Brand New Blog Design: Launching on Monday

by Lucky Red Hen on January 28, 2011

So how do you like my new look?!? Isn’t it FABULOUS?!? Why am I over using punctuation marks?!?

The Blog Fairy has been slaving (while I’ve been sipping lemonade and watching her bust a move) and now it’s my turn to perform… EEK! Actually, I’m very excited to share with you (really, YOU, I’m glad you’re reading this, thanks) and connect with nice people all over the globe! The GLOBE, people! How COOL is that?!? Ack, there I go again with the punctuation.

This morning the design was finished so I’m going to take the weekend to tweak (we imported all my archives from the [say in a fancy voice] other blogging site, some didn’t come over quite right), edit (the photos are wonky sized/aligned), and prepare for the good stuff (how about a little video?)

Will you please come back and see me next week? I hope I don’t have to BRIBE you, or something ;) Ok, if I HAVE to bribe you, I’ll have a give away on Monday… from The Blog Fairy… and it’ll be FREE… and you’ll WANT it… bad. Unless you already have it, then you won’t need it but will you want it (click if you want to watch a Batman Joker fan video my BIL’s made).

Come back ;)


P.S. I don’t know what I’m doing… totally winging this. Wish me luck!

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Green Smoothie Challenge

by Lucky Red Hen on January 22, 2011

Doesn’t THAT look YUMMY?!?

Alright, maybe it doesn’t. If not, it’s probably because you haven’t TRIED ONE yet. (I’m right, aren’t I? …pause… I KNEW it!)

My vegan friend Elena got me started on these. She has a 3-day Green Smoothie Cleanse program that’s designed specifically for newbies, beginners, reluctant veggie consumers, whatever you want to call yourself. And since I’ve known Elena (and her handsome chocolate hubby) for three years and have eaten with her to know she has good taste, I gave it a try.

The idea is to ONLY intake Green Smoothies for 3 whole days. If you’re hungry, have a smoothie. If you’re snacky, have a smoothie. If you’re munchy, lay off the “herbs” and have a smoothie. Oh, and you should drink water throughout the day as well.

Day 1 (a Sunday; also family birthday celebration at the in-laws; also bad day to start a new eating program)
Green Smoothie for breakfast, before 9am church
Water from the church fountain (an actual water fountain, not like one outside with a cherub spewing water decoratively)
Green Smoothie for lunch, after starving getting starving home starving from church starving about 12:15pm
Water from my wicked awesome Aladdin insulated, lided cup (Costco 3-pak for $19)
Took Green Smoothie ingredients to in-laws for dinner, instead got overtaken by ham, mashed potatoes, corn and salad (declined dessert, or did I? Can’t remember.)

Look, I’m not PROUD I flubbed, but I did it out of necessity. The ham MADE me eat it, like a ninja. At least I had much smaller portions than I usually have, so I think that’s a plus.

Day 2
Lasted ALL day ONLY partaking of the Green Smoothie goodness
However, it was HARD (because I was lazy) and I had to plead with my FB friends to remind me why I’m doing this. Most were encouraging: You can do it! Some weren’t so much: Loser. But who couldn’t use a good ribbing? (Edit: The person posting the “Loser” comment later changed it to “You can do it!”)

Day 3
Green Smoothies all day but ate dinner with my family

Day 4+
WHAT?!? “Day 4 of a 3 day plan,” you say? Yes, I’ve kept going and figure that these are SUPER healthy for me and WAY better than a bowl of cereal in the morning (which does NOT satisfy me anymore) or crappy lunch. So I’m continuing to enjoy my Green Smoothies and crave them if I go all day without one (didn’t have one at all yesterday and by the evening that’s all I could think about eating).

In conclusion… (don’t I sound fancy for not being fancy?) I whole heartedly recommend trying the Green Smoothie plan. Whether you do it for 3-days completely (you’re better than I) or just substitute one meal with them (do it for breakfast; get your fruits and greens to start your day healthy), you WILL feel better about what goes in your mouth.

Oh, the spinach part. You can substitute whatever dark green, leafy plant you’d like: kale, collard greens, arugula, bok choy, chard, etc. The spinach, I find, is the least tasty in raw form (pre-cooked, as fresh from the fields as possible, hopefully organic) and makes a great green to add to smoothies if you don’t want the green taste.

My various Green Smoothie ingredients (serves 1) so far consist of:

  • 1.25 frozen banana (a Costco giant bunch is under $2; I buy two, peel and quarter before separating them on a cookie sheet and sticking them in the freezer; they brown just a titch, but not as much as you’d think; when frozen, I pour them into a huge Ziplock bag)
  • giant handful or two normal handfuls of organic baby pre-washed spinach
  • 2 cups of assorted fruit (this is winter, so my fruit options are minimal): mango (gooey), frozen mixed berries, freshly sliced apple, orange, pineapple
  • 1 T hemp seed (Omega 3 and 6, and protein; kind of has a nutty flavor)
  • splash/1oz. of Aloe Vera juice (George’s Aloe Vera is virtually tasteless and has LOTS of health benefits)

P.S. Depending on what I add to my smoothies, they’re not always green. Sometimes they’re brownish (when using the dark colored mixed berries). When that happens, I put it in a dark red cup to mask the look.

Next on my agenda… getting The Blog Fairy to make my blog more visually pleasing. PLEASE. It’s so drab :( Plus, she’s pretty.

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Pomegranate White Chocolate Cookies + Gnome

by Lucky Red Hen on December 19, 2010

What IS IT with me and gnome’s?!? I can’t help myself… they’re just too CUTE! Maybe it’s my way of fulfilling my fantasy of having a wee, little creature I can carry in my pocket to pull out when I’m lonely, need shopping advice or try my jokes on. If only they were REAL!I had a bad experience recently with baking.My dad taught me how to make the yummiest peanut butter cookies, and I’ve made the yummiest peanut butter cookies before, but that doesn’t mean they will ALWAYS be yummy.Especially when you need them to… like at your in-law’s house… when you’re in charge of THE dessert… and there are over 10 people staring at you with sweet-toothed, saucer eyes of hunger.I warned them. Something seemed weird. But I couldn’t put my finger on it, until my father-in-law tried one. Chew. Chew. Chew. (Tip of the head and squint of thinking eyes.) Swallow. Wince.”I know what the problem is… these cookies are R A N C I D !”

1. having a rank, unpleasant, stale smell or taste, as through decomposition, esp. of fats or oils.
2. (of an odor or taste) rank, unpleasant, and stale: a rancid smell.
3. offensive or nasty; disagreeable.
4. stinking, equiv. to ranc (ēre) to be rotten + -idus

Great. I just killed my father-in-law. Wait, not great. That would suck. Could you imagine me behind bars? Well, probably in that orange jump suit, since I really like orange; but that’s not a good enough reason. Luckily he didn’t die (thanks to his guinea pigitus, he’ll try anything once).

The next time I made dessert for the clan, it was out of a BOX. Some kind of cream cheese dessert bar thing with graham cracker crust. Should have been good, but that tasted weird, too (self admitted). This time it was my mother-in-law that tasted it before everyone else. She wasn’t impressed either, “Nobody’s going to want to eat THAT!” I can’t type her voice or the squish of her nose when she said it. It was sad and funny at the same time. Sad that I botched a boxed dessert and funny because my track record would imply that of course it’s not going to be worth eating!

So today I made these (pictured above) Pomegranate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies I saw via Twitter. Fingers crossed they won’t gross anyone out (I made some without the arils, that’s fancy talk for pomegranate seeds, for the kidlets in case they’re averse to trying something different). My gnome seems to like them, so that’s good enough for me.

See why you should have a gnome in YOUR pocket? They’re so agreeable ;)

P.S. I may or may not have borrowed part of my Christmas present I bought myself for Ben to give me so that the cookies would cook evenly and not burn/stick.

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Family Photo: Impromptu Style

by Lucky Red Hen on December 12, 2010

Family photograph

Last year was a I-didn’t-get-a-good-photo-of-my-family-so-I-can’t-send-out-Christmas-cards kind of year.

The year before that I used a snapshot I took of the kids at a nearby park.

Today was the day I decided (without looking out a window or checking the weather online) we would get a snapshot taken that could work for/in our Christmas greeting.

After grumbling about what I would wear (and making hubby change out of his “I’m * On Sunshine” t-shirt (* = Christopher Walken’s face; get it?), we were finally dressed and ready to head out.

Open the front door to pouring rain. Of course… it’s winter in Seattle. {sigh}

grumble grumble some more

I tried to convince the family we could do it a different day but they put the kibosh on that idea (please tell me I’m not the only one who has reluctant family photo subjects). “We are all dressed for it so let’s get it over with!”

Still pouring, we head to the Christmas Tree Farm (that I work at for two weekends a year; this was my third year). People are everywhere getting their tree’s and it was my job to figure out where we could go that wouldn’t have people in the way/background and also which worker I could grab to push the shutter.

I wanted to back out. We could come another time. Who cares if we send out a picture? We’re going to look like wet dogs so why bother? Hubby and the kids wouldn’t let me. (snaps fingers)

Quickly I called over Alex (he’s tall enough so the camera isn’t looking up my nose or at my chin’s) to push the shutter and Drea to hold the umbrella over Alex and my gear. A quick lesson on taking the picture (after I plugged in the settings; I’m a manual photographer that uses back-button focus), ordered the fam to disrobe of their jackets and got, in a minute, about five in-focus images and we were DONE.

You can see the rain droplets above my head, but you cannot see my hubby shivering or my wet scalp.

Maybe next year we’ll think of doing this in August, when it’s NOT raining.

(More than likely I’ll put it off next year like I did this year and we’ll scramble again. Perhaps a family tradition has started.)

P.S. Speaking of family traditions… we keep hearing that people don’t know about the Christmas pickle. Do y’all do the Christmas pickle?

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Santa Then, Santa Now

by Lucky Red Hen on December 3, 2010

Santa Claus

“If you don’t believe in Santa, he won’t bring you any presents.”

That’s what I tell my 10 yr old so he won’t spoil the magic for believers (i.e. little kids, especially his little sister). It was before Christmas last year that someone at school ruined it for him. Grr. Why don’t all parents tell their kid’s the same thing so they don’t ruin it for someone else?

My little girl told us in the car yesterday that so-and-so at school said Santa’s a fake and it’s really the parents that bring us those gifts. “That’s ridiculous,” I said. “You know better that there’s no way I would spent that kind of money on those Zhu Zhu Pets you got last year! Only Santa would’ve done that.” She agreed whole heartedly. Phew.

Another tidbit about Santa and our house: he gives each child three presents as a reminder of what Christmas is really about… Jesus’ birth. Jesus received three gifts from the three wise men when he was born. If it’s good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for our kid’s.

The other thing about gift giving is that our kid’s have varying price tags with their Wish Lists. The 10yo has more expensive taste (video games, electronics, gadgets) and the 7yo is happy with yet another stuffed animal she fell in love with at the store (just like her mom as a little girl). That’d be a LOT of stuffed animals to equal the price of electronics.

A gift shouldn’t be about how much it costs,
it really just needs to be thoughtful.

Like the time a friend gave me a bar of soap for my birthday. That it cost less than a cup of Starbucks wasn’t the point, the point was that she knows ME and how much I unhealthily ADORE Yardley of London Flowering English Lavender soap (thanks to Carrabba’s Italian Restaurant; it’s in their bathroom…can’t wash my hands enough when I’m there).

So instead of coming up with a price to spend on each child, we have a ceiling budget to stay under and get them three gifts each from both of us. They get plenty gifts with all the family we have, so it’s not like they’re lacking. However… it IS hard to limit myself to just three. Sometimes I package a few of the same thing together to make one (2 Lego sets in one box or put together with one ribbon; several books go in one box) or try to make stuff I couldn’t resist buying fit in their stocking.

Oh, our other trick is that we don’t have cable TV anymore, so we aren’t getting bombarded with commercials telling us what we want. Like the dreaded Zhu Zhu Pet disaster of 2009. (Can you tell I hate those things? Let me know if you want to buy any of the accessories we have that were played with for a total of 20 minutes.)

We have REAL, LIVE PET RATS (I should show you how cute they are)! Why on earth do we need fake one’s?

P.S. The photo’s? That’s me on the left about 8yrs old with awesome orange bell bottom pants and me again on the right this week with an awesome orange sweatshirt. Guess I like orange, eh? And I love that I still clip my hair on the same side after these few years ;)

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Tabasco Penny

by Lucky Red Hen on November 17, 2010

Clearing out my pantry inevitably creates more projects that I don’t need at the time (or ever, right?)

When I “clean” the house, it ALWAYS (I’m not kidding) turns out messier than I started.

Piles are formed and left for days (until I find the perfect place for the treasures; and everything in my house IS a treasure… pfft), laundry gets put aside for yet another week (thus the very reason I invested in more socks and underwear for my family), food is tossed with the promise we will buy responsibly and eat it before it’s been expired for two years (no joke; reminds me of that Hoarder episode with the elderly lady who had 10+ yogurt containers in her extra fridge from TWO YEARS AGO… at least my expired is random cans (beets, pears, Dinty Moore beef soup) that got shoved back in the depths of the cupboard) and dusting (which rarely happens)/vacuuming is put off until right before we have guests coming over.

Today’s case-in-point… The pantry goods are covering every square inch of my kitchen counters so I forfeit making school lunches for hot lunch (which is something that doesn’t happen often… I make healthy lunches they like for less than the $2.50 school lunch). Begin the hunt for ca$h: in couch cushions (no, if I don’t ever have money in my pockets, how can it fall out?), secret hiding spots (which I forget about and don’t have money in any way), jeans pockets, purses, wallets and junk drawers*.

Ah! JUNK DRAWER! Found a bowl with some change (plus old keys, a jelly bean, 3 swirl paper clips, a twist tie, ear buds, a broken seashell, penciless eraser and Nickel Arcade tokens from 3+ years ago in another state). Sent the children off with $2.50 each in quarters (“MOM! You’re making us pay with QUARTERS?!?”)

Counted out the rest of the change to the tune of $42 and change. You’d think I’d be sooo excited about FORTY-TWO ‘FREE’ DOLLARS; which I am, deep inside); but more exciting is that I now have a stash of pennies for a necklace project I wanted to try… but the pennies are filthy (nobody wants to wear filthy money, right?) Disregard the fact that my kitchen counters are covered in pantry food (bonus: empty pantry!); I have a garage full of items to Craig’s List (pink wooden play kitchen, vintage shabby twin bed frame), donate (more clothes and toys) and refurbish (coffee table and two lazy Suzan’s); family reunion photos to download, edit and distribute; my desk to organize; the family file cabinet to sift through; and whatever else I’m behind on.

So out comes a cutting board, paper towels, Tabasco Sauce, tweezers and cotton swabs for me to play scientist. My 7yo came home a while back with a school project of testing different cleansers on dirty pennies and Tabasco worked the best. Some of the pennies were so filthy that I couldn’t tell the date (don’t imagine all those germs). The oldest I’ve uncovered so far is from 1969!

“Sixty-nine, dude!” Name that movie…

*Those two words should NOT BE plural.

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No Hands in Mouth

by Lucky Red Hen on October 26, 2010

You know the saying, “Put your foot in your mouth,” right? Well, I’d like to emphasise No Hands in Mouth instead. I can see this idea spreading like wildfire; just about as fast as the latest germ-infested illness.

Yes, wah wah wah, I was sick so I’m whining. Now that I’m at the absolute tail end of the sick (cold, cough, sore throat, flu, fever, crud in my chest) but now my neck is cricked. CRICKED! Ugh. Before the three weeks of sick I had a stomach ache for a couple of weeks (and to the tune of $125 found out it was just heartburn; yet I’m pleased to find it wasn’t worse, just wish it was a cheaper visit), and now my neck is busted.

You’d think three plus weeks of lying around I would’ve exhausted all Netflix, Hulu and DVD options but I found some more Cake Boss to watch today while I rested my neck. I’ve never felt so useless. Maybe I should be reading educational material and getting smarter (which means I think I’m pretty smart in the first place or I would’ve just said “smart.”) But I didn’t think of that until AFTER I was done being sick. I also didn’t think to pull out the laptop and catch up on reading blogs (boy howdy do I have a lot of blogs to catch up on).

So my goal is No Hands in Mouth (or eyes; I rub my eyes too much) to steer clear of illnesses so I can stop feeling like a loser (I also realized I got this same sickness last year at the same time). Or, whenever I AM sickly, I shall remember this post and catch up on my blog reading…


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Nine is the New Midnight

by Lucky Red Hen on October 24, 2010

Remember the days when midnight felt like 9pm? Well, these days 9pm feels like midnight. I don’t know what it is about aging, but I’m worn OUT. Next you’ll see me in orthopedic shoes (hope not). Night, all. I want to blog daily, but this sleep is coming on heavy.

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