Monday, December 19, 2011

not ready

I feel like this month I've just been working really hard to keep people fed and my head above the water. As usual we've really not over-committed ourselves, but I feel pressed for time to do more. Baby is needing more attention, more help going to sleep (this last set of molars are killing me), and more opportunities to grow into a sweet little person. That's just taken priority lately, which makes me feel behind on other things that need to be done but really don't matter.

If I had more time to the day I would get more sleep. I would exercise every day. I would blog of our exciting adventures. I would do fun educational games with Baby every day, find somewhere she could run every day. There's lots of things I would quickly commit to doing with more time.

But as it is the days are getting shorter and I do well to get in bed by a decent hour. Someday I won't be as needed and I'll be able to exercise every day again. Someday I'll be able to get a good night's sleep most every night. Someday I'll be super-Mommy and rival Mary Poppins.

Some day I'll be able to sit down and dedicate an hour to blogging of exciting adventures again. But that day isn't today.

Today I quickly wish you a very merry Christmas. I hope your holiday is surrounded by those you love and wrapped tightly in God's loving grace. I hope you're able to ignore the hustle-bustle long enough appreciate the things that really matter. And I hope you have far too many complex carbohydrates.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

lucky thirteen

This past weekend The Hater and I decided to throw together another batch of Nana's best cornbread dressing. It ended up being great - we love it every time. And The Hater especially likes it when we don't invite people over to share it with us because it's just about his most favorite thing that I make for him.

Cornbread will always be a very special thing for me to make because my Nana taught me how to make it. That along make it an epitome of my comfort foods.

We had a great need for comfort foods because next week we travel to see family. It's going to be another crazy whirlwind, most likely sans cornbread, but with all kinds of other good things that we don't usually eat. Country ham, home-fried chicken tenders, biscuits and gravy, Rick's BBQ -- it's going to be crazy, but we'll be well fed.

Baby is having a terrible time going to sleep at night. When we get back from the trip we're going to re-train her. There's no point in doing it now because we'll just flip-turn-upside-down everything when we're all sleeping in the same room for a while. But she'll need your prayers when we get back because she's going to think the world is ending. Maybe we should first butter her up with some of Nana's Kleeman's Chicken on Eggbread?

PS: This is my thirteenth post that mentions cornbread. For a good time (and blast from the past) search my blog for cornbread, and you, too, may be whisked back into sweet buttermilk time.

PPS: Two points for you if you caught The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reference.

Friday, December 02, 2011

dainty, yet thuggish

They say that attention to detail
separates the champions from the near chamions.

Baby is consistently pointing out letters in signs, on labels, and pretty much anywhere she takes the time to look for them. So the next plan is talking about what sounds they make. That's the only update I have on the literacy front.

We've gotten through house guests and gotten back into our routine, which means more projects! We started a special new top-secret project today, but the details of that are classified.

I've had my Christmas shopping finished and wrapped since before Halloween. Once I finish knitting a late-requested hat then I'll get them in the mail. I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to not have to go to the mall and deal with the chaos.

More salt dough adventures...
teddy bears and Christmas trees are only the beginning.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Tis the season! Earlier this week we posed our Christmas picture. These are some of the goodie-props we used, but it was actually the strawberries that were the biggest hit. You'll notice that we were able to get multiple uses out of the candy canes.

Gobble, Gobble
I found this little guy in the clearance section at Hobby Lobby and knew immediately that he would make an excellent centerpiece on our table. Baby painted it herself. We did one color at a time because that's how you keep everything from looking brown when you paint with a toddler. I varnished it and he has a proud seat on our Lazy Susan.

Okay, it had to come out -- I love Christmas. I love the music and the decorations and the story and everything about it. (Okay, not everything. I hate shopping.) The Hater used to have rules that I wasn't allowed to decorate or listen to music before Thanksgiving was over, but he's mellowed over the years.

I've been listening to Christmas music in my office since mid-September. I've been dreaming up Christmas crafts and projects since mid-October. And this weekend (with The Hater gone out of respect) Baby and I took the holiday season by storm.

Friday I came home from work and put out the tree, nativity and doo-dads. I went shopping for project supplies. I have embraced the season.

Salt Dough Ornaments
I'm not really sure when I got this burr in my saddle, but sometime in the past couple of weeks I decided that we really needed to try to make some salt dough ornaments. I'm not going to completely reinvent the wheel - this was my inspiration, recipe, directions. My friend sent this to me from her Pinterest.

I had no idea how hard it would be to knead the dough for 20 minutes. Holy cow. I thought my wrists were going to fall off. Baby was so excited she was jumping around like a crazy girl the whole time.

Helping Mommy by breaking things up. While I was using the knife I'd just give her a wad of dough to manipulate.

This is all that we made out of one batch.

I have a brilliant cousin (who I'll talk more about later) who did a similar project with her daughter last Christmas. They used air-dry clay (like the kind Crayola makes) and she let her make patterns in them. I stole her idea and we used a paper clip, a key, and a dinosaur to make patterns in the dough.

Most likely these will never actually hang from a tree, but they were lots of fun to make. We've painted some of them already and will paint on more tomorrow. We have family coming in later in the week for Thanksgiving, so I've already called to see if that grandmother will bring cookie cutters so we can do this all over again next weekend.

I'm really proud of this one and completely claim it as my own brief moment of brilliance. I traced Baby's hand on paper, then used the pattern to cut around in the dough to make a turkey. I've not varnished them yet, but she had lots of fun painting them this afternoon.

I went in to this project with low expectations, planning to be content if it ended as a good way to keep us both entertained in the house for a while, and I give it an A+. It wasn't that messy, was super easy, and because of the turkeys I'm extremely pleased with how it turned out. I would recommend doing this again.

These are just some random Christmas projects that we've been working on today.

As I type this I realize I forgot to take a picture of the fridge. On the bottom of the fridge I have a little tree magnet puzzle set (on one door) and a santa head puzzle set (on the other door). I had bought the tree set, not knowing if Baby would care about it or not. Well, she LOVES it. So I went back and bought the Santa set, too.

I also found a felt wreath set at Target for $5. Now for me that's really steep for a do-it-yourself gig, but I think it'll hold up well and be something that I can pull out every year for a while, so I went ahead and bought it. It's actually for kids 6 and up, but with help she was able to put all of the felt sticker-decorations onto the wreath. She laid where she wanted the bling and I glued it on. With leftover punch-out felt I cut some letters and put on it, too. (The reason you're not seeing that picture.) I also "sewed" the yarn through the precut holes on the edges. But she thinks that it was completely her project, so we're going to roll with that.

The wreath messed me up. I thought they were window clings, but turns out they were wall clings instead. I wasn't feeling sticking them up on the wall ($1 store treasure - not trusting it on the walls), so we put it on holiday scrapbooking paper leftover from a project last year. She signed it, too. I'll take this to work for my office door.

Window clings= $1 store treasures that she can stick and restick and stick again a thousand times.

The Nativity

One of my first real purchases for Christmas after The Hater and I were married was my nativity set. My grandmother has a beautiful set - and she gave her kids beautiful sets, too. I wanted one and knew it would be something I could add to over time. But, like theirs, it was not to be played with by little hands. I remember being little and longing to play with the beautiful pieces.

Yes, these are little rubber duckies that make a nativity scene. I mail-ordered them at the beginning of the year when the Christmas things went on sale. It's important to me that Baby has something she can play with - enter the ducks.

We acted out the Christmas story with the ducks about a dozen times today while sitting at the piano. She loved them and I love that she loved them.

The set-up! I am really proud how this side of the room came together. And it makes my heart happy that most of the space is dedicated to the holy part of the holiday.

The Tree
The star is a used toilet paper roll, slit and cut, then painted by Baby with a q-tip. It's just tied on with some extra yarn.

I stole the idea for the ornaments from my brilliant cousin. Her specialty is early childhood education and I steal brilliant ideas from her all the time. She used dead plants in her house to make "Thankful Trees" where she cut out leaves and let her two year old come up with things that she was thankful for to decorate. Turned out super cute.

I used a circle cutter on plain, boring craft paper. Then we came up with things that Baby was thankful for. Except that's a tough concept for a two year old, so we talked about things that made us happy instead, then I explained that when we practice focusing on what makes us happy - that's kindof like being thankful. Went way over her head, but we're still going to talk about it and hopefully by Christmas she'll figure it out.

I wrote the things that she came up with, then she colored each of them. I ran some yarn through the circles and slid over the end of the branches.

I had emailed my brilliant cousin that I was going to steal her idea and do this, then of course in her brilliance she emailed me after I was done to suggest more brilliant ideas. So if you think about doing it- here's a way to make it more fancy: Give your leaves (or whatever you're attaching) stems, put glue on the stem, wrap stem around the branch, then here's the biggie: use mini clothespins to hold the leaves in place until the glue dries a bit. Works like a charm!

It would also be interesting to use scrapbooking paper. I had some of that, but chose to use this instead because I wanted less-opaque paper that would allow the lights to glow behind them.

Can you tell that she's the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of farmers? Or what we prayed for a whole whole lot this summer? Or who her friends are?

The colored candy canes were $1 at the dollar store - the red and white ones are actually stickers for gifts that I forgot to use last year, also bought in a $1 section.

This is her request for supper just about every night. I was completely not surprised that she listed it with the things that make her happy.

It's a $20 tree with homemade paper ornaments, but Baby thinks it's the most beautiful thing she's ever seen. Forget the Hokey Pokey - that's what it's all about.

We're on our way to being ready to ring in the holidays.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

a yarn of a tale

Earlier this week one of the guys where I work asked me if I could knit or crochet. I told him I knitted on a loom. The next day he brought me about 40 skeins of yarn. They had been at an old person's house in storage for a while, so I brought them home and let them sit outside for about 6 hours.

I've got enough yarn to make baby hats for a long, long time now. If you know if any fun yarn projects just let me know. I've been looking online and have some ideas brewing already.

It was a beautiful day outside and also very windy. The Hater was away. Baby and I worked on Christmas projects for day care workers, painting little wooden crosses. She also helped me paint a little turkey for our table (pink, yellow and purple, of course). After our art projects were over (Aunt Mary would be so proud!) we opened up a $4 plastic kite and had a big time.

We started out in the back yard, but the wind was too shielded to fly. The front yard was much better! We flew it for about 30 minutes before it got caught in the tree... but I was able to get it out. After that we flew it for about 20 more minutes before this happened:

And it's still there. Tomorrow The Hater and I will lug out the ladder and see if we can't get it out. And then if it's still windy we'll try to get it caught again.

We've got lots of good time with string in our future.

Friday, November 11, 2011


In the perfect world I'd be able to post this at 1111 on 11-11-11, but I don't know what I'll be doing then, so I'm posting now to say I've truly enjoyed writing the date on everything today at work. I'm even writing the date on forms that don't require it. It's good tIke's with nothing real to celebrate, but I don't really care. My inner fourth grader is loving it.

I give directions a lot at work when I'm walking down the hall and people get lost. This morning someone asked me if I could show them how to get to a different building and I broke out into a chorus of "(Yes, I'll) show you the way" in true Styx fashion. It was great, but I'm not sure anybody got it. So the probably think the girl in pink forgot her meds this morning.

I know the rumbles have passed, but I also wanted to note that we've had several earthquakes in the past week. One of which happen during a severe thunderstorm while we were under a tornado watch. All of the ones in the evening have awoken me, but Baby has slept through them. It's been a fun adventure.

The people who are into the metaphysical say that today is a day of high vibrations and that your ability to manifest the things that you want are more likely today. So I'm trying to focus on sending beautiful vibes to the world. Vibes for cancer to die. Vibes for families to grow. Vibes for healing of our land. Vibes for harmony. Vibes for success in school.. Good vibes for all.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

"Would you like to play with me at my house?"

Baby missed the time change memo and sprung forward instead of falling backwards. She was up at 3:30 this morning, ready to play. I kept her contained as long as I could before we snuck out of the bedroom to bake sweet rolls in Mama Lou's pie plate for breakfast. They were yummy.

She did great considering she was up as long as she was. Napped well and went down for bed well, too. Fingers crossed that she sleeps better tonight. She's still cutting molars, so that's a coin toss at this point.

We've had The Dorks here with us this weekend and she has loved having constant play partners, grandparents who are eager to read as many stories as she wants to hear, push her as long as she wants to swing, and follow her into every pretend game she imagines.

Including those involving twin dinosaurs.

Have I mentioned that she's recently fallen in love with little plastic things? We had some little sharks and The Dorks brought her some dinosaurs for the collection.

We're sending lots of outgrown things back with them to store for us: a basketball goal that she's too little for (but that The Hater really wanted them to bring this past spring so he could pretend like he was playing basketball when the Thunder games were on), her high chair (we've moved on to a booster at the kitchen table), some toys that she has outgrown, and board books that she's outgrown, too. We're taking bets on how long it takes her to notice that the things she hardly ever plays with are missing.

The new phrase of the week was, "I don't believe it!" To which my Dad has gotten her to say, "It's unbelievable!" which sounds more like "unbeeleeayuhl".

We've had an unbelievably great visit.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Wonder Woman

So many things I could say about Halloween, but I'll try to keep things succinct.
  • This year Baby has really figured out trick-or-treating. She shouted it with glee at every house. She rang the doorbell herself, then scrambled to be picked up before people came to the door. She kept asking for more candy, then before people were done with their niceties she was asking to walk to the next house. The biggest hit was at the convent - the little Sisters loved her!
  • The Halloween Horror story is that she's cutting her next set of molars, which explains why The Hater and I have been walking around looking like zombies from lack of sleep. After this round of visitors we're going to have to revisit the sleep-training books again.
  • She loves being a "super hero" and will strike a pose with one fist up in the air and run around declaring her hero status.
  • The Hater (Batman fan) and I (Superman fan) were going to compromise on a Spider Girl costume, but I had my heart set on Wonder Woman. The Hater looked again and we were both tickled to find it.
  • We wonder if this is the last year that we'll be able to get away with eating our favorite candy out of her stash.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Daddy, can I sweep in youh big giwhl bed?"

She's still my baby as long as she can wear footed pajamas, right?

This is such a fun age that I now get all the jokes about putting a brick on their head so it's harder for them to grow. Every single day is my favorite day, even the really long ones.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

so thankful

There are two things I have really wanted for my home after I win the lottery:

One, an eight octave rosewood marimba.
Two, an old upright piano.

We didn't win the lottery today, but the day has closed with a new addition to our family - a 1940s Janssen console piano. I think we're going to name her Barbara after Bryan's grandmother. She's a beaut! The Hater has now clenched Husband of the Year for making the free piano happen!

It's a nice, dark wood, and I'm not going to have to paint it. After Baby went to sleep I immediately pulled out the oil soap and wiped her down - and now the house smells yummy and Barbra shines in her new corner.

This was a family piano and the lady who was looking for a home for it said that her grandparents purchased it in the 40s. Three generations of their family have learned to play on this piano. I assured her that it will be well loved and well used.

I've been doing the happy dance for several hours straight. I've been secretly hopeful that someday things would work out and we'd get a free piano - and voila, here we are.

I'm know a gal who knows a guy who tunes pianos. I'm going to email her tomorrow to see if he'd be interested in seeing if this is tunable. Apparently the family said they tried to have it tuned twenty years ago and "it couldn't be tuned." Fingers crossed.

Baby was so excited. She kept saying, "My Pee-no! My Pee-no! No, Daddy, I can play. I the teacher." We had to set the timer to give her some time to play before bed tonight.

It's tearing me up because I want to sit and play so bad I can't stand it, but it's more important that Baby get some good sleep tonight. She's been having sleep issues for several days.

And so begins the next exciting, yet slightly out of tune chapter in our lives.

Monday, October 17, 2011

nuttin, honey

We've been up to armloads of nuthin. And not touching ant hills.

The potty still consumes our day. She's doing great at day care, but fighting us when it's time to sit on the potty at home. At this point she's pretty much staying dry (in the same pull-up) during day care, but then not making it long after we've been home. She's still not telling anybody when she has to pee - and most times doesn't tell us when she has to poo, either.

I'm not worried. Right now we're majorly counting our blessings that the only thing we're really working on is the potty -- and not sleeping problems, aggression/punching other kids, or developmental delays. In the world of toddlerdom we've got it made.

She's such a sweet girl, eager to sing us songs and please us. She requests cheese at every meal. She loves to sing "Jesus Loves Me", "Rocky Top", "Where oh Where are you Tonight?", and "How Much is that Doggy in the Window?" She lowers her voice and tries to talk in a mean tone when she thinks she's not going to get her way. She screams and cries the entire two minutes whenever she's in timeout, and when the timer goes off the tears come off as quickly. She loves Zoloft; and Zoloft is not quite as terrified of her as she used to be. She loves helping to put food and treats in the cat's bowl. She recites the Lord's Prayer at bedtime and God is Great at mealtime. About two minutes into any phone call she asks if it's time to say goodbye yet. She likes to pick letters out of words and to eat Cheese-Its that have letters on them. She wakes up around 6:30 every morning and goes to bed around 7pm with one afternoon nap to recharge.

And tomorrow I plan on rocking her world with a flu shot. But I've called ahead to make sure they're not the same prefilled syringes with the 2-3mm needle like we had at work because those hurt like a booger. Most of us still have welts on our arm four days later. I emailed ahead to make sure they didn't have those at the clinics. I was told that this year they don't, but next year they were going to change to that. Hopefully other clinics won't be making the same change, but we'll cross that bridge next year. Tomorrow we get through the old fashioned flu shot.

Beautiful full moon a week or so ago.

I like it dark in the mornings when I drop Baby off at daycare. Mostly because when it's mostly clear in the skies we can see the moon or stars. And then she sings "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to them. Super cute if you're into widdle staws. And I love it when she says, "It's not a big moon, Mommy, it's a cwescent."

Thursday, October 06, 2011

outside the (juice) box

me: What is your favorite kind of juice?
Baby: Yogurt. It is yummy.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

swim with the fishes

Be careful what you say you will never do as a parent.  Last night in desperation I told Baby a lie I swore I never would say.  I am ashamed, but hopeful that it will help the process.

It's time for another potty update.  Because I know you're hanging on the edge of your seat, just wondering how this process is going for us.

(Is that enough suspense-building?)

I talked to Baby how in Finding Nemo they learn that all drains lead to the ocean, like the toilet drain where Nemo tried to get flushed to escape from going home with the very scary Darla.  And she needed to put her poo poo in the toilet so it could be flushed to the ocean and feed the fish.  The fish are hungry, so hungry, and it's our job to feed them our poo poo.  Nemo needs bites; Dory needs bites; the starfish need bites; all the sharks and fish and dolphins and whales need our poo poo bites.

Yesterday after we first went over this seeding lie we had one successful poop in the potty.  Today we're batting zero.

She's also finding that it can be fun to sit on the potty and just hang out.

Last night it was time for supper, not potty time.  She wanted the prize for pooping in the potty, or so we thought.  After about 20 minutes of her sitting on the potty by herself I convinced her to come eat supper.  After supper I put her in the bathtub.  After she was washed I was about to rinse the soap out of her hair it happened.  We were all three surprised and The Hater started running around in circles, needing a direct command.  Baby was scared.  I tried not to laugh.  We had both floaters and sinkers among the bubbles and toys.  When I let the water out of the tub she said, "Go feed the fishes, poo poo!"  So then we got to talk about why it was better to put poo poo in the potty, not the bathtub.

She was cleaner before we tried to give her a bath.

At day care this morning the boss lady told me she thought it was time to start putting Baby in time out when she pooped in her pull-ups and not the potty.  I wasn't ready for that - I'm still not completely convinced that she is aware of when it's time to go poop.
. Or at least I wasn't until last night when she straight-up no'd me and said she didn't want to go to the potty because she wasn't done playing with her blocks. Good times.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

it's the shoes

Someone has to learn to walk in big girl heels.
Baby wants to learn, too.

We had lots of fun yesterday.

The hilight had to be making cupcake muffins.  She thought they were cupcakes so we ran with it.  Please note that she sprinkled pink decorating sugar onto them before we baked them.  After supper I put a little bit of pink vanilla frosting on them and we ate one for dessert.  Totally worth the ninety-nine cents that the muffin mix cost.  

My favorite conversation of the morning-
Baby:  Mommy, I wuv you.
me:  I love you, too.
Baby:  Mommy, I wuv you three days.
me:  I love you four days!
Baby:  I love you Saturday!
me:  I love you Sunday!
Baby:  No, I love you chicken.
me:  I love you green beans.
Baby:  I love you chicken!
me:  I love you cupcakes.
Baby:  Yes, I like cupcakes, too, but I wuv you, Mommy.  I wuv you three days.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today is the tenth anniversary of a tragic day.

It's very important to remember what happened; and it's equally important to remember all that we have accomplished since.

Monday, September 05, 2011


Someone had more fun playing in the dirt and rocks as she did on the swings today. She's a girl after my own heart. We even had to bring one of them home with us.

And I loved using the playground as an incentive to use the potty. Today we had about 5 or 6 successful hits. Like a trip to the playground, I'm having to get more creative with the incentives. I'm hopeful that it won't be long before she starts telling me when she has to go.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

sweet nothings

Just put Baby down to bed for a nap. The last thing she said to me:

"I love you, Mommy. If I cry you come to the rescue."

Honey, I'll be there with bells on!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Pottypalooza 2.0

You've met "Tiger" the tiger, "Puppy" the puppy, and "Bear" the bear. Now meet the newest member of the family:


That's right, friends, we are once again taking the potty business by the proverbial horns. This time around stickers don't have the same spark that they once did, so we moved to Bravo plan: toy on the fridge that she can only play with when she has successfully used the potty at home.

This all started a few weeks ago. They were potty training two other kids and I buckled under the pressure to let them all do it at once because I remembered how much she hated being away from her friends the last time we did this. This way her friends would be going with her to the potty, all learning at the same time. It seemed like a great idea at the time.

So we jumped in, and then I got the call that we needed to fly home the next day. The Hater and I decided to persevere and we moved to disposable trainers and flew the friendly skies to Tennessee, where she proceeded to pee in just about everybody's toilet that we know.

She even peed on the airplane between flights. She was very excited to make "blue pee pee" and told everybody about it when we left the tiny stall which was not created with potty training in mind.

I wasn't stalwart about potty training for the week we were home, but we certainly made a valiant effort. I figured she certainly wasn't any worse by the time we got back to OK, and this week at day care she's done remarkably well. The last two days she's had at least 4 pee successes each day and one poop success. She's still not telling them when she needs to go, but we're all hopeful that she'll pick up on that in the next few weeks.

Home training isn't going as well, despite "Baby" on the fridge. At first she just screamed that she wanted "Baby" and it was hard to explain to her that she could only have it as a reward. But now I think she understands. She wants to come home and pee so we can get "Baby" down.

"Baby", of course, has many sundries. She has a little plastic toilet that makes a flushing sound when you push down on the little pink button in the front. She has two outfits (including her own "big girl panties", which are quickly removed. She has a blanket (infant wash cloth with duckies on it), and from the $ store she has the little orange juice bottle that pretends to empty when you tip it and a blue plastic carrying pouch for everything to fit nicely inside. It is quite fun and good for 10-15 minutes of solo play when she gets it.

More on this as we progress. Take a moment to be thankful for the people who helped to train you to use the potty and whatever bribery it took to get you there.

Friday, August 26, 2011

home again

They say you can never go home again, but we came pretty close this trip...

Hens and Chicks don't mind the arid heat.

Ferns showing out in the shade garden.

Sister's cat, Mr. Anderson, is a prude.
He only drinks water out of the faucet.

Pretty flowers in the flower bed begging for attention.

Tulip Poplars.
I love this tree.

Sister's fun jewelry.

More to come, but for now I'm too tired to tell stories. Must entertain my mother-in-law instead.

The Hater bought me a bottle of my favorite wine. And he did the laundry and cleaned the house so I wouldn't have to worry with it this weekend. He's too good to me.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

my (neighbor's) dog has fleas

And they've come to our yard to play...

Not my toe.

Look what we found in the backyard when playing in the pool today. We're pretty sure we're the only house on our street that doesn't have dogs. And our cat doesn't go outside, ever. So we're blaming the neighbors for the fleas we found outside.

Fortunately, the bug-spraying people are coming tomorrow. We called and they're going to add their flea-formula to the regular formula. But I have to wonder what good it will do as long as the neighbors' dogs have fleas...

And now we're all imagining that we have fleas. Gross.

Besides that, we've had a great visit with The Dorks. Hopefully they won't be taking fleas back with them as a memento from the trip.

Friday, August 12, 2011

like van Gogh, except with intact ears

I have discovered a relatively new little business in the town adjacent to us that offers walk-through painting classes. It's not quite paint-by-number, but there's a leader who literally tells you what to mix and where to put it on your canvas. And you can bring your own goodies, snacks, beverages, alcohol, etc. Good times.

This is the one I did last Saturday. I painted with a lady who works with me and we ended up seeing another person from our work, too. Super fun.

It looks very okay. Still not really happy with it. I think the big shadow looks like a bad GI bleed.

But it was fun and that's what matters.

Last night Mom and I went to do the boots! We had a fabulous time. Don't they look great?

Baby, not to be outdone, colored/markered/stickered a picture for my cousin who is currently in day three of college football "two-a-days". The inside joke is that he was a 4-H chicken judger in high school. Anyway, he's a good kid and needs good vibes, so if you have it in you send some Andy's way. He's still got more than a week of these practices.

Tomorrow, more artful adventures on the docket. We're going back to the art/play place.

We're enjoying The Dorks' visit. I think they're having a pretty good time, too.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


Yesterday I wrote the date and had an instant memory of writing the date on a paper in school on 8/8/88. I had great intentions to write about it yesterday, but that did not happen. Such is life.

I have distinct memories of this happening when I was in the fourth grade. Except I've done the math several times and I had to have been in the fifth grade. I remember writing it on my paper and the teacher telling us that it would be eleven years before we would be able to write such a fun date again. I was writing with a dull classic yellow #2 pencil, but other than that, I don't remember anything about it.

9/9/99 was noted. I was student teaching (can't remember if it was the third or fifth grade rotation). I tried to impress it's corky neatness to them, but nobody seemed into it.

10/10/10 was fun, too. The Hater and Baby and I celebrated with dessert.

We've not made plans yet for 11/11/11 or 12/12/12, but as my years are numbered to celebrate such silly things, I'm thinking it calls for nothing less than a party. And definitely dessert.

Sunday, August 07, 2011


We finally saw some rain last night. It was brief, but much appreciated. We're getting another mini-shower right now, or at least we were when we came in from church. I'm so very thankful to see this wet stuff - it's been a long time since we had a good, steady rain.

I don't even care that our humidity went from muggy and uncomfortable to even more sticky and oppressive. The land is so dry; we will be very fortunate if we make it to the fall without major fires.

Baby is pumped. She wanted to come in and put on her jacket and shoes to play in it. If it's still raining in a little while that will be exactly what we do. For now she's pretending to put her stuffed animals and Daddy to sleep; a new and exciting game where she pretends to be in charge. I try to get her to play it with her babies instead of with us because her babies will be content to lay there and sleep and not be tempted to get up like The Hater and I do.

I have been summoned to help check on Daddy, who Baby reports is asleep. She insists that we need to "go check on him". And so we shall...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

misery loves company

Just in case you live under a rock and didn't know today was our 36th consecutive day of highs over 100... I also wanted to let you know that this week promises to be even more miserable.

Don't you want to come visit us?

huff and puff

This morning I dared to close the bathroom door while I was getting ready because I did not want any assistance from Baby. This was after trying it with the door open and chasing her out once.

It went over about as well as I thought it would. First I heard her protest to The Hater, which was followed by a few fake cries. But I wasn't expecting what happened next.

(knock on the bathroom door)

me: Who is it?
Baby: Little pig, little pig, let me in!
me: Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin!
Baby: Then I'll huff and puff and blow the door in!

(Then she all but hyperventilates before I open the door.)

This is such a fun age. She's recently wanting to pretend, too, which is my absolute favorite.

She points out letters on signs when we're out, letters in books when we read, and can spell her first name when she's in the mood. But she has to be in the mood or there's no dice.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Free music

I've mentioned The Dirty Guv'nahs before because they rock (pun intended), but today I mention them because they want you to have their latest, greatest cd for free. Yep, free. No strings attached.

It's great southern rock, and you'd be a fool not to download this album. And nobody wants to be a fool, so go download it & then tell me which song from this album is your favorite. Mine is "Brown Little Bird".

Sunday, July 24, 2011

keeping it cool

It's hot.

It's been the most miserable summer I can remember in a long, long time.

Daddy's shoes

We can only take Baby outside if we're out there after supper (when it's still 100+ outside, but at least it's that in the shade).... and if the kiddie pool is full. We did go out for a little while tonight and she had so much fun. It was a toss-up between if she had more fun with Daddy's shoes or the bubbles.

She accidentally took a nap for 3h instead of 2h. The Hater went to get her up and ended up putting her back down and going to sleep. So we all had a wonderful nap this afternoon. Hopefully it doesn't throw our tomorrow into a tizzy. Even so, it was a fantastic day.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

cake balls

Two magical words of goodness: Cake Balls

Go ahead. Say it out loud. You know you want to: Cake Balls. Cake Balls. Cake Balls. The only thing more fun than actually saying "cake balls" is eating them.

One of my best friends introduced me to this magical concept on my birthday when she made cake balls for me. I inhaled them because they were just that yummy. Then on the 4th she had us over and she made over-sized cake balls and put them on ice cream cones and iced them to look like ice cream. They were scrum-diddly-umptious.

The Hater's birthday is on Tuesday. He had the option of a birthday cake or birthday cake balls for the celebration. He chose the latter and so began my quest to make cake balls.

I began with an extensive interview with the dessert goddess. She explained in detail and then directed me to this website, one she had found when reading about it. This lady makes completely over-the-top cake balls. In fact, if there could be a cake ball goddess it would probably be this lady.

The first thing you do is decide what kind of cake and icing you want. The Hater and I stood in front of the box mixes and imagined combinations, but he decided on Devil's Food cake and milk chocolate icing. We also bought a package of vanilla almond bark for the candy coating of goodness.

Step one: Make cake per box directions. Let cool completely. (Easy enough, right?) Baby loves to help make cake. She also likes to lick the beaters after the cake is in the oven.

Step two: After completely cool, crumble cake into large bowl. Think in terms of super fine crumbs.

Step three: A dollop at a time, mix an entire container of icing into the crumb mixture. Mix until completely mushy.

Step four: Roll into balls and place on parchment paper. I used a mellon baller and also sprayed a little bit of cooking spray on my hands to keep the chocolate mush from sticking. I did not include Baby on this step, although she would have loved getting chocolate everywhere. It made about 70 balls, which I fit onto one cookie sheet.

Step five: Chill in fridge overnight.

Step six: If you don't have a double boiler, improvise. Melt almond bark. This takes forever, so keep your cake balls in the fridge until the almond bark is smooth as silk.

Step seven: Coat cake balls in almond bark. This step is trickier than it sounds. I had difficulty getting the almond bark to stick evenly without the cake ball crumbling. It worked best when I dropped the ball and just used a spoon to roll it around to cover it.

Step eight: If you're going to add sprinkles or anything that you want to stick to the almond bark, do so while it's still wet.

We also bought a package of squirt icing that Baby had a complete ball squeezing onto the cake balls. And we had to have a candle for his birthday!

Would I do them again? Yes and no. The double chocolate combo is just about too rich for me, which is a bold statement because usually I'm the one who has no problem eating what everybody else says is too rich. (It was me pushing for the dark chocolate cake mix at the store...)

Let me go back and say some more about the ice cream cone cake balls that my friend made. She made large cake balls (steps 1-5) with yellow cake and buttercream frosting (a divine combination, btw), and then mashed them into waffle cones to look like a scoop of ice cream. Then instead of using almond bark she used more icing to ice it on top to look like vanilla ice cream, then put sprinkles on top. It was super cute. And now that I've made them I like the idea of skipping the almond bark step of annoyance.

On the webpage I mentioned earlier - I saw in one place that the lady made cake balls and then put them into mini cupcake liners, iced and decorated --- also skipping the almond bark step.

The final verdict: The Hater thinks they're great, which means they were a success because they are, after all, for his birthday.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"we totally rock"

Someone has discovered that her pretend microphone hooks into the keyboard. It's not what normal people would consider a functional microphone - it doesn't get any louder when it's plugged in - but she thinks it's the most fantastic thing. EVER.

She takes turns plugging and unplugging it, over and over, and then plugs and unplugs it again. When that gets old she plugs it in, runs to the front, and plays the piano. Occasionally she'll play and sing at the same time. It's the most entertaining show I think I've ever seen.

Speaking of shows, we're going here this weekend to let her rock out to Spaghetti Eddie. I'm hoping that since she knows their cd, she'll think it's fantastic. Part of me wants to let her take her broken microphone with her, but I'm halfway afraid she'll try to just plug it into their amps if I do, and that's the meltdown I'd prefer to avoid.

Last weekend I found a fantastic indoor air-conditioned play area that was part playground and part art studio for little kids. Fantastic. This is one of her masterpieces that she made while she was there (my favorite). We will definitely go back.

But not this weekend. This weekend will be about rock and roll and songs about kitty cats and spaghetti. But not at the same time because even Baby would know that's ludicrous.