<![CDATA[Kristen I. Robison's Noggin is Bloggin! - My Noggin is Bloggin!]]>Tue, 15 Dec 2015 20:11:21 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Christmas Needs Color]]>Wed, 16 Dec 2015 03:39:20 GMThttp://kristenirobison.weebly.com/my-noggin-is-bloggin/christmas-needs-colorPicture
​I live in a state that gets snow. Usually lots and lots of snow.  The last few years we’ve had a bit of a drought.  But usually it snows in October or early November and then it stays around until March or April.  We are surrounded by white, white, white.  So growing up at Christmas time we always put up big colored bulbs on our house.  My Dad grew our blue spruce Christmas trees on the side of our yard. If you aren’t familiar with pine trees, let me inform you that they are slightly blue-green AND PRICKLY.  We were told years later that he grew them so we six kids wouldn’t play with the tree.  He was right!  I tried having a blue spruce a couple of times in my married life, but then my husband refused to put lights on the tree and told me it was my job.  My arms looked like I’d been attacked by a very angry cat.   As kids we would light our tree with colored lights and tinsel and old fashioned ornaments.  It was beautiful to look at, especially with the contrast of the bright, almost blinding snow outside.

As a parent, it’s my job to raise my children with a few weird Christmas quirks.  But one of them is NO white lights on the Christmas tree or on the house, please. Also a little lights=not good.  A lot of lights=GOOD.  My Christmas tree has 22 strands of lights (they are LED, don’t panic).  This has caused a problem though because now I don’t want to buy a real tree.  Who has time to string all those lights? I feel bad that my kids haven’t had a real tree in years. I really hope that the pine scent sticks I hide amongst the ornaments has fooled them. 

​Open up the curtains when it is snowing, turn off the lights, turn on some Christmas tunes and you will experience a little glimpse of heaven. Already my oldest has turned into a rebel and decided that she will decorate her tree with….gulp…white lights.  I may have to boycott her house during December.  If she doesn’t want to glimpse heaven on earth, then she will have to suffer the consequences.  Ho, Ho, Ho…no Christmas presents for you...you will be on the NAUGHTY list.

<![CDATA[He wants to be a what?!]]>Wed, 27 May 2015 19:20:27 GMThttp://kristenirobison.weebly.com/my-noggin-is-bloggin/he-wants-to-be-a-whatPicture
This weekend my husband watched the movie ‘Interstellar’ with my oldest two children.  I didn’t want to leave my youngest alone upstairs so I gracefully bowed out to read a book.  Ahhh, who are we kidding, I just would rather read a book than watch a movie.  But it was a good excuse at the time.

Afterwards my thirteen year old, Bubba, decided that he was fascinated by the concepts of worm holes and bending time.  He has always loved math and is an outside the box kind of thinker.  Well, now he has decided that he wants to be a theoretical physicist. Ummm….when I was his age I was busy wondering if my earrings or jelly shoes matched my corduroy knickers.  I think at that point I wanted to be a junior high English teacher or a mom.  I don’t think I knew what “theoretical” or “physicist” even meant. 

I’m excited for him.  Really, I am.  But I am a bad, bad mother.  When he starts to talk with me about his “theories” I close my eyes and pretend to snore.  I know, right, what is wrong with me!?! I should be supportive of him and look for classes that will help him develop his interest.  But In my mind I just keep thinking, “Oh no, he is going to end up like Sheldon from the ‘Big Bang’ TV Series.”  I’ll be honest, part of me is just wishing that he’ll go back to wanting to be a magician.  

<![CDATA[Tic Tacs and Glitter...ugh!]]>Thu, 09 Oct 2014 01:47:27 GMThttp://kristenirobison.weebly.com/my-noggin-is-bloggin/tic-tacs-and-glitterughPicture
I have come to loathe glitter and tic tacs.  In that order.  In my previous post I mentioned that I had jumped back into the world of working.  I work part time cleaning (yucky, I know!) But I am fortunate enough to work in the Salt Lake City Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This building has been used since 1893 and is around 253,000 square feet.  It is HUGE!  I took for granted that places like this were cleaned daily.  I’ll be honest, I don’t enjoy cleaning but if I’m going to clean it might as well be in a beautiful, quiet place with great co-workers. 

My first experience cleaning locker rooms I discovered that apparently our members really like to eat tic tacs.  Or at least they like to drop them on the floor.  Vacuums don’t like to pick up said tic tacs and so it requires me to bend over and put it in my pocket for later toss out.  I’m not kidding, one night I had six different flavors of tic tacs in my pocket!  And no, I haven’t been tempted to eat them…yet.  Why not Certs or Altoids? I don’t know, it’s a mystery!  I’m starting to think that rather than Utah being known for green jello, maybe we should be known for large intakes of tic tacs.

Later I had the frustrating opportunity to familiarize myself with glitter and its ability to avoid the vacuum suckage.  Who knew, right?  Now please remember, this is a religious building, not the Las Vegas strip or Broadway in New York. But the wedding waiting areas and bride’s rooms are full of GLITTER.  Didn’t you already catch a mate and therefore no longer need to distract them with bling?  I’m not sure if brides walk in with hands full of glitter and toss it in front of them like rose petals. Can’t that wait until the reception?  Or for your guests, shame on you for trying to have people look at you sparkling and not watching the bride.  Seriously though, you leave a trail when you walk.  I can see if you used the restroom, where you walked and when you sat down.  Isn’t that a little embarrassing?  You do realize that the expression ‘A sparking personality’ is just an expression and not meant to be taken literally, right?!

And for the record, glitter is now banned from my home.  Not so much for tic tacs, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!

<![CDATA[A new working Mom]]>Mon, 15 Sep 2014 18:37:09 GMThttp://kristenirobison.weebly.com/my-noggin-is-bloggin/a-new-working-momPicture
I have recently felt the need to go back to work.  Do we really need the money?  No?  Would extra money be nice? Of course!  I’ve got broken couches, old carpet and a kitchen that is falling apart.  But I’ve been a stay at home Mom now for the last 15 years.  I will be the first person to admit that being a stay at home Mom is not easy.  The hours stink, the pay is even worse and the people you work with are little tyrants!  I do love my husband and children (usually) but I’ve been doing this for a long time and it’s become a comfort zone.

When I left the work field to become a mommy, I was in human resources working with 25,000 employees helping them with their payroll and benefit issues.  I felt I was good at it.  I knew benefits quite well, I knew how to handle grumpy account reps at insurance companies, I had lots of friends and made pretty good money.  Now that it is time to go back to work I felt inspired to take a part time, night job cleaning.  Yes, you heard right, cleaning.  Yes, I know, I hate cleaning!  But the thought wouldn’t leave me that I should drag myself out at night and clean.  At first my pride was in the way asking why would I “lower” myself to go clean when I had much better skills.  My internal debate continued on until I reminded myself that I have become an expert at cleaning these last 15 years and other than doing laundry, cooking or child care, what else had I qualified myself for?  I haven’t keep up in the world of human resources, I haven’t kept in close contact with all of the people who I worked with.  I hadn’t finished my degree. So yes, I applied for and received a job cleaning.

Before I started working I kept second guessing my choice.  I felt as though I was abandoning my post at home, even though my kids wouldn’t even really notice me missing (night job, remember?)  I spent my last weekend before I started working in a frenzied panic.  I made three batches of basil pesto to freeze, two batches of refrigerator pickles (they were disgusting by the way and had to be tossed…along with the batch I made after it…) two loaves of banana bread, 35 breakfast burritos and worked my tail off to try to clean my house and do laundry.  Did it make me less anxious?  Nope. 

First day of work arrived and my husband was out of town.  I was left with three children looking at me like I had lost my mind.  I felt like it was the first day of school all over again.  Would I find the right places to go?  Would I make friends?  Could I do the work?  Would I survive without sleep?  My JellyBean was getting really annoyed at me and I’m sure felt relieved once I got in my car and left.

Has it been super easy?  Nope.  Are we adjusting?  Mostly.  Do I still over compensate all day long and then drag my feet at work?  You betcha!  I am making so much money that it makes cleaning urinals easier?  Not even a little.  Am I learning new things about myself and making new friends?  Heck ya!  So here’s to all of us Moms, working or stay at home! (You can’t see it, but I’m toasting you with my Dr. Pepper right now!)  Now I’m off to take a little nap…

Have you gone over to my book reviews or my recipe page yet?  Go check them out!

<![CDATA[I am the "I" word!]]>Mon, 07 Jul 2014 22:02:58 GMThttp://kristenirobison.weebly.com/my-noggin-is-bloggin/i-am-the-i-wordIt should be no secret to those who know me that I am the “I” word.  Yes, yes, it is my middle initial but that isn’t what I’m referring to!  I am….an introvert!  For all of you extroverts out there, let me briefly explain.  You get your energy or recharge from being around others, spending time with them, interacting, socializing, you get the point, right?

As an introvert I get my energy by, well, being alone.  I recharge when I am allowed to be by myself and enjoy my own company.  I am a “social introvert” meaning that I am not necessarily shy and can handle myself in social situations.  I don’t willingly go out to meet new people, but if you come into my sphere I will usually talk to you.  But it drains me… 

Let me give you a simplistic example of how this works for me.  I have an 8 ounce glass of water.  Each time my phone rings, someone is at the door, I get in a conversation with a neighbor, spend 3 hours at church surrounded by 200 of my closest friends a sip or several sips (3 hour church is like many gulps) is taken out of my glass of water.  This is okay.  This is life.  I’ve learned to deal with you extroverts sucking me dry.  But herein lies the problem:  Summer.  My husband is an extrovert and two of my three children are extroverts.  They want to be with me ALL THE TIME!  One I hear regularly from Bubba is “Let’s talk.”  Oh, please no….  It is usually mindless small talk.  Don’t get me wrong, I dearly and completely love my children.  But can’t they see that Mommy just needs some time to recharge?  I try to go to my room alone but they all appear.  I will try to go outside ALONE at night when the air has finally cooled but magically again, they appear.  Wait, didn’t I send you all to bed?  Weren’t you all watching TV when the door closed?  You were so engrossed in a book you couldn’t hear me to do chores!  It doesn’t matter.  I’m starting to wonder if they think ice cream will appear in my hand if I go outside alone and they don’t want to miss out.  We aren’t just talking that they want to share the yard with me…they want to share my space by gluing themselves to me.  I spend my days running them to work, activities, play dates and then spend the rest of my day trying to avoid them.  I’m starting to think I’m a failure as a parent.  I’m already counting down to the end of summer and we are only a month in! 

Wait.  JellyBean has gone off to babysit, Muffin is playing at the neighbors and Bubba is on the XBOX…I’m going to recharge! 

<![CDATA[It Does Really Work!]]>Thu, 01 May 2014 16:26:13 GMThttp://kristenirobison.weebly.com/my-noggin-is-bloggin/it-does-really-workPicture
Well friends, in my January 13th and 31st posts I mentioned to you different attempts at being frugal and saving money.  I am here to let you know….Ebates.com really works!!!  Let me remind you how it works:  Every time you are making an online purchase go into ebates.com.  Then see if the store you are purchasing from gives you a cash back incentive.  The sites we used for my cash back was from newegg.com, homedepot.com and livingsocial.com.  Once a quarter ebates.com will print you off a check and send you your reward.  With your first purchase they will also give you the choice of a $10 gift card to many different stores.  I have posted a picture of my check and my free gift card for the first purchase.  This is a FREE program folks, so if you’re going to be doing online shopping it behooves you to sign up!

Now, you DON’T have to sign up through me, but hey, I get a referral bonus if you do, so why not help out a friend!  Here is the link: 


Come on, don’t let this free money get away from you!

<![CDATA[Vegetable Tips from Farmers]]>Wed, 16 Apr 2014 23:01:53 GMThttp://kristenirobison.weebly.com/my-noggin-is-bloggin/vegetable-tips-from-farmersPicture
I had the opportunity last summer to help my children and some of their cousins, plant, weed, harvest and then sell produce at the local Farmer’s Market.  The work was tough, and the whining was brutal and the kids whining was equally annoying!  But all in all I had a great opportunity learning from the other “farmers” while we were waiting for customers.  Being in tight spaces next to people gave us time to talk.  And when the kids started school again, I would sell at the booth until they could make it to the park having plenty of time to make small talk.

Here are some of the things that some farmers taught me:  Applesauce is good with whatever apples you have, but the famers themselves preferred Gala.  Or they enjoyed making one type of applesauce but throwing in a few apples of a different variety.  Example, gala applesauce but throw in a few golden delicious.

If you intend to make your own pickles, then you really need to buy a pickling cucumber.  Other cucumbers just don’t turn our right (lemon, oriental, etc.)

When picking out a fresh cantaloupe then don’t tap—smell!  If it smells fresh, then it’s perfect, but you must eat it once you buy it or it will over ripen.

The whiter the seeds in a pepper, the less hot it will be.  A green pepper has fairly white seeds, while a good serrano pepper has much more yellow seeds.  BUT, if you remove all the seeds, the flesh itself is usually pretty mild.

And one of the best pieces of advice I overheard from several farmers is that if you eat a melon, tomato, cucumber or pepper that you really like, then just dry the seeds and plant it yourself the following year!  No need to spend all of the money buying the seeds from the nurseries.  I have tried this myself with some amazing sweet red and orange lunch box peppers and green peppers, and I must tell you that the growth rate of the seeds is not as high as it would be straight out of the package.  But, I only had to buy the package once!  This does not always work depending on what type of produce you try and sometimes your next year squash or melon really won’t produce the same product you once ate.

And here is my tip!  If you like chili verde or tomatillo dressings, try growing a tomatillo plant! They are super easy to grow.  The tomatillo will get a balloon like coating and if you squeeze on it you will feel the actual tomatillo inside.  You want to pick these when they are about the size of a quarter or a fifty cent piece.  The bigger the tomatillo the more bitter it will become.  These are usually ready to be picked in the fall.  And if a lot of your tomatillos drop and are tilled into your garden then you won’t have to worry about replanting the following year.  I think I’m going on four or five years from the original plant reseeding itself.  If you are searching for a great Chili Verde recipe, head over to my recipe tab where I put our favorite.

We had fun trying some new things in our garden last year including a luffa squash and broom corn!  I swear every spring when I start hordes of new seeds that I will NEVER do this again, but here I am: card table set up, heat pads going, lamps on and the greenhouse set up!  Maybe it is an addiction, but luckily it is one of my few addictions that could be considered healthy!

<![CDATA[So this is feeling numb]]>Wed, 12 Mar 2014 15:08:20 GMThttp://kristenirobison.weebly.com/my-noggin-is-bloggin/so-this-is-feeling-numbPicture
Life was busy; all three kids were in two different plays.  We spent our nights running here and there getting ready.  Then my washing machine went kaput.  We were trying to be frugal so we bought a used washer that had been refurbished by an appliance repair center.  Silly us…the dryer missed its mate and decided to break within ONE WEEK!!!  Fine, we went to the same appliance repair center and bought a dryer.  A week later that washer broke requiring us to drive it back, have it fixed again, and then brought back home.  Then our fridge was feeling left out and it too had to be replaced.  Then my father decided it was time to allow his body its rest and passed away.  A day before the funeral we had heavy rain and part of my basement flooded.  Then the water softener and the telephone system died.  Not to be outdone, my car needed to be inspected and the rear brakes, rooters, and all four tires needed to be replaced before passing inspection.  My oldest came to a point where she could no longer do her math without a $130 graphing calculator and a new expensive pair of shows for gym because hers were hurting her feet running.  With as much time as I have spent in the physical therapy office with her, I take her leg/feet pain seriously.  Then my 14 year old cat decided that my entire house is his litter box.  This all happened within about a 6 week period. 

My daughter did a load of laundry two days ago and I decided to fold it.  Hmmm, what are these HUGE rips in the clothing?  What, the dryer is eating and burning clothes?  I know that I am angry about this.  Really, I am.  But to be honest, I just can’t feel it.  I feel numb.  I never really knew what this felt like.  I’ve heard the expression; I thought I could relate. Let me share what it feels like.  It feels like being awake, going through the motions of life, but having no emotions towards things…happy or sad, angry or mad.  I know that I should not like because I don’t get to feel joy or excitement, but to be honest, I’m okay with it.  I’d rather be numb then in the loony bin…right?  I know that I am being blessed in so many aspects of my life and I think as strange as it sounds, numbness is really a great blessing right now.  You may say that I should go see a professional.  But do I really want to feel the emotional exhaustion and fatigue or am I okay with the numbness?  For today I’m good with numbness for who knows what tomorrow may bring and besides, I haven’t even tried to pay the bills yet!

<![CDATA[Crossing the Border makes Reese lose his cups!]]>Mon, 03 Mar 2014 17:30:26 GMThttp://kristenirobison.weebly.com/my-noggin-is-bloggin/crossing-the-border-makes-reese-lose-his-cupsPicture
Now that we have enjoyed the 2014 Winter Olympics and we all pulled together to cheer for amazing winter athletes, we now need to work together to address another problem that could rip North America apart!!!  What is that you ask?  We need to address the problem that poor Reese loses his peanut butter cups when entering Canada?  What is wrong with the Canadians that they won’t let him keep them?  Ethan and I thought we’d bring a unique candy treat home for the kids from Canada when lo’ and behold I spotted the problem!  I pointed out to Ethan that the ‘s was missing from my favorite delicious candy!   He thought I was mistaken and that it was originally Reese in the US of A as well.  Of course I informed him that dear Reese and his peanut butter cups were part of the reason I wear the size pants that I do and of course I know when his possessive is missing!!!  What happened that made the Canadians seize poor Reese’s cups?  Why can’t we all just get along?!  How do we correct this injustice?  You don’t want to let this injustice linger while you’re on watch do you?  Well, why you are pondering what to do, I’ll just go snack on my favorite chocolate and peanut butter treat…

<![CDATA[My attempts at Frugality Continued...]]>Fri, 31 Jan 2014 18:37:49 GMThttp://kristenirobison.weebly.com/my-noggin-is-bloggin/my-attempts-at-frugality-continuedI thought I would try to make my own potato chips to send in the kid’s lunch boxes.  I stood for hours thinly chopping the potatoes and then deep frying them.  The kids came home from school and each got bowls full of chips and really liked them.  Then they each got one snack bag for lunch the following day.  That was it!  Hours of hard work and that was it.  Definitely worth watching the grocery store sales for a good deal!

Where I live there are no stores with double couponing.  So I will never truly become a “crazy coupon lady”.  But I do frequent some websites for printable coupons that aren’t in my Sunday paper.  Here are some of my favorites:  Coupons.com, Hopster.com, and Smartsource.com

I’ve recently signed up for Ebates.com (wish I knew about this one before Christmas) that pays you cash when you shop online and Kelloggsfamilyrewards.com for all of the cereal we go through.  Once you join up with Kellogg’s make sure that you follow them on Facebook for other opportunities to get more points.  Another money saver/coupon getter that looks promising is Ibotta.  Unfortunately it requires an app that my phone can’t do or that my IPad and tablet are too old to support.  And one of my new favorite money saving sites is Checkout51.com.  This site gives you 10 or so offers every week.  You have to buy exactly what the offer is (any variation and you won’t get the money) then you scan your receipt  and post it to your account. They give you credit for the item and once you hit $20 dollars they will send you a check.  The nice thing with this is that you can still use any coupons you may have for the item and they still give you money!  It is a great way to save money on things you are probably already buying (some of the items up so far have been milk, orange juice, cereals, protein bars, crackers, cleaning supplies…)

Also free ways to earn a little extra money are to sign up for different reward programs like cokerewards.com (if you drink pop, water or fitness drinks made by coke.)  My husband and kids have been trained to bring home pop lids from sodas at parties or meetings they’ve attended.  So far I’ve gotten magazine subscriptions, and several Shutterfly picture books.  Mypoints.com offers gift cards for surveys you do or other emails you click through. I don’t qualify for surveys too often, but get excited when I do!  I’ve be rewarded twice through them (both times choosing Amazon gift cards.)  Another great one is Swagbucks.com but this one takes longer for me to earn from.  This one has a daily poll, surveys, clips to watch and points using their search function.  But again I’ve received Wal-Mart and Amazon gift cards. 

At our home, we have also decided that our phones don’t define us so we have gone super cheap.  (This of course doesn’t include my husband who has an IPhone from work).  My teenage daughter and I each have a simple Tracfone and use the family plan.  When we bought our phones it included double lifetime minutes.  That is a deal that is quite frequent.  Our monthly amount (no contract) is a total of $15 for the two phones.  This plan does limit your talking minutes and texts, but it is teaching my daughter self-control and phone management (and she hates it when friends waste her time with one word texts!)

I will leave you with my final thing that I have found that I LOVE!  It is a recipe for computer monitor, TV screen and eye glass cleaner!  It is amazing and I love walking around cleaning things with it!  No more wasting all of the alcohol wipes.  This is it:  Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and DISTILLED water.  Use half and half and put it in a spray bottle.  You will use it with a microfiber cloth that is not washed with fabric softener. 

***Looking for a good book or one to avoid?  Remember to check out my Book and Movie reviews page!***