Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wifey Wednesday: To Purge or Not to Purge?

No, not purging of food (though I've got to get rid of the junk in this house!!)...over on To Love Honor & Vacuum (an awesome blog!) Sheila has asked:

So here's our question of the day: what do you do with a packrat husband? Has anyone dealt with this before? Or what do you do if he's way messier than you are? How do you find a compromise?

I don't usually link on the Wifey Wednesday posts, but since I was already planning a post in this area, I thought it would be quite fitting!

I may have mentioned this before, but I am a bit of a packrat and not the tidiest person in the world. We didn't have much money when I was little, though we never went without, but my dad definitely had the mindset of never wasting anything b/c his family really struggled financially He has been known to dumpster dive...more than a few of our childhood toys were picked up off the side of the road...and when I was in college he was like a kid on Christmas when everyone was moving out and they had the huge dumpsters behind the dorms!! and really, people threw away good stuff b/c they didn't want to take it home... So I have been raised to really put a value on obtaining stuff for little or no money, and also not to waste!
The same types of attitudes seem to be in hubs' family. When his grandmother passed away and we helped to clean her house we found SO much stuff and she clearly held onto anything that she felt had value or usefulness.

I am definitely thankful that we are at least similar in our backgrounds so that we aren't always fighting and driving each other crazy with our opposing habits, but we do not motivate one another to get things done...that is for sure.

I find that I am more motivated to get rid of excess stuff...especially now that there are so many options for recycling & selling things on consignment, but hubs doesn't like to let things go. I often watch shows like Hoarders and Clean House to motivate myself to accomplish some organiation...but this week I saw that those same things would not motivate hubs. I was watching an episode of Hoarders which depicted a man who had amassed an out-of-control collection of beer cans, and was facing bankruptcy due to his compuslion to keep collecting. Hubs walked through the room and saw a clip of the show and said "Oh no! Why are they making him get rid of his collection?!?" At that moment I just laughed and thought...I wonder why my house looks the way it does? Not that I'm blaming him totally....I definitely have my share in the mess. It's just funny.

Well, this is what I am facing right now. Needless to say, I am quite overwhelmed:

the view from the doorway

and from the corner...

This is my "craft room"/guest room/hubs extra computers. Eventually this room is meant to be a child's room, but I don't know how we would ever fit one in here without squishing them! We have filled our house--we have too much stuff. Two people should not require over 1400 square feet just for stuff! This room is the catch-all room, when I am cleaning for people to come over, I tend to focus on the common areas and since we do not use this room regularly, everything just gets thrown in there. Right now, I have to get the room in order b/c I have some friends visiting next weekend and at least one will be spending the night so they need a place to sleep.

So, in answer to Sheila's questions, hubs and I are pretty much on the same messy page in all of this. I still have about 98% of the housekeeping duties and focus on keeping our "common areas" neat; but he has the freedom to keep his office however he wants. I maintain most of the other areas, he puts his dishes in the sink and recycles his cans and bottles and takes out the trash and part of the recycling (we have MUCH more recycling than trash, something that I am very proud of :) ). If there is something that is just taking up space and not of any value to us we discuss it and take it to consignment or throw it away if it's okay with him. If not, I usually just put it in "his room" and try to forget about it. Things will have to change somewhat for us to have room for kids (!) but we're working on it.

I really want to get rid of a lot this year, and I am not waiting until the new year to start cleaning! The room looks a little better, but I have a lot do, and am feeling motivated. I just want to keep it going this time.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas! (one day late)

I will probably not be posting much until January, but will give a recap of all my baking and holidays then.

Hope it's joyful for all of you!

Friday, December 18, 2009

so once again, i have been neglecting the blog-so sorry! life has been absolutely crazy...
i was gonna upload some pictures of the craziness, but the stupid computer is tired.

suffice it to say, i baked myself silly for the office christmas party last week--36 loaves of bread and thousands of cookies...i stayed up till 3 am last friday night and was so tired and discouraged because i just was NOT managing my time well. I had to go to walmart at midnight for something...i don't remember what now...maybe eggs??--oh wait, it was treat bags for the cookies!! i was so tired and hurting that i was literally holding back tears! then i came home and was getting frustrated so i started throwing bits of cookie dough on the ground. It was so nasty that I JUST cleaned it tonight b/c it was so intimidating. I did not get all the cookies done in time for the party, but I took the rest back to the office and everyone loved them. The party also went really well, and I collapsed that night and stayed in bed for the rest of the weekend and unfortunately on Monday as well b/c my stupid sinus infection got worse and the CFS, fibro, and plantar fasciitis were just wearing me out!

Hubs has been super busy the past few weeks as well and it's been hard--we've had very little time together and i miss him :( We got a bit of a date night on Tuesday evening and went to get new phones! yippee! My poor little razor got too tired just like me. The screen started displaying upside down or then not at all some of the buttons stopped working. I was planning to get one of the .99 or $10 phones with renewing my contract, but they had a buy one get one free deal on the LG Spyder so hubs and I both got them--I feel so fancy! and now I have a texting plan too!!

I have been very busy w/dessert orders as well as my scentsy business so that is also super exciting! I feel very blessed to have something on the side that can bring a little extra money for us.

Finally--and I can't go into details yet--I need to ask for your prayers. We have some major changes and decisions ahead that were not expected. I will be posting about it fairly soon I think, but just please pray for us! If you really want to know the details feel free to FB message or email me, it's just not something that I can put out publicly yet. (and no, it doesn't involve babies)

Well, hopefully I will be more consistent, and I hope you are all having a great Christmas season!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Real Simple winner!

I'm taking a break in my marathon of Christmas party baking to pick the winner for my real simple giveaway!

And the winnder according to the is post number 4!! which is my very dear friend Jordan!! Congratulations!! I will get the order put in for your free subscription!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

TWD: sables

or is it WWD this week? these are amazingly delicious. I'm exhausted so won't write much more, but thanks for the pick Barbara! check out her blog or buy the book for this awesome cookie recipe!

also tonight, I did this cake for a baby shower--strawberry cake w/vanilla buttercream.

And i have starter going for 36 loaves of sourdough which i will mix tomorrow and bake friday...along w/a gazillion cookies--pray for my little feet!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I've got the dough making but since it needs to refrigerate, i will post tomorrow. I will post though!

Monday, December 7, 2009

amazing giveaway!!

no, not another from me...this one is super better than anything I could do, but Susan over on She's Becoming Doughmesstic is giving away the new 90th anniversary Kitchen Aid Stand mixer!! my mom and I were drooling over this at the kitchen store the other day--I espeically love the glass bowl...and the fact that it's red :)

What are you waiting for? Go enter now!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

a confession

Can I tell you an embarrassing secret??
.'s not that I have been slacking on my baking groups the past two months (though I do feel bad about that...
Nope...not the fact that I keep buying things for myself and have yet to complete any "Christmas shopping", though that's pretty bad too....
This embarrassing confession is that, until last week, I had never successfully made brownies from scratch. :( That's right...all the crazy things I have tried, and I've never done a basic brownie!! I have(on multiple occasions) created delicious brownies from a box mix and the secret Weakley family magic addition of chocolate syrup to the mix, but that is it. Hubs always gives me grief about this b/c he ADORES eating brownie mix raw (yes, I know it's not safe, but sometimes I'm just so glad that he's eating something that I don't care!!) and he doesn't want me to do them by scratch--he just wants the basic boxed brownie mix that he loves. And I have been afraid to even try it b/c it sucks to compare yourself to a boxed mix and lose!!!

Well, when one of my co-workers requested brownies for her birthday treat, I decided that it was finally time for me to tackle my fear. I had heard a few things about Southern Living's "So Good Brownies" from the August 2009 issue, so I decided that this would be the treat to try. I read a review of the recipe on Jenny Bakes where she said that the brownies were almost grainy with sugar...but to crazy me, that actually sounds good--kinda like raw cookie dough...yum :)

I thought these were pretty simple to put together and set them to bake for the minimum time of 40 minutes, at which time I decided that they needed to stay in for about 5 more minutes. Well, if you read my recent post about losing my baking"mojo" you may see the disaster coming...I forgot to set the timer, and also forgot all about the brownies!! About 20 minutes later a very naughty word escaped my lips as I ran to the oven to see what horrible shape my first attempt at real brownies would be in.

Miraculously, they were fine!! Maybe a little hard around the edge pieces, but the center was still surprisingly chewy and they did not taste overdone! So I am renaming these the "miraculous cannot be overbaked brownies."

How did they go over at work you ask?? I took this platter:

piled high with brownies and some cheesecake that was leftover from thanksgiving...and by the time the day was over the platter was completely empty! (and this was on our office's slowest day too!) And people came back for seconds and thirds so I felt pretty good about it all.

And now, without further ado, the recipe for Southern Living's
"Miraculous cannot be overbaked brownies" aka "So good Brownies"
**I would not necessarily try to overbake them...i may have just had a special guardian angel in my oven that day**

4 (1-oz) unsweetened chocolate baking squares
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line bottom and sides of an 8 in. pan w/aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extende over sides. lightly grease foil.
2. Microwave chocolate squares and butter in a large microwave safe bowl at HIGH 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 3o second intervals. Whisk in granulated and brown sugars. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Whisk in flour, vanilla and salt.
3. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
4. Bake at 350 for 40 to 44 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on wire rack (about 1 hour). Lift brownies from pan using foil sides as handles. Gently remove foil and cut into 16 squares.

**the magazine & website give several ideas for mix-ins and variations on the recipe that sound amazing!!**

btw...Butch has been very pouty the past couple weeks due to her parents' busyness.

Magazine winner and Real Simple giveaway!!

Remember this giveaway that I have procrastinated in finishing?? Well, today I picked it and the random winner is the 3rd post by lakegirl! Congratulations!! Send your mailing address to me at and I will send it out right away!

Now for another even better giveaway--I was already planning to get someone a gift subscription to Real Simple, which is one of my very favorite magazines ever. Well, they are currently offering a two for the price of one deal on gift subscriptions, and I couldn't decide who to send the extra magazine to, so I figured that I would send it to one of my lovely readers!! All you have to do is post a comment here and let me know what your favorite magazine is. (if you are reading this under my facebook notes, be sure to enter on the actual blog) The contest will be closed on Thursday, December 10, so hurry up and order for your chance at a FREE ONE YEAR subscription to Real Simple magazine!!

**entries limited to US residents only...sorry!**

Friday, December 4, 2009

lost my "mojo'

do you ever have a day when things are just off?? I have had that week--especially when it comes to the baking!

The week started with working from 8 am to 12 in the morning because I had to do our month-end close down at work. normally, this is a fairly painless process, just taking about 2 extra hours. Well, this time there was a perfect storm of crazy factors intent on making it ridiculous. The two preceding weeks had been shortened work weeks for me--one due to that miserably nasty stomach virus that kept me in bed, and the next being when I realized that Monday would be the last day of the month I had an idea that it would not be good. I was several days behind in posting payments, but to do month end you have to do have all payments posted, all statements and insurance claims billed, and all charges posted and journals closed. By the normal "end" of the day I still had about $13,000 worth of payments to post, as well as sending statements and claims. Then the "late night" receptionist came to me b/c she was missing some encounter forms which she needs in order to post the final charges. After finding all but one I told her ot go home and I would either leave the encounter open till the next day or find it. Well, I couldn't get it out of my head until I had checked every possible location in the office, so I wasted quite a bit of time that I should have spent posting my payments b/c it turned out that the patient had been admitted to the hospital. Well, by the time I finished my "work" and was ready to run the final reports, the system back up was already running, and therefore made the reports and statements take about twice as long as normal. I got a lot of other things done in that time, but it was driving me crazy!! Once 11:30 hit I told myself that I would finish sending out the mail I had printed, and if it wasn't done by then I would just clock out and let the report finish running over night--right when i was about to stuff my last envelope the report popped up on my screen!! I almost seriously cried with joy! By that time I was so tired that after I shut everything down I carried the mail out to my car!! Also, the one night that I was out late, we had our first really hard frost, and my car was completely iced over! I couldn't find my scraper, so I turned the car on w/the defroster & heat on high and slowly inched it blindly towards the building and then ran inside to put the mail back. I came back and found a scraper on the floor and drove home to pass out.

The next day everything was just off with the office and staff and I came in an hour late due to working super late the night before. I got a few baked goods orders to make when I got home and got everything done. I've tried to get some Christmas shopping in but am seriously striking out every time! I have managed to get a few small things for hubs and a gift for my massage therapist...but that is it! I need to get on the ball here! One of my coworkers requested brownies for her birthday... I will post about those later but that's when my baking started messing up a bit...I baked them the recommended time but decided they needed an additional five minutes which I set on the timer and then got enveloped in something else...who knows what. Well, apparently I did not turn the timer on. Normally I can really smell when things are about ready but maybe all the Christmas candles threw my smeller off. I didn't remember the brownies until at least 20 more minutes had passed!!! miraculously, they were okay, but I was a bit frustrated.

In addition to the work craziness, I am having another Open House this weekend for Scentsy, Creative Memories, and my baked goods. Well, my house was still in shambles from last week;s Thanksgiving orders and baking, and after this crazy work week nothing else had been done. I started planning my treats to make on Wednesday night and began separating the dry ingredients...well, even though I read and re-read my ingredient list I measured baking powder into my molasses spice cookies instead of baking soda. I did some furious research online and something said that you could double the amount of baking powder to replace baking soda and, though they may taste a little different, they should still work. The next day when I was doing all the baking, I doubled the milk called for in the icing of my iced peanut butter cookies...then when I made my fudge pie there was a weird goopy looking crater in the center. Once again, I forgot to set the timer on my snickerdoodles so they baked for a lot longer than normal... I spent way too much time on things I could practially do in my sleep at this point. I don't know...I'm just feeling "off" Everything ended up tasting fine though the textures of things are not the same as normal, but whatever, it's still free food for people to eat!

I think I'm just worn out after this week. I've spent over two hours tonight catching up on all the blogs I subscribe to but haven't been able to read this week...I think I just need to go to bed and hopefully it will be better in the morning!