Monday, February 22, 2010

24 Season 8: Episode 8

Dana calls Kevin and we see that Kev and his pal have wasted not time putting their new, hard-earned money to work... at a strip club. Kevin tells Dana that they have a good thing going and he wants to do it again. Pal grabs the phone and threatens to tell Cole about her past if she doesn't help them. Didn't see that one coming, did you? Dana asks to speak to Cole privately, and tells him that she has some skeletons in the closet. He interrupts her and says that there is nothing that would make him stop loving her. Awwwww. Cole is called back to work and Dana gives him a resolved smile. Everything will be fine. She knows what she has to do. We last see Dana sitting outside the strip club. With a gun. Is that right or am I imagining things?

Jack is brought back to Big Russian Daddy's restaurant. He thinks Jack is a cop. DUH. Jack already messed with the Russians. Isn't his picture up on some Russian website by now? "Do not trust this man" Jack is tortured by one of the henchmen. Jack pretends he passed out, and then knocks the thug's lights out. Jack manages to get out of the handcuffs just in time to escape. He finds a cell and calls in CTU back up. Jack nails Big Daddy and delivers him on a platter to CTU. Oddly enough, Big Daddy rolls over immediately like fat dog. He says he'll tell CTU where the rods are in exchange for immunity for him and his son, Josef. Jack gets on his direct line to POTUS and makes the deal. That story element is getting a little old for 24, don't you think?

Cole and his team head to the location of the rods. When they get there, all that's left is an empty tractor trailer. AND, Young Russian Bro's cross necklace. Daddy immediately knows that Josef has the rods. Josef is on his way to meet Farhad. I'm just wondering if Josef thinks he is going to get out of that meeting alive?

Oh yeah, and Hassan is still on the paranoia train headed for disaster. His daughter finally gets into see him and tells him that she and Faroush are an item. This makes Hassan furious and he forbids her to see him again. He is sure that this means that Faroush is out to get him. Maybe yes, maybe no?

Friday, February 19, 2010

My First Tweet-Up

I've gotten to know many bloggers through their blogs and chatting over twitter. I especially love following local blogs, I just feel a bit more of a connection. How well can you really know someone via the internet? Pretty well, actually (they were all normal, honey!).

A few Philly mom bloggers decided to get together tonight. I got to meet the lovely ladies behind these blogs:

The Centsible Life
Just Precious
But Wait It Gets Better
Chester County Moms
Looking Good (for a mom)

I was really nervous, I'm actually kind of shy. But, everyone was really sweet, and we sat around talking over margaritas and chips & guacamole. It was nice to put names with faces and have a great girls night out. Thanks for welcoming me:)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Things I Love: Inchbug Name Labels

I can't remember when I discovered these name labels from, I think Dash was a few months old. These name labels are available in a variety of colors and with either one line or two lines of text. They are basically big rubber bands with your child's name on them. I love these things, and I have gotten them as gifts for family and friends.

There are many pre-printed first names available for $8.95/4 pack, or you can choose a custom-printed name for $4 more. These labels are not just for daycare either. They are great for keeping track of your child's cups at playgroups, parties, church, and other group activites.

The thing I really love about these labels is that they grow with your child. They fit bottles, sippy cups, and reusable water bottles.

I also highly recommend fanning Inchbug on Facebook. They often offer discount codes via Facebook.

This post is linked to Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries.

Monday, February 15, 2010

CVS Shopping Trip

I was going to skip CVS entirely this week, but popped in on Saturday night. And Sunday. It's because CVS is sandwiched between Genuardi's and Blockbuster. I swear.

Saturday (CVS ads run Sunday through Saturday, so this deal are no longer available)

4 Nivea Lip Balms 2.99
= 11.96
- 5.98 Nivea mfr coupons (buy one get on free)
- 5.00 ecbs
= 1.04 oop, earned 5.00 ecbs for buying $10 worth of Nivea products, and earned 1.00 ecbs for using my own bag. You can buy a "green tag" for 1.00 and attach it to a reusable bag. You earn 1.00 every fourth time you use it.

1 Glade reed diffuser 6.00
1 Glade soy candle 6.00
1 Newspaper 1.75
= 13.75
- 6.00 Glade coupons 2 x 3.00/1 Glade mfr coupons
- 6.00 ecbs
= 1.84 (there's always tax!), earned $4 ecbs for buying $12 worth of Glade products.

These deals were both done with just two of each coupon. Even if you start off by buying one newspaper per week and asking a neighbor for their coupons, you can score many things for free/cheap!

This will also go well with the SC Johnson $5 Rebate. Buy three products from the SC Johnson family of products, get a $5 rebate!

Did you get any good CVS deals this week?

24 Recap: Season 8, Episodes 5, 6, & 7

I was told by a friend this weekend that my 24 recaps are a wee bit too long. Can you believe that? I have a reader--WOO HOO!! Ha ha. So, here goes my attempt to keep it short.

Episode 5
President Hassan's people are taking people into custody back in their homeland. This disturbs President Taylor and her people. Human rights, blah, blah, blah.

Renee and Jack get Ziya cleaned up and Renee convinces Jack to let her stay on the mission. Renee and Ziya go to see Vladimir. He is not incredibly thrilled to see them and tosses them in the back of a car. They zoom off somewhere (with Jack close behind). Vlad shoots Ziya and almost kills Renee too. She tells him to do it, she doesn't care about living anymore. Vlad said she passed the test. Jack heard the whole thing and is deeply concerned about Renee. As he should be.

Cold-hearted Russian dad tells the older son that he is not allowed to seek medical treatment for his brother. Josef defies his father and heads to a local clinic to get help.

Kevin keeps calling Dana and we find out her little secret that she's trying so hard to keep. She was an accessory to murder and did time in her former life. (Don't you think CTU would have found this on a background check?) She offers him money to leave, but he wants her to use her access at CTU to help him with a big score.

Episode 6
President Hassan's paranoia increases. He doesn't stop the arrests going on back home. He even suspects a member of his staff, Jamot, and has him detained. President Taylor becomes more concerned, and must address and reassure the other leaders at the peace summit.

Renee is in. She talks to Vlad about the nuke deal and convinces him to meet with her contact: Jack a.k.a. German arms dealer. Vlad says ok, but he wants $5 million up front. Vlad starts putting the moves on Renee, but she pushes him off. She's just there for the deal. She goes off to "clean up", which apparently means taking a shower 5 feet away from a guy who wants to do very bad things to you. She comes out and Vlad basically forces her to do bad things, or the deal is off. Barf, I hate Vlad.

Meanwhile, Vlad sends his cronies to meet Jack. As soon as the money clears the account, Vlad's guys pull out their guns to kill Jack. But, POW, POW! Cole snipered their butts. Good thing Cole didn't listen to you, huh Jack? I think I like Cole now. Just a little. Jack has Vlad's attention now.

The Russian brothers arrive at the clinic, and threaten the doc into treating the younger brother. The doctor is setting them up with meds and instructions when dear old dad's men burst in and shoot the doctor. They leave without the medicine, killing everyone at the clinic. Back at the restaurant, Dad berates Josef for disobeying him. He takes out his gun to shoot Josef, but turns and shoots little bro instead.

Meanwhile, back at CTU, Dana finds a large sum of money in a police evidence warehouse. She works out all the details so Kevin and his bud will be in and out in 20 minutes. She meets him outside of CTU to give him an access card. Arlo sees and assumes Dana is cheating on Cole.

Episode 7
President Taylor confides in the British delegate that there are nukes in play. President Hassan says he will get things back to normal in a few hours, but then tells his aide to have Jamot's family detained back home to put the pressure on him. Faroush thinks this is a bad idea. Hassan agrees to his face, but then asks another aide to go through with it. Is Hassan really just paranoid, or was he bad all along? Faroush goes to see Kayla (his girlfriend?), the president's daughter, and he is then arrested too.

Dana walks Kevin through the warehouse to get his money. Everything goes great until the idiot friend decides to get greedy and go through all the evidence boxes. They run out of time and get caught by a guard. The guard calls it in, but then gets bashed in the head by the friend. I'm not sure who is a dumber pile of rocks, Kevin for just being himself, or Dana for putting her career and life on the line. This is not going to end well for her.

Jack goes back to Vlad's place and asks to talk to Renee alone. He wants to pull her from the mission, but she refuses again. She is vital to the mission. Vlad starts making some calls to inquire about nukes on the market. No one bites. Not even Russian Big Daddy, who really does have the nukes. Renee keeps pushing Vlad to make more calls. He gets pissed and slaps her around a bit. She falls to the ground and grabs a knife. You can see in her eyes, something inside her has snapped. Renee jumps up and gives it to Vlad right in the eye. She then stabs him about a dozen times before Jack runs in to help. Renee is in such a frenzy that she swings around and stabs Jack too. OH. MY WORD. One of Vlad's guys comes in and pulls his gun. Jack pulls the knife from his stomach and wings it at his throat. Now, this is getting good!

Russian Big Daddy sends some of his guys over to check on Vlad. Jack manages to convince them that he wants to do business. They walk him through some sewer system and get him into a van. Cole and his team arrive shortly after, but didn't see any vehicles leaving the area. Jack is off the grid.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Random: Daycare Closed, Sushi, V-Day, and Visiting with Friends

So, we had a little bit of snow last week. You may have heard. We had a lovely snow day at home on Wednesday. Thursday was spent digging out, I actually went out to check on something for work that afternoon. The roads were ok, but not great. The side streets in our neighborhood had yet to even be plowed at that point!

I thought by Friday everything would be back to normal. Who was that who didn't even bother to check to see if daycare was open? That would be me. (I won't even get into the fact that I made 20 heart-shaped ham and cheese sandwiches and cupcakes for Dash's Valentine's Day party. Nope.) Thank goodness my angel of a friend, Stephanie, agreed to watch him until lunchtime. Did I mention that she also agreed to watch our other friend's daughter (who uses the same daycare)? Plus, her own two kids. I kind of owe her.

Work was fairly uneventful. I left work at 5:45 and arrived home at 7:00 p.m. With no traffic, my commute can be a 20 minute drive. There was a crazy amount of volume on the Turnpike. Annoying. My mom had agreed to take Dash for the weekend, so Mr. Incredible and I could have a Valentine's date night.

By the time I dropped him off and got back it was 9:00. I wasn't sure if I would be able to de-stress enough to enjoy myself, but I did. We went to our local sushi place, Kabuki, for dinner and tried some new rolls. We also got my favorite--the Crazy Friday roll:) After that, we headed to to movie theater to see Sherlock Holmes. Great movie! I can't believe I made it through the whole movie and was actually awake at 1:00 a.m.

On Saturday morning, these beauties arrived at my doorstep. Yum. O. Thanks, hon--I love you!

A college friend flew in for the weekend and we met up with another college friend for lunch and a little relaxing. It was so nice to catch up with both of them, not to mention I got a little baby fix. Here we are with Sue's little one, isn't she adorable?

What's that? More snow tomorrow? I'm not listening...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Things I Love: Wilton Spoon Scraper

There is a little magazine called All You that is only available at Walmart and via subscription. It's a pretty good magazine, and it has lots of coupons. I have a subscription (because I think I told you before that I like coupons), but you don't even need one to become an All You Reality Checker. I signed up sometime last year and they send me surveys via email from time to time. Probably about once a month. They ask you to share tips on everything from holidays to money-saving tips (and much more in between). I have received free product coupons for being a part of this program as well.

So, what does all this have to do with that handy dandy spoon scraper up there? Well, right before Christmas, I came home to find a gift bag full of goodies from All You!

A 1.5 oz container of germ-X Hand Sanitizer
A full size eye shadow quartet from New York Color
Two full size lipsticks from Neutrogena
A Wilton Spoon Scraper
Sample pack of Playtex
Sample size Nivea Touch of Sparkle Body Wash w/ $1 coupon
A Kendall Telfa Antimicrobial Adhesive Bandage and magnet
A Sample Pack from Kotex
A Sonic Wacky Pack Zoo Tot
Credit to ClipperGirl for the list, I forgot to write everything down!
As you can see, this lovely gem was included in my goody bag. It is the perfect kitchen tool! It works just as well as a wooden spoon at mixing up brownies, or you know, whatever healthy junk you're cooking. And, then it does double duty as a scraper. This is a serious little piece of brilliance right here.
I never got around to checking to see if they sell these at Walmart. They may have them at Michael's or Bed Bath & Beyond. I looked online and you can buy them direct from Wilton for $6.99 and from Amazon for $17.26.
Disclosure: I am not affiliated with any companies mentioned above. Except I am an All You Reality Checker, so I suppose I'm affiliated with them. I received a spoon scraper as a gift, but I am not being compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own. I just like the thing, dangit.

This post is linked up to Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why the Mister Married Me

For my baking skillz, of course! Well, I guess I'm speaking a bit out of turn here. You'll have to ask him his own reasons for slipping the ring on my finger:)

This is an old family recipe that my mom used to make when we were young. It's so simple and the results are divine. We call them Alligators, but it's basically a homemade danish. I made this over the snowy weekend and it was gone within an hour.


2 c. Bisquick
3 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. butter
1/3 c. milk
1/2 c. raspberry preserves

1 c. powdered sugar
1-2 T. milk
1/2 t. vanilla

Line a large cookie sheet completely with foil. (I'm addicted to Reynold's non-stick foil, but that just me.) Mix Bisquick, cream cheese, butter, and milk together to form a soft dough (I just used a fork to cut together). Roll out directly onto cookie sheet to form a large oval, about 1/4" thick or so. Make cuts in the dough at 1/2" intervals on both sides, leaving a 2 to 3" strip down the middle. Spoon the preserves down the middle strip. Fold strips of dough up and over the sides. Press together lightly in the middle. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 425 degrees.

Let cool for 15 minutes. Mix toppings ingredients together and drizzle over alligator. Top with sprinkles if desired.

Notes: The dough gets sticky quickly. You may want to refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes or so to make it easier to roll out. Some of the preserves will leak out onto the pan and burn, that's why I suggest lining so well with the foil. Also, the topping recipe makes a lot of icing, you can easily cut it in half.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Some Other Stuff I Do, or, an Ode to my Mother's Club

So far, I've only blogged about TV, movies, food, and "stuff". I realized that this is not painting a picture of the real me. (Except the coupon part, I haven't even scratched the surface of crazy on that one yet.)

Shortly after Dash was born, I joined the local mother's club. I was a first-time mom (had no idea what I was doing), and I was dealing with some tough postpartum depression and nursing issues. I had left my job to become a stay-at-home mom, and didn't really have any mommy friends. We were a one-car family at the time and that was rough too. I was driving my husband crazy.

I thought the local mother's club was the answer. I joined and went to my first meeting. No one talked to me. I am a very shy person at heart, and it's very hard for me to just walk up to a group of people and start a conversation. I felt like everyone had their "cliques". I felt weird and out of place. I left and never went back. Maybe I got the wrong impression, but sadly it didn't work out and I felt even more lonely.

Fast forward a few short months, we bought our first home, moved 3 miles down the road to a new township--and they had a mother's club too. I was nervous about joining, but I forced myself (this is were Mr. Incredible is laughing his head off). I had to find some mommy friends.

I joined the new club and the first event was their huge May dinner. Yeah, the best way to meet new people is at a big, loud event. Brilliant. But, I went anyway and it was SO great. I had talked to Kendra on the phone beforehand, and she sort of took me under her wing at the dinner. She introduced me to lots of people and even sat with me. We ended up sitting with a group of ladies who all had kids around Dash's age (Stephanie, Jen, Lisa, Kris), and they invited me to their playgroup. I cannot even begin to tell you how much that meant to me. I'm pretty sure this group saved my sanity. And, Heather, who would call me just to say hi, and I would end up talking her ear off for an hour and a half!

Since then, I have gone to pretty much every single mom's club event (this would be why Mr. Incredible was laughing). I joined the book club and reorganized the supper club. I joined the board as "webmaster" and update our website. I have made incredible, lifelong friends. There are so many lovely women in this group, I can't possibly call them all out here. {Thanks, ladies. I love YOU.}

So, one of the club's purposes is to be involved in our community. One of our projects this year is to get more involved in providing casseroles to St. John's Hospice in Philadelphia. You can learn more about them and their programs here. The casseroles are frozen and picked up from our local Catholic church. They are then used for St. John's noon meal, which serves hundreds of homeless men in Philadelphia.

Many of our members have supported this cause over the years by donating  individual casseroles. We got to thinking... what if we got a group together to make a large quantity of casseroles? So, we organized a Casserole Night where everyone picked an ingredient(s) to bring. Then, we all converged on our hostess's house last Tuesday for assembly. (Thanks, Steph! And, my goodness, don't you want that gorgeous kitchen?)St. John's provides the pans and lids. We decided to make a revised version of Tricia's Chicken Macaroni Bake (no onion, added broccoli) and Robin Sue's Cookie Dough Pie. My sister-in-law, Missy, made this delicious pie for a family get together a few weeks ago and it seemed like the perfect no-bake dessert!

I was a *little* anxious about how all this would come together. Because I must worry about everything. It's what I do.

We rocked it. That's all I have to say. These lovely ladies (and a few more not pictured who generously donate ingredients) banged out 10 pans of Chicken Macaroni Bake and 7 pans of Cookie Dough Pie in a half an hour! Our Community Outreach organizer has even made this a monthly event!

The group (I'm kneeling all the way on the right)

Heather O., Kris, and Amanda at their Chicken Mac station

Kendra and her invisible team (I'm taking the picture and Renee was getting our milk)

Renee (getting said milk), Sandi, Margo, Ramona, and Carol
assembling the Cookie Dough Pies

24 Recaps

Not that anyone is waiting with bated breath for my reviews, BUT I wanted to let you know that we are two weeks behind on 24. Hopefully, we can catch up tomorrow and I'll post a review then!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Crud [And Some Movie/Book Reviews]

Things I learned this week:
  • If your child picks up a stomach virus at daycare, don't delude yourself into thinking you won't get it. You will. And, your husband will too. The cats will not. [Why is that anyway? I've never seen these cats get sick. Which is all well and good because Cheli pukes enough on her own. Must Google that.]
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help if you get aforementioned crud disease. I have the best mom ever. Truly. I called her from my sick bed couch, and she popped right over to pick up Dash. Thanks, Mom. I also had several offers of help from friends (thanks, everyone!), but didn't want to risk infecting anyone who wasn't related to me. And, would still love me if they got the crud.
  • After you recover from All the Evil, you will find you only have energy enough to lay on the couch and click the remote buttons. Which brings me to a recap of the movies we watched. So, here you go.
First up was No Country for Old Men. I'll just admit it. I don't get it. I don't get the hype (it won Best Picture 2007) and I don't get the movie. I guess there was a slight point. Maybe. But, it was loooong and basically everyone dies. (That really won't ruin it for you, even if you go against my advice and spend two hours of your precious time watching it.) Tommy Lee Jones had a great character, but other than that? Blah.

Mr. Incredible took a computer break as his crud started before mine, and he could sit up at this point. Instead of lying like a heap of wet noodles on the couch like me. So, on to Mamma Mia. Hmmm... how do I put this? No one in the movie can sing. And, it's a musical. I take that back. Amanda Seyfried can sing. That's it. Meryl Streep: steller actress, beautiful, amazing, lovely, great dancer, can't sing a note. Colin Firth, my main man. Pierce Brosnan, Bond hottie. Why? Just why? If you can get past all that, it's a cute story (do I really have to tell you that it's based on the Broadway show based on the songs of ABBA?) with beautiful cinematography.

At this point, I crawled back into bed for a few hours and Mr. Incredible watched Dragon Wars. He said it was bad. I can't even find it on imdb.

We were still making our way through the stack of $2 movies we picked up at Blockbuster. Can you tell? Next up was In the Name of the King. This movie is much like The Lord of the Rings, but not as good. Burt Reynolds plays the king, but doesn't seem to have an accent, while everyone else does. Ray Liotta (whose best role of course was Henry Hill) is, well, terrible as the evil Gallian. Matthew Lillard (Scream, Scooby freakin' Doo!) plays the king's nephew and is also terrible. Jason Statham is awesome and his sidekicks to a good job. But, unfortunately, the good does not balance out the bad. Stick with The Lord of the Rings series.

I also watched Passengers with Anne Hathaway (who is gorgeous as always and one of my favorites). I'd never heard of it--did it go straight to DVD? It was pretty good. Not very original, though. It reminded me of a few other movies, but I won't list them as not to spoil it for you. Oh, and David Morse was in it too. Why don't people play Six Degrees of David Morse because holy crap, he's been in a ton of movies and TV shows.

I finally finished Careless in Red by Elizabeth George. It's probably bad that I picked this book up first instead of starting at the beginning of the series. I knew that it was a series, but didn't realize that this book was the last. A friend told me that this book was not her favorite in the series, so I may start at #1 and see how I like them.

I was not a big fan of this book. First off, it's huge--over 600 pages. There were too many characters and it took way too long to get interesting. I would say I finally got into it around page 250. If you are going to write a 600 page book, it better be good amazing!

I don't think I would recommend this book. But, I will probably start at the beginning one day to give Elizabeth George and Inspector Lynley a chance.
I'm now about a third of the way through Bel Canto, which I'm reading for my book club. So far, so good. I'm eager to see what happens next.

This post is linked up to What I Learned This Week at Musings of a Housewife.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Another CVS trip

The deals at CVS were slim over the last few months, so I'm happy to get a few good ones now!

My family had a terrible stomach virus over the weekend, but I had to run out to the store on Sunday morning. So, I stopped by CVS since I had a $4/20 CVS coupon that was emailed to me and expiring soon. I forgot to take a picture because, well, that one trip completely wore me out. I guess I was not as recovered as I thought.

Anyway, on to the deals!

Transaction #1

2 Dove for men body wash 5.49 each, earn 5.49 ECBS each, limit 2
1 newspaper 1.75
= 12.73
- 2.50 2 x 1.25 mfr coupons
- 10.00 ECBs earned here
= .23 oop, earned 10.98 in ECBs

Transaction #2

2 mega packs Pull-Ups 10.00 each
1 newspaper 1.75
= 21.75
- 4/20 CVS coupon
- 4.00 2 x 2.00 mfr coupons
- 10.98 ECBs from previous transaction
= 2.77 oop, earn 5.00 ECBs

So, all in all, I spent $3.00 of my own money for all of the above, plus I have 5.00 ECBs to roll next week!

Sometimes it pays to separate your transactions. There is nothing wrong with this at all. The key is to have your card and all of your coupons ready. I also make sure that there is not a long line. Otherwise, I will do my one transaction and get back at the end of the line to to the next.