The Little Monkey gets himself into quite the jam!


This is what happens when you overestimate your flexible spending deductions!

Since the Little Monkey was in his first year, we decided we should expect some extra doctor's visits and sicknesses so we upped our flexible spending for 2008. Unfortunately, we over-estimated by $260! So tonight, I spent an hour in Walgreens buying every over-the-counter medicine we could possibly need for the next two years (until expiration)!

I was fairly humiliated when I shopped for an hour, got up to the counter, the guy spent five minutes ringing me up, and only then did I realize I had left my wallet at home! So, I had to run back home and then go back to the store to have the same guy ring it up all over again. He was a good sport about it. So this is what $217.68 of flexible spending eligible OTC medicines look like. Click on the picture to make it bigger and let me know if I have a forgotten any necessities?


Things I Stumbled Tonight

Really bizarre items stuck inside people's head/body

This one is for my sister because she likes televised fireplaces

Draw your piggy and find out about your personality.

Need to glue something? This site is for you.

Pull my Finger!


What happened to my sweet little boy?

Within a week, the Little Monkey has gone from the sweetest of little boys to a crazed, screaming banshee!! Over night he decided he no longer zonks out at 7pm and instead is up until 9:30 or 10. He throws everything he sees, and tonight we went to a restaurant and had to get everything boxed up due to his flailing and screaming! Please give me tips on disciplining an 18 month old!


Ushering in Hanukkah New Orleans style!

It is a Hanukkah tradition to commemorate the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days by eating foods cooked in oil, specifically latkes and sufganiyot, or fried jelly donuts. In New Orleans, we definitely eat things cooked in oil on a regular basis and tonight, BM, LM, and I enjoyed the tradition to its fullest. But instead of latkes and donuts, we enjoyed the more treif option of fried catfish, shrimp, and oysters!Big Monkey surprised me with an evening out at one of our favorite Uptown family restaurants, Mandina's. The onion rings and fried oysters are a favorite, but their turtle soup is really the reason we keep coming back. At one point Big Monkey had so much food in front of him, he looked down and was embarrassed by the site!So, anyway, Happy 3rd night of Hanukkah. Hope you are celebrating with your own traditions!


The Little Monkey's Plaque

Little Monkey's favorite friend, Rachel, brought this plaque home to him after her recent trip to New York. How perfect is it?!


Two things I'm searching for...

First, am I crazy or is there such a thing as fat-free eggnog? I swear I remember seeing this in the store in previous holiday seasons. But, this year, it is nowhere to be found! I did find this recipe, but I'm not really one to just go whip up some nog. I would much rather spend my hard earned money on a pre-made carton. If they sell fat free half and half, fat free eggnog should exist, shouldn't it?
Second, the blogosphere is all abuzz about this new limited edition diet pomegranate 7-up. Where the hell is it? It is supposed to be selling from Nov thru Jan. I have hit Rouse's Grocery, Winn-Dixie, Wal-Mart, and Target, and I haven't found it yet. Anyone else been successful finding it?


Better than Beyonce!

This totally cracked me up this morning! Enough said...


The Best Thing About Christmastime... Peppermint!

I love all things peppermint and this time of year is when peppermint really makes a name for itself! Peppermint bark, peppermint hot chocolate, candy canes, peppermint mochas... oh how the list goes on.

Which reminds me of a wonderful weekend Big Monkey and I had long ago. When we lived in the San Francisco area, we would travel around California on the weekends just spur of the moment hostel card in hand. One weekend, we decided to go to the actual Jumping Frog Jubilee in Calaveras County. The festival was great fun but the best part was the old-time peppermint chews we found at Nelson's Candies in Murphys, CA. Those were truly the best peppermint I have ever had and I think of them often. Oh, I'm getting nostalgic!

On a side note... the word "peppermint" starts to sound and look strange after typing it nine times.


One Hundred Pushup Challenge

I like having goals. It gives me something to work towards and obsess about. Because once I set my mind to something, I get obsessed about it. This has happened to me with knitting, photography, jogging, blogging, etc. My new goal is to begin and ultimately, complete, the six week One Hundred Push ups Challenge.

I originally heard about the challenge from Sasha over at Barely Keeping It All Together. Unfortunately, I don't think Sasha finished, but that just gives me more inspiration to do it myself. Today was day one, week one. I am doing them girlie style, but at least I'm doing it. Let me know if you want to join me and I'll post weekly progress reports.


SNL Weekend Update on Blagojevich

I think, in general, Saturday Night Live has become pretty lame, but this special edition of Weekend Update with Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler is too funny! Check it out...


The Little Monkey walks a mile in Daddy's shoes

Ok, well he didn't exactly walk a mile, but he did try them on and it was pretty adorable!


A Wonderful Rare December Snowfall in New Orleans!

Two lessons learned today:

1) It is very difficult to take a picture of it snowing without it looking like rain.

2) In New Orleans, seemingly mature adults turn into giddy schoolchildren at the first flurries of snow!

Last night we began to hear rumors of snow in Houston. Could it be true? Could snow really be headed this way? We didn't give it a second thought until we got an early morning wakeup call from my super excited father proclaiming that, yes, it was, in fact, snowing in Baton Rouge! We looked out the window and nope, no snow, only yucky, heavy rain drops. But, wait, next thing we know, the rain stops and in its place are small, white flurries! The excitement starts! We run outside to take a look with video cameras in hand.

The news was everywhere and everyone was talking about it. On my way to drop BM off at work it was on the radio and kids were playing in their yards bundled in their warmest clothes. At work, everyone was abuzz with the news of snow! Everytime we saw a new picture of someone's snowman or a car covered in snow, the giddiness started again. I just thought it was so amazing how just a little meteorlogical change can brighten everyone's day.

WooHoo! Snowing in NOLA! Winter is here!

Yep, it is actually snowing this morning. I've got to go to work but will post photos and video later.


People suck sometimes!

Tonight, I was driving home in the rain and all of a sudden the car in front of me opens its door and throws out a plastic sandwich container.It shocked me that someone would so blatantly just trash our city. Also, as I took another look, I noticed they were driving a Mercedes! Now, I know you might say I shouldn't stereotype and people of all types are assholes but I would assume someone who can afford a Mercedes would have a certain level of education, age, and wisdom that would stop them from throwing trash out their car door. My God, people, have some respect for yourself, others, and your surroundings!


Are any of you doing Weight Watchers?

I have been doing Weight Watchers now for six weeks and I've lost 5.2 pounds . I've gotten into a bit of a rut with the foods I eat. These are typical foods that I eat on the Flex plan (I don't mean all in one day, just my staples):

WW yogurt
reduced fat wheat thins and light Laughing Cow cheese
Lender's bagel and WW cream cheese
Progresso Light soup
grilled chicken
fat free hot dogs and light buns
WW shredded cheese

This week I did terrible and I need some motivation. Are any of you on WW or have been and have good tips? Please don't give me recipes that take a lot of time. Anything more than 5 min breakfast, 10 minute lunch, or 15 minute dinner won't make it on my list.



Review of the movie "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas"

Sometimes you see a movie that you really want to dislike. This was the case for me with "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas". In the last twenty minutes of the movie I hated it. I hated it so much I wanted to walk out of the theater. The impending tragedy that was bound to occur was too much for me and I just didn't want to watch it happen. I didn't leave and I sat in my seat until the end. When I got up, I decided I didn't like the movie. I decided the ending was too easy. But now, a week later, I'm still thinking about it. The ending is still haunting me and I still wonder what I am supposed to think about it, what the moral is, and if it was effective. I guess that is the mark of a good movie, huh?

If you haven't heard about the film, it is about the family of a Nazi officer. The father receives a "promotion" and moves his family from Berlin to a house in the country to be in charge of a concentration camp. The young son can see the camp from his bedroom window and wonders what this "farm" he sees is and why everyone is wearing striped pajamas.

My first gripe with the movie is that they all have British accents. Why? Obviously, we need to be able to understand them, but couldn't they have spoken English with a German accent or would that have made us like them less? Would that have villainized them in our eyes? Because, in order to make the Filmmaker's point, we, the audience, must like this family to some extent. We must understand them and empathize with them, at least the mother and the son.

The son who I think is about nine seems to have never before now heard of Jews. I think that is quite unlikely in WWII Germany, especially after we do learn his father's feelings about Jews. I think he probably would have heard about Jews a lot and been ingrained to hate them as much as the others in the film. Instead, this boy sees past the propaganda and decides his father, teacher, and sister's views aren't correct. I'm not sure I believe this. Brainwashing is too easy, especially for the young. In fact, I think the sister's character is sadly one of the most believeable.

So, what is the point? Are we supposed to feel vindicated that a German Nazi family "got theirs"? Are we supposed to say " See, bad things happen to bad people"? Did the Filmmaker's miss the opportunity to highlight a broader message? Did they forget who the real victims are? Or, is it just a really good movie that makes us think about our own feelings about the Holocaust? I'm not sure, but you should go see it.


Review of La Macarena Pupuseria

A few weekends ago, BM, LM, and I tried to go to the Poboy festival on Oak Street but it was way too crowded and claustrophobic. We couldn't even get to any of the poboy stands yet we were starving, so we ended up walking to the new La Macarena Pupuseria on Hampson Street to check it out. As you can see by the bright pink and lime door, there really is no missing the place. It is very bright and cheery. It was the first weekend they were open and the owner and staff were more than excited we had walked in. We began to order off the lunch menu because it was about 1pm on Sunday and were told they did not offer the lunch menu on weekends. This was disappointing because the regular platters are quite expensive ranging from $14-$25.
We ended up ordering two platters anyway (gotta support the locals, right?). I got the Pupusas & Beef Tostada platter and LM got the Carne Mechada (Salvadorean style pot roast). When they came out, they were beautifully presented and ample portions. The pupusas were just the right consistancy and the pot roast was melt in your mouth. But the best thing I ate was the plantains. They were deliciously sweet with just a hint of crunchiness on the outside. Perfect!

The food at Pupuseria was wonderful and you could really tell everything was fresh, BUT, I have to say the prices make it very prohibitive for us and I doubt we will return often. It is in a very student-oriented part of town and I worry their prices are going to put them out of business quickly. They need to really revisit their thought process on that front. But, if you can afford the splurge, get yourself to La Macarena Pupuseria, preferably during a weekday lunch.


Bowling is right up my alley!

Last night I went out with the ladies for some rockin' and bowlin' at the New Orleans institution known as Rock 'n Bowl Mid City Lanes. This place is famous for locals and tourists alike to come do a little bowling and then stay to dance to the live cajun, jazz, zydeco bands performing later in the evening. You definitely won't be seeing me on the Pro-Bowling circuit any time soon since as you can see my high score was a 60!
About when we finished bowling, the Latin Soul Band, Los Poboycitos began playing. The band members were young and cute and the music was great too!


Get Your Motor Runnin'!

This kid means business... I think its time to get the Little Monkey a helmet!


The toy industy is trying to kill me

I swear it must be the dirty little secret of the toy industry that they are slowly trying to drive parents mad! Why, oh why, must all toys have so many pieces to them? Our play area should look like this:
But instead, regularly, looks like this:
Just when I, I repeat, I, clean it up, Little Monkey immediately dumps out every box, turns over every container, and pulls apart every piece. It makes for a long and exhausting day!


New cute pics of The Little Monkey


Things that make you go hmmmm.....

Yesterday, unfortunately, while all of you folks were taking it easy and cooking, I had to work! Here are some random things my coworkers and I googled while we tried to make it to 3:15...

* Why is it that peanut butter cookies are the only cookie that people mash down with fork tines?

* Why is the name Peggy a nickname for Margaret?

* Why is Thanksgiving on a Thursday?


Are you a Backer-Upper?

Lucky for me, I am NOT hosting Thanksgiving this year. My mom just moved into a newly built house and she eagerly offered to have our 15 family members over. I was a little disappointed because I really like Thanksgiving and I have a great dining room table, but now that I am sick with a cold, I am quite happy to only have to bring my assigned task of my famous salad (recipe follows) and apple pie.

Tonight, I foolishly thought if I went to the store now, I would beat all you other people, but looks like that was wishful thinking. The Little Monkey and I headed to Sam's Club where he got signed up for the Cookie Club. I got what I needed and was out the door when one of my biggest pet peeves began happening all over the crowded parking lot.... THE BACKER-UPPER!!

What is gained from backing up into a parking spot? I have never understood this. You certainly aren't saving time. There is no way I believe that it takes more time to back up upon exit than the time it takes backing up when entering. Additionally, it seems to me there is more risk damaging your car since you certainly have to rely on your side mirrors to ensure you do not hit the cars next to you. Needless to say, the Sam's parking lot was a mess with all the backer-uppers doing their thing. Can anyone explain this phenomenon to me?

Sara's Really Good Salad Recipe

Get lots of lettuce (I use spring mix, thus the Sam's trip)
Peel and cut up several apples (I like granny smith because they are tart)
Toss apples in a bowl with lemon juice (this keeps them from browning)
Get bag of pecans (if they are not crushed, put in ziplock bag and use meat mallet to crush)
Get crumbled feta cheese
Get any off the shelf balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
Mix everything together

People rave about this salad everytime!


Adventures in Cruising- Day 4 and 5

On Tuesday morning, we awoke to the beauty of Cozumel, MX. The sea was bluer and clearer than I have ever seen. Yet, there were hints of emerald green scattered throughout. Unbelievable!

We had not made any plans for shore excursions which ended up being good because the winds were really high and most of the excursions got canceled. When we got off the ship, we realized we were docked next to another Carnival cruiser, The Triumph. Well, next to that ship, the Fantasy looked like MiniMe! It was about half the size.We decided to just do a little shopping, but when we got to the town, The Big Monkey asked a local what they thought we should do. He suggested we rent a Jeep and drive around the island so we did just that! At the rental car booth, I turned to BM and said "Boy, I've never driven on the wrong side of the road before! Hope I don't mess up!" BM looked at me shocked as if I was a total idiot and I then said "Gotcha!" I'm sure it is much funnier in my head than in writing, but I'm still talking about it.We drove around and stopped when we saw something beautiful or interesting. At one point, we even changed into our bathing siuts in the Jeep and jumped in the water. We're just two crazy kids, right! haha(Big Monkey finally was successful in his quest for a cold coconut)

It was my first time driving a stick shift in quite a while and I did get to embarrass BM frequently by stalling a million times.(Semi phallic looking bunch of bananas)

We returned our Jeep and headed back to the ship just in time to see all the drunks running to make sure they didn't get left behind. It was pretty funny to watch several of them pass out from their excursion to Senor Frogs'. BM called them "silly tourists!"

The next morning we got up to do yoga again and just vegged out the rest of the day.

Great trip and I would suggest it to anyone who wants a vacation where you don't have to worry about planning anything or thinking at all.(Towel piggy, Day 4)
(Towel Heart, day 5)

Tomorrow we return to your regularly scheduled blogging....


Adventures in Cruising- Day 3- Progresso, MX

On Day 3, we awoke to the sights and sounds of the Yucatan Peninsula and Progresso, MX. I had already done my research and knew I wanted to take the 8 hour shore excursion to Chichen Itza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. After checking out the visitor's center and duty free shop, we boarded a bus and met our tour guides, Saul (pronounced Sa-ool) and Mario.

Mario was a wonderful guide and lead us through the history and current culture of the Mayan people and language.

We also found some time for shopping and got to take in the local scene. It is amazing to me how these people can live so sparsely in what I would consider huts. The Big Monkey has been telling me for years about the lack of resources they have in Mexico, but until you visit and see it, it is hard to imagine. (Woman selling handmade servilletas. She was literally 4 feet tall)
(Children playing outside a store)
(This was a beautiful blanket but it was a bit too expensive)
(Yes, this is actually a herd of goats and a shepherd just walking down the street)
(Towel Elephant, day 3)

The Big Monkey has a stalker!

So, someone has become quite obsessed with learning the Big Monkey's real name. I have gotten several anonymous comments lately thinking it is bizarre that I do not divulge this info. Well, to Anonymous, I think your obsession is a bit bizarre. Now, this could be a real life friend of mine trying to be funny or just a freak, but regardless, I'm going to take off the anonymous comment option for a bit. Hope this doesn't cramp any of you normal people's style.

I guess that is what I get for marrying such a hottie!


Adventures in Cruising- Day 1 and 2

Well, as you now know, The Big Monkey and I decided to take a last minute cruise. It has been since before The Little Monkey was born that we got to spend any real quality time together. So, we left LM safe at home in NOLA with the nanny and set sail for the High Seas (The Gulf of Mexico, that is)! Only two cruises leave out of NOLA so we settled on a five day Carnival Fantasy adventure.

Neither of us had taken a cruise before and all of my expectations stem from my many hours of watching The Love Boat. Well, friends, let me tell you, this was no Pacific Princess. When we first walked on, I was quite shocked by the amount of neon lighting and immediately felt like I had stepped back in time into an episode of Miami Vice. The white "marble" staircase on the Empress deck was really more cliche than impressive. But, my disappointment soon dissolved away when we headed to the Lido deck for the all you can eat buffet (thus, begins the tale of how I gained 8 pounds!).
The first evening we headed to a cheesy, Vegas knockoff show where we met "Fun Ship Freddy", the Carnival Cruise mascot. Big Monkey immediately noted that Freddy was more reminiscent of Satan than of a ship, which I thought was very true and very funny.

The next day we were at sea while we headed for Progresso, MX. I actually talked BM into waking up early with me and heading to the Gym for an early morning Yoga class. It was pretty tough and BM thoroughly embarrassed me by the amount of sweat he managed to drip on his borrowed yoga mat.
(The Big Monkey with our waiter, Omar)
That evening was formal night where we dressed in our finest and met the Captain. We had the late seating for dinner each night and fell in love with our head waiter Omar who took care of our every need. BM hails from Mexico originally and it was great that he could speak Spanish to the staff and to the locals in port. I think we definitely had a better experience because of that.(Towel ninja day 1)
(towel bunny day 2)
The best part of every evening was returning to our cabin to see the towel creation that our steward, Ramil, left on our bed.

Day 3 to come tomorrow. I'm sure you are on pins and needles.....