  I didn't have any intention of posting this, but it is so good I have to.  Consider it a weekend bonus.

I had never actually talked to this boy.  We didn't have any classes together or the same lunch time.  (Why did I think this was cool?  How did he notice me or figure out my name or anything about me?  Creepy.)  In true middle-school style he asked a girl to ask me if I'd go out with him, I told her to tell him yes.  That day after school he came to my locker and said, "Are you going to the show tonight?"  (for some reason people in that town called the movies "the show")  I wasn't allowed to go to "the show" so it was an easy answer, "No,"   He walked away. On Monday I asked the girl to tell him I wanted to break up with him.  So there it was.  Friday to Monday.  My first "boyfriend".  Last night I ran across his name in the yearbook, googled him, and guess what?!  It looks like he is now the manager of a liquor store.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Bad Blind Date That Wouldn't End

Episode 1:  Bad blind date.  Coffee at Starbucks.  Theoretically he’s a good guy: great job, tall, intelligent, likes to do things, close to his family, never been in prison.  But…  when I walked into Starbucks I totally didn’t see him.  I looked right at him and didn’t see him.  That’s not good.  He talked the entire time.  He crossed his legs (men should never cross their legs).   He made a couple comments about religion that I totally disagreed with (my eyes might have bugged out of my head).  Completely uncomfortable.  It ended with him asking if I wanted to meet again.  I gave him the “Uh... Umm..  Suuuure….”

Episode 2:  He left me a voicemail the next day saying I was a very attractive lady, but he didn’t think there was a connection.  Yay!  I was off the hook.
Episode 3:  One year later I started going to a new church waaay across town from where Bad Date and I lived.  I sat at a table (yes, a table at church) with one of my girlfriends.  The lights dimmed and we sang a few songs.  When the lights came up and I noticed a few more people had joined our table during the singing.  We exchanged simple introductions, and then, I saw Bad Date sitting there.  Right across the table from me.   In all his cross-legged splendor.  He introduced himself.  He had no recollection that we had ever met.  I about died.  There had to be 20 tables and he sat at MY table?  Wouldn’t you know that that night the church decided to have snacks afterward!  They served a whole tray of snacks to each table.  I couldn’t take it.  I got up and changed tables. 

Episode 4:  One month later I found myself at a singles BBQ.  I was enjoying my hot dog and baked beans, chatting it up with some friends.  The place was packed!  Every seat in the place was full!  Our host pushed an empty chair by me and yelled to a late comer, “Hey Bad Date!  You can sit over here by Amanda.”  Seriously?  There were 40 people there.  Why put the chair by me?  Bad Date proceeded to sit down and introduce himself to everyone at the table.  He crossed his legs and I about died laughing.  Yet again, he had no recollection of ever meeting me. 

Present Day:  I continue to see Bad Date at church once a month or so.  I avoid him.  Maybe he has a brain injury like Ten Second Tom on 50 First Dates?