Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Ode to the hubby!

I'm playing catch-up on the Summer Blog Challenge.  This post is in response to "June 26-- What does your significant other do that makes your heart melt?"

 My hubby make may heart melt all the time.  Especially with the kids, and making me laugh.  Enjoy a few pictures, and I think you'll see why, too.

Making our daughter fly.

Making our daughter giggle.


He's demonstrating Mick Jagger's "rooster" look. teehee.

Awww...

Hugs are good.

Hubby Pooh.

Driving like Mad Max!

Playing with a new toy.

Dressing up as Optimus Prime for our son's birthday.

Hulk hubby.

True wuv.  :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge -- playing catch up.

Here's some random posts for catching up on the blog challenge!

June 15-- Post a photo you took that you're proud of.

Here's one I recently took during our family vacation (I take a lot of photos!)

I like this one because it's an action shot showing my daughter having fun, with the water shining in the background.  She was fearful about swimming out to the swimdock when we first got to the lake, so this shows what she overcame.  Plus, this image just means "Summer" to me.  I grew up doing this kind of stuff.
June 16--Fitness guru or couch potato? Talk about your fitness habits.

Or? The answer there is NO.  Neither, than you very much.  I don't watch much TV, but I don't crave the treadmill either.  I'm a big fan of yoga, and I have a few choice shows I watch.  I personally think moderation is best in all things.

June 17--3 things you are proud of about your personality.

I recently completed a leadership training at work, and we had to complete a little "values" activity.  Basically, we had to rank what things we value the most. My top three were Family, Integrity and Knowledge. I think those three values also reflect my personality, and my strengths.  I think anyone who knows me would agree.  By the way... I'm quite inclusive on what "family" means.  I have quite a few friends that are "family" to me.

June 20--Photo of you as a young child.

I'm the one with the glasses (I was a nerd even then!).  This is a picture of my cousins, brothers, and myself.  We took a "cousins" picture ever year for a few years. 

Add caption
June 21--Most recent words of wisdom you heard that stuck with you

Here's something from Pinterest.  Sometimes children have the best wisdom.


June 22-- When I was a kid, what did I want to be when I grew up?

I wanted to be a teacher when I was a kid, probably because those were the smartest people around me (from a kid's perspective).  I then pursued teaching, and decided it wasn't for me.  But, that's a story for another day.

June 23--Favorite Blog Post you've written before this challenge.

I hate picking favorites! This one is quite popular (it could be because it has "naked" in the title, though...).  It's the story of how my daughter saved the day!

June 24--Favorite eco-friendly thing to do.

I don't know why this makes me feel good, but on trash day... I feel so good seeing my recycle bin overflowing, and only one trash bin out.  Meanwhile, my neighbors have two, maybe three trash bins out and a meager amount in the recycle bin. 

Hmmm.  That gives me an idea...Eco-competition in suburbia?  Maybe that's how we can get people to reduce and recycle more... let's make it into a competition!  We already compete over our kid's achievements... why not the trash? 

June 28--How do you do your laundry??

Ok, ladies.  I have the Best. Method. Ever. for laundry.  Are you ready for it?

My husband does ALL the laundry!  And he rocks the laundry.  He reads labels, sorts colors, folds with precision...  This man is a laundry ninja!

Pretty sexy, huh?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Check out this music video!

I'm sure I'm totally hitting the wrong niche by publishing this video on my blog, but too bad. This is my brother-in-law's (my husband's brother's) rap group, and their latest music video. It is really high quality work, with great content and cinematography (but I'm a little biased). They are an up-and-coming Detroit rap group, and have collaborated with a few big names in the industry already.

I'm really proud of my brother-in-law for pursuing his dreams, and making things happen. 

...Suburban soccer working mom with an authentic Detroit rapper as an uncle to her kids.  Who woulda guessed? And he's really sweet with the kids, too.

Here's his latest music video. He's the one with the braids.    

*Fair warning: Not work or kid-friendly. Oh... and if you don't like rap, just move along!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Chinese princess

We went to the Ann Arbor Summer Festival last week, and my daughter got her face painted like a Chinese opera singer / princess.  They even let her wear a headress for our picture!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How NOT to buy a new car

My hubby just got a new car.  It's a Honda Crosstour, and he's now a very happy camper.  I would like to say that we bought this car under ideal circumstances, but that would not be the truth.  And the truth is quite an adventure.  So, if you would like to get a new car in just 12 horribly awful steps, than please repeat!  For the rest of you, please find some humor in our pain.

Step 1. Take a long road trip in a car that is over ten years old.  To make the trip more exciting, make sure you are by yourself, and the trip involves a family emergency.
Check. My husband left last Saturday in his 2002 Acura, headed for New York, to attend his grandmother's funeral.  It's an 11 hour trip from Michigan. 
Step 2. Have your car break down in the middle of nowhere.  Make sure the break down is catastrophic.  No popped tires or dead batteries... we mean business.
Check. Hubby notices on Saturday evening that his car is revving high, and doesn't seem to be shifting from gear to gear.  He's pretty sure the transmission is going. He's on I-80 in the middle of Pennsylvania.  If you haven't been there... yes, it's officially the middle of nowhere.
Step 3. Don't make it to your destination as planned.  In fact, barely make it to a place to sleep.  Yeah, that makes it more interesting.
Check. Saturday night: This car ain't going nowhere quick.  Or maybe it's staying in nowhere for a while.  Hubby decides to find a hotel.  But the first TWO are booked solid... in the middle of nowhere!  He finally finds a room in a seedy hotel.  He fears for his safety;  smells strange things from the vents; removes all valuables from his car.  
Step 4. Don't find a mechanic to look at your car.  Because what fun is it if we just fix the thing?
Check.  It's Sunday, and mechanics don't work on Sundays.  Turns out Sears Auto IS open, but they don't do transmissions. The best hope is the Honda dealership service center (Acuras are basically Hondas by the way), but it doesn't open until Monday.
Step 5. Abandon all hope and pray for rescue.  After all, you are stuck in the middle of nowhere, at a scarey hotel, and no mode of transportation.
Check.  Cousins to the rescue!  My husband's cousins drive 3 hours from New York to pick up my forlorn hubby, and enable him to make it to his grandmother's funeral on Monday.  Thank goodness for family.  Before leaving the middle-of-nowhere, hubby drops his car off at the Honda dealership, and leaves his keys in the drop box.  While out to dinner with family, hubby gets the following fortune in his fortune cookie:
Hubby wonders if someone is playing a cruel joke on him...
Step 6. Bend over and ask for the bill.  You don't really expect your car to be repaired for a couple hundred bucks do you?
Check. Check. Check. Hubby talks to the service center at the Honda dealership on Monday afternoon, after the funeral.  Let's just say the transmission replacement cost is in the thousands.  Remember that I said this is a ten + year old car???
Step 7. Realize you are screwed.  You have a non-functioning car in the middle-of-nowhere. It's worth something, but it's not worth fixing. And you can't carry home a car.
Check.  Hubby and I discuss his options.  None of which are ideal, but his voice perks up when I assent that we were planning to buy him a new car soon anyways.  We have been planning to buy him a new Honda, in fact.  He has been eying the Honda CrossTour for a while now.
Step 8. Prepare for battle.  People take advantage of those in weak positions.  And boy, you look like easy pickins from here.  Stranded in a strange land in need of some wheels... at a place that sells them.
Check. I go into full-on battle mode.  We discuss tactics.  
  • Trade-in the car at the middle-of-nowhere dealership and buy a new one (Hubby likes this option, but agrees the dealership has the advantage). 
  • Dump the car at salvage, and rent a car home (well, that doesn't sound like any fun!).
  • Wifey haggles for a new car in Michigan, and provides hubby with ammunition for talking to the dealership about the trade-in value and good prices (hmmm... this is sounding like a real option...).
  • Donate the car to charity, and get the tax write-off.  Wifey finds a local group that does car donations (and this sounds like a real back-up plan...).
Step 9. Dance with buzzards - AKA negotiate with car dealers.  Yes, they know you are desperate, but you have a few extra cards they have not seen yet.  Can you survive?
Check.  Hubby walks into the dealership in Tuesday and tells them he doesn't want his car fixed, he wants to trade it in, and buy a new one.  They do their dance... give him a test drive (he loves the car), etc, etc.  Then, they waffle on the trade-in... "Oh, your wife is on the title, too?  She needs to be present for the trade-in..." Blah, blah...  Finally they give an offer with the trade-in... it's basically the same offer I got in Michigan without a trade-in.  Hubby gives them one more chance, then walks.  He survives the buzzards.
Step 10. Give your car to the dogs.  Hey, someone has to take it, right?  And we love doggies!
Check.  There will be no trade-in.  No working with buzzards.  We decide to donate the car.  The car donation people are very nice and helpful. They don't care about me being present... "Just mail us the title!"  Hubby decides to donate the proceeds of the sale of the car to the Humane Society.  We will get a nice tax write-off.
Step 11. Find any way possible to get home.  Because you want to go home.
Check.  Hubby finds out that he can do a one-way car rental from airport to airport.  It is pricey, but worth it to get home and away from the creepy hotel.  He drives through the night because he is SO OVER the middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania, and wants to be done with this crazy trip.  He leaves his poor old Acura in the parking lot of the scarey hotel for the donation people to pick up.
Step 12. Buy a new car.  You never thought we would get to this step, did you?
Check.  After driving through half of the night, hubby returns home.  Carless.  We call back the dealership I haggled with to get prices on Monday night, and ask for a car... in blue thank-you-very-much.  They have it delivered by the afternoon.  Hubby is finally relieved and happy. 
Please DON'T buy your car this way. But isn't it pretty?
Acting Balanced

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Summer blog challenge: Suburban rebel without a cause

So, my daughter just got onto her first travel soccer team today. I'm a very proud momma!  However, this officially makes me a suburban soccer mom with a minivan. What the $%#!?  How did this happen!!! I used to dye my hair pink!  

See? I really was a rebel! Even though my mom took this picture...
 I need a little rebellion...

So, I think I'm going to invite a great modern artist, Banksy, to use my house as his next canvas.  What do you think?  A little graffiti on the side of suburban utopia?

Banksy's work "Tightrope rat" in Detroit ... actually in the SUBURB of Warren.
Another Banksy at the abandoned Packard plant in Detroit.  However, it was "removed" by a local art gallery to "preserve" it. Bah.
"Diamond Girl" -- also in Detroit.  It was stolen shortly after this picture was taken.

Ok.  Maybe not. I doubt I can afford the township or homeowners association graffiti fines. But I sure am curious about what Banksy would put on my wall.

I'll just have to settle for jamming out to some Evanescence or Pitbull in my minivan after I drop off my daughter to soccer practice.  I'm such a rebel.

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Slowly catching up to the Summer blog challenge: June 10-- Cost aside, famous art piece you would have in your home.

Summer blog challenge: The pie-iron chef!

I'm a huge fan of summer cook-outs, especially campfire cook-outs.  Ever since I was a Girl Scout way-back-when, I've honed my pyro skills of cooking over open flame.  The past few years, my family and my best friend's family have spent Labor Day weekend at a cabin "Up North" (that's Michigan speak for somewhere north of Flint!).  This weekend always includes one night of cooking around a backyard campfire.

Last September, this momma-pyro was in charge of the fix-ins and tools for dinner.  On the menu was s'mores (of course!) and pie-iron pizzas. 

My daughter's high-end s'more.  Like the presentation?

...I have to admit... I'm not very creative in this department...this is the menu every year!

To those unfamiliar with pie-iron pizzas...  First -- for shame!  This is a camping delicacy that MUST be sampled!  Second -- pie-irons have two hinged metal pans, either round or square, on long handles. The pans clamp down, sealing together the bread placed on each side as well as all the good, yummy fillings (in our case -- pizza!).  The pie-irons are cooked in campfires and are made of cast iron.  Did you catch that last part?  Made of IRON.

'Round the campfire.  You can see a pie-iron sitting on the bench.

Anyway... midway through our first round of pizzas, I pulled a hot pie-iron out the fire to check the pizza. You have to see if the bread is toasting to the right golden brown!  I attempted to unhinge the two metal pans from each other.  However, instead of separating the two pans, I peeled apart one of the iron pans!

Yes -- I ripped iron in two with my bare hands!  

I've never seen anything like this in all my days of camping in scouting!  We have used this same pie-iron for years and it has held up just fine.  But on this one day, my superhuman strengths appeared, and I ripped it into two pieces!

After much debate, we decided the pie-iron must have always had a defect in it, and the repeated heating and cooling over the years eventually caused the catastrophic failure.

Or...

I've finally found my superpower of ripping iron into shreds!

I'll let you choose the real cause.

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I'm playing catch-up here with my "Summer blog challenge." This post prompt was for June 9-- Your worst cooking disaster.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Guilty Pleasure: Young Adult fiction

This is part of the Summer blog challenge.  Today's post is an answer to "not including blogging, your favorite guilty pleasure."

As a working mom, I don't get much time to read.  But I love to read.  I usually find the time just before I go to bed.  And, I'm usually quite tired by then.  So, I don't want the book to be more "work."  I've found a guilty pleasure in reading lots of young adult fiction because it doesn't require much deep thought! I'm still a "young adult" as a 30-something with two kids, a husband, a mortgage payment, a dog, two cats and a minivan, right? Right??? 

I have enjoyed a great number of good YA fiction novels lately.  The Hunger Games trilogy, of course, tops that list.  And then the movie came out to indulge me even more!


I also dabbled in a little steampunk and read the first two of the Leviathan series.  I plan to read more.  Steampunk to good neo-Victorian fun!


And most recently, I read Divergent by Veronica Roth.  Fantastic novel!  Tris is a great character.  I can't wait to read Insurgent!


So... if you have a good YA novel you want to recommend, this working mom has a tired, mushy brain ready to soak it in!

P.S. ... I have one caveat on my YA fiction, though: I do not, and will never like, romance novels. If a YA novel stinks of romance novel-ishness, I won't touch it (I'm talking to you... Twilight!).



Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer blog challenge

I'm starting a little late, so here's a catch-up blog of 7 days in one!

June 1-- Why are you doing this challenge.

So, why am I doing this challenge?  Well... my blog has been neglect as of late, and I needed some motivation.  This seemed like the perfect way to get me writing again!

June 2-- Post a picture of you smiling.
Me and my hunny hubby bunny.  Did you catch that???
June 3-- 15 interesting facts about yourself....

I have already written one hundred random facts about me, but here's 15 more...
  1. We adopted a greyhound named Garrett last October.  He's laid back, sweet and, yes, fast (when he wants to be). 
  2. I'm a huge fan of The Hunger Games trilogy, and thought they did a great job with the movie.  However, I felt a little old standing in line with all the teenagers on opening weekend!
  3. I have loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ever since I was a tween.  I'm not happy with Mr. Bay's ideas about making them aliens!
  4. I have just recently picked up the hobby of geocaching.  I'm planning to blog about it at some point!
  5. I really do have a zombie apocalypse kit in my basement. You can never be too prepared!
  6. We got rid of cable TV last year (it's been great!), and now we watch new TV shows on Hulu Plus.  My favorite shows of late are Grimm and Being Human.
  7. My daughter is going to Hogwarts day camp one week this summer.  I'm very jealous.
  8. My son is going to Star Wars day camp one week this summer.  My husband is very jealous.
  9. I an IT manager.  Specifically, I manage support for a global platform for business intelligence for a Fortune 100 company.  If you just said "huh?" ... then I work with computers. ;)
  10. No, I will not fix your computer.
  11. I have a fairy garden in my front yard.  It has a several fairy doors, a frog king and just added a pig with wings.
  12. We went to Disney World this year! It was a blast.
  13. I'm a working mom (duh!), and I have plenty of SAHMs, WAHMs, working moms, and non-mom friends.  I wish this mommy war business would just stop, and we would let people be happy and proud of their decisions to parent and/or work.  We could do so much more if we just supported each others' decisions.
  14. I hate ear buds.  I'll only use the "old school" ear phones.
  15. If you haven't figured it out already, I'm both a nerd and a geek. And proud of it.
June 4-- Meaning behind your blog name.

My blog name is ktmoxie.  The "kt" is my initials.  Some of you already know it, and I'm not writing it out here... stalkers and such.  But here's some hints:
  • unfortunately share my first name with an actress who plays a human who loves a vampire ... no, a werewolf ... no, a vampire ... no, a werewolf... no, definitely a vampire.  Stupid girl.
  • I fortunately share my last name with my husband -- but I suppose that doesn't help you too much.  He's Vietnamese-American, and my last name is a "very common" Vietnamese last name.  That means I get to confuse people when I meet them for the first time (wait... you're white...are you adopted?)!  I also share my last name with the earliest pioneers of the micro-computer!  How geek-cool is that? (are you Googling it now?)
Moxie is an American word that comes from an actual product. Moxie is a soda that has been produced in the U.S. since the 1880's, and used to out-sell Coca-Cola. However, the term moxie has become synonymous with how the Moxie soda was marketed.  Moxie means having the spunk, nerve or vigor to face challenges.  I like that -- so I picked it for my blog name.


June 5-- Short term goals for this month and why those goals.

Goals?  I don't need no stinking goals! I have a bunch of "to dos" and "hunny dos," but I don't think those count.  So, here are my goals that aren't really goals, just stuff that will make me happy if I do them.

  1. Read for fun.  'Cuz reading is fundamental.
  2. Geocache! Because it's my newest hobby, and I haven't gotten to do it enough. I'm limited by schedules and weather.
  3. Watch the rest of Game of Thrones - Season 1.  Because this show ROCKS, and I don't have cable, so we had to buy the season after it came out on Amazon Video.
  4. Practice yoga. Because breathing is good.
That's it!

June 6-- Nicknames you have and why you have them.

I really don't have any nicknames. If anyone calls me anything other than my first name, Mrs. T_____ or Mommy/Momma, I don't answer.  That's a rather effective method for making sure you don't get a nickname. 

What does that make me?  Boring? Stern? Prim and proper?  Take your pick.

June 7-- Picture of something that makes you happy.

My son.  And if this doesn't make you smile, then you are dead inside. :)

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