Monthly Archives: May 2011

Chips! And Free Chips for You!

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Update: Free chip winners have been chosen!

Commenter #10 is Amber & commenter #4 is Shawna! Congrats, guys. Send me your contact info and I’ll pass it along to Shearer’s.

I love chips. No – that’s an understatement. I really, REALLY love chips. I am totally serious when I say that if there were an entire chocolate cake in front of me and I had to choose between it and a bag of chips I would take the chips 99% of the time. And the 1% when I took the cake? Immediately upon finishing it, I would want – you guessed it – CHIPS.

So, needless to say, when Shearer’s contacted me to see if I would like to try their new line of chips and share them with some friends, I got as far as the word “chips” before I started yelling “Oh HELL YEAH!”

Shearer’s told me they’d be sending me a whole bunch of chips, but I had no idea what “a whole bunch” meant until the giant box arrived at my doorstep. Since my schedule was a little crazy, I couldn’t have my “chip party” for a few weeks, so the time between the chips arriving and the chip party was pretty much spent like this:

The Boy: Can I have some of those chips?
Me: No – they are for the chip party.
The Boy: Come on! Let me have some of those chips!
Me: No – they are for the chip party!
The Boy: Now?
Me: No.
The Boy: Now?
Me: No.
The Boy: Now?
Me: No.
The Boy: NOW?
Me: NO!

Luckily, I managed to keep him out of the chip pile until it was time to share them with some friends. And there were plenty to share:

The photo doesn’t even clearly illustrate the sheer volume of chips – there were a TON. And man, were they good. Also – the silver bags were temporary packaging – in the stores, you’ll see pretty bags.

First off, there were the classic potato chips – they sent us Classic, Rippled, Barbeque, and Sour Cream and Onion. They were all good, but Rippled seemed to be the favorite. The BBQ chips are really good, too – the flavor is just right – lots of it, but not overwhelming. And the thing I love best about the “non-flavored” varieties is that they had just the right amount of salt. Unsalted is too bland, but many brads use WAY too much salt. These were just right. And the extra-awesome thing about Shearer’s potato chips is that they have recently been revamped – they are now made with 100% High Oleic Canola Oil, which means no trans fat. If I am going to eat chips like the crazy chip-lover that I am, it’s nice to know they are a little more healthy now!
They also sent along some of their non-potato chips, like Riceworks and Shapers.

Riceworks are made with brown rice and they are YUMMY. We tried the Sweet Chili, Parmesan and Sun Dried Tomato, and the Sea Salt. A couple of people liked the Sea Salt best, but I couldn’t get enough of the Sweet Chili. I like that these are a healthy snack that are still packed with flavor. All of the flavors went well with the dips we had (hummus, French onion, and some kind of cheddar and bacon). They have a couple more flavors, and I intend to try them all. Because in addition to being delicious, these snacks are all natural, with no preservatives or artificial colors. They are low in saturated fat, have no trans fat and are wheat and gluten free. They have no cholesterol and they have 33% less fat than regular potato chips.

Lastly, we tried the Shapers, which are whole grain chips. They are packed with nutritious fiber and whole grain (obviously) – each serving has 19 grams of whole grains, so they are hearty as well as delicious. And they have no (or low in the case of Cheddar) saturated fat. What surprised me about the Shapers is how light and crispy they are. Some brands of whole grain chips are thick – more like a tortilla chip – but Shapers were thin and crispy like a potato chip. So you can get the “feel” of a potato chip with the nutrition of a whole grain chip. These were my favorites. We tried the Sea Salt and the Black Bean and Salsa flavors. And let me tell you, after a couple of the Black Bean and Salsa ones, I grabbed them, ran from the room and hid in a corner, threatening anyone that got too close to me and my Precious…I mean Shapers. I loved them THAT MUCH. I can’t wait to try the additional flavors of Cheddar and Cinnamon. Especially the Cinnamon, because dessert chips? I am IN!
Anyway, thanks to Shearer’s for the opportunity to try out some yummy new addictions snacks. We all had a great time and everyone (even the camera shy who don’t want their photos published) agreed that we would be buying more in the near future!

And now I have something for YOU. Leave me a comment and tell me what your favorite snack is, and I will randomly select TWO winners to each receive 5 bags of Shearer’s chips! It’s party season now, so I am sure these could come in handy. Or you could hide them from all those vultures and keep them all for yourself. Either way – delicious! I’ll draw the winners on Friday.

And now the legal stuff: Shearer’s provided the chips and a grocery gift card for me to throw a chip party, but they had nothing at all to do with what I have written. My crazy, obsessive chip-love for Shearer’s is all mine.

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No Dogs Allowed

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The puppy (I have a hard time calling him that because he’s an enormous beast) – who was suspiciously not in his crate – wandered into the bedroom last night and jumped up on the bed with me. I was too lazy tired to get up and put him in the crate, so I figured, what the hell, I’ll let him sleep in here with me tonight. Big mistake. Because while I got in bed thinking, “Ahhh…sleep”, he was thinking something a little more like this:

“I’m in the bed! IN THE BED!! Wooo!!!! First I think I’ll run over her! And then over here! And here! And wheee – I’m over here now!! WOOOOO! I can jump! Yay, jumping! Jump! Jump! Jump! JUMP!! Wait, what’s that? Grrrr…woof! Hey! I’m on the bed! Wooooo! I love the bed! It’s for bouncing! BOUNCE! BOUNCE! This is fun! Wheeee! A CAT! YAY! Jump! Bounce! I’m on this side! Now I’m on this side! Whoa – TAIL! Get it! Get it! Get it! GOT IT!! Around and around and around and around and around! Where’d it go? THERE! POUNCE!! I think I’ll lay down now. THUMP! Mmmmmm…my toenails! Chomp crunch crunch CHOMP CRUNCH! What’s that? What is it?? SOMEONE’S FOOT! GET IT!! Jump JUMP POUNCE! Grrr! My BUTT! Lick! Slurp! Lick! Licklicklicklicklick! BURP! I wonder if I can roll over my person? OMG! FUN!! Roll roll roll rollrollrollROLLROLLROLL! WHEEEEEE!!! Hey! I’m back on this side again! Now this side! Now this side! WOOOOOO!!!!!

Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep. Let’s see if he cares:

That’s what I thought.

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I Smell the Smelly Smell of Something That Smells Smelly

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I saw a clip from one of the morning shows this week that was talking about odd beauty products and one of the ones they featured was Demeter fragrances. This company has a ton of different scents for reasonable prices. Sounds pretty good, right? So I figured I’d check out the website and see what they had to offer. And boy do they have some doozies.

I’ll admit – some of these are normal fragrances, like lilac or patchouli. But others are “different”. Of those, some are understandable – salt air (Kramer was onto something), or maybe snow (which sounds like it might smell good, but the description says it includes the scent of “dust” and “earth, so I’m not so sure).

And while they are odd, scents like play-doh and crayon are fun, if not particularly wearable. But then it starts getting weird:

Tomato (delightful for eating, but I don’t want to smell like it.

Laundromat (I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but most Laundromats I’ve been to smell like Tide and hangovers – I can get that in my own basement on a Sunday) .

Gin & Tonic (I can smell my friends for that one).

Wet Garden (I imagine this one smells like worms – oh wait – they have one called “Earthworm”, too! Yum)

Dirt (their description says that it “was made to smell exactly like the dirt from the fields around the Pennsylvania family farm belonging to our founding perfumer. “ So…manure, then?).

Cannibis (the motto for this one is “Smell it, don’t smoke it.” Now, I don’t know about you but I spent a whole lot of time in college trying to not smell like weed. I think they need to go back to the drawing board and make a perfume that makes weed smell go away. They’d make a mint).

Paint (also known as “headache in a bottle”).

Holy Water (this one would clearly burn if I put it on).

Turpentine (seriously? At $20 an ounce, I’ll pass. If I want to smell like turpentine, I’ll buy a whole quart of it for $8.99).

Tarnish (I don’t even know).

Stable (Sweaty horse. No really – it says right on the description: “sweet animal sweat”).

Funeral Home (No really – FUNERAL HOME. I have never once said “It smells like a funeral home in here” and meant it as a compliment).

Of course, I guess I can’t complain too much about Demeter perfumes, considering there is a company out there that makes scents like “Fat Electrician” and one that has to do with “secretions”, another that makes vagina-scented perfume, and yet another where the creator makes perfume out of HIS OWN SHIT. Delightful.

Vote!

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Don’t forget folks – today is Election Day and you need to get out there and vote. Seriously. Here are some reasons why:

1. Because someone is talking about raising your taxes or reassessing your property or cutting your benefits or taking your land or raising your energy costs or lowering your wages or eliminating your job. Vote.

2. Because you love to run your big fat mouth about the government, and the problems in your country or state or city or borough. Vote.

3. Because we all should have the right to get married. Vote.

4. Because you’re sick of making 75 cents on the dollar (or 68 or 57) compared to your white male counterpart.

5. Because even though you believe in God (or not), you understand that he doesn’t belong in our schools. Besides, if he’s in your heart, you don’t need someone to lead you to him during recess anyway. Or because you think he does belong there. Vote.

6. Because you have no social life and fucking with the last-minute campaign workers is fun. As they thrust their literature at you, hand them your card. Or a losing lottery ticket. Or a playing card. Or a tootsie pop. Or a scientology brochure. Have fun with it. Vote.

7. Because there are people in government who will outright lie about statistics in order to further their agenda that will result in illness and death of poor and uninsured women. Vote.

8. Because if some politicians have their way, women and girls who are victims of rape and incest seeking abortions will have to prove it to the IRS or be audited. Vote.

9. Because there’s nothing on TV at that time anyway. Vote.

10. Because you’re damned sick and tired of hearing about more and more (and more) casualties. Vote.

11. Because voting is HOT! Vote.

12. Because the US Supreme Court is upholding a school’s decision to kick a teenage rape victim off the cheerleading squad for refusing to cheer for her convicted rapist. And making her pay $45,000 in the school’s court cost. Vote.

13. Because you can. Vote.

14. Because you should. Vote.

15. Because the notion that blind allegiance = patriotism needs to abolished once and for all. Vote.

16. Because we are still blaming the victim. Even though the victim is 11 and she was raped by 18 men. Vote.

17. Because regardless of what you thought of the outcome, Election 2000 should never happen again. Vote.

18. Because too many people are still displaced in the southeast US. Vote.

19. Because poverty is still a huge problem in the US. Vote.

20. Because I said so. Vote.

21. Because breathing other people’s smoke sucks. Vote.

22. Because you want control over your own body. Vote.

23. Because no book should ever be banned. Vote.

24. Because not many of us can afford college. Vote

25. Because more than 40 million Americans are without health insurance. Think this doesn’t affect you? You’re wrong. These people end up using emergency rooms for basic healthcare, which clogs up the system, resulting in inferior care and increased costs for everyone. Vote.

26. Because over 17 million children in the US go to bed hungry every night and don’t know when their next meal will come. Vote.

27. Because that Native American from the 70s? Still crying. Vote.

28. Because you do not need an AK47 to kill a deer. Vote.

29. Because almost 50 years later, we’re still not judging people by the content of their character. Vote.

30. Because the suffragettes and the civil rights workers didn’t their bust their asses for you to sit on yours. Vote.

31. Because as much as it sucks, picking the lesser of the two evils is better than letting everyone else pick for you. Vote.

So, in case you didn’t get me: Please Vote.

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Her abilities do NOT run in the family

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Considering that I don’t run – ever (I’m saving up all my running for a time when it really matters – like a zombie apocalypse) and that her brother used to look at clouds and play in dirt on the soccer field, I was a little surprised at The Girl’s skills. She plays all out and is not afraid to get in there and go after the ball.

Just don’t tell her about that time Brandi Chastain ripped off her shirt on the soccer field. I have enough trouble on my hands with this one.


Running for Their Lives

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Parents all have the same worst fear – something happening to their kids. We all seem to know someone, whether in person or online, who has gone through the devastating experience of having a child with a life threatening illness. And most of us have cried for them, prayed for them, hoped and wished that we could do something to help them. Some of us have walked and marched and fund-raised and donated to help the charities that help these families, all the while trying to fathom the unfathomable – the possibility of losing a child.

Even if we can’t understand what it it like, we can imagine it – while we don’t intimately know the worry and pain and terror, the mere thought of it brings tears to our eyes – sympathy for the children themselves, for the parents, for the siblings who don’t understand.

But if you thought that having a child with a life threatening illness was the worst thing a parent could endure, just imagine if you had it happen to two of your children. At the same time.

That’s what happened to Laura Boyd, back in 1999. In mid-December 1999, the unthinkable happened – her son Adam was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma. And then the just a week later – the even more unthinkable happened – her daughter Amanda was diagnosed with Stage III Neuroblastoma. One moment, they were a normal family, getting ready for Santa to visit and the next, they were a family going through every parent’s worst nightmare TIMES TWO.

Amanda is now a healthy, happy teenage girl. But sadly, Adam lost his battle on January 8, 2004. And since then, Laura has made it her life’s work to raise awareness and support of The Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation. It is her sincere hope that one day, no one will ever have to endure what her family did, and if her work helps contribute to that goal, then it is not in vain.

So what does she do?

She runs.

She runs to raise money. She runs to raise awareness.

She runs for their lives.

She started a running group, which has developed into Team Odyssey. And on May 15th, Team Odyssey will be running in the Pittsburgh Marathon to help The Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation help families like her own.

If you have a few bucks to spare, visit Team Odyssey’s donation page and help them reach their goal.

Here is a segment on Pittsburgh Today Live that featured Laura and Team Odyssey (and another parent running for the same cause):

If that doesn’t work, click this link

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Life With A Teenage Boy

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I was walking through the house when The Boy went hustling past me in a hurry. I asked where he was going and he said, “There’s no toilet paper in our bathroom, so I am going in yours.” Now, I don’t have a problem with him using my bathroom, but mine is old and small and ugly and the kids have a nice, new, big bathroom. Plus, it irritates me that he is so lazy that he would walk all the way across the house to my bathroom, rather than just grabbing a new roll for his.

So I told him that I didn’t care if he used my bathroom, but that he needed to get a new roll and put it in his. He said OK and that was the end of it.

Or so I thought until a few hours later when I was in my bathroom and reached for the paper, only to discover that the the new roll he took into his bathroom? Came from my bathroom dispenser.