Sunday, December 30, 2007

the good old days....

I am working on a scrappy project and scanning in some olden day pictures of Sam and I. I am making a Lovey Dovey mini-album, about how we fell in love. (everybody sigh and say "awwwww, for cuuuuute!)

I ran across some pics that are really, too good NOT to share.

Part of my senior photo portfolio.
Yeah, my hair was large. (Thank you Aqua-Net) And oh yeah....that IS an acid washed mini-skirt. And if you sniff, you can detect an ever-so slightly lingering scent of Primo or was it Exclamation!

Here is Sam in his glory days:
Although I remember him being less Oompah-Loopah Orange. But maybe he just got sucked into the QT vortex along with all the cheerleaders in the 80's.

There are more pictures coming. I bet you can't wait.

Crap picture warning.

I should wait another day, and take some perfect lighting/artistic shots of THE DOLLHOUSE to do it justice, but I am suffering from blog neglect guilt and felt the need to entertain all five of you readers on your lazy Sunday afternoon.

You're welcome.

I am bringing you what just may be the ultimate SCORE from Santa. Ever.


Nay, not just a lowly dollhouse...but my strapping, manly boys have clocked in as much time as the girls with this thing. Except they call it THE MAX! STEELE! ACTION! MAN! FORTRESS!! There are zip-lines running from the roof, and the Barbie office is a "command center."

This is not your ordinary dollhouse, we are talking, if this sucker was a tad bigger I would move in myself.

After all, THE DOLLHOUSE has a flat mount big screen TV, and Internet access in the office.

Here is the children's playroom:

You can see Max Steele (the hotter and bad-boyish version of his wussy counterpart Ken) is hanging out waiting for Barbie to bring him a Mountain Dew. With extra ice. Cause he is so hot. Don't you think he is hot? I like to play Barbies when Max Steele is my date.


Oh, Max...I see someone moved you to the bedroom for your headshot? Did you need a nap?

And in the playroom you can see all the necessities are covered, ceiling fan...check, toy box....check, and every dollhouse needs it's own dollhouse. Heh. (I did a cool arrow to point out the little dollhouse. In THE DOLLHOUSE. Be impressed with my 'shopping skillz.

I can't believe the details of THE DOLLHOUSE.

There were matching faux fur rugs for the living room.
There were teeny towels in the bathroom.
There was a velcro to the ceiling chandelier in the dining room.

Probably my favorite room of THE DOLLHOUSE is the laundry room. What woman wouldn't be impressed with the state of the art wooden appliances? It came complete with a vacuum, a swiffer (you can see it in the closet) and a treadmill.

Yes, because every health-conscious Barbie will want to remain fit and firm with Max Steele around.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Amid the chaos...

We are still in our pajamas.
Just hanging out.
Playing with all the new stuff Santa brought.
Eating treats.
Tomorrow might be the day I lose it, and we put it all away and take the tree down.
Then again, it might be another pajama day.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas is finally here!

We started a 1000 piece puzzle last night, so I can guarantee I won't be around the computer much. Heh. I stink at puzzles, but it is awesome to have the TV off, and the whole family gathered around talking and laughing, (and concentrating) even Mikayla helps by sorting the colors into piles.

Go buy a puzzle. You won't regret the conversations and time spent.

I hope everyone has a peaceful holiday.

The peace of finally finishing shopping--and being pretty sure the kids will love what you picked.
The peace of being surrounded by laughter, family, and friends.
The peace of a warm home, and good high-calorie, sugary delicious snack foods.

The peace of our Savior, born 2007 years ago, in a humble little stable.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Friday, December 21, 2007

You too, can be impressive.

Last night I had to go to SATAN'S WAREHOUSE.

Guess who I saw while I was there?


I had to go pick up a certain item that they don't carry in the local store, so I ordered and paid for it online, and then they ship it "Site-to-Store" for you to pick up.

The "Site-to-Store" area is in what used to be the Layaway area, and do they have that anymore? I am not sure. It is in the back, by those other bathrooms. You know, the ones a zip-code away from the front of the store...that you always have to do that walk/run thing to when you have a bursting toddler bladder waiting to explode, and conveniently that stupid cleaning cart along with the yellow "DO NOT ENTER. CLEANING IN PROGRESS" cone is blocking the front checkout bathroom.

Why is that?

Why does it seem like they are CONSTANTLY cleaning the bathrooms in SATAN'S WAREHOUSE, and yet, the few times I have been desperate enough to cautiously hover above the toilets to use the facilities, I have felt as if I needed to stop on my way home at an INSTA-CARE to get a booster shot of tetanus?

If they clean so often, why do the bathrooms always smell like an old-folks home? Stale urine is a bugger of an odor to mask! We use these industrial strength TOILET CLIPPIES! You TOO! Can have toilets that smell funeral rose fresh!

(Aisle 666!)

I worked briefly at SATAN'S WAREHOUSE. I am not proud of it. It was a short-lived career spanning three months. Enough time to know some ins and outs of the inner workings. Part of "training" and I use the term loosely, none of Satan's minions actually received any training helpful to their particular department.

Take electronics- if you ask them any type of technical or semi-intelligent question about mega-pixels, or Blu-Ray, their eyes will literally glaze over, and mentally their brain retreats deep inside their skull to wait this crisis out. Their "training" you must understand, was completed on a "CBL" (computer based learning system), with handy tutorials on "How to Properly Set up a Yellow DO NOT ENTER. CLEANING IN PROGRESS" cone. This is to be done for any wet spill. And the proper procedure after proper installation of the cone, is to call a member of maintenance, or a manager to come over, assess the situation, and perhaps administer a paper towel to the area.

I passed my CBL's, as you can see.

So back to "Site to Store."

I am waiting for any one of Satan's minions to help me. No one comes after I rang the bell. So I wait some more. I wait for 22 minutes, in fact. My kids are climbing the benches and messing with the 3M packing tape/box kiosk. I have pressed the "Help" button numerous times.

Finally I decide to take this to the next level.

I pick up the paging phone and page myself:

"Could I get the associate working "Site to Store", or a manager (pulling out the big guns-) to come back to "Site-to-Store" for customer assistance, customer waiting. The associate working "Site to Store" or a manager, to come back to "Site-to-Store" for customer assistance, thank you."

My kids look at me with reverent awe on their faces. Their eyes sparkled! They COULD NOT believe that I had the authority, nay, the POWER to page!

"Mom! That was soooo coooool!"

And even cooler, was that an associate/manager scuttled back there post-haste!

My three month stint paid off, at that very moment, me beating the system, and impressing the kids all in one fail swoop.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This is what we will be having on the Christmas menu:

French Toast Casserole (I will make two of these, my kids licked the pan out last year)

1 1/2 stick butter
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 loaf dense bread (1 pound) (Pepperidge Farm)
6 eggs
2 c. milk
Maple syrup

Use a 9x13 dish, Melt butter, add brown sugar and cinnamon. Make a paste, and spread on the bottom of dish.

Remove crusts from bread. Layer two slices of bread, and fill in sides and cracks of dish with torn bread until filled.

Beat eggs and milk. Pour over the top. Cover and refrigerate. Bake 25-30 minutes at 350. Drizzle maple syrup over the top (go really light here, the bottom goo will be plenty sweet) and run under broiler until brown and bubbly.

Sausage Breakfast Casserole (I am the only one who likes this kind)
3 c. cubed french bread
1/2 lb. bulk turkey sausage
1/4 c. green onion
3/4 c. reduced fat cheese
1 c. skim milk
1 c. egg substitute
1/2 t. dry mustard
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Spray bottom of 8x8 pan. Cube bread, and place in the bottom. Brown sausage and onion, drain. Spread on top. Add cheese layer. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over the top. Chill overnight. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes.
6 servings, 3 points each.

Plus, Santa always brings the kids their very own box of name-brand (read not in a Malt O Meal bulk bag) cereal. They are allowed to eat it all day, whenever they want. They have usually finished their whole box by the next day. Heh.

We are pretty classy like that.

I like to plan being over at grandma's house around dinner. There is always good food to be had there.

What are you doing for food?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Food Storage Powdered Milk Cocoa Mix

Back in the day, Sam and I worked at building a one year food supply.

I spend evenings at the local cannery, canning soup mix, flour, sugar, and lots of powdered milk into #10 cans. We collected cases of beans, and corn, and filled our whole basement with food!

The twins were babies at the time, so I did a whole lot of powdered milk. I wanted to make sure we would be okay with the babies if we needed to use the food storage to live on.

So, now the twins are 8. And I still have a whole lot of powdered milk. The shelf life on this stuff is debatable. I have been trying to rotate the food supply, so it stays relatively fresh. And honestly, nothing is nicer than having staples on hand, all the time, for those nights when you don't feel like running to the store.

Anyway, I was happy to run across a recipe online that used powdered milk as a base for hot cocoa mix. We did a test run tonight. It wasn't sweet enough for us, so I tweaked it, and tweaked it again to make it convenient with the measuring, and the end result was a rich chocolaty hot cocoa that we all loved.

So, if you have some powdered milk in your food storage that needs to be rotated, this recipe is for you. Otherwise I guess you could just go out and buy some Stephen's or whatever.

1 #10 can non-fat dry milk (approx. 12 cups)
1 (16 oz.) bottle non-dairy creamer (I used the Walmart, Great Value Extra Rich)
3 c. Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder (I always use Hershey's only, I think the taste is way better)
2 (2 lb.) bags powdered sugar

Mix everything together really well. Store in an airtight tupperware container. Or two. Or three. Mix up 1/4- 1/3 c. mix to one mug full of hot water. (Depends on the size of the mug)

I tried to find one of those coolio Cocomotion machines, but everyone is sold out around here. Sigh. We had to resort to plain old peasant mugs o' cocoa. Nothing frothy.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Schweddy Balls

Yes, all you dirty minded blog lurkers are coming out of the woodwork cause of my last post.

The multiple mentions of the word "balls" was not lost on me. Trust me. But, it was a lot easier to type than cylindrically shaped dough pieces.

This one's for you--

Holidays Balls.

Cake Balls.

I found the recipe for these last year, and I forgot all about them until a few weeks ago. They are easy to make, and I think they look pretty impressive for the low effort they take.

I wanted to share the recipe, so if you still have some parties coming up, you too can make some, and hear all your friends "Oooo" and "Ahhhh" over your Martha Stewart-esque culinary skills.

Cake Balls

One cake mix (make according to package directions, bake, cool and crumble cake into a large mixing bowl.

One can ready to spread frosting

Dump about 2/3 of frosting can into the mixing bowl with the crumbled cake. Using your hands, mix all together, until it holds its shape (like play-dough) Roll into walnut sized balls. Place on small cookie sheet, and put into the freezer until solid.

At this point you can put the frozen cake balls into a zip lock baggie and freeze until the day of the party. They are nice to have on hand that way. For that neighbor that drops you off a gift, and "oh crap" I don't have them anything. Viola! A small plate of balls. Heh.

Day of party:

Remove cake balls from freezer. <---obvious. Or I guess you could climb into the freezer and complete the next few steps, but it would be rather cold, so I guess it is good that recipes clarify each step.

2 bags (12oz each) white chocolate chips
2 T. crisco

Place in bowl and melt in the microwave. It took mine about 3 1/2 minutes. You take the bowl out every 30 seconds and stir it, otherwise I think it could burn. Just keep stirring, and melting, until it is all melted. I think you could use Almond Bark too, I never have--I think it tastes waxy, but that is just my opinion.

Then take a toothpick, or skewer, and stab a cake ball, and dip it in the melted chocolate to coat it. Place the dipped cake ball onto waxed paper. The chocolate hardens pretty quickly. If you need to re-melt during the dipping process, just stick it back into the microwave.

After all the balls are dipped...I found that there was a little spot on the top of all the balls, where the skewer was that didn't get dipped, and looked kinda ugly. Spoon some melted chocolate on the tops, and before the chocolate hardens, put a pinch of sprinkles on the top. I happened to have rainbow, but I bet some holiday kind would look even better. Or colored sugar. Or maybe spoon brown chocolate on the top? Hmmmm...I just thought of that when I was typing this up. Like little chocolate hats.

What kind of cake mix?

Well, what do you like? Anything works. I have used strawberry cake with strawberry frosting. I have done chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. My favorite is french vanilla cake with coconut frosting.

Each batch makes about 68 cake balls. If you don't snitch dough while making them.

Enjoy! Let me know if you make some.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Nativity to "Breath of Heaven"

Do you have five minutes? Do me a favor and watch this clip.

This video clip is so well done, it was filmed on location in the Holy Land.

I never thought about how badly Joseph must have felt bringing Mary to the stable--the only safe place he could find for her. The look on both of their faces...

Anyway, enjoy!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Do YOU know Wendy?

Remember my fabulous purse? Lime Greenie. Greenie the BEST PURSE EVER?

Well, I went and ordered one for a Christmas gift for someone who reads the blog, so I am not going to say who, but anyway, ordered it. Got free shipping. I was happy.

Then a few days later, the brown truck drops off the package, and I tear into it, and WTH? I ordered the blue one, and in the box was a luscious warm chocolate brown. Ah crap. Joann's screwed up. So I set it on the counter, and put it on the "stuff to do tomorrow" list.

The next day...brown truck comes again. Another box. From Joann's.

I open it, and inside that box was the blue purse.

So now I am in a quandary. I check my bank account, and I have only been charged once. They have sent two. What to do?

So I dig out the packing slip to find a phone number, and lo and behold...on the bottom of the brown purse packing slip it says:

"It was so great to meet you, Merry Christmas, Love, Wendy Inman."


I almost burst into tears right there.

Back in 2005, I made the design team for a now defunct scrapbooking magazine. There were 12 of us. We all went through a pretty rough time with the demise of the publication. I am not going to lie, it was emotionally draining and frankly pretty awful. But, what a great bunch of ladies! I think we all pulled out of it a little wiser.

Wendy and I hit it off immediately. We have e-mailed and chatted online, and laughed until we cry--each at opposite ends of the country behind a keyboard and monitor. I have come to depend on her for support, and second opinions on design team work or just home life in general. I appreciate her honesty and value her opinion.

We finally had the chance to actually meet in October. I was a little nervous--what if we only get along online? Am I weird for flying half-way across the country to hang out with ladies I don't *really* know?
<---crappy picture alert
And then, when we met, it was like I had known her forever--it was instantly comfortable. And without sounding like an ad for eHarmony or some strange stalker, I loved every minute I spent with that girl. Girls at the Getaway didn't believe we had only just met.

Got me thinking about the whole online thing. About how small it shrinks the world. About making worthwhile connections. About ALL the friends I have met through this hobby. About how nothing is coincidental, and how good things happen sometimes in the middle of what seems to be such a dark time. About how lucky I am.

About thoughtfulness and friendship and new brown purses.

So here's to Wendy! I am so glad we met.
(Thanks for the purse!) Smooches.

PS: Is this the best picture we have together? Meh.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Merry Christmas...with Broccoli.

Do not watch if you have a full bladder. Or are afraid of vegetables.

Let's Wrap.

These are the gifts Shianne wrapped last year. She used four rolls of tape. On seven gifts. Yes, she did. And there were still exposed areas of "gift" with no wrapping. She did it all herself!

She takes after her mother...I am the self-proclaimed Crappiest Wrapper Ever. I don't care. I really don't. I used to. When I was a teen, my uncles paid me to do all their wrapping for them. I was meticulous about folding, and mitering corners, and cutting straight and clean. The gifts had matching bows, and curly ribbon. I even had a ribbon shredder! And matching gift tags! I would carefully write "To:" and "From;" in beautiful calligraphy with a fountain pen (okay, that last one is a little bit of an exaggeration)

One would think, with all my crafty supplies I would love to wrap! Nope. Hate it. I think because no one looks or appreciates, the kids rip into things without a seconds' hesitation. They could care less if it were still in the white plastic Walmart bag it was purchased in.

With the years of non-use, my skills are lacking. I always seem to underestimate the amount of paper a gift requires. I am not above patching. Cutting a two inch sliver of paper to go underneath the short side, and then taping the crap out of it. For a final detail, I cut a random scrap of paper, scribble a name on it, and slap it on the package. They most often don't match the wrapping in any way. I say, easier to find who the gift is for!

I am not above using masking tape when the scotch tape runs out.

I am the reason gift bags were invented.
Here is a gift I wrapped. In fairness, it was an odd shape. But you can see my style.

So, I am feeling somewhat like a loser for my lack of effort, especially when I see beautiful gifts wrapped like these:
Kelli Crowe
Rebecca Sower
Nichole Heady
Not loser-ish enough to re-wrap though.
I am officially finished. With everything! Just waiting for a couple more packages to come from my online shopping spree. Wheeeee! Then I can wrap those, and take some holiday naps in the afternoon, instead of shopping and then patiently cutting and taping.

That my friends, is my gift to myself.

Friday, December 07, 2007

We woke up to rain.

Here is a Mikayla funny.

"Mom, does Jesus have a cell phone?"
"No, why?"
"Cause someone should call him and tell him it's raining real hard down here."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Greetings from the New World.

This morning I had a PTA meeting.

Get this...we had it at Wingers, cause it was actually not so much of a meeting, but more of a breakfast with a bunch of loud, chatty, stay-at-home mom's who busted out of the house to eat free food (paid for out of the PTA fund) for working our heinies off running the school functions. (And apparently I missed the memo about run-on sentences and blogging, but we'll let that one slide.)

I scanned the breakfast menu, trying my darnedest to find something that wouldn't make me feel weight watcher guilt for the rest of the week.

I was a little distracted by our waiter, whose face was covered with large warty mole things that looked like cocoa puffs.

So my choices were:
The Humongous Omelet (cheese, BACON, ham, onions and BACON and some other stuff, probably eggs) that was served with fried potatoes.
Orange Crepes with strawberries, cream cheese filling and Whipped Cream. (with cream. And cream.)
Belgium Waffle (With more cream. And possibly chunks of straight thigh-sticking fat)
The FULL breakfast. With everything. BACON, sausage, pancakes, eggs, triple-bypass, fried potatoes, deep fried butter quarters.

I could choose the "Healthy Fare" which was a bowl of oatmeal.

What to do??

I went with the omelet. (shrugs shoulders)

I asked for water to try to balance the force.
Cocoa-Puff messed it up anyway, and brought me a Veggie Omelet. No bacon. Sigh...
I have never seen so much cheese in my life!
I ate like a quarter of the omelet, and ate the potatoes, and tried to feel like I did the right thing. But the grease...when I drank water, I could feel it coagulating in my mouth, and coating my teeth.

I had heartburn all day. The heartburn of guilt. The guilt of SO MUCH cheese. And grease.

When did I become this? Has breakfast food always been this way? Or have I morphed into Perky Girl?

I am feeling better about myself.
And even Sam has mentioned a time or two that I am looking good.

But he does it in a man way. Bless his heart.

No offense to my male readers. Sometimes men choose wording that is double edged. Take for instance:

"Wow, honey! Your stomach has gone down a ton! It used to be huuuuuge." (Nice.)
"Have you noticed anything like it's easier to bend over now?" (WTH?)
or, the classic from Sunday-

"You look really a Pilgrim!"

Somehow, I failed to see the compliment in that statement, and frankly, I am a little freaked out by whatever creepy fantasy he has brewing with the chicks that were on the Mayflower.

And I bet those chicks never ate Omelets.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Hot Rod is the dumbest show ever made.

And this coming from someone who truly liked Napoleon Dynamite.

It's not even worth the $1 Red Box rental.
It's not even worth the gas you would need to pick it up--using a free rental code at Red Box.

Oh man, it was rough. That was 88 minutes of my life that I will never get back.

Monday, December 03, 2007

what's new?

Did you know they made chocolate mint M&M's for the holidays?
Well they did...
Too bad you didn't get any.
I just ate the entire supply for the western hemisphere.
In one sitting.
They are that good.

In other news...been working on some stuff for QuicKutz. The new January release. I don't think I can say anything, but I will say it's cute stuff. I have cranked out a lot of layouts this weekend.

Hold on, and I will go count-
14 layouts, 6 cards.

I am taking a break from the studio tomorrow, and I think I will go nuts and clean something. Maybe cook dinner. That would be weird.

I suppose I'll have to go running, or do Taebo.

Stupid Hershey's.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I am done Christmas shopping.

I went out this morning.
It was snowing.
I had to scrape the windows and mirrors of the car.
I used a piece of junk mail, cause I can never find what I need when I need it.
The snow was blowing side-ways, and then it was melty when it hit the windshield.
My mascara was already running down my face.
It was cold.
Very cold.
I went to the first store.
I could not find parking that was even in the same zip code as the store.
I stepped out of the car, and into a big slushy pile of ice cold water.
The window scraper fell out of the car.
Apparently it was hiding under the seat.
My shoe was wet for the rest of the day.
It made me cold.
I remembered how a couple days ago I was on a beach in Mexico.
It made me sad.
And then mad.
And then sorry for myself.
So I got back into the car and drove home.
I changed into pajamas.
And warm fuzzy slippers.
I got on the computer.
I loaded up my cart online.
I gave them a credit card.
I hit send.

And I am done shopping.

I just love being a woman of the 90's.