Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pet Cemetery

This is where Peanut and Brandy are buried. It's a woodsy area behind our backyard that I sometimes refer to as the Pet Cemetery because of all the neighborhood pets buried there. It's not as creepy as it sounds, especially if you've read the book, "Pet Sematary" by Stephen King. Now, that book is creepy and makes a great read for the month of October.

Peanut doesn't have a proper headstone because we haven't made one yet. He's probably up in doggie heaven looking down and thinking, well sure you haven't made a've been too overcome with grief. I could tell when I saw you the next day at Worlds of Fun...

Ok, this is going to be my last post about deceased pets for a long time, I promise.

KFC, Fast Stop and Some Other Stuff

One of the reasons I chose Friday for our family to say good-bye to Peanut was because we had plans to go to Worlds of Fun on Saturday. Sadness can only linger for so long at an amusement park. So, on Friday, we shed lots of tears, read a great book called Dog Heaven, and buried our old friend next to our other dear old friend, Brandy.

I should probably clarify at this point that Brandy was our beloved dog and Peanut's partner in crime for many years, not Brandi, my BFF from Wichita. When Brandy and I used to work together at Koch Industries in Wichita, I would come in and tell stories about "Brandy" and people who didn't know I had a dog with that name would get a funny look on their face, which would remind me that I needed to clarify I was talking about a canine and not my co-worker!

Brandi (the friend) with Kadyn & Kamden

Brandy (the dog) with Jacob. She looked a lot like Peanut.

So, back to my story. On Saturday, we woke up, put our sadness behind us and prepared for a great day at Worlds of Fun. My Mom's company provides discounted tickets for their employees once a year. It just so happens that they do it during the "Halloween Haunt", which is very cool and if you live in or near Kansas City, I highly recommend that you immediately make plans to take your family. I'll be posting highlights of it later.

We decided to make a quick fast food run on the way to save some money and time. We graciously allowed Adam to decide for all of us that we would go to KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken). Not my favorite place, but whatever, let's just eat and get there already.

I should tell you that my last few experiences at KFC have been anything but fulfilling. Two years ago, on the 4th of July, I waited for almost an hour to get a couple buckets of chicken and the last time I went, they were out of original recipe drumsticks AND macaroni & cheese, which are pretty much the only reasons for going there in the first place. This trip to KFC proved to be no exception to the general "KFC sucks" rule.

We placed our order with a clerk who told us they didn't have Dr. Pepper, despite the fact that the menu listed Dr. Pepper (note, he didn't say they were out of it, he said they didn't have it), next the clerk told us to slow down because we were ordering too fast (we weren't), next came a verrrrry long wait for our food and lastly, we had to ask for napkins and one of our drinks because they forgot to give them to us. Whatever... let's just get there already.

While my family waited in the drive-thru line, I decided to jump out and run next door to the Fast Stop convenience market (not the one pictured below). I need to tell you that my boys are currently obsessed with convenience markets and all the cool stuff they have to offer so it was no surprise that Jacob wanted to go with me. Since he was sitting in the middle and Grandma would have to get out, not to mention that we were sitting in a drive-thru line, I told him no. This disappointed Jacob because as he said, he "just wanted to see it". He is so easily entertained. I love that about him.

I returned to the truck to find my family STILL WAITING in the drive-thru line. I proceeded to joke with Jacob by telling him that it had been the coolest convenience market I had ever seen. He was bummed until I told him I was kidding. I then told my family about the man who entered Fast Stop while I was there and asked, "What's that smell?". The clerk asked what it smelled like, to which he replied, "a bad perm". Hmmm, I didn't know bad perms had a distinctive smell, but apparently they do.

So, after I relayed the bad perm story, sucked down half my Dr. Pepper (purchased at Fast Stop) and we finally got our food, we hit the road again, munching on our hard-earned KFC. A few minutes later, we pass this billboard on the side of the road.

Oh yeah, we were definitely cracking up now. How do you explain THAT while your kids are chowing away on their chicken? And, trust me, they wanted to know what were we laughing at. I mean, if Pam says it, there must be some truth, right? Live scalding, painful debeaking and crippled chickens aside, I'm pretty sure we are done with KFC. My boys will just have to suffer with Mac & Cheese made from a box and fried chicken from the grocery store deli counter.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Let's celebrate with a GIVEAWAY!!!

**** EDITED on 9/30 **** If you are leaving an anonymous comment because you don't have a blogger account, be sure to include an email address so I can locate you if you're a winner.

Faithful blog readers, thank you for hanging with me, despite the fact that I occasionally go MIA when life gets too crazy. For those of you who are just "popping in", you may be in luck. I'm going to try out this "random number generator" thing for a 100th blog entry GIVEAWAY contest.

Remember my garage sale from a few weeks ago? At first, I jokingly said that I would be giving away some of the leftovers, but then I realized I might be onto something. I packed up almost all of the leftovers for Goodwill, but saved a few for this contest. Because I love to read and constantly have my nose stuck in a book, the winner of this giveaway will get to choose one book from the following three:

Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions about Christianity

Before You Know Kindness

The Kite Runner

After you slog your way through this lengthy post, leave a comment telling me which thing (or two) from my "100 List" we have in common, which book you want if you're the "chosen one", and consider yourself entered.

I have noticed that lots of people commemorate their 100th blog entry with their own personal "100 List" so I've been working on such a list. I don't think I can come up with 100 things, but let's see how far I can go with it.

1) There was a time in my life when I didn't want to have children.

2) There was a time in my life when I wanted 4 children.

3) No, we are not going to "try for" a girl.

4) Yes, it makes me mad when people assume I couldn't possibly be fulfilled without a little girl.

5) I LOVE having boys and if we were going to have a 3rd child (we're not), I would be ecstatic to have another boy.

6) I love dogs and if Willie would let me, we would have a Great Dane.

7) I have a bachelor's degree in social work.

8) I like camping out under the stars without a tent.

9) Bugs don't bother me too much.

10) But, I am terrified of scorpions.

11) I have been stung by a scorpion.

12) I was born in Las Vegas.

13) I was married in Las Vegas.

14) I love big pick-up trucks.

15) I hate wearing shoes, except for flip-flops.

16) I am not a very good driver.

17) I once got into 4 car accidents within a two-year period of time.

18) My first car was a red Ford Mustang.

19) I cried when Elvis died.

20) I need LOTS of sleep to be happy (9-10 hours a night is ideal).

21) I eat Taco Bell at least once a week.

22) I am a HUGE Garth Brooks fan.

23) It is a big pet peeve of mine to see people use its and it's, there and their or your and you're incorrectly.

24) I am slightly obsessed with the mafia and I love movies like "Casino", "The Godfather", etc. I also like to watch "Sopranos" re-runs.

25) My first "real" job was working as a Dietary Aide in the kitchen and dining room of a nursing home when I was 16.

26) I have saved the nametags from all my jobs.

27) I also have every paycheck stub from age 16 to the present.

28) Before my first "real" job, I cleaned houses and washed cars for spending money.

29) I bite my fingernails.

30) I HATED cats until Rocky adopted us.

31) I lived in San Francisco for a short time right after I graduated from college.

32) I went to seven different elementary schools.

33) I love reading true crime books by authors like Ann Rule.

34) I love watching true crime TV shows like "American Justice" and "Cold Case Files".

35) I am a purse snob.

36) I once dressed up as a chicken for $50.

37) I have two Cabbage Patch dolls.

38) I still have my wisdom teeth.

39) My left foot is quite a bit larger than my right foot.

40) I snore, or so I'm told, anyway.

41) Someday, I'd like to live out in the country on a small piece of land (not too far out though, a girl still has to shop!).

42) I really like mowing the lawn and when we lived in Wichita; many times, I mowed while Willie cooked dinner. I think it freaked our traditional neighbors out a little bit.

Well, not quite 100, not even close actually, but I'm tired, it's been a hard day and I'm pretty sure nobody is that interested anyway.

So, one last HIP HIP HOORAY for my 100th blog entry! Hope to see you in the Comments section...

P.S. I'll have the Random Integer Generator pick a winner on Wednesday, October 1. All comments entered before 5pm Central time will be eligible.

Farewell Old Friend

1/13/94 - 9/26/08

Friday, September 19, 2008

I "Heart" Hatch, NM Green Chile

Some people might be scared if they received a box from the UPS man and it contained a mysterious burlap bag. Hmm, what could it be? Body Parts, Roadkill...

Courtesy of Willie's Uncle Sonny, who lives in Mimbres, New Mexico, it is a large burlap bag filled with yummy Hatch, New Mexico green chile peppers!!! Hatch is known as the chile capital of the world.

Normally, Willie roasts our chile peppers on the BBQ before placing portions in ziploc bags and freezing it. This time, I think we're going to try roasting our chile peppers Pioneer Woman style, in the oven. It has to be roasted quickly or the chile will turn red. Did you know that chile peppers have a lot of nutritional value?

This is what chile looks like after it is roasted. The black, icky looking part is the skin which you peel off to get to the yummy fleshy part. Once you've had fresh green chile, you'll have a hard time eating canned green chiles again. The salsa my husband makes with this chile absolutely ROCKS MY WORLD!!!

If you are a local friend and would like to try some Hatch, NM chiles, let me know. As you can see, we have plenty to go around!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

You might be a redneck if...

You convince your dubious husband to bring another TV stand up from the basement and stack it on top of the existing one so that you can watch TV in bed without the footboard blocking your view.

Speaking of my dubious husband, he probably isn't going to be happy to see this picture posted for the world to see.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Definitely on my Wish List

If you want a funky, fresh hand-stamped necklace like this one (or something similar), get over to A Splash of Brandi and let her know. While you're there, pick one up for me. Christmas is just around the corner.

Of course, if you're a retail store, Christmas is already here, right next to the Halloween section (at least it is at Target and Hobby Lobby). Every time I walk past the artificial Christmas trees, ornaments, red ribbon and artificial poinsettias, my heart rate quickens. AHHH, the stress of it all!!

My 100th post and next giveaway is just 4 posts away. I'm hoping to work my way to it in the next week. With lots of hard work and procrastination of everything else I should be doing, I think I can do it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

46 Days Until Halloween

My friend & neighbor, Michelle, loves Halloween.

She also loves Pirates of the Caribbean.

And Captain Jack Sparrow.

These pictures were all taken at her house.

Most of them, like the one above, were taken in her basement,

which is decorated in a pirate/dungeon theme (that's my nephew Nick, isn't he handsome?)

all year long.

Can you see why my kids might think that Michelle is the coolest Mom alive? That is Michelle's daughter, Olivia, lounging on the leopard chaise. You might remember that she was the only girl at Adam and Jacob's birthday party. That's because she can hang. At Jedi Training Academy this past summer, she whupped on ALL the boys. Seriously, I'm not exaggerating. Jacob is still nursing his ego.

This is not Michelle. I will post pictures of Michelle later in one of her award-winning Halloween costumes or maybe with her good friend, Captain Jack. Leave it to Michelle to meet and befriend a man who almost looks more like Captain Jack than Johnny Depp, in Kansas City, no less.

This is Michelle's Spooky Town collection.

Did I mention that Michelle loves Halloween?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

We have a winner!

Jen S., Congratulations on winning the Sweet Spot Blog Follower contest!! I don't know if I still have your address, so send me an email at kcaimee (at) gmail (dot) com

Sarah & Jennifer, I entered your names in the contest because I know you both tried to be followers but blogger didn't cooperate.

Thanks everybody for entering. Check back in the next few days because I'm working on my 100th post and I am going to commemorate that with another giveaway. How else am I going to get rid of all this stuff that is left over from my garage sale? Just kidding...I think.

I know, I know, Jacob REALLY needs a haircut. Thankfully I bought a Conair "haircut kit" from my Mom at our garage sale for $3. Poor Jacob. He has no idea that he's about to be used as my guinea pig (insert evil laugh).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's a Giveaway! (a.k.a. shameless attempt at self-promotion)

**UPDATE** Contest deadline extended to Sat., 4pm CT due to the fact that the "FOLLOW THIS BLOG" link has been playing hide & seek.

AND, I am adding some cool surprise stuff to the prize package! I'm having so much fun with this giveaway that I may do another one for my 100th post.

I'm having a tough week and I need some cheering up so I'm going to give something away, but first you have to do something for me. See that addition to my blog over there, just to the right of this post? If you click "FOLLOW THIS BLOG" before Friday at 1pm Central time, I'll enter your name in a drawing for this cute little notepad set and anything else fun that I find to throw in the envelope before I seal it shut. I'd love to know who's popping in on a regular basis and return the favor by visiting your blog in my spare time...that was a joke. I don't have spare time, in case you didn't read the post below. But seriously, the next time I'm blog surfing when I should be doing laundry, cooking dinner or saving the world, I'd love to pay you a visit, only I can't. Because I don't know who you are.

By the way, Shauna over at See My Designs will be giving my blog a makover very soon so keep checking back for my new look. I'm SO EXCITED!!

One last plug. I just realized that I'm really close to my 100th post and I've been working on a "100 Things" list in honor of that auspicious occasion. Lots of exciting stuff going on around here. Ok, so it's not that exciting, but whatever, I'm a cheap date!

Spicy Shredded Pork

This picture of raw pork is for my friend Jennifer, who I barely talk to these days because she and I are leading parallel lives as Moms who work part-time AND try to do everything we did before we had jobs.

Ok, so here's the real story about the raw pork. I decided to make a recipe I found over at The Pioneer Woman's website. In case it turned out great, I thought I'd take pictures and possibly post about it. In my typical adult ADD fashion, I took the first picture and then forgot to take the rest of the series. Too bad I didn't because the recipe turned out to be one of the best I've ever made. It's called Spicy Shredded Pork. Just click here for the recipe and photographs of the finished product.

I did a few things differently and I just won't be happy until I mention them. First of all, I didn't use the optional brown sugar that The Pioneer Woman likes to use. Second, I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that I cooked my pork in the slow cooker (a.k.a. crockpot) instead of in the oven. Lastly, after I shredded up the meat, I fried it in olive oil to crisp it up and served it as carnitas. Willie loves carnitas and you may recall from an earlier post that he doesn't hand out food compliments easily. Compliments are earned in the Ramirez kitchen, not given away freely so I am especially proud to say that this meal earned the Willie stamp of approval.

Jennifer really does like raw pork portraits, especially raw pork that looks like somebody threw up on it! So I'm posting this...just for her. I love you Jennifer!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Oops! I did it again.

Once again, I find myself overcommitted.

Humor me while I think out loud for a moment...Hmm, let's see, so in addition to the general household and family responsibilities of being a wife, mother and owner of three dogs & one cat, I am now committed to the following:

Baseball Team Mom

4 year-old Preschool Teacher

Co-chair of Staff Appreciation Committee at sons' school

Library Helper for both sons' classes

Volunteer at PTA Clothing Center

Room Mom for Adam's Kindergarten Class

Garage Sale THIS weekend

You know those dog collars you can buy to cure a dog of annoying barking? If you're not familiar with the premise of these devices, basically, they deliver a small shock whenever a dog barks. My newest money-making strategy involves an invention that is designed to cure myself and all the other women out there like me. It's a device we will wear when answering the phone, attending PTA meetings, staff meetings etc., etc. A shock will be delivered whenever we say the word, "yes". It would probably work something like this:

Except that I'm not this skinny...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Strange Dancing Man

I have LOTS more to post, but I'll just get this out here for now. I've been SO busy trying to be the queen of multi-tasking, but I'm failing miserably. More later...

Check out this goofy guy. He was entertaining us with his "moves" while I discreetly filmed him for your entertainment. If I ever got around to cleaning pictures off my card so there would be more available memory, I'd have even more funny videos, but I am bad about that. Really bad. There are pictures on my card from over 2 years ago.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Coming Soon...a new post

My blog has been sad for too long. I'm working on something fun. Check back later!