January 25, 2013

Solving life's little ills with baked goods

A bit of a rougher day at work yesterday. I was tired, the kids were crazy and unusually destructive, and someone -- despite being put onto the potty every five minutes after snack -- managed to sneakily poop her drawers again.

But hey, at least we made scones.

Rich Scones (1 doz.)


2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold margarine
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
milk, for brushing
sugar, for dusting

Mix dry ingredients with a fork. Add wet ingredients and mix to form a soft dough.

Pat dough into two six-inch rounds and place on baking sheet. Score to make 6 pie-wedges on each round. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 15 minutes at 425F or until risen or golden brown. Serve with jam or whipped cream, or just furtively eat by yourself as you hide from the toddlers. Good either way!

January 17, 2013

I'm so glad we had this little chat

A conversation at work today:

Goober: Dis airplane. Airplane waaaaay up.

Me: Airplanes do go way up. That's a helicopter, though.

Goober: [blank stare]

Me: You've got a helicopter.

Goober: No Dora careful, no Dora careful, no body careful. Rocket ship, rocket ship, rocket ship, rocket ship, rocket ship down, rocket ship down, rocket ship, rocket ship, rocket ship, rocket ship up, rocket ship up, rocket ship down. 

[wanders off] 

January 14, 2013

Apparently Les Mis is like Sugar Crisp

For those who also can never get enough:

(We saw the new film on Saturday -- and I rooted this out today since seeing it only once in three days would be just too sad -- and here is all 2:49:55 for your enjoyment. Now you too can wash the dishes while bawling like a baby as Eponine sings her last duet.)

Update: Apparently NBC has pulled this video for copyright violations. Which is understandable. But also: boo.

Update to Update: But here's the 10th anniversary concert! Hooray!

January 11, 2013

How we got married for less than $6,000

Some friends of ours recently got engaged, and last night the groom-to-be phoned Stan to find out -- well, I'm not sure exactly, but from the half of the conversation I could hear he seemed to be asking for tips and tricks for a frugal wedding. Stan and I got married for less than $6,000 -- I think that our final cost was $5,600 or thereabouts, and we were able to pay for it in cash. Here are some of the things we kept in mind when we got married on a budget:

Don't say the 'W' word! The wedding industry is full of insaaaaane markups, and as soon as you let your vendor know that you want something for a wedding, you'll be hit with all sorts of extra costs. Best bet is to tell people that you're pricing things out for a party (which: you are).

You don't need a $3,000 dress. I bought my dress online and the final cost -- after paying for custom tailoring, international shipping, and a small alteration once it arrived -- was barely over $300. The dress was lovely and it fit like a dream.

Use the services of friends and family. We were very blessed by many of our friends and family who gave their services to us as their wedding gifts. A couple from our church did our catering (final cost: about $7/head). Another friend of ours rented a van and chauffeured the wedding party around, which saved us quite a few headaches. A friend of mine who is just starting her photography business did our pictures for about half-price. My uncle did the lights and music at our reception, and the list goes on.

We did our flowers by hand, too. My Mater worked for many years in a flower shop, and so she offered to do the bouquets. I ordered two extra-large bouquets of loose flowers from a florist, and she transformed them into five bouquets, six boutonnierres, and two corsages. We got all of that for about $160. (Bridal and wedding party bouquets from the same florist started at $50 and went as high as $430 for ONE bouquet. See what I mean about insane markups?)

Skip some of the decorations. Our church has a lovely mostly-wood interior, so we decided not to do any decorations at the church itself. The interior pictures were still beautiful.

Keep an eye out for deals. Stan found a menswear shop offering a deal where if the wedding party rented at least five tuxes from them, the groom's rental would be free and he would get a coupon for a free suit (up to $400). We had enough people to swing it, and so Stan got a free tux rental, and a month or two after the wedding we went and bought him a $500 suit for only $100 cash down. Score!

Forget the frou-frou wedding favours. Let's be honest: all of those personalized shot glasses, picture frames, and candle holders go into a drawer and are never looked at again. For our favours I got a bunch of little paper boxes and we filled them with candy from Bulk Barn. People had something to eat before dinner and the favour cost was kept to about $1.25/head.

Determine your priorities. One of the hardest parts of planning a wedding is managing other people's expectations -- but what other people want isn't necessarily what's important to the two of you. If you figure out what your priorities are, you can concentrate (and spend) the most on those things, and let the rest of the chips fall where they may. Stan and I both think that the whole cutting-the-cake-together-and-feeding-it-to-each-other thing is cheesy, so we skipped the expensive wedding cake and served pie for dessert.

Having a beautiful, frugal wedding is totally doable. I wouldn't have traded ours for the world.

January 5, 2013

No, really, I'm sure they'll take you seriously now

A lot of what I'd like to say about this video has already been said by commentators both wiser and more acerbic than I; allow me to point out, however, that this is not a parody.

Apparently these women think that they're helping their cause.

Hat-tip to Auntie Seraphic and The Lonely Disciple. Oh, and Father Z.

January 3, 2013

Don't worry, I confiscated their MDMA

My family still does Christmas stockings, and while the contents tend to run more and more to edibles lately, Vater always manages to stick in a little toy or two. Among this year's pickings were glowsticks, and I collected mine and Stan's and took them with me when I went back to work yesterday.

After sunset -- call it around 4:30 or so -- I took the twins upstairs and told them I had something special to show them. We closed the door of their room and turned off the lights, and I cracked the glowsticks for them. They were a hit, and we spent a while seeing in how many different directions we could wave them.

The novelty of this wore off a lot sooner for me than it did for them, of course, so I started to look for a way to make it more interesting. Their parents had left the ipod upstairs, so I plugged it into the stereo and started pumping out some Raffi. Dancing naturally followed.

About ten minutes later I realised this:

  1. It was dark
  2. We were dancing
  3. We had glowsticks
  4. There was loud music playing
  5. People were spinning around until they fell down
  6. Two-thirds of those present were not wearing pants

Though it would have been more (in)appropriate if I had first gotten them all hyped up on apple juice, I'm pretty sure that I just hosted a toddler rave.