Friday, December 21, 2007

Great Santa, Nice Sleigh, Rotten Kids


You don't REALLY think I BOUGHT all these pics, do you? You give them $20 and they give you the cd with all the photos. Or you give them $15 and they give you a sheet of prints of just one photo... obviously I couldn't pick my favorite so I went with the cd.

This is one of the few traditions we really keep up with.... I have Santa photos from every year so far. Although this year we switched away from the mall Santa to this one.... no lap sitting required. And if things get really crazy Santa will go "check the reindeer" and you can get a nice shot of just the kids in the sleigh. How twisted does "check the reindeer" sound? You know he's smoking crack in the parking lot on his break.

This professional Santa ain't pullin' 50k.... although I do believe he's the photographer's hubby so he might be getting paid "under the table" as they say.... "Check THIS reindeer baby...."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Shutter Withdrawal

Save me from myself.... my camera is still at the doctor and I'm going bonkers. She ain't nothing great but she's mine. I miss her. And I'm tired of trying to get pics with Hot Stuff's lovely but painfully slow Nikon pocket camera.

Anyone know of a fast camera? That takes the picture when you push the button and then recovers quickly? I love my G2 Canon but it is getting old....


The shopping is done, isn't it?

Remember back when I wrote actual posts instead of to do lists? Hah.

My grocery list has draino and cinnamon on it.... and that is it.

A big deal since I rarely break down and actually use draino because we have a septic tank but I am getting desperate.... the bathroom sink WILL NOT DRAIN no matter how many times I take it apart and clean it out. Do you suppose it is too late to ask Santa for a sewer snake?

And cinnamon.... the last of it went into monkey bread last weekend. And you know there will be the need for more monkey bread or maybe even honest-to-goodness cinnamon rolls this weekend.

I bought myself some new picture frames at Costco for Christmas. And Santa is headed over the Staples this afternoon to get me an external case for my internal hard drive. Blah, blah, techno-geek-speak, I NEED IT. So I can store all my photos with my NEW CPU. My new cpu does not have space internally for my hd and it only has a.... oh hell, bore me some more..... just know that I was able to upgrade my system using spare parts, duct tape & bailing wire for the tiny cost of one external hard drive case thinger... about $20.

Am I still on dial up? Why, yes, yes.... I am. Why? Well, broadband hasn't come to my neighborhood and sattellite is about $100/month. Not. In. The. Budget.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Holiday Sanity #1

I seem to have developed a pre-holiday uniform.

Turtleneck.... usually black.
Black socks.... sometimes with Santa on them.
Black professional Dansko shoes.
Plain gold wedding band and drop diamond earrings.
Glamorous scarf... usually red.

Sometimes I break it up by wearing a vest instead of a scarf. And I have a couple very cool giant chunky rings that make me cute. Actually I just got a new pashmina scarf from some friends (red and blue... sort of) and I've worn it 3 of the last 4 days. Love.

I have a really fabulous haircut right now so I'm having cute hair most days with very little effort.

For my birthday in September I bought myself a little makeup kit and I love it. It has eyeshadow, blush, concealer, eyebrow pencil & lip gloss..... a few of those products with a blob of Aveda tinted moisturizer and some brown eyeliner and I'm good to go.

So do we call this "finding your style" or "lazy" or what???

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Things I am Thankful for.....

Last night was a perfect evening.

No tv.

The kids were playing nicely. Darling Girl was "coloring" with a blue marker in her notebook. She loves her notebook. I love washable markers. She holds the marker correctly and in her left hand. Sweet Boy was playing "football" with his imaginary friends.... complete with commentary. Hilarious. His sister was the coach. "Coach, coach, what play should we run??"

Bed time was peaceful. Each kid has a basket on a shelf in the bathroom and they can get their own jammies out. Darling Girl usually comes out dragging her jammies by one leg and wearing her brother's jammies on her head. Goofball. Books and snuggles for everyone.

I sipped tea and wrapped "just one more" gift while Hot Stuff read "just one more chapter" of the chapter book he and Sweet Boy are working their way through. Then he suggested opening a bottle of wine and we settled down with a nice ipod playlist. I paged through Christmas magazines from the past few years (part of my holiday decor and very relaxing) while he read a book. The conversation was mellow and relaxed.

It was a perfect evening.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Who ARE you??

So I was eating a soy hot dog for lunch at work the other day and all I could think was, "This ketchup tastes funny." And it was NO SALT ketchup and it was really sweet tasting. Not sweet like "ssweeeeeetttt" but sweet like sugary. Not a good thing for a tomato product.

Not once did the thought cross my mind that the funny taste could be from the SOY hot dog.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Love Hate Bathroom Edition

I haven't done a love-hate post since the kitchen.
Here's a shot of the shower.

Love This: Yes, I am a label peeler, why do you ask?? And, yes, we do have LAVA soap in our shower....

Hate This: The shower caddy is starting to break... see the sag. See the hard water deposits and general nastiness on the shower head? I love "moonlight path" shower gel and body lotion but for some reason the rest of the line smells like old lady. Why?

The sink area

Love This: How funny is it that there are THREE different colors of bulbs.

Hate This: Elle, what were we thinking with the paint color? Cluttery little shelf. Cluttery toothbrushes. Cluttery.

Oh look, here's the other side... a FOURTH bulb color....

Yes, it is really 6:17AM.... and yes, I have already been up for an hour.... why??

See the safety first door locker.... and see how ugly the cabinet is....thinking of painting it white..... too bad I failed to photograph the ugly counter tops.... next time.

In case you were thinking the only ugly lights were in the kitchen and bedrooms..... I got TWO of these gorgeous babies in the bathroom....

Love this dresser. Used to be the baby changer. It was an old broken down piece of junk I found and stripped down... I love the color. Missing pulls and all.... I like it.

Hot Stuff stores his work clothes here (so he doesn't wake any stray children sleeping in our bedroom when he leaves in the middle of the night for a fire) but this, this drives me nuts.
This is my new "happy-birthday-to-you" toilet seat. So much nicer and more hygenic than the padded one before. And, yes, there are a lot of Eastman's Hunting Journals on our pot. And yes, those are looks-like-corel-ware flowers on the linoleum.
This is what you look at while sitting on the can at our house. Ew, ew, cluttery mess. The bottom shelf is a basket of boy jammies. The next is girl jammies and baby blankets. And on and on..... messy, messy, messy. There isn't much to love about this... except the snoboy box on top hiding the toilet paper. I love that box. Got it for $3 at a garage sale... the guy gave me a deal if I promised to take all the junk IN the box too.... so I did... and found some real treasures in there... including a wrench that FIXED OUR TOILET one time.... ah, good times, good times....

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Let's talk baby butts.

Yesterday I sent my daughter to daycare with zinc-oxide based diaper cream on her face. What? ALL those adorable round cheeks get chapped in the fall.

So let's talk bum rash today, shall we?

My kids have never been prone to butt rash. (As I type that I can hear Sweet Boy saying, "Don't say butt, mama, it's a naughty word.") We did have the horrible-month-of-rash back in Oct 2005 but other than that it has been pretty smooth sailing. Some moms (good moms) put diaper creme on the bum every changing... since my kids are lucky to get a diaper wipe every changing maybe I'm not the best one to discuss this topic. Heck, my kids are lucky to get changed more than once a day. You think I kid.

And seriously, cream or creme??

So, here, for your amusement are my favorites:

Burt's Bee's: Love the smell. Kinda thick and very white paste. I have a tube with the old foil tube packaging... which splits and oozes but I think it is in plastic tubes now. I've been known to rub it on my feet and put socks on... and then there are the baby's other cheeks that need moisturizing....who doesn't love a multi-tasking product?

A&D: I have the clear ointment and I like how smooth is glides on. I've always wanted to say that.... see how Smooth it Glides On?? hee-hee. Thank you, internet, for amusing me.

Basic Vaseline in a tube: Great for bums, cuticles, lips... you name it. Although I think the tube I have now is actually non-petroleum based un-jelly rather than true vaseline.

For horrific diaper rash: Nothing beats a bare bum. So you have to mop up the linoleum once in a while.... bare butts rule. Also aveeno oatmeal soak (or oatmeal in a sock if you're cheap and lazy like me...) I've used the hair dryer on butts, corn starch and put a piece of fleece in diapers. I've also made my best friend's husband buy yeast treatment at Albertson's for my poor babe. We had the applicator sticks as bath toys for a long time after that one. For truly horrible rash there is a perscription ointment that I hear works wonders.

So what are you slathering on you baby's bottom? And what are your best multi-tasking stories?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Breakfast in the Bathroom

Thomas can bite me.

Oh I regret the day I said, "Well, if you want to get him Thomas get him the classic wooden stuff and not the plastic stuff."

It isn't like the kid has a ton of Thomas. He has the figure-8 set, the fire station crew and Harold the Helicoptor. Of course, of those pieces FOUR were in the June recall. So I, dutifully, removed them from his sister's mouth and put them in a big padded envelope with the proper forms and mailed them away.... June 19th.

Around the end of September I realized I hadn't gotten a "confirmation email" regarding my toys. So I called the 800 number. No record of me. Someone will call back by the end of next week.

A month later. Still no phone call. No email. No toys. I'm not planning to waste a lot of energy on this.... the kid would rather play with my sewing machine than the train set but I'm willing to make one more phone call. Nothing. No record. Can I fax the form I sent? Sure.

I get this:

Subject: Thomas Wooden Vehicle Recall
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2007 10:22:37 -0500


We wanted to let you know that we received the items you have returned to RC2 Corporation in response to our voluntary recall. Please be assured that we are working diligently to replace your product in a timely manner. In the meantime, if you need to contact us regarding your replacement, please use Reference Number xxx.

You can also check the status of your order by visiting RC2Corp Thomas Recall Order Status. You will need your Reference Number to access the site.

The trust you have placed in the Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway brand is very important to us. We want you to know that we fully understand and share your concerns and are dedicated to safeguarding that trust. Since our recall announcement a few weeks ago, we've focused on three primary objectives:

1. Recovery of products subject to the recall

2. Determination of what happened

3. Thorough review of our processes and procedures to prevent it from happening again and to assure consumers that our products are safe.

We are making progress on all three objectives, and we deeply appreciate your patience and loyalty during this time.

RC2 Corporation

I don't care. My kids are getting bubble wrap and cardboard boxes for Christmas this year. How about yours??

Friday, November 02, 2007

Fire…. Things.

Several totally unrelated thoughts that are loosely tied together around the theme of fire.

Freaked Hot Stuff out last night by letting Sweet Boy carry a giant carved pumpkin containing what appeared to be a lit candle.

Also freaked out the in-laws by rolling said pumpkin across the table sideways.

…. Ya gotta love fake candles from the dollar store.

A house burned when the owner was grilling on the deck and a propane hose blew off. Totalled the house. I vow to no longer make fun of Hot Stuff when he grills in the middle of our giant gravel driveway.

Hot Stuff did NOT go to California to fight fires. His agency did not get a request. And, after the 2003 trip for the Cedar Fire, he swore off ever fighting fires in CA again. They, um, don’t follow the law. They don’t follow federal work-to-rest ratios and, in general, injure and kill more wildland firefighters than most anyone else. And fighting fires with such a crazy urban interface is, well, shitty. Besides…. It was the first week of hunting season.

I’ve requested two permanent fire ladders from Santa. The kind that anchor to the roof and can be rolled down for fire escapes. (But they make lots of noise when you roll them down… I’m not completely stupid… My kids will have to work harder than that to sneak out of the house when they are teenagers….) I’m also requesting some sort of combo/keypad door unlocker for the “front” door. IF there was a serious fire in our house I imagine it would be by the pellet stove or in the kitchen. The absolutely quickest way out if the stairs are blocked would be to go out SB’s window and down the fire escape, then run back in through the front door which opens across the way from Darling Girl’s bedroom. Does that make any sense? The problem….. the front door would be locked. You could run around the house to the glass-paned back door and break in but if the fire was in the kitchen or pellet stove you would be blocked from getting to her room. You see my problem with having bedrooms on two different floors? Anyone else have any brilliant fire escape plan ideas??

Friday, October 05, 2007


Subtitle: Exercising the Dogs

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Welcome to My Wild Life

Subtitled: A post in which I say Shit more than 3 times... but at least this week the dog didn't find a skunk.....

Holy S-h-i-t. I just found out the neighbor has seen a bear in her yard every morning around 3 for the last two weeks...... our house is in BETWEEN her house and the giant pile of bear shit we saw down by the creek. That might explain some of the dog's behavior. And let's not get into what she is doing up at 3 every day, ok?

Sunday afternoon I was looking out the window and I saw a blur behind a tree. It looked like a very dark, very tall, very fast-moving deer. I had a momentary glimpse of it as it came out from behind the tree and all I saw were legs, wattles & palmated horns.... yup, folks, we have the first confirmed moose sighting EVER. Hot Stuff was upstairs and I hollered "HOLY SHIT, HON.... THERE'S A MOOSE HEADING FOR THE COMPOST PILE...." Or something similarly intelligent (simultaneously setting the dog to bark which made the baby wail in fright and sent the moose headed north).

We have the usual contingent of deer (two moms, three babies, a spindly spike and one other larger male that won't get too close) bu they seem to be celebrating a family reunion of sorts.... last night I counted over 20 deer within ball-throwing distance of the house.... and I'm not even a very good thrower..... Sad when you have to honk the horn in the driveway to get the deer to move so you can park. One of the babies is looking pretty pathetic.... thick necked and mangy looking.... maybe scabies? He is still eating but doesn't look good.... and all I can think is, "Please don't die in my yard...." Hot Stuff went out last night with the chain saw and cut some branches off the hanging willow tree so the deer could eat the leaves... they love the leaves. He mumbled something about the branches being too low but we all know the truth....

And our fourth and final sighting of the week?? I'll give you a hint.... Hot Stuff found a stash of dog food behind the dryer. Yup, you guessed it. I was reading a magazine last night, looked up, and saw Zippy the Mouse go cruising across the kitchen floor. Frag it. If you live on the edge of a grassy field you KNOW you will have mice.. especially in the fall... but do the little buggars have to add insult to injury by flaunting themselves and skipping around in the kitchen? I really miss having a kitty today.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Love This - Hate This: Kitchen Edition

Love this: Sign. From Elle. Above the sink.

Hate this: Paint color.... antique white? Everyone I work with... and we are talking designers amazing..... LOVES Antique White. Give me Navaho White any day. Apparently.... I don't like warm and pink.

Hate this: Chipped sink faucet. Dent in the faucet base (courtesy of hanging the above sign with a teeny-tiny nail to "just see how it looks" and then... crash!). Ugly hard water stains. Oddly unpleasant minty hand soap. Pink countertop.

Love this: Um, I love that it gives me water? Usually. Except when the power is out for SIX HOURS on Sunday.

Love this: Tiny pottery pitcher full of toothpicks. Lovely pottery bowl full of change. See how lovely the deck looks with new stain. Deep windowsills from old log cabin structure.

Hate this: Worn window paint (you can't really see how awful it is) on the outside and inside. I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to this candle stink.... it is gone now and replaced. Wow, those are some d-i-r-t-y windows.

Love this: Tiny tomato crop.

Hate this: Masking tape to make the coffee pot work. Pink countertops (trust me, the photo is simply NOT doing them justice).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Crock.

Ah.... I've had a request for my favorite crock pot recipe..... how can I resist that?

I love my crock pot.

My favorite, favorite, favorite recipe is..... beans. As in..... rinse some dried beans, throw them in the pot with water, cook. Toss in some bacon or a ham bone. Maybe some diced jalapenos. Eat them with corn bread made in a cast iron skillet the first night. Then mashed and re-fried on tortillas the rest of the week.

My cooking is why God created Bean-O.

My second favorite recipe... which may or may not be made in the crock pot is:

Creamy White Bean Chili (perfect for around here these days as it gets colder) This is the official recipe but you can modify it for using dried beans or for using up various bits and pieces of leftovers in your fridge.....

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into ½” cubes)
1 med onion –chopped
1 ½ tsp garlic powder
1 TBS vegi oil
2 cans (15 ½ oz each) Great Northern beans, rinsed & drained
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
2 cans (4 oz each) chopped green chilis
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground oregano
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 c (8 oz) sour cream
½ c whipping cream

In large sauce pan, sauté chicken, onion & garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies & seasonings. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream & whipping cream. Serve immediately.

And, to transition from beans to the creamy in the second.....

Cream Cheese Chicken
(I'll admit... I rarely actually follow the recipe and you have to watch this one or it gets too salty)

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
Salt and pepper
2 packets dry Ranch or Italian Dressing mix
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 chopped onion

Brush chicken with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a Crock Pot and sprinkle 1 packet dry mix over all. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours (ok, I've never cooked a chicken breast this long in a crock pot...). About 45 minutes before done, brown onion in 1/4 cup of juices from Crock Pot. Add soup, second packet of dry dressing mix, cream cheese and chicken broth. Cook until smooth. Pour over the chicken and cover and cook another 45 minutes. Serve with sauce. Goes great with rice, stuffing, pasta or mashed potatoes! Add in broccoli or other veggies for variety.... I usually end up piling in a lot of veggies so I can call it "health" food....

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Pita Pizza to the rescue!

Elle is in search of quick and easy kid-friendly dinners.... anyone?

I will give you my new favorite: Pita Pizzas.

Here's how to make them:

Get home from work at 5:45.
Set oven to 350.
Grab pitas from fridge & put on a cookie sheet.

Top with a blob of tomato sauce, a sprinkle of pizza seasoning & a handful of mozzarella cheese.

Give kids an espresso cup of milk and a saucer plate of wheat thins with letters written on them with squeeze cheese. Call it tea, appetizers AND a home-school lesson.

Top pizzas as wanted. Kids get pepperoni, leftover bacon or just cheese. Dads get leftover taco meat. Moms get piles of veggies and a sprinkle of fancy aged parmesan or maybe some feta.

Put in the oven at 5:48 and bake for 7-9 minutes.

Dinner is on the table by 6:00.

Serve with apple slices and baby carrots.

Variations (we use MacKenzie River Pizza's menu for inspiration):
Wing style: wing sauce, leftover chicken, celery & bleu cheese crumbles.
Greek: feta, olives & sundried tomatoes
White: alfredo sauce & sauteed veggies
Tree Huggery: pesto & veggies

Pitas have about 260 calories each I think. Not sure of the calorie count of the rest of it but it's a pretty healthy way to do pizza if you avoid the pepperoni. And a FUN-FUN-FUN (and cheap)thing to do on a Friday night..... make pita pizzas & watch a movie.... eat in the living room and make popcorn for dessert!!

Skunk: 1 Dog: 0

Nature's Miracle Skunk Stink Remover.

Worth. Every. Penny.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


The Outfielder is sneaking in.... she has the "ball" in her hand and is ready to pitch it....

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Analyze this.

I have strange dreams. Everybody says that.... but....

I keep having a recurring dream about not having a foot.

Yup. Read that again.

No foot. Specifically... my right foot.... gone from just above the ankle.

Is that an odd dream?

I'm always happy in the dreams. Does my right foot somehow symbolize things that are wrong in my life? And joking.... I joke in the dreams. And it isn't uncomfortable at all.... in my dreams I have several different feet I can change out depending on what activity I am doing.... a dress foot, a jogging foot, a skiing foot..... I kinda like the idea of accessorizing with my prosthesis.

It is interesting because, many years ago, I did come fairly close to actually losing my right foot.... just above the ankle.... But I never had a dream about it ..... Until the last few months.

Anyone with any particular skill with dream interpretation out there wanna take a stab at it?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Just a Bad Idea

Go ahead. Call Social Services now.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

We are Filthy Animals.....

I finally gave up Saturday and cleaned the car. It looks, well, it looks like we’ve been living in it for the last few weeks. Everything came out and was piled to heaping on the dining room table. Lifejackets, towels, spare swimwear, picnic baskets, water bottles, diaper bags, sunglasses, hats, sunscreen, napkins, sand toys, drink cups…. You name it…. It was in there.

I found fried chicken. Specifically, I found a piece of fried chicken skin in the stroller. So out came the garden hose. Hosing off the car seats, stroller & floor mats yielded a gold mine for the dog (and not just because he loves to attack the water stream from the hose). Crackers & cereal in quantity came out of the nether regions of the car seat. Ew. I don’t want to ever consider my car seat’s nether regions again. Nasty. And now probably full of wet, pulpy cheerio ooge. Thank the stars for low humidity. It will dry into something sculptural. Right?

So now we are back to having the usual minimum of crap in the car…. Including, of course, the picnic basket… for those, um, unexpected picnics…..

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

In which I refer to them as The Children....

The Children and I attended a ritzy sangria party on Friday night. Yes, I do like to accessorize with The Children. Did I feel bad about taking my children? No, actually, they were the only reason I was invited. Did I feel bad that taking the children limited me to one glass of sangria? You bet I did.

When I say ritzy I mean…. There wasn’t a Bud Lite in the area. The only potato chips were fancy Thai spicy ones. The crackers weren’t Ritz and there was no squeeze cheese. We had mozzarella balls. And bleu cheese stuffed olives. Rice crackers. Grape tomatoes. Olive tempanade. Smoked sausage slices with homemade spicy mustard sauce. Angelfood cake with fresh peaches and real whipped cream.

We arrived right on time with our usual entourage of stuff….. our pot luck offering, the stroller (doubles as a high chair!), diaper bag, sippy cups, toys…. I cast up a prayer to however is the patron saint of children at parties and turned the little ones loose…..

And they were angels. Delightful. Many adorable pictures of my sweet-as-sugar daughter gazing at flowers and posing, idyllic, but rock statuary. My son playing catch with the guys and using his “please, thank you, excuse me” best. My son, channeling Hank Williams again, standing on an ottoman, looking over his shoulder saying “let’s do it, boys” and singing a rocking new hit single about pirates. ARGH!! And cracking people up with his belly-stroking air-guitar strumming.

I love it when my kids make me look good

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Finger Painting

Yes... this is the ultimate in edible finger paints...... Instant vanilla pudding and food coloring..... Do we know how to combine crafts and dessert or what??

Friday, August 17, 2007

Remember Eewoks?


Bonus Points for Anyone who can explain these photos......

To answer your questions:

8 pairs of underpants and one pair of jammie bottoms. Clean. Yes, she did this by herself. If I leave the unmentionables drawer open she will play for a very long time...... What does this say about her??