Hey, Look What I Learned!

Guess What?

I’ve learned some stuff this week.

Granted, its probably uninteresting, unimportant stuff, but it is stuff none the less.

Let’s just forget the small talk and get right to it, shall we?

1. If you have leather seats in your vehicle and it is 412 degrees outside, it is a good idea to have a towel on hand. Preferribly a big, fluffy, light colored towel because? Well, either that or you’ll burn the heck out of your legs.

2. The Rite-Aid pharmacy at the end of my road is quite possibly the slowest place on the face of the planet.

3. If you don’t water flowers marked “water often” the flowers will die. And then you will more than likely kick yourself because why in the heck can you never remember to water the silly things?

4. When tucked into the crook of your elbow, an ice cold bottle of water works beautifully on an sting from an unknown source!

5. Drinking an entire bottle of water just before bed is never, and I repeat, never, a good idea unless you aren’t all that interested in getting a good six hours of uninterrupted sleep.

6. Toy Story 3 is a wonderfully entertaining movie. I laughed all the way through it and thought that “Kenneth” was hysterical!

7. When you take your boys to see a movie whose last line is, “I told you kids to stay out of my butt” you should be prepared to hear that same line repeated 4,239 times over the next week. And I wouldn’t count on them forgetting the line anytime soon. 

8.  A rear locker is not a locker that’s stored in the back room, rather it mechanically LOCKS the left and right wheel of a vehicle (insert off-roading vehicle name or JEEP here) together.

How’s that for learning something new? (I’m sure McDaddy is grinning from ear to ear!)

9. If David Hasselhoff magically disappears from “America’s Got Talent” it might be because he took a job on your soap opera playing the same character (Snapper Foster) he played a bazillion years ago.

9a. I have no real idea how to spell Hasselhoff. I could ask John T. Google, but I’m at a campground and the internet service is spotty and if I don’t balance the laptop on my knee just so-so, and hold my head at a 62 degree angle and hold my mouth just right, I will get the dreaded red circle indicating that I have lost service (again!) and well to be honest it is just not that important to me.

10. The new season of Big Brother premiers on July 8th. Just in time to save the summer television line-up.

11. If you eat a big dinner of ribs, baked potato, salad, and baked beans with friends while camping in the Amish Country, you should not, under any circumstance eat an Amish fried pie after that because you will feel like a bloated pig the rest of the evening. And also because you just know better.

12. When you participate in a blog swap and your swap partner sends you a tiara there is a pretty good chance you will wear it at random times throughout the week.

There you have it.

A summary of my week.

Feel free to link up what you learned this week. I’d love to hear from you! Because around here, we are about way more than entertainment. You know The Drill!

Three Things!

My buddy over at One Red Daisy tagged me to do The Rule of Three.

And there is no way I am posting a meme on Not Me! Monday, but if I did, it is probably because I didn’t do anything at all embarrassing this week which means I would have no substance for an actual Not Me! Monday post.

Three names I go by:
Julie
Mommy
Julie Kay

Three jobs I have had:
Inmate Counselor
Data Conversion Operator
Human Resources Department at a plant that manufactured the color blue.

Three places I’ve lived:
Charleston, WV
Flatwoods, KY (home of Billy Ray Cyrus)
(that’s it for me!)

Three favorite drinks:
Dr. Pepper
Coca-Cola Classic
Really sweet tea

Three TV shows I watch: (which doesn’t even begin to put a dent in the ever growing list)
Desperate Housewives (cause I am one!)
The Young and The Restless (coincidentally, so am I)
Grey’s Anatomy

Three places I’ve been:
Austria
Switzerland
Paris

Three places I would like to visit
Australia
Greece
Lake Powell (again!)

Three favorite dishes:
Olive Garden spaghetti with meat sauce
My mom’s spaghetti
My mother-in-law’s spaghetti

Three things I’m looking forward to:
McFamily Vacation to Florida with McDaddy’s entire family (that’s 27 for those of you counting – 2 parents, 5 kids, 5 spouses, 15 grandbabies and a partridge in a pear tree)
Three upcoming trips in our summer home camper.

Three people I’m tagging:
My sister-in-law and IRL friend, Michelle over at We Don’t Eat Bugs
My URL friend, Kellyn over at Fritz Facts
My URL friend, Allison at Slice of Heaven who is currently on bed-rest awaiting the precious arrival of Baby #3.

This post is linked to Not Me! Monday over at MckMama‘s place!

Me and My Tiara

Red White and Blue Swap

A few days ago, I posted about a bloggy swap I was participating in.

The red, white and blue swap, hosted by Our Dandelion Wishes is taking place this week and packages are arriving on doorsteps all over the United States. Because of a glitch in scheduling (on my part!) my partner and I sent our packages a few days early.

The only instructions given were that each item had to be red, white, or blue, or all three. (Well, if you’ve ever participated in a swap hosted by Mamarazzi, you know there are hundreds of instructions, but I’m all about organization, so the instructions make me smile!) I was paired up with DivaEva from Daily Dose of Eva.

It seems she doses out a daily dose of Eva. And I dish a daily dose of crazy here at my place, so as you can probably imagine, we make a great pair!

I received my swap package on Friday. Can I just say that Eva went above and beyone with this little package. First of all, it was filled with little red, white, and blue metallic stars and blue tissue paper. It also included a sign that said, red, white and NEVER blue! I loved that and thought it was a sweet touch! Oh, and there was bling!

I just love getting a box of unique goodies, especially goodies that each have a note attached to them. I tore through that package like I meant business. Before unwrapping the stuff, I managed to snap a picture of the note Eva sent.

And just have a look at all of this great stuff!

 I was like a kid in a candy store.

Do you see the red box with white polka-dots? That happens to be a box of red velvet cupcakes. That’s not what I want you to see though. If you look just in front of the red box with white polka-dots, you’ll see this little jewel, which just so happens to be my favorite thing about Eva’s swap package.

 Can you believe that?

My very own tiara.

I squealed with delight, y’all!

With delight! I couldn’t believe Eva sent such a wonderful little gift!

And look what else was in there…

 This is a hand-crafted “charm” (that I intend to wear as a necklace) made by Eva’s best friend. I just love that it is one of a kind!

Oh, and did I mention she sent me a tiara? Because she totally did!

And I might or might not have spent the better part of an hour snapping candid pictures of myself in the tiara before going to bed on Saturday night.

I’m a nerd, oh yes, I am!

Because just look at this thing.

So sweet of her to send that! I just love it!

The tiara is propped up on a ‘white’ paper umbrella that is decoratable (is that a word?). I have never seen anything like it, but it is very unique and I will treasure it.

Oh, and just in case you forgot, I got a tiara.

Here’s another picture of the goodies.

1. Little white paper umbrella

2. Red poppy grow kit

3. Red Boa

4. Really cute oven mitt and potholder

5. Little red bottle of bubbles

6. The custom “charm”

7. Red Velvet Cupcakes

8. Glow In The Dark Jumbo Glow Stick shaped like a ladybug

9. Jalapeno Lemonade (unique, I tell you!)

10. Body jewels (blue star) which I may wear as a tramp stamp on our camping trip this weekend just for kicks!

11. Blue martini glass

12. Pomegranate martini lipgloss

13. Oh look! It’s a tiara.

14. Cosmopolitan Martini Mix (Can you mix that stuff with sprite?)

15. The empty box

Wow. Just wow. I was overwhelmed with all the great stuff.

Especially this cute little booger.

Raise your hand if you think Queen Elizabeth takes candid pictures of herself in her crown? I bet she does because I’m telling you its a blast!

I guess it’s safe to say I enjoyed Mamarazzi’s red, white, and blue swap! I appreciate Eva putting a rush on my box so that I could post before leaving for the week!

Before sending Eva’s stuff a packin’ I decided to wrap each item and include a short poem. 

My box of goodies included a rubber pot holder, a blue plastic freezer cup, Blue Raspberry twister, Red, white and blue DOTS, a white shower puff, a fluffy red hand towel, red nail polish, a white magic eraser, blue Dentyne, a flag key-chain, a serious red, white and blue earring set (I say serious because the hoops were huge but I couldn’t pass them up because? hello, they were red, white, and blue!), and a candy apple red candle. I hope Eva is enjoying her goodies!!!

A big thanks to Eva for swapping stuff with me and to Mamarazzi for hosting another great swap!!! You can check out other swap partners over at Our Dandelion Wishes!

Bloggy Swaps work for me!

This post is linked to Works For Me Wednesday over at We Are THAT Family!

I Spent Five Years In Jail

Eight years ago I walked out of jail for the last time.

I had an infant at home and I looked forward to the challenges and the excitement that lay ahead. Because I was prematurely put on bedrest before having Stevie, I made the decision to go back to work long enough to work out a two week notice. Mostly because that’s how I roll, but also because I needed closure that could only be brought about by a last day. Still I knew a part of me would miss the place. For five years I roamed the halls – walkie-talkie in hand – amongst the crazy people.

The daily unknown.

The clanging of the metal bars as I entered the secured area.

And most of all THE CRAZY.

Have I ever mentioned how CRAZY jail is? The inmates. The employees. All of it. Every single bit of it was crazy. Fights broke out. Grown men cried. Grown women started fights over something as simple as a biscuit. I saw blood. And death. There were shakedowns. And uprisings. There were bets on the gender of my unborn baby (2 packs of ramen noodles said it was a boy!), movies on the weekends, haircuts on Mondays, and commissary one day a week. I saw grown men confined to a stokes basket in the booking deparment because they were a whole new brand of crazy. Kitchen trustees paused their daily push-ups in the kitchen floor long enough to stir the beans. Mothers called to inquire about the treatment of their angels. Girlfriends showed up to visit, only to find out there was also a wife.

Like I said. Crazy.

As you might imagine, I fit in perfectly there for five years.

Now, um, I’m not so sure. You know, because I am a refined stay-at-home-self-proclaimed-princess.

I haven’t made mention of it yet here on the blog, but  last Tuesday? Um, last Tuesday, I was there all over again.

As I approached the counter, I was assigned a number. That number would be my number, and for the remainder of my time there, I would be known simply, by that number.

It was hot and muggy. Rows and rows of people glared at me.

Anxious people were all around me.

All of them waiting.

Waiting to hear their number called signalling their time is done.

All of them thinking there are few places worse than where they are right now. And I would have to say I completely agree with them.

I take a seat and I quickly survey the room.

It is there.

The crazy.

In all of its unfound glory, it is there.

The wringing of hands.

The nervousness.

Even I, myself am jittery.

I hear people pleading.

One man is pleading about paperwork and I shake my head hoping against all hope that it doesn’t come to that for me. The pleading does not stop. It gets on my nerve because I know I am stuck here. Powerless.

I look up to see a man having his picture taken. He has a scowl on his face and I can surely understand why. This place stinks and these folks couldn’t care less how your picture turns out. They are here to do a job. Period. Each person is but another number.

Each and every individual approaches the door with fear and apprehension because they are trying to come to terms with the fact that short of a miracle, they will most likely be here awhile. Many of them wonder if they’ll make it out alive. They are skeptical.

And they have reason to be.

There are crazy people here.

Crazy people with lots of attitude.

Scores to settle.

I am bored. Bored of being packed in here like a sardine. Bored of the time I am wasting because after all I do not belong here. I am here because they said I had to be.

I am not crazy, yet I am here amongst the crazy.

It is hot.

Did I mention it was hot? So hot in fact, a bead of sweat dropped from my brow. I quickly wipe it and attempt to stay focused. I keep to myself thinking it might make things easier for me. I do not make eye contact with anyone. I do not want to look crazy in the eye. I have enough crazy at my own place. Plus, you never know when one of these jokers might snap. They arrived here long before I did, so their crazy meters are off the charts. I see all walks of life. Each with a different story. All of them wishing they were somewhere else.

Anywhere but this hot, cramped, crazy place.

I’m the new girl in town. If there is a seat I will get one. If not, I will stand. That’s just the way the pecking order works in a place like this. I focus on the flashing light. I wonder when my time will come. When the light will flash with my number. The number they gave me when I arrived. I have not forgotten the number. I will NOT forget the number. The number is mine and mine only.

Must stay focused.

Water.

I need water.

My mouth is parched. My throat is dry. I break out in a sweat. I wonder if I’ll ever get out of this place. I wonder if I’ll still be here at lunch time. I can’t imagine the thought, but in this place anything is possible. I’m at their mercy. The mercy of these people who say I must. be. here. at this time.

I see more hand wringing.

More attitude.

I squirm in my chair and pray that it will be over soon.

I’ve had all the crazy I can handle.

And finally, just before noon, my number is called.

I step to the window, receive my walking papers, and get released from jail the D. M. V. just before lunchtime.

Whew. For a minute I wondered if I’d make it out alive.

Try to keep yourself out of jail AND the D.M.V.

Enjoy your weekend, y’all.

You Capture – Get Down Low

Well, I had my doubts about this week’s challenge.

Short of hunkering (is that a word?) down to snap this week’s series of photographs, I wasn’t sure what to do.

I had to dig way down deep in the creativity bag.

In the words of Simon Cowell, off we go…

This is the image you will see when your gas tank gets down low.  Thankfully, I was on the gas station parking lot when I snapped this horribly unimpressive shot.

If you plan on driving one of these suckers, you should be advised that you’ll have to get down low to get into it. Especially if you happen to be 5’9″.

Oh, and I guess I’ve not at all tried to keep it on the down-low that I love the Saturn Sky and its awesomeness.

This pesky creature must have had some idea that I was running around our camper over the weekend swatting the air like a crazy person trying to kill him because the little sucker got way down low on the screen door. I took the opportunity to shoot him before swatting him.

I hate flies.

I have no idea why they are needed on the earth. Are they good for anything?

And last but not least, my sweet Alex had to get way down low to work on his cozy coupe cool car.

Don’t keep it on the down low, tell everyone you know to check out You Capture at I Should Be Folding Laundry.

Next Week’s Challenge: Chairs, Hands OR Green  (Our Pick!)

Thursday Thirteen – Things I Love About Staying In A Hotel

McDaddy’s civilian job requires him to travel.

A lot.

Before Stevie started school, we travelled with him quite a bit. At the drop of a hat he’d find out his expertise was needed in another state and we’d pack our bags and head out with him not knowing what day we’d return. We travelled to Phoenix at least once a year for his annual training for a number of years. We’ve been blessed to travel with him to Louisiana, Ohio, Toronto, Houston, and Detroit.

Such is the case today.

McDaddy was needed at some plant in Monaca, Pennsylvania, so I packed clothes for three days and here we are. The “plant” where McDaddy is working is about six minutes away from the hotel and it’s a straight shot without any turns, which means I had very little opportunity to get lost.

Hallelujah. And Amen.

The even better thing is that there is a mall just across the street from our hotel. Granted, it’s a four-lane “street” but the point is I can see our hotel from the mall parking lot which means even if I get lost, me and the kids could risk life and limb and cross the highway to the hotel.

A friend of McDaddy’s is also here working here in Monaca, so he runs by the hotel to pick-up and drop-off McDaddy each day so that I can keep the grocery getter van.

As much as I hate for McDaddy to travel and be away from us, it does have its perks.

I thought it might be fun to share thirteen things I love about hotel rooms.

1. Staying in a hotel, typically means I don’t have to cook. And any day I don’t have to cook is a great day in my book.

2. Free Breakfast. Free breakfast is great. A free breakfast that I don’t have to cook is even better!

3. High Ceilings – I love the tall ceilings in hotel rooms. I remember from Industrial Psychology that hotel rooms have higher ceilings so that the rooms appear larger than they really are.

4. The little shampoo/conditioner/lotions. I am a fan of little bottles of stuff. Plus, every once in awhile you’ll find that a hotel uses Tommy Bahama’s line of toiletries. The Tommy Bahama lotion is the bomb diggity. (Am I too old to say that?) I might have even confiscated one, or two, or twenty a few from the housekeeping cart while we were in Florida.

5. The matching carpet, curtains and bedding. – The matching decor warms my OCD heart.

6. The card key thing – I’m a nerd oh yes, I am.

7. An assortment of  pillows on one bed. – The bed I am sitting on while composing this post has four pillows. Firm, soft, and extra fluffy. Okay, maybe not extra fluffy, but it certainly should say extra fluffy because it is.

8. The Pool – My favorite pool is an indoor pool because it means I don’t have to fool with that blasted sunscreen. It gets in my rings and makes my hands greasy and I’m just generally not a fan of it. I do use it though if we are out of doors. Also, an indoor pool typically means that the pool is heated and I am all about comfort. (Here on the east coast we couldn’t use an outdoor pool except for six or so months out of the year).

9. The Reward Points – Because McDaddy travels frequently for his civilian job, we generally have thousands of gold or platinum points which means we generally don’t pay for hotel rooms.

10. Nearby shopping – Folks, today in particular, I have hit the jackpot. As I mentioned earlier there is a mall just across the main drag. For dinner, McDaddy travelled past the mall and I found my homeland. Kohls, Marshalls, Target, The Mart of Walls, Cricut (whatever that is, I’m thinking its a Cricut store like the Cricut scrapbook machine I have), Michael’s, A cinema, Pier One (even though I don’t shop there), and I can’t remember half of what else I saw. I plan to check it out fully tomorrow.

11. The curved shower rod – I’d like to find the sweet soul responsible for designing the curved shower rod and shake his or her hand. As best I can remember, the first place I ever remember seeing a curved shower rod was in a hotel room. I used to hate being in the hotel shower and feeling my bare butt rubbing  against that shower curtain wondering how many hundreds thousands of butts had rubbed against the thing prior to mine.

12. The elimination of the bedspread – Sweet Moses, it was time. The only thing nastier than the shower curtain in a hotel room is the bedspread. When I first learned that those things were not laundered after each patron checked out, I was appalled. It disgusted me that someone somewhere thought that practice was acceptable. The bed at this hotel has what appears to be four or five sheets on it and a fuzzy blanket (which will more than likely find its way over to my 2/3 of the bed tonight!)

13. Less Responsibility – If I’m staying at a hotel that probably means I am not being depended on for most of the things that I am required to do at home. There is no laundry, no stove (in most cases), and more than likely no jam-packed schedule. Not that I at all mind a jam-packed schedule, but sometimes its nice to have a break.

And speaking of breaks, I hope you get one soon!

Enjoy your Thursday, y’all!

Happy Birthday Cake

For my mom’s birthday, a friend of hers made a really cool birthday cake out of candy bars and various little pieces of candy.

That evening she brought it to dinner because she knew my boys would love it.

Every waiter and waitress that passed our table stopped to admire it and asked if we sold them.

A few weeks later, I made one for my sister-in-law, Bridget.

First, you’ll need approximately 19 candy bars, an assortment of mini candy bars, Hershey kisses, peppermints, and whatever else you might want to include, as well as aluminum foil, a glue gun, 3 Styrofoam rings from Michael’s or some other hobby store for flowers, ribbon, scrapbook stickers or foam stickers, as well as a tiny bit of patience.

Begin by covering the styrofoam rings with aluminum foil like so.

Then, carefully hot glue candy bars around the edge of the styrofoam foil wrapped rings. (Try saying that three times real fast!)

If you have a quality glue-gun, you can continue on your merry way until you get the styrofoam rings covered. If you decided however to splurge on a new-fangled cordless glue gun, the gun will probably give out after the fifth or sixth candy bar and your birthday cake will have to wait until another day as was the case with this cake.

After covering the rings with candy bars, fill in the spots above the shorter candy bars (Kit Kat and Snickers) with miniature candy bars. Cover the entire top of the cake with peppermint candies and miniature candy bars.

Wrap a colorful piece of ribbon around the cake, hot-gluing it to the candy bars.

[NOTE: I attempted to drop a strip of hot-glue on the top and bottom of the ribbon for the entire length of the ribbon. This resulted in a serious burn on my thumb when the ribbon wrapped itself around my fingers.]

Next, add scrapbook stickers or foam stickers on top of the ribbon. In my case, the letters read, “Happy Birthday, Bridget”

After the top is covered carefully hot-glue candles on the top of the cake.

For other Work For Me Wednesday posts, head over to We Are THAT Family.

Red White and Blue SwapWell alrightythen.

Looks like I got in on Mamarazzi’s Red, White and Blue Swap.

Wonder what my swap partner will send?

Wouldn’t it be great if somehow I finally received a sweet little Saturn Sky?

After all, there are lots of choices.

Chili pepper red?

Polar white?

Or perhaps midnight blue?

I’d be thrilled with either of them.

Do you think the post office makes a shipping box big enough to hold one of the suckers?

Stay Tuned.

Swap packages will be sent out on Wednesday!

http://frominmatestoplaydates.com/2010/06/the-skys-the-limit/

What I Learned This Week [Camping Edition]

 We had a wonderfully relaxing weekend camping with some families from our church.

As always, I learned all kinds of stuff that I thought might help one or two or ten of you, so let’s get right to this eclectic list of stuff.

1. When you are shopping for a folding drying rack, a metal one is better than a wooden one. If you don’t believe me you can ask my friend from church who broke one of the rods right in half as he attempted to show me how to put it together.

2. If you bring along Hershey bars for S’mores, and the temperature is, I don’t know, say, 112 degrees, you might want to place them in the camper fridge or else they will be a melty mess by the time dark thirty rolls around.

3. When you see this guy jet-skiing on the lake

it will cause quite the stir.

But not nearly as much stir, as this group does on the basketball court.

In fact, a certain blogger (who shall remain nameless) will be so excited, she will ask them to pose for a picture. If this should ever happen to you and you have even the slightest hint of OCD in your tendencies, you should not be embarrassed to ask blue guy to switch places with red guy so that their getups costumes outfits won’t blend together.

Cool, huh?

4. The word bigwig is a legitimate, legal word on Words With Friends. In fact, if you put it in the proper position, it will be worth mega points.

5. If you have a camper and you are in need of a place to hang a wet towel or two, these interdesign hooks will do the job beautifully!

6. No matter how much stuff you buy for your camper, you can always find one more thing you could use at Wal-Mart.

7. If your boys are seven and four, your boys will have the “best camping trip ever” because they are old enough to enjoy riding toys and piles of rocks at your campsite and young enough to not care about extremely hot temperatures.

8. If you are 36,  you will most certainly care about 182 degree extremely hot temperatures.

What did you learn this week?

If you’re linking up for the first time, you can go here to read more about the guidelines.