Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey Hand Cookies and a few pictures

I saw this and thought it looked so cute.... might just stop at the store on the way to get the ingredients.
And, some pictures of what we've been up to. First, our mode of transportation. I love this car, but I do feel like we are a bunch of circus clowns when we pile in and out. (See, Andy, your car is fine. No worries about the spilled strawberry milk on the seat, it dried nicely and I spread it out evenly so you can't even tell - just a hint of pink on your lovely seats. Nevermind the smell, it'll fade soon enough. Plus, it's pretty well overppowered by the smell of the McD's sweet-and-sour sauce on the floor mat, along with the BK "maple syrup" on the other floor mat. Oh, and half eaten gummy worms stick nicely to the windows - it's pretty cute.) ;-)

Next, the cousins. We had lots of fun, but I have a feeling the cousins had more fun - doting on Aubrey ad Lauren the way they do.
And, tractor rides. 'Nuf said.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Vacation Entry 1

We'll see if I am able to do more....

Thursday we we left Wisconsin at 20 degrees. So, winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves to start the trip.

I got my driving directions from Rand McNally, because I figure, hey, they make maps, they know what they are doing. I couldn't hae been more wrong. Directions from my house to my BIL & SIL near St. Louis left off a KEY interstate to take, instead leaving me on I-90 going into Chicago. Now, there was also some construction at where I should've gotten onto I-39 (the road Rand McNally conveniently forgot to mention...) so there was some additional confusion, however, umm, omitting I-39 (which I should've taken for 100+ miles = one pissed mama and a real nice vocabulary lesson for the girls when we get almost into Chicago before realizing what was up. Yes, I had a feeling we were going the wrong way, but I was foolish and didn't listen to my gut. Until I saw the Schaumburg Castle. My exact words were, "Oh girls, look at that neat castle.... oh shit." And my language got worse from there. 2 - 2 1/2 hours of a detour but we eventually got to St. Loius.

Lot of fun in St. Louis Friday night with cousins, some yummy taco soup that I can't wait to make myself, then on to Owasso, OK to spend Saturday night with my uncle and aunt. More yummy food, silly dogs to play with, and some beautiful Christmas decorations up.

Sunday night we were with Janna from high school at he new house in Clovis. Fun chatting, unpacking, playing, and then this morning we headed to La Luz - my in-laws' new place. So far we've seen the pond and the spring-fed creek, checked out the tractor, and palyed Candyland (Pony Corn accordig to Lauren).

Off to eat yummy new mexican food..... :-)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ready, Set,

GO TO BED so I can leave in the morning!

I am done packing. Except for pulling the cold snacks out of the fridge and putting them in the cooler, that is. And, well, I need to load the car, but everything is sitting neatly by the door, ready to go.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Everyone on my mom's side tries to get together and it's such a good time. My favorite day of the year is the day before Thanksgiving, because at that point we are all together having a good time and there is still the anticipation of the meal.... but all the food we fix together all week long is awesome, so it's more the anticipation of "Thanksgiving dinner" that I look forward to than the actual meal.

Since I'm in the mood and all, I'm thankful for the opportunity to peek into your lives and share mine with you, and I wish you safe travels (even if it's just to the grocery store around the corner) and a peaceful, HAPPY Thanksgiving! I'm going to bed!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ten things

Ten things I am doing right now instead of packing. Because I only leave for almost 2 weeks in 36 hours. I've got plenty of time to pack, don't you think?

1. blogging - obviously

2. trying to figure out the mystery of the vanishing ring. Seriously, a few weeks ago a ring Andy gave me (the only one besides my engagement ring and wedding band he's given me, so that you don't wrongly think he showers me in jewels) went missing, got found and then went missing approximately 1 day after being found. I am puzzled. also, about a month before it went missing, my wedding band vanished. for whatever reason, I'm not concerned about that one - I'm convinced it's in one of our vents, and until I feel like removing said (old, stuck really well) vent, I like to think it's safe. Same time that wedding band went missing, my favorite Lia Sophia ring up and vanished, too. Maybe there's a ghost hanging around that likes pretty rings. Couldn't be the 2 1/2 year old. Nope, not a chance.

3. making baby caps - did you see this post of mine?

4 down, 3 to go if I have a chance. Probably won't have that chance, but that's okay, because check out #4.

4. making receiving blankets - same project as the baby caps.
I loved making these. The blue flannel is an old bed sheet - nothing fancy, just sewed two pieces together. The other one is old receiving blankets (that were all too small for this project) cute and pieced together - my first try at quilting, and I LOVED it! The picture really can't do it justice.

5. taking pictures of gingerbread houses that may collapse (or be eaten) any day now, (please notice Aubrey's favorite part of the gingerbread house - the girl in the window. some of the candy has been disappearing each day, pretty soon we'll be able to make new frosting and attach new candy - the evolving gingerbread house
along with girls that have had way too much cake batter, and insist on sitting in plastic tubs while watching tv sideways. by the way, I thought about not washing the mixing bowl - she got it pretty dang clean!
an apron I made awhile back and never showed you,
and our two bunnys (please forgive the gross cage - they are hard to photograph, and my best chance was before I cleaned the cage - that little black turd of a rabbit is one messy dude - he pees EVERYWHERE (when I say everywhere, I mean even my curtains. ewwww. he's got distance, that's for sure!).

6. admiring Aubrey's artwork. I call it a leaf. she calls it her phone. Lauren insists that she made it at Ms. Col's, and that it's a leaf phone. Leaf, phone or leaf phone, it's beautiful and I love it!

7. making popcorn for snack time tomorrow
8. cleaning the kitchen. no, not really, but I should. see #9
9. making cake for work tomorrow because it's the 3rd Thursday of November (the popcorn snack is for 1st graders - Mr. R just might kill me if I sent cake to school (or, if I were a teacher and someone sent in cake for no good reason besides it being the 3rd Thursday of November I would kill). This cake is amazing - mandarin orange cake with pineapple frosting. I will share the recipe when I have more time.
10. not folding laundry. that's right, I am not folding laundry, and all my efforts to not fold laundry will prove quite unhelpful in my future plans of packing, so I figure it kinda fits in with this list. I am instead playing with these two sillies.

Okay, so maybe listing 10 things was kind of a stretch, but I am definitely not doing what I should be doing!
I will try to post bits of our adventure, but life may get in the way, we shall see. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Surrender, or girls' weekend so far...

Girls' weekend has, thus far, been quite a success.

We had a slumber party last night with 2 extra 6 year olds. Chaotic doesn't quite do justice to the level of craziness that occured here last night. But it was fun. My favorite part - when three, yes three 6 year olds took a bath. Together. A surprisingly large amount of water stayed in the tub.

After the girls went to bed, I watched Lars and the Real Girl. Very moving. I kept dozing, though, so I plan on watching it again late tonight - maybe I'll doze through the parts I saw last night and see the rest of the movie. (Really, it's a good movie, I was just so stinkin' tired I couldn't not doze)

I had my first Edgu class this morning, so the slumber party ended kinda earlier (but they were all up before 7 anyway, so it wasn't like I was being a mean hostess and kicking out sleeping girlies, in case you were wondering). Anyway, Edgu. I really liked it. Different from anything else I've ever tried. All new-agey and spiritual. It's designed to alleviate back pain, and I've heard amazing things about it. You don't have to have back pain to benefit from it, though, that's just where it began.

Then the girls and I headed down to Costco and Trader Joe's (45 minutes away - we go about 2x a year). We got goodies for our roadtrip, plus a few groceries for the coming week. And, what's a penny-pinching mom who's trying to budget for a cross-country roadtrip to do when her 6 year old asks for the gingerbread house kit? This penny-pinching mom says, "Yes! Let's get it!" These kits have become a bit of a tradition in our house, so I couldn't say no.

Of course the gingerbread house must be decorated as soon as possible, so with Aubrey seated nicely in her chair and Lauren half naked and climbing across the table, Gingerbread House '08 began. For each piece of candy Aubrey put on the house, Lauren ate 4. And then, just for the heck of it, Mommy (of all people!) squeezed some frosting on Lauren's knee. Oops. Then Aubrey's wrist. Oops again. The frosting of each other continued for sometime, until Aubrey couldn't handle it anymore and decorating of the house resumed. Lauren went back for more frosting on her legs, and that's when mom declared that dinner would be served in the bath. Yes, I was afraid the sugar would take over my house if I didn't get it cleaned up immediately, and the only way the girls would be pried away from the frosting fiesta was to offer such a ridiculous alternative that they would be foolish to say no.

Leftovers in the tub. Not cold macaroni and cheese like in Todd Parr's book, but cold (as requested) broccoli-chicken casserole. And some applesauce. Two clean girls later and we're settling in to watch Alvin and the Chipmunks. Well one of us has to clean the kitchen at some point, but I'm thinking Lauren's up for the challenge, right? By the time I was 2 1/2 I was dusting the china. This girl's had it easy for way too long. Time she help out around here, I say.

Completely unrelated, Emily posted about school dances, so I thought I'd share a picture from senior prom. Looking back, I think I was pretty cute. Hindsight, and all. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Freakin' frakin', I can't stop laughing

Have you seen Pioneer Woman's website? I won't tell you too much about her (because she tells it much better than I do, and I want you to check it out!), I'll just say two things.
First, she's writing the love story between her and her husband on her blog. Every so often she has a new chapter in the romance, and it's Geee double-O Deee good. If you've got a few hours to kill, it'll be worth it, and you'll be hooked. I guarantee it.
And second, and freakin' frakin' I might add, is this post. I.can't.stop.laughing. My entire house is sleeping except for me, so I have to laugh quietly, which makes my eyes water, so I am crying over this particular post. Crying. I can't stop. It's hilarious. Laughter is the best medicine and I am over-dosing as we speak.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Feeling Generous

If you are feeling just a little crafty, or have so many old t-shirts lying around you feel like you are drowning in jersy-goodness, how 'bout turning those tees into baby caps?

I'm mentally evaluating our tee stash as we speak, and will see what I can do in the coming days. Seriously, this looks to be a very easy project - minimal sewing skills (you could even get by without a machine) and no predisposition towards crafting required.

some perspective, please

In Aubrey's short life she's only had 3 teachers - 4K, kindergarten and now 1st grade. Her 4K teacher and kinder teacher were both women. Her 1st is a man - Mr.R. About my age, single, no children. I thought he was really cool. and kinda cute, but that's completely beside the point He seems to really connect with the kids, and makes learning fun - making up "Mr. R. Life Stories" focused around the letter friend of the week - brought his own keyboard in to the classroom for the kids to play music.

However, he seems to have a defect common among men, though let's not stereotype, okay in which he doesn't seem to communicate well. But here's where you come in, because maybe I am over-reacting....

A few weeks before Halloween, I send a note, saying if he wants to do a Halloween party of any kind, let me know (I'm one of the "room moms") and I'd work on organizing it. Never heard from him. (This incident didn't bother me, just sharing.)

Three weeks ago, on a Thursday, I send a note saying that beginning Tuesday to please let Aubrey walk with Corin (who has a different teacher) *after the bell rings* to the front as we (Corin's mom and I) were switching up the way the girls are picked up and we want them to leave the building together. Tuesday comes, and Corin stops to get Aubrey. Mr. R refuses to let Aubrey go, saying he'll walk her up, they can meet in the lobby. He proceeds to get to the lobby with Aubrey and tell Col (I wasn't there that day) that he will NOT allow his students to walk the halls without him, it's against classroom policy. No big deal, right? Except that maybe acknowledgement of my note, with a bote back, or a call, saying he couldn't do as I asked would've been nice..... next day I send a note saying I am sorry for any problems, didn't realize it was an issue, but in the future if he can't do as I've asked, to please let me know immediately..... his LONG note back saying he is sorry if I feel that the care of my daughter is being disregarded, blah blah blah - I never accused him of not caring about my daughter, I was just asking gthat he let me know what's up. That ended with me leaving him a voicemail pretty much laughing and saying, "Dude, we are not communicating well with eachother - I think you are a great teacher, I trust you with my daughter, I just need to know what's going on if you can't do as I've asked, got it?"

I was ready to chalk it up to a mistake, we all make them, maybe I was over-reacting a bit, whatever, no biggie.

And then, tonight, I learn that Aubrey is in a "Friendship Class." She is being pulled out of regular class time with 5 other 1st graders (out of 65-70 total 1st graders). And why do I know about Friendship Class? Because Mr. R. talked to me about it? Umm, no. Because Corin has some anger issues, agression issues, etc. and her teacher wanted to recommend to her mom that Corin do this class - Corin gets there, and Aubrey's there. According to Aubrey this was her first day in the class, too. 3 boys, 3 girls. I know the 3 girls, and Aubrey while far from perfect has completely different issues than these 2 other girls, she doesn't seem to fit into the same classification as the other 2. I can't speak for the boys. And I can't say that Aubrey doesn't need to be in this class - because I don't know a freakin' thing about it.

Seriously, am I over-reacting in wanting to yell and scream at Mr. R. that he had no right to put Aubrey into a class, that, rumor-has-it must be recommended by the teacher, without so much as a heads up that he was going to send her?

And, how should I deal with this situation?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Deep breath

Tonight's been one of those nights where I feel like all I've done is yell at the girls. Seriously, my throat kinda hurts because of how loud I've been, and my ears are ringing from how loud they've been. We've been rather manic tonight - so incredibly peaceful one moment, then *BOOM* IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD! MY SISTER LOOKED AT ME WRONG!

Okay, maybe I'm exagerating a bit, but really, a night of relaxing was not even a possibility tonight. Tomorrow will be better.

Did I mention that my ears are ringing?

Maybe a few pictures of calmer days will help... finger-painting is serious business in our house, and when a 2 year old gets dressed all on her own, don't be surprised to find a nightgown underneath two, yes, TWO sundresses. Also, when camping, too-long nightgowns really make for the best hikes!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Recipe: Granola

Please pardon any funky spacing issues, I am having issues with the layout. Also, real pictures will be coming, maybe tomorrow night - these pictures were already in the computer ready to go - I do want to show you what we've been up to lately besides crunching on granola.

Before I made this granola, I asked Andy if he liked granola and he responded with "Well I married one, didn't I?" :-) He makes me laugh.

3 cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey

First, spread the oats on a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Turn oven to 350, leave oats in for about 10 minutes (I usually leave them in until the oven gets to temperature).

While the oats are warming, prepare the "wet" mixture. If you measure the oil immediately before measuring the honey, the honey will not stick to the measuring cup. Seems obvious, but I never thought of it until someone else told me, so now I'm sharing with you, in case you didn't know.

It's pretty thick and sticky.....

At this time I chop my pecans and pull the pine nuts out of the freezer. These aren't on the ingredient list because you don't have to add them.

Next, add the warm oats to the sticky mixture.

Stir well. And remember to use a BIG mixing bowl - this gets messy. Once the oats are mostly mixed in, add the nuts. Or not. But adding the nuts now coats them in a bit of brown sugar and honey, and anyone who doesn't like their nuts coated in brown sugar and honey, well let's just say they don't deserve to eat this granola!

Now everything goes onto the cookie sheet. Spread it out pretty evenly.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350, stirring often. I stir every 4 minutes. OCD and all. After 20 minutes, immediately get that sticky deliciousness off your cookie sheet. I put it all on a big piece of parchment paper to cool. Then I employ the best (or laziest, depending on your point of view) method of washing sticky pans - the let it soak method. Break up the granola as you wish - if it's still kinda warm, it will be sticky but pieces will not fly around the kitchen as freely. At this time you can add your raisins, pumpkin seeds, etc. If the granola is given a chance to cool completely, store it in an air-tight container.

This recipe came from my Grandma Marg. I'm sure she has no recollection of having made it, but I know it was hers, so she gets the credit for this.

Book Review - American Wife

I just finished reading American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld, and I really enjoyed it.

The story is fiction, but it's based, quite obviously, on the life of First Lady Laura Bush, beginning as a child and ending about 2 years ago. I couldn't put it down. 558 pages by an amazing author. Her other boks will be checked out by me as soon as possible.

She could have very easily written this novel with much less respect shown to the real life folks the main characters portray, but I think she did a great job of fictionalizing their lives realistically (sounds oxymoronic, right?) and respectfully. It's so easy to forget that our leaders are human, especially if we don't like some (or all) of what they've done. My opinion of President Bush hasn't always been a favorable one, but this book reminds me (was that the author's plan?) that he is only human, and I should look for the best in him - and all our leaders - in the same way in which I try to look for the best in everyone I encounter personally.

my coke vent and rainbows

So maybe my desire to vent is cyclical? Or maybe I'm just a crabby patty. I will get to some sunshine too, but mostly this is a whine.

First, Fridays at work are jeans day. To me, jeans day is kinda sacred. Mess with jeans day and I get pissy. So guess what inner-office e-mail went out today? That our new client, Pepsi, will be in the office tomorrow, so business attire is required. Really, to think that our clients can't see us being a fairly typical office and having casual Firday kinda ticks me off. Especially since the clients have yet to walk to the back of the building and wander through our cubicles.

But whatever, it gets worse. In the same e-mail, "by the way, effective tomorrow we are a "COKE-free" workplace." As in, any Coke products were removed from our vending machine and replaced with Pepsi products. I don't like soda, so that really doesn't effect me. Except that the powers-that-be seem to think that our client is so immature they will flake out to learn that some of us prefer the soda their competitor makes or they are so worried about making a good impression that maybe our company kinda sucks and we have to rely on bribing our clients by appearing to use their products exclusively. Either way, it seems to me to be insulting to our client and disrespectful to the employees. So I'm stopping at the store to buy a can of COKE to have sit on my desk all day. I might even carry it to lunch and eat next to it.

I debated wearing a denim skirt, too, but decided against that this time.

In brighter news, it rained all day today, so when I left work there was a HUGE double rainbow, I could see where it began on the horizon and where it ended on the horizon. Seemed almost like I would drive right through it. It's been awhile since I've seen a real rainbow, and I'm not sure I've ever seen one so big from end to end.

And, I am planning on taking the girls on a morning hike Saturday morning. Nothing big, but the nature preserve up the road is fun. Maybe a picnic breakfast to eat up in the tower. I'm getting excited. It may be snowing, but we've got big coats.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

my heart is glad and heavy

first the glad:

Tears of joy while watching John McCain concede to Barack Obama. And for a moment I thought I was being ridiculous. But then I decided I wasn't being ridiculous at all. I'm excited to see what happens. I hope that there will be some real change, but know maybe I'm just dreaming, as every politician makes promises that they cannot keep. And then I remind myself that we've just elected the first african-american president in our history, and I convince myself change must be a-comin'!

now the heavy:

Aubrey has journal time in class just about every morning. Today Mr. R sent home the completed journals from September and October. It looks like he gives the students a starting idea, and they write a sentence or three about it, along with drawing a little picture. This part of Aubrey's day has been tremendously helpful in strengthening Aubrey's writing skills. However, Aubrey's entry for October 27th -

"Something scary happened to me this weekend. I was fat."

NOOOOOOOOO! Why oh why is my 6 year old saying this? Coincidentally, (or maybe not) later that day Aubrey told her friend Corin that she (Corin) was fat. Corin is obviously larger than Aubrey, but fat she ain't. Ugh, really, a 6 year old need not worry about her size, or that of her friends. It's so sad. And I feel like it was my fault, because it's entirely possible that the weekend she "was fat" was a weekend when I was bloated and hormonal and my clothes that are kinda tight anyway because of weight I've gained were tight enough for me to tell Andy I was fat. Dang those little ears that hear everything. CrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapCRAP

Heavy heart, indeed.

Know of any good books or websites that address body image, self-esteem, all that fun stuff?

In other news, my camera has been found. Picture updates in a few days.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

wascawy wabbits

Okay, trying to type the way Elmer Fudd talks is tough.

But my bunnies are CUTE!

Binky (the unaltered dwarf boy with apparent dependence issues) tends to freak out when Honey (the altered giant gal who likes some time to herself occasionally) isn't on the ground where he can see her. Twice today while they had free roam of the living room, Honey's feet left the ground, and each time Binky ran around rather frantically. The first time, I was holding Honey to give her some love. The second time, Honey jumped up on the loveseat. I think she did it to rile him up. She seemed amused watching him dart from here to there and back again. Both times, he instantly knew she was off the ground, even though Honey wasn't in his line of vision. Freaky. Obsessive freaky. I think Honey has a stalker.

I've been so inspired lately, I really want to make some aprons. Do I ever wear aprons? Well no, but maybe I might someday. And I know my girls would wear them. So, since I'm making some girly cloth napkins anyway, I am going to attempt two half aprons out of the same fabric. If they flop, I'll cut off the straps and call them napkins. But first I have to finish the napkins. Only 3 more to sew before apron fun begins.

I also saw the cutest little felt house ornament. I wish Michael's was only minutes away. Nevermind. It's best that it's 30 minutes away. That way the chances of me finishing one project before starting another one are better. Still pretty slim, but better. :-)

And I really wish my camera wasn't MIA. It's not a slip-into-your-pocket camera, it's got a big ol' lens on it. Meaning, it has fewer potential hiding spots. Still, it's found a good one. Hmmm. It better turn up soon. Two weeks from now Andy goes to Texas, and I want him to take pictures (because there is a possibility we'll move there for 1-2 years on our way to ultimately living in New Mexico... shh, I don't want to jinx anything, but this would be a really great thing for us!). The week after he gets back the girls and I begin our roadtrip adventure. Oh camera,if you are reading this, come home to me and I will upload all the pictures on your oh-so-full memory stick and charge your battery up right!