Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Giveaway!

Hi there,remember how I moved and I'm having a giveaway?

Yeah well I did and I am.

So go on over to my new site and follow me.  That's all you have to do to enter.

Also you can give me feed back on what you want the prize dolly to look like.

Now, go forth and do it! (please)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Get out of here

Friends, today is the day.

Hence forth you will find me posting at uniquetyblog.com

Fare well Blogger, you've been good to me but it's time to move on.

There's a giveaway on my new site but you have to go there to enter. So you should do that.

Bye now!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

sporadic

Goodness gravy friends, I am a blank slate today.

I had a nap this afternoon.  I laid down and set my timer for 30 minutes.  That usually does the trick.  This time I was interrupted 20 minutes in.  Feeling cheated, I ignored the timer when it did go off and then slept fitfully for too long.  I'm going to blame my brain funk on that.

Want to hear a sad story?

Once there was a family with a rockin' awesome trampoline.  Over the course of 5 years in the brutal Arizona sun the pad on the trampoline wore out.  The family was fix'n to replace it but before that happened the trampoline's mat ripped during a family jump fest so now they needed both a pad and a mat.

The family was left with the trampoline frame and a 3 foot deep pit in the yard until they saw fit to buy 2/3rds of a new trampoline.

The End.

By the way, I'll be taking the next few days to practice a bit on my new blog and think up a giveaway for all those who follow me through the switch.

I'll be back Monday with the low down.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Technical struggles Yo!

Me, I'm not to great with the technical what have yous. I ride on the coat tails of my techno savvy husband and that usually gets me by.

However I recently got an iphone.

He chose a windows phone for himself.

What this means is that I have to actually learn how to do stuff myself.  Normally anything I use he already knows everything about so I just ask him how to do everything and all's well.

Not this time.

Tear.

I'm having issues with blogging instagram photos and If I want it sorted out I'll have to do it on my own because his Windows phone doth not instagram.

In other news; GUESS WHAT! I'm moving!

Not physically.  Physically we're still here in the same little house.

My cyber home will be moving at the end of the week.  You'll all be invited to see my pretty new site on Monday.  In the mean time I'll try and learn how to use instagram such that I can share instagramish things with y'all.  If'n you want to follow me over there, my user name is eva_uniquety

peace out.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thursday Morning

Every year since it began I've thought about running the local Thanksgiving morning 5k. Last year I even went so far as to visit the registration site.

 Thanksgiving eve as I sat seeking motivation to retrieve my phone the lazy guilt gnawed at me until I up and registered.

 I got up Thursday, fed the kids, put on my runnin' things and moseyed on down to the starting line.

 It was the best 5k ever.

 Here's why.

 Most of the serious runners in the area have bigger fish to fry which left me, slowpoke thought I am, passing more than being passed. I'm not going to lie; this was a first for me.

I am not fast but I can knock out 3 miles without stopping no problem. In this race that meant I finished easily within the first half.

 The race was held at my normal running time with road conditions I'm perfectly accustomed too.

I made it through the first 2.5 miles without noticeably becoming anyone else's speed gauge. You know when a nearby runner pegs you as their person to beat.  "As long as I finish before her I'll be doing all right," you can practically hear them thinking it every time they put on a burst of speed and stagger past you.

This time right near the end I started hearing somebody huffing persistently just over my right shoulder. It started a ways back and got louder and closer and louder and closer until I was thinking of stopping for a minute just to get whoever was causing all the racket out of my blind spot.  Finally, he passed me (thank goodness) and I was left in peace.  That is until he took a walking break, I passed him and it all started over again.  Rather than finish out the race annoyed by the noise I went ahead and crossed the street.  It was a good decision.

 
While I was running I didn't think I was actually a pacer for noisy guy. I thought it was just unfortunate running proximity until Mr told me how just before the finish he gunned it to cut ahead of me.  That's right the dude in the forefront of the above action shot was the noisy runner. I suppose maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe he was just gunning for the finish without regard to whom he overtook along the way.

This was a low tech sort of event. There were no chips to fasten to shoes.  No sound system, announcements were made with a simple megaphone. I didn't even get a bib number. They were all out. So I had to keep my own time.

33 minutes.

 My best yet.

Take that Huffington Post.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

prep

I am sometimes on the lazy side.  

For example now.

I have a picture on my phone that I want to post about but my phone is over there. "ihn!" that was the sound of me reaching in vain.

After dinner tonight I busted out the pies for tomorrow.  Well, one pie and one empty crust.  I need to make the chocolate filling for the empty one still.  Also, I think I need some pie weights.  Blind baking pie crusts almost always brings me unsatisfactory results.  Either the edges fall, the whole thing shrinks or (like this time) once the bottom is done the sides are over brown.

That paragraph was an attempt to undermine the truth telling I did at the top of this post.

Mr is getting the turkey all cozied up in it's brine for the night. His productivity mocks me.

Our menu for tomorrow is: Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stove top (I hate stuffing, Mr must make due) roasted carrots, roasted beets, raspberry jell-o, rolls, sweet potato pie and chocolate pie.

We none of us care for cranberries so we don't bother with them.

Each kid is the helper for a dish.  Ziz made the jell-o this afternoon. (individual ramekins=fancy) Moo helped peel the carrots and Enzo is all psyched up to help mash the potatoes.  Duke's job is not to sneak out and ride his bike down the middle of the street all by his eighteen month old lonesome.

I guess we're all set for tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving yo!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

pinkified

After two long years I finally got around to painting my piano.    

Zizza has completed Suzuki book one on her cello and so we hosted her book recital on Sunday evening. That recital was just the kick in the pants I needed to finally get on with that project. We needed the piano to be in tune for the recital and I wasn't about to have it tuned before we hauled it out to the garage for painting and then back again.

As often happens in procrastinating circumstances such as this, I finished the painting but not in time to have tuning scheduled. Ziz was accompanied by a ravishingly pink but out of tune piano. Priorities, you know?

 
We topped the new loveliness with a forest of autumnal trees. I did this project with Enzo's class for the harvest party and had extra paper bags all prepped and ready to adorn the pinkness when she came back from the garage.

 

It was a great project, I recommend it. The trees and the piano both.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Baptized

My beautiful baby girl was baptized on Saturday.

 
One of the ways the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka-Mormons) differ from other Christian churches is that we don't practice infant baptism.

 
We believe that young children are perfect and unspotted. At the age of eight they are mature enough to be accountable for their actions and thus ready for baptism.

 
My girl was ready. She read The Book of Mormon (all 531 pages) for herself this past summer. The seed of faith is growing in her heart and I couldn't be more proud.

 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

List making

It's that time of year.

 People are making lists.

 Even Enzo got in on the list making action. He wrote two grocery lists tonight.



The first list reads "Goldfish, apples, bananas, lettuce, cucumbers." The second list says "fishies, celery, broccoli, peas, beans, oranges."

This is the first time I've seen him do this kind of thing, and by "this kind of thing,"  I mean attempt to spell things on his own.  In the past he's dictated all his list making to me. He likes nothing better than to make a good grocery list if he's got a notebook handy.

I used to have a little book with his name on it filled with lists he whispered to me during church.  I suppose I should get him a new one.  He had to borrow pages out of his sister's notebook for the lists tonight.

Monday, November 12, 2012

hectic

Friends, this week is going to be a doozy.  I'm hoping to keep up, but I might not.

 I have a pretty darn fancy dress to tell you about (also make) and Duke has been so darn adorable this past week(ish) spouting off new words left and right I'll be needing to effuse over that at some point but I don't know if that point will be a part of this week.  

What I'm saying is, I'm gonna try friends but I can't promise anything too spectacular.

See you tomorrow. (maybe) 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fit

Duke has spent most of his life on clothes too big. He is a spring baby with a winter baby for an older brother. All of my baby boy clothes are a season off in size. We're really getting into trouble now because while Enz was a tiny boy to start out with, he beefed up quite a bit right after his first birthday.

Duke is only weeks away from eighteen months and I'm still waiting for the beef up there.

 In other words: Dukes winter clothes are extra huge. Even huger than we've become used to. He's rocking rolled waist bands and bunched sleeves like they're going out of style.

 At the beginning if the summer after I got out all the too large clothes I had for him to wear in through the months of stifling heat I decided to get him a thing or two in his actual size. This ensemble became my favorite.
 
It's so refreshing to see him proportioned correctly, without his drawers slipping down and sleeves to his elbows. This outfit gets extra points for the shorts being short enough to show off his squishy little knees. Dear me I'll miss those shorts in a few weeks when things get too chilly for them.
 
I sorted through the 2T box today. I couldn't keep the smile off my face unfolding the T-shirts that swathed my Enzo through his second year. Passing down clothed is so much more than economical. I'm so looking forward to dressing Duke in all those dear clothes. I mean, if he ever gets big enough to fit a 2T
 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

wheat

I've mentioned a time or two my effort to eschew processed foods from my family's diet/my kitchen. It's a hard thing to do. I've taken the first few steps, I'm looking around trying to figure out what the next one is.

 Since we all start out differently in this food dance I thought I'd share what my first step was in case someone else has paused on the dance floor, keeping time while surveying the other dancers trying to figure out what to do next.

 I wanted to start cooking with whole wheat. Specifically freshly ground whole wheat. I tried in the past to make the switch using whole wheat flour from the store and that was a dismal failure. Everything I made came out awful and brick-like.

 I had since acquired a wheat grinder and I knew freshly ground flour would make all the difference but it was such a lot of work. I'd have to get out the grinder, dig out the wheat from whatever dark hidey hole I had it stored in, grind the wheat, put it back in it's hidey hole, do my baking (hopefully I'd ground enough or I'd have to get that wheat out again) empty any left over flour out of the grinder, decide where to store that flour and then clean, pack up and put away the grinder.

As you might imagine, I ended up using white flour most of the time. The whole grinding ordeal was just too much. Until...

 I had one of those mad strokes of genius one day. "Why am I keeping all this white flour on the counter in this easily accessible jar if I don't even want to use it?"I asked myself, "And why is my wheat packed away for long-term storage if the goal is to make it a part of my everyday baking?"

 These were the thoughts that led me reform the contents of my counter top storage jars. Before I had white flour, sugar and white rice in the jars. Now I have Wheat, rolled oats(need a refill on that one) and brown rice.
 
Behind the jars is my wheat grinder. I decided that if I was planning to use it daily (and I was) emptying, dusting and boxing for storage between uses would be ridiculous. I'd have to give it a home on the counter If I ever wanted to make it happen.

After making that storage change I find that when occasionally I decide to use some white flour I end up talking myself out of it because getting it out of long term storage is such a lot of work.  Meanwhile, I grind my wheat cup for cup as needed when making cookies, crackers, biscuits, muffins, pancakes and so on and so forth.  I substitute freshly ground whole wheat flour into all my old standby white flour recipes without a problem.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Squash

Was anybody wondering how that harvest party went?

Well I'l just go ahead and tell you it was lovely and not Halloweeny at all.

 The only possibly Halloween related thing was that I had the Pinata filled with glow sticks. Glow Sticks aren't really a Halloween thing per se, it's just that when I planned the party it was going to be a few days before Halloween and I thought the glow sticks might come in handy for trick or treating. They wouldn't have though, those kids cracked 'em as soon as they laid hands on 'em they'd have been all burnt out long before trick or treating happened.

I went back and forth a bit on harvesty pinata ideas and finally settled on a squash. It turned out to be a cute fat little crook-necked thing. I rather liked it.

 
I wanted to do a pinata from the start. I have a hazy memory of going with my mother to help in the class party of one of my older siblings. I also remember that she made a pinata for a party at some point. I don't know if the noisy classroom scene I have in my head is the party the pinata went to but the two live side by side in my psyche so, it might have been.

 Anyway, that memory jumble suggested to me that a pinata was the thing to do. That being said. I wasn't about to bring a bat and a blindfold into the kindergarten classroom and turn folks loose. I drew on this memory and we tossed that squash around the circle in a game of hot potato.

 The pinata made it around the circle a whole bunch of times. It was almost time for the kids to line up for the end of the day and I was getting worried that I'd put on one too many layers of paper mache so I told them that they were certainly welcome to take a minute to abuse the pinata when it was their turn. Of course the longer you spend with it in your hands the more likely you'll be to get out when the music stops. It went about half way around the circle with each kid giving it a whap on the floor before passing it. Then it got to the aggressive little princess of the group. She bashed that thing without stopping until it cracked. Then every one got their glow sticks and all was well.

All was well except for how I wanted to get that girl out but she was so busy pounding the squash that she didn't notice when the strains of "Hoedown" ceased so she just carried on with the task at hand in spite of being "out." I should've targeted her earlier.

Live and learn.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Political

The kindergarten program at out school seems to be sending political messages.
 
Sure, it's missing a "t" but that really just makes it more subtle. The question is, which side are they on?

On one hand they've included a regular character named Mit(t) but nobody in the whole series is called Barack. On the other hand, Mit(t) is a monkey.

Something to think about.

 Anyway, whichever side you fall on, I hope you remembered to vote today.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Runnin shoes

The other morning I set out with my stroller. Moo was on her bike pedaling happily down the street ahead of me. "Hmm," I thought. "My foot feels cold, but only in that one little spot." Can you guess what the problem was?
I guess I now know the life expectancy of a pair of vibram five fingers. I guess I'm also in the market for a new pair of shoes.

 I have loved running in my vibrams. It took some time, a lot of short runs and some majorly sore calves to get used to them but I'll never go back to a conventional shoe.

 All the sore feet, aching ankles, shins, knees etc that I used to experience in conjunction with running are no more. In the past it would take me a mile of jogging tentatively on touchy legs before I could settle in and enjoy my run. I haven't had a single running related joint ache since I changed shoes.

 That said, vibrams tend to be a bit on the chilly side, and since I run with a stroller I can't scan ahead for rocks in my path as well as I otherwise could. I stepped on a doozy during the run before I discovered the hole. That hurt a lot and I'm pretty sure it's responsible for the puncture wound to my shoe.  All the crushed granite used in landscaping around here is killer when it gets strewn onto the pavement.

 I'm looking at Altra's this time. Hoping that the zero drop and wider toe box will let me keep my barefoot form while being a little warmer for the winter months plus giving me some extra protection against rocks.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Punkephant

Zizza's orthodontist's office had a pumpkin decorating contest. It went without saying that she wanted to enter.
 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Drum Major

When I was little I loved to watch parades on TV. I cared only for the floats and the ladies in pretty dresses who waved so funny. We always watched the marching bands though because we had cousins who marched. If the band was in red we had to pay attention and see if it was the Uintah band and if it was we tried our best to pick out our relations.  That's hard to do when they're in uniform, marching and on a tiny TV screen. We did it though.

 One time I remember my Dad watching with us. He pointed out the drum majors. "But where are their drums?" we all wanted to know. So my dad explained how they're called drum majors but their actual job is to lead the band and he showed us how they marched with their batons.

 Then I grew bigger and stopped watching parades because teenagers need their sleep and didn't think about drum majors again until I met this fellow (tall one on the right)

 
We got married and we had us a little drum major of our own.

 
His daddy tried to teach him to march but he was only in it for the hat.(which he wore all night long without complaint) He would have been interested in the baton if he had one but Mr didn't march with a baton so neither did Duke.

 It occurs to me that Moo has heretofore left out of the Halloween posting. I think I did mention that she wanted to be a purple butterfly. I asked her if she wanted a fancy dress with the wings but she said "no," just the wings would be fine.

I had a good time making her wings and I think they're lovely. Sadly the wire I used is too weak so they collapse as she wears them but I really actually like them that way. They don't look like wings then, they look more like slightly crumpled petals. Really pretty crumpled petals. It doesn't make sense as to why a sweet little girl child is wearing the petals on her back but you can't have everything.

I chose this next picture for the facial expressions.  Moo has entered that stage where she can't figure out how to smile for a picture.  It's either a glower, a grimace, or whatever it is you call the look on her face here.  It's especially nice with Duke's pout.

 
Here they are all four together. Again, I chose the photo for the expressions on the faces that can be seen. What you may not realize is that Zizza and Enzo are actually in the previous photo as well. They're just that good at the whole ninja thing.

 
Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The ninjas

After the "literary parade" Friday and then trunk or treating Saturday I've found myself thinking of Halloween 2012 in the past tense. For the past 2 days I've been fighting the urge to tear down the false cobwebs (I dutifully ignore the real ones) and pack up the jack-o-lanterns. Alas, it will have to be put off a bit longer.

 As for today. Well, today I'll show you my Ninjas.

 
The way Zizza convinced Enzo to match with her was by imagining what fun it would be if people couldn't tell them apart. Can you tell who is who? (I never got around to Tabi boots so they opted to go barefoot in the photos so their shoes wouldn't give them away)

 We sort of forgot about Ninja weapons. I had bigger things on my mind. Things I'll post about tomorrow. (I'm trying to build some suspense here. is it working?)

 Today the 2 ninjas were soliciting for swords to wield while trick-or-or treating. The poor dears haven't realized Halloween is already over...

 Darn it.

I did it again didn't I?

 I was half way up the step stool going after those polyester cobwebs. "Halloween is tomorrow, Halloween is tomorrow," I'm just going to keep repeating that to myself until I go to bed.

 The cobwebs are coming down the minute my trick-or-treaters come home.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A cautionary tale about jalepenos

Saturday was the church Trunk-or-Treat and annual chili cook off.  This means that costumes have been worn.  I will discuss this more in the coming days.  Today I'll be on a culinary, cautionary topic.

Generally speaking I don't pay much attention to the chili cook off.  I've never spent much time or bother working on my chili technique.  I don't know any secrets.  I leave it to others and bring plenty of corn bread.  I gave in a tried last year and my chili was a dismal failure.  Seriously it was bad. 

This year The Mr built a smoker.  A few weeks ago he smoked a few chickens and the bones of said chickens produced some good smoky chicken broth.  I thought to myself "This would be an excellent base upon which to build redeeming chili,"  Thus it was decided that I would enter the cook off.

Saturday we were going about our business doing what needed to be done.  I put the beans on to cook and they were smelling good and smoky.  Before I knew it, the time had passed to begin the final compiling steps of the chili. The heat was on and I was rushing.  

I put a pan on to heat while I diced jalapenos and onion. I was dicing as fast as I could.  My haste dictated that I ignore certain jalapeno precautions as I chopped.  I didn't remove the seeds and membranes with my bare hands or anything but I was on the sloppy side. I wasn't fast enough.

The oil in my pan burnt.  I yelled "CRAP!" a bunch of times, yanked that pan off the heat and got out a fresh one.  Dealing with the over hot pan and burnt oil could wait.  

Meanwhile The Mr came to my rescue following my instructions while I finished prep work.  At this point I decided to taste the beans.  I plucked a bean off the end of the spoon and popped it in my mouth.  It was pretty good. So I licked my fingers to get a sampling of the juice...then I started screaming.  My fingers were thoroughly jalapenoed and now so was my mouth.

I dashed to the fridge grabbed the milk and drank from the jug. Drinking from the jug is entirely overrated. I don't understand why anybody in a situation less dire than mine would do it.  Drips collect on the outside edge of milk jugs and dry there.  Now my lips and tongue were not only burning, they were also dotted with crusty milk bits.  Very unpleasant. 

Once I recovered, I left the compiling to the Mr and went off to dress the children in their costumes.  We went to the party and had a good time.  When the chili was judged (I didn't win) the trunks were treated, and the games were played we packed up and came home.  

2.5 hours had passed since my contact with the jalapeno.  My middle finger was beginning to prickle. As time went by the prickle turned to a burn and spread to cover my three middle fingers.  I stuffed my hand in a plastic cup full of milk and continued on ushering children into and out of the shower. 

By the time I was singing lullabies I felt like I'd high fived a frying pan.  

With my good hand I googled "soothe jalapeno burn." Lime juice, butter, aloe vera, vaselene were all on the list of possible antidotes. I tried each in turn waiting as long as I could stand between them trying to give each a chance to kick in.  Nothing helped.

By the time I was going to bed 5 hours after the chopping had occurred the sensation was headed back into the prickling stage, and by the time I woke up it was gone.

I'll never be so lax with a pepper again.

I think though, that I was dealing with some kind of super mutant jalapeno.  I've been that careless with them in the past and never felt anything like that.  Also, as I was washing dishes between failed remedies I washed the discarded seeds of the foul little beast down the disposal and soon found myself choking and gasping as my throat burned from having apparently inhaled  the pepper tainted disposal mist.  

It was intense (like camping) and I don't think entirely normal.

So, that's the story.  

In other news; today I took seven plus minutes of video of Duke feeding himself yogurt.  If you are interested in viewing this captivating footage please let me know.

Over and out.

     
 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pant's on Fire

Oh friends, The blog thing just didn't happen yesterday. You know what did happen? The Halloween costume thing. It happened yesterday and then it happened again today.

 Remember last week when I was all "most of my sewing is done neener neener" Yeah, having three out of four kids costumes basically squared away may have gone to my head and caused me to procrastinate on number four which happens to be the most detail oriented of them all.

 Yes that's right, the kid who is unaware of Halloween and therefore has no costume demands or expectations of any kind is the one who's taking the most time and energy. This of course is because as his mother I stepped in and provided the demands and expectations on his behalf and I guess I'm more demanding and expectant than my other three kids. At least in the realm of costumes.

 Tomorrow is the "Literature Parade" at school. They call it that because they don't want to offend those among us who are anti-Halloween.

 I think it's it's ridiculous.

Honestly if you had moral issues with Halloween and the surrounding traditions would you be cool with sending your kid to school to participate in a costume parade during the final week of October? Cause I wouldn't.

Calling it "Literature Day" instead of Halloween is a big fat lie and it drives me crazy.

 Oh, and they follow up the parade with "Harvest Parties" in the classrooms. If anyone took the time to notice what's going on in the fields round about they'd see that folks here in Arizona are actually planting right now. Not so much "harvesting," Also the parties usually involve skeletons and ghosts and other various non-harvest themed stuff.

I signed up to plan the party in Enzo's class this year.  I started out thinking that I'd just call it what it was and throw the "H" word (the "H" word is Halloween, just so we're clear) around as much as possible.  I will not be cowed into joining the lie.

I used the Halloween word in a note to  the teacher and she went out of her way to correct me.  "Is that so?" I thought.  "FINE." so I took my approach in the opposite direction.  If it's a harvest party, then it will be a harvest party.  So help me, there will not be so much as a jack-o-lantern at that party.  We also decided to have the party next Friday so it won't be on the same day as the parade.  It won't even be in the month of October. SO THERE!

Next time I choose a school for my kids I'll be looking into how holidays are handled.    

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

really really great

Eight is a rite of passage. For the baby and the mama. She is eight and I have a child who is eight. She's just steps away from being a big kid. The time is coming when I won't have to hire babysitters anymore because I'll have one of my own. 

She was a little bit surprised by her birth-minute photo. She'd been practicing for about two minutes when all of a sudden I came at her with the camera. She was like "What? it's time already?" and I was thinking "I know just what you mean little girl,"
 
I sat there for a bit trying to get a candid of her concentrating practice face (it's awesome) but remember how good she is at candids"? Every time I'd lift the camera she'd turn to me and try to play and smile at the same time.(spoiler-she can't do it)   Finally she said "why don't we just do this?" and posed. Her posing skills have come a long way in the last four years.
 

I thought it would be a good idea to have a picture of the two of us together (see above) so I gave it a try but self portraits with the big camera are rough. By the time I got one with myself actually in the frame the strap on my camera had snagged a few bow hairs and Ziz was like "Mom. Really?" I was planning to try it again with my phone but I got distracted and it never happened.

 
My gift wrap selections were a big hit. Enzo said that when his birthday comes he want's his presents to look just like that. I still have that roll of faux bois paper and another set of woodland creature tags so I told him it's on.
 
For the reccord: Ziz really liked the wrapping too. She's all about the woodland creatures. I bought that wrapping paper from the dollar spot in Target a few weeks ago just because I liked it. I thought I'd use it for baby showers or one of those kind of things where you actually wrap something to be pretty rather than just so the kid will have something to tear on their big day. Well, Zizza saw it and asked me to use it for her birthday. Done.

 Hopefully she was as happy with what was inside the presents. I'm pretty sure she was happy this evening when she opened them because she is not so big yet that she's learned to be gracious such that we wouldn't notice if she were disappointed. Still, there were a few things I know she was hoping for that she didn't get (namely a bike basket. We couldn't find one that would fit her bike) I hope she's not retroactively disappointed next time she rides her bike.

 We decided to split the cake from the ice cream for this birthday. Actually she's not even having cake, she's having monkey bread with cream cheese glaze on the side for dipping. That's going to happen when she celebrates with friends on Friday. We ate the ice cream tonight. Even without cake we felt like we needed at least one candle to mark the day.
 

Happiest of Birthday's to my angel baby girl. I count my lucky stars I get to be her mama.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mummified

You'll never guess. We did yet another Halloween craft.

 We used this tutorial and made mummies. I actually had a package of that very gardening wire she used sitting around in my stash waiting to be needed.

 The kids all tried wrapping their own mummies but I ended up doing all but the middle of Zizza's. Even she had trouble with hands feet and head.

 Today I decided to hold a mummy Yoga class because what else are you supposed to do with a group of pose-able mummies?

Tree pose 

Triangle 

Down Dog

Warrior II

Warrior I (my favorite pose)
Duke's mummy, as you can imagine, is the littlest. He loved it on that first day. He carried it in his tight little fist and became rather distressed when, after going about his business mummy in hand, the little linen fellow (ok fine it's actually a cotton poly blend from an old bed sheet) got so bent out of shape as not to be recognizable.

Reluctantly, Duke surrendered his little friend to me for re-forming and once it was done he'd be happy again. We went through this process quite a few times before the mummy got to be old news and was left to practice his downward facing dog pose in peace.

Now, in closing I'd like to say this: Make mummies guys! It's lot's of fun and really any old wire will do if you haven't got the fancy plastic coated stuff.  The End

Friday, October 19, 2012

spigot

Enzo comes down stairs. "Hey Zizza guess what the thing where the water comes for the hose is called...a spigot! Spigot spigot spigot!"

"You turned on the spigot when we were working on the fire pit and mama wasn't looking."  Zizza answered him this time with a  "wha?"

 "The spigot," said Enz

"Spicket?" Zizza wonders.

"Where the water for the hose comes from.  Spigot." He tells her

"Oh," said Zizza. "OK," 

"Spigot!" shouts Enzo.  "Let's go look at the spigot!" and out he runs to the back yard to admire the lovely spigot.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fun

We set out on Fall break thinking maybe we'd go somewhere.  Then we thought maybe just spend a night in a local hotel because obviously that's fun.


What it cam down to was "Super Fun day!" and today was it.  We went to the park (and not the neighborhood park either) we went out to lunch, we saw "Hotel Transylvania" and we did a craft.

I'm tired.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

progress

Guess what guys.  I met my sewing goal today.

Moo's costume sewing it totally done all that's left is to buy her a pair of black leggings and a long sleeved black t-shirt.  I also may fashion a pair of antennae if I have the time. (She's a purple butterfly. Wings are a go)

I showed Enzo the rendering I did of the rainbow and gold ninja a while back.  He LOVED it.  Luckily Zizza's powers of costume indecision persuasion were still at work and by the time I made it to the fabric store she'd talked him into being twinners with her so they're both black ninjas with gold belts.  I still have the masks and belts to do there.  Also, maybe tabi boots but those'll have to wait until after I take care of the Duke who's costume will remain a surprise for the time being.  Just know this:  It will be Awesome. (yes, with the capitol A even)



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Parking spaces

What'd y'all do over the weekend? We cleaned the garage. Swept out a whole summer's worth of dust, trash, flattened geckos and dead bugs. It was a good time.

 Since I started running in the mornings about a year ago part of the routine has been to move the trash cans and dismantle the pile of bicycles that inevitably build up in front of my stroller between uses in order that I may exit. I usually have at least one false start where I think I'm good to go but then realize half way out that It's no good and I'm either going to have to drive my stroller over a tricycle or launch another attack on the bike pile. Well friends, no more! The struggle has ended for I have instituted assigned parking.

 
After I parceled out the available space in the garage The young ones moved bicycles aside and  labeled their spaces. The side walk chalk was pulling it's weight on Saturday morning.

 
After playing out side with friends yesterday Zizza told me she'd had to lay down the law with the neighbor kids about parking spaces and what goes where. It's good she's keeping on top of things in the garage because I left through the front door today and I'm pretty sure I saw actual teeth marks in the candy corn on my wreath. If kids are climbing up outside my front door to gnaw on my seasonal decor entirely without my knowledge I don't know how I could hope to keep the monstrous bike pile at bay without the help of Sheriff Ziz.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Snape Snape


Zizza's been enjoying this video during her computer time.  She shared it with Enz and he enjoyed it as well.

Today Ziz found her set of fairy tale hand puppets.  She has a prince, princess, Wizard, dragon and frog.  When the puppets were found they were all assigned parts immediately.  I'm pretty sure the prince played Snape which on one hand is all kinds of wrong and on another geekier hand is all kinds of right.  The wizard puppet was Dumbledore (obvs) Ron was the frog.  Hermione was the princess. And Harry was played by Enzo's stuffed puppy "Golden Ear" (The naming algorithm has apparently come to an end.)

With their cast selected the two of them set out to re-create.  Zizza voiced Snape, Enzo Dumbledore and I was Ron.  We did pretty ok, I was impressed with us.  I think I might make it a family goal to someday carry off the whole thing.  It's going to take time though, Duke has a developmental milestone or two to meet before he'll be ready to contribute.   

Friday, October 12, 2012

Working

Fall has finally reached Arizona.

That is, I hope so.

Today was cool and lovely but every time my hopes got high I had to remind myself that it still might be a false start. Tomorrow could be hot again. One never really can trust the cool until at least November.

Last night the Mr and I talked about starting a project in the yard.  I told him I thought it would feel really good to make a plan for a project that could be started and finished all in one weekend and then see it through.  He agreed with me and we discussed building a fire pit in the back yard. It would be nice, we agreed to put in a patio around it but the digging leveling tamping and etc would be too much for the quick start and finish project we were after.

This morning after my run when it was so beautiful out and I was already a sweaty mess I decided I'd just clear the rock out of the way to give us a good start on that fire pit.  Two hours later I had the bulk of the rock scooped off whole imagined patio area.  So much for planning ahead and taking a weekend's worth at a time.

Duke was napping but the other three manned shovels by my side.  Zizza went through various tools scraping for a minute with  hoe, rake, or shovel and then moving on.  I assigned Moo a little hand spade so as to avoid being whacked in the head by the over long handle of any other tool she may have wielded.  Enzo took up shovel duty and matched me bite for bite out of the rocky expanse.  "This is fun," he said, sounding just like his father "working in the yard with my family "

"I'd be working too if there were another shovel to use." Ziz informed me every time she happened over.  For awhile she and moo were scooping rock onto Enzo's shovel with their spades but by this time they'd tired of it and moved on to other amusements.  This increased Enzo's productivity a good deal.

Before I hung up my tools for the morning and went in to fix lunch I traded my shovel for a rake to round up that stubborn bottom layer where the crushed granite has partially embedded in the dirt below.  Ziz came over and started her statement.  "I'd be helping too if there were a shov..." She noticed I wasn't holding a shovel. "If there were another shovel like that one I could use," she recovered and pointed to the shovel Enzo was now using. That's right girlfriend, you just sit and relax until it's your turn with the best shovel.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Death of the samlich

There's a down side to having your kid learn to read.  

Words they've adorably mispronounced for years get a second chance once they're experienced on paper.  

All three of my talkers had a different take of breakfast.  Ziz ate "brecfix" Enz enjoyed "breadix" and Moo likes to have "brekstist" in the mornings.  

Enzo has eaten samliches with a gusto for years now.  He had three of them for lunch today.  The second and third of which he compiled himself.  They might have been his last.  There was discussion of the word "sandwich" at the dinner table and I'm afraid it sunk in.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Guess who did a seasonal craft

Yes, that's right it was me. I also hung a wreath on my door for the first time in ever.


I thought about creating a tutorial but I figured you wouldn't need my help working out how to hot glue candy corn to a Styrofoam wreath form.

I also used my crafty skills to buy the trick or treat smell my feet sign form the dollar section at Target and then cut it in half because they had it stuck together on a single piece of cardboard and I thought that was lame.  If you looked any closer you'd see the jagged edges me and my utility knife left when we did that job. Another touch of class is the sticky hook I hung it on clearly visible there in the middle of the door.  Yes, we're all about the details around here.

 

Ziz came in today to tattle tell me that neighbor kids had been picking candy corn off and eating them so I guess my crafty genius is being appreciated.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Punko

Behold the bounteous harvest of our pumpkin plant.  We made the mistake of planting all our squash and melons next to each other.  We got some genuine cantaloupe and one good butternut but the watermelon were choked out and the pumpkins cross pollinated with something or other resulting in the cute little mutant you see here.

 
Our children subscribe to a proven method in naming things. Take the noun generally assigned to the object as your starting point.  You may chose to use the whole word or you may parse it down if you're feeling brief. In our example we mixed things up a bit and shaved "pumpkin" down to "punk"

 Next you consider the gender of the item, or really since generally the items being named don't have gender (ie: a pumpkin) we assign one.  Now if the thing you're naming is a girl you may chose between the suffixes "a" or "y." If you're dealing with a male object you have the choice between the suffixes "o" or "er"

Continuing with our pumpkin friend as an example we could have wound up with "Punka" or "Punky" had that particular vegetable been a girl.  Since he was established as a boy the choice was between "Punker" and the winner, "Punko." That's a good thing too because we wouldn't have had enough spare bandannas on hand to accommodate a "Punky."

Zizza and Enzo actually went back and forth for quite a while on this one. Enz dubbed it "Punko" the minute he saw it but Ziz made cases for "Pumky" "Punka" and I believe, "Pumpkina" before she admitted defeat and accepted "Punko" as the final word.

Punko was harvested from our back yard months ago and is a bit on the squishy side now that his season of glory as decor is in full swing.  Enzo has been looking sadly at Punko all week and sighing that he wishes our little friend had been big enough to carve. Maybe next year our gardening skills will be up to the task of producing carveable pumpkins.  But if we get a real harvest, what will we name them all?      

Monday, October 8, 2012

sick

Sunday was a sick day for me.  The Mr single parented while I lay there trying and failing to sleep.  Every once in a while I'd realize the futility of the sleeping, drag myself out of bed and preform a token parenting task.  Then I'd realize I was not fit to be upright and heave myself back to my room.

The night was one of those long drawn out types where every few hours you wake up and realize you're still aching. I finally found comfort an hour before it was time to get up.

This morning I felt better.  Well enough to face the messy kitchen, cook breakfast and take the kids to the park. Normally I'd be going there to run on a Monday morning but I didn't think I'd be up to that so we just went.

Ziz and Enz are on fall break this week.  Yesterday Zizza prayed "please bless mama that she'll be better tomorrow so she can go running"  what she meant was "So we can go to the park" After the park we had to go to Joann to gather costume supplies.  Today was the last day my coupons were valid.  By that time I was back to feeling like a mushy banana.  So basically perfect conditions for taking four children to a fabric store.

Moo started things off right by surrying around the end of the isle and hiding until I came after her then running away.  We went half a store's length by the time I caught her.  She had to ride in the cart after that which meant I had to carry Duke.  Sounds like fun. No?

Zizza wanted desperately to be helpful. "Do you want me to carry the fabric mama?" "No. It's in the cart it doesn't need to be carried."  I noticed that every time I'd sigh or groan she would take it personally. "sorry, mama," I think I need to be more careful with that girl.  She shouldn't be taking responsibility for my grumbling.

We made it home.  Moo spent the drive screeching "I wanna go one more place," at regular intervals while I took corresponding centering breaths.

Once lunch was fed and quiet time was established I went to sleep. This sleep was the kind you hope for.  The kind where your body feels like a sack of warm sand, heavy and comfortable.  I'm hoping against hope there's more of that sleep waiting for me at the end of this post.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Morning woes

One of the sad things in motherhood is opening the nursery door in the morning to find your angel plastered in dried throw up.  Oh dear!  How long do you think he slept in that?  And you!  You peacefully dreamed through his distress cozy in your own bed.  It's despicable.

You might check the baby monitor just to make sure it's turned on and functioning properly.  Since it is you can take a little breath of relief that he apparently wasn't too upset by his gastrointestinal midnight showing for surely you would have woken had he cried out.

Once your baby is clean and acting normal, if a tad extra snugly, you can get on with your day.  You'd like to sit and huggabug that baby but soon enough the others will be home and hungry and what do you have to feed them?  Nothing. So snugly baby will have to do his snuggling at the grocery store.

When you're browsing among the moisturizers and he hands you his bink you're relieved to know he's feeling well enough to be without that comfort.  Then with no other warning you find his breakfast down your collective fronts and you think "well no wonder I slept through the last time."

It takes some doing to attract the attention of a store worker in that deserted isle but eventually maintenance is  notified and someone brings you a paper towel and a handful of wet wipes so you can be on your way to grab that milk you've had the rain check for burning a hole in your pocket all week and hie home to care for the wee one stinking in your stinky arms.

If the bagger in the checkout lane puts only a few token items in your reusable bags and sends you home with six, (SIX!) plastic ones holding one item apiece (a bag for the bananas, a bag for the contoloupe,  anOTHER bag for the grapes) you're going to have to overlook it because that sick little lovey isn't smelling any sweeter as time goes by.

When all of those bags are safely in the house it's time to see to the stinking situation.  The best approach in this case is to put yourself and that baby in the sower at the same time.  When he sees you getting the shower ready baby darling will help by attending to his own diaper as best he can.  The good news is the diaper was still clean so his pulling it off is no problem.

The two of you are washed up in short order and that's a good thing because the BANGS require a dry environment in which to thrive and any more shower spray will necessitate an additional round with the blow dryer.  But that sweet love bug baby.  He reaches toward the shower head and says "baff, eeez!" He's pairing up bits of his vocabulary!  So the water comes back on and the bangs die.

 Baby love giggles while the water beats softly on the top of his head and when he's had his fill you dry him again, feel your wet bangs on your forehead and tuck him cozy in his bed for his morning nap.  A nap that he'll hopefully complete sans throw up while you remove each of your grocery items from their individual plastic bags and finally put them away. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Oh dear

My Enz suffers from severe indecision where Halloween is concerned. We've had back and forth from one costume idea to another to something entirely different every year since he started giving input of his costume.

This year we started out planing for a robot, then he swayed over to ninja so as to match with Ziz. Then we were back on robot for a while.  Then he was talking about bats of varying colors, gold being prominent among them.

 Yesterday I sat him down and made Zizza zip it because she tends to fan the flame of his indecision. I asked him for the final word on his Halloween costume. I have the shopping list written out for all the other costumes so it's time for him to commit to something so I can get a move on.

 His choice was to be a Ninja. A Gold Ninja. No, wait a Ninja with gold pants a gold belt a green mask, one blue sleeve, one black sleeve and the rest of the shirt rainbow. Oh, but instead of a blue sleeve make it yellow.

Now, I am not a great at rendering but I can generally get the idea of a design across. I drew up his wishes and pulled out the trusty crayon box to make a full color picture of what he was asking for so he could see the idea somewhere outside of his head. Here it is.

 
My hope is that he'll hate the picture and scrap the idea so I can steer him back in the direction of a robot because that was going to be awesome.

I guess I could just say "no" to the technicolor ninja. I have no problem telling my kids "no" in practical everyday things but Halloween is about creativity. It's his chance to imagine something cool and have his creativity affirmed and reinforced by me, his mama. I'm supposed to be his biggest fan, if I tell him his idea is lame and I don't want to make it I'll be teaching him to give up his own ideas and leave the creativity to other more qualified people, like me. See, now I've just about convinced myself that piecing together a rainbow kimono top is worth the trouble.

Anyway, Enz and I are going to have another costume discussion after school today. We'll see what we end up with.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

And another

Enzo's first parent night at school. He glowed the whole time.  First showing off his desk and turning each page of the books he's made in class so far.  Then he and his classmates lined up to recite and sing.  He was smiling so hard he could only just hold in the laughter and he recited:

I am not a crocodile
I am not a bee
I am not a monkey
I am ME!

His arms snapped like jaws at the "crocodile." He was the first kid to start buzzing after the bee line. His monkey hoots rang loud and clear.  Then I decided I should take a picture and messing with my phone kept me from paying as much attention to the other selections.

That always seems to be the trade off. I can give the performance the attention it deserves or I can try to preserve it in photographs.  I usually chose the former.  Pictures of these sorts of things aren't ever any good anyway. My judgement was clouded this evening.  Here's the best of my photos.

 
The only reason he's not smiling as I described in this photo is because he was singing when I took it. The picture is so much less than the memory.  If I'd thought to take a picture before the program started I would have caught his barley contained smile and then I would have been able to pay better attention to the songs.  Lesson learned.  If I don't get the photo before the things starts then I don't get a photo.

I feel so lucky to have kids who love school after having been a kid who didn't.  Thank heaven for the Mr's genes.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Troodon Project

When I was in elementary school we had parent night once a year or less.  I actually only remember attending parent nights in the third and fourth grades.  In fourth our teacher had us each lie down on a piece of butcher paper, she traced around our bodies and then we colored our "selves."  I was wearing a shorts and button down set made of white material that appeared to have been sponge painted in pastel shades of blue pink and purple.  I went to great lengths to recreate the look on my paper clone, but that's not what this post is about.

At the school my children attend they have parent nights each and every quarter. We were at Zizza's tonight and we'll go to Enzo's tomorrow.  Imagine what this will be like when Moo starts school.

Zizza's class studied dinosaurs this quarter as you know from my talk about Troodon.  In addition to her report she was assigned a Troodon themed project.  She could chose from either building a paper mache dinosaur, constructing a diorama or planting a terrarium.  We chose the terrarium project.

We planted it in the plastic container from a rotisserie chicken because we're all about class. We did some research and found that the plants common in Troodon's habitat were conifers(I hate that word), ferns and a few of the first flowering plants.

Everything in the garden center at Walmart was much too tall for the chicken box so we went to pets mart and found some littler guys.  They were meant for aquariums.  It wasn't until later that I realized that meant they were semi aquatic.  In other words, I couldn't just plant them in some dirt from the back yard.

The due date for the project kind of snuck up on me. Thursday evening found me in the back yard ashamed of myself for doing Zizza's homework but doing it just the same because Dude, it was due the next day and she was tired and we needed to fit a whole bunch of dirt and stuff into that little box and tired seven year olds aren't known for their patience. For that matter, neither are the tired mothers of tired seven year olds.

I started by filling the container with dirt and realizing that the dirt was full of squirmy bugs.  Then I walked down the street and clipped some branches off the only nearby evergreen (I don't think it's actually a conifer but I'm cool with that)  I stuck those in the dirt and then I pulled the semi aquatic plants out of their protective plastic tubes.  Their roots were in little plastic cups full of water retaining gel.  I buried the little cups in the dirt and hoped for the best.  Then, to flesh things out a little I shopped my yard for little weeds to transplant. I pulled three before I got one with a good root. That's usually disappointing for totally different reasons. While I was doing that I kicked myself for not having thought of it before I made that trip to Pets Mart. Now I'll know for the future.  Weeds are where it's at.

I left the whole thing on the back patio while I fed the kids dinner, then I sent Ziz out to see what I'd done.  Sadly, half an hour in the arid heat of an Arizona September are all it takes to finish off a small semi aquatic leafy green.  Zizza was sad about that but she liked my work with the weeds so we were cool.  She placed the plastic dinosaur (It was a velociraptor but I won't tell if you won't) in it's new home and put the lid on.  Her doing that much was enough to appease us both on the issue of my doing her project.

It went to school on Friday morning.  I'd watered it well enough that the plastic dome was thoroughly misted and I flattered myself that the semi aquatics might recover a bit under those conditions.  When Ziz came home I asked her how it went and she said "Good, I took the lid off when I got it to school because it was so misty nobody could see inside" I guess I forgot to explain to her the concept of a terrarium and how the mist meant it was working.

Tonight all the projects were displayed on the desks.  The lights in the classroom were turned off and visitors were equipped with flashlights.  The concept was based on "Night at the Museum"  I was disappointed that none of the exhibits actually came to life but otherwise it was great.  I'm happy to say that our little terrarium (dead plants, transplanted weeds, squirmy bugs an all) didn't look half bad in those conditions.  Let's hear it for dramatic lighting!   

Friday, September 28, 2012

Octobering

Guys, it's almost October.  Every August I think about Halloween and how I should get going but then I decide I'm jumping the gun and then September comes and I think "Man, I better Hurry up! Oh, wait Halloween is at the end of October.  That means I still have 2 months." and the procrastination goes on from there.

Anyway, I don't think I'm in too bad shape this year in spite of not having started yet.  I got a good Joann coupon in the mail that becomes valid Monday so I'm going to plan out exactly what I need and tackle it hard core in the coming week.

The Mr's been out of town this week.  Totally lame.  He's oh his way home from the airport this very minute. I think one of the worst things about having him gone is cooking dinner.  All motivation to cook good food flies out the window when I realize everybody at the table but me is probably just going to complain about eating it.   I did actually come up with two dinners that they ate happily.  I think that's something to be proud of.  Then one night I gave up and made pumpkin pancakes and tonight they had pizza at a church activity.  So, I guess we made it through.

This evening I went to the dollar store and bought candy corn.  I have no intention of allowing any of it to be eaten.  I'm going to hot glue it all to a wreath. Hopefully I can get it to look good.  Ziz begged all week so I got the Halloween decorations out today. I guess her enthusiasm rubbed off on me, thus I purchased wreath supplies.

Someone just walked in the front door so I'm out.

See you Monday

Thursday, September 27, 2012

unsettling

I was sitting here trying to come up with an alternate post idea to the one that's been brewing in my head all day. That one is rather insensitive. Poking fun at a person with whom I cross paths with regularly but have never met. It's poking fun in a very "bless her heart," kind of way but in the end I decided it would be in bad taste.

 If bad taste is your style ask me in person and I'll totally tell you.

 So anyway, sitting here with my laptop and inner struggle when a nasty thing comes darting from my back door headed for shelter under the very sofa on which I sit.

 The first name by brain landed on was "cricket" because it was the right size and color to be a cricket. Then I recognized that there was no hoping involved, just streaking across the floor...and that's when I saw the pincers. Those awful pincers, sinister and gleaming dangerously in the partial light.

 I searched around for something, anything to hit it with. That thing was fast I had no time to run for a shoe.

As luck would have it, (Or was it karma? I did pass on the mockery post after all) I found a flip flop close at hand. It took four strong direct hits but I felled the beast. It was a full two inches long.

 
Ten minutes later and my toes are still clenched.

 May I never meet another like it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thrifty, Yo!

Guess what I did yesterday!  You'll be so proud of me.  I'd recently read somewhere about how to save money on groceries.  Then I ran into the store for milk and a thing or two exactly like you're not supposed to do if you want to stick to a strict grocery budge,t and the milk I buy when I can't get fresh. ( Dang mama cow had a baby now we have to buy milk at the store and wait for the baby to wean) was on sale 50% off!  The down side was it was sold out.

So here's where I get awesome.  I asked for a rain check.  Oh yes I did, and I was all "Look at me being so milk shopping savvy and all that."  Meanwhile I had to buy more expensive milk cuz we were clean out.  Then later it hit me.  Walmart price match!  I didn't need to buy that more expensive milk, I should've just stopped at walmart on my way to school, only not lose track of the time this time. Aw man! Thrifty fail.

So today I went to walmart on purpose just to try this price matching business only what do you know? They didn't have the milk either. Actually, I couldn't find a single drop of organic milk in the whole place.  What's up with that?  The whole reason I started going to walmart is because they have the best price on organic milk and today there wasn't even an empty spot where it should be. In other words Walmart might be regaining it's "dead to me" status.  Price matching is great and all but what's the point if they don't have what I want to buy?

So, to sum up.  I have a rain check for milk at Fry's burning a hole in my pocket.  Meanwhile my attempt to price match (and thus double my cheap milk purchasing because the rain check is good for a whole week!) failed.  But I tried so you know, A for effort or whatever.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Happily accidental

Moo requested pancakes for breakfast Saturday.  I, being a big fan of pancakes, was happy to comply.  I started with the old standby recipe out of the Red and white better Homes and Gardens cookbook. You know the one;

1 cup all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Or something close to that. (I'm going from memory here) The thing is; I've turned my back on a good few of those ingredients so I made substitutions as necessary.  Freshly ground whole wheat instead of all purpose flour, Maple syrup rather than sugar and coconut oil in place of vegetable oil.

When you use coconut oil in a recipe like this you have to be careful that it doesn't have prolonged contact with the cold milk before being mixed into the other ingredients or it will solidify and how will you mix it then?  It's extra tricky since when you're using the muffin method, as you do with pancakes, you want the mixing to be at a minimum all while keeping the dry separate from the wet as long as possible.

I generally measure all my wet ingredients into one large cup, mix them in the same and then introduce them to their dry counterparts once my griddle is hot and ready.  When using coconut oil I do things a bit differently.  I mix the other wet ingredients, pour them into the dry, mix a stroke or two and then add the oil.  Usually it works like a charm, except on Saturday it didn't

Saturday I guess there was a big cold milk pool right on top of the sloppy mixture as I poured in the coconut oil and it seized up like a tired engine on a February morning. I did not have time for that kind of nonsense.  I skimmed out the cold oil, broke it into pieces as small as I could quickly manage, threw it back in and mixed it all up.

The result was a marriage of the pastry and muffin methods.  Utterly delightful.  Those little shards of cold coconut oil melted as they met the griddle leaving my pancakes light, glorious and beautifully golden crusted.  I'm telling you, it was divine.  You should try it  sometime. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hilarious

Enzo came home Monday with a note and a concern. The note said that to celebrate the letter of the week (H) Friday (today) would be "hilarious hair day."

 I thought that sounded like fun but Enz was glum.  He said he didn't want hilarious hair, he wanted his hair to stay just the way it was.

Ziz caught sight of the note and had all sorts of ideas of how to make Enzo's hair hilarious. Slowly as the week progressed he became more open to the idea of hilarious hair.

 My original suggestion to him after I read the note and he declared his devotion to his current hairstyle was that I could make him a false beard to sport in honor of the occasion. He said "no," that day, but as Ziz worked on him about the whole concept he adopted the beard idea.

 First he said he wanted one "Just right here,(scratches chin)like Pop used to have," by the time Thursday rolled around I was able to talk him into a full beard. I pointed out that a goatee would have to be glued on and would thus itch. To that he said yarn whiskers on his cheeks "would be fine,"

 Notice I didn't post yesterday? Yeah, I was busy crafting this glorious piece.

 
What do you think? Hilarious?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

And The Classroom Was My Stage

I think we've established that I was a drama geek in Jr/High School.  Right?  I really should have linked to all of my previous posts mentioning my theatrical experience but let's be honest, I'm not much for tagging, I've got eight-hundred-and-sixty-some-odd posts to sift through and I'm not a fan of the search function in this latest version of blogger so If you missed those posts you're out of luck unless you want to search for them yourself.

Finding a good monologue can be tricky.  There are a lot, and I mean a LOT of lame-o monologues out there.  When you're in ninth grade Drama class and students are selecting their own material you tend to be exposed to a good percentage of them. Though, the class assignment pieces were generally less awful than student selected audition pieces for high school musicals.  That was rough.

Ms Green, the Drama teacher at my jr high liked to assign one monologue per year and then round things out with plenty of lip-sync assignments. Obviously she held a pretty high standard when it came to the art form known as Theatre.

She chose the top students from among her classes and assembled them into what she called the "Traveling Troupe" When you were a member of said troupe you were excused from your classes for an entire day during which time you sat in the "Little Theater" and preformed your lip-sync over and over.  Other teachers were invited to sign up to bring their classes in for a bit of theatrical entertainment.

I was a star.

I was a member of every "Traveling Troupe" Ms Green got up during my years at the school.  I also played "Ma" in the school play "Mountain Madness" which was everything you'd imagine it to be based on its title and the fact that the director thought of lip-syncing as the ultimate among the theatre arts.

That is to say, it was crap.

Anyway, there was the matter of the monologue assignment lost and forgotten though it was among all the lip-syncing. Around the time the assignment came up my mother brought home a new book.  "Purple Green and Yellow" By Robert Munnsch.  I loved it.  I memorized it and I preformed it in Drama class.  By that time Ms Green had stopped organizing troupes for works as lowly as monologues so I never got the chance to preform it to a packed audience.  I had to settle for just the one day in class.

That is...Until today!

Zizza's class is studying Mr Munsch's work and writing him letters.  Ziz came home last week and told me when she learned that he'd written "Purple, Green and Yellow" I emailed her teacher almost immediately to ask if I could come and recite for the class.  She said yes.

It was fantastic, my favorite parent volunteer job to date.  The part where Zizza, who was holding Duke at her desk while I preformed, filled his hands with pointy pencils pointy side up(of course) and tried to douse him with hand-sanitizer was tricky, but since there wasn't an actual stage for me to stand on I was able to work a maternal intervention into my blocking without much trouble. So it as pretty much perfect.

 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Discovery

I've been thinking lately about how I can fit sewing back into my life. I did alterations on a wedding dress a few weeks ago.  All of that work was done at my kitchen table after the kids were in bed.  

I've been telling myself that what I need to do is finish the organization project I started in my sewing room while nesting (yes, Duke is 16 months old) Once that was done, I was sure I'd be able to sew some everyday.  

That project is now in it's final stages.  Not done by any means but the framework is in place and I'm siphoning off the clutter bit by bit as I put things away on the new shelves.  

After completing that last alterations job I got to the point where I could put my machines (both of them!) back on my table.  I thought that meant I'd be able to sew in there while I continue to order and organize.  I forgot something though.

My second and third babies both shared rooms with the older sibling.  Ziz slept through Enzo's night time noise and he in turn slept through Moo's.  Now we have the girls paired and we thought the boys would be paired as well but Enz lost his ability to sleep through any baby noise since Moo moved out of his room.  As a result I made up the pack n' play in the walk in closet of the sewing room and that has become Dukes room.  Once he was sleeping with minimal night time noise we tried moving him back to the crib but he wasn't having it. So where does that leave my sewing room?

Well, he is in the closet so sometimes it has worked for me to sew while he's sleeping because I can close his door.  In the dead of summer though, the closet has to be open so the A/C will reach him.  Now things are starting to cool down a bit but he's learned to reach out of his bed and open the door.  If I leave the door closed he can reach the knob and he'll open and close and open and close and open and SLAM on and on instead of sleeping.

So anyway, my sewing room has been taken over.

I'm hopeful that the ever increasing darkness of winter will prove helpful in transitioning him into his crib.

Today I was working on another alterations job.  (The only time I sew anymore is when it's for someone else.  How sad.)  I brought my machine down to the dining room table and worked while I oversaw homework time.  It was fantastic!  I got my work done! They got their work done! Everybody wins! What a discovery!

I've set a goal for myself.  One sewing project a week.  This will be good for my creative soul, good for my general productivity levels and will hopefully ensure that I get a bit of sleep during the last week of October.   

Monday, September 17, 2012

tardy

I had a pretty mellow morning.  Moo was looking for things to scream about so naturally she found some but we managed to get through without getting too ruffled.

We stopped at Wal Mart on the way to pick up the kindergartners.  We needed milk, plants and a dinosaur. While we meandered through the store I lost track of a few minutes.  I checked the clock and realized I should have been mid-check-out if I were going to make a prompt appearance in the carpool lane at school.  I headed to the check out accepting the fact that I'd be cutting it close.  I hate to be late.  I really hate it.

At the front of the store I saw that all four self check-outs were busy.  Also, Duke was done with sitting in the cart.  On every shopping trip he reaches a point where he's had enough, stands up and lunges into my arms.  He repeats the process as fast as I can sit him back down.  Today he reached the lunging point right as I started to hurry.  I can't use a self check-out with a lunging baby, so their busyness didn't give me pause, I surged on by to the regular lanes and picked one with not much of a line.

Sadly, when it comes to check out lines looks can be deceiving. Ahead of me there was one person paying and one person waiting.  Apparently there seemed to be some kind of hold up with the person paying.

Of course.

That always happens when you're hurrying doesn't it?  I looked up and down to see if there was a faster line I could switch to but there wasn't, and with my luck I'd switch to a line with a longer wait.  That happens a lot when you're hurrying too.

Finally the cashier moved on to the next person in line.  She was a price matcher.  Also, she had a question about lay-away.  She asked the question and the cashier stopped to consider, decided she didn't know the answer and moved to call someone to find out.  As she reached for the call switch she got a paper cut from one of the adds taped to the checkout stand.  This did not help with her speediness in scanning groceries.  Then the layaway authority arrived and consulted with both customer and cashier about layaway policies.  At length they all turned back to the task at hand.  This is where I learned that the second half of the grocery order was made up of WIC items. So the customer paid her first bill and then they delved into her second order.  If you've used WIC in the past you know it's not the quickest of processes under which to check out.  I took a few deep breaths.  Finally it was my turn.

The cashier didn't see my plant on the conveyor belt. She tipped it over.  The plant was very dry, dirt everywhere.  She had to stop and clean it up.

20 minutes from the time I noticed I should be leaving I finally made it to my car.  School had been out for 10 minutes.  Once I drove there, 15 minutes late for pick-up, I had to unload my littler two and go inside to fetch the kinders from the library.

How neat is that?

A whole day's allotment of stress squeezed into a 25 minute window. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

What did I do today and why was it interesting?

I'm thisclose to done preserving all the fruit that's been sitting here all week.  Somedays I was waiting for it to ripen, other days it was waiting for me to have the time.  A few days I found we were both ready and I made jam and stuff.  Today I got through the last of it.  Tonight not a single fruit resides in a cardboard box anywhere in my home.  I do have a batch of pear butter cooking down in my crock pot that will have to be processed tomorrow but that's no big deal.

While I peeled and sliced sweet slimy things today Moo and her friend watched show after show on Netflix.  Or, as the friend called it they "watched a woovie"  Nothing like ignoring your children and the children you've agreed to babysit to make you feel like a responsible person.

Once I finished my fruit wrangling we headed to my sister in law's house to swim.  The weather was perfect for being outside and not in a pool.  It was crazy and fantastic.  September never feels this good.  Meanwhile, my children chattered their way, blue lips and all, through an hour or so of playing in the pool.  Lucky for me Duke agreed with my assessment that the water was cold and we were better off on the deck enjoying the cool breeze.  

Tired kids are easy to tuck into bed.  Well, at least they were tonight.  

There, that more or less is what I did. You'll have to excuse me for not answering the second half of my question.  I simply don't know.   

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Friends to know, and ways to grow, a reading rainbow

So, six months or so ago I grabbed Artemis Fowl book one while at the library.

I love cruising the library throwing books into the bag with reckless abandon. Anything that looks interesting. The sky's the limit. So much better than the book store where you have to consider and weigh choices and think about your budget.

Total downer.

Anyway, I checked out Artemis Fowl.  It was completely different than I'd expected.  What did I expect?  Well let's see, all I knew was that it was about fairies and the main character was named Artemis.  I may also have knows that Artemis was a genius. What do you think I was expecting?  What would you expect diving into a book with only those clues as to it's content?

I thought Artemis was a young girl who stumbled upon the world of fairies and proceed to deal with/ embrace the idea that magic was real.

Have you read Artemis Fowl?

Are you laughing?

In case you're not familiar with this series of books I'll just tell you that my assumed summation couldn't have been more wrong.

I'll also tell you that I've absolutely enjoyed these books.  I'm currently #22 on the waiting list at my local library for the final edition.  I have a whole stack of other things checked out right now.  I've had them for a week but I haven't cracked a single one, I'm too caught up in Artemis to bother with other stories.

Let me tell you what both irked and intrigued me when I read book one.  The title character, the hero of the book, as the antagonist.  I don't mean just a criminal like in so many fantasy novels where a corrupt government rules with an iron fist but honor is found among thieves existing outside the law.  I mean the actual bad guy as the hero.(but not in a save the day kind of a sense)

Meanwhile, the protagonist is a genuine likable character.  A character with whom you become more closely acquainted than her calculating and aloof counterpart.  Its aggravating and fantastic.

In other words, I'm a big fan.

Now I've reviewed a book and used the term "local library" I can't seem to close the post without including the words "But you don't have to take my word for it!"

Seriously though, you don't.  Read it yourself and then tell me what you think.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mappy Hirthday Boo

Here it is. The first time I've managed to get a birthday minute picture of Moo. I looked it up yesterday, she was born at 3 AM.
 
I spent the morning remembering when she was a baby how I watched her explore the house safe and content and wondered to myself how and when she would feel that level of security again once it all hit the fan. I still don't have an answer beyond "not yet" but we're getting there.

 
Moo greeted her birthday with low expectations. I asked her last night what she'd like for her birthday breakfast. She picked oatmeal ie:the same thing we have every morning.
Any guesses what she asked for at lunch time?

 Peanut butter and jelly.

 I am not making this stuff up.

 I didn't fill her request for lunch. I hadn't bothered to thaw any bread since I was planning to give her a wide open choice of lunch options and figured we'd wind up with fast food of one kind or other.

 So she requested pb&j I looked at her, nonplussed for a beat or two and rephrased the question. She still didn't grasp that she could be thinking beyond the pantry. At that point I gave up, considered her preferences and drove to Chick fil a.

 
A request I did fill? She asked for a strawberry birthday cake. The Mr and Ziz were both worried when they heard her say it. Thoughts of processed pink strawberry flavored cake mixes haunted their minds as they brought up alternative suggestions. I saw what was going on and calmed their fears. Moo could certainly have her request for strawberry cake filled without subjecting the family to such horrors. Real berries, plenty of whipped cream and not a drip of synthetic anything made everybody happy, most of all Moo and that's what we were after.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hair cuts

The other day we did this:
 
 
Ziz got her hair cut a few months ago. Since that time, Moo has been wishing for a hair cut whenever the thought occurred to her.

Because she wasn't consistently vocal in her wishing I went ahead and ignored it all summer.

Then I got my hair cut and she started wishing a bit more fervently. Soon thereafter we had a particularly rousing fight over getting all that curly hair combed. Once we composed ourselves I asked her if she wanted her hair cut and she said yes she did. So I made the appointment.

 I showed her different options by folding her hair at different lengths. At one point she said she wanted it like mine and I had to distract her real quick before she caught hold of that idea and stuck with it.

For one thing, can you imagine all the work it would take to style bangs on a squirmy curly headed four year old? I can imagine it and my imagination tells me it ain't pretty.

For two things, I am not a fan of my current length. Indeed, for me any thing longer than my jaw but shorter than my shoulder blades is hairstyle purgatory. Not that I find that range of length unattractive. Plenty of people look fantastic with medium length hair. The styling is what drives me crazy. Its simultaneously too long and too short for everything I like to do. This is why I currently wear a ponytail approximately 80% of the time. I'm getting close though, my hair is a bit past my shoulders now so soon I'll be out of this awful phase.

 I've been super tempted to cut lately. First I saw pictures of Anne Hathaway's new cut and I almost succumbed. On Saturday I read the delightful book Dotty and had to remind myself repeatedly that even if I got the short cut my hair still wouldn't look like Ida's as her's is painted on, and really, I've come so far. To give up now would be a waste of these past 2 years in which I've suffered through the hated growing process.

So I endure.

When I need to, I give myself this little pep talk "The braids," I say to myself "Think of the braids!" This is encouraging because I am a great braider and there are so many interesting braid variations happening right now.  I'm anxious to join in the braiding full force.  I can manage a few braided styles with my current length but I still can't do everything I'd like to try.

So anyway, I glossed over the medium length options with Moo and focused on either getting just a trim, or going short like Ziz.  Her answer was that she wanted it like Enzo's.  Then I nearly passed out at the thought of how cute she'd be with a pixie cut.  She stuck with that for about an hour and I was getting all kinds of excited about it. At this point I showed her our family picture on the wall and asked her whose hair she wanted it to look like, mine (Pixie) Zizza's (bob) or her's as a baby, Then she said she wanted it like Zizza's and she stuck with that.

Incidentally, here are the before and after photos of Zizza's recent cut that I never posted.


 
 
And now you're up to date on the status of our hair styles.