Lulabelle Reviews: Lays Flavor Swap Contender: Korean Barbecue…..

Ok, this year Lay’s has turned it’s annual contest on it’s head. I feel like they aren’t even trying anymore. Not that the first contest, to create their newest flavor, really made much of an impact. It can’t really do much when the winning flavor is only available for a few weeks after the contest ends (I’m looking at you, Wasabi Ginger πŸ˜‰ ). Although my sources tell me that this flavor has found it’s way back onto shelves in limited stores. I’ll be making a trip soon to validate this story.

So what is Lay’s doing this year to freshen up their battle of the flavors?? They are taking one new flavor and an old flavor and having the public vote on which stays and which goes. Honestly I’m not for sure which flavor is old or new, so my review will be based solely on taste and smell. And how the chip makes me feel about my life choices :-D.

Chad picked up a few bags of chips for me last week so here we go. Today’s flavor of choice: Korean Barbecue. Let’s do this…..

Let me quickly state that I’ve actually never had legit Korean barbecue, so I really don’t know what I’m going after. Upon opening the bag and taking a whiff, I definitely smell a baked potato smell with a little bit of a spicy element and a tinge of grease. Definitely food-trucky smelling. If you’ve ever been by a food truck, this will make sense.

The taste is a light barbecue pork flavor, the tiniest touch of heat and it finishes off with a little bit of smoke. The after taste is tangy with an after buzz of heat on the tongue.

I hope these will be available long after the contest is over because an occasional bag of these would really enhance my otherwise mundane life. πŸ™‚

Bon Appetite, ya’ll!!

Photo on 2016-03-17 at 15.13

**This flavor has been deemed delicious and given a 4 paw rating by the resident culinary expert, Her Royal Highness Princess McFussy-Butt πŸ˜€ **

In Tribute to a Humble Legend…..Thank You Devon!

Over the weekend I discovered with sadness that my favorite English teacher from high school had passed away.

Devon Schrock was a staple in my Christian high school for many years (the school has a long standing tradition of allowing students to call their teachers by their first names). My sisters had him, my cousins had him and one of my aunts had him. He taught students in junior and senior year. His senior year class was most memorable for a research paper that he required. A 40-page behemoth on any given topic. Now, to aid his students, Devon taught you how to do each step. In turn, he prepared his senior class for their next adventure; college.

Former student Jeremy Friesen had this to say about Devon:

“To this day I maintain that my English classes were the most important class(es) for my career as a software engineer. (Devon) was an exacting teacher. He taught me the power of words. That precision in language is so very important if I hope to convey both meaning and intention. Each word, sentence, and paragraph on the page was my thoughts made manifest. I was the owner and subject to the scrutinizing red pen.

Just this past year, I stumbled upon my Senior Thesis, an essay on the Lord of the Rings and its Christian symbolism. I read through it. I realized I had never taken the time to re-read that paper; At several points my words were jumbled and unclear. And Devon rightly marked up that paper.

I’ve since discarded that paper, though I find myself hoping the disposal of it was just a dream. Because I believe, if I were to re-read that poor handwriting, I could conjure the voice of a most gifted teacher.”


Devon was a pretty hard grader, and rarely gave extra credit. My junior year I remember we watched the movie, Roots. At one point in the film, a slave runs away from his master’s plantation. When he is captured, his master cuts off his toes so he can’t run away again. Our assignment was to write a one page (It may have been two) paper on if we had been the slave master what we would have done to keep our slaves from running away.

I thought it over for a minute, and then began to write a one (maybe two) page essay on why I couldn’t answer the question because as a Christian, we are not to own people as property.

If this was some sort of moral test, I was gonna pass it!

I ended up turning in the paper a day late. As was Devon’s policy, late papers were always marked down a few points. So it came as a shock when I got my paper back after it had been graded and it showed 3 EXTRA CREDIT points!! (Keep in mind, Devon seldom gave extra credit).

Now, I tend to be too honest for my own good. I always have been. Eh, for the most part ;-). But that day I was especially honest because I went up to Devon’s desk and reluctantly told him that my paper had been a day late.

I’ll never forget the look on his face. It completely fell and he sighed deeply and said, “Ah, I wish you hadn’t said that!” He then took out a pen and made a mark. Striking out one of the three extra credit points. Leaving two. πŸ™‚


It wasn’t just rare moments of extra credit grace that made Devon so memorable. It was also his sense of humor, sharp wit, and his love for Jesus.

Every Monday at the start of each class, Devon would preach a sermon. Something short, sweet and to the point. Extolling the virtues of daily Bible reading and prayer. Then he’d lead us all in a prayer.

Sometimes during this sermon, it being Monday and all, especially if you had him early in the morning, a few unlucky souls would fall asleep. Devon would then casually, while still preaching, walk over to a glass of water on the bookshelf, walk it slowly over to the unsuspecting victim, and slowly pour it over their head until they awoke.

There’s a legendary story where the water in question once came from a nearby pond. πŸ˜›

Then there was the time in the late 70’s that he predicted a time when, due to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, we would develop huge butts to cope with sitting all day.

I suppose he was a bit of a psychic. πŸ˜€


So thanks for the lessons and memories, Devon. Rest well and we’ll see you on the other side.

Cheers!

Lulabelle Cooks Without a Net: Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint Smoothie……

I had high hopes for this one. Seriously. Just read the title. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with a smoothie whose main ingredient is freakin’ THIN MINT GIRL SCOUT COOKIES???

It turns out, plenty. Ah, let’s just get this one over with…..

So, I had good intentions. While eating a frozen girl scout thin mint cookie last week,Β  I had a great idea for a smoothie. So tonight I carved out a little bit of time to ‘speriment. Let me break down what happened next:

This story actually began a few days ago when I completed step 1. Taking out the blender from the refrigerator and dumping out the contents of my last smoothie fail. I then discovered that the blender needed a good soaking in hot soapy water overnight. The next day I washed it out again and left it to dry in the drainer. Which brings us to tonight’s events.

I excitedly took a sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints (16 cookies) and crushed them the best I could with a rolling pin. Then I put them into the blender with about a 1/4-1/2 cup of frozen spinach. I threw in some milk (eyeballed it so I have no idea how much there actually was) and a cup of vanilla yogurt. The one ingredient that I intended to use but discovered we were out of was protein powder.

After plugging in the blender, I liquified the mixture, stopped the blender and opened the lid. For some reason it began to separate immediately. But it only seemed like it was the spinach that separated and swam to the top, covered in chocolate-minty goodness. Undeterred, I grabbed a glass and poured myself some smoothie.

I could definitely taste the chocolate and mint, but it wasn’t as sweet as I had expected. And there was definitely an earthy element to it thanks to the spinach. Actually that was what was left in the glass when I finished. About a half of an inch deep of tiny spinach shards. Like a sweet pesto sauce without all the good stuff, like actual pesto.

But I think I managed to fix my recipe so next time it’ll taste way better….

First, take out the blender and pour in some milk. Leave out the spinach, yogurt and protein powder. Take out a sleeve of Thin Mints. Leaving them whole and unblemished, pour the entire sleeve into the milk in the blender. Grab a giant spoon and pull up your favorite episode of anything on Hulu. Sit back and enjoy your giant bowl of Thin Mint cereal.

Happy Eating!

PS: after finishing your giant bowl of cereal, head on over to my cousin’s blog where she talks about crossfit. Yes, this is different than actually doing crossfit, but it sounds way too intense to do right after you just ate your weight in cookies. πŸ˜‰

PPS: Nearly 24 hours after making the said smoothie, I look into the fridge and this is what greets me.Β  I observed that the smoothie had separated completely into 3 distinct layers.Β Chocolate cookie layer is on the top, the middle is your greens–ie mint and spinachy goodness and the bottom layer is your milk and yogurt, in other words; dairy. So really it’s like a regular food pyramid, without all that healthy junk like fruit and grains.

Β 

LAFF: Where Lulabelle Gives You Tips On Changing the Sheets on the Bed When Your Cats Refuse to Get Off the Bed

Blogger’s note: Keep in mind the following tips are ones that I’ve not actually tried as the oldest just jumped down from sunning herself on the window ledge and now has to take another nap on the bed. Before I start trying to change the sheets. I’m outnumbered 2 to 1 and should probably wait for reinforcements. Although doing this solo could make for a good blog.

**Plot Twist**

OK people, this is gonna be an “In Real Time” entry. Strap yourselves in and make sure your helmets are secure:

7:19PM-This is the point where the blogger decides she needs some sustenance for the task at hand and grabs a can of soup; *Campbell’s Chunky Grilled Chicken and Sausage Gumbo to be exact. She then settles in to watch the latest Grey’s Anatomy episode.

8:25PM-After a Thin Mints break, in which time the blogger was hoping one or both cats would get off the bed, she screws up her courage and goes into laundry room to retrieve clean sheets.

8:32PM-Upon entering the bedroom and turning on the light, blogger only sees the oldest cat on the bed. As the youngest probably felt a sense of impending doom and hid herself in a place not yet found.

8:33PM-Deciding to take it slow, blogger changes the pillowcases first as this would not require the oldest cat to move from her position.

8:40PM-When the last pillowcase is in place, blogger throws off the blankets to ready the bed for the fitted sheet, and discovers the youngest. She’s doing yoga and chanting to stave off an anxiety attack but once she’s discovered, she bolts out of the room.

8:42PM-While the oldest fakes sleeping on blogger’s side of the bed, blogger positions herself on Chad’s side and begins slowly rolling the dirty fitted sheet off the bed toward her side. The oldest is now snoring.

8:48PM-As blogger goes to roll the fitted sheet, the youngest jumps up on the bed. Blogger continues rolling and the youngest moves to the other side. When the sheet is all the way on blogger’s side of the bed, the youngest jumps down, as the oldest is almost completely wrapped up in the sheet and not at all happy. She growls her disapproval and chases after the youngest. The chase ends right outside the bedroom door where the food bowl is kept. The oldest remembers how hangry she is and sits down to dinner. Blogger readies for phase 3 where the clean fitted sheet is placed onto the bed.

9:01PM (yes it took me 11 minutes to put on the fitted sheet. King-sized fitted sheets are about 90% harder to properly place than regular fitted sheets, and the sad part is, I’ve gotten good at it. )-Fitted sheet and blankets are in place and the cats were otherwise occupied the whole time so there were no interruptions or fears of nervous urination on places that shouldn’t have nervous urination.

Done.

Honestly I’m sitting here scratching my head. Every time before when the cats were awake and I’d try to make the bed, they would make a game of jumping up on it and getting in my way. To the point that I’d have to lift them off. But they’d still think I was playing so they’d jump up again. And I’d lift them off but they’d jump back on. Like annoying, furry boomerangs.

Today was a breeze.

Which scares me a little bit because this more than likely means they are planning something big. Likely involving massive amounts of vomit only discovered at 3am when you are on your way to the bathroom. Barefoot.

Stay Tuned, ya’ll!

Cheers!

*Campbells Chunky soup did NOT sponsor today’s blog, but they might want to start, judging by the ridiculous amount of soup cans we have stashed in the pantry.

Pet-Meme-04

 

 

 

 

Book Update and Reader Poll…..

So you are probably wondering…”I wonder how Lulabelle’s book is coming along?” Well, the process has slowed down a bit. I think I have a publisher, but don’t want to announce until I’m completely sure. So here are things that I know for sure:

1. I’m writing a book made up from the content of my blog

2. I’ve recently decided–Chad suggested it a good idea and I agree–that I’d also write a few pages of new content so it’s not just my published blog that is available in real life form.

3.Β  I need some help and guidance from YOU! What do you most want me to include in my book? Humor, Inspirational stuff, Cat Parenting Tips? All three?? Should I just completely scrap this blog and start again? (Please nobody pick this one!! πŸ˜› ) Or should I do something that hasn’t been mentioned yet?

That seems to be it for today. My goal today is to change the sheets on the bed. I know that sounds like a pretty low set bar for my day, but keep in mind that we have two cats that LOVE to sleep on the bed. It’s to the point that they spend more time on the bed then off. Which is fine until you actually need to change the sheets for hygiene reasons and such. Look for my blog tomorrow where I give you tips on how to change the sheets on the bed when both of your cats refuse to get off the bed.

Say a prayer for me. Our oldest is stubborn and she recently purchased a beginners guide to the art of Krav Maga on Amazon.

PS: The following link is a survey about my book that I’d like my readers to take. It only takes a moment and will really help me out. Thanks! ❀

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WBGQGM7

Pray…….and Do

Recently some friends of mine have been having a conversation on Facebook that has really opened my eyes and changed the way I now approach anyone in need.

Prayer. As Christians, when a friend or relative is in need, we always offer prayers for support. While this can be a comfort to those in need, caution should be used when sending prayers to someone in need, especially to those outside the church.

Imagine the following scenario: someone on your Facebook friends list posts the following status: “Car broke down. I’m stranded on Grant Street.” Now imagine your reply, instead of saying you could pick them up you write, “Praying for you.” At best this is comforting, but at worst the person will be annoyed that, while prayer is a good thing, what they really needed was a ride. And you live two blocks away and have a car in your garage.

I think it’s time for us to re-evaluate how we respond to needs in and especially outside of the church. So I have a challenge for all my readers:

The next time you see a need on social media, offer prayers, but also offer to help. If someone is sick, offer to bring over some soup. Someone says they are depressed and lonely, offer your fellowship. See a message that a mom is overwhelmed with the kids? Offer prayer for endurance and then offer to babysit or recommend someone.

Pairing prayer with action is a bold way to show Christ’s love to those in need.

Cheers!

I Will Fear No Evil…..For Such a Time as This

Our church is going through a sermon series on Psalm 23. Each week our pastoral team breaks down one part of the psalm to focus on. All of this is to emphasis how much God loves us. This Sunday we focused on the following passage: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”

As someone who lives with anxiety, I have a lot of fears. Among the ones I’ve talked about in the past we have 1. Large Open Spaces 2. Loud NoisesΒ  and 3. Math. One fear that I’ve never mentioned is this; living in a society where I am no longer free to do and think and say as I wish.

As a child in our household history was a topic that was widely discussed. Specifically the Holocaust. I suppose it was because I’m the daughter of baby-boomers whose great uncles served in WWII. We read books on it and even went to a couple museum exhibits on the topic. By the time I reached high school you could say I was pretty well versed on the subject.

But all this education on the Holocaust had a draw back. Perhaps if I didn’t have anxiety, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but ever since I can remember I’ve been grateful that I live in a country and time where this hasn’t happened. Because I knew that if I lived in Europe 70 years ago, I’d be in fear for my life as a person with a disability.

But lately I’ve begun to worry that conditions in this country are ripe for something like the Holocaust to occur. Especially considering Donald Trump is still in the running.

Statements made by Trump eerily echo those made by Adolf Hitler in the 30’s and 40’s. Both men singled out a minority group as a scapegoat for the countries problems. Both asserted that said minority group should be specially marked so others know who they are. Both men have followers who accept, without question, the ideology spewing from their mouth.

Up until last Sunday, I struggled with fear at the prospect of Trump becoming our next president. But then that afternoon, the Lord reminded me of the bigger picture. Reminded me that He’s bigger than any problem and He’s ultimately the One whose on the throne. And He reminded me of the passage in Psalms that tells me to “Fear no evil.”

I was also reminded that although I’m just one person, I could do something to help. Like Esther from the Bible, I could speak out against harmful ideologies and people who are in a position of power. And I can refuse to let fear guide my life and choices. And maybe, like Esther, I was put here “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14 NIV). To encourage people to live life without fear, despite what is going on around them. And to help those that are experiencing discrimination and persecution.

If you are also anxious about this presidential election, have no fear. Remember that you have a voice, you matter and you can make a difference.

“For such a time as this.”

The Tale of the Missing Muppet

So many moons ago, my husband and I watched the following video. We are both big Muppet fans, and the Swedish Chef is one of our favorites:

Yes, the video is short, but please watch it again. This time pay attention to his hands. Specifically his left ring finger. You can see it quite well starting at 19 seconds. I’ll give you a moment………

Did you see it?? My mind was BLOWN!! In all the years I watched the Muppets I had NO IDEA!!

Ladies and gentlemen, the Swedish Chef is MARRIED!! ***cue shocking grasps of disbelief***

This raises SO many questions! Who is she? What is her name?? WHAT did they serve at the wedding?? Do they have kids? If they do, how do Muppets…..eh, never mind. πŸ˜›

So I did what anyone in the 21st century with a question would do. I turned to google. While several theory’s of the identity of his wife are searchable, I was unable to find any definitive answers to my query. So I made up my own which I’m pretty much expecting to be used as Gospel proof.

Many years ago when the swedish chef (no one knows his real name and we aren’t supposed to ask) was back packing through western Europe trying to find himself, he came upon a small village of fishermen Muppets and their families. Walking through the town square, he happened upon a small bakery with a “Help Wanted” sign in the window. On a whim, Chef decided to apply. He was hired immediately. Several weeks into his new job, a beautiful blue haired Muppet with long eyelashes and rosy cheeks walked into the bakery. Her name was Fifi LaRoux. Their eyes met and suddenly, mysteriously, music began to play.

And thus began a torrid, spongy (they’re both made of Muppet sponge πŸ˜‰ ) love affair. The next few months were filled with picnics, dances, white wine tastings (red would stain their Muppet-y faces) and kayak trips down the little stream by the bakery.

Chef proposed a mere 2 weeks after their first meeting (Muppets are notoriously for jumping into things without thinking about the consequences. This behavior explains Kermit and Miss Piggy’s break-up.) They were married in a small ceremony, at dusk. Tiny rubbery sardines were served as appetizers to guests. A chicken choir with Animal serving as director accompanied the bride down the aisle. And everyone still talks about Beaker’s toast at the reception, especially the part where Scooter handed him the giant fireball of sparklers that lived up to their name. Fortunately medics were on hand and Beaker was quickly patched up and sent home to recuperate.

So, that is the story how The Swedish Chef met the love of his life.

Cheers!

Self Employment Tips for Tax Time and the Return-Sort Of-Of the Trash Bandit…….

Well, this was the last way I wanted to start today’s blog. Ok, that’s a little overly dramatic, but in my defense I thought we had this issue nipped in the proverbial bud. Apparently I was wronger than most of the stuff that flies out of Donald Trumps pie-hole. But here we are.

If you’ve been a regular subscriber of mine for more than 6 months, you’ll undoubtedly remember our issues with our trashcan and sticky fingers in the neighborhood. Well, after an unprecedented run of good luck, today we are back to square one…..sorta.

The difference is we know who took our trashcan this time because we can literally see it across the alley. In its new home. Here is the debate we are having:

Chad: “No, honey it wasn’t stolen because we can see it!”

Me: “Yeah, they done stoled it. It clearly has our house number on it. Since their house number and our house number is in fact not the same, and our can was sitting outside our house, yes, it was indeed stolen” πŸ˜›

So that said, we will be deploying the over-sized Nicaraguan attack gerbils before the day is done. If we can tear them away from their constant diet of Red Bull, licorice and Oreos. Lord have mercy!


And now I can’t even remember our topic of the day. Oh yes, let’s talk about TAXES!! Yay!! Really, no one else is excited about filing this year?? πŸ˜€ Today I thought I’d focus on what you need to do to prepare for taxes if you are self employed.

1. Because of your self employment, you most likely aren’t getting a regular pay stub that lists your hours and rate of pay. This is why you need to keep a detailed record of this on your computer somewhere. Make sure you write down the day you worked, the hours logged and the pay you received. If you are away from a computer during your work shift, as I am as a child-care worker, keep a small notebook in your purse or pocket to record your hours and rate of pay (as well as the person you worked for, as in my case) so you don’t forget when you are home transferring the information to your computer.

2. Save the document often and make sure to back it up on your computer in case your computer gets attacked by those dreaded computer zombies that feed on only the most important documents on your hard-drive. Seriously, let me know how it works out to tell the IRS that your records suck because zombies ate the original copies. πŸ˜‰

3. Save any and all receipts having to do with the running of your business. This includes restaurant and gas receipts if you do any traveling for your business during business hours. each receipt has the potential to be a write-off for your business.

Tax season can be overwhelming to those of us with anxiety, but especially those of us that are self employed. Implementing these tips can help to relieve some of this stress.

Cheers!

PS: Video warning you of the risks of having your cats do your taxes appears courtesy of Youtube

Lulabelle DIY’s a Kick-*SS Cat Carrier Cover…..

A few days ago we got up, did some cardio and ran some errands.

I’m sure you’re probably thinking, “Dang, they do cardio early in the morning and I’m sitting here eating girl scout cookies…in my pajamas!” Well, let me make you feel better. That cardio I was talking about….was the result of chasing a scared angry cat around the house, trying to get her into the cat carrier so we could take her to the vet.

Yep, after the first attempt was deemed unsuccessful, we closed all the doors in the house (blocking all exits), I played “goalie” and readied myself to catch an angry, nervous cat as Chad shooed her into my “territory.”

I missed.

So we had to try again, and finally were successful. And she was not a happy camper. But the trip to the vet wasn’t as traumatic as normal (at least the car ride itself). Why? Two things: pheromones and towels.

Our veterinarian has in the last year enacted a new strategy for treating cats when they come into her office. As soon as a cat and cat parent walk through the doors, a towel that has been sprayed with pheromones is placed over the carrier. This calms the cat and helps to alleviate the stress of the visit. As much as possible during the visit the cat remains in close contact with the pheromone sprayed towels.

The result is calmer cats and happier cat-parents.

The concept of a cat carrier cover got me thinking and my creative juices began to flow. And I came up with a DIY cat carrier cover. Today I show you how to make your own for absolutely nothing (unless you want to bedazzle it with the names of your fur-kids. I’m still debating whether or not to do that. πŸ˜‰ )

Step 1: Get yourself a large bath towel. This can be an old one that you don’t mind cutting up, or you can buy a new one.

Step 2: pull the handle up on the carrier and drape the towel over the top of the carrier, making sure the towel covers both openings completely. You may need to do some shifting around to get the towel placed properly.

Step 3: Once the towel is in place, take a sharpie marker or dark pen and make a line a bit longer than the entire length of the handle. This is why the handle should remain up so you know where to mark. Marking it slightly longer will allow you to make adjustments once the towel is cut and in place.

Step 4: Take the towel off the carrier and with a good pair of scissors, cut along the line you just made. Fit the towel on the handle through the hole and if need be, cut the towel along the bottom if it hangs down further than the bottom of the carrier.

Before going to the vet, take the towel off the carrier and spray both sides with pheromones and shake the towel so the pheromones cover every inch. Do not spray directly on the cat as ingestion during grooming could be dangerous.

Replace the cover and place cat inside. Have a soft blanket (I go for a soft water proof pad-our cats are nervous pee-ers) inside for your cat to sit on during the ride to and from the vet. Make sure the towel covers the entire carrier as the darker it is, the safer your cat will feel.

Cheers!

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photo appears courtesy of: deviantart.com