Friday, November 30, 2007

I'll just have to leave it to my writing....

For about three weeks or so, I used this picture in my header. But I finally had to take it down.

I would like to tell you I took it down because it was too big and too in your face and just too busy at the top of the page. And that's part of the reason but that's not the real reason. The real reason I took it down is because it was a lie and I don't want to misrepresent myself to you.

Let's examine the picture in detail and you will soon see what I'm talking about. Let's begin with the phone.

I rarely ever talk on the phone with anyone other than my mom. Mom and I usually talk first thing in the morning for about 5 minutes and then that's it for me and the phone unless some unsuspecting someone might happen to call.

When my kids see the phone attached to my ear they start to emit a loud high pitched whine that doesn't stop until I remove the phone from my ear. Even if I am trying to hide in another room while I'm on the phone, they will start this whine. It's like they have a super power that makes their skin tingle as soon as I touch the receiver. So talking on the phone is out for me. And a red phone? Not even sure they make red phones.

The second thing about this picture that would make it unreasonable for me to use as a representation of myself is the fact that this mom has pets. And not one pet but TWO! We have no pets in our house and the main reason is because of me. I have zero desire to feed, bathe, clean up after, and provide general upkeep for two more creatures...especially creatures that require boarding when we go on vacation! My poor kids are begging me for a pet...begging me...but I am standing firm on this one! No pets in this house...yet, anyway...I may be talked into a goldfish...someday.

The next detail that doesn't go unnoticed in this picture is the fact that this woman is breastfeeding. That right there should be a big clue to anyone that knows me that this picture is not supposed to be me. I breastfed my kids for a total of two seconds. Well, o.k. It was longer than that.

I breastfeed Peter for two miserable months. I had a C-section and I had to pump to get my milk to come in and when it finally did, it was mostly fore milk according to the lactation consultant that we consulted TWICE. At a cost of ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS. Each time.

I finally gave up, gave my son a bottle, he finally seemed full and I finally stopped crying. Enough about my breastfeeding failures...that's another post for another day. Let's just move on...

That brings me right to the number one reason the poor lady in this picture will never accurately represent me...She is...IRONING!

gasp

I will do a lot of things for my family but I ain't ironing! That's why we have a clothes dryer. It's not just for drying but also for wrinkle removing. Most clothes can be hung up right out of the dryer and look practically wrinkle free! I mean you are going to be hanging them up anyway so you might as well hang them while they are warm and avoid the dreaded iron. And if you happen to own a pesky item that's 100% cotton that really requires some wrinkle removing assistance, then do what I do and take it to the dry cleaners.

When my husband saw this picture on my header he started to give me a hard time. She's IRONING. You never IRON. Look! She's IRONING while BREASTFEEDING. You didn't really breastfeed and you certainly don't IRON.

O.k., o.k. I get it. So my husband was giving me a hard time and I was starting to feel guilty anyway. I mean, I don't want you guys to think I'm breastfeeding while ironing and talking on the phone all day long so I took it down.

I guess I was looking for a blog header that summed up in one picture the busyness and craziness of "A Mom's Life". I couldn't find a picture that accurately portrayed this mom's life so I guess I'm going to have to leave that to my writing.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Compliments are nice, but Godiva is nicer!

Sarah has her first little crush and I say this none to proudly because it didn't take much to turn her head. At Peter's birthday party, his friend Thomas said Sarah is pretty. Sarah giggled and batted her eyelashes and I think even blushed a little.

Is it even possible for a 3 year old to blush?

After the boys left the next day, Sarah said several times very emphatically I miss Thomas. She even said Thomas is nice and batted her eyelashes a few more times.

I've got to explain to her that compliments are nice...but she should at least hold out for chocolate!

Monday, November 26, 2007

No one is going to steal this stollen!


Magazines always have articles this time of year that ask people what they like best about Thanksgiving or what they wouldn't miss about Christmas. The answers are always, "It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without my mom's yeast rolls." or "I have to get home at Christmas for a bowl of my Grandma's bread pudding."

Now, I fancy myself a decent cook. I enjoy cooking and most of the time whatever I cook turns out o.k. But I always get envious reading statements like these because nothing I cook is going to make anyone change their plans just to make sure they are at my house at Christmas .

I decided to change that this Christmas. I decided that I wanted a signature dish that would signal the holidays are here to my kids and when they were in college would have them declaring to their whole dorm that I am the greatest cook ever and that they have to go home for Thanksgving to get a big batch of my....

And that's where the dream ends. I wasn't sure what I wanted to be known for. I make good spaghetti, but who doesn't? Plus since we have that every week I didn't think that would mean anything to the kids other than, it must be Friday since we are having spaghetti. Again.

I thought that I would like to be known for baking something. That seems very festive and holiday-ish. My sister-in-law Cathy makes a wonderful Swedish Coffee Bread. She got the recipe from my in-law's next door neighbor, Jeannette. She makes loaves upon loaves of this bread around the holidays and it is just yummy. They both tell me it is so easy to make but as I read the recipe, I knew it wasn't the one for me. It requires lots of dough kneading and dough resting. And it contains cardamon. Cardamon, people! How many people have a jar of cardamon in their spice rack?

This bread is so good, though, that I actually thought about purchasing some cardamon and giving it a shot. But I have never had any luck kneading anything and the only decent bread I have ever made has been in the bread maker. So I even checked the internet for Swedish Coffee Bread recipes that could be made in the breadmaker. There were none so I gave up on that idea.

As I was flipping through the December issue of Good Housekeeping, I saw a page with the headline HOLIDAY BREAD. The article said the bread was a "simple stollen, a quick version of the traditional sweet bread." It met all of my requirements. Simiple, quick and sweet. That's the bread for me! Sarah and I would make stollen!

It contained ricotta cheese, dried cheries, and lemon zest. It sounded yummy and best of all there was no yeast so I only had to knead it a couple of times before I rolled it out and shaped it up. The prep time on the recipe said "10 minutes". Great! Sarah and I could whip this out in no time! My family would think I was the greatest cook ever and the kids would be sure to come home every Christmas for my famous holiday stollen!

Well, let me just say, when including a 3 year old in the cooking, the prep time should always be tripled, if not quadrupled. And I remembered as I was trying to knead the dough, why I hated to knead dough...I stink at it! It was warm in my little kitchen and my dough was sticky and it seemed to eat up all the flour on my "rolling surface". At one point, I was panicking because the dough was stuck to my hands and my "rolling surface" and Sarah was throwing flour everywhere. I called my husband to "help me! help me!" He came running, calmed me down and got lots and lots of flour on the "rolling surface". We quickly got it kneaded and rolled out and shaped up and onto the pan. I knew based on all the extra flour (and there was a lot of extra flour) that got in the dough that the bread would be very dense...and I was right.

The bread was pretty with the dried cherries but it wasn't something that would make the kids choose coming home for the holidays over going to spend it with their roomate's mom who makes a to-die-for mince meat pie. I was sad but I haven't given up. I am still searching for that special signature recipe and if nothing else, Sarah and I had lots of fun baking together. Well, she had lots of fun. I was trying to have lots of fun. I was trying to relax and just enjoy the moment and not worry about how much cleaning up there would be afterwards.

I had a hard time relaxing while watching flour and salt and sugar fly all over the place while she stirred. But my heart melted when Sarah used the lemon zester for the first time. She screamed "I did it! I did it!" and pumped both arms up and down over her head as if she had just won Olympic gold. So, in the end, I guess my bread wasn't very sweet but spending time in the kitchen with my daughter was more delicious than any stollen could ever be!

Here she is after the stollen was in the oven. Looking at this picture makes me want to go bake something else with her. Look how happy she is!

Here we are the next morning at breafast eating the stollen. My son said it was good and even ate two pieces. Sarah had one piece. My husband said it wasn't bad but he didn't like the cherries. No one asked for it after the first morning so I knew the recipe definitely wasn't a keeper. I'm gonna keep trying though. Suggestions are always welcome.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Things we are thankful for.

My kids are old enough now that I feel that we should be starting traditions during the holidays. One that I established this Thanksgiving was “The Thanksgiving Tree”. I was inspired by my friend Jennifer. She is braver than I am. My version does not involve any paint!

I asked them to tell me things they were thankful for and I wrote them down. I copied the things they were thankful for on to leaves and then we, er, I mean I, glued them on to the tree. I thought they would want to glue them on but they were not interested. Not sure what the problem was because I can always get Sarah to go wild with glue but not this time.

This was the result:






Bananas, butterflies, Legos and pretty flowers are just as important as family and friends. Oh, yeah...and cookies. Don't forget the cookies!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!







Sarah and I had fun making these turkeys while my husband and my son were building something with Legos. After we finished them and were proudly showing them off, Dan said something along the lines of, "Ohh! I can't wait to see Friends and Seinfeld tonight!"

Ahhhh, the good ole days of Must See TV on NBC and the subtle humor of my dear sweet husband. Although I really must agree with him...they do resemble peacocks!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 19, 2007

What do all these things have in common?

An M&M, a piece of broken glass, a plastic child-size coat hanger, a green magic marker, some plastic beads, some dried up shredded cheddar cheese, a Chuck E. Cheese token, a magnet shaped like a duck and a few giant dust bunnies. What do all these things have in common?

They were all found under my oven when my husband was trying to retrieve my watch which has a loose clasp. Apparently I was making some wild motions while trying to make a sandwich for his lunch this morning and my watch flew underneath the oven. (I really need to get that clasp fixed!)

What's under your oven?

I got an award!


I got a blog award! Yippee! I love to win things, especially nice shiny things I can put on my side bar. Because I say, the more things you have on your side bar, the cooler you are!

Jennifer, over at Ramblings of a Crazy Woman has bestowed the "You Rock the Crib" award on me. How cool is that? And if you ask my kids, I am sure they would toooootaly agree that I rock the crib. Hump....well, maybe they wouldn't agree, but Jennifer agrees and that's what's important...especially since she is the one handing out the award...

And as with all blog awards, it is my right and my duty to pass it on to some other deserving candidates...

And now, without further ado, the "You Rock the Crib" award goes to...

Megan from Fried Okra - I love reading Megan's blog every day. She is a southern girl currently living in the Midwest and she is trying to get everyone west of the Mason Dixon to speak Southern, ya'll. I hear she's even trying to get them to eat...grits!....gasp!

And...

Katie from Rosies are Red, Violets are Violet - I just recently started reading Katie's blog. She has an adopted son who is 5 years old and she is in the process of adopting another baby. You go Katie! I can't wait to read all about it!

Thanks again to Jennwa for the award. I love me some blog awards!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pirate Treasure Hunt

As you all know by now, my son just turned 5 and we had a pirate themed party for him. You have all seen the cool invitations we made for him and the cake but what is a pirate party without a treasure hunt? (I promise, no more pirate posts after this one. I promise, I swear!)

My plan was to have little written clues around the house that would lead to a pirate map and then the kids would have to look at the map to figure out where the treasure chest was hidden.

I was starting to get pretty stressed out about the clues because I wanted them to rhyme like I'm sure real treasure map clues did back in the day. I don't really have any rhyming skills and I was running out of time so I decided to ditch the rhyming clues and just take pictures of places around the house and have each picture lead the kids to another place/picture until they came to the treasure map. My husband, who is a real traditionalist, feltvery strongly that the clues should rhyme so he took it upon himself to write them. In less than 15 minutes, this is what he came up with...


If you’re reading this you’re on the path
To findin’ me hidden treasure at last
I hid it near here many long years ago
When without my booty I had to go


The British, they chased me, never cutting me slack
But the treasure I robbed they’ll never get back
It’s yours for the taking, no doubt about that
But to find it you’ll be needing my pirate treasure map.



The map also is hidden near here
If you follow the clues it soon will appear

Here’s your 1st clue – look where you eat
Under a painting you’ll find there’s a seat
Under that seat, I’m happy to ay,
You’ll find clue #2 to point out the way

Here’s clue number 2 – go climb a stair
Walk down a long hall, that is, if you dare,
You’ll find a blue chair that moves when you sit
You’ll find clue number three when you sit down in it.

You’ve found clue number three, you’re proving quite clever
But you’ll need clue four if you’re looking for treasure
On a small porch there is a small table
You’ll find it there if find it, if you are able.



Aha, you are smart ones, you’ve found number four
Now look for some gravel and a white basement door
Walk up to that door and give it a slap
By the time you have done so you will be holding the MAP!



15 minutes, people! That's all it took him to whip these out! My husband has so many talents, but who knew!

I printed the clues out on paper with spooky skull clip art around the text and then we dipped them in tea for an aged look. My husband dried them with a hair dryer to get a parchment effect and then he rolled them up and tied them with ribbon so they looked like really official scrolls. On the night of the party he hid them in the appropriate spots and he read them the clues.

We had so much fun watching them run through the house to find each clue and then finally out through the basement and into my parent's yard to find the treasure chest! I'm not sure who had more fun, us or the kids!

I bought pirate hats and swords for everyone at the dollar store because you aren't a real pirate unless you have a sword! I also bought little flashlights so the kids could see as they were running through the dark searching for the treasure.

Here are the kids gathered around listening to another clue.

Here is a picture of the kids after they found the treasure chest. My husband spray painted a shoebox black and I embellished it with skulls and crossbones and filled it will beaded necklaces, jeweled rings, gold coins, plastic snakes and spiders, eye ball bouncey balls and lots of spooky
candy that I got 75-80% off at after Halloween sales. It was a really cool treasure chest but the picture doesn't do it justice.


And here they are dividing up all the loot!


I think the kids had fun. I know my husband and I did! I would have never thought I would go to this much trouble for a kids birthday party but it was cool working on a theme and carrying it out. We have always just had family birthday parties for the kids and I have always said that I wasn't going to have a friend birthday party until my kids asked for one. Well, Peter asked for one this year and I guess now, there's now turning back!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pirate Ship Birthday Cake!

The theme for my son's fifth birthday party is PIRATES! In honor of this them I (with lots of help from my mom!) made a pirate ship birthday cake. I followed the recipe/instructions from Family Fun magazine and I have to say, while mine doesn't look quite as good as theirs, I am very pleased with the results!

Here is the cake right after I made it...







Those are candles coming out of the "cannons" and the cannon balls are Milk duds!


Here is the cake after I put some of Peter's pirate stuff around it. I wish I had thought to put the cake on blue paper so it would look like water.


Peter was pretty happy with it!

Not bad for a theme cake on my very first try!

It took me two hours, but I did it!

Last spring, my mom got Peter several toys in the Mega Blocks Pyrates series. Peter had just entered his pirate phase and fell in love with these toys. However, these toys were for kids seven and older which meant that mommy had to attempt to put them together. The toy Peter loved the most was the Pyrates Lighthouse. It was a large lighthouse with a light that worked and lots of little islands and ships and men that circled the it.

The concept of this lighthouse was really cool but the execution was greatly lacking. The pieces Would. Not. Stay. Together. I spent many hours quietly cussing under my breath while trying to get them together. Even my brother and my husband who grew up on (and loved) Legos didn't have much success. And since they both had jobs and didn't have hours and hours to spend working on it, the onus of putting this $%^$% lighthouse together fell on to me.

Several times I got it together only to have the thing crumble in my hands at even the slightest amount of pressure. It was more than I or my son could take so eventually he and his friends began just trying to come up with other creations that, while still pirate oriented, had nothing to do with the &^*%$ lighthouse.

So, imagine the concern I felt when all my son wanted for his birthday were Legos Bionicles. Most of these Bionicles were for ages 7 or 8 and up. I told him that he would have to put these things together with the help of his older friend Cody or his Dad or even by himself because I did not want to have anything to do with them. The first morning after his birthday he started working on one himself and decided he better wait until Cody came over. Cody, who is 8, was able to put three of them together in one afternoon! Peter (and I) were beside ourselves!

This morning however, Peter decided that he wanted to put the Bionicle set his Aunt Cathy gave him together. I could not convince him to wait until we saw Cody later so I decided to try to put it together with him. We started right after he got up at 8:15. He didn't want to stop for breakfast so we kept going. We were making good progress until Sarah came down at 9:15. She was enjoying hiding the instructions and sitting on the parts. There was a lot of yelling but finally, FINALLY at 10:15 we were finished!

I am so proud of me! But I better be careful because you know what they say about pride. It goeth before a fall and I have a feeling I could be falling on this thing as we now have many different Bionicles in all stages of completeness all over the house. But Peter is happy and I must say I did feel a great sense of accomplishment this morning. Perhaps the package should read...Ages 38 and up!



Peter was quite pleased with the finished result!

It may not look like it but there were over 200 pieces in this set!

Sarah wanted her picture taken too!


And just for the record....Lego's are MUCH,MUCH, MUCH, MUCH easier to work with than Mega Blocks! I didn't feel the slightest need to mutter obscenities while working with these Legos. Peter can even do a lot of the work on these and he can even complete the sets marked for ages 5 or 6 and up and he can complete the ones that are marked 7 and up with less than 50 pieces. He feels very proud of himself and I am excited that he can do them alone.










Thursday, November 15, 2007

Happy Birthday, Take TWO!

I don't use my video camera very often. It usually comes out at birthdays and Christmas. I always like to make sure I get the kids blowing out the candles on their cake and I like to get them unwrapping their gifts on Christmas morning. Other than that, I will occasionally get the camera out if the kids are doing something really cute (although usually by the time I get it out and turned on they have moved on to fighting or nose-picking or something equally unfilmable) or sometimes I just get it out when I remember that I haven't had it out in a while.

I was in charge of filming my son blowing out his candles on Tuesday night and my husband was in charge of taking the pictures. In all the excitement of the singing and the candles and the cake, I accidentally turned the camera to STANDBY right as we started singing "Happy Birthday".

Imagine my dismay when I realized that I didn't have this important life moment captured on film. But wait! You don't have to imagine my dismay and sadness because my husband took a picture of me sulking and feeling like a big ole retard. Here I am in all my glory. Note the Bedazzled shirt...



My mom, in her infinite Grandma wisdom suggested that we redo it and film the second time around. So, that's exactly what we did! Peter was very excited to get to blow out his candles again and I redeemed myself by hitting RECORD and keeping it turned on. It was a win-win for everyone involved!

Happy Birthday, Peter...again!

turkey cookie

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Tuesday was my son's fifth birthday. On Monday, we went to a birthday party for two of our neighbors at one of those inflatable bouncy places. This particular place is not a chain so it is a little more, shall we say "homey" than most of these types of places. And there are lots and lots and lots of mirrors on the wall because when it is not being used as an inflatable bounce place for kids birthday parties it is used as a gym where competitive cheerleading squads practice. Thanks to these mirrors, I got a nice 2 hour long head to toe view of myself and if that doesn't make you want to go on a diet, I don't know what will. I even turned down the birthday cake...which I would never normally do.

Since this isn't a chain they play whatever kind of music they want to play. Normally, they play high- energy songs like "Who Let the Dogs Out" and "YMCA". But on Monday, Miss Deborah decided to mellow it out a little with some kiddie tunes. Right as she switched CDs, Peter ran and jumped into my arms and then "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" came on. Instinctively I started swaying to the music and singing it aloud to him.


As I was holding him and singing, memories of Gymboree Play class came flooding into my head. Instantly I was taken back to Peter at age 9 months sitting on my lap during one of the classes. I can remember tapping his head, shoulders, knees and toes to the beat of the music. Tears welled up in my eyes when I realized he was five years old now and that the time had passed in what has seemed like just a moment.

I am not a very nostalgic person. My husband likes to tell me that I have no soul. Usually he tells me this as I am throwing away junk souvenirs like ticket stubs, baseball programs, boarding passes from businesses trips, brochures picked up from rest stops, etc, My husband thinks that if anything has been in our house for more than two weeks it has a history with us and we should not destroy it. (Which probably means that he wants me to hang on to that old tuna salad in the back of the fridge.)


So even though I am not the least bit nostalgic, as soon as that song came on, I felt his life flash before my eyes in an instant. I could not believe that the same little baby that used to sit on my lap and try to pop the Gymboree bubbles as they floated past his face, could suddenly feel so long and lanky in my arms. And how could it be that the same baby that used to want nothing more than to be held by me and never wanted to be more than a few feet away from me could suddenly say, "Put me down Mom. I want to go play with my friends."

I've been humming "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes" all day and am always teary-eyed by the time I get to "eyes and ears, a mouth and a nose". Maybe it's PMS or maybe I'm turning into a softy in my old age. Or maybe, just maybe, I have a soul after all. (And Dan, no this does not mean we are keeping the holey socks in your dresser drawer. I've seen them and it's time they go!)

Happy Birthday, Peter.



This is Peter holding a Bionicle he received for his birthday. He was a very happy boy!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Evidence of my uncraftiness

I have mentioned before how crafty my friend Jennwa is and how my son always wants to go live with her. That doesn't hurt my feelings at all because I figure, hey, she's got 4 kids, she probably wouldn't notice one more. And if he's over there that would leave me lots of free time to surf the web, eat bonbons, have my nails done, etc. And I'm not too upset because her son said that I was the most beautiful girl in the world. Oh wait....he said that about her.

Oh, well.

This afternoon the kids were particularly whiny. Sarah decided not to bring a balloon home from the birthday party we attended and she was regretting the decision. And to make matters worse, Peter was taunting her with his. Then he decided he wanted to go play with some toys that my parents keep at their house. They aren't home so I told him no. So he began to whine and taunt her even more with the balloon which lead her to whine even more and, well, you get the picture.

I had to get them to stop whining before my ears started to bleed so I made them put their shoes on and out the door we went. I decided that we should collect some leaves and make a craft with them! I figured the fresh air would stop the whining and the craft would help me to overcome my feelings of inferiority to Jennwa. If you've never visited her blog, you really should. She has 2,147 Halloween crafts in the October folder and she has made at least that many turkeys this month. Can't wait to see all the Christmas crafts she puts together!

Anyway, we all got some leaves and the whining miraculously stopped...thank you God..and then we headed back inside to....

Uh. Did I tell the kids we were going to make a craft with these leaves? Crap! I guess I didn't think this all the way through.

On the fly, I decided not to get too crafty and just go with some basic leaf crafts. I told them that we could glue the leaves to paper and make a collage or we could do leaf rubbings. Sarah is all about glue so she decided to make a collage. Peter wanted to just trace the leaves so I decided to try my hand at leaf rubbings.

3 minutes later this is what we had...

Peter decided tracing leaves was "stupid" so he split...

Sarah decided to dump a bottle of Elmer's glue onto her "collage". See her proud smile? See the ENTIRE bottle of glue on the paper?

And just so you know that I'm not entirely uncrafty and incapable of completing a craft, here's a picture of my beautiful rubbing.
I think I'll leave the crafting to Jennwa. Or send my kids to her house. They can craft with her while I'm eating bonbons!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

We must be doing something right after all.

Saturday night was one of those nights that a mother dreads. I was home alone with the kids and they were sleeping soundly in their beds. At 11:30pm I decided I should probably head to bed myself and around 12:10am I was finally beginning to drift off. At 12:13am Peter started to scream. I ran into his room and he told me through tears that his head hurt right above his ear.

Did he just say ear? I got weak in the knees and I started to tremble. Here we go. Sarah suffered an ear infection two weeks earlier. We didn't get much sleep the night it presented itself and I knew we were in for it again. (Why do these things only happen at night?)

"Is the pain in your ear or in is it in your head?" I wasn't trying to be funny. I was hoping that maybe, just maybe, all he had was a headache. Silly me.

"It's in my head at my ear," he cried. Hmmm. That didn't really narrow it down for me so I ran to get get him some cough medicine. He's had a bad cough for a couple of weeks and I was hoping that maybe that would calm him down so he could sleep.

I gave him the cough medicine and crawled back in my bed and about 2 minutes later the crying started up again. We discussed the pain again and I decided that it was indeed the dreaded ear infection. I trudged to the medicine box and got out the Ibuprofen. He was crying the whole time and complaining about the ear pain. After I gave him the medicine he said, "Mommy? Can you pray to God for me?"

"Of course I can pray to God for you sweetheart. Actually, I already have been," I said.

I smiled as I thought to myself, we must be doing something right after all.

I guess I really need to start working out.

This morning my sweet daughter asked me, "Mommy, why are your butt cheeks so big?"

Hmmm...could it be excessive consumption of ranch dip, meatballs and spinach and artichoke dip? Or perhaps my need to eat all of the Halloween candy before the kids do, my love of TV and my DVR or perhaps my disdain for exercise? There are just too many reasons to pinpoint the exact cause.....

Friday, November 9, 2007

Please don't comment on the size of my side saddles!

My husband and I have dined at Texas Ranch and Cattle several times. If you've never been I think you should try it out. It's your typical steak house with wooden floors, dark paneling, paintings of wildlife and dead animal heads hanging on the wall. You get the drift. Their signature dish is a smoked sirloin and it's delish.

The first time we went, we placed our order for the smoke sirloin and the waitress said, "What side saddle would you like with that?" Dan and I looked at one another and snickered.

Dan said, "Side saddle? Um what's um a ....side saddle?" He had a hard time getting it out. Of course a side saddle would be a side item like baked potato, mashed potato, french fries, etc. We hate it when restaurants try to get cutesy with their menus. It's so unnecessary.

We made sure to give our waitress a little extra in the tip for having to say such a silly thing.
Side saddle...puh-lease!

Anyway, we continue to snicker and joke about the side saddles and even several months later are still laughing about it. Dan looked at me last weekend and said, "Your side saddles are getting pretty big."

We won't be talking about side saddles any more.

Note - If you ever go to Texas Land and Cattle, don't get the fried pickles. I love me some fried pickles but theirs were no good. They used spears and I prefer chips when frying pickles. Why do you think I purchased a Fry Daddy in the first place?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I have a problem.

I am an addict and I am ready to admit that I have a problem.

Many of you are probably already aware of Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. If you have never been there, you should visit. It is a wonderful blog and I highly recommend it. She has hundreds of commenters a day from which I can only conclude that she has thousands of readers.

She also has another blog, The Pioneer Woman Cooks. This blog too, is wonderful. She posts pictures of each step of each recipe. And her pictures of the food are gorgeous. At times, I find myself wanting to lick my computer screen. I said I had a problem but believe it or not, that isn't it.

The Pioneer Woman has a recipe for Buffalo Wings which I have never actually made but I will. Some day. I can actually taste these wings when I look at the pictures. But alas, I am very lazy and the thought of getting out the frying pan, and heating up a bunch of oil just seems like soooooo much work to me. (I am now kicking myself for selling my Fry Daddy at a yard sale. And I'm sure if my husband is reading this he is thinking I told you so, I told you so, nah, nah, nah, boo, boo! )

While I was salivating over her wings, I saw her recipe for ranch wing dip. Ahhh, now this is a recipe for me...no frying involved....just a little bit of mixing. That's something I can handle. And handle I did! Let's just say that after a mere two weeks, I am now on my fourth batch of this ranch dip.

I love ranch dressing. I'm not exactly sure when I first had it. The dressings I remember from my childhood are Thousand Island, Green Goddess, Roquefort and Miracle Whip...yes, we actually used Miracle Whip as a salad dressing...I shudder at the mere thought of that now. Once I had ranch dressing I never looked back. Every now and then I will try some newfangled fancy dressing but I always go back to ranch. Always. So I decided that if I was too lazy to make the Pioneer Woman's Buffalo Wings I could at least make her ranch dip.

And make it I did! I started out dipping broccoli. Delicious. And then carrot sticks. Delicious, too. This dip made raw vegetables taste delectable. And I even felt good about myself, because after all, I was dipping vegetables.

Then one night, while watching TV, this dip called to me from the refrigerator. At the same time some tortilla chips called to me from the pantry.

Rescue us. We need to be together. Save us. You neeeeeeed us. Help........

I paused The Office, threw down the remote control, jumped off the couch and ran to them. I had to free them from their prisons. They deserved to be together. Why hadn't I thought of that before?

After I had rescued them, I situated myself back on the couch with the bag of chips in one hand and the bowl of dip in the other and began dipping and eating and dipping and eating and I have not stopped. Why had I been wasting this wonderful dip on vegetables? I wouldn't be making that mistake again.

Four batches of dip and many bags of tortilla chips later, I am wondering why my jeans are too tight and why my muffin top is even fluffier than normal. And is that back fat hanging over my bra? It must be all the dip and chips. Sigh.

They say the first step to beating an addiction is admitting you have a problem. So, I am here today, admitting to the world that I a problem.

Hello. My name is Beth. I am a ranchoholic.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday - Help! My Tile Floors Are Dirty and I Can't Clean Them Up!

Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer is hosting a BACKWARDS Works For Me Wednesday today. Normally you would post an idea about something that has worked for you that might be helpful for others. I think I did the Internet a mighty fine service when I posted this little helpful hint.

Today, however, we are doing things a little differently. Shannon wants people to post dilemmas in the hopes that others might provide helpful answers. So, without further ado...

I want to know the best way to clean tile floors.

We have beautiful tile floors in our kitchen and breakfast area. I decided to go with tile instead of hardwood in our new house because if dropping forks, plates, cups, and bowls were an Olympic sport my kids would have shelves full of gold! I have had hardwood in the kitchen in our old house and as beautiful as they were I could not keep them clean.

Overall,for everyday maintenance the tiles are very easy to clean. If one of the kids spills something...no problem. I can clean it up with a sponge and that's it. Problem solved. Then I can move on to something more exciting. Like the laundry. Or cooking dinner.

I need help with my major weekly cleaning. Currently, I vacuum the tile and then I use a Swiffer with one of those wet pads. Unfortunately, the Swiffer doesn't seem to get the stickier stains off the floor and I end up on my hands and knees with one of the Swiffer wet pads cleaning the floor. Had I known I would be doing this I probably would have just gone with the hardwood floor.

Help! If anyone has tiles in their kitchen and has an easier, more effective way of getting them squeaky clean, please let me know What Works for You. It is Wednesday after all!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Opinions welcomed!

I need your opinion. My husband told me that the look of my blog was boring and why couldn't I make it spiffier looking. I sort of liked the plain clean lines. Plus, there aren't many templates to choose from on Blogger.

As you can see, I have been messing around with the colors and went from white and purple to pale yellow and camouflage green. I don't think I will be able to look at these colors for long...not sure why but even though they are muted I find them annoying to look at and very bland, which sort of defeats the purpose of the change.

What do you guys think? And I would like everyone to comment on this. I know (I hope) I have more readers than just Jennifer, Pam and Megan so come on people...help a design-challenged, color-uncoordinated sister out!

Ahoy there matey!

My son's fifth birthday is in a couple of weeks! Even though he will be turning five this will be his first birthday party with friends. So far, every year we have celebrated with whatever set of grandparents and aunts and uncles were available. I would cook a nice dinner and we would have cake, ice cream and of course, presents. Peter and Sarah always had a great time and never once asked for a party with friends.

My husband isn't big on celebrating birthdays...he thinks it's a waste of money and that it should be treated just like any other day. (That might be true for a 41 year old male who doesn't like to spend money but not so true for a 5 year old.) And I always felt like the kids should ask for a party with friends before we went to all that trouble. Well, several weeks ago Peter asked, "When do I get to have all of my friends over for a birthday party?" The mere question made my knees tremble and perspiration break out over my brow.

The thought of having a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds over for a party made me weak. And I'm not exactly sure, but I think this would also mean their parents would be coming as well since most people aren't comfortable dropping their four year old off somewhere with someone they didn't know really well. That's too many people for my house (and my wallet!) so I started thinking about other options. I went through them all in my head...

our house - too small for lots of kids and parents

the local inflatable place - too expensive

the skating rink - too expensive and Peter doesn't know how to skate

the park - November could potentially be too cold


After deciding against all of those options I went with a sleepover. I told Peter he could have his two best friends over to spend the night and he was thrilled! I did have to reiterate that this would be the actual party so that he wouldn't be expecting a big bash later with lots of kids and lots of presents. I think I got that through to him and he is still very excited! He just had his very first sleepover at his friend Colton's house. It was Colton's brother's birthday sleepover and my friend Jennifer, who is a crazy woman (she even named her blog that!) decided that all of her children should have kids sleeping over! Peter was so excited by that sleepover that I knew his own sleepover would be good enough.

So we are set for a sleepover and we are doing a pirate theme. Peter is fresh from Halloween as a pirate so he is excited about that. I am making a pirate ship cake (there may or may not be pictures of that later depending on how well it turns out!) and Dan and I will be doing a treasure hunt for the boys. I decided since I was only having two kids over I should at least try to get creative with the invitations. So, I made them look like old messages in bottles.

Here is the actual invitation....


I tried to age it by soaking it in tea and then burning the edges. I think it turned out pretty cool. Then we rolled it up and put it in a root beer bottle filled with sand to make it look like it has washed up on the shore. Here is my son pretending to be an evil pirate while holding the bottles. If only I had the invitations completed in time to take the pictures while he was wearing his Halloween costume he might actually look like a spooky pirate instead of a crazed four year old!



















I think the invitations are cute and I hope the little boys that receive them will like them. Although, knowing kids they won't care and will just end up spilling the sand all over their bedrooms.

Sorry Page. Sorry Jennifer. I hope you will let your boys come to the party anyway!

Friday, November 2, 2007

I am loved.

Most weekday mornings start the same for us. At 7:15 am my husband and I go upstairs to get the kids out of bed. At 7:19 am he goes to work and the whining, moaning and yelling begins...and those are just the sounds coming out of me.

I have one hour from the time we get the kids out of bed until we need to be in the car heading for preschool. That hour is spent with a lot of conversations that go like this:

Me: What do you want for breakfast?

Silence

Me: What do you want for breakfast?

Silence

Me: What do you want for breakfast?

Silence

Me: What do you want for breakfast?

Her: I want toast with jelly.

Him: I want oatmeal.

Me: Mutter, mutter, grumble, grumble. O.k. here you go! I hope you enjoy!

Him: I changed my mind! I want cereal!

Her: I don't want this! I want a pancake!

After the breakfast scramble, the process of getting dressed begins. It is a mixture of me threatening, demanding and struggling. Usually it is a pretty quick process but I am always left wondering WHY CAN'T THEY JUST DO WHAT I ASK THE VERY FIRST TIME?! And then I remember that I am dealing with a three and four (almost five!) year old. Although, this shouldn't be an excuse because WE GO THROUGH THIS SAME ROUTINE EVERY MORNING! Even a dog or one of those cute little lab rats would have this process down pat by now.

Then we get in the car and head to preschool. We usually listen to "their songs" because that's what keeps them calm and I am all about some peace and quiet after the previous hour of unpeace and unquiet. After exactly 9 minutes in the care we pull into the preschool for drop-off. Our preschool has drop-off and pick-up and I think this is a wonderful feature. I can pull under a covered shelter, the director will get them out of the car and I can wave and blow kisses as I am driving away. At least that's how it was described in the preschool brochure.

My kids however, have something a little different in mind. The director will open the car door and give them a cheery hello and my kids, who previously would not shut up, quickly become mute. Is it my imagination or are they even starting to drool a little. I often wonder if the director thinks my kids might be a little "slow". Then they start hanging on me. Keep in mind, I am in the front seat and they are in the back. By this point I am starting to sweat a little. Um, make that sweat more because I am usually sweating before now from the previous hour of fun.

Then the rounds of "I love you, Mommy!" and "I'll miss you, Mommy!" interspersed with lots of hugs and kisses (all given over the back seat, of course) commence. This goes on for what feels like an eternity. It is usually at this point that I check out my rear view mirror to confirm that the drop off line is starting to back up. The beads of sweat pop out on my forehead as I am imagining all the choice words the other parents have for me. Why can't my kids just hop out of the car and give me a quick wave like all the other kids do? Why?

Yesterday as we were going through our little routine, the director looked at me and smiled and said, "I guess you know you are loved."

This statement made me pause. Had I been walking, I think I would have literally stopped in my tracks. All the craziness of getting them ready for school each morning doesn't leave much time for hugs and kisses and all of my yelling and cajoling and all of their stubbornness doesn't make for many warm fuzzy moments between mother and child. But for the rest of the morning her words echoed in my head and I thought, Yes. I know I am loved.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween. We had a great day here! The kids had parties at their schools and came home wired on sugar and ready to Trick-or-Treat. We had some neighbors over for a play date and that helped burn off some of their energy.

Before we headed out to Trick-or-Treat I made these cute little mummy pizzas for dinner. The kids scarfed them up. I was quite impressed with myself and feel at least I am attempting to keep up with my fun mom friend Jennifer. (Check out her site, she's already doing cool things for Thanksgiving. No wonder, once again last night, my son asked to live at her house.)

I got the kids dressed in the costumes and here is what they looked like:

I was very excited this year. Sarah went as a beautiful ballerina. The cost of her costume for me was...nothing! My mom got her the darling little ballerina tutu dress as a dress-up item for her birthday in June.

Peter's costume cost us a total of $6. The shirt, t-shirt and sweat pants were items we already had or were recently purchased and will be used as regular clothing many times. I got the hat, the eye patch, the ear ring (which he wouldn't wear), the sword, and the vest at the dollar store.

I also got three red bandannas with cool skulls on them from Wal-Mart...they weren't even in the Halloween section...they were in with the ladies belts and scarves. I swear you can get anything at Wal-Mart. Total for all the items for his costume was only $6! I was so excited! This is the first year that I haven't gone overboard and spent hours and hours pouring over websites trying to find just the right costume and spending way too much money! Dave Ramsey would be so proud!


Here are all the neighbors and friends we Trick-or-Treated with last night. We had a great time cruising the neighborhood for candy with them!