Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sharing my mad skillz

Internets, we are full in the swing of the ONE TIME each year when I go off my rigid, healthy, vegetable-laden diet and indulge in sugar-filled sweeties like these:


What? French fries are a vegetable, are they not?

Oh, shut up.

Well, I do make these gorgeous cookies every year for Halloween, and as part of blog tradition, I share them here with you, too. After all, you really should benefit from the awesomeness that is my dessert recipe book. As should your heinie.

I start with the top-secret family sugar cookie recipe, shown here:


Do not mock. EVERYONE always asks me for the recipe when I show up with a batch of Betty's. They are moist, soft, and just the right amount of sweet. I swear by them and make nothing else anymore. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the extreme laziness of my nature and my inability to wait while dough chills. Ahem.

Mix according to the package directions, and drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake as directed on the bag. (See, you're liking this, aren't you? No rolling out dough. No cookie cutters. No counters covered in flour. Yeah, you're welcome.)

While cookies are baking, combine all ingredients for the glaze and beat well:

2 3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp. shortening
3 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. corn syrup
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Glaze should be fairly liquid. You don't want it solid like frosting, but it should be slightly thicker than the white glue the children use at school. Add water or powdered sugar to reach the perfect consistency. (Helpful, aren't I?)

Dye 1/4 of the glaze black and put it in a pastry bag with a small writing tip. Leave the remaining glaze white.

These cookies work best when frosted warm, so I recommend baking and frosting just a pan at a time. When the cookies are a minute or two out of the oven, begin to frost with white glaze.


Pipe a bulls eye onto each cookie with your black glaze:


Taking a toothpick, start at the center, and gently draw lines going toward the outside edge of the cookie. Repeat around the entire bulls eye until your spiderweb is complete.


Top with a plastic spider, and voila! Look who gets to one-up all the other mothers at the school party. (Don't even pretend you don't want to. We ALL want to one-up the other mothers. Shameful, but true.)


I did let the minions help this time, though that generally goes against my inner Martha. It is very hard for me to let go of the control and allow little hands to smudge and smear. But since they were for the primary kids at church, I figured it'd be all right.

[Disclaimer: I never let the minions touch things that will be fed to adults. That's just gross. So, friends who have eaten my creations, rest easy.]


See what I mean? You can't see it, but there is almost as much frosting on the boy's fingers as there are on the cookies. Gross.

Hurry now. There's still time to make these and show off your awesome skills. I promise you, they will help you win friends and influence people.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday confessional

In honor of the fact that today is Monday (and Mondays really are the black sheep of the Day family), I feel the need to share some of the dark thoughts that are lurking in my soul.

The soul that is particularly dark and cranky on this Monday. For several reasons.

First, having just spent a small fortune to have all the trees in my yard pruned and trimmed, plus a dead one removed, it is most disheartening to have a large branch break off during a freak thunderstorm yesterday. Because really? I just love spending money on stuff like dead trees. It's way more fun than on, say, furniture and clothes. Both of which could be purchased for the same price of stupid dead trees.

Second, is it just me or does anyone else find it annoying to log onto reader and see that the Pioneer Woman (though my hero she will always be) has written like four posts by eight a.m.? I swear. I can barely crank out two or three a week. That woman writes like eight posts a day. It's driving me batty. And not because I don't enjoy reading them. But because I feel the need to compete with everyone and every thing around me.

Third, I don't know what it is about the last few months, but I CANNOT. STOP. THE. EATING. It's getting way out of control and I need help. Please. Someone at church grab me by the extra-thick arms next week and tell me you are noticing how chubby I am getting and you wish I would stop. This gravy train has bought a one-way ticket to the next size up, and I am not sure how to stop it.

Fourth, I love the fall, but I really hate raking the leaves. And since we live in Del Boca Vista, every single one of our retired neighbors is out there, morning, noon and night. Raking, trimming, weeding, mulching. And, undoubtedly, pointing at our house and cursing. Not that I blame them - the leaves are piling up. But sheesh. How can one get in all the eating if one is supposed to be outside raking?

And, last, but not least, I am sick of my hair and need a hair suicide hotline that I can call. Remember two years ago what happened when I got sick of it? Please. Someone stop me before I do something drastic, like run into the salon, a Twinkee in each hand, and beg to get the Bruce Jenner.

Yeah. It's that bad.

Happy Effing Monday.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Home sweet home

When I saw this post over at the Nester, I knew I had to have one of my very own.

Only, I didn't want to pay big bucks for something I could create myself.

Because I'm crazy and controlling frugal and independent like that.

And since we've moved more times than most people in our 17 years together, this was the perfect accessory for our home. It took some time finding the old street names, but was a nostalgic walk down memory lane in the process.

Oh, the stories each street could tell you about me.

[Yeah. Me and my wild self. NOT.]


I mixed them all up order-wise and the kids had fun trying to assign each street name to its matching city and state.

I also put a photo of our current home behind the text and reduced the opacity, but it doesn't show up very well in the photos. I had the print mounted on a 3/4" standout with black edging, knowing that I wasn't going to put it in a frame. I wanted to hang the print in the basement, and that is a glass-free zone, so it works well as-is. Plus, I like the simplicity of the print all by itself.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

And it seals the deal: We can't ever move again.

There's no room on there for any more street names.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Staging my own intervention


[the shameful evidence of my addiction]

I have always had a hard and fast rule in place for myself:

If I drink 48 ounces of water before noon, I allow myself the treat of a diet coke with my lunch. If I do not get that amount of water in before lunch, I have to drink water with lunch instead. And then I have to drink another 48 ounces of water throughout the rest of the day. (And pee every five minutes until bedtime).

It has worked very well for me, and has been something I've done for years. I feel great, love that I get so much water in, and really enjoy having the treat of a DC with lunch. I seldom have one at any other time during the day, and this has been a great system for me.

Lately, though, I've found myself changing that routine up a bit.

Instead of 48 ounces of water in the morning, I gulp a hurried 20 ounces down after a workout, jump in the shower, and head out to run errands. I might have accidentally, a time or two, purposefully gone out of my way swung by the drive-thru and snagged a diet coke on my way out.

What was accidentally a time or two has now become a full-blown craving, addictive appetite for diet coke. And not just ANY diet coke. McDonald's.

I don't know what it is about their brown, cancer-laden, calorie-free soda, but it is different than everywhere else. It is downright delicious. Even the Husband, who loathes diet coke, admits to the deliciousness that is the Mickey Dees. It is not the same - they do something different to theirs. And judging by the way it affects me, I seriously wonder if they are lacing it with crack cocaine.

Because now? I find that I want it ALL. THE. TIME.

I know I have to get off the juice and cut myself back down to one a day, but, really? I kind of don't care. I don't drink, smoke, do drugs, or dance naked anywhere for money. If this is my vice, how bad can it be?

What say you, internet? Are you addicted to anything? Do you share my passion for the brown ambrosia at the golden arches? Should I cut it down to one cup a day? Or should I just go for it and indulge in my delicious addiction?


Friday, October 15, 2010

Inviting you into our bedroom

As I've mentioned countless times before, the Husband's job has [sadly] put him on a first-name basis with the security people at the airport. We get personalized Christmas cards from the hotels he frequents. He's gone. A LOT. And even when he's working at the office in-town, he has very long hours.

Needless to say, his life contains a lot of stress.

Fortunately for me, he unwinds in a very productive manner, which I find I am highly encouraging of.

Internet, meet my new king-sized big girl bed:


Yes, the Husband made that bed. All for me (and I guess for him, too). Let me repeat that: HE MADE THE BED. Made it. Like a mountain man. Or the Amish.

[He does have that secret dream to go off the grid.]

I found a bed that I liked online, showed him the picture, and he drew up plans and worked on it during the weekends.

I could not be more thrilled. We had been sleeping on a ghetto bed since before Chase was born, and it is so nice to finally have a pretty, grown-up bed.

Bedding is the Hanna quilt from Pottery Barn, and is oh, so lovely. Look at that stitching. I just love it:


Pillows are a mash: Some from Target, some sewn together by yours truly with fabric from Joann's:


The Husband has also made me a set of nightstands (which he's not finished staining yet) and he's currently working on a large set of shelves for books/knick knacks that will double as a TV stand.

Here is a picture of the master plan to give you an idea:





(Do you like how I put myself in there? Hopefully, I will have two hands, legs, and most of my bottom when I'm sitting on the bed in real life. Though losing the bottom wouldn't exactly break my heart.)

What do you think?

I'm pretty excited about it all.

Thanks, baby. You are the best.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Ladies, I have accidentally stumbled upon the greatest, most clever plan, (though slightly bordering on evil genius) but sure to change mankind forever more. It happened with very little effort on my part, and just might prove to be the greatest discovery of all time.

You know, right after diet coke, of course.

What is said life-altering discovery, you ask?



McKay has recently shown an interest in experimenting in the kitchen. He has scoured cookbooks for recipes and then begged to be shown how to make them. I've happily let him help and taught him what little all that I know. No one has ever quite looked at me as an expert in anything, and I won't deny the slight boost it has been to the ego. Plus, it's priceless to get some quality time with my biggest boy. He chatters on, I listen and smile, and in the end we have accomplished something more than just dinner.

But he progressed to the point where he really wanted to try some things on his own. With Pizza Hut's phone number on speed dial, I gave him the chance and stepped out of the kitchen. (Plus, it's not like I'd really do better anyway.)


As a result, last week he made three of our seven family dinners, one of which consisted of a roast, potatoes, carrots, and HOMEMADE CRESCENT ROLLS.


(Yes. From scratch. And they were delicious.)

He has quite suddenly become very adept in the kitchen and I have willingly turned that task over to his capable hands (which, by the way, he is very religious about washing, thankyouverymuch).

In fact, early this morning before he headed off to school, he handed me a shopping list of ingredients he'll need to make tonight's dinner.

It's about the most fabulous thing ever.

I've always wanted a live-in chef.

Now which of the other two kids do you think I could turn into my live-in maid?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I am...


I am the kind of mom that says yes to yet another package of silly bands.
But says no when they want to play in the muddy rain puddles.

I am the kind of mom that always says yes when they beg for a treat at the store.
As long as that treat is not the Skittles.

I am the kind of mom that likes to read a story out loud to them.
But seldom finds the time to to do it anymore.

I am the mom who hugs and squeezes their dad in front of them.
Even when they pretend to be thoroughly grossed out.

I am the kind of mom that gets frustrated and cleans their rooms when they're at school.
But I never tell them what I throw out in the process. (And they almost always never miss it anyway).

I am the kind of mom that takes time for my own hobbies, dreams, and needs.
And I think that's extremely good for them.

I am not the mom who sits on the floor and plays legos or does puzzles with them every day.
But I am the mom that sits and listens, then dries their tears with encouragement and support.

I am the mom that has fresh-baked cookies and milk waiting when they come home from school.
I am not the mom who buys the Oreos.

I am the mom who loves these three with a fierce intensity that goes down to my core and sometimes nearly consumes me.

I am their mom.
And they are my heart.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dear Chase


Dear Chase,

Please forgive me for the fact that this letter is two weeks late. What can I say? Life has not been on our side lately and it's been tough to fit it all in.

You had a great birthday this year, though your wish list was a bit tough for me initially. You did not ask for easy gifts like Legos or Nerf guns. Oh no, not you. What you wanted was a real lighter used by a soldier on the beach at Normandy during World War II. And armor from ancient Rome.


Not necessarily items one can pick up at the local Target, if you know what I mean.

But I did surprise you with those old magazines and an antique camera, as well as a few more modern delights. The look on your face when you opened them was priceless. Your joy was evident and I have caught you several times tinkering and exploring your new toys. I still shake my head in awe that an 11-year-old boy would ask for such antiquities, not to mention be thrilled to death to receive them. Man, I love your individuality, kid.


Speaking of your quirks, when I went back through my photo archives to find some pictures for this post, I noticed that you are wearing the same shirt in practically EVERY. SINGLE. PICTURE I have taken of you in the past year. I know I wash that shirt twice a week, but that's because you wear it twice a week. It's your favorite and the new shirts in your closet can never match up. First thing out of the laundry, that shark-caging souvenir tee from Hawaii graces your bony shoulders.

You are who you are.

And I wouldn't trade your quirks for all the riches in the world.


You make our life very interesting, Chase. You keep us on our toes with your wit and intelligence. It is never dull around here because of you. One of my favorite things to see is your one, lone dimple, lit up by a huge smile, topped off with your sparkling baby blues. Your happiness is contagious. Your laughter fills the room and spreads to everyone around you.

You inspire me to be a better mom. May I one day be worthy of the gift that is your incredible spirit.