Friday, December 29, 2006

And So It Begins

So I decided today, at exactly 11:34 a.m., that I was ready to begin making over the kids' bedroom into the magical medieval theme I had contemplated in July.

Just like that?

Yup. Just like that.

I've been thinking about it again for the past few days and I suddenly got the itch to paint and Baby was sleeping just happened.

And here is what I did.

Next I will slap some gray paint on the walls and paint a lovely stone border around this to make it into a window.

The idea is to get as much done as possible before I start school on January 9th.

Of course we all remember how great I am at finishing painting projects. It only took me eight years to completely paint my living room. At that rate, sister will be thirteen and Brother will be sixteen. Think he'll still appreciate a castle bunk bed then?

We'll see.

By the way, I'd like to thank my friend, The Pink Commander, for making her kids' rooms so incredibly beautiful that I became a covetous wretch that can't rest until my own children have dwellings equally as lovely.

You're a true friend.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Leftover Turkey?

Here's a great recipe (I usually use chicken, but it's great with turkey, too):

Tortilla Soup

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes and chilis
1 can chicken broth
leftover turkey or chicken, skinless, shredded
minced garlic (I usually use a heaping teaspoon, probably about 2 cloves)
onion powder
coriander (optional)
Monterey Jack cheese

Simmer all the ingredients (except for cheese) together for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in a handful of shredded cheese. Serve over crushed tortilla chips and top with more cheese.

Warning: Highly Addictive

Friday, December 22, 2006

Of Mice and Men

I noticed it first on my countertop, of all places. Tiny, little black chocolate sprinkles.
Only they're not.

My initial reaction was denial. I cleaned the countertop with bleach and pretended it was some kind of weird, supernatural phenomena. Coincidence. A one-time freak incident. And I went along my merry way.

But the sprinkles returned. And then a hole was chewed in the bread on top of the fridge.

I couldn't deny it any longer.

We have a mouse.

But even then I didn't come to full terms with it. Is there such a thing as "a mouse"? Or is it more like "a mouse infestation"?

I told Hubby, who said he would set some traps, and returned to my nice, happy place of Ignore-It-And-It-Will-Go-Away.

One evening while Hubby was working and the kids were in bed, I mosied into the kitchen on my way to retrieve a load of laundry from the dryer. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted movement on the countertop.

Unless the coffeepot sprouted feet, that should not be happening.

I quietly sneak over to inspect the situation further, with a bit of fear and trepidation, I might add.

And what should I see but a pair of beety little black eyes peeking out from behind one of my yellow apple canisters.


He just sits there, frozen, waiting for my next move. I wad up a paper towel and throw it his direction.

He doesn't even flinch.

Now a mouse in plain sight is bad enough, but a brave mouse sitting there staring you down in your very own kitchen is just downright creepy.

The nerve.

I went from freaked out to mad. How dare that brazen little rodent challenge me?!

So I charge him, knowing full well I won't catch him. But, by golly, I'm gonna give him a good scare.

He bolts, of course. But to where I don't know. He disappeared behind the vegetable steamer and then vanished into thin air.

How do they do that???!!!

And where's the cat during all of this? Asleep on my bed.

That's it. No more food for Cookie. I'm cuttin' her off.

I rummaged around in my box of miscellaneous junk and found a package of EZ set traps. You know, the kind you don't even have to bait because that big, yellow piece of plastic with holes in it is supposed to trick the mice into believing it's real cheese.

They are also easier to set, which saves you a trip to the ER to have your finger reattached.

I set it and put it behind my apple canisters. I even take some little pieces of chocolate cake and sprinkle them around the trap, thinking my plan is quite diabolical. That little mouse is going to be so taken with my homemade chocolate cake he won't even notice he's walking right into a yellow plastic EZ death trap.

Heh, heh, heh.

Next morning I tiptoed gleefully to the kitchen, fully expecting to see my plan had worked.

What did I find?

No cake.

No mouse.

That evening Hubby and I put the kids to bed and watched "The DaVinci Code" while I played with....uh, I mean, wrapped the kids Christmas presents.

All of a sudden we hear a loud SNAP!

And then it screams.

Dear God...the screams.

My Knight In Shining Armour heads to the kitchen to resolve the situation while I cower in the living room.

He then proceeds to tell me all the gory details.

"It's a little one! Cute, too."

Now I'm feeling bad. Sure, I wanted them obliterated and smashed into a million, zillion little pieces, but I didn't actually want to hurt them.

I retreat to the playroom while Hubby disposes of our tiny victim outside. I don't want to see it. I don't want to know. I just want to find my happy place and camp there a while.

But while he is performing the dirty deed, I hear him talking to someone.

Very curious.

Very curious, indeed.

When it's all over I come out of my hiding place and ask who he was talking to.

"The mouse," he says, rather matter-of-factly.

"And what did you say?"

"Well, I told him if he happened to survive the night, to tell all his friends that the Death Angel is coming for them, too."

My hero.

This is what Sister asked Santa to bring her.
A Barbie with a pet dog...
...that poops.
Again with the poop!!
At least it comes with a pooper scooper so Barbie can clean it up.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Living Books For the Ears

Looking for something to do while your kids are out of school?

Go to this link and sign up to receive these old radio shows...for free! You can download stories and play them from your computer. This particular one is called The Cinnamon Bear and comes with a coloring book you can print from Adobe. My kids have really been enjoying it. The other day they spent an hour listening to several of the chapters and coloring!!

An hour of quiet? Who wouldn't want that?!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Results Are In!

I have officially finished my first semester of college after 15 years away.

And I have managed to get three A's and one B.

I could give you a million excuses for that B, but I think instead I will just be very, very happy.

Hey, ya'll! LOOK WHAT I DID!!!!!!!!!

I'm kinda proud.

Friday, December 15, 2006

What To Do About Baby

I have a favorite toy store.

No. Not those kinds of toys.

These are real toys. You know, the kind my kids like.

This toy store is small and privately owned. You will never find Spider-Man, Barbie or Elmo in this store. No video games. No DVDs. No obnoxious battery-operated toys designed to suck your child's brain dry of any imagination.

These are quality, inspiring toys. The kind that make you want to be a kid again.

So, when I come up emtpy handed on Christmas gift ideas for Baby, I head over there to see if any of their very helpful, very knowledgable staff can help me out.

The minute we hit the door the kids scatter, each going to their favorite section. Brother heading to the pirates and knights while Sister skips off to the fluffy, pink side of the store. I follow Baby to see what tickles her fancy.

She zeros in on an electronic keyboard, complete with tiny little seat and microphone stand. She's played with it before, but I'll be honest. It's not my favorite toy in the store. It doesn't even look like it belongs. It looks as if a stiff 2-mile-an-hour wind could smash it to a million little red and blue plastic pieces. I've never given it a second thought.

But the Christmas spirit is upon me and I glance at the price tag. I mean, can you put price on a little girl's happiness?

Apparently you can. To the tune of $68.95.

Seventy dollars for that????!!!

I try to steer Baby toward the cute jungle bongos or jingle bell shakers. She is momentarily distracted when I hear a snooty voice in a British accent say, "Where have you gone? Let's play mue-sick!"

It's the keyboard. Of course, for seventy bucks you get the built in babysitter feature. Perhaps it reaches out and drags your child back if they don't respond within a certain amount of time.

We don't stand around and wait to find out.

An employee catches up with us around the adorable out-of-my-price-range kitchen and offers help.

I pounce on her.

"What am I going to give her for Christmas?!" I ask, shoving my wiggling, ornery little critter at her for emphasis.

"How old is she?"

"She just turned two."

"How about a baby doll?"

"My parents already got her one along with all the cute accessories."

"What about a chalkboard easle?"

"We have one."

"A dollhouse?"

"Got it."

She thinks for a moment and then shows me to the arts and crafts department. She then hands me a tissue paper craft kit. This kit comes with many different colors of tissue, which are to be crumpled into little balls and then glued to little shapes of pre-cut cardboard.

Two year olds, tissue paper and glue. Hmmmmmm...


"Well, what does she like to do?" the saleslady asks.

"Uh, let's see. Draw on the walls, remove all the credit cards from my wallet, watch endless amounts of Dora the Explorer, pull her sister's hair, pound the computer keyboard and run with scissors. Hey! Got any scissors?"

I think I exasperated the nice saleslady, because she disappeared.

And I am still no closer to a gift.

Ideas? Anyone?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Fascination Continues

You may recall, from my previous post, Sister's fascination with certain potty words. This lovely work of art further illustrates my point.

Look closely and you will see the figure with two large, round eyes, who is really a baby. This baby is holding in each of his hands a polka dot blanket and a polka dot pillow.

Upon closer observation you may notice the large, round, purple object between the stick legs of said baby.

In the words of the artist, that is "a big, giant POOP!"

So, would you consider this abstract or realism?

Update: Now she is singing "We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Poopy New Year!" There must be medication for this.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Somewhere Between Soccer Mom and Sex Kitten


It never fails to depress me.


I know, I know. Something must be wrong. Why in the world would shopping depress me? Is it a hormone imbalance? A female glandular problem?


It's the size of my rear. And the gray hair. And the little lines I'm starting to see on my face. And my bloodshot, sleep-deprived eyeballs. And the mirrors...for the love of all that is holy, why do we have to have so many GODFORSAKEN MIRRORS in the JCPenny's dressing room???!!!

And I wish the gorgeous, twenty-something model on the Photoshopped perfume poster would stop staring at me.

I want a stylist.

I want someone to pick clothes off the rack for me that make me look fabulous and I will never have to look in the mirror again.

Oh, yeah. Make them seriously on clearance, too.

I mean it, folks. I need help.

So my two good pairs of jeans have holes in the knees and the rear end. In the eighties, I would have been super hip. Pair that with some sky-high Aqua Net hair and a Spuds McKenzie T-shirt and I would be a veridable fashion maven.

But on a thirty-three-year-old mommy, it just looks like I'm trying too hard.

Today I actually had time and funds to go do some shopping. So I head to the mall, mustering up what little optimism I have left from the last shopping trip.

I begin in Macy's and, once again, have the same, sinking feeling I have every time I go shopping:

Is it just me, or is everything made for teenagers and grandmothers?

I mean, I can either have a shirt that is skin tight and navel-baring or I can have a zip-up, Christmas cardigan, embellished with sequin teddy bears and snowflakes.


I don't want a pink, cable-knit sweater set, but I don't want the see-through, Paris Hilton-esque, camisole, either.

So, how am I supposed to vear from my old standby of jeans and V-neck black knit shirt? How do I find a style that says "Yes, I am a mom, but I'm not looking at condos in Florida?" or "Me-ow, do you like what you see?"

So, what did I buy?


And jeans and a V-neck knit shirt.

But it's blue.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Una Fiesta!

Yesterday my sweet, darling, teeny, tiny, little Baby turned two.

(Are you sensing some denial here?)

Two is still a baby, right? I mean, never mind how big she looks in the picture, she's still a baby. She's not really big, is she? Even though she's talking, putting on her own shoes and eating with a spoon instead of her hands, I can still call her a baby. She still wears a diaper...babies wear diapers, right?

It was a fun evening, even if we were celebrating her getting bigger. Hubby, who would normally be working, took the night off to be with us.

That alone is cause for celebration.

Brother, Sister and I colored Dora pictures and hung all over the kitchen. We hung balloons and streamers and baked her a Dora cake.

Hey, get a load of that cake.

We had fun, party-like finger foods for dinner and watched Baby go crazy in her little slice of heaven surrounded by Dora. Though she didn't fully understand what was going on, she was definitely enjoying being the center of attention.

Like she isn't anyway.

It was all very wonderful...even if she is two. Even if she is growing up on me. Even if she is my last baby who will break my heart and leave me one day.

But I'm okay.

And if that cake doesn't make me a shoe-in for Mother of the Year, then I give up.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Have You Ever Done This?

Fourteen years of marriage and doing laundry and I have never, not EVER turned any of my husbands whites pink...

...until today.

I had just washed my hot pink Banana Republic cardigan and laid it over the back of a chair at the kitchen table to dry. Baby was sitting at the table, coloring. I then turned back to the stove where I was making lunch.

A word of advice:
Never turn your back on a 1-year-and-364-day-old toddler alone with markers.

When I turned around again she was coloring the wooden slats on the back of the chair with a purple marker and my beautiful sweater had purple scribbles all over the back and shoulders.

I quickly grabbed the sweater and doused the scribbles in Spray n Wash, sending up a silent plea. I let it set a few minutes and finished lunch for the kids. When I came back, the purple had disappeared from the sweater and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Baby could live to see her second birthday.

Normally, I would wash my sweater with dark colors, but light colors were next in the washer, so I tossed it right in with my husband's favorite white T-shirt with his favorite football team on the front.

And you know what happened next.

But Hubby, pink is the in color this year. Especially for football T-shirts. Really.