Last Week Wrap-Up - Part 1
Some (not all) money worries have been alleviated because of the unexpected monetary gift bestowed upon us and I've not ceased being amazed at how the other issues that have been thorns in my side are less prickly.
Remember that detox diet I mentioned? Yeah, that didn't fly. Caffeine is on the "abstain from" list of this diet. By the end of Wednesday I was just tired and didn't feel as great as I remember the other times I'd done this diet. Thursday morning I made a pot of coffee and within twenty minutes of having half a cup, I was perky and motivated. I crammed everything into the morning that I wanted to - including my workout before leaving for work. Then I did a second workout in between jobs. So there we have it - My name is Meghan and I'm addicted to caffeine.
The sundae that was last week was so magnificent it had two cherries! On Monday the owner of the company is coming for a visit. My boss sent an e-mail iterating how important it was for us to make sure the reception area is top notch (check for any cracks in the ceiling, weird stains) and that we need to be at our absolute best (dressed, behavior, etc..). Regarding our attire, she said he is conservative so we should dress "as though we are going to a very fashionable funeral". (Her fluidity with communicating continues to impress me.) I sifted through my mental rolodex of ensembles - since I don't have many that didn't take longer than thirty seconds - and determined I needed a new outfit. The great deal I scored on the outfit was the first cherry.
Before I left, I prepped my area as best I could and offered to come in early; my boss said it wasn't necessary. I left and hit the shopping center that's on the way home. The two stores in this plaza popped into my head immediately were TJ Maxx and Target.
TJ Maxx first. As I walked into the store I dropped my iPhone (yet again) and the back cracked and shattered! Doh! I was relieved not only because the phone still worked, but it wasn't the front that had shattered. Even if I found an outfit at TJ Maxx, I was definitely going to Target for a case.
I struck out at TJ Maxx. There were a ton of people (and we all know how much I LOVE crowded stores) After about ten minutes of perusing the "Career" section and some of the dresses, I was done. Off to Target I went. (Nuh nuh-nuh na nuh-nuh).
I weaved my carriage through the women's clothes. While I was somewhat impressed with their selection, nothing really jumped out at me. The way I shop, something has to scream "Meghan, you MUST buy me!" I hadn't heard that yet.
I meandered over to the Electronics department for a new case. A very helpful associate showed me this super-duper case that will protect my phone from inevitable future drops (especially if we cancel one of our phone lines and give the phone to Isaac for Christmas as an iPod touch). He cleaned up the phone for me and put it in the case. I was so happy - it still looks all shiny and new!
When I left Target I was still deflated because I hadn't found the perfect outfit. I almost just went home, then decided it couldn't hurt to pop into the JC Penny that's on the other side of TJ Maxx. As I pulled out of the parking lot and looked to my right, what did I see tucked in the back corner of shopping center? Ann Taylor LOFT! Hurrah! I've had great luck with this store in pinch-type situations.
Nu nuh-nuh na nuh-nuh.
I snagged a spot right in front of the store and entered. Ahhhhh. Fashion, not a crowd, surrounded me. Signs that read "40% of Marked Down Prices" and "$20 off $50 purchase; $50 off $100 purchase; $75 off $150 purchase of regular-priced clothes" hung around the store. Hmmmm. After about fifteen minutes of circulating through the store I found two dresses. One was a ribbed magenta sweater dress and the other I bought. I brought them back to the dressing room for a fitting. I slipped the size 4 dress on first just to be certain it's too small - but it wasn't! AND it looked great with boots I was wearing. I needed another opinion just to confirm I wasn't delusional. Since BSB (Best Shopping Bud) wasn't with me I snagged a fashionable sales associate; she assured me a padded cell wasn't in my near future. When I asked if she thought a pair of pumps would be better, she said no. Another patron exited the stall across from me, gave me a once over and said, "Now I want to buy that dress!"
When I mentioned I was supposed to look like I was going to a fashionable funeral, the sales associate said, "You're going to get some tights, right?"
"We have some. I'll get you a pair."
While I changed she brought me a pair of black tights. I took everything to the register.
"Would you like to donate one dollar to St. Jude's Children's Hospital today?" the clerk asks.
"Okay." She scanned the dress and tights. The dress was $89.90; the tights $12.50. The entire purchase totaled just over $100. "It looks like you qualify for a discount."
"$50 off a $100 order?"
My total came to $52!
"With all the money I just saved, I think I will donate one dollar to St. Jude's."
Because of my generous donation, a 20% off coupon for my next purchase was dropped in my bag. I was transported back to the Jeep via Cloud Nine and I zipped on over to pick up Shiloh from her in-home daycare. While there, I confirmed with her daycare provider that she and her husband were still coming over for dinner Saturday night. Then we sailed on home.
|NOT ready for my far-away shot...|
|Ready for a my far-away shot....|
It was 3:30ish when we got home and I spent the rest of the night (until 8:00) cleaning and folding laundry. I only stopped to order two calzones for dinner. They were, of course, the only low-cal calzones on the face of the planet. Isaac had been pretty wonderful so we let him stay up until nine - when he promptly disappeared and the Isaac Monster reared his ugly head. He stomped up the stairs then screamed from his room, "I WANT SOMEONE TO TUCK ME IN!" as he rattled his bed ladder. He woke up Shiloh, who went back to sleep quickly, and I had to go in and quietly threaten him with a weekend spent in his room if he didn't stop it and go to sleep. I actually managed to get him to knock his nonsense off without yelling or uttering a single swear word! I was quite proud of myself. No more nine o clock bed times for the foreseeable future!
The second cherry was....... Tune in next time to find out!
WHAT'S FOR FOOTBALL SUNDAY?
But the munchies are the reason for this section - not my amateur observations! It's chip and dip day today. This Hot Spinach and Artichoke dip is absolutely divine - and if you eat just one serving, it's also relatively guilt free! The best part (to me anyway) is that fresh spinach is used. I made it last week and didn't have any basil on hand and it tasted fine. This time around I made sure to include basil and the difference was obvious. It adds an earthy-yet-slightly-minty freshness. If you don't have basil readily available and make it anyway - can I have a taste?
2 tbsp finely diced tomato
1 small shallot or 2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
2 tsps roasted cumin
Cut open the avocado... Provided it's not overripe it should be a gorgeous, bright green. Scoop the green goodness into a bowl, toss in the the tomatoes and shallot/red onion, and sprinkle some cumin atop it all and mash away until it's reached your preferred consistency.
BAKED GARLIC WHOLE WHEAT PITA CHIPS
This is my preferred brand of whole wheat pita bread to use. I get it from Wal-Mart for $1.25/6 loaf package. When I make the pita chips I use at least one whole package. Sometimes two.
1 package of whole wheat pita bread
5 (or more) cloves of finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (add more if/as needed)
Kosher salt (or a container of Jane's Crazy Mixed-Up Salt)
1 pastry brush
Preheat oven to 400. Cut each pita loaf into triangles like you would a pizza, then pull those triangles apart. (I just discovered this is easier than slicing each loaf in half then cutting those halves into triangles). Put the chopped garlic in a bowl and pour the olive oil over it. Spray your baking sheets with cooking spray. Use the pastry brush to spread the oil-garlic mixture on the inside part of each pita slice. Fit as many as you can on your baking sheet without overcrowding. The sprinkle with whatever salt you have available. Bake for 6 - 8 minutes, depending on whether or not your baking sheets are insulated. Remove from oven and devour!