Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas...it's Practically Here!


This year has been the first year I have ever heard Ronnie say "I'm actually in the Christmas Spirit this year". He's not Scrooge, he doesn't hate Christmas like the Grinch, he just always so busy at work and feels like he should be doing more with the family. This year he has had time to breathe and enjoy some of the holiday festivities. He dressed up as Santa for a few hours at work one day and really enjoyed it. He was sweating like it was in the middle of July in the Santa suit but all in all he had fun. He was a bit scared when the first 5 kids that sat on his lap all screamed in terror. Then things picked up and he even had a Santa stalker, one little boy came back at least 5 times to shake his hand or peep around the corner at him. When I brought our kids to see him Lana ran right up to him and proceeded to climb up on his lap even though there was someone already on it. She really did not like sharing her Daddy.
Ronnie helped me get our Christmas cards out. And he admitted he liked the fact that I take the time to make them all by hand, even though he used to complain about it. This year the cards were probably the most time consuming ones yet. I first made a 12x12 scrapbook page, then did some work in Photoshop, then cut out letters, then it seemed something was missing so we added the date on the inside. The part that sucked up the most time was gluing on the letters. Now I need some ideas for next year, anyone have any neat ideas?



















Last night we finished up the gift baskets. Ronnie was right, we should have just bought gift cards. We made 6 baskets full of our favorite things. When I say we, I mean we, Ronnie helped with everything except with the chocolate covered Oreos, I thought he would eat them as fast as we could make them, they are his favorite. I guess I'm glad I made the baskets this year because it made me bake more. I haven't really baked much this year. I've only made two batched of cookies so far and that was only because I had to bake some for Young Women's and there I got an idea for some cookies for Lana's preschool. They are on the letter M and these mice cookies were just perfect. (thanks Tori)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gingerbread Houses


Last night the family got together to make gingerbread houses. We had five different gingerbread kits, but we only ended up making four of them. We started out the night with pizza which was great because we needed the cardboard boxes to put the house on. It worked out so perfectly, but I can't take credit for that. I didn't have that much forethought in this event; I just didn't want to cook dinner. The mixer was whirling busily making icing, when I heard an odd noise. My whisk attachment didn’t make it through the night. Fortunately it decided to break on the last batch. We all decorated to our hearts content and the kids had a few snack along the way.








Last year during our gingerbread house decoration the kids decided to decorate themselves. Same thing happened again this year, so I guess we now have a new tradition. Next year I think everyone should wear Rudolph noses while we decorate.

Click to play Gingerbread+Houses+2007


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Buying Beer

I bought some beer today. For most people this is nothing new, but for me it was a first. I don’t drink it there for I have never bought it. Why did I buy beer you ask, well it all started when Ronnie was trying to figure out what gifts to get his 6 managers for Christmas. We were thinking we would just copy what Ronnie has been given buy his past bosses like gift cards for P.F. Chang’s or Claim Jumpers or Cheesecake Factory (I’m getting hungry). Then like always I have to take something easy and turn it into something that requires so much more work. I said, why would you want to give a simple little gift card when I can put together something so much more personal? He gave me the look, the one I get when I redid our Christmas cards five times until it was just right, or like the time when I said the cupcakes for Kyle party are going to be plain store bought ones and then we rushed around until I found the perfect ones the day before the party and then proceeded to make our own cupcake toppers, yeah that look. I said what, it’s not going to be a big production…lol. Even that makes me laugh because I know myself all too well.

So my ideas for the gift baskets are a few of our favorite things (like the song) of course I’ll have to come up with some new lyrics to make it match the gifts. Some of the gifts will include homemade bread, white chocolate popcorn with macadamia nuts, truffles from Trader Joe’s, white chocolate covered Oreos (decorated of course), hot cocoa, and some smaller amount gift cards to like Cold Stone. So as I’m looking for an easy bread recipe that uses whole wheat. I stumble upon a beer bread recipe, which brings us to why I was buying beer. I read that Ale is better than Lager when baking it in bread. I have no clue if this is true or not but it was something to help me decided which one to buy. So Ronnie and I are standing in front of the beer aisle reading labels trying to figure out which one to buy. Ronnie knows his way around beer so he pointed out the Ales to me and told me that we ate at a restaurant where one of them was brewed at when we lived in Colorado. The packaging was really cute and it said the brewery was wind powered and employee owned how you could go wrong? So in keeping the gifts personal of course I pick the Fat Tire which is brewed in Ft. Collins, CO. It’s not like the people receiving the gift baskets are even going to know it is beer bread made with beer brewed in Ft. Collins, but I will and that’s all that matters.

We get home and make our first loaf in no time at all. Then we tasted it and Kyle wasn’t sure he wanted any and then I explained that the alcohol cooks away…yada yada yada and then he was all over it. I think he could eat his weight in bread. Once we were at a steakhouse and they have little loaves of bread they give you with your meal and afterwards the kids get some ice cream, well Kyle didn’t want ice cream he wanted more bread. He has also been quoted saying “Gravy is better than cake!” he’s not your average kid, that’s for sure. Lana thinks the beer bottles are root beer and really wants to drink some. I had better make the rest of the loaves soon so I can get rid of the beer, she can get into anything.

This is by far the easiest bread recipe ever and it tastes pretty darn good too.

Farmgirl Susan's Almost Too Easy Whole Wheat Beer Bread Recipe
Makes One Loaf

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
14 ounces beer (or 12 ounces beer & 2 ounces water)

Optional glaze: 1 egg & 2 teaspoons water, beaten

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Slowly stir in beer and mix just until combined. Batter will be thick. Spread in a greased 8-inch loaf pan, brush with egg glaze if desired, and bake until golden brown and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool 10 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Random Christmas Things

Santa is Dad?

Ronnie thought it would be fun to dress up like Santa at work and take pictures with the kids that came in with their parents to shop. I thought that sounded really cute and very unlike him. He is usually such a Scrooge around Christmas time because he has to put in so many hours, but not this year. He is actually going into work on his day off to do this. I got a call today from him saying that he doesn’t really like the Santa suit they had on hand and I offered to find him a different one. After first looking on the internet I concluded it was going to be hard to find him a nice looking suit for the money he wanted to spend so I turned to my secret source (my mom) who suggested a guy from our church who works at a costume shop. Problem solved, my husband will look like a very nice Santa and gets to stay under budget. Now all I have to do is to come up with a story to tell Lana why her dad is dressed up like Santa.

Work Holiday Party

Every year the dreaded day comes when Ronnie informs me of his work Christmas Holiday party. This year it’s a little different in that he is actually more in charge of it than in years past since he is finally the big boss man. He has said he doesn’t want to have a lame Christmas party, which they usually are. Sam’s Clubs have to have their parties in the store which makes for a great venue…NOT. Most of them are adults only (no clue as to why), but Ronnie’s party will be kid friendly, not because he wanted it that way but because that’s the way it’s always been at this store. I probably will not take our kids because of the time it occurs, after 7:00pm something happens to our kids that is indescribable. Ronnie works in Cub Scouts with a guy that does magic, a nice connection to have. So he has enlisted the help of the magician in efforts to make the party not so lame. In the past parties I have been to there have been high school choirs, strolling carolers, amatuer stand up comedians, and high school drama classes that have been our source of entertainment. While this “entertainment” is going on people are eating dinner and talking, I always feel so bad for the entertainers that I end up in a lousy mood. The magician is going to wonder around from table to table doing tricks so hopefully people can put their fork down and zip their lips for a few minutes to see a magic trick and all will go well. Let’s all cross our fingers that it isn’t lame.

Christmas Cards

In my feeble attempt to de-commercialize Christmas I try to make our Christmas cards. Each year as soon as the cards are in the mail I start to think what I will do next year. I usually go through many ideas before I settle on one. Ronnie gets so busy around Christmas and can’t help make them unless I get started on them early. He even gave me a date once, Oct 31st, which I have yet to start making Christmas cards that early yet. The cards have been in getting ready mode for about 3 weeks now, the mode where I have the idea in my head just nothing tangible yet. Last night we made our first card of the year. Once that is done then we can start an assembly line and crank them out in no time. I try to keep one of our cards each year so we can look back and see what worked well and what didn’t work at all.


2002 Christmas card (I think, I don't see Lana's name so I"m guessing at the date)









2005 Christmas Card
(by far my favorite, but never try this with a 2 year old)

2006 Christmas Card (it folded up into it's own envelope)

Caught a Cold

Hurray I got a cold early this year. I always get one, and this is perfect timing, right before the crazy part of the Christmas season. Hopefully my immunities will fight it off fast and I will still have lots of immunities built up to ward off anything until after Christmas. Last year I got sick two weeks before Christmas and it was horrible. I got well and ran around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to tie up all the loose ends.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Gastropoda as pets...Ghastly

We are not pet people. Our children had fish for about a year and then I was tired of them so now they are gone. I have a hard enough time of keeping up with the kids activities and cleaning up their messes I don’t need anything else on my to do list. So we enjoy other people’s pets. Lana is very lucky that her preschool teacher has a kitten and a hamster for her to play with. Kyle gets to pester enjoy my parents two cats and any other cat he may find wandering around our backyard. I think that gives the kids enough pet time to grow up normally; I don’t think I am depriving them of anything in their childhood.

Lana has however grown a fondness for snails. It started out with earthworms. In the summer we would find earthworms that crawled up on our sidewalk when it was wet from the sprinklers. Some of the little guys didn’t make it back to the lawn before the sidewalk started to heat up and they were kind of stuck. Instead of stepping on them to put them out of their misery I would just pick them up and throw them back on the lawn. Lana had shed a few tears over the ones that we didn’t get to in time, but the tears didn’t last long as she would find something else to be interested in. Then in the fall the worms stopped appearing and snails took their place. She would pick them up on our way to take Kyle to school and then when we would return home much to my dismay she would still have them in her hands. She would collect even more snails on our way back into the house. After trying to convince her that the snails needed to be outside with their snail family I finally caved in and got her a cup to put them in. For days she kept asking me “why won’t they come out of their shells to see me?” I finally told her they are probably dried up and are stuck in their little shells so we need to put them outside so the sprinklers can rain on them. Well the snails did not make it outside; instead she put some water in the cup. Then to my surprise the snails were soon out of their shells crawling up the side of the cup. Every now and then I would knock them down to the bottom of the cup so we wouldn’t have snails running rapid in the kitchen. Then one night Ronnie and I were cleaning and he asked me what to do with the snail cup and I said let’s throw them outside and tell Lana they crawled out. Lana didn’t cry or scream when she heard this, instead she marched her little self outside and proceeded to gather up new snails to place in her cup. Then she put some water in the cup and got a book to put over the top of the cup. Ever since them we have had snails. They have been the centerpiece during breakfast, lunch, and dinner and they were even at our Thanksgiving dinner. I know it’s mean but I’m okay with this pet because if they don’t get taken care of I’m really not going to feel bad for them, they are just snails, some (odd) people eat them for dinner and here we are eating dinner with them. If they die tomorrow they have lived a good life, for they have made a little girl very happy.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Lighting Up My World

Before Ronnie’s parents left they helped us trim all our shrubs and put up the last of the Christmas decorations. For about three years now we have gone with red and white lights on the outside of our house. This year I wanted to change over to LED lights, but after going to four stores and not finding what I wanted I decided to just put up the old energy sucking lights. We didn’t put up as many this year because last year we kept blowing the breaker every time I would blow dry my hair.

One night as I was driving up to the house it dawned on me…our house has needed to be painted since we moved into it and yet every year I still insist on lighting it up for all to see. Every year I tell myself and have even said it out loud that I’m going to get my house painted this year, and then I start on another project inside the house instead. Avoidance is a wonderful thing.

One thing I could not avoid was this house in my neighborhood. Take a look at it and tell me if it is better to live next to a house that needs a new coat of paint or is it better to live next to this. Granted this is not actually a house it is a business but someone does have to live right next to this and it is in my neighborhood. The picture really doesn’t do it justice, what you can’t see is that the roof is black and the trim is red and of course the rest of it is pink even the walls surrounding it. The house was white with red trim and a black roof so maybe they just haven’t finished painting the trim yet. Who knows it might end up a even more horrifying color than red.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Shopping Spree

Black Friday is no fun for Ronnie since Sam’s has jumped on the Black Friday bandwagon. Unfortunately he had to wake up at 2:45AM and head off to work. Sue and I got up at 4:30AM and Grandpa got to stay home with the kids. I couldn’t decide where to go to first, but we ended up at Wal – Mart. We got there ten minutes early and they had already let people in the store, which was so nice. I wasn’t about to wait in line this year, I had a really bad experience at Target last year with people ramming people with carts and such. Sue and I walked right into Wal – Mart and gathered our bargains. They had so many employees out and about to help that we were able to find everything in no time. Then we went back out into the car to gather up the other ads and see if they would price match them. We tested it with one item then when that worked we searched the store for more items for them to price match. We found everything we wanted to get except for some shirts that were from Target. We had to wonder around a bit waiting until 6:00AM to get some of the items priced matched but it was so nice not running from store to store getting everything. We heard someone over the loud speaker say “Is there anyone shopping, because we don’t have anyone in line up front”. They had every checkout stand open and there were no lines. I think that is a first for Wal – Mart. We even did a little grocery shopping while we were there and there was a guy stocking the aisle that looked at us like we were crazy to be doing grocery shopping in the middle of the Black Friday rush. Black Friday was such a pleasant experience this year, everyone seemed to be in a good mood and I didn’t see anyone jumping on other people’s wheelchairs. I did see a few groups of women all dressed alike, they must have been the hardcore shoppers since they had team uniforms. Maybe I need to plan out some uniforms for next year. We were finished in time to bring home breakfast for everyone.

Hours later we were talking about putting up our Christmas tree that evening. Our Christmas tree is getting pretty old and needs replacing. I was looking through the Black Friday ads again and noticed a nice looking tree at JC Penny’s and was sorry that I didn’t notice it sooner, because I thought all the sales were over with. Then Sue points out their sale go on till 1:00PM. So we head out to get the tree. When we get there we spot one tree left. We lean against it so people walking by know that this is our tree, back away. Then one at a time we go to look at the display and I’m not really sure if I like it or not. It of course looked way different than the picture on the box and in the sale ad. I still wait in line to buy it figuring if I really don’t like it I could always bring it back. We were in a forever long line and after listening to a baby cry for ten straight minutes I decided I really don’t want to buy this. So we leave and grab some lunch, then went home to take naps.

When everyone woke up from their naps we decorated the tree. Christmas decorating doesn’t take very long because I don’t put out the breakable stuff yet. I think I need to give Lana one more year before I can fully decorate for Christmas. In the meantime I still keep collecting some really nice Christmas decorations so when I do put it all out, I think I’ll need to do some cleaning out of the decorations or get a bigger house to put them all. The kids put most of the ornaments on the tree and this year they kind of turned it into a race. I couldn’t open the ornament boxes quick enough for them. The kids had some hot chocolate and we had Christmas music playing. It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year already. I’ve got most of the shopping and the decorating finished now it’s time to start on the card making and cookie baking.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving

This year Ronnie’s parents (Ronnie and Sue) were able to come out for Thanksgiving. It was really nice having so many extra helping hands. The two previous years it’s been just Ronnie and I getting everything ready. Two days before Thanksgiving Grandma, Lana, and myself went shopping for last minute Thanksgiving things while Grandpa got to work on my to do list. Yes, I always seem to have a to do list for him full of things that Ronnie and I are afraid to tackle by ourselves or things that for some reason we just haven’t gotten around to.

The day before was supposed to be relaxing with all the shopping done. Grandpa and Lana went outside to look for things to make our Thanksgiving sign. I thought Lana would really like to help me make it and she did. I made some pies and tried to figure out my game plan for T day. Grandma entertained Lana by doing whatever Lana wanted to do. Kyle came home from school early; he just had a half day. Then the kids and Grandpa went to the park. Sue and I decorated a little while they were gone. Soon it was time for Lana’s nap and Grandpa really wore her out, she was asleep in no time. Later that evening I had thought of a few things I needed from the store, so Ronnie and I left to go get them. Well, shopping the night before Thanksgiving was not a good idea. The Sam’s Club right next to me had sold out of the glass goblets I wanted so we ended up going across town to get them. Then while we were over there we stopped at another store for a few more last minute things, and we could not find any turkey gravy. Then three stops later we finally found it and we were walking out of the store and remembered we needed ice, so back into the store we go. Finally two hours later we return home and I put in a roast and we all started to set up the tables for the big day. Luckily for us while we were out we went ahead and bought another pumpkin pie so before we went to bed we had some pie to celebrate our victorious shopping adventure and still had a pristine pie for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving morning I woke up to the smell of roast in the air. We checked the turkeys to make sure they were fully defrosted and they were for once. They guys were busy peeling carrots and potatoes and then Sue would wash them off and I would cut them, it was all a team effort. I kept Sue busy cleaning up after me, I swear as soon as I was finished dirtying up a bowl it was clean. It was great not having a huge pile of dishes to deal with after cooking everything. Ronnie and his Dad got the turkeys all ready to go. My Dad came over to watch the frying of the turkeys. The whole turkey process got started around 10:00am. Our Thanksgiving fest was ready to go at 12:00pm, right on time. Everyone arrived and we all ate until we were miserable. Then we perused the black Friday ads and planned out what stores we wanted to go to. After that we played Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games on the Wii. That was our futile attempt to work off our Thanksgiving dinner. We had 12 people total for Thanksgiving dinner and 10 pies…you do the math but I think it’s going take more than playing a video game to work off that damage. Not that all the pies have been eaten but I now can have at least one piece of pie a day, I think I need to throw the leftover pies out on trash day just to get them out of our house. Next year there will be a pie limit.

Later that day we went to the Magical Forest at Opportunity Village to walk around and get in the Christmas spirit. It wasn’t very crowded at all which is why we try to always go on Thanksgiving and also would doesn’t need to walk around after stuffing yourself. The kid’s faces are always so peaceful looking with the soft glow from Christmas lights lighting them up. As we were walking around someone told us that Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf were in front of us. It really was them and they had been in front of us the whole time and we didn’t know it until we were halfway through the forest. They were there with their kids and it was nice to see that no one really bothered them too much. It must be hard to go out and do things as a family when everyone knows you and wants to get pictures with you and so forth. Kyle and Lana took their annual train ride with Grandpa and then we headed home. We all went to bed with the black Friday Ads dancing in our heads.






Click to play Thnaksgiving 2007


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thankful Thursday

I asked Kyle what he was thankful for last week and here is his answer.

Jesus Christ for dying for my and everyone’s sins so that I can repent

When I asked Lana I kept saying and what else, but there is no need to do that with Kyle. I think he hit the mark dead on. I am so proud of Kyle, he is really starting to think for himself and not just go along with the group. It did not surprise me at all that he said this, but it still made me smile from ear to ear. I did find a paper he brought home from school yesterday where he wrote what he was thankful for on leaves. It was a little different than what he told me in the comfort of our home, but it was still great.

Freedom
Family
Money
Life
A body
Food
Everything

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Implosion Shmotion

I remember when my family first moved here. It was quite exciting to drive down the strip and see all the lights and the big things where the volcanoes and pirate fights. Then on the weekend while in high school my friends and I would cruise the strip. That was when you could actually drive down the strip in a few minutes, now there is so much traffic I think it would be infuriating. We would park at Treasure Island and walk down to the MGM making stops along the way. We had a whole routine, first our goal was to make the elevators talk to us. The Treasure Island elevators people used to talk to you if you where persistent enough. Then we would stop and visit the homeless man who was always in-between the Mirage and Caesar's Palace with his three dogs and a rabbit, we always brought dog food in a baggy and a carrot. We then went in the Forum Shops and visited friends that were working and had a shake a Boogie’s Dinner (no longer there). Then we made the long haul to MGM to visit friends working at the Midway. We also brought a flag with us that the tour groups used to use. The tour group leader would hold it up so everyone would know where to go. We had fun trying to get tour groups to follow us. I don’t think we ever got anyone lost, but we did get yelled at in Chinese once or twice.

That was back in the days when I thought Vegas was cool. My mom and I actually attended the implosion for the Dunes in '93. We were down on the strip, why I don’t know I guess we thought it was fun. Afterward we went home and both took showers, we were a bit dusty. Then on New Years of ’97, I was living in Cincinnati, OH and I watched the implosion of the Hacienda on TV. That was still somewhat exciting. Oh how the excitement has faded. Last night I was awoken at 2:30am to big booming sounds, which I have to imagine where fireworks to start the implosion of the Frontier. I have been sleeping with the sliding glass door open a little, but not last night and yet the sounds still woke me from my slumber. I just lay in bed waiting for the booms to get closer together which would mean that they were having the grand finally. It seemed to go on forever and the whole time not once did I think it would be neat to get up and go outside and watch the fireworks or turn on the TV and see them. I was just lying there waiting for it to be over with already. Then finally it was and the implosion started, which too seemed to last forever. Then as I was trying to go to sleep the dogs in the neighborhood started barking. It takes me a while to actually go to sleep, so I had just got to sleep when Ronnie’s alarm goes off at 4:30. Needless to say, I think the excitement about living in Vegas has worn off.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Thankful Thursday

I know it's Friday, not Thursday, I was busy last night and then dropped into bed before I realized it was Thursday. Yesterday I asked Lana what she was thankful for and here is her list:

Food

My Toys

Cats

Clothes

and the last one, You

I was quite impressed. My mom has told me the story of seeing my brother's school work on what he was thankful for that he did when he was little. He had two things listed: green beans and mashed potatoes. She said they were all thankful for those two things because that's all he we eat at the time.

It was neat to see what Lana would say, I am going to ask Kyle the same question tonight and post it next Thursday. In first grade he had a list of what he was thankful for and a few things I remember were: chop pork (he meant pork chops), the color blue, money and video games. It will be fun to see how it has changed, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Golly Gee Look Who's 83

My Grandmother turned 83 yesterday. She had just returned from Texas and didn’t really fell like doing anything for her birthday. So we just ordered her favorite pizza and had cake and ice cream. When you are 83 there isn’t much you could possibly want for your birthday. She was just happy to be with her loved ones. We were trying to show her the Wii. She couldn’t quite get bowling down, with releasing the buttons at the right times and so forth. So I put in the card from my camera and started doodling on some photos. She really thought that was cute.

She is a huge ice cream eater and I had wanted to take her to Ben & Jerry’s to get the twenty scoop sundae called the Vermonster. So we did that today after she had a few days to rest up from her trip. In case you have never heard of the monstrosity called the Vermonster here’s the low down:

Twenty scoops of ice cream

Four ladles of hot fudge

Four bananas

Ten scoops of chopped walnuts

One fudge brownie

Three cookies

Two scoops each of four different toppings

Whipped cream and Cherries on Top


She is not a big fan of bananas, so no bananas for us. There were seven of us and we came close but we did not finish it. Later she said I think I could have eaten more ice cream but I could feel my pants getting tight. I swear she can eat more ice cream than anyone alive. And she eats it so fast and never gets brain freeze. It was a lot of fun, everyone that walked into the store came over to see the giant sundae and congratulated her on her birthday. On the way home she said, “I never knew a place like that existed”. I think I can conclude that means we will defiantly be back to try again to conquer the Vermonster.

Monday, November 5, 2007

A Turkey for You and a Turkey for Me

Here's a link to the Turkey Song by Adam Sandler

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH0oXV7VqHo


Ronnie came home early from work and that meant we actually had an entire evening with the whole family at home. Those nights don’t happen as much as one might think. On Mondays Ronnie comes home in time to pick Kyle up and go to golf. Then on Tuesdays he gets home about thirty minutes before dinner and then after dinner I go to Young Women. Wednesday Kyle and Ronnie have Cub Scouts and Thursdays he doesn’t get home until after the kids are in bed. Then we get to the weekend and we are never home for some reason or another. I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m complaining, because I’m not. All those things we do are beneficial to our family. Kyle and Ronnie get some bonding time and I get out of the house one evening a week without the kids. But it does make those evenings when everyone is home more special.

Tonight we made turkeys. That’s what we did on our evening together. How did we decide this was the night we needed to make turkeys? It was all Lana’s idea. I was reading her a story out of the Friend just before her nap and on the next page was how to make a paper bag turkey. She had told me she wanted to make that and I just said ok, thinking she would forget all about it after her nap. She woke up came down the hall and said, I’m ready to make turkeys. Ronnie had just got home and had no clue what was going on. He was quite surprised when I said ok let’s make turkeys. We raided my party supply bag where I store all the party extras like hats and plates and streamers and, what we were looking for tissue paper. We hit the jackpot because we had six different colors…woohoo. Ronnie started looking at the Friend to see what else we needed and asked if we had paper bags. Little does he know that I have a running inventory of everything in my home. It may not be written down on paper or stored on a file on the computer, but I know it’s there somewhere. Luckily I was able to find the paper bags with no problem at all. I think he was quite impressed that we actually had all the things needed to make turkeys and even more impressed that I knew where everything was. So after a whole roll of sticky dots and many many pieces of tissue paper later, we had turkeys.














I am really excited
to have these added to my Thanksgiving decor. I really don’t have very many decorations for this holiday, and the homemade ones are always the cutest.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thankful Thursday

I’m thankful for:

No school tomorrow because of Parent/Teacher Conferences

A calling in Young Women that has somehow inspired me to be more organized with my time and has opened my eyes to all the great girls we have in the ward

Halloween to be over with so I can get all the great deals on decorations for next year

Trunk or Treat because without it I don’t think my kids would be allowed to go trick or treating in Las Vegas (it’s scary out there)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pumpkins-O-Plenty

We finally got around to carving our pumpkins tonight. We invited my parents and Lacey to join us. Ronnie picked up some pumpkins on the way home from work and he said that the pickings were slim. I didn’t think the pumpkins he picked out were all that bad, then my dad and Lacey walked in with their warty looking pumpkin and I had to laugh. It would have made a perfect witch pumpkin but we could not find an easy witch pattern so it turned into a warty alien. Kyle made his own design using a CD I got on clearance last Halloween. He did a really good job on his pumpkin. He was able to do most of it by himself. Lana’s pumpkin was kind of like a light bright. It had clear pegs you hammer into the pumpkin and then it came with a color changing light. She really got into pounding the pegs in, but the fun wore off after about 5 pegs. Ronnie picked up the slack and finished it off. All in all the pumpkin carving went really fast this year. Everyone got right down to business and the pumpkins were finished in no time at all. Too bad we waited so long to carve them, oh well I guess they will look really fresh for the tick or treaters tomorrow night.




Trick or Treat


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thankful Thursday

Today I’m thankful for:


Woot Offs (woot.com)

Excedrin Migraine

$5.99 Pies

Beautiful sunny day

No school tomorrow

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wicked Wednesday

My day started off with quite a bang today. I rolled out of bed around 6:30 not because I wanted to but because my throat was in such pain I couldn't sleep. Nice I thought to myself, I ‘m getting sick and then I’ll pass it along to my kids just in time for Halloween. While I was up trying everything in my might to counter act my sore throat (drinking a big glass of OJ, and taking a horse pill they call a vitamin) I thought I would take care of a few bills online. So I log onto our bank account and discover I have like $60.00 in our account. I tried to think, with my early morning brain not quite functioning at full capacity, is that right? Did we really only have $60.00 in our checking account? Then my brain kicked into gear and I scrolled through the charges and came across 5 transactions that were quite large and I know I didn’t make. So before I get into total freak out mode I run to the bedroom and wake Ronnie up and tell him our checking account has been high jacked! He gets on the phone with the bank who then tells us basically we have to go to a branch in order to get it resolved. We still had over an hour before the bank opened and I was not happy about that because I wanted justice right then and there.

Today was Ronnie’s day off from work and I had scheduled Stanley Steamer to come over and try their darndest to clean my furniture. I am so disgusted with my couch and loveseat I’m about ready to do what my neighbor did and sell it for $50, but then I wouldn’t have any new furniture for about a year because I can’t bring myself to buy some more until Lana Lou is no longer a walking mess. My Stanley Steamer appointment was between 9:00 – 12:00, which was perfect because I was supposed to go to the park with my neighbor at 9:00 and Ronnie could deal with the cleaners. Well this was no longer the plan, Ronnie was on his way to the bank and I was sitting at home waiting on the cleaners. I have an aversion to having people come into my home to do work with Little Lou and myself all alone. I think this aversion comes from living in apartments that had creepy maintenance guys. Anyway, the cleaner guys were very nice and I got over my fear. While they were cleaning I was trying my hardest to sew Kyle’s Halloween costume.

Kyle wants to be Link from Zelda for Halloween and there are no Link costumes in stores that I can find. For some reason I had it in my head that Kyle had to have his costume for Thursday, but I was wrong he doesn’t need it until Saturday. Of course that didn’t dawn on me until later in the day. I didn’t even have a pattern I just drew on the fabric with a sharpie and cut it out and tried sewing it together. Let’s just say that maybe I should make a sign for Kyle to wear with his costume so people will know what it is supposed to be.

Ronnie comes home with a new checking account and some papers from the police department and starts looking at our credit reports to see if whoever high jacked our bank account did the same thing to our credit accounts. I think so far we are lucky, but I’m not happy at all about the new checking account. I had our old one all set up with automatic payments and transfers to savings and so forth and I really enjoyed not having to think about anything when it comes to mortgage payments and car payments. Then we started thinking, we just ordered new checks and now that account is not even open. And all the things that come out of our account like Netflix and Sirius and Kyle’s tuition and we don’t even have a debit card yet to go online and switch them over to our new cards. This is such a big inconvenience!

The cleaner guys finish up and tell me that they can’t get all the stains out, which I knew there was no way they could but they did try. They complemented me on the costume and tried to convince Ronnie that while they were there they should clean our computer room carpet. It could defiantly use a cleaning but we think we are going to replace it before too long so there is really no need to clean it now.

I am having a little Halloween party this Friday and I have told myself that I need to get a family picture on the wall by then. I don’t know why this sticks out as something I have to do in order to have a party at my house. Maybe I was just looking for a deadline and this was one that came to mind. Anyway, I bought a picture frame that held an 11x14 picture which is not a problem because Sam’s makes big pictures in an hour. So we go to Sam’s and all their computers are not working at the moment. Ronnie goes behind the counter and tries to load it on their master machine while a lady resets all the computers that the customers use. It was taking forever for the master machine to download our pictures and so we tried one of the newly restarted machines and it worked. But then it wouldn’t let me select the size I wanted. The lady working said just select a 4x6 and she would convert it to 14x11. I have trust issues or something because I knew she would forget. So we leave Sam’s and go pick Kyle up from school and the photo lady called and said our pictures were ready. To my surprise she did remember and they came out great, except for some reason Ronnie’s head is really red, oh well he doesn’t care. We go home and we are ready to hang to picture and now we can’t find one picture hanger in our house. Ronnie goes to the store to get some and I start marking the places on the wall. Finally our pictures are hung and Lana is taking a nap and Kyle is doing homework and I think I’ll make it through the day.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thankful Thursday

This will be a reoccurring weekly post that I hope you’ll look forward to each week along with the other stuff I post.



I'm thankful for...


A very kind and loving husband who doesn’t think of marriage as a 50/50 deal but gives me 100% of himself


Two active children who keep me on my toes


Get-togethers with friends


Preschool for giving me 6 hours a week to regroup


Roomba for taking care of my floors and inspiring me to do the rest


A mom who always picks up the lunch tab =)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pie

Oh how I love this time of year. Most people enjoy it because of the weather, but not me I have my own reasons. For those of you that don’t know I LOVE PIE. This month at Marie Callender’s it’s their Semi-Annual Pie sale. That’s right you can get a pie for $5.99 + tin fee instead of the regular price of $14.95. So far in our house we have enjoyed German Chocolate, Lemon Cream Cheese, and Chocolate Satin pie. Cream Cheese pie is next on the list and yes we have a list. For Thanksgiving and Christmas we must have pies, and I also try to have a pie for Easter too. For my birthday, cake and ice cream is good but pie is BETTER. One of the things I want to do before I die is open a pie shop. I have a file tucked away on my computer so when I get a really good idea for a pie I jot it down, like the other day I thought wouldn’t a Mexican chocolate pie be really good. I have yet to come up with a recipe but the next time I make a French silk pie I am putting cinnamon in it and then I’ll go from there. When my cell phone rings it plays this song when my husband calls me.


as I walk along and stumble
trains rumble in my head
as I breeze along and grumble
think about you instead

and a piece of pecan pie
and you that’s all I want
just a piece of pecan pie
and all I want is you

sometimes I get so hungry
think about pie all day
just a little whipped cream
honey, I’m on my way

with a piece of pecan pie
and you that’s all I want
just a piece of pecan pie
and all I want is you

just a piece of pecan pie
and you that’s all I want
just a piece of pecan pie
and all I want is you

now, don’t you call me key lime
you are the apple of my eye
don’t you know I’ll be fine
whenever you’re by my side

with a piece of pecan pie
and you that’s all I want
just a piece of pecan pie
and all I want is you

all I want is you ...


Yeah, I’m a cornball but at least I know it. So you might think “wow all that pie in the month of October must make you gain a few pounds”. Yes it does, but this year I’m on top of that. I ordered a treadmill and it arrived today. I haven’t calculated how long I to have walk on it to counter act all the pie I have already consumed but at least it’s better than nothing right??

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Muffin Mayhem

This week I started baking again since the temperatures have dropped and you can now turn the oven on without turning your house into a sauna. On Monday Lana and I dropped Kyle off at school and went shopping for ingredients to make some pumpkin muffins. I love the ability to shop with one child at a time; it just makes the trips so easy. I don’t have to referee and the kids don’t have to talk over one another trying to get my attention. Sure I might look like the crazy mom, because I have to stay in the 4 yr olds conversation or screaming will invoke, but you do what you have to. So if you see me in the store shooting bad guys as I turn down the aisle or doing a ballerina twirl just smile and know that yes I am being made a fool of by my 4 yr old and I’m ok with that.

So we gathered all our shopping bags and headed home where we found quite a few messages on the answering machine. The most important message being from Lana’s friend down the street who wanted her to come over and play. I was really excited for the opportunity to bake by myself. I know it’s great to bake with kids and it teaches them a lot, but every now and then I like the satisfaction of breaking the egg and knowing there will be no eggshell in the batter. I whisked Lana away to her friend’s house and started mixing all the ingredients. I was having a great time and was able to clean as I went. Then I got to the part where you fill the muffin tins which went smoothly…until I went to put them in the oven. These muffins were really hardy and weighted the muffin tin down quite a bit which I was not expecting when I placed them in the oven. PLOP went the muffins upside down on the oven door, which was preheated of course so they sizzled on the door as they dripped down the crack in the bottom of the door and into the drawer below the oven. The muffin tin was very well greased as there were hardly any remnants of batter as I picked the tin up. Cleaning a hot oven was not fun at all, but it had to be done unless I wanted the smell of burnt muffins to fill the air. Then I started cleaning all the sheet pans that got glopped on that were in the oven drawer. Then finally I started cleaning the oven drawer, which I don’t think I have ever done before and I really should have because it was very dusty. Well after cleaning I filled the tins again with what batter I had left over and deposited them into the oven very carefully. Then I continued to clean up the muffin mess off the floor and kitchen rug. Soon enough I smelled the pumkiny muffins emanating from the oven and I knew it was time for a taste test. They passed, I don’t know if they were worth all the trouble they caused, but they were very good.

Yesterday I got the baking bug again, this time my goal was to make a healthy muffin the kids could eat for breakfast in the mornings. It dawned on me one day that maybe my kid’s activity level is due to breakfasts full of sugar such as: eggos, toaster strudels, and the many different kid cereals in the cabinets. So I found a recipe for blueberry bran muffins that seemed to fit the bill. Making and baking them was much less dramatic then the pumpkin ones, the drama came after they were baked. All day I had a headache and none of my usual tricks made it go away. After the muffins came out of the oven everyone grabbed one and ate it. It was pretty good for a healthy muffin, not as tasty as the pumpkin ones but that’s to be expected. After I baked the last batch I went to lie down to see if I could get rid of my headache. A few minutes later I’m in the bathroom vomiting. How nice, I’m throwing up my own baking, that should say a lot about my baking huh. Well, it was the headache that actually caused the vomiting, it’s not the first time it has happened, but I can’t bring myself to eat another blueberry bran muffin. Luckily Kyle and Ronnie are eating them, because I’m getting tired of seeing them. Lana is doing her part to dispose of them too by crumbling them up and sprinkling them on the area rug in the living room. Don’t ask me why, I have no clue.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Family Photos

My brother and his wife came down from Logan for a visit and my mom says, “What a perfect time to get some family photos”. She was right we were in need of new family photos. Ronnie and I had not had new family photos since Lana was born. And the most current family photo my mom had of everyone had an ex wife in it. Needless to say there are no family photos hanging on the walls anywhere. After dinner one night we went to Sears to set up an appointment. The last family picture everyone had on white shirts, but this time we all wanted something different. While we were at Sears we thought we should find coordinating shirts for everyone. So each family chose a different color and we all made sure the colors went together. My parents picked theirs first. Then I let Jason (my bother) pick next, I thought it might be hard to find a men’s shirt and a maternity shirt that matched. Ronnie found a shirt he liked and I found one that matched, but I couldn’t find a shirt for the kids there that matched. Then next day I went to Target and found the kids some matching shirts and that evening was our appointment. We did the big group shot first. It took so long to get a good one and by good I mean everyone’s eyes open and not talking. It didn’t even matter if everyone was smiling just as long as they were looking at the camera and their mouths were not open in mid sentence. Then everyone let my family go first since the kids were getting tired of taking pictures. All was going well until Lana and Kyle were to take a picture together. For some reason Lana would hit Kyle every time he touched her, even if the photographer asked him to put his arm around her. Finally we decided for Kyle’s safety that they should pose back to back. At this point there was no posing Lana, so we ended up with a not so great picture of the two of them. After my family was finished the rest of the groups went by fast. I was really surprised by the results; the pictures came out so good!



Family Photos


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Lana's Birthday

Well Lana is 4, we wondered at times if she would make it. Sometimes it seemed as though she had a death wish, but somehow we have managed to keep her alive probably with a lot of help from above. This year in between all the scrapes and bruises she has lost a finger nail because her finger was slammed in Kyle’s door. She almost lost an eye from the swinging chair. She cracked her head on the floor while we were eating dinner at Fazoil’s, which was dubbed the thud heard ‘round the world. Then she split her head open because she was jumping on our bed and fell backward into the nightstand. Not to mention the near misses that I was able to prevent like the locking herself in the dryer…no it wasn’t on. The grabbing of a light candle, luckily I was able to catch it when she realized it was hot. The many times she climbed the kitchen cabinets and almost jumped onto the tile floor. And so on and so on… Every birthday that this child has we will pat ourselves on the back and congratulate each other for helping her survive one more year.

With all that said you might think that Lana’s birthdays would be a huge production, but they aren’t. We like to keep birthday’s pretty low key until they reach the age of eight. Lana’s little party was just family. I thought polka dots would be fun to decorate with and I convinced Lana that it’s what kind of party she wanted. It was such a fun theme I think we will be duplicating it in the future. Weeks before the party I bought some polka dot plates and napkins. Ronnie asked a bakery guy at Sam’s to make a polka dot cake. The day before the party I gathered up everything else polka dotty for the party like, favor bags, wrapping paper, gumballs, ribbon, stuff to make polka dot necklaces, and I even found polka dot packing tape. We ended up using to tape to write HAPPY BIRTHDAY on the wall. The kids made a polka dot table cloth by gluing on paper circles. I put the plates and napkins up out of Lana’s reach somewhere and couldn’t find them for the party; I still to this day have not found them. Lana was really into her birthday this year. All day long she was telling everyone that it was her birthday. She really enjoyed her party; she loved popping bubble wrap and making necklaces. Of course the best part was opening the presents and playing with them.



Lana's Party


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fun with the Camera

We set up a makeshift photo studio and had fun with the kids...check out the results.

Photo Montage


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Them Chains Them Chains are 'bout to Drag me Down

I think I am missing the gene that every woman seems to have. The one that makes them wants to carry a purse at the age of three and continue carrying a purse all their life. I cannot stand my purse and it’s not just the style of a purse it’s just the whole premise of the purse. I have enough to keep track of I don’t need something hanging around my arm that I constantly have to keep track of too. I remember when I started carrying a purse, I was in 6th grade. You were considered “cool” if you could convince your parents to spend a ridiculous amount of money so you could have all the “cool” brands. The “cool” purse to have was a Liz Claiborne and the “cool” thing to carry in your purse was the triangle style Liz Claiborne perfume. I convinced my mom to buy both things for me along with the Cole Haan loafers and Z Cavaricci jeans that were also “cool”. I have no idea why she spent so much money on shoes or jeans that I would out grow in six months, I guess I was pretty good at getting what I wanted. Anyway, the purse was forest green with brown trim and it was a hang over the shoulder style. Most girls liked the purses with the two small handles, but I didn’t want to deal with it, so I got the long strap so I could wear it like a bandolier and not worry about it. Even after my whole trying to be cool phase was over I still had to carry a purse to hold the girly necessities. After I had Kyle I combined my purse and his diaper bag into one. There was no way I was going to carry a purse and a diaper bag. Then I had to come back to reality when he no longer needed a diaper bag. But something happened; my brain never got the message that I was carrying a purse again. I started leaving my purse everywhere. Like in the car and then I would find it and notice my lipstick was all melted in the bottom of it. Or I would leave it at restaurants and would make it home most times before remembering it. The worst one was when I left it at a restaurant in the Palms and when I went back to get it they had turned it over to hotel security, who in turn put it in the casino lock up. That one took forever to get back. Then there are the few times that I just plain lost it never to be found again, and I had to cancel debit and credit cards and get new driver license and social security card etc… I have left my purse at people’s houses and in their cars. I have left my purse in shopping carts at the grocery store. Tonight I left my purse at someone’s cabin on Mt Charleston. I got halfway down the mountain and noticed that it was missing. It would have been just a normal event in my life but tonight I had a carload of girls whose parents were expecting them to be home at a certain time. And my car was mad at me or something; it was just not acting right. It just so happened that I could not for the life of me get cell phone reception to call anyone back at the cabin. My purse was stuck in a coat closet and I thought no one is going to see it and think to bring it so I’ll have to go back. The girls didn’t mind, they were watching Napoleon Dynamite and having a good time. So I get to the cabin and grab my purse, which they DID notice and WERE going to bring to me, and start down the mountain again. This time no one was following me to see if my car decided to leave me stranded on the side of the road with a carload of girls and no cell phone reception. But we made it just fine and all the girls got home safe and sound. Oh how I hate purses, the evil cursed things and I’m not so hip on my car right not either.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Guilty as Charged

OK OK so I guess I’m feeling a little guilty about telling the world about how Ronnie is getting older. So I’ll make it even.

What do I do when no one is looking….totally break it down, and trust me I cannot dance. Ask Lana if you don’t believe me, she learned her moves from me unfortunately. Now that we have wood laminate flooring I have incorporated the sock slide as well. I seem to be running low on socks; they keep getting holes in them.

What do I eat when no one is looking….Lays sea salted potato chips…yeah I know it’s not that bad…well I guess it is when you eat HALF the bag.

What do I watch when no one is looking….Gene Simmoms Family Jewels….We don’t have cable, I have to download it on the computer and watch it, I’m not even a fan of Kiss, and I can’t even stand Gene and yet I watch his show…illegally, but I still watch it.

What do I buy when no one is looking….Home organizational books, magazines, gadgets, you name it I’ve at least heard of it and yet my home is NOT organized.

I don't think any of that is as bad as the hair thing...but I put it out there.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering


Kyle's school was taking part in a service project for 9/11 and I signed Kyle and myself up. We were to help put up 3000 flags for the healing field today at 6:30am. I know how much Ronnie hates getting up early so I didn't even ask him to go with us on his day off and plus if Lana was there, there could be a lot of flags needing to be retired. So as I left the house this morning I couldn't help but think I bet Ronnie is all snuggled up in bed with a big grin on his face because I am leaving the house before him. That never happens. I must be a horrible wife because I don't get up at 5am and make him breakfast. I have heard one friend say that she felt the need to make her husband breakfast even though all he wanted was instant breakfast, she would get up and stir the glass and then go back to bed I guess. And then there is the friend that not only gets up to make her husband breakfast she also packs his lunch. I would probably get up and make him breakfast if he left the house at 6:30 or 7:00, but he leaves at 5:30 and I'm just not down with that. I think he enjoys his alone time in the morning actually, it's the only time the house is quiet. Anyways, back the service project. So Kyle and I head out to Palm Mortuary on N. Jones. I told him we would get breakfast after we were finished because I didn't want to be late and I wasn't quite sure where I was going. Well I got lost not once, not twice, but three times on my way there. We were only 5 minutes late, which I thought was pretty good considering what it took to get there. We spotted some kids from his school and went over and started helping. The hard work was already done, all the posts were in the ground all we had to do was place a flag pole on the posts. The only hard part for the kids was trying to keep the flags up, that's when being in cub scouts paid off for Kyle. He and I worked as a team one holding all the flags while the other placed them on the posts. There were so many people helping that we finished in no time. Then we walked around making sure all the posts had a flag on them. As we were walking around it was amazing to see American flags everywhere. A breeze would blow and all the flags would wave. I wanted to run down the rows with my arms outstretched touching all the flags with my hands. But I resisted the urge, for one I would probably be out of breath before I reached the end of the aisle and two, I might not set the right tone. Then I asked Kyle if he remembered what happened on 9/11. And to my surprise he thought that it was when we went to war, so I clarified it for him. And then I started remembering my activities that day. I remember that day being so eerie. The night before for Ronnie's birthday we went to a Cake concert in Denver and Kyle was staying with one of Ronnie's co-workers who had two daughters around Kyle's age. Ronnie's friends said it's fine to let him stay the night because we would probably be back around 1:00am. Well after the concert we debated if we should just let him sleep there or pick him up. I felt like we needed to pick him up even though I knew everyone would be asleep. So we picked Kyle up and got him in his own bed then we went to sleep. I always turned to TV to PBS so Kyle could get up and turn the TV on to cartoons. Kyle got up and turned the TV on in the morning then came in and told me, mom there's buildings on fire. I thought maybe Bob the Builder was putting out a fire or something and didn't pay much attention to it. I said oh ok that's nice, hoping to be able to stay in bed a little longer. Then he came back in and wanted me to come see the buildings, so out of bed I rolled. As soon as my eyes focused and I could read the scrolling text at the bottom of the screen, I just sat there with my mouth hanging open for a minute. Then I woke Ronnie up and told him that one of the Twin Towers collapsed, he said they can't collapse. I then made him get out of bed and see if for himself. We sat in amazement. We went into town for lunch later that day to get away from watching it on the TV and everywhere we went people were huddled around TVs. It was like driving around in a ghost town, hardly anyone was out and about. I can remember seeing a crop duster flying around on our way home and being a little frightened. I don't exactly know why, it's not like I really thought someone was going to crash a plane in Windsor, CO, just one of many irrational thoughts people had that day I'm sure. It's now just a weird day where we try to take a moment or two to remember those that lost their lives and we try to not focus on those that caused it.