Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I do want to try some different recipes this year. I've been searching all over the interwebz for some great ideas. I wanted to share what I've found.
These are from the Pillsbury website. You just you refrigerated sugar cookies, and some other small ingredients. Very cute! I'm sure you could make all kinds of designs with the right colored frosting.
I saw these on Picky Palate the other day. They immediately made my mouth water. You can't tell from this picture, but there are Candy Cane Hershey's Kisses in the middle of these brownies. I picked up two bags of the Hershey's Kisses last night in preparation for these delightful treats. I love everything on Picky Palate's blog. Now only if I had the time to bake/cook more.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
I knew that WE (Angry Husband, BFF Stacey, and me) could accomplish this project. I knew that it would not be very costly. It really wasn't complicated, but add in very busy schedules, and that's why, I'm posting the final results over a month later.
At the beginning of November, I posted my "before" photograph. This is when the project began. I started by cleaning out the closet. I took several items to the Goodwill and Salvation Army.
In mid-November, I posted some sneak previews of the paint in the closet. Stacey came over for the day and painted the closet. I'm totally allergic to paint, and doing anything creative like painting. The paint color is Valspar Jalapeño Jelly 6005-6A in semi-gloss, which is found at Lowes. We went through a gallon of paint, because the closet probably had never been painted since house was built, seriously. We took out the shelf and the bar in the closet before it was painted. We also took off the door to the closet to make it a little easier to paint.
The Closet with Expedit Shelf in Place
Closet After Melamine Shelf and Closet Rod Were Installed (Various Views)
Finished Closet with All Our Stuff (Door Removed)
Closet with Door Back On, and Coat Rack on Interior of Door
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
It's been an awesome year, blogging-wise. I've made so many great connections. But after doing this "blogging" for two and half years, I've realized something. You cannot do it alone. It really takes a village. Blogging is about community. I think to be somewhat successful, you need community to interact with. I've found so many great blogs, and people throughout my many communities that I participate in. I've been participating in SITS for small while now, but have made so many connections through their site.
SITS is a group of women bloggers dedicated to supporting one another by leaving comments. Lots and lots of comments. Whether you are new to blogging and looking for blogs to read, or a veteran looking to expand your readership, a mommy blogger or a single gal, SITS is for you!
Happy SITSmas To You!!!
Oh, and the photo above? Taken at Disney Family Media Day last weekend. See my review site for details of that day. Angry Toddler refused to pose with the characters.
Monday, December 07, 2009
HGTV shows that recycled brown Kraft paper is a great anytime gift wrap. Tie with twine and embellish.
Gift boxes from Holiday theme scrapbooking papers.
I usually buy most of my wrapping paper from Sally Foster. It is a company that usually sells through the schools for fundraisers. I became addicted to Sally Foster wrap a few years ago, when a co-worker was pimping, I mean selling it for their child's school. I love the paper, because it is thick, cuts easy, and is usually reversible.
Gift Wrap and Bow Videos from the Container Store
7 Gift Wrapping tips and Tricks from Good Housekeeping
How To Create A Wired Bow from Living with Lindsay
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Friday, December 04, 2009
We have a fake Christmas tree, why? Because I'm allergic to Christmas trees. I never had a real tree, as a child. Damn asthma. I always wanted a tree. Angry Husband and I tried to get real trees for a few years. Well, hello snot mess. I was coughing and sneezing, but I sucked it up and dealt with it. I know better, but these are the things that you do for your "real tree loving" husband. A few years ago, we got a fabulous fake one at Target, on sale, the day after Christmas, for cheap cheap cheap...
In 2007, Angry Toddler was 19 months old. He was walking, climbing, you name it. This was the start of a very wild stage. We knew that he would be total chaos around the Christmas tree. We decided to not put up the tree. We had regrets and put it up Christmas Eve right after "Santa" left. Angry Toddler was shocked when he came out in the morning. We are lazy, hence, no ornaments. It was midnight. This is what you get at midnight.
In 2008, we decorated the tree, and Angry Toddler did not mess with it. We have the most random collection of ornaments. Most of them are from my childhood. It was always a tradition for my grandmother to buy me an ornament every year for my birthday in November. The rest of the ornaments were randomly bought throughout the years. I see all these awesome trees, and it get sad. This tree really looks pathetic. It has no theme, it's random. What you see is what you get?
I wish I was more creative. It seems that we always get super busy and put off the Christmas decorating. It doesn't help that Angry Husband works in retail, and this is the busy season for him.
Just come and get it from my rafters in the garage.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
I immediately logged into their online system, which was a total pain because I had not logged in since their full merger with Washington Mutual. I guess that I needed to create another account. So I had to hunt for my account number, verify it, etc. I look on their website and see that there was a charge, the day before, for $149.31 to Dual Action Cleanse. Yea um, not our charge.
So I immediately call the bank's telephone number listed on the back of my ATM/debit Card number to report that fraud has occurred involving our account. I went through the phone tree from HELL to finally get to someone. I finally spoke to a representative. It was very very hard to hear the person on the other end of the phone. I explained that the $149.31 charge on our account was not ours. I also told her that my husband and I both had our cards in our possession. The representative tells me that I need to call the company "Dual Action Cleanse" and get them to refund the charge, explain that I did not make it, etc. I said, "ummm okay, and then what". She tells me to call them (Chase) back to let them know that I called "Dual Action Cleanse" to report this. That's it. I did not get a "as Chase, we are going to cancel your debit card number, re-issue new cards, assign this to an investigator, etc"....NOTHING! I could hear crickets in the background..I said, "Ok, I will call them." She had given me their telephone number. She actually assumed that I would have the number, which, I can't understand why she would even think that.
So I call "Dual Action Cleanse" and speak with one of their representatives. I tell them that our debit card was used to make a purchase that was fraudulent. I gave the last four digits of both of our debit card numbers. He found the transaction and advised me that it had been made over the telephone. He confirmed the debit card number belonged to Angry Husband. He actually read out the entire card number and the expiration date. I confirmed that yes, that is our correct card info. I then asked him if they had the card security code, the three digit number from the back of the card. He told me that they did not require that for purchases. He also informed me that the product was already shipped out, and gave me the purchaser information.
I then went through the phone tree from HELL again. I speak with a representative and tell them my entire story all over again. She basically asks, "did you get the vendor to refund your card?" I say, yes, and that they "said" they were refunding the charges. She was ready to end the call right there. I said, hold on, I have more questions to ask. This is what I asked, #1 Are you going to send us new debit cards, #2 Is this claim going to an investigator, #3 why did this charge even go through, and give my account a negative balance? I do not have overdraft protection. This should have never happened especially with a debit card transaction. The representative told me that #1. it was Angry Husband's debit card account. They needed his permission to close account. We had a to do a conference call with him to cancel it. She also cancelled mine. #2. She "claimed" this there was a notion of case, etc under my account number. #3. She said, if the charge was made, it would go through. What the hell? I say, why would a debit card charge go through if it put the account negative? That makes no sense. I do not have overdraft. She said, they put it through. I tell her, with my credit union, if I have a $5 balance, and I make a $20 charge with my debit card, the card DECLINES! She really had nothing to say, and basically says, if the refund doesn't go through on your account, in a couple of days, call us back.
Every day, for four more days, I get the e-mail from Chase..."The account balance at the end of 11/24/2009 was $-110.07, which is less than the minimum balance in your Alerts settings." Why am I getting this e-mail? I have my account set-up to e-mail me if my balance goes below $25. Smart, I know. It's for fraud protection, and umm "husband debit card-not telling your wife you used it-abuse". I will have to say that I give Chase a thumbs up for this. Cause I get those e-mails as soon as it goes below $25 like clockwork. I've ran into the bank at least once and deposited a few dollars.
So I call Chase again. I go through the phone tree from HELL. I'm pretty pissed by now. You see, it (phone tree) keeps asking for my debit card number to verify my account. Well if you read already, I had to beg for my debit card to be cancelled and re-issued with another number, so I don't have a valid debit card number. I kept hitting "0" to get an operator. I finally get through. I begin to tell the representative that I filed a claim, and that it still has not been resolved. I have deposits to make into the bank account, and there is STILL a negative balance. Initially, she tells me that she could not find my claim. I start screaming, basically...about jumping through hoops, making calls, etc. She then says, "oh, I found it under your husband's name." She then asks me if I called the vendor, "Dual Action Cleanse" to get my refund. I advised her that I called last week, and obviously they did not resolve the issue. I said, it is no longer my responsibility. That is why you have investigators, and that Chase needs to remove these charges from my account. It was an unauthorized charge that should have never gone through. I continued to say, this is not my issue, it is fraud, why am I being victimized? I've done everything Chase has asked me to do. PLEASE remove these charges. There was a pause, and then I ranted some more about laws, protection etc. She then says that she is removing the charges. THANK YOU!
Why am I getting so pissed off? Because every representative or employee that I have spoken with at Chase, seems to be outsourced. I can tell that the caller is in another country. I can barely understand what they are saying. They have no clue what I'm trying to explain. They do not understand my words of "cloning account numbers, credit card protection, fraud, law enforcement, criminals, etc." I've gone through phone trees, spending ten to fifteen minutes at a time, and then the call drops. She finally got the charges removed, but I was not done.
I requested to speak to a Supervisor. The representative asked why? I told her that this entire situation is ridiculous. I get the Supervisor on the phone. Supervisor basically tells me that the charges have been removed, and what are my other issues, in her broken accent. I explain that I have been dealing with this for almost a week. Once again, she HAD NO CLUE, and had nothing to offer. She basically said, I hope you find our service satisfactory and thank you for banking with Chase. Was I talking to a robot? I got a letter a few days later saying that my account has been credited.
I haven't had time to go to my local branch and speak with them about this. Seriously, with Thanksgiving, work, etc...I have no time. I checked the mail yesterday and we received another letter from Chase. This letter stated that they were providing temporary credit to our account. "Further research is required to resolve your dispute". Seriously, how long is this going to go on. I've done everything that I can. Every time that I try and talk to someone, I get hung up on, or I can't understand them.
Since I've been working on this post, I've found the following resources:
Credit, ATM and Debit Cards: What to do if they are lost or stolen
Crooks Who Use Your ATM Card as a Passport To Your Account
Crooks Have Your Card and You Don't Even Know It
Skimming and Scamming: How To Protect Yourself Against Debit Card Fraud
JPMorgan Chase to Increase India Outsourcing 25%
While this is a personal rant, it is also a warning. This could happen to you. For me, it was $149.31, but for you could it could be more than that, thousands. What would you do if your debit card number was cloned? Would you even know? Do you check your bank regularly? Do you have warning alerts set? Do you get text messages with your balance?
I still do not know how Angry Husband's debit card number was obtained either. We hold our mortgage through Chase. I wish I could change that also.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I'm finally sitting down and trying to collect my thoughts. Thanksgiving was great. We enjoyed some good food. My mom kept trying to get Angry Toddler to eat, which was a no-go. He finally ate after they left, a piece of pumpkin pie nonetheless.
During the day on Thanksgiving, I caught some deals on Rue la la ,Leapfrog, and Harvey's Seatbeltbags. I got Tommy Bahama shirts on Rue la la for my dad. They were half price. I also got a Leapster case, an AC adapter, and six Leapster games from LeapFrog for $67 shipped. All of these items have been shipped already, and they should be here by the beginning of the week.
I really had no plans for Black Friday. When I say no plans, I mean, I didn't have the entire mall mapped out with my attack plan. Really, there weren't any deals, that I HAD to get. We DO NOT need any more electronics. There are no MUST HAVE toys.
My mom arrived at my house at about 6:15am...late compared to others..and we were off on our journey. We parked the car and headed in. Really, the mall wasn't that busy. Maybe the early risers got their deals and left. Our first stop was at babyGap. My mom picked up some fleece pull-overs for gifts, we then wandered around the rest of the mall. We hit several other stores. Yes, we did make a large dent at the Apple Store. Ok, so we got some electronics, but ironically they were NEEDED items, umm bigger hard drive. I've got to store all my fabulous pictures somewhere, right?
Stacey, the BFF, and her daughter, Stella, came to hang out with us, umm save me! She wandered the mall with us. She listened to my mom and her usual rambling. We ate lunch at Farrell's. We squished into a tiny tiny parlor table. But we avoided a HUGE one hour plus line.
After eating lunch, Stacey and Stella headed on their way home. My mom and I headed to Sak's Fifth Avenue. You are thinking, wow, isn't Sak's expensive? Why, yes, yes it is. We get our BEST DEALS, every Black Friday at Sak's. It's our little secret spot. We've gotten tons of clothing for Angry Toddler in the past. Think...Ralph Lauren Polo's for under $10. Now that he's so picky, we shop for ourselves.
Most of the shopping that we did at the mall on Friday was umm for us, not gifts. There were some great deals out there. But drumroll..........
My BEST BLACK FRIDAY DEAL was this BCBG Dress, Retail $258, BF Price low $60s. It's strapless. Now I just need to find somewhere to wear it. I got it at Sak's Fifth Avenue.
The top photo is a pair of massagers from Bath and Body Works. Stacey, the BFF, got bored. She was trying to district me from sensory overload. The smells in that store are STRONG!
P.S. If you want the play by play on my Black Friday Shopping, you can check out my Whrrl Story.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thanksgiving-Always with my family. Arguing over what to eat. We ended up with a pre-made meal from Claim Jumper. My parents came over, and we relaxed. The food prep took a little less than two hours, organizing etc. I realized yet again, we need more serving utensils and bowls.
Day After Thanksgiving-Black Friday, of course. Shopping. My mom and I go shopping. Probably 80% of the things that we buy on Black Friday are not gifts. We really go for the sales, and to window shop. I think we are crazy like that. My mom also loves to frustrate me every year too. I tell her to be at my house at a certain time, she arrives like an hour later. What a way to start the day.
Pictures with the Kids-Stacey, my BFF, and I torture our kids with photos every year. Or least we try too..I'm sure in a year or so, they will hate each other and refuse to do this. We are going to try and enjoy it as long as we can. See photo above. I added some snow with Picnik.com's help. I got a little creative.
Christmas Eve-We used to go to my Grandma's (my dad's mom), when I was a kid. I would hide in the corner and read the latest book I was into, Sweet Valley High, or something similar. I could not stand all the attention that my cousin's got. They were awful too. We then started going to my mom and dad's friend's house. And the past few years, we've gone to other family friends. This year, Angry Husband's grandparents will be here for the Holidays. I have no clue on what the agenda is...oh, and that's Angry Husband's Birthday too!!! Happy 36 Angry Husband on December 24th.
Christmas Day-We hang out at our house, and Santa arrives the night before. My parents will come over for dinner and then we will unwrap gifts. We usually have ham, and I bitch about it all day long. I hate ham. Thankfully, we are having Turkey this year. YAY! We usually watch some choice movies like Christmas Vacation, and A Christmas Story. Angry Toddler will get over-stimulated by toys, and pass out. Good times!
Day after Christmas-Angry Husband and I hit Target for after-Christmas sales. In reality, we need nothing, no more decorations, no more lights, no more boxes-NOTHING. Yet we always go, because really, we need another lawn deer, right?
The Angry Family tries to give a little back each year. I hope to contribute more this year. My friend, Shannon, is also having a Holiday Challenge to Feed a Family. Be sure and check the info on her blog.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Black Friday Info-A List of all the Ads
Bfads.net-Black Friday Ads Forum
Ebates-Rebates, Cash Back, Discount Coupons, Online Coupons
Slick Deals dot Net
Fishing For Deals dot Com
RetailMeNot-Coupon Codes and Discounts for over 40,000 online stores
AFullCup-Savings by the Cup Full
ShopAtHome dot Com
Rue la la
Amazon's Black Friday Deals-I refer to Amazon mostly when checking prices. It might be cheaper to buy here with no tax and free shipping if you have Prime.
Amazon Prime-Free 2-Day Shipping
P.S. Picture was from Angry Toddler's Thanksgiving Feast earlier this week. They sang cute songs that I videotaped, but umm, Mr. Angry wasn't singing...I guess he only likes classics like Lady Ga Ga..
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I love my blog and my Interwebz soo very much. It is a place to hide (yes, I can hide here), vent, hang out, and it also enables my Internet Addiction. YES, I have an addiction to the Interwebz as much as I do to my Monster Energy Drinks, and my iPhone.
I've slowly realized that I'm not getting certain things done, because I just want to read one more blog, do one more tweet, or finish up one more post. I say ten more minutes, but in reality, it's an hour or more. I know that I can't do it all. I've started to slow down with the invitations that I RSVP to, the committees I join, and the activities I participate in. It's just too much.
I've decided to start with a one-day break, every Wednesday, starting tomorrow. That's right, I will not open my laptop to get on the Internet, unless it's bank related, because really I hate talking to people in India on the phone when I'm trying to transfer funds. I will not tweet, I will not read....but there will be posts. I will pre-schedule posts, because I do have a lot to say. It's all stored up in that big brain of mine, or partially written in draft. Hopefully, I can get some things done, along with my lists, oh the lists are growing..
I also learned to not attempt to vlog, video yourself while in dog pj's from your mom. I'm such a dork. I opened the Photo Booth program on my Macbook and attempted to ramble. All I saw was this girl, wearing blue pj's, with somewhat messy hair, who kept looking down at the keyboard. I don't know if I will ever be a vlogger, but I'm not going to post those videos. Bad, bad, bad...
This is why I need to step away from my computer. Angry Husband was gone that night, and Angry Toddler was at my mom's house. I had my Saturday night free, and I was doing this, I even took pictures of my self.
Check out more What I Learned This Week posts on Musings of a Housewife. She does this every week. I should probably do this every week to keep myself in check and realize why I still blog. She also made me re-think the Walt Disney World (WDW) trip we were going to plan for next year. I'm still unsure about taking Mr. ADD Angry Toddler all the way to Florida.
Since I'm taking my little Internet break, I need to go and work on some posts now!
Monday, November 23, 2009
What you’ll need:
Pumpkin cupcakes (from Very Best Baking):
1 package (18.25 oz.) spice cake mix
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
3 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
Preheat oven to 350° F. Paper-line or grease 24 muffin cups.
Blend cake mix, pumpkin, eggs, oil and water in large mixer bowl until moistened. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 3/4 full. Using a cookie scoop makes for easy scooping and level cupcakes.
Bake for 18 to 23 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Cranberry Buttercream (Kristin's Recipe):
2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
Tip – if you forgot to pull the butter out of the fridge in advance, just fill a bowl with warm water and float the stick of butter in the water for about 5 mins. Shake off before unwrapping.
1.5 lbs of powdered sugar
1.5 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tsp of lemon juice
scant ¼ cup of milk
1 tbsp cranberry apple butter (I bought mine at Trader Joes)
*Alternatively, if you don’t want to make your buttercream from scratch or don’t have time, you could buy a container of white, buttercream or cream cheese frosting and just mix it with your beaters until fluffy and add the cranberry apple butter to taste.
*1 package of Pillsbury Ready Bake cookies, Thanksgiving turkeys baked and cooled as directed.
*Sprinkles or decorating sugar in fall colors
Let’s get started:
Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost with the buttercream. I used a 1M tip in these pictures but you can use whatever you want. A butter knife will do just nicely. Make sure you put a mound on though because you want it to come over the sides a bit when you top it with the cookie.
Place one cookie on top of the buttercream frosted cupcake. Push down a bit so some of the buttercream starts to show on the sides.
*Pour some of your decorations in a bowl. With the cupcake in one hand and the bowl in the other or on the counter, roll the edges of the cupcake in the decorations. Here I am using some fall sparkling sugar I bought at Home Goods.
*Turn the cupcake in the sugar making sure not to press too hard but getting enough coverage.
*That’s it! You’re done! Aren’t they cute? So easy to make. A great activity for kids to do on Thanksgiving too. Just have all the cupcakes and cookies baked and the frosting and decorations ready.
*You can also do this for other holidays. Pillsbury sells these pre-cut sugar cookies in all types of decorations for the holidays. I’ve seen Christmas, Halloween, Easter and Valentines Day. These would also make a great treat to deliver to your kids school right before Thanksgiving break.
My friend, Kristin, from Meringue Bake Shop wanted to share this with my reader's. She loves to try out new things. I love her cupcakes. It's a win win situation!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Angry Julie would like the Cotswold Sofa from Anthropologie. Do you think your elves could make something similar? Angry Julie cannot afford $4400 plus 8.25% tax for this sofa. She has been lusting over it for several months. It's the perfect basic for her home. She loves how it looks aged. It is quite comfortable also. Can't you see how cute Angry Toddler and his BFF, Stella, look on it?
Angry Julie can imagines hours upon hours of family bonding on this couch. Did you know that it fits three adults. With this neutral color, it would look fabulous!
Please grant my Christmas Wish.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Stacey and I headed towards Space Mountain after the parade. We were very eager, like little kids, giggling. We waited in line for about 45 minutes. Stacey made me laugh, because she told a teenager off. He was being quite annoying, and she told him that she left her 4 year old at home. Angry Husband called us while we were in line, he was on his way to join us.
After getting off Space Mountain, we met up with Angry Husband. We headed toward the Matterhorn. It was a quick 15 minute wait. We saw some interesting people. You can fit two people in the seats on the Matterhorn. It's a pretty tight fit, when I'm in Angry Husband's lap area. It was even more interesting to a see a large teenager, think 400 lbs., try to squeeze another person in his lap. They stopped the ride and made them get out before it made it too far. CRAZY and sad at the same time. We then headed over to It's a Small World. I'm sure you've seen those fabulous commercials. Well, it is beautiful. The exterior of the ride was covered in multi-color lights. The actual ride was closed down due to the fireworks show which was in less than an hour. But we were able to snap a few pictures while there.
After playing with my camera for umm, about 20 minutes, we headed towards Main St. USA, to prepare, ok more like stake out, our spot for the "Believe in Holiday Magic Fireworks" show. People were everywhere. We were lucky that we didn't have strollers as we could pretty much squish in. The fireworks show was amazing, and ended with snowflakes....how cool is that! Well the uncool part, was the people were stopping dead in their tracks and making out on Main St. Ok, people move along now, there are children here, we do not want to see your tongue kissing. It's fake snow...this is not Central Park.
After the Fireworks, we headed over to The Haunted Mansion, we got on that relatively easy. Stacey had never seen it decorated for the Holidays. After the ride, we parked our butts down to prepare for Fantasmic. We had never scene the show with the new dragon.
After all was said and done, it was almost midnight, and we were freezing. Angry Husband didn't have a jacket with him. But we got to see everything that we wanted too. Next time we go, I'm totally hitting up the Holiday desserts. Oh yes, there will be a next time. We are Annual Passholders. And yes, you can go to Disneyland without your children. It's not weird. You have to be able to enjoy the Magic of Disney, as an adult before you can enjoy it with your children. I mean really, I would not go as much as we do, if I didn't like the place. Who tortures themselves that much?