6 Things I Never Knew

A few tidbits of random, yet extremely useful, information I’ve learned over the last few weeks… read and be informed my friends.

1.) Basil plants will freeze between the store and your car when it’s -10* outside.  Boo.  My poor basil plant I’ve had for two years bit the dust this month, probably due to the fact I forgot to water it one too many times.  Hooray the grocery store was selling little basil plants!  No one told me I had to cover them up to get them to the car.  The cashiers should be informed… really!  Sheesh.  Got them home and they wilted right up.  I was heart broken for several days because for most my life, I’ve just wanted to have a green thumb.  That and make a decent loaf of bread, which has also been an elusive dream thus far.  Then Jeff told me they probably froze in the car.  What?!?  Sensitive little things.  I’m still hopeful for the green thumb.

2.) Crock pot contents should boil when turned to high… and sometimes even low.  My old crock pot NEVER boiled and I didn’t know it should until my mom and sister informed me at Christmas time that something was wrong with it.  No wonder my roasts were always tough.  (I slow cooked a roast once for 24 hours and it was still tough.  What the heck?!?!  I’m glad to know it wasn’t my fault.)  So I bought my self a new crock pot and sure enough!  It boils!  I tell Jeff no less than once a week how much I love my new crock.  It’s pretty much amazing.  And red.  Amazing and red.  It’s all I ever wanted.

3.) Jeggings are the best things EVER.  I turned my nose up at jeggings when they were first introduced into the market place.  They seemed a little hoochie for some reason.  But Trina has shown me the light and I’m now a believer.  Jeggings marry my love of leggings and my dislike of jeans into one beautiful article of clothing.  $29.  Maurices.  Go get your self a pair and be amazed.

4.) Chicken broth is not hard to make.  I always thought homemade chicken broth would be incredibly difficult and time consuming.  Apparently not when you have a working crock pot.  Cook up a whole chicken for dinner in the crock, throw the carcass in with some onion, carrot, celery, and water… let it cook overnight and…  Viola!  Chicken stock!  I get the equivalent of 8 cans of stock from one chicken.  It’s amazing.  Recipe HERE.

5.) Spaghetti squash really is like spaghetti.  Like all my great health tips, I learned this from the Biggest Loser.  From that show I’ve also gleaned 101 ways to use a chick pea.  I’m like the chick pea queen… and because I’ve been so impressed by the spaghetti squash, I’ll probably be the queen of that soon too.

6.) Beet tops can be eaten.  I had wondered why they sold beets with the HUGE leaves still attached.  There’s no way those suckers are fitting in the produce bag.  It’s a pain.  So I googled it and sure enough.  Edible.  We had them for dinner last night… brats, tots, and tops.  I think that line up will be a rotation regular, mostly because I like to say it.  Jeff:  What’s for dinner tonight?  Me: Brats, tots, and tops.  Bahahaha!  That will never get old.

There you have it.  Everything I’ve learned in one little list.

***Upon reviewing my list, it appears I still have lots of room to grow regarding food knowledge.  That and I’ve come to understand the wonders of jeggings.  It’s like a whole new world opened up this month.


So long HTC Incredible

I was waiting in the car for Jeff, sleeping kiddos in the back seat.  That’s basically how it goes nowadays.  We drive somewhere together, kids fall asleep on the way and then I sit and wait, because who wants to wake a sleeping babe?  Not me. 

Our destination that day was the Verizon Wireless store.  Our phone contract was up and Jeff was prowling for a better deal.  As I sat waiting in the car I passed the time as I normally do, trolling Facebook and surfing the internet for pointless information.  And then what normally happens happened… my battery was about to die.  So I turned my phone off and decided to watch people.  That’s when I saw them.

Through the front doors of the store came a mother and her teenage son.  He was probably 15 or 16.  As they exited the store, the boy not once looked up from his phone.  He followed his mother to their minivan, the entire time texting, Facebooking, gaming, whatever.  He was so engrossed in whatever was happening on his phone that he bumped into his mother after following her to the drivers side of the van.  Then he looked up slightly confused, realized his error, turned around and went right back to the phone.  He managed to make it to the right side of the van, get in, buckle up and not once look up from that danged phone.  The mom starts the van and drives off.

And in an instant I saw what could be my future.  And it scared the crap out of me.

I got a smart phone when we moved to Duluth… because Jeff was getting one and while I didn’t want to get ‘sucked in’, I wanted one too for reasons I can’t really remember.  I do remember someone asking me what apps I would download and my answer was not many, I don’t want to get attached.  Well, it just so happens that you can get sucked in and attached even with minimal apps. 

As the two years unfolded since the introduction of the smart phone into my daily life, I found that I become more and more attached to that thing.  It was the first thing I reached for in the morning and the last thing I looked at before going to sleep at night.  If I couldn’t sleep, heck, I’ll just read the news, check Facebook, check my email.

You know when you get to the point when you just NEED to do something, the draw is so strong that it’s a fight to not give in?  That’s what the phone became for me.  Worse, there would be times that Ava would say “Mama, watch this!  Mama, look at me!  Mama!  MAMA!!!”  And what am I doing?  Looking at my phone.

Seeing that 15 year old boy that afternoon in January woke me up to what my reality could be in 15 years.  My kids are learning everything from me, including how important a gadget is.  I do not want my kids thinking an electronic is the most important thing, the most exciting thing.  Nope.  I don’t want that at all.

So instead of upgrading the smart phone, I told Jeff I wanted to be taken off the plan.  What did I want instead?  I wanted as old school as possible… a land line.  So a few weeks ago, the phone man came by, messed around outside for a while and left us with a very grounded phone.  Jeff dug around downstairs and found a 1993 relic, brought it upstairs and plugged it in.  It’s black.  It has no bells and whistles.  It has a cord… my phone is mounted to the wall with a CORD.  I didn’t even want cordless.  When Jeff first brought the phone upstairs, Ava and Oakley were completely fascinated.  What is it!?!?  How does it work???  The first time it rang it scared the pants off them.

I still have a mobile phone for texting and emergency calls while out and about, but I no longer have the internet at my fingertips.  It’s been an interesting transistion.  There are times I’m totally annoyed that the smart phone is gone… like the other day when I had to go somewhere new and I had to dig out the GPS… THE GPS!  That thing felt like a dinosaur.  Google Navigation was so much easier.  Or like today when I was at the store and was trying to find Gorgonzola cheese.  What the heck is that?!?  I didn’t even know what it looked like.  Before I would just whip out the phone and google it.  Not anymore.

Here are the positives though… I feel less trapped during the day by a vise that had gotten the best of me.  I am more present with Ava and Oakley.  They no longer see my face checking a phone screen 10 times a day.  They are learning how to DIAL a phone.  Ava is learning how to properly answer a phone… kind of.  Instead of saying “Hello?” she picks up the phone and says “Who is it?” and then says nothing… unless it’s Daddy.  Then she’s a chatty cathy.

Anyway, I wish I had stronger willpower, but it appears I don’t.  I wish we still lived in a simpler world, but we don’t.  I hope in 15 years, my kids don’t follow me to the wrong side of the van, face stuck in a phone.