Sunday, February 27, 2011

Who Comes Up With This Stuff?

We have a new obsession with advertising, around here.  Television commercials, print ads, radio ads and billboards are all included.  We've turned it into sort of a game.  The point of the game?  Pick out the stupidest statements advertisers make.  Here are a few favorites:
  • Farm picked broccoli (from a commercial for frozen meals).  As compared to what, free range broccoli?  Seriously, where else are you going to pick broccoli?
  • Check with your doctor before taking prescription X (from dozens of ads for prescription medications).  Wouldn't I need my doctor to prescribe the medication in the first place?  Maybe this statement is for people who buy their meds on the street.
  • Sauce made with real tomatoes (from a commercial for frozen pizza).  I agree with this one, I hate the taste of faux tomatoes.
  • We pick only the most tender vegetables (from a commercial for frozen vegetables, the vegetables shown are carrots).   Should carrots be tender before they're cooked?  I like them to be crisp.  
  • With crisp vegetables (from a magazine ad for frozen meals).  Should vegetables be crisp after they've been cooked?  I like them to be tender.
  • Why mess with morning coffee (from a commercial for an energy drink).  Maybe because I like the taste of coffee?  If you follow this logic, why mess with eating food when you could just take a vitamin?
  • Professional installation (from a carpet company ad).  Who else would a carpet company send to install your carpet?  Good hearted volunteers?  Isn't anyone paid to install carpet, by definition, a professional? 
  • Made in our kitchens by cooks (from an ad for a fast food restaurant).  I'm so relieved that they don't have the janitor preparing my chicken.  
  • Now I have the confidence to improve my credit score (from a commercial for an online credit reporting service).  Confidence, as far as I know, is not a form of legal tender.  Ever try using it to pay your bills?  It takes money, not confidence, to improve your credit score.
  • Call *insert-phone-number-here* (from any number of billboards along the highway).  Is there a safe and convenient way to call, write down, or even read a phone number when traveling at 70 mph? 
I really do want to know, who comes up with this stuff?


It's not too late to enter my CSN Stores giveaway!  Click here for more information.


Monday, February 21, 2011

My Vacation, A Celebration and A Giveaway

My Vacation

If you've been wondering why I haven't posted a new blog or stopped by to comment, recently, it's because I've been on vacation.  I know, I didn't tell you I was going on vacation, but it was a last minute kind of thing.  I think it's almost always that way when you take a vacation............from sanity.

Yes, friends, that's where I've been.  At home and losing my mind over an endless stream of unexpected expenses, pricey auto repairs (on every vehicle we own), damaged kitchen countertops, an early spring thaw (can you say mud?), an overwhelming winter storm (can you say knee deep snow?), and one particularly clever field mouse that snuck in the house and evaded capture for over a week.

When I shared on Facebook that it was raining lemons around here, a friend suggested that I make margaritas.  Wouldn't you know that we were out of tequila?  Such is life....

A Celebration

Today is a day of celebration in our house because it's our son's birthday.  As hard as it is for us to believe, he is now eighteen years old.  The time has gone by so fast.

It's quite possible that you're thinking "My goodness, Willoughby, you don't look nearly old enough to have an eighteen year old son!".  I probably wouldn't argue with that statement.  Take a look at a recent picture of me:

I look far too young to have an adult son, don't I?  The same could be said for Mr. Willoughby.  See for yourself:

Judging by these pictures, I think we look just as young as we did on this day eighteen years ago. 

Happy Birthday, Son!  From your not-so-old parents!

A Giveaway

When we built the bar on our back porch, we spent weeks searching for bar stools that were just the right style and size.  Eventually, we compromised and chose a set that are great looking and comfortable, but a little shorter than we would like.  This spring, I'm hoping to replace them with taller, or adjustable bar stools.

So, now, you're wondering why I'm talking about bar stools and what they have to do with the giveaway I mentioned.  Well, CSN Stores have lots of fantastic bar stools and they have given me a $40 gift certificate to award to one lucky winner.  You can use it toward any item (not including shipping) on their website.

I will draw one winner, at random, on March 1, 2011.  Please be sure that your email is linked to your blog or that you provide a contact email in your comment on this post.

To enter:

1. You must be a follower of This Stop Willoughby, or become one.

2. You must click on the link above, browse the items in that category, and then come back and leave a comment on this post telling me about one of your favorites.

3. You may leave an additional comment (one per day) telling me about a favorite item from any category on CSN Stores.

4. If you would like to earn a bonus entry, mention my giveaway on your blog along with a link to this post. Please be sure to leave a comment (with link) letting me know that you've done so.

5. This giveaway is limited to the United States and Canada (sorry!).  Don't forget that you are responsible for shipping charges.

Good luck!


Friday, February 4, 2011

Keeping It All Together

Recently, I received an email that said, "Willoughby, you seem to have it all together, how do you do it?" (That's how I interpreted it, anyway. The actual email said something about my having won the British lottery, but I knew what they meant.)  I have to tell you, I'm asked this question frequently (never), and my response is always the same, "I'm a little bit of an idiot.  I keep it all together by embracing my inner moron."

I know, I know, you're skeptical.  After all, I don't seem like an idiot (sometimes), but that's only because I try not to flaunt it.  I wouldn't want to make anyone feel inadequate because they did not possess the same potential for idiocy as I do.

Let's take yesterday, for example.  The kids had a snow day, which gave me plenty of time to putter around in the kitchen.  I was making spicy Mexican food for dinner, so I thought I would make a cool and creamy dessert.  My plans for making a banana cream pie last weekend had fizzled out, so I decided that's what I would make. 

I started by creating a thick, velvety homemade custard.  The air was heavy with the scent of vanilla as it simmered on the cook top.  Next, I set about making a pastry crust.  It baked up beautifully; delicate and flaky, the fluted edges lightly golden brown.  When both were thoroughly cooled, I combined them.  I considered a meringue topping, but settled on whipped cream, instead.  The end result was quite lovely.  We could hardly wait until dinner was finished to cut the first slice. 

As I prepared to serve this lovingly prepared work of art, I spied the bananas sitting on the counter and remembered something very important.  The one thing I had forgotten to add to my banana cream pie was the bananas.   A debate ensued as to whether I should still add them to the filling.  They could be pushed down into the filling or placed on top.  They could even be stirred into the filling, although that would certainly make a mess of the whole pie.  In the end I opted to leave them out completely and call our dessert vanilla custard pie.  I was embracing my inner moron, who, apparently, doesn't like bananas.