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.....


Been Cruisin'

Well, you probably didn't realize it (because I was sneaky and set up my posts to publish while we were away) but The Big Monkey and I set sail last Saturday to the open seas and just got back this morning! I will be blogging about our trip shortly.

I gained 8 pounds! Yes, you heard that right... 8 pounds! Is that even physically possible, you ask? Well, apparently, it is. So, this week, I am back on track and hopefully it will magically melt off.

I'm heading to unpack and then I'll come back to post pics and tell some stories.


Spending the day with Grumps


Wal-Mart Bingo! "I spy" for the Wal-Mart crowd...

A friend of mine sent this to me via email and it is just too true! Take it with you on your next trip to Wally World, then come back here and report how long it takes you to yell BINGO.

(Click on it and it should enlarge so you can see it better)


Damn You, NBC! Lipstick Jungle canceled :(

I'm just totally bummed to hear that NBC has canceled one of my favorite "girl's night in" events. I saw it coming when it moved to Friday night. I never really got into Sex and the City, but I actually really enjoyed Lipstick Jungle. I liked the characters and cared about the storylines. The only hope I have now is that CBS doesn't do the same thing with Swingtown and that it will come back for another season. It's tough being a couch potato... Your heart gets broken too often!


Weight Watchers update

So, I purposely didn't tell y'all, but I joined Weight Watchers and am now on week four. As of tonight, I have lost 4.4 pounds. Not news worthy, but not too shabby, I guess. I followed up my meeting by immediately going to the movies and eating lots of movie popcorn and Reese's pieces! Oh well, tomorrow is a new day.


Pop-A-Lock to the Rescue!

The Big Monkey and I are going on a cruise soon (yes, I am super psyched), so tonight I decided to go looking for a new bathing suit. Well, I'll tell you that it gets old quickly being laughed at everytime you ask a clerk in November, "Do you still carry bathing suits?" Needless to say, after scouring the mall, Marshall's and TJ Maxx, I never found one. But, I digress...
So, I walk out of Marshall's to find the flat tire you see above. I am definitely not one of those girls who is going to whip out the jack and start changing a tire, so I call The Big Monkey, who calls our insurance company who calls Pop-A-Lock. Well, I have to tell you, I am seriously impressed. Chris from Pop-A-Lock was not only at my car within 10 minutes, but he was truly the cutest thing you ever did see! He had the spare tire installed in 10 more minutes and I was on my way.
But, sadly, still no bathing suit.


Little Monkey takes a spin on Grandma's walker!

The Little Monkey spent Saturday visiting the Great-Grandparents at the Retirement Community aka "The Home" (yes, they know we call it that). He had a blast cruisin' the grounds on Grandma's walker!


Message to Sasha and Malia Obama: Get a mini dachshund!

During his recent victory speech, President-Elect Obama told his daughters, Sasha and Malia, ""I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House."

Well, as many of us know choosing your first pet is a tough decision and a big responsibility. So, I am throwing the all mighty dachshund's hat in the ring!

My experience with dachshunds has been very positive. The Little Monkey and Willie and Nelson love each other. They have even been known to french kiss from time to time! Short haired doxies are not much maintenance, shed very little, and don't bother most people allergic to other dogs.

How cute would those big ears be racing across the White House lawn and stirring up trouble in the Rose Garden? Think about it girls!


'Tis the season to dole out awards...

I have been blessed recently with having some awesome blogger friends who have bestowed two fun new awards upon me.

Ken from Dad To Two thought of me when he received the Proximidade Award. Thanks Ken!

“This blog invests and believes, in ‘proximity’ [meaning, that blogging makes us 'close' - being close through proxy]. These blogs are all charming and they aim to show the marvels of friendship. Let’s give more attention to them! ”

Since this is an award about "proximity", I thought it would be only fitting to pass it on to those New Orleans bloggers I like to read!  Check them out...

My second award comes from Mike at Rambling Stuff.  It is a beautiful butterfly award which I will pass on to one of the coolest blogs I know...

It is too hard to narrow down, so I will take a page from Mike's book and award this to all who visit me today!

Have a great day!  If you got an award, take it, link back to me, and dole it out to others.  Spread the love!


Guest post #3- "I think the alligators could be called pets"

Our next guest post is from Karen who has her own wonderful travel blog, My Road . Please go check it out and read about her experiences in search of the perfect quilt shop. Although I don't often have chance to mention it, there is a whole other cultural experience and world outside of the New Orleans city limits. In her post, Karen gives us a wonderful glance at it.

Having a daughter in the military has taken hubby and me to new and interesting places. Stacy’s first assignment after basic training was to Grand Isle, Louisiana. Grand Isle is an island just off the tip of Louisiana. We received so many pictures of her adventures on and off the boats that we felt compelled to visit this unknown territory. How can places in the US be so different? Visiting Louisiana is an experience in terrain, culture and cuisine.

I can remember seeing the smoke rising from the peanut fields as the crops were burnt off in preparation for next year’s planting. Fields of rich dirt lay in wait for what next year would bring. The flat land soon turned to wispy trees that contained moss and were sitting in swampy areas. It was not uncommon to find water on both sides of the road we traveled. Telephone poles had water up to their middles. I watched for alligator to make an appearance. I do that here in the Midwest as deer are often spotted in fields along side of the road. I never saw any and we took a swamp tour to get our feel of those magnificent creatures.
It was so humid that we went to more movies on our vacation than I care to admit. It was a way to sit in air conditioning without hitting the mall. We went on a swamp tour that was very lively. The captain was very entertaining. I think the alligators could be called pets as they appeared around every bend. It seemed that they knew the time each day when dead chickens would appear off the back of the old pontoon boat wandering its way through the swamp. Our water adventure was surprisingly mosquito-less. You would have thought the blood thirst critters would have eaten us alive but I don’t remember seeing one pesky bloodsucker. After a serenade from the captain, we disembarked and went to look for a good place to eat.
We had tried poor boys and discovered we loved them. This day, we were in search of some fresh seafood and asked the locals where to go. We were directed to Big Al’s just outside of Houma. We never would have picked that restaurant from its appearance. It looked to have been an old gas station at one time. It was, however, very clean and well attended. We had to wait for our lunch because “the boat was on its way”. We were in for a treat of very fresh fish. I ordered shrimp and hubby ordered crab. We had soup while we waited. It wasn’t very long before two trays of fish were set before us. I am talking trays that resembled pizza pans. Had we known we would be served so much, we might have passed on the soup and corn on the cob we had just devoured. The shrimp still had their eyes and I found it difficult to get past that fact. Hubby ate the shrimp and I ate the crab. It was a terrific exchange, in my opinion. We had a wonderful meal. The only thing I would add to the restaurant’s offerings would be to have a room in the back that had cots available for napping.


This kid gets cuter everyday!

Is this kid pimped out or what! He is totally strutting his stuff. He just needs some bling and he would look just like P Diddy!


Why you don't let your kid eat Austin Cheese Crackers Before Voting...

Well... it finally happened! This morning, while standing in line for an hour and a half to vote, I became "That Mom"! You know her well. The mom that everyone looks at and says, "Wow! She is just a wreck. She can't control her kid! Did her kid actually just throw up fluorescent orange goo all over the polling place floor? Why is she letting her kid walk all over the voting area with one shoe and a sock on?" Yep, that was me and The Little Monkey this morning! Happy Election Day!


And the Winner Is....

Congrats to Penelope Ann from Cafe At the End of the Universe

for being the big winner in our 100th post giveaway from
(I used randomizer.org to pick the winning post)

Thanks so much to all who entered and to all of you who read my blog daily. I have really enjoyed getting to know you through your own blogs and your comments. Hopefully the 200th post contest will come around very soon!


Halloween in the Suburbs!

Long, Long ago I heard tales of a place far, far away where houses have over 3000 square feet for under $300,000, where children play in the cul-de-sac without parental supervision, where neighbors know each other by name, and where hords of city folk travel to have the true Halloween experience. Where is this wonderful land, you ask? Yes, visitors, it is a place we call... The SUBURBS!!!Unfortunately, living in Uptown New Orleans does not make for kid-friendly Halloweening, so we packed up the Little Monkey and headed to the 'Burbs (Harahan to be exact). This place is crazy! Every block has houses with live bands in their garages and some houses even offer free daquiris for the adults. By 8pm, the whole neighborhood looks like Mardi Gras day it is so packed.

The Little Monkey had a great time on his first trip trick-or-treating. He definitely did not quite understand the concept but enjoyed taking candy and then offering it back to the giver (which everyone thought was hilarious). Next year he will be back in full force!(Remember our friends, The Triplets?)