Monday, February 28, 2011

And Then We Ate At The Melting Pot

     After the Cleveland Auto Show we really needed lunch. We checked out the restaurant week lunch menus and then I remembered I had a $50 gift certificate I won from Melting Pot Cleveland on their facebook page. And I actually had it with me! We were so excited we shot right over to Westgate Mall. Before going in I told my husband to stop me from eating the salad. Even though it's the best Caesar salad I've ever had in my life. It didn't work. We shared a salad and brought the other one home with us.

     First we had the traditional Swiss cheese fondue. I didn't take pictures because we were so hungry we attacked it. The cheese course had already been removed from the table before I even realized I had not taken pictures. But to redeem myself, here's a picture of the world's best Caesar salad:
World's best Caesar Salad - with pine nuts!
      I will not bore you with all the details, but the meat course was splendid. They gave me the best mushrooms with my filet. I could have just had those mushrooms and left happy. I still ate a lot of other stuff. My husband had the steak/shrimp/chicken combo. I think they call this the land & sea. They bring out red potatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, two breading dips, and four sauces. The dipping sauces are out of this world! Three out of four of them were my favorite. Because when I am at The Melting Pot I am eight years old. I wanted to exclaim "This is the best day of my WHOLE life!"
Meat Course, of course!
Dessert Menu - because we dove into dessert and this was all I had left to photograph.

      We took the milk chocolate dessert fondue, like we always do. It's fantastic, why change? I asked them to pass on the marshmallows and cheesecake and give us extra pound cake. Did you know you can substitute pretty much anything during any course at The Melting Pot? 

     The people who took care of us were very friendly and attentive. The hostess even noticed and refilled drinks twice. We have been to this location before and we had excellent service that time, also. 

     Now, can I get you guys to enter into a letter writing campaign with me so we can convince them to open one closer to my house? I can see going in a couple of times a week for different courses.

The Melting Pot on Urbanspoon

The Cleveland Auto Show. Pretty Neat!

Wow! What a paint job! I think Chevy wants me to drive this.

I would promise to be courteous and let people out in traffic.

Honest. (I crack me up!)

Those generals look serious.
Aren't you impressed?

The end. Or not.
Sealed with a Kiss.
I just love this part.
Think 'tank'.
Last, and certainly least: A picture of me with the gorgeous corvette.

Also, while we're talking about the auto show, Check out the big Chevy facebook button on the top of the sidebar. If you are from Northeast Ohio there is a new giveaway every day for you. Just click that button, go to their facebook page and leave a comment every day. Each day is a new prize and a new chance to win! 

The prizes this week are $50 gift certificates to Tower City Center. Go get 'em!

*Thanks to Northeast Ohio Chevy dealers for giving the Chevy Girls VIP tickets to the auto show. 

Oh, Just Giving Kids a Ride to School


I knew the roads were bad this morning. I heard the emergency services scanner. There are people stuck in cars in water. There are cars collided with trees. There is debris ranging from gravel washed out of driveways to rushing water with big chunks of ice in it to limbs and branches from trees. All of it in the road, making driving dangerous today. The water is rising, streams are cresting, some have already overflown. Lots of schools are on a two hour delay, but of course ours was not. So I made a drive to the high school today. There were a lot of dramatic scenes. The worst of it I wasn't able to photograph because I had to drive carefully through it and get away from it. By tonight we'll be seeing snow again. Lovely.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Decision Making Made Easy


 Pros & Cons list, weighing the options, sleeping on it, and asking the eight ball are all things of the past, people. There is a new way to make decisions now. Brought to you by Marla at Butts & Ashes. All you need is a piece of paper. And some live chickens. Maybe rain and deranged dog help, but I'm not sure. Little kids are a plus.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Follow Up: 3 in 30

     I feel like February is taunting me. Not cool, February, not cool at all. Today is the first day I have felt human in I don't know how long. I actually showered AND got dressed! I went shopping and to lunch with my daughter and it was lovely. I 'should have' been doing different shopping but I can't want to care. (Yes, I said it that way on purpose.)

3rd Friday of each month: "Encouraging words"
Let us know what quote, Scripture, or encouraging words got you through this week? 
     How did this past week go? What did you get accomplished? What did you not get accomplished? What do you still have yet to accomplish before the end of the month?

     I think the encouraging words which got me through this week were "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger." Because when I came through the other side of sickness and weakness I would be stronger and ready to accomplish things. 
     The week was mostly a waste, but there is progress. I have done well on the stop eating when I'm no longer hungry thing, except for Valentine's Day. I didn't go crazy, but I did eat more than I would have if I it had not been Valentine's Day. I have continued on the kitchen beautification project and made further progress. I still need to get those cabinets painted and the doors hung. I still need to come up with the solution in the kitchen. I thought I came up with it three days ago but yesterday I realized it was just a fever-induced stupor talking, and my brilliant idea was rather dull. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Clever Household Tip Tuesday

     Hello and welcome to my first ever installment of Clever Household Tips from Tammi.

Today's tip: Hide a bunch of chocolate bought at the after-Valentine's sale in a suitcase and lock it up.

     Believe me when I tell you: Nobody ever looks in there. 

     You're welcome!

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Review of International WafflePro Taste / Texture Select Classic Belgian

Originally submitted at CSN Stores

With a new modern design and a unique "floating" top-plate, the M840 is our most advanced waffle maker yet. In as little as 90 seconds, you'll be preparing the worlds most delicious waffles, effortlessly. The unique Quad baking system lets you select the ideal flavor, textu...

So glad I chose this one!
By tammigirl from Sharon Center, OH on 2/14/2011
4out of 5
I have never had a waffle iron before and after reading reviews all over the internet I finally chose this one. I am glad I did! The timer, lights, and beeper work just like they should. The adjustable dial works just right, as well.

I have to agree with one commenter who said it is not a real belgian waffle. If you want a thick one like you get at a make-it-yourself hotel buffet this isn't the one. For a belgian waffle, it's thin. But it is still delicious, and perfectly cooked.

I find it easy to clean. The only way it could possibly be easier to clean is if you could remove the plates. Honestly, though, just a wipe with a paper towel will take off anything.

It's also quick and quite solid to store upright on its side without tipping.

Cord storage is tedious, however, even for someone like me who usually enjoys little things like that. I've been refusing to twist it up in the storage area because I'm frankly afraid of what it will do to the cord and possibly render it useless before its time.

I would definitely recommend this waffle iron to a friend.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Do Try This At Home: Potato Waffles

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     You know how I've always wondered about potato waffles? How I have wondered aloud so many times about putting mashed potatoes in a waffle iron and how it would be? How I've fantasized about gravy in all the little waffle-wells? Well I finally got a waffle iron thanks to the good folks at CSN stores and Ashley over at Go Get S.M.A.S.H.E.D.(I won Ashley's CSN giveaway for $75 and got this awesome waffle iron!) I know you can get waffle irons for less money, but I splurged since it was a win and I am glad I did.

     I realize as I write this that this post is meaningless without pictures. So, because I want to be a good blogger I will go right now, at 10:00 on Sunday morning, and make a potato waffle to show you. I just hope I remember my camera and to take a picture. I forget stuff a lot. Seriously.

     Forgive the terrible photo. I took my camera in the kitchen, took pictures of silly stuff, and then the battery died as I put the potato on the waffle iron. Classic. Here is my spectacular photo taken with my phone. Please note the original 1950's speckled laminate counter in all it's glory. Please send paypal.

I realized I need a whole cup of potatoes to make a full potato waffle vs. the half cup of batter to make a 'normal' waffle. I scoff at normal! If I get a lot of comments I will bake cupcakes today! (So leave me a lot of comments and make me get up and quit being lazy!

Friday, February 11, 2011

3 in 30 Friday Update: Check-up


      I feel like I haven't done enough this month, but today is Friday so it's check-up day. I did some rearranging in the kitchen. It's great, but it's not a lot. I pretty much took one area of counter space and de-crapified it so I could put the Tassimo and the t-disc holders all in one mostly-out-of-the-way place. I took out the giant dish drainer I have always had in that spot and got a tiny one to put in one side of the sink. With lots of people living here and no dishwasher it seemed practical to have the oversized one, but it took a third of my total counter space. No bueno. I have found myself washing dishes many times throughout the day since I made the change in order to keep up with things. If I can get in this habit and keep it this time it could work out well. Usually my laziness wins because it's my most honed skill. We shall see. So far = progress.

     I have been doing even better than I thought I would at the 'stop eating when I am no longer hungry" thing. Except that night we went to a Japanese steakhouse. All bets are off it you take me to an expensive, or even moderately priced restaurant.

     The final goal is the kitchen project. I haven't moved on it at all this week. I still have half of the month and I have a few laborers who claim they are willing to paint, so we'll see. Someone is still promising to come and take the giant desk in the way in the room where I need to paint. So In my head, I've been kind of blaming her for my lack of progress on that front. It sounds better than "I can't want to." Right? 

     I've been making lots of waffles, doing lots of dishes, drinking lots of hot chocolate, and I gave the dog a bath. I'm practically superwoman, even if I haven't painted the cabinets yet.

     I keep forgetting to buy the pretty index cards and stuff to make Sam's box. When I got home from the store the other day and realized I forgot I was feeling skunky about it. Sam? I think you need to make kits and sell them on ebay and/or etsy. Just sayin'.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Life Gets Even Better When You Discover Groupon


     Please forgive me the potentially lame play on words in the title. I've seen Groupon around internet town. I thought it was pretty cool to get great deals on stuff. I like deals. If I'm being honest, I love deals! So imagine my squeals of delight the other day when I was at my Discover card account online and saw that I can get a big honkin' 20% cash back on Groupon buys. Helloooooo!
     What kind of deals have I bought through Groupon? Today I bought a $10 Cold Stone Creamery gift certificate for $5. That's the Groupon deal. If you sign up with Groupon they will mail you the daily deals. You sign up specific to your city but you can click on the city and change it and buy whatever you want. (Which is pretty cool, if you ask me.) Last week I bought a half price family pass to the Akron Zoo and got back around $7 through Discover cashback bonus. I also got a $20 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble for $10 and $2 back through Discover. 

     Right now you can also get $40 for FTD florists for $20. If you go though Discover - you get another $4. There are often massage deals and other luxury type deals. Today when I changed my city to Akron/Canton I see a fantastic deal for $200 worth of frames and lenses at Novus Clinic for $40! (If you use Discover and go through their site you would get $8 cash back, making $200 of glasses cost $32! That's a great deal by any standards.
      Check your city on Groupon. Check other cities nearby. Check cities far away, because some things can be used online or other places. If you have a Discover card go to your account online and shop through their website for an additional 20% in cash back. I love the Discover cash back program. I pay my AT&T bill and cable bill and any other bill I can with my Discover card. I just funnel the cash from our checking account to the card instead of directly to AT&T, Time Warner, and the utility company. Ditto groceries and gasoline. The cash back rewards build up fast and I cash them out for Discover gift cards for no fee. 

Now go on, get your Groupon!

* I was not compensated for this post. I am just sharing a good deal. I will get credit for referring you if you click on my Groupon links in this post.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

30 Days Of Truth - Day 30


     Today the list says I should write a letter to myself. But I don't feel like it. If I did it today it would be a mess, anyway. So I'm not doing it.

     Yesterday morning I was going through the list of blog buttons at Funnel Full of Soup and when I saw one I hadn't been to in a long time, I clicked. When I got to her blog there was an odd post where giveaways belong. After a minute it started to sink in. She died. There were lots of comments, so I started reading. She committed suicide. I read comments - some even written by her own mother and niece and just sort of felt stunned.

     Then I turned on the television. A house in Hinckley had exploded and blasted clear off the foundation. It was a big fireball. The elderly couple who lived there were inside. Their dog was found later, a little bloody but okay. The people were not so lucky. Turns out she had been a teacher at the middle school until she retired. From all accounts a well-loved couple, the Martins are now dead in yet another tragedy for our community.

     We had a family upheaval at dinner last night, too. Everyone was upset. Everyone. Things are okay, because we  make the effort to work on issues together, but having kids who are 18-24 can be pretty difficult some days. Each one is so different, so much their own person with their own strengths and their own problems. I still have days where I hardly feel equipped to deal with myself, let alone anyone else. Does anyone else ever feel like that?  Like these people look to me to be way more than I am?

     Because all I am is a person with all my own foibles and  more experience than they have. A person so stunted it can not be measured. A person who loves them so deeply there aren't words to describe it.  A person who wants it all to be perfect for them so they can be perfect so their lives can be perfect and they can be happy. Is this too much to ask?

     And these are good kids by any standards. I can't imagine what it would be like if they were not. God, in his wisdom, sent me children who have been able to teach me so much, without it being too much.

   I'm still learning.

Monday, February 7, 2011

30 Days Of Truth - Day 29: Something I hope to change about myself. And why.

      I have to stop myself all the time from being flip with my answers to these questions. So I guess I hope to be more sincere and less flippant. I use humor when I am even the least bit uncomfortable, which is most of the time. Also, I want to stop swearing. Not on my blog, but at home.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

30 Days Of Truth, Day 28: What If I Was Pregnant? What Would I Do?

     I guess I would have a baby! This question was a little too easy to answer. A baby is not in our plans and it is highly improbable.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

30 Days Of Truth, Day 27: The Best Thing Going For Me Right Now

     The best thing going for me right now is my family. To feel safe and happy in my own home is not something I take lightly, or take for granted. I know what a gift it is and I am aware a lot of people are not this fortunate. I made an excellent decision when I married my husband. He is someone I respect, admire, and enjoy. He's taught me a lot. (understatement) I can enjoy my children even more because of him. Now I am not claiming he is perfect. He leaves library books all over and coffee mugs on the table as much as (or more than) the next guy. He has his faults. But I just don't care. They aren't important. Because he will always be there for me.

     He will hold me when I cry every day for months over the loss of Victoria. He will find the little knots in my shoulders and take them away, he will celebrate my every little victory. He will get up on stage, at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and sing "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" even though he can't sing any better than me. He will set off fireworks for me over the ocean. He will support me when I say I want ridiculous license plates. He will get me the little dog I fell in love with at the mall. He will fall in love with the little dog, too. He will have the difficult talks with the children with me. He will take the moral high ground. I can count on him. He can count on me.

     I could go on forever. I sort of did, I know. No apologies. I've only stopped because I need orange juice. And to kiss him.

Friday, February 4, 2011

3 in 30 Weekly Update


Look out February, here we come! My goals this month are:
1. Complete Kitchen Cabinet project. 

2. Brainstorm about the kitchen with the goal of a do-over to make it better. My kitchen is very small and my family is large so we need to use space wisely. 

3. Commit to the behavior modification of "Stop eating when I am no longer hungry" so I can feel better about myself and regain self control.

     So far I'm going strong on number three. I've been thinking about the kitchen and searching for ideas. I'm still trying to get caught up on other things which fell behind while I was down sick. After I'm caught up we can make the push to get the kitchen completed. Hooray! 

30 Days Of Truth, Day 26: Have I Ever Thought About Giving Up On Life?

     Yes, I have. There have been times when I didn't know how to make things okay and couldn't imagine at the time how or why I would want to continue to live through them. I don't feel like some rarity because of this. I think it is probably more common than not. I've never planned on ending my life. To me that's something different. But I've felt the despair which leads up to it for some people.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

30 Days Of Truth, Day 25: The Reason I Believe I'm Still Alive Today.

     There does have to be a reason, right? I'm not sure. There are a lot of answers I could give that would seem like a good answer. But each of them omits a lot. So I'm going to go with the most truthful answer I think I have:

I haven't fulfilled my purpose yet, whatever it may be.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

30 Days Of Truth, Day 24: Make a Playlist to Someone.

     I've sort of already done this for someone. He knows who he is. Because he's heard it a thousand times. Of Course it has to start with: It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones.

Kiss - Tom Jones
Kiss Me - Sixpence, None The Richer
Love Shack - B 52's
Kiss The Rain - Billie Meyers
Kiss The Girl - Disney, Little Mermaid
A Kiss To Build A Dream On - Louie Armstrong
Kiss You All Over - Exile
Dance Me To The End of Love - Leonard Cohen
Night And Day - (?) - whoever does it on the Red Hot & Blue tribute to Cole Porter cd.
Perfect Love - Trisha Yearwood
Shut Up and Kiss Me - Mary Chapin Carpenter
So In Love - K.D. Lang
This Kiss - Faith Hill
A Thousand Kissed Deep - Leonard Cohen
Underneath Your Clothes - Shakira
Walking On Sunshine - Katrina and the Waves
What I Like About You - Romantics
You Are My Sunshine - many, many,many (like you'd know I'm crazy) artists

Now, I did have an actual playlist, put in a certain order. But that is on the prehistoric "I can't believe it's only three inches thick and only weighs eight pounds!" iPod from when people didn't know what they were. Which I am too lazy to go upstairs and get out of the top desk drawer. Yeah, I know. It's dedication people.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

3 in 30 February Goals


     It's time to decide my February goals. I feel less than motivated to do it since I really did not complete any of the goals I started out with in January. But I did things I would not have done otherwise, so it's not a total loss. I will start February with these three goals:

1. Complete Kitchen Cabinet project. 

2. Brainstorm about the kitchen with the goal of a do-over to make it better. My kitchen is very small and my family is large so we need to use space wisely. 

3. Commit to the behavior modification of "Stop eating when I am no longer hungry" so I can feel better about myself and regain self control.

30 Days of Truth, Day 23: Something I Wish I Had Done.

     Oh boy! Just one? I wish I had listened to that little voice. It's always right. Always.