Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Helping Santa

Here it is the highly anticipated, often used, and heralded list of stocking stuffers. Last year I was unable to contain the list to one post. Consequently I had no less than five stocking stuffer blogs for my readers to read, digest, print out, and use all season long. If you do not partake in Christmas, this list is equally valuable for lesser expensive (in some cases) Chanukah gifts, hostess gifts, or friend gifts. What makes these ideas “stocking stuffers” is the size. Regardless, they are perfect gifts of any kind, you fill in the occasion! Now, let’s get started. As is precedent, there will be more of these blogs as I rarely contain myself to one post about something I believe is this vital!

Stocking Stuffers:

Baby acetaminophen and baby ibuprofen – this is really for Mom and Dad so the next time their little Cherub gets the need they don’t need to run out for the meds in the middle of the night/snowstorm/driving rains

Rattles - all shapes, sizes, colors, and sounds; make sure they are age-appropriate and will not irritate Mom and Dad

Socks – cute designs, silly characters, or six packs of white; babies need socks to keep their tootsies warm just like we do!

Bath care – cleansers for sensitive skin is a good idea; also baby powder, lotion, and diaper rash ointment

Hats – cute, crazy, silly, but always warm; be sure to get a size that will fit the noggin you are trying to keep warm


Crayons – Crayola are the very best but Rose Art makes a good specimen. The more the better when it comes to quantity; don’t forget to add some coloring books from Sesame Street, Disney, or Peanuts

Mittens – the crazier the better; bright colors, classic characters, and warm, soft feel are best

Candy – foil-wrapped chocolates, holiday lollipops, and/or candy canes in all different flavors from traditional peppermint to wacky fruit combinations

Little toys – Hot Wheels, Match Box (for boys or girls), Lego Duplo or Mega Blok sets for little hands, hand held dolls that aren’t too complicated and DO NOT come with a thousand tiny pieces, action figures/Superheros

Bubble Bath – scented bubbles, colorful bath crayons, or fun bath toys are all welcomed

School-aged Kids:

Spin Toothbrushes – favorite characters, great colors; don’t forget some awesome flavored toothpaste

Gift cards – kids this age want to exercise their spending power, so give them a card to a bookstore, discount store, clothing store, or toy store

Cash – what kid doesn’t love a new crisp bill to put in his/her wallet

Thank you notes – Pick a pack that has a cool character, beautiful scene , or simply “Thank you” on the cover; add funky pens, a book of stamps, and maybe a mini clipboard

Accessories – Earbuds, scarves, gloves, hats, costume jewelry, shoelaces, hair extensions with or without feathers


iTunes gift card – The power to purchase one’s own music is priceless

MP3 player – some way for them to listen to hours of their own music

Belts – get a few so they can change their look

Gum/mints – encourage oral hygiene and fresh breath

Necklace with special charm – for boys or girls, a piece of jewelry that subtly reminds your child how much you love them and still makes them look cool/grown up will endear you to them for a few more months


Journal – teens are at the age when they need to figure life (their life in particular) out; writing their struggles, hopes, and dreams on paper allows for a cathartic process – don’t forget a great pen

Money/Gift cards – this is very important to teens who may or may not make their own money, but desperately want to have the option to spend; don’t forget a gas card for the new driver

Wallet – great way to present the gift of cash/gift card

Scrapbook – this takes time and effort, but it is a labor of love; make a scrapbook from pictures, ticket stubs, school programs, and personal mementos that is unique to your child and weave it all together in one album or digitally

Trust – let them go out with a driver or be the driver as long as you are fully aware of where they are going and that NO ONE will be drinking and driving

College Students:

Quarters – a roll for the ever-present need to do laundry at the Laundromat

Laundry bag – a place to put the dirty clothes before they go to the Laundromat

Gift card to local pizzeria - on campus with a large amount so they can treat their friends

New clothes/accessories – college kids are usually poor and can’t afford to update their wardrobes; stick with staples and let them add the fashion flare

Nest Egg – buy a couple of shares of stock or a certificate of deposit in their name so when college is over they have a bit of a nest egg started for things like a down payment on a car or a house, buying a ring for a fiancé, or traveling to Europe


Shaving kit – blades, shave cream, after shave, dob kit; better if you know their brands/taste

Underwear – good fitting but sexy versions; white is okay, but colors and cuts that make a statement are better

Socks – athletic socks, socks to wear with khakis, and socks to wear with a suit or tux are all appropriate

Tire gauge – a good quality one that will make him smile when he pulls it out of the stocking

Tickets – to his favorite sports team, band, musical theater, or destination


Perfume – a scent that drives you wild, suits her, and is something she wouldn’t treat herself normally

Underwear – good fitting but sexy versions; sizing is tricky but not impossible, do your research, pick great colors and alluring styles

Slipper socks – soft, fuzzy, warm, and cute; a cold-footed woman cannot feel sexy so warm her feet

Exotic foods – caviar, cheese, mustards, imported chocolates; the perimeters are based on your imagination

Jewelry – costume jewelry is fine and at times preferred, but, if you can afford it, buy a fine piece of jewelry that is totally unexpected (at a loss? Stay tuned, there will be an all jewelry post on Chief 187™Chatter in the very near future).


Pictures – pictures of the grandkids, hand-drawn pictures, family group pictures, old pictures of them when they were much younger and in love

Movie tickets – gift cards to the theater is much appreciated for those who love to see the latest flicks

Tutorial – volunteer to spend an entire weekend at the grandparents’ house to teach them how to use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or any other feature on the Internet/computer

Dinner of the month – Invite your grandparents to dinner once a month so you are insured time together in the coming year

Books – find their interest and find them a book that matches it

These suggestions just scratch the surface; I will offer more ideas throughout the season and up through the hours before Christmas Eve. I highly suggest you print these ideas out and travel with them, you never know when opportunity meets necessity! And, it you’d like to share your ideas, traditions, and Eureka! Moments, please do so!

Happy gathering!

Please join me tomorrow for another fast, easy, and delicious recipe on Tantalizing Thursday on Chief 187™Chatter.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187™Chatter. The holidays are here and for the next 5 weeks the schedules we keep, activities we partake, food we make, and shopping we do increase, spread us thin, and make us frazzled. Even those, like me, who embrace the season,

love the myriad parts, can find they get worn out, over-tired, a bit sick, and stressed out. But, since I prepare all year long for this time-period, I don’t want to ruin it with sour moods, irrational behavior, and outbursts. Once again, seeking the Simple Joys that exist all around, especially in this season where they are ever-present and numerous, makes the Christmas season all the more special to me. I hope by experiencing Simple Joys yourself you will find this Holiday Season provides the most pleasure. Now, without further ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.

Head cuddles. As I wrote last week, my mom-in-law is a very special woman in my life. While watching a movie with the family over Thanksgiving Weekend she started to caress my hair like I was her little girl. Her hands are so gentle and always make me feel like I am a princess with the most luxurious hair. When I was a teenager and was simply dating her son she used to do this absentmindedly. Not having a daughter of her own, I volunteered and played the part well. After giving her three grand-children over the last 9 years there has been little opportunity to connect like this. Having the chance this past weekend was a Simple Joy that brought me back to the Simple Joys of my youth! And, yes, I still feel like a princess when she does that!

Wrapping presents. I was able to wrap the first of my Christmas presents this past weekend. This is not quite so unusual for most, but for me it is very late. By the time October goes I am usually finished shopping and wrapping all of my gifts. With my new career I am behind that schedule sorely. Wrapping a gift in the first time in ages brought back the immense joy I feel adorning a gift I lovingly picked out for my loved one. I take pride in the paper selection, crisp corners, and beautiful outcome. When I have a pile of wrapped gifts I smile knowing I have a bunch of secrets to place under the tree. Wrapping presents has been and continues to be a Simple Joy for me that soothes me whenever I indulge the activity.

Super Glue. We decorated our home over the weekend. As soon as the leftovers are stored from Thanksgiving overnight, I know it is time to adorn the house. We do a lot, although this year we are in “moderation” because of our two year old daughter who is vastly inquisitive, does not understand actions have consequences, and is willful. After unwrapping several of my prized Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments that I have amassed for the better part of two decades, I left my daughter in the room while I stepped out to bring up another box. When I returned several of my collectible ornaments were broken! Her little hands must have set to work before I had taken my last step out of the room. There were four ornaments manhandled to the point of breakage! I was livid! Not so much at my daughter but at myself for trusting she could control herself in my absence. Fuming, I took the damaged ornaments into the kitchen where the Super Glue is kept on top of the refrigerator away from toddler reach. I was in such a tizzy I couldn’t even glue properly. Thankfully my husband showed up at that exact moment, listened to my plaintive tale at my “stupidity”, told me to leave so he could fix it and I could calm down, and set straight to work. When I returned sometime later, with a smile on my lips, lightness in my heart, and an amends made to my daughter whom I adore, my ornaments were fixed! I credit the Super Glue as the Simple Joy, but I realize now that once again it is my husband who brings the Simple Joys into my life constantly!

Swimming. Having my in-laws stay at a hotel means we get to swim! The indoor pool at their hotel is tons of fun for my family full of swimmers. We indulge in a fantastic breakfast and then change into our swimsuits and enjoy a raucous good time. All of the children have been taking swimming lessons since early in their life so they are tremendous swimmers, including our daughter. I, too, enjoy swimming immensely. Usually my posts about swimming come in summer when I indulge in my favorite activity at my parent’s lake, but to have the opportunity to swim numerous times with my family in the middle of autumn is a Simple Joy I feel most lucky to experience!

Breaking Bread. What I enjoy so much about the holidays is sharing a meal with family/loved ones. The entire meal becomes an event simply because of the sheer fact that so many are at the table. Whether we are home in our dining room or out to eat at a restaurant, the number of us together at the table heightens the importance of the meal. The times we are together are few and far between so when we are I am acutely aware of how special the time is. Having smiling faces, a bountiful feast, and good-humored laughs emanating from those gathered are Simple Joys that keep me fueled throughout the year.

Like many, I had my share of frustrations, awkward moments, and uncomfortableness over the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend, but the difference this year was I set my mind to find the plethora of Simple Joys before me. I am fortunate; I love my family and my in-laws. I am surrounded by people who love and respect me, but even in those ideal situations, being surrounded by loved ones, out of routine, and being thrown together for such a long time yields periods of discomfort. By clearing my head, changing my perspective, and, at times, simply walking away for a breather allowed for a much more harmonious, pleasurable, and successful holiday visit. Simple Joys are becoming the glue that holds me together at all times! I urge you to make a weekly (daily?) list of your Simple Joys to keep the positive in your perspective.

Please join me tomorrow as I offer up a ton of Stocking Stuffer suggestions for people of all ages!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Movie Blog - 3 Favorite Christmas Movies

Welcome to the Monday Movie Blog on Chief 187™Chatter. Although I typically don’t get to watch a lot of movies throughout the year, I always make a point to view a ton of my

favorite holiday movies during the Christmas season. From It’s a Wonderful Life to A Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street to Love, Actually there are so many titles, versions, and types of Christmas movies I like to delve. I enjoy the escapism, the moral, and the feel-good endings that annually solidify the faith I have in Santa Claus and Christmas goodness. Christmas can be sweet, cute, and childlike, but it can also be tender, bittersweet, and romantic. I like all aspects of the holiday as told via Hollywood (except for horror films and those with tragically sad endings!).

This week’s focus is your three favorite Christmas movies throughout the ages. List the name of the movie and include a list of actors involved, a brief synopsis or review of the film.

To access former Monday Movie Blogs simply type “Monday Movie Blog” into the search feature located in the upper left hand corner of this page. Please feel free to add any new selections you feel would be appropriate for the archived topics you find. This is an ever-growing resource meant to be utilized by the entire Chief 187™ Chatter readership.

Please join me tomorrow for the most popular post of any week on Chief 187™Chatter, Simple Joys.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Music Bog - Black Friday Edition

Welcome to the Friday Music Blog on Chief 187™Chatter. We are on the most heralded Friday of the year for American retailers, Black Friday. Today the Christmas shopping season

begins in earnest and, like it or lump it, stores, radio stations, and towns are all Christmas all the time from now through the end of the year. I for, one, enjoy this season immensely as I find it to be a source of joy, comfort, and pleasure. I do acutely understand, however, that for others this season is a trying time. My goal is always to try to make each season, each week, and each day a source of Simple Joys through this blog. If Christmas Season is historically a troubling time, I hope that reading my daily blogs at Chief 187™Chatter will help cheer you. Music has always provided a mood elevation for me.

This week’s focus is favorite Christmas music. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, but listen to the music YOU like. List your favorite Christmas songs, tunes, carols, and hymns including the artist’s version you prefer. If you enjoy entire albums of Christmas music, include those too.

This has been another banner week at Chief 187™Chatter. I am so pleased to announce that the site picked up another two followers making the total eighty-three. The site also surpassed the milestone 35000 pageviews and is far on its way to reaching 36000! On the heels of my

Thanksgiving Gratefulness blog, I want to take another opportunity to thank each and every one of you for visiting the site, reading my work, and sharing it with others. The success of Chief 187™Chatter is all thanks to your engaged readership!

Please continue to check this blog throughout the day and weekend to see the new entries. I encourage you to take some time to read archived material on the site as well. Then I invite you to join me on Monday as we start another week of entirely new and original posts. I’ll be offering tips, hints, recipes, games, gift ideas, and coping-mechanisms to make the 2011 Christmas/Holiday Season successful, enjoyable and tolerable.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I Am Thankful/Tantalizing Thursday

Welcome to Chief 187™Chatter on Thanksgiving 2011. It is with much love, gratitude, appreciation, and humbleness I write this post to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. Today, in addition to recipes for leftover turkey on Tantalizing Thursday, I want to take this opportunity to “say” what I am thankful as if you were all around my table today. This could get a little winded but please bear with me.

This year I have been blessed by much in my life. First I thank my family; my husband, Racer 187, who is my rock, my IT department, my partner, my soul mate, my best friend, my lover, the father of my children, the caretaker when I cannot be, and my all-time most staunch and passionate supporter. I thank my children who, in their own special and unique ways, support Mommy’s career, provide endless fodder for my blogs, especially Simple Joys, teach me life lessons along the way, and make me so proud and glad that I have them to care for in my life and hold their hearts in mine forever. I am thankful for my parents who not only read my work, compliment my talent, and love me unconditionally, but who try to help me financially with Chief 187™so I can continue to reach for my dream. I am also thankful for my in-laws who equally support my efforts to build my career, who love me like I am their own, and make me proud to be a part of their family. I am thankful for my brothers, my niece, and all of my extended family who make the world a richer and happier place for me.

Professionally there are many who deserve my thanks as well. For those of you who don’t know, I am working on many sites all over the Internet. I began my online writing at so I would like to thank Buzz Cutler for featuring my first few blogs back in 2007 and talking about them on the podcast. We’ve always had an amazing relationship and I love and respect him. Without Rowdy and Buzz Cutler’s support, I don’t think anybody would have heard of Chief 187™.

I want to thank Melany and her boyfriend Bill Davidson for reading my work at Rowdy in a near drunken state and liking them. That incident led to me working at WhooBazoo. Bill and I became fast friends and my writing gig grew to include radio work because of Bill's suggestion. Curtis, Eric, Tony at WhooBazoo have been wonderful to work with and get to know. Eric Foster, especially, has challenged me, rattled me, made me laugh, and made me truly enjoy watching races again. To date, he is the ONLY man I have ever texted during a NASCAR race! Mike Fiore is a man I “ove” and met through WhooBazoo; he is friend, confidant, and all-around great guy who I am most thankful for meeting and teaches me much every time we talk!

My work at WhooBazoo allowed for me to get work at the Indie Republic Network’s Eventlevel station. There I need to thank Cyber Narcotics (great name, right?!), Master Willz, Sinista 1, DB, Rick O, Leffykins, Muffin, and our other support talent for being warm, welcoming, gracious, and fantastic. Cyber Narcotics has been integral in empowering me when I grew weary of my talent. He talked me up, gave me wings, and proudly watched me fly. Cyber Narcotics syndicated my work throughout the Indie Republic Network. Cyber Narcotics gave me a forum and for those things I am forever grateful. A nod of thankfulness to MSLB as well, the woman who hustles, works hard, taught me much, and keeps it all together in the Indie Republic. And to Keith Hayes who is the most gracious man who believed in me since Day 1, introduces me to incredible people and validates me constantly.

With the help of my friend Bill I found work as a NASCAR columnist at Skirts and Scuffs website writing “Why I Love NASCAR” by Chief 187™. I adore that column and the women who I work with like creator Katy, Editors Rebecca, Unique, and, most specifically, my editor, Amanda. Amanda was the first editor I have ever worked and we get along famously! All of the women at the site I treasure and make me so proud to be a part of an all-female staffed (yet all -inclusive content) site.

I also found work at WowShaneRadio via Twitter. I was simply networking and I met Shane Carson. We hit it off immediately as we are positive, energetic, hard-working people. Our personalities gelled, my work ethic pleased him, and my content floored him. Moreover, Shane is just a very good man. He is my friend and for that, most importantly, I am so thankful.

I am thankful for Hanlon Razor who’s enthusiasm, raw talent, incredible mind, and sheer awe of me makes me infinitely better at what I do. No worries, he’s laughing about that comment I assure you! But seriously, Hanlon makes me strive to be better every time we are on air together. We are a very good team and he is a very dear friend who I am most certainly thankful!

And then there are those who have supported my writing career throughout the year. People like Jules, Art Tidesco, Pam Fedoush Pastiva, Peg Wiggins, Wandisville, Archidude, and Grumpa who have followed my career since the Rowdy days. They never falter in their love, support, friendship, and encouragement for me. They all hold a most special and important place in my heart.

And, as I expanded my friend base, there were more who championed my work and promoted me passionately like W.F. (Bill) Stone, Richard Fazio, James Lance Juris, and Tom “Little Red” Vogt. These men took it as a mission to spread my works to all who would read.

Bill was the very first to take up my cause telling me every day how talented a writer I am and showing me how to grow my readership, utilize Twitter, and even introduced me to the great women at Skirts and Scuffs. Then he encouraged me, when I was getting cold feet, to apply for a writing position at the site. He wouldn’t let me walk away from the challenge. I dare say that Bill is the primary reason my reach online is as far as it currently is because Bill helped me navigate the map, taught me the inner workings, and constantly told me to reach for the stars.

Richard has been my most ardent and supportive “fan” who not only enjoys my NASCAR posts but is wholly enamored with my Simple Joys blogs. He tries to spread that post far and wide and that makes me forever grateful for his kindness and friendship. He is a very good man.

James was someone I “met” on Twitter who put me on a list. I was grateful so I tweeted him. He tweeted back. We’ve never stopped tweeting to one another. We finally took the friendship to Facebook. We’re friends. And James has never stopped promoting me and growing my influence online. He is selfless, caring, and just plain wonderful.

Tom is one of my dearest friends who I met such a short time ago. He is the son of NASCAR’s creator, an educated Georgia boy living in California who, for whatever reason, stumbled upon my writings via Facebook, friended me, sent me a private message, and we connected! From the time he started reading me Tom has made it his goal to get my works to the masses. He is tireless in his support of my career and the most caring friend.I am thankful for his steadfast and strenuous support of not only my career but me as well.

Redneck Mannikko, Bob Stafford, Dr. Rus Jeffrey, Douglas Bittinger, Dr. Mo(nique), Paul Wiggins, Carlyle, Mia, Staticulator, Spreading Joy, Melissa Foster, Chuck Oldman, Leslie Mostrup, Lani Osterman, Eugene Booth, Mehmet Nariçi, Stacy Hyatt, Johnny G. Scott, The Soulful EMU™, Atila, Appopallus, Stephen and Melissa Brown and so many others that it is overwhelming and wonderful! I am truly blessed with a host of terrific people who make up my readership and my unofficial team to help me spread my words. There truly are scores of others who help me every day on Facebook, on Twitter, and myriad other places to help me succeed. I am truly thankful for you all!

Now, just to be consistent, I am offering up a recipe for leftover turkey; after all, it is Tantalizing Thursday! Once again, wishing you ALL a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey Pot Pie
Recipe developed by Chief 187™


• 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
• 2 cups cubed cooked turkey
• 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
• Approximately 2 cups of leftover turkey gravy


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Line bottom of pie pan with one crust.
Mix together the turkey, mixed vegetables, and turkey gravy. Pour into pie crust, cover with top crust and crimp edges.
Poke holes in top crust and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.

This recipe is simple, utilizes leftovers, and scores big for comfort food lovers. Serve leftover cranberry sauce on the side or a tossed salad. Reheat mashed or sweet potatoes (or both) as sides, too. Leftover vegetables can be used in the pie in lieu of the frozen kind. I never make just one of these pies as they go quickly and, if there are leftovers, they store well for a couple of days and make a great lunch reheated in the microwave. For use the rest of the year, substitute chicken for turkey and chicken gravy or cream of chicken soup +milk for liquid.

Tired of the traditional turkey flavor after the Big Day & have had your fill of turkey sandwiches? Shred your turkey and mix in taco seasoning – Turkey Tacos are scrumptious and a totally different taste! Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

T'was the Night Before Thanksgiving!

T’was the night before Thanksgiving when all through the house
Every creature was stirring, including the mouse!

The pies were cooling by the window sills with care
In hopes that Grandma and Grandpa soon would be there!

The children were dressed like Pilgrims and Braves

And were tickled to be off from school for days!

While Mom and Dad stuffed the turkey and cleaned

Baby sister just ran around the rooms and screamed!

When what to our wondering eyes did appear
But a Volvo filled with gifts ‘ear to ear’!

Grandma and Grandpa arrived giving hugs
While Daddy inspected the car's grill for dead bugs.

The mood was festive and bright
And no one wanted to say “good night”.

But at last we all went to bed,
Full of excitement for the day ahead!

I wrote this poem (with a nod to Clement Clark Moore, the author of the poem “A Visit from St. Nick” that this post was based and apologies to Dav Pilkey who published a book of the same name) last year when my daughter was one. I’m not quite sure how a year can possibly pass so quickly or how my now two-year-old daughter could have grown and changed so much, but that is the magic of time. I hope you enjoyed this musing. True to form, we at Casa 187 are anticipating the visit of Grandma and Grandpa and, thankfully, Great-Grandpa this year! Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! Please join me tomorrow for a special entry on Chief 187™Chatter.