Archives for July 2009

Flexible Friday #42
Oreos and Sour Candy

Those are the requests so far.

From the darling twins.

To bring when we arrive next Thursday for Family Day and Graduation.

Exact conversation with Scary Baby this morning:

Me: Can you believe it? At this time next week we’ll be with the girlies!

Scary Baby: I know! I can’t decide which one I’m going to hug first.

Me: I’m going to hug them both at the same time.

SB: Well, I’m going to run and jump on them so I get to hug them first.

Me: That’s fine. I’m going to hug them all day…

6 days and counting down.

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Weekend WOW!

We do our part to stimulate the economy by taking Scary Baby out to eat on Friday nights whenever we can. We try to pick local restaurants if possible. I know I’ve told you all before I’m not crazy about “chain” restaurants but mostly these days we’re all about “The Deal.”

“The Deal” consists of whatever bargain I can find – usually through restaurant.com or coupons from mailers or websites.

This past Friday we went to a restaurant about 3 miles down the road from our house. We think it has been there for about 8 years or so but we had avoided it until this year because:

  • a. it was a chain
  • b. we don’t eat a lot of meat
  • c. bison on the menu stresses PhilBillPaul

We first visited with Granny in May during the graduation hoopla.

We discovered that every burger can be made with your choice of beef or bison. Whew.

One of the best cheeseburgers I’ve ever had. Fresh cut french fries. Homemade soups. Everything was excellent.

So when we got a coupon at the beginning of July for $10 off a meal, we gladly returned.

This time PhilBillPaul had the fresh fish sandwich and I stuck with the cheeseburger. Excellent food again and great service which included the server returning the $10 off coupon saying it didn’t expire for a few weeks and to please come back again.

OH. MY. GOSH. It was like they were glad we were customers?!!

We went back with another couple two weeks later. And then returned again with Scary Baby.

Because I had to have the most perfect fresh fish sandwich ever.

Can I also mention they have the coolest kids’ packs?

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They keep all ages busy at the table while you wait for your food.

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Fun Dad’s creativity knows no bounds.

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Where were these cool things like crayangles and wikki stix when I had 3 toddlers?

On top of the entertainment, the service was excellent especially when this fluke of an accident happened.

Right as our food arrived, I knocked the ketchup bottle into my glass and we all watched my glass slowly crack and the quick-thinking waitress catch the broken glass overflowing with soda in her hands.

Unfortunately the soda also ran over the edges of the table and onto our feet. Oh yes, we all sat through our meal with sticky feet.

Side note: PhilBillPaul wants everyone to know that a piece of glass actually hit him and it hurt. He also wants everyone to know that if he had broken the glass with the ketchup bottle, he would have never heard the end of it.

Um. Yeah. Whatever. I apologized. Like I did it on purpose?

And when the manager found out, she came over and offered to get wet towels we could take to the bathroom which we declined. Mostly because our hot, fresh food had just arrived and we were all starving!

Instead we ordered two cups of water to go so we could rinse our feet in the parking lot.

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The manager caught me on the way out the door and offered another towel I could use in the parking lot.

I’m saying WOW in a big way on every level for this chain restaurant experience!

If beef or bison is not your thing and my raving review hasn’t convinced you to try the fish sandwich…find a location near you and try their summer, not-always-on-the-menu BEST Strawberry Shortcake Dessert I have ever had. In my life.

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PhilBillPaul agreed and that’s a big endorsement since he doesn’t even like fruit.

Read more about the restaurant’s eco-friendly goals at their website and sign up for your own coupons and specials via email. I just did because it says you get a free dessert on your birthday…and PhilBillPaul’s birthday is in just a few weeks. Woo-hoo!

I think I can now apply to become their official spokesperson. I’ll let you know if they hire me. 😉

Let me know if you have ever eaten at Ted’s and have you tried the bison?

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Flexible Friday #41
Best News All Week!

Close To Home

Close To Home© John McPherson

This clearly means that I’m 30 and weigh a lot less than the scale says.

Yipee!

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Hair Issues and Daughters

We have very few hair issues at our house which is a little surprising since we have three daughters.

The biggest issue has always just been getting them to BRUSH it so they don’t look like ragamuffins.

You might recall that Roger Leroy did have a scissor issue way back when.

Which created a 6 month hair issue for Wizzy.

The spray paint came out of Scary Baby’s hair – thankfully.

The big girls have worn their hair in a ponytail for about 6 years with little variation. Easy wash and wear for sports and they just don’t like to fuss with their hair. Wizzy does own a flat iron but neither are very interested in the time it takes to straighten and smooth their hair because they figured out they could sleep longer if they just put it in ponytail.

I totally understand the sleep thing and am quietly glad they have always been very low maintenance!

Before the darling twins left for the summer, Roger Leroy gave me very specific instructions about a purchase she needed me to make.

I have been remiss in my mom duties and never got the requested item mailed to her – mostly because I couldn’t find it at ANY store!

So I resorted to my favorite online shopping site – Ebay.

For the low, low price I purchased not one but TWO of the requested items for SIX CENTS + $2.50 shipping.

This way she and Wizzy would both have this important hair device that they need to help them wear their hair correctly when they are in uniform.

My not girly-girls are not going to be very excited that the two hair devices arrived in PINK.

But thank goodness they came with instructions.

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Oh wait, we can’t read Chinese.

Roger Leroy referred to said hair device as the “Magic Bun” but we were never able to locate one in a retail store before she left.

Pretty sure I bought the knock-off of this amazing device.

I gently convinced strong-armed Scary Baby into letting me test the device on her.

First I showed her the pictures of the wide variety of buns we could make.

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I am partial to the bottom two but she would have no part of it.

She didn’t seem to understand that not everyone has TWO “Magic Buns” at their disposal.

Why am I the only one who wanted to have fun with the “Magic Bun” imposter?

Fine, whatever.

After several attempts including one by PhilBillPaul, we finally had bun success.

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In case you are wondering how this amazing device works, Scary Baby allowed me to create this photo tutorial.

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Thread hair into device with bumpy side up.

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Roll hair up until tight and then bend amazing hair device and hook the ends together.

Have said model child squeal that “IT HURTS.”

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Remove bun device and free your hair.

P.S. In case you are interested in scoring a bargain “magic bun” device or perhaps a belly dancing scarf, this is the Ebay shop I bought them from.

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Playing Games with the Family

Playing a game at our house is a bit of an oxymoron.

Because playing indicates doing something for amusement or recreation.

Which is actually, with good intentions, what we always start out doing.

When The Grunter got off work early Saturday night we broke out Scrabble for a healthy game of word fun.

Scary Baby partnered up with Daddy for a little while. But Daddy tends to get grouchy as the board fills up and he ends up with no vowels and all consonants.

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And has to skip a turn and forfeit a scoring turn to trade in a few tiles.

That becomes the pivotal moment where he falls behind.

More grouchiness ensues.

Thankfully Scary Baby falls asleep.

So she doesn’t have to witness what happens when The Grunter beats him by 3 points and Mom forges ahead to beat them both…

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I had to unwad the tiny ball that was the scoresheet.

He threw it at us just as you would expect a grown man to do when having fun and “playing a game” with his family.

We are marvelous role models for our children. We try to alternate our mature grownup behavior so the kids can witness how to have fun every single day.

No wonder The Grunter’s girlfriend quietly observed that she didn’t think she wanted to play Scrabble with us. A bit too intense and we do keep score.

Does your family play board games? Is it fun and games or cutthroat competition?

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Flexible Friday #40 Blog Neglect

Friends tell me they keep up with me through this blog.

In fact, in phone calls and emails I am told they are up-to-date on our life here in Georgia thanks to this blog.

It’s a sweet sentiment and I’m glad to be able to communicate with family and friends near and far.

Meanwhile, time marches on and I’ve spent these past SEVEN weeks writing to the darling twins almost every single day.

Which I just figured out (because I’m old and slow) has caused some blog neglect.

The darling twins provided plenty of good blog material.

Not that Scary Baby and The Grunter haven’t provided their fair share. Oh how I wish I could share these evening’s events. But…

Believe it or not, I do have a filter that is not always broken and I do respect my childrens’ privacy…sometimes.

Don’t think I’m not saving the material for a later date. I totally am.

It’s just with all the darling twin letter writing, I think it has created some blog writer’s block for me.

Counting down till we get to go pick up the darling twins which is in 2 weeks and 6 days.

I know they will provide me with all sorts of writing inspiration.

Enjoy your weekend – we’re looking forward to some gorgeous weather!

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Call the Police

I’m not creative enough to make up stories.

I just have to go with real life experience.

When I got an email on Friday to confirm my request for my pin number and security question, I called PhilBillPaul immediately to see if he had requested this information.

When he said no, I sent a text to The Grunter to make sure it wasn’t him.

Next it was a call to our cell phone provider. Remember, we just renewed our relationship with them a few weeks ago.

This is the part I cannot make up – the conversation with “customer service” went like this:

Me: I’m calling because I’m concerned about an email I received confirming our pin and security question answer because we did not request it so we think our account may have been compromised.

CSR: Let me look at your file…no, I don’t see any changes. The last online activity was that you paid your bill.

Me: This email is dated today at 8:38 a.m. and no one in our house was requesting information. I think this is an account security issue.

CSR: Let me look at your file…again I don’t see anything.

Me: So I shouldn’t be concerned about this email that tells me someone requested the information?

CSR: Wait I just checked another place on your account, I do see that at 7:30 a.m. today someone did request pin information.

Me: Can you determine where the request came from via the IP address of the computer that requested it?

CSR: Do you mind if I transfer you to technical support because we don’t have access to that kind of information?

Me: Yeah…sure. (with no enthusiasm–holding for about 3 minutes)

Tech Support: Hi (insert perky voice) Can I get the mobile number you’re calling about and how can I help you?

Me: So you want me to repeat everything I just told the CSR who connected us?

Tech Support: Um, yeah, sorry about that. Oh wait, let me just look at the notes…(insert my yawn while she reads aloud what I just told the CSR). So is that right, you are looking for the IP address of the computer that wanted your pin number?

Me: Not exactly but close. I was thinking you all would want the IP address and this would be a security and fraud issue that you would want to know about.

Tech Support: Actually we can’t access that information. We’re just tech support if you have a technical support issue with a phone.

Me: Okay, I didn’t actually ask to talk to you and since this is obviously not your job…shall I just not worry about this?

Tech Support: OH NO (insert genuinely concerned voice) if you are concerned then we recommend that you call local law enforcement and they contact our corporate security and they can take it further.

Me: (Trying not to laugh) Did you really just suggest I CALL THE POLICE because of my Sprint pin and security question?

Tech Support: Well I know that may sound drastic…

Me: Actually it seems like a gross misuse of our resources and you should really have a better “next step” in your binder full of customer solutions. Perhaps you can suggest that in your next training meeting…

Holy Cow I’m NOT

Saying WOW.

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Tennessee in July

We took a spontaneous overnight trip to Nashville over 4th of July weekend with Scary Baby.

I love the city even when they aren’t hosting the CMA Festival.

I thought it would be fun to show Scary Baby and PhilBillPaul where we sit in the 100 degree weather for four days of fun and music!!

First, we headed to Riverfront Park where they had concerts all day leading up to the fireworks at night.

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Hot weather brings out people’s best summer wardrobes, don’t you think?

Frankly, I think all men should be required to wear shirts at all times. Or maybe that’s just me being fussy.

After a great lunch at a tavern downtown called McFadden’s, we headed to our hotel so Scary Baby could go swimming. I’ve learned that it really doesn’t matter where you take kids on vacation. The high point for them is the hotel and the pool. You really don’t need to plan any activities. Or is that just my kids?

After a quick swim in a *freezing* cold pool, we just relaxed in our room and picked out a place for dinner before the fireworks. Soon, a huge rainstorm rolled in.

Scary Baby was a trooper though while we sat in downtown traffic watching people head to their cars soaking wet. I was sure the storm would pass but darn it, the rain didn’t let up and that meant…

NO FIREWORKS.

Yes, kind of sad since we were really looking forward to watching one of the nation’s best fireworks displays – at least according to what a few websites said.

We stayed dry and decided that we could eat downtown again since everyone was leaving!

We chose an Italian restaurant called Demo’s in downtown that we had passed earlier in the day.

Best discovery 15 years too late for me…

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I would have bought these by the case when I had 3 toddlers and always carried little packs of crayons in my purse for restaurants and when we traveled anywhere.

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How many crayons has PhilBillPaul had to hunt down and pick up under a table on the dirty floor of a restaurant? Um, I lost count after the first 100. Ick.

Finally, on our way home on Sunday we decided to stop in Chattanooga for an early dinner. Seeing any trend here? Yes, I plan my life around my next meal.

We really like to try local places that at least are not chains where we live. We were thinking BBQ since it’s a great southern food. Believe it or not, I have this same picture in a family photo album before Scary Baby was born.

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Still there and we still haven’t been brave enough to venture inside. PhilBillPaul just cannot get in the mood for chopped weiners. Go figure. Maybe it’s because we have two weiner dogs?

Side note: I did a little internet research and found this explanation since it definitely seems to be a regional cuisine.

by MellowRoast on Roadfood.com forum

Re: Weiner plates

That may be a uniquely ‘Nooga food item and it’s quite good, depending on the establishment. Sometimes referred to as a “chopped weiner plate”, its simply sliced franks smothered in chili and topped with mustard, relish, and cole slaw (perhaps oyster crackers). I make them at home all the time.

Instead we chose Sticky Fingers, which we learned is a chain and there are even 3 in Georgia – just not in the Atlanta area.

They had a super busy 4th of July weekend and were out of ribs which they told us before seating us. No problem – we were planning on having pork sandwiches anyway. But I was craving some cornbread. And the onion rings sounded delicious.

Until the waitress came back and told us they were out of cornbread AND onions. 🙁

I was not saying WOW.

But then, just like in the old days, when customer service mattered and businesses cared that people showed up to spend money in their establishment…

The manager came to our table to apologize. And offer two $10 off coupons for our next visits. When I confirmed that there were no locations in Atlanta – he bought us dessert.

That made me say WOW!

I really should have taken a picture of the BOWL of warm pecan pie with ice cream. YUM! I recommend that over the peach cobbler.

Scary Baby got her brownie sundae to go.

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Disclaimer: I no longer dress PhilBillPaul. He thinks these shorts are funny that he got from his nephew in Texas.

Back home safe and sound a few hours later and a few pounds heavier… if we were inclined to weigh ourselves…but we’re not.

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4th of July Wardrobe Changes

Last year, I shared with you our family tradition of buying those Old Navy 4th of July t-shirts. You know, that $5 tee campaign that created traditions for many families across America was brilliant.

This year, I’m not sorry to say that those Old Navy shirts have been replaced…

By a different wardrobe choice…

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Seeing your daughters in uniform for the first time can really make you catch your breath…

Especially over 4th of July weekend.

Click over to iLashGirls if you’d like to read a little bit more about what I wrote about them there and how proud we are of them for choosing to help us all celebrate and defend our freedom.

I’m printing and sending them blog posts so feel free to leave them a sweet comment and I’ll print those too!

They absolutely love getting mail and they told me this weekend that they share their mail with all their friends who don’t necessarily get as much as they do…because my darling twins have ME as their “sweet” mother. 😉

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P.S. Freedom is our word of the month over at iLashGirls. You won’t want to miss two great giveaways this week ~ summer party goodies and our favorite quotes from our brand new Etsy shop!

Flexible Friday #39 AirTran Impresses

With years of bad customer service stories under our collective (and expanding) belts, it’s always nice when we can share a RAVE instead of a rant!

Scary Baby arrived back from Texas this week. She spent three weeks with Granny, who has now moved into Saint status in my life. 🙂

We have never sent any of our children on a plane to visit anyone by themselves. I’m a weenie mom like that. There are a host of reasons for my decision that I’ll be glad to explore another day.

Meanwhile, after the many, many exhausting weeks with the darling twins and then shipping them off to Basic Training

A parenting break looked pretty darn good.

Until I started reading some horror stories online about unaccompanied minors on flights. And the add-on price for this luxury is a breathtaker. Even if Granny was so kind to purchase her ticket.

AirTran had the most reasonable flight price and the most reasonable unaccompanied minor price.

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I wasn’t shopping bargain prices if it meant bargain services for Scary Baby. I wanted her to feel safe and for us to not worry.

Only one parent can accompany them to the gate and PhilBillPaul won this honor because he is her favorite parent. It’s okay, it’s pretty much been this way since her birth.

Anyway, the praise came directly from him. He said AirTran really has their act together with their system of helping a parent get a kid to their destination. He was impressed by their customer service and felt very comfortable putting our daughter on the plane.

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Kudos to AirTran and thank you for helping get Scary Baby to and from Texas!

I hope you all enjoy a wonderful 4th of July weekend with your family and friends celebrating the blessings of freedom in America!

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