Mar. 31: My summary of March

march2013reviewWow, that month went kinda fast. Yikes.

Special days I celebrated this month and how:

There were no major holidays for us this month, but we did go on vacation for the first time in eleventy years, so that was a pretty big celebration.

We spent six days in Southern California, three of them at the Disneyland Resort. Katie and Jack hadn’t been there since 2006, so this was a completely different vacation than we’d had with them before. There were new attractions to experience, and both kids were older/taller, allowing them to try rides they hadn’t been able to in earlier visits.

One HUGE step was that Victor and I actually separated from the kids a couple times and went off to do the too-scary-for-our-weeeener-kids rides (Tower of Terror and California Screamin’) ourselves. We were proud of them for being conscientious—they quickly responded when we texted them—and for Jack allowing Katie to be in charge for brief moments. However, we’re still a long way from leaving them on their own OUTSIDE a Disney park.

Cars Land, the newest area of California Adventure, definitely lived up to the hype—it was like walking through a set of the movie! The refurb of it’s a small world was very cute. Vic and Katie loved World of Color (Jack and I napped at the hotel instead). I’ll write up a more thorough trip report when I get the chance, but for now I’ll just say that *almost* start-to-finish, this was one of the best vacations we’ve ever been on.

Books I read this month:

  • Disney travel books, mostly.
  • The new book by my favorite Crappy Blogger, Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures. Very funny.
  • My attention span is still frustratingly short and although I’ve started reading several books, I haven’t finished much. During April we run a reading incentive program at school, and I plan to participate along with the kids, so hopefully April’s month-in-review post will be more book-y.

Movies and TV shows worth mentioning:

  • Wreck-It Ralph was way cuter than I expected.
  • United 93. You forget about the intense emotions of that day in 2001 until you watch this kind of movie, this very dramatic, incredibly sad story, and then everything comes flooding back. It took a Disney vacation to get me out of the funk—I don’t mean to make light of it at all, but for me, it requires a complete removal from normal life to get 9/11 out of the very front of my mind.
  • I know I watched other movies and TV shows in March, but the fact that I can’t remember them now probably means they weren’t worth mentioning.

New recipes or restaurants I tried:

  • I’ve eaten at In-N-Out Burger in the past, but we tried it again on vacation and I had forgotten how tasty those burgers are! Yum. Why the company prints Bible verses on all their paper goods, though, I do not know.
  • California Adventure has a new beverage that we thought was surprisingly delicious: Red’s Apple Freeze. It’s apple-flavored with a hint of toasted marshmallow and fruity foamy topping. Sounds gross, but it wasn’t.

Special or unusual purchases I made:

  • A cape. Yes, this was an unusual purchase. Do you buy a cape every month? Katie needed one for Super Hero Day at school, and we’ll all need them for Relay for Life this summer, which is super hero-themed, so I’ll be ordering a bunch more soon. Yay!
  • This phone case for Vic, possibly one of my favorite etsy finds ever:

vulcan ears phone

  • A dog bowl. I know, super exciting, huh? Lucy tends to inhale her food, and sometimes that makes her sick but mostly it makes her want MORE FOOD RIGHT NOW I MEAN IT, and that’s annoying. I found these fancy dog bowls with big raised sections in the bottom that supposedly make dogs eat more slowly, but I knew they wouldn’t work for Lucy because they are plastic and she thinks plastic equals chew toy. Fortunately, I was able to find a stainless steel bowl that promises the same slow-eating effect. It was ridiculously expensive, but Lucy is eating more slowly now and not being quite so demanding. S’good.

This month’s disappointments:

  • I found out that I didn’t actually have all the dental work I needed done last month. I could have SWORN they said “You need a root canal. [blah blah blah…] We’ll do that for you today if you’d like.” Apparently they just did the prep, so I go in next week to have the actual root canal done. Grrr…
  • We saw Nicole Richie and Joel Madden with their kids in California Adventure. Here’s the disappointing part: why no Lionel?
  • I was absolutely exhausted just two days into our trip. At home I feel like my energy level has improved so much since going through my zapping chemo regimen, but trips like this—the go-go-go kind—remind me that I’m still not back to normal. Or maybe I’m just old and feeble. Either way, bummer.
  • I came home with several blisters on my feet and a bad sunburn. (And yet, totally worth it.)
  • Still no pony.

My accomplishments:

  • tadaI take no credit for this myself, but the kids had dental exams and OMG, no cavities! Considering the fact that Jack’s dental hygiene techniques are typical of an 11-year-old boy (when he says that YES, he brushed his teeth, we have to ask a follow-up: “TODAY???”), this is very good news and an accomplishment to be celebrated. With Pixy sticks and cotton candy, obvy.
  • Another accomplishment I cannot take credit for is the fundraising we did for a new baseball field at the school, inspired by a sweet first grade boy who died on Dec. 31. We raised $2,000 easily—having a great cause certainly made all the difference.
  • I always try to clean thoroughly before we leave home for any length of time because it’s so nice to come home to a neat house. In the end, though, the rush to get packed and out the door means lots of cleaning tasks are often left undone. Not this time! We managed to do all the laundry in the house, scrub the floors, straighten bedrooms, clean the kitchen, and leave the house virtually spotless. Coming home from vacation has rarely been so lovely.

Anything else noteworthy:

Just a few things that gave me chuckles…



photo 1

photo 1c

photo 1e

photo 2

photo 2g

photo 3

photo 3e

photo 3f

That’s all I got. Later, doods.


I’m not even gonna try to pretend this month-in-review was on time. I changed the post date so it would stay in March where it belongs, but I actually wrote it on April 3. I know this matters to no one.

Mar. 14: Jen follows up the D-I-Y post

diyWay back yonder in my blog I posted links to a bunch of recipes for cleaning products that used normal-ish ingredients. I was eager to rid our home of as many unpronounceable chemicals as possible, and things were going well.

Until I noticed, after using the laundry detergent for several months…

It made our whites all grey and ugly.

I don’t recommend the detergent recipe anymore unless you don’t care about your whites being white. Did the homemade detergent get the clothes clean? Yes, ma’am. Did it make them smell good? It made them smell okay-ish. Did it whiten and brighten where it should? Not even a little. I’m back to Tide and Oxy-Clean.

The other recipe I am un-recommending from that post is the fabric softener, an incredibly messy and not-worth-it exercise in good intentions. It made our clothes soft but the messiness factor got to be too much and we have decided to give it a big thumbs down. I’ve gone back to dryer sheets, which I don’t love, but they certainly are easy. I’m looking into dryer balls or steam softeners to avoid those hateful chemicals, but haven’t tried anything yet that I’m ready to commit to.

I stand by the rest of the recommendations in that post, and I have some more. Yay! You are happy to hear that, I pretend!

Coconut oil. I’ve been using it as a moisturizer and I LOVE it. It smells yummy, and it’s solid at or below 75° so a small chunk turns to liquid as soon as you touch it to yourcoconut skin. Some people say coconut oil dries out your skin, but a lot more say it’s one of the best natural moisturizers out there. It works great for me. The greasiness disappears really quickly. Here are a gazillion ideas for how coconut oil can be used.

One of the skin care items that’s hardest for me to surrender is Bag Balm. We started using it for the kids’ diaper rash, and kept buying it because it heals the skin so well for just about everything else too (DISCLAIMER: may not work as effectively on broken bones or deep/gaping/spurting wounds, but I can’t say I’ve tried). I want to stop using ALL petroleum products (here’s a blogger’s explanation why) but dang it, Bag Balm is a favorite. In its place I’ve been using pure aloe—great for soothing my brow skin after a waxin’—and coconut oil—for extra-dry hands and heels—but haven’t found ONE exact potion to completely replace my beloved Bag Balm. More research required.

Carmex is another tough thing to give up. I’ve made some lip balms that work pretty well though—they are a combo of coconut oil, grapeseed oil, essential oils, and beeswax, mostly—and am planning to tweak my recipe until I get it just right. I’ve done some research on anti-wrinkle potions too, that are very similar.

Neosporin can be made using essential oils. I haven’t tried it yet.

Have you hear of oil pulling? It sounds crazy! Of course, I’m also totally curious.

Alright, that’s enough kooky witch doctor talk for now. Besides, this high fructose veal syrup with a trans fat chaser isn’t going to ingest itself. I need to get busy!


Mar. 11: Words out of words

You’ve seen those anagrams that make not only new words, but also synonyms, right? Example:

Alec Guinness = Genuine Class


Dormitory = Dirty Room


Mother-in-law = Woman Hitler (I love my MIL, so I find this one funny but THAT’S ALL.)

Winking smile

Years ago I put my name in an anagram generator and came out with this:

Jennifer Manullang = Infernal Jungle Man

It’s not a synonym, but it’s funny. Well, I think it is. So I decided to put more names and phrases into an anagram generator and see what it spit out in the way of silly word combinations. Here ya go.


Victor Manullang = Carnal Lung Vomit or Unloving Arm Talc

Mother Mary = Myth Roamer or Home Martyr

Mary Jenny-Saltmarsh = Harmless Jam Tyranny or My Lanterns Harm Jays

Katie Manullang = A Mulligan Taken

Kimberly Felkley Wick = Biweekly Freckly Milk

Sherilee Coffey = Fiery Fleece Hos (I leave that without comment…)

Tina Maciokas = Soak it, Maniac!

Theresa Atkinson = A Tartness Honkie

Dina Cyphers = A Physic Nerd

Wendy Wilson = Down Sly Wine (My girl Wendy does love her wine…)

Michael Devitt = Thematic Devil

Sunshine Fetrow Buzo = O Wet Frozen Sushi Bun!

Dana Gronemyer = No Mangy Reader or Angry Demeanor  :)

Deanna Giubbini = In Nude Bib Again

Valerie = Evil Era (if Val is currently in her evil era, I’m glad I’m part of it!)

Stephanie = I Hate Pens

Clackamas, Oregon = Smack Clog On Area

This one might be my favorite:

Edward Reilly = Drearily Lewd

If I didn’t fark up your name here, it’s not because I forgot you; it’s because the anagram generator didn’t spit out anything good. Promise.


Mar. 10: Too much TV

I’ve been camped out in front of the TV way too much lately. Lucky for you (ha), this means I have some insights to share.


Psych, one of the many fake psychic crime-fighting shows on TV, just started its seventh season. I’ve watched since the first season, but not all that regularly, so recently I’ve been catching up with episodes on Hulu Plus and Netflix. Watching one episode after another made me notice, and then question, the presence of pineapples. Yes, pineapples. There was one in a fridge and another was in piñata form, and it made me go WTF? in my head. So I googled “psych pineapple” and found out there’s a pineapple in almost every episode. Sometimes it’s very subtle (like the Superman reference said to be in every Seinfeld episode), and sometimes very obvious. How does a person watch a show for so many years and not catch on to that? My observational skills are not, apparently, even close to being good enough to work as a fake psychic for any police department anywhere.

One more Psych thing. Last night I watched the “Dual Spires” episode, which was a very clever Twin Peaks homage. Even if you never watched Twin Peaks, you’ll catch a lot of references. You might even watch it for less than ten minutes before you notice (ahem). I highly recommend you seek out the episode and see for yourself.


Grimm is back after what seems like forever, and what a return! Wheels are in motion for a very good rest of the season. Here’s my only request: more shirtless rage. I love the shirtless rage!


As I re-watched early episodes of Downton Abbey last weekend, Victor couldn’t help getting sucked in. He’s now a big ol’ fan, and I didn’t even try to make him one. I get wife points for that somehow. Pretty sure.


Justin Timberlake hosted Saturday Night Live last night, and I’m thankful he exists in the world in which I live.


Smash is gonna have to do better this season than just have big name guest stars. I’m extry-disappointed in what’s happened so far. It doesn’t help that the mid-season return was hyped so, so much. Pffft.


I’m not sure why Amy Sedaris is the new face of Downy Unstopables, but I don’t mind at all. I love her quirky commercials—they’re on Hulu a LOT—and she’s absolutely adorable.


Blu-ray player, where have you been all my life? Mostly uninvented, I suppose. Anyway, now that you sit in my family room I can honestly say that I love you and I’m sorry I didn’t discover you sooner. I plan to tooootally make it up to you.

Also Blu-ray related: If you’re going to buy a Blu-ray player and return it without including all the cables that were in it when you opened the box, you don’t deserve to die—surprise! But I do think I will enjoy the Netflix account you set up and forgot to log out of. I will enjoy it for many years to come, and you probably won’t even realize what you did but will forever have to explain to your wife why your “recently watched” section is full of Psych and Downton Abbey and fetish porn. Ha ha ha… because that HDMI cable I had to buy was expensive, jackass, and the errand delayed my enjoyment of Blu-ray awesomeness.




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