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My life is a crazy, unpredictable, jumbled mess of fun. Each day creating adventures and stories that will last a lifetime 

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fraud - Double booking???



Tis the season to hop on a plane on visit family. All across America families are queuing up to visit or to take a well deserved holiday, but what waits in store for them? Long lines, their personal belongings riffled through even their shoes checked and all liquids over 3 oz's thrown out. Not to mention extra hidden costs, no meals or drinks, no pillows, no blankets heck not even peanuts are being offered by some. Some even charge to check even one bag, but something even worse waits in store for 10-15% of those people who wake up, pack there bags and stand in those really longs lines and I can sum it all up in just one word - Double booking. I am not talking about those traveling stand by I am talking about those that bought a seat on a plane who believed that they spent good money for a good ticket only to be turned away.
In my mind I see this as nothing short of fraud.
So how do they decide who gets bounced? First come first serve? single passengers, those that are not making a connecting flight? If I pay for something I want what I paid for if I pay for 3 day shipping I want 3 day shipping, if I pay for a seat on an airplane leaving at a certain time I expect my bum to be in that seat at that time.

fraud           Listen to the pronunciation of fraud
Pronunciation:\ˈfrȯd\Function: noun Etymology:
Middle English fraude, from Anglo-French, from Latin fraud-, fraus
Date: 14th century
1 a: deceit , trickery ; specifically : intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right b: an act of deceiving or misrepresenting : trick2 a: a person who is not what he or she pretends to be : impostor ; also : one who defrauds : cheat b: one that is not what it seems or is represented to be
synonyms see deception, imposture

or another definition

Definition of Fraud

All multifarious means which human ingenuity can devise, and which are resorted to by one individual to get an advantage over another by false suggestions or suppression of the truth. It includes all surprises, tricks, cunning or dissembling, and any unfair way which another is cheated.

Source: Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th ed., by Henry Campbell Black, West Publishing Co., St. Paul, Minnesota, 1979.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas & Sesame Chicken

Christmas this year we have decided to branch out and do Chinese, so we are doing lettuce wraps as the appetizer, Sesame Chicken, Chinese lettuce salad & brown rice.
My step mom is doing another main dish, as well as a noodle dish.
Last night my father and step mother dropped by for an impromptu visit for which I am deeply thankful I spent all of yesterday cleaning my home :).
They brought us our Christmas present early which was wonderful!! Finally I bought Wil's present and his present for me as well and they are both hopefully going to be here before Christmas I can only pray they make it!
The kids, family and friends are all taken care of and ready to hand out which is great as I never know when I am going to see some of them.
As you can imagine from the picture we have snow, the other day we got 4 inches and as its snowing right now I think its fair to say we will have a white Christmas this year - for which my adorable children are very happy. I am just happy I had finish raking the lawn and cleaning up my drive way.
My Christmas presents are Jane Austin's Collected works, Tell me the Secrets by Max Lucado & some minor books and pjs. For my hubby he wants a special razor I am nervous about this razor since he can cut himself rather badly with it however its what he wants so he gets it along with other minor personal items. For my daughter she gets Tinkerbell items and an Ikea childrens tea set, my son gets trains - thomas the train and an Ikea small magnet train set.
Trying to get my children to understand the REAL meaning of Christmas is not easy however I have a wonderful nativity set and every Christmas I take it down and read the story of Jesus's birth using the nativity set to tell the story. I am looking right now for a box set of Gold, Frankincense and myrrh however I need one I can afford and finding a nice affordable one is proving to be a huge challenge so I might end up getting it for Christmas one year.
The visual aid products help my children pay attention and understand the words better.
With the ads, movies, retailers and all the hustle and bustle its hard to explain to my children that Santa is not real but Jesus is - I feel like a trout swimming up stream.
I am praying that next year is a wonderful year for our family this year has been good but hard, the hubby is just starting his physical therapy from after his back surgery and I am finally begining to lose the weight in earnest.
We can only pray that his job remains stable and good during this next projected hard year - with lots of companies closing many of their doors.

Sesame Chicken

By Rhonda Parkinson, About.com

Sesame chicken is a very popular restaurant dish. The sauce recipe was posted on our forum by Reykjaviky. (Guide notes: You may want to increase the vinegar or lower the amount of sugar. It all depends on how sweet you want the sauce).

Sesame Chicken serves 3 - 4, or 5 - 6 as part of a multi-course meal.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole boneless chicken breasts
  • Marinade:
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cooking wine or dry sherry
  • a few drops of sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Sauce for Sesame Chicken:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/8 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 TB dark soy sauce
  • 2 TB sesame oil
  • 1 tsp chili paste, or more if desired
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • Other:
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (see recipe directions for link to how to toast)
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups peanut oil for deep-frying

Preparation:

Directions for Sesame Chicken: Toast the sesame seeds and set aside.

Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. Mix the marinade ingredients and marinate the chicken for 20 minutes.

To prepare the sauce: mix together all of the sauce ingredients. Pour them into a small pot and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Turn the heat down to low and keep warm while you are deep-frying the chicken.

To deep-fry the chicken: add the marinated chicken pieces a few at a time, and deep-fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remainder of the chicken.

Just before you are finished deep-frying, bring the sauce back up to a boil.
Place the chicken on a large platter and pour the sauce over. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve the Sesame Chicken with rice.

Alternate Healthier prep:
The only changes I make is that I marinade the chicken for about a day or two and I do not use the cornstarch, flour, baking soda/powder in the marinade. Mostly because I do not fry the chicken as we are trying to eat healthier. In stead, I cook the chicken in the marinade and then discard the marinade after the chicken is cooked. I recommend this recipe a 1,000 times. Your taste buds will crave it. I know ours do.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Decorations!



Finally my tiny living room is all decorated for the holidays! I just love Christmas time, from the people smiling more, to all the lights. Every year we sit down with our very young children and read the story of Jesus's birth, right now I am looking for a set of frankincense, myrrh, & gold. I like visual aides to help bring it to life especially as that is one story I want my babies to pay attention to.


Autumn next to our very shiny and not so heavily decorated tree we went for a simple look this year I am hoping to buy some better decor items on sale this year after Christmas :)
My husband's very beautiful sock, personally I think he has the best sock in the house. However I bought this from a store going out of business 4 years ago so my son is out of luck :(.
My sock is still from when I was 5 years old and my grandma hand made it for me. I love it but I want a more elegant looking one so every year I hit the stores and I just have not found quite the right look but I want to retire the one from my grandma and put it away with lavender and rosemary to keep it for future generations.
In the meantime I am working hard I am trying very hard still to lose the weight and so far I am seeing some pretty fast results, but I still have the rest of the holidays to get through and trying to lose weight at this time is not easy so I will be happy if I don't gain anything.
My hubby is starting physical therapy and needs to lose the weight or we will be looking at a second back surgery that really won't work because of all the weight, so I have around 60-70 pds to lose still and my hubby needs to lose 100 pds. I gained most my weight with my daughters pregnancy due to complications I had to have 2 bags of packed blood and platelets my body thought I was dying to it added another 20 pds on after her birth.
I am still trying very hard to get it all off (5 years later) however better late then never.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What our excuses say about us?


what do our food excuses say about us? Its fast, Its easy, Its cheap? I don't feel like cooking? So why do we feel the need to give an excuse? As for the line its cheap lets looks at it realistically it costs around 20-25 dollars to feed 4 at McDonald's and that normally does not include drinks. If you went into a grocery store bought a head of lettuce some dressing & toppings possibly even a precooked chicken it would cost less then 20$ and be healthier. However if you want to eat premade, precooked food that are better options available: mad greek, subway, blimpie, or barbacoa. It might take a little of your time looking around for a fresh or healthier fast food for when you need something but finding a place where you can get fast, fresh and not deep fried is much better then just fast and greasy. Just thinking fast does not mean you need to settle for greasy and unhealthy. The picture is food served at my local Barbacoa restaurant which is healthy and yummy I am sure other states and cities have simialar healthy fast options finding those hidden and tasty gems will be fun and a great treat.


Top 11 Reasons for Fast Food's Popularity

Frequent Fast-Food Eaters Dish on Why They Dig In
By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Dec. 2, 2008 -- Fast food lives up to its name in a new study of people who frequently eat at fast-food restaurants.

Nearly 600 adults and teens in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area were interviewed for the study in 2005-2006. Most reported eating fast food at least three times per week.

After tucking into a meal at a fast-food restaurant, participants rated how strongly they agreed or disagreed with 11 statements about why they like fast food.

Here are their top reasons for eating fast-food meals, according to the percentages of people who agreed with each statement:

  1. They're quick: 92.3%
  2. They're easy to get to: 80.1%
  3. I like the taste of fast food: 69.2%
  4. They're inexpensive: 63.6%
  5. I'm too busy to cook: 53.2%
  6. It's a "treat" for myself: 50.1%
  7. I don't like to prepare foods myself: 44.3%
  8. My friends/family like them: 41.8%
  9. It is a way of socializing with friends and family: 33.1%
  10. They have many nutritious foods to offer: 20.6%
  11. They're fun and entertaining: 11.7%

The "I'm too busy to cook" line was more popular among people with college degrees than people with less education. And young adults were less likely than older adults to say they ate fast food because it offered many nutritious choices.

Still, the results boil down to speed and convenience at one end of the spectrum, and nutrition and fun at the other end. Bridging that gap means coming up with speedy, nutritious alternatives, suggest the researchers, who included Sarah Rydell, MPH, of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

Their findings appear in December's edition of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A little more about me :)


My hobby at Christmas time is to hand paint my own little village I only have four at the moment because I gave some of my other pieces away. I have two more waiting to be painted and added to the collection but they will have to wait another year before I can even start them.
I have no idea how my mother was able to paint so many during her life but she had a collection of 7 and painted a collection for my Grandmother, my Aunt Cathy, Aunt Susan and my cousin Heidi. My sister and I started our collections 7 years ago, its taken me a while to catch up as its very hard to paint and take care of a newborn at the same time :).
Its been four years (almost) since mama passed away but every time I pull out my Christmas houses I feel that one small part of her is still here with me and I look forward to teaching my children how to add the "magic" into their own houses.






























My beautiful Autumn, she is 5 years old full of energy and never stops talking or moving.
She has asthma and so far is allergic to cats, smoke and of course hayfever but we are doing
pretty well managing her breathing last year we moved from a horrid apartment to a mobile home since then her breathing has gotten ten times better. Her loves in life are Tinkerbell, dolls and her little brother.

















Gideon is 2 1/2 full of fun, and lots of trouble all rolled into one tiny adorable package.
Just like his sister he never stops except to sleep, however he so far is not allergic to anything Praise God! His major love in life are trains! I know he is only two but he loves them and he knows what he likes lol.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving & Christmas a little healthier


One holiday down and another to go, most people in America either shopped and fought insane amounts of people for "sales" or stayed home to stuffed to move.
For our Thanksgiving we went with a less is more attitude which is cheaper and healthier then the traditional meals.
Roast Turkey - baked in oven bag keeps it moist with out the "extra" sauces and grease poured on top.
Baked broccoli with shredded Parmesan
Baked Sweet Potatoes (whole nothing but maybe a little butter)
home made wheat bread
lettuce salad with healthier toppings

Our lettuce Salad for Thanksgiving was
Romaine lettuce
chopped green onion
chopped fresh broccoli
mandarin oranges
dried cranberries
dried cherries
pecan halves
with homemade Asian dressing

and for dessert sliced Angle food cake (sugar free options available) top with mixed berries and sugar free cool whip.

(the secret to making this a very low sugar is to add in 2 tsp of sugar with the berries the night before you plan to serve this that way the sugar will draw out all the juices from the berries without dumping in cup after cup of sugar plus the juice tastes much better low sugar.)

Walking away from a meal like that does not leave you tired, drowsy or weak. When you drop into a stupor after a huge meal its because of all the fat and calories its not a healthy sign, if you indulge to much you can eat as many as 6,000 calories in just the one meal one slice of pecan pie is 800 calories!! (while its my favorite pie its shelved for the time being)
The fun thing about a Thanksgiving meal like the one above is its more affordable and easier to cook.

I am facing a huge task of trying to lose weight during the holidays however as long as I stay focused and watch what I eat I can eat healthy tasty meals and still lose some pounds.
I encourage all around me to try simplifying their food and lives :).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Little paid attention to food facts

With many menus putting out calorie counts do we really pay attention or do we think that in our "Enlightened" calorie and cholesterol days that they are protecting us, even looking out for us?
That would be were we are wrong, many restaurants are taking advantage of those who don't pay attention.
First find a reliable Calorie Daily Amount for you to set as a daily standard for me these are my "magic numbers"

You need 1847.2 calories per day to reach your goal weight slowly and maintain that weight without exercise.

If you reduce your current caloric intake to 1602.4 calories per day you will lose one pound per week without exercise.

Now that we all feel more informed and empowered with our special new numbers what do they really mean? Well if I were to eat Chili’s Smokehouse Bacon Triple-The-Cheese Big Mouth Burger with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

with all these yuckies added in I would not be able to eat the whole burger let alone a drink or fries and that would be the only thing I could eat the whole day.

2,040 calories
150 g fat (53 g saturated)
110 g protein
4,900 mg sodium

for other bad vs good burgers you can see a quick look here although you can't click on any links unless you are a "member" of their magazine. Still a good quick look at how the restaurants take advantage of people many restaurants only post the calorie counts on their "low calorie, low fat menu". Take the Ruby Tuesday Bella Turkey Burger
1,057 calories
65 g fat

As a big for instance, this is a Turkey burger, swiss cheese over sauted mushrooms and still packs a whopping one thousand calories that would still be almost my daily limit and if I had fries and a drink it would be my daily amount. Talk about eating for a day, and people wonder why they can't shed the pounds or why America is going obese fewer people are eating home cooked meals which are lower in fat and calories and they are eating more and more restaurant food full of these wonderful hidden calories.
So we should find some "Super" foods (for women) beans, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, garlic, sweet potatoes ect for every one adding them into our every day with very few extra calories like wads of butter or other sweeteners. Another good thing to think about is how to add fresh healthy foods to part of our every day lives.

However if your idea of eating healthy is grabbing a salad at a fast food restaurant instead of a burger you may still get burned. Again the fast food industry is taking advantage of people not reading the labels or understanding what the numbers mean to them for instance these salads

  • Chili's Southwestern Cobb Salad: 970 calories.
  • Pizzaria Uno's Chicken Waldorf Salad: 920 calories and 62 grams of fat.
They both sound good and look good however they pack a huge punch with some very high numbers. Here are a couple of links to see different salads and how they match up. So how can you be healthy and not leave behind your fast paced life? I suggest you try to eat foods in season, fresh is Great and frozen is still a good option. Get a couple of easy healthy recipe books and try making food a day ahead. Find something that works for you and your life style, staying informed on every little detail can be very hard which is why many choose diets as its easier to follow a set list then try to navigate their way through all the hidden calorie traps.

For me I try to stay with local grown food in the right season, this is not easy with our markets today but as a stay at home mama who cooks it is easier for me then the on the go mom. However no matter the pace of your life if you add 10 minutes a day and 1 hour extra shopping a week you can change your diet eating healthier with out sacrificing the taste.



Dr. Seuss's and the inside scoop

So this is a cross between 10 book reviews and an insight about the Author, As a mother and an avid book lover Dr. Seuss is a genius one of the most brilliant authors I have and will ever read. While he writes to children all his stories give depth, thought, entertainment and many times something to chew on long after the story is over.
I love the book the Lorax and the cartoon movie as well, it was my first brush with any thing "earth friendly" and stayed with me well into my adult hood. I recycle, save water, reduce and reuse whenever possible. I don't just do it because "the earth needs me" I do it because I have the ability & knowledge to do it. When more people start to recycle because WE CAN the better we will be.
I will continue to share these wonderful stories with my children and hopefully my grandchildren for years to come, so here are some fun facts about some of his books and his life. Even if it is one day late for book Tuesday :).

1. The Lorax. In case you haven’t read The Lorax, it’s widely recognized as Dr. Seuss’ take on environmentalism and how humans are destroying nature. The logging industry was so upset about the book that some groups within the industry sponsored The Truax, a similar book—but from the logging point of view. Another interesting fact: the book used to contain the line, “I hear things are just as bad up in Lake Erie,” but 14 years after the book was published, the Ohio Sea Grant Program wrote to Seuss and told him how much the conditions had improved and implored him to take the line out. Dr. Seuss agreed and said that it wouldn’t be in future editions.
2. Horton Hears a Who! Somehow, Geisel’s books find themselves in the middle of controversy. The line from the book, “A person’s a person, no matter how small,” has been used as a slogan for pro-life organizations for years. It’s often questioned whether that was Seuss’ intent in the first place, but I would say not: when he was still alive, he threatened to sue a pro-life group unless they removed his words from their letterhead. Karl ZoBell, the attorney for Dr. Seuss’ interests and for his widow, Audrey Geisel, says that she doesn’t like people to “hijack Dr. Seuss characters or material to front their own points of view.”

3. If I Ran the Zoo, published in 1950, is the first recorded instance of the word “nerd.”
4. The Cat in the Hat was written basically because Dr. Seuss thought the famous Dick and Jane primers were insanely boring. Because kids weren’t interested in the material, they weren’t exactly compelled to use it repeatedly in their efforts to learn to read. So, The Cat in the Hat was born, and I must agree: it’s definitely more interesting.
5. Green Eggs and Ham. Bennett Cerf, Dr. Seuss’ editor, bet him that he couldn’t write a book using 50 words or less. The Cat in the Hat was pretty simple, after all, and it used 225 words. Not one to back down from a challenge, Mr. Geisel started writing and came up with Green Eggs and Ham – which uses exactly 50 words. The 50 words, by the way, are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.
6. Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! It’s often alleged that this book was written specifically about Richard Nixon, but the book came out only two months after the whole Watergate scandal. It’s pretty unlikely that the book could have been conceived of, written, edited and mass produced in such a short time; also, Seuss never admitted that the story was originally about Nixon. That’s not to say he didn’t understand how well the two flowed together. In 1974, he sent a copy of Marvin K. Mooney to his friend Art Buchwald at the Washington Post. In it, he crossed out “Marvin K. Mooney” and replaced it with “Richard M. Nixon”, which Buchwald reprinted in its entirety. Oh, and one other tidbit: this book contains the first-ever reference to “crunk,” although its meaning is a bit different than today’s crunk.
7. Yertle the Turtle = Hitler? Yep. If you haven’t read the story, here’s a little overview: Yertle is the king of the pond, but he wants more. He demands that other turtles stack themselves up so he can sit on top of them to survey the land. Mack, the turtle at the bottom, is exhausted. He asks Yertle for a rest; Yertle ignores him and demands more turtles for a better view. Eventually, Yertle notices the moon and is furious that anything dare be higher than himself, and is about ready to call for more turtles when Mack burps. This sudden movement topples the whole stack, sends Yertle flying into the mud, and frees the rest of the turtles from their stacking duty. Dr. Seuss actually said Yertle was a representation of Hitler. Despite the political nature of the book, none of that was disputed at Random House – what was disputed was Mack’s burp. No one had ever let a burp loose in a children’s book before, so it was a little dicey. In the end, obviously, Mack burped.
8. The Butter Battle Book is one I had never heard of, perhaps with good reason: it was pulled from the shelves of libraries for a while because of the reference to the Cold War and the arms race. Yooks and Zooks are societies who do everything differently. The Yooks eat their bread with the butter-side up and the Zooks eat their bread with the butter-side down. Obviously, one of them must be wrong, so they start building weapons to outdo each other: the “Tough-Tufted Prickly Snick-Berry Switch,” the “Triple-Sling Jigger,” the “Jigger-Rock Snatchem,” the “Kick-A-Poo Kid”, the “Eight-Nozzled Elephant-Toted Boom Blitz,” the “Utterly Sputter” and the “Bitsy Big-Boy Boomeroo.” The book concludes with each side ready to drop their ultimate bombs on each other, but the reader doesn’t know how it actually turns out.
9. Oh The Places You’ll Go is Dr. Seuss’ final book, published in 1990. It sells about 300,000 copies every year because so many people give it to college and high school grads.
10. No Dr. Seuss post would be complete without a mention of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! I couldn’t find much on the book, however, so here are a few facts about the Dr. Seuss-sanctioned cartoon. Frankenstein’s Monster himself, Boris Karloff, provided the voice of the Grinch and the narration for the movie. Seuss a little wary of casting him because he thought his voice would be too scary for kids. Can you imagine the cartoon with any other voice?! If you’re wondering why they sound a bit different, it’s because the sound people went back to the Grinch’s parts and removed all of the high tones in Karloff’s voice. That’s why the Grinch sounds so gravelly.
Tony the Tiger, AKA Thurl Ravenscroft, is the voice behind “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” He received no credit on screen, so Dr. Seuss wrote to columnists in every major U.S. newspaper to tell them exactly who had sung the song.
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