Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pass It On

When you laugh so hard that tears stream down your your face, you know you just saw something worth watching. And when you laugh so hard that you might, hypothetically speaking of course, need a fresh pair of panties, then you know you need to pass that post on...

Thanks, Koreena.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sweaters For My Feet

I love sweaters. I love being warm. And I love comfy shoes. So when I saw these at Old Navy online, I thought it might be the perfect combination of those three things. So tell me what you think: yea or nay?

Intolerance for Hard Beds Finally Explained

Once upon a time there was a princess. Late one night after all her servants had gone to bed, the princess realized that she was in desperate need of some feminine hygiene products. Too lazy to put on make up, shower, and get herself into her royal shopping clothes, she left a little disheveled in her royal lounging clothes and headed out to the Royal Convenience Store. Half way there, a fierce wind blew up and a heavy rain began to fall. Having never walked to the Royal Convenience Store on her own, the princess lost her way and found herself in a dark wood. She was scared, wet, and in even worse need of feminine hygiene products than when she had left. Suddenly, through the rain, the princess spotted another castle that she had never noticed on her route the store. Even though it was late at night, the princess pounded on the front door. Soon a voice came and asked who was there. "It is I. Princess Bobette," she said. The door creaked open and an old servant eyed the princess. "You're not a princess," he told her, glancing at her royal lounging clothes that were muddy and wet and torn from her journey and her mascara that had formed large raccoon circles under her eyes. "But I AM!" the princess insisted. "Well, come in," the servant ordered. "We will treat you as a guest, whoever you are." So the princess came in and shook out her stringy wet hair. Meanwhile, the servant got his orders from the Queen of the castle to make a special bed to determine if the girl really was a princess. She had a loafer son who was stretching his bachelorhood out a lot longer than the Queen cared for, and she was hoping to get him hitched. If this girl really was a princess, maybe the two would take a liking to each other. So the servant set to work creating the bed that would show if the girl was a princess. He piled mattress upon mattress, some made of corn husks, some made of feathers, some made of fluffiest white goose down, and some made of individually pocketed springs with polyester fill and a 300 thread count quilted pillowtop. Soon the pile reached dozens of feet into the air. The servant placed a tiny hard pea between the bottom two layers as per the Queen's instructions. "This," the Queen had told him, "will tell us if she is a princess. Only a princess's skin is tender enough to feel the pea underneath all the layers of mattress."

The princess was soon called into the guest chamber. She was given some nice cotton jammies, a big stick of deodorant, a large box of tampons, and a towel for her hair. Then she was ushered to the tall ladder leaning against the very tall stack of bedding. Up she climbed, and soon she had settled in for the night.

In the morning, the Princess put on some new clothes that the Queen had ordered to be brought for her and joined the Queen and her son for breakfast. "How did you sleep, My Dear?" asked the Queen. "Not well," replied the princess. The bed was horribly uncomfortable, actually. It felt like I was sleeping on a bed set on a giant boulder! My body is all bruised this morning," she told them. And she pulled up a sleeve to demonstrate her black and blue arms. The Queen jumped to her feet and squealed with delight. "A princess!" she exclaimed. "A REAL princess! There will be a wedding. Today. Immediately!" Luckily for her, the prince and princess had been eyeing each other at the table and actually had the hots for each other. So they both agreed to the wedding. But the princess suggested that the prince might have a better wedding night if they waited about 5 or 6 days. So the wedding was postponed for a week. And the princess called her people to come and get her and bring her home. The next week she and the prince were married. And aside from having a mother in law who was always meddling in everyone's business.... the prince and princess lived happily ever...

Wait. That's not the end of this story. The story actually continues a day later when the prince and princess went to Austin, Texas on their honeymoon. They decided to stay in a Marriott Residence Inn despite the princess's previous bad experience with a regular Marriott. And to both of their delight (for the prince and princess both had the tender flesh of all royalty) the beds at the Residence in were soft and delightful to sleep on. Plus there was a free full breakfast at the hotel each day that included waffles and sausage. Score.

The moral of this story is, most of the people who stay at hotels are clearly not royalty. Big K and I, however, obviously are. Separated from our royal parents at birth somehow, I suppose. Maybe like Briar Rose, stashed in the suburbs until it's time to come forward and claim our royal heritage. At any rate, for future reference, The Residence Inn does cater to royal skin. Hooray!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

On The Menu Today

It's 10:15am and we have already made:

1 Apple Pie
1 Pumpkin pie (store bought--only my mom eats it)
1 Sweet Potato Souffle with pecan steusel topping
2 dozen homemade crescent rolls
1 13-lb turkey (still cooking, of course)
1 bowl of homemade cranberry sauce.

Still to be made:

1 Green bean casserole with crunchy onion thingies on top
1 chocolate cream pie
cornbread stuffing
mashed potatoes

I can't wait!!! This stuff is all delicious. But my plate will be made up mostly of stuffing and mashed potatoes, my two favorites at Thanksgiving. The rest is, as they say, gravy. Mmmmmmm.....gravy (Homer Simpson).

What about you? What's on your menu today?


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Religious Potpourri

There are a few stores that I just love to browse in. If I had no money and no intention of buying anything, I'd still love to just walk through them and see what was on the shelves. One of them is Big Lots. Such an odd assortment of cast-off goods. And at such great prices! I also love a hardware megastore like Lowe's. I could browse the paint sample area, the kitchen cabinet section, or the front door aisle for hours. But my all-time favorite has got to be The Container Store. They have one here in Austin, so I couldn't skip a chance to go. All those boxes, bags, containers, vials, and gadgets for keeping your things clean and neat. It's storage heaven. All I need is a couple hundred dollars to blow and my house could become an organizational Nirvana. Right now it's in organizational purgatory. Not hell. Not the telestial kingdom of organization, even. Just somewhere in the middle...waiting for someone to pray it out.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Is it Just Me?

I'm starting to think maybe I might be the crazy one. I've been sleeping on a very hard mattress at my sister's house (although my niece was sweet enough to give it up so I could have it.) I'm seriously sleep deprived from tossing and turning. And you all know about us leaving our romantic getaway hotel because the bed was too hard to sleep on. Then there's our time share in Park City that we always get sleepless nights at because of the hard bed. And as I sit here and count up the number of times in my life that I've had a soft bed or even a decent bed vs a very hard, horribly hard, terribly hard bed, the hards far outnumber the softs. So am I the odd man out? Do most people, unbeknownst to me and my husband, actually like a hard bed? Maybe it's my hips, my big birthing hips. Because they get numb and sore after a few minutes of digging into a hard bed. Maybe it's that I don't sleep on my back. Or are hotels just all too cheap to spring for a nice soft mattress??? What do you guys think? Weigh in: when it comes to your ideal bed, do you prefer soft or hard?

100 Things

Saw this on Tiburon's blog and thought I'd try it out. Especially since I'm having writers block (writers blogck?) and can't think of anything to blog about. My brain seems to have gone on vacation too. You saved my butt, Girl.

100 Things
(Highlight the ones you've done)

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band(if singing in one counts)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Totally copied a post from someone else's blog to your own (with credit, of course)

67 out of 100. Hey, I feel pretty good about that. Jerusalem, China, and Africa are definitely on my life list, so hopefully I can cross those off some time. The Alamo I might just miss. Sorry, Texans.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I Won! I Won! Actually, I Guess I Didn't.

I entered a blog give away on Suzanne's blog this month and I actually won! There's a caveat, though. Her give-away is a Give-away/Give-away. Meaning, I won, but the prize has to go to someone else.

The someone else is my sister, Jennie. And she is going to LOVE this present. L, double O, V, E it. Wait, that spells loove. Well, whatever. She is going to loove it too.

If you want to see what I/she won, click here. Unless you're Jennie. Then don't. Because it would make Jesus very sad if you cheated.

Thanks, Suzanne. You are talented AND generous. How Christmasy of you.

I Like Star Wars Too, But Maybe Not Quite This Much

Have you seen this? I might be the last one in the world to see this. That's the problem with youtube. But just in case no one else is familiar, I'm passing it on.

p.s. This guy is not singing. He is lip-synching. The real singers? Utahans. Mormons. One of them went to school with my little brother and played opposite to him in their high school musical. Now I'm famous by association. Sweet. I love fame. It suits me, don't you think?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Single Parent Travel Do's and Don'ts

Flying by yourself with two small children, both of whom can and will run in opposite directions at any given moment, is not recommended.

Forgetting your portable DVD player for said plane trip is also not recommended.

Fighting with the ticketing agent about them letting your spouse accompany you to the gate until they threaten to call security is not recommended.

Losing your 23 months and 2 weeks old son's birth certificate just before taking a flight where he is the free under 24 months old lap child is also not recommended

When forging your 23 months and 2 weeks old son's fake birth certificate, writing his birth year as "2008" is not recommended.

Giving your 23 months and 2 weeks old son a full cup of milk without a child safety lid in the car on the way to the airport is not recommended. Unless he is dressed from head to toe in waterproof plastic.

Losing your 3 1/2 year old's boarding pass between the security check and the gate is not recommended.

Bringing a game of Mini Connect Four onto an airplane where the seats are too close to the row in front to bend down and pick up pieces is not recommended.

Taking your three and a half year old to the potty on the plane 4 times plus twice in the airport IS recommended.

Using a quick-fold umbrella stroller rather than a 6 foot long double stroller for airport trips is highly recommended.

Bringing a carseat with a full set of shoulder and lap straps on to the plane is recommended.

Having 8 kinds of snacks in your bag despite the peanuts and crackers they hand out on the plane is recommended.

Buying 4 new sets of toys that the kids have never laid eyes on before the flight is recommended.

Buying Washable Crayola Markers with lids that stay attached while they color is highly recommended.


Long story short, we made it. Just barely, but we made it. Austin is humid and warm and my skin already loves it. Best friend cousins Ada and Daphne have been reunited and it feels go good. Stranger cousins Beck and Jasper have been fighting over the same truck for 2 hours. We already made chocolate chip cookies, the baker sister and I, and I've only been here 3 hours. Get that fridge stocked with Coke, and it looks like it is going to be a great trip.

I Hate It When You Get Something New and It Doesn't Live Up To Your Expectations

When I was younger, I took piano lessons. Ten years of piano lessons, For most of that my teacher was Mrs. Elms. And for most of that time I cried about having to practice. So mostly I wouldn't practice. And then Mrs. Elms would lose patience with my pitiful playing and turn on the dreaded metronome. TICK, TOCK, TICK, TOCK. That horrid piece of machinery would click hypnotically in perfect time, forcing me to play ever faster and slower to keep pace. Mrs. Elms also constantly corrected my hand posture. She would put objects on the backs of my hands, forcing me to make flat surfaces out of the backs of my hands to keep the objects from rolling off. That's how you hold your hands to play piano, you know. Not droopy, touching your palms to the wood in front of the keys. But in nice, high plateaus of flesh. Your fingers should flow effortlessly under them, like legs dangling from a surf board that sits flat on the water. It isn't a natural posture for a lazy young girl. And it got tiring fast.

But at age 18 I went to college, and the sweet freedom of independence meant that piano lessons were a thing of the past. (How unfortunate to realize at that point that I actually enjoyed playing piano and no one was going to foot the bill anymore.) My fingers soon reverted to the slouchy, hanging posture of my youth. Quasimodo hands.

Now to my point. For the past few months, my laptop has been ill and slowly dying. Little things here are there began to go awry. I wanted to get a new laptop, but I couldn't justify the expense when my laptop could still carry out most of its functions satisfactorily. The one that finally sealed the deal was when two vertical stripes of light down my screen started to interfere with my ability to see what was on my screen. So Big Daddy charitably ordered me a new laptop.

It came a week ago. And I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. It was loaded with so much Microsoft, Norton, and AOL crap-software that it was nearly impossible to use. Little windows and advertisements popped open every few minutes, advising me of all the wonderful things Microsoft/Norton/AOL could achieve if I would only give them my social security number, credit card number, email address, and first child. Big Daddy cleared all that crap off, bless him, and soon my computer was running fairly smoothly. I could actually open the Internet and get to a recognizable screen.

First stop, Gmail. Well, come to find out that something on my Sony Vaio computer isn't compatible with that website. Whenever I would try to type, letters and spaces would fail to appear. It was like the keyboard had hiccups. Well, I finally found a way around that issue. And now I deal with the worst one of all: The little touch pad that you run your finger over to move the cursor around on the screen is SUPER sensitive. And it is located just under the heel of my left hand. So whenever I type, if the heel of my hand even breathes near that touch pad, the cursor jumps to wherever I last clicked on the screen. So in the middle of typing a sentence, half of the letters suddenly appear in a paragraph several inches up the page. It's maddening! And it happens CONSTANTLY. I can't even tell you how many times during the course of an email or blog post I have to stop, delete 8-20 characters from somewhere else on the screen, and move the cursor back to where I was. Sometimes I can't even find the letters. They have disappeared into the cyberspace.

There is only one solution for this problem: Good hand posture. No palm-slouching. I have to keep my wrists high in the air, never letting my lazy left hand relax or let down its guard. I'm 8 years old again, in Mrs.Elms's piano room. The horrible TICK TOCK of the metronome is pounding in my head. I want to relax my hands. I want the simple luxury of letting my wrists rest against the bottom of the laptop. But it is not to be. I've traded my old laptop in for a task master. Where is my Ezmeralda now?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I'm Back

You'll be ecstatic to know that, thanks to my loyal readers and commentors, I have ended my 36 hour boycott. Sigh...It was fun while it lasted. Just was torture! I'm so used to logging every minute thought I have on the blogosphere that I think I suffered some emotional damage from having to keep it all bottled up inside. But the outpouring of love and attention you gave me through your comments should counteract the damage soon.

So thank you, everyone. Especially Andre, who commented TWICE on one post AND from vacation. Awwww.....

Ok, I hate to blog and run, but I'm leaving for Texas tomorrow afternoon and I need to get some shut eye. Oh and to pack. Still haven't done that. I'll be back for more reading, commenting, and blogging my life away on Monday. Toodles!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Psychology of Getting Comments

Dear Blog Readers,

In the last 3 days, the number of comments on my four posts have gone like this:

(Painful facts)

What the heck? Have I suddenly gotten super boring? (Anger.) Is there a pandemic raging through the country, killing of bloggers left and right, that I don't know about? (Sarcasm used to hide pain.) Is there a conspiracy against me--someone out there so jealous of my meager constituency that they are sabotaging me and steering people away from my blog? (Fear of impending insanity.)

Well, something has got to happen soon. Either you lurkers are going to have to come out of hiding and comment. Or my friends are going to have to quit living for themselves, drop everything, and start commenting over here way more. Or else I am going to have to start making up posts from anonymous people and adding them to my comments section. (Making demands). But then, that wouldn't really solve my problem--the problem being I only feel valid as a human being when my blog comments are in the double digits. (More Guilt). I think I'm going to have to do some tough love with you bloggers. So I am hereby boycotting posting until my comments reach two digits on at least one of my posts of the last 3 days (threats & intimidation). Three digits would be even better, but I guess I shouldn't be too demanding. I don't want to put a strain on you at all. (Reverse psychology.)

Ok thanks. You guys are great. No, really. You are awesome (Flattery). I know you were just about to comment anyway, before I wrote this. There was probably no reason for my harsh disciplinary actions. (Sucking up).

But please, do comment. It really would make my day. It would make me feel like a complete, worthwhile, lovable human being again. (Begging).

Yours Truly,


Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Day in the Life: Pictures And Commentary

My sister Jennie made me do this. She issued a bledict (blog + edict. I made that up myself. You can't believe it, right?) I'm not sure why. Maybe her friends' lives are way more interesting than mine. You can check out all the interesting ones here. Mine is going to be really dumb. You should keep a caffeinated drink handy in case you start falling asleep. Here goes...

A Fabulous Day in the Life of Me (sarcasm)

7:30 Daphne wakes me up. I get up and make her some breakfast.
7:35 Beck wakes up and I wonder what the heck is going on and why my kids don't sleep in until 8:30 anymore like they did 2 weeks ago.
7:35 and 30 seconds: I realize that it probably has something to do with Daylight Savings. Everything bad in life comes back to Daylight Savings.
8:00 I put Diego on for the kids, which is what Beck requests every day immediately after breakfast if not before. I eat breakfast myself. A new cereal. It's gross. I'll be throwing the rest away.
8:15 I watch a bit of the news.
8:35 The good parts of the news are over and they're now talking about turkey racing. And while I'm sure turkey racing is big news in some parts of the world, in my part it's fake news, so I turn it off and decide to tackle the 3 baskets of laundry that are strewn around my room.
8:45 I settle in on my bed with the laundry and "The Greatest Race on Earth," a show abut the Iditerad.
9:14 I have gotten about 8 things folded in the last 29 minutes. This Iditerad show is way more interesting than I thought and I keep forgetting the laundry. I'm guessing the laundry is going to turn into a 6 hour task today.
9:15 My sister Jennie calls to remind me to do this Day In The Life post. And to take pictures. So I start taking pictures, which will make this post only slightly less boring.

This is me being reminded:

This is my laundry

This is my show

9:25 Beck gets bored with his shows and decides it's more interesting to throw my nicely folded laundry on the floor. I stop and give him some Mommy Time so he will not notice the crazed look in my eyes that means I want to strangle him when he does that. I start over with the laundry.

9:45 I realize that both kids are still in their jammies, as am I, and that Daphne needs to be at her play date in 15 minutes, so I leave the laundry to go take a shower. Some rude person follows me into the shower and naps a shot of me with my shower cap on. Oh no, now the whole world will know that I wear a shower cap! AND that I shower naked!!!

Whew, that's better.
Still nude though. The cat is out of the bag. I admit it. It's true--I shower naked.

10:05 We head out the door to walk over to our neighbors' house for Daphne's play group.

After we dropped off Daphne, Beck just keeps on walking. I guess he wants to take the long way home.

Next I decide to try out my new carpet cleaning machine. It just came in the mail yesterday. I spend the whole 1 1/2 hours that Daphne is gone cleaning a 3x5 spot on my floor. I have to say, I'm not that impressed with the results. The gray high-traffic area gets lighter but doesn't disappear.

11:30 Time to pick up Daphne again, then run home for lunch.

Chicken and Stars soup with toast. Beck thinks it is delicious!

Daphne thinks it is...I'm not sure what this expression connotes

Boy, this is getting long, isn't it? And it's not even noon yet. Don't worry, my day gets even less interesting in the afternoon, so there won't be much more to tell.

12:00 We get a surprise visit from Daddy. He LOVES having his picture taken for my blog.

12:30, I take Daphne to preschool.

12:40, I put Beck to bed.

12:45 I actually get to eat lunch now. And I finish it off with a piece of the fantastic cheesecake from Zupas that I blogged about last week that my darling husband brought me home yesterday when he had to deliver some business cards to Zupas who is one of his clients now I guess. (I love a good run-on!)

12:50 I go to my room hoping for some good blogging time, but no. The laundry still looks like this.

I decide to clean the house instead--sweep the floors, pick up all the breakfast and lunch mess. Pet the severely ignored cat. Clean the playroom. Lame.

FINALLY. It's 2:20 and I have 10 whole minutes to get online before I go pick Daphne up from preschool. This is my favorite part of the day.

2:33 Pick Daphne up from preschool. (This picture brought to you by the turkey hat and the number 8).

2:45 Put on a show for the kids so I can make a few very boring but necessary calls to various companies that have tried to screw me over by jacking up my bill. They hope I won't notice. But I do, so I have to call and kick some A for a while.

4:00 My visiting teachers show up. I had totally forgotten they were coming, so I'm glad that I was here. I have stood them up more than once before. Bad me.

4:45, I try to get online a little more, but Beck takes over and decides it's his turn. It's hopeless. I give up.

5:00 I decide I'm sick of the kids and feelng a bit stir crazy, so I call a babysitter. Kelsey comes over to make dinner for the kids while I take off to kidnap my husband from work.

5:45, Big Daddy and I eat dinner at Pizzeria 712, one of my favorite restaurants. We have the braised short rib on polenta for an appetizer, one of the best foods ever to pass my lips. I have the new pizza on the menu--roasted red peppers, funky olives, goat cheese, and feta. YUM. Big Daddy has the speck and fresh mozerella.

7:30 I ditch Big Daddy and go shopping at Down East Basics. I'm not shopping for myself, though. I'm playing manequin for my sister so she can see how a certain outfit from the catelogue fits in real life (i.e. fits on our hips). They don't have this store in Texas, poor girl. We love it because it's the only store on earth where we can wear a size SMALL skirt!

8:30, I finish trying on clothes (and taking lots of pictures of them) and drop my camera with the zoom extended. Something in it breaks. No more pictures! WAAAH!

The rest of the evening turns out to be just as thrilling as the first part. I come home to find my children in bed. I get online for a few minutes, then decide I'm cold. I go take a bath and read Frankenstien while I soak. (I'm trying to catch up on the classics I never read in high school).

At some point I turn pruney and get out. (I bet you're glad my camera broke now, aren't you? ) Then I make it an early night and am in bed before 11pm. That NEVER happens.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this fabulous trip through a day in my life. At least you had a good excuse to drink 3 very large Dt.Cokes, right?

It's Cold and Rainn-y

After Mindi's post about the John Heder gap song-o-mercial, I watched this one with Rainn Wilson and Selma Blair.

And I just have one question and one comment:

Could she possibly be any more flat chested? She makes me look like Jane Mansfield. WITHOUT my push-up bra!

The best part of the video is the very end after the GAP logo, so make sure you watch the whole thing. (The end is just so Dwight Shrute)

Holiday Goodness

There are three things that I aboslutely love to eat this time of year because, well, they're good! And also because you can't get them any other time of year. Tasting them is like eating happiness. They mean Thanksgiving and Christmas, presents, family, snow, decorations and everything lovely about the holidays. One smell, and I'm in heaven...
1) Peppermint stick ice cream. I don't know how many years I have been enjoying this seasonal ice cream. Many. I prefer Farrs, which has little crunchy green and red bits of peppermint candy in a cool pink mint ice cream. When I was pregnant with Daphne during the holidays, I subsisted primarly on this ice cream because it didn't make me sick. My one problem is that I never remember to stock up on it. One day in December I'll go to the store and it will simply be gone. And then I'll franticly try another store. Gone. And then I'll know for sure that the holiday season is over. This year I SWEAR I'm going to dump all the Lean Cuisines and chicken nuggets out of my freezer and stock-pile peppermint stick ice cream.

2) Eggnog. This is an interesting item because it's not like I drink a lot of it. I can only drink maybe 1/3 cup at a sitting. And I often go the whole holiday without finishing up a quart of it. But it wouldn't be Christmas without some rich eggnog coating the lining of my stomach like fattening, nutmeggy Pepto-Bismol.

3) Fresh cranberry sauce. I am a big believer in homemade cranberry sauce. As a kid, we'd go to my grandparents' house in North Carolina either for Thanksgiving or Christmas. And it was always the job of us kids to sort out the bag of cranberries, separating the bad ones out from the good so my grandmother could make that beautiful, tart, ruby red cranberry sauce. She always served it in a cut-crystal bowl. It really completes the holiday meal.

I also have to give an honorary mention to Meier's sparkeling grape juice. Even though you can find it year-round, in our family we never had Thanksgving or Christmas dinner without some sparkling Cold Duck, sparkling Burgundy, or sparkling Pink Catawba by Meier's. It's way more delicious than that crappy Martinelli's. Granted, it gives you terrible gas, but that's part of the holidays too, right? No? Oh, must just by my family.

(If you thought I was going to say something about pumkpin pie, sorry to disappoint you. That stuff is revolting! BLECH. Every year my mom makes pumpkin chiffon pie. And every year she ASSURES me that it is delicious. And every year she tries to make me eat some. Sometimes I appease her by taking a bite, sometimes I don't. But every year the one thing that never changes? Pumpkin pie is disgusting. Now make me a pecan pie and we can talk.)

What about you? What foods are the taste of the holidays for you and yours?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Wedding Tag! Answer the questions below, post this on your blog, then follow the instructions at the bottom.

1. Where did you and your husband meet? Working at Magleby's Restaurant. I was a waitress and he was my boss.

2. How long before you kissed? We didn't date until a couple of years after we met. Once we start dating, I think it only took us a few days to kiss.

3. Who kissed who first? I honestly can't remember. I think it was mutual.

4. How long from the time you met until you were engaged? How long from the engagement to the wedding? We dated for about 2 1/4 years before we started talking about marriage. The engagement is kind of complicated. We started planning the wedding about 4 months before it took place. But the actual proposal was 3 weeks before we got married. Long story.

5. How did he propose? He came to my work--I was a teacher--and tried to propose in front of my students, but they had already gotten out of class and there were only a couple of straglers left. But still, bonus points for trying!

6. Did he pick out the ring or did you? He did. I gave him guidance (antique, sapphire not diamond, silver/white gold), but he picked out the final ring.

7. Do you still like the ring? Yes. Although I wish the stone were a lighter blue. It's so dark that people always ask me what kind of stone it is. Maybe someday I'll replace it.

8. Where was your wedding and reception? We got married in our house--the one we live in now. Our reception was in the beautiful concert hall foyer at the school where I worked.

9. How many bridesmaids did you have and who was your maid of honor? I didn't have any bridesmaids. I got married late, and all my friends were already married. It seemed silly to have bridesmaids when they were all bridesmatrons.

10. What color were your bridesmaid dresses? Invisible.

11. What was your bouquet made of? Mainly gerber daisies with a few roses and other flowers. Bright pink, pale pink, yellow and red in a big ball with short stems.

12. Who gave you away? My mom did.

13. Did you cry during your wedding? I was barely holding it together the whole time. I had to keep my teeth gritted together and my lips tight to keep from breaking down and bawling. So I look strange in all my pictures.

14. What style was your dress? It was sort of 1890's reminiscent. A-line skirt with a bit of a bustle in back. Corset top with wide straps. A bit of seed-pearl beading and crystals on the top and down the back of the train. I bought it off of ebay from a going-out-of-business bridal store. And I LOVED it.

15. Was your wedding kiss sweet or sexy? Very short, but sweet.

16. Who caught your bouquet? I think Cathryn, who later became my sister in law. Then my x-sister in law. So maybe my bouquet wasn't so lucky.

17. What flavor was your cake? I believe one of the layers was chocolate with raspberry filling and one was white with chocolate filling. And I have no idea about the third layer. I'm not even 100% sure about the other two. The icing was white fondant with green frosting tendrils and real flowers matching my bouquet.

18. Did you smash the cake onto each other's faces or feed it to each other nicely?
We did it nicely. We hadn't talked about it before, so I'm glad it worked out that way.

19. What was "your song" that you danced to at your wedding? Our song was "Tupelo Honey" by Van Morrison. But during our wedding video, it played "Wildflowers" by Tom Petty and "Come What May" from The Moulin Rouge soundtrack, so I always get sentimental about those two more than "Tupelo Honey."

20. What did you serve your guests to eat? A bunch of, stuffed mushrooms, little quiches, swedish meatballs, mini eclairs? I'm not even sure. I didn't get to eat any!

21. What did your friends do to decorate your car? No one decorated our car. :(

22. What was your favorite wedding gift? Probably my Kitchenaid mixer. I actually hate that mixer, but I really needed one and it was expensive, so I'm grateful for it.

23. What was the worst wedding gift you got? We didn't get anything horrible. Thankfully, most of our gifs were from our registery. But we did get a big box of glass goblets that we're pretty sure were re-gifted. We have never used them once.

24. Where did you go on your honeymoon? Belize. It was unbelizeable, hardy har.

25. Looking back, is there anything you would have changed about your wedding? Yes. My photographer. We got cheap on the photography and had my brother in law do it, who IS a professional photographer...but of nature, not people. So he didn't do the typical posed wedding shots. Just a bunch of snapshots mostly. So if I could go back and do it over again, I'd spend a lot of money on a really good wedding photographer.

Thanks for playing! Now tag 4 people: two people who didn't attend your wedding and two people whose wedding you didn't attend. Type their names here, and leave a comment on their blog letting them know that they have been tagged.

I tag Cara, Mindi, Tiburon, and Kami.

Boring Kid Post Again - The Izma tree

I feel guilty posting stuff about my kids. Because I know writing about your kids is interesting to two people: You and their grandmother. And sometimes not even her. But since this is a journal of sorts, I feel like I should document it when my kids say something funny. Well, funny to me at least. This is Daphne's latest...

We were walking over to a neighbor's house to play a couple of days ago. In their yard there was a tree that grew small, orange berries. Several had dropped to the ground, and Beck's first thought was, "Candy!" Daphne saw it then and asked me, "Mommy? Is that CANDY???" I'm sure in her mind this was a miracle from heaven; a tree that dropped candy to the ground. "No," I told her. "Those are berries. But don't eat them because they are poisonous." I stepped on one for emphasis and a gooey gelatenous substance smeared across the sidewalk. "I won't eat the poison berries, Mommy," Daphne said solemnly, "because they will turn me into a cat!"

Thank you, Disney.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Oh, The Horror!

On Saturday, Big Daddy and I went to see this.

We had an hour to kill before hand (THANK YOU LARRY MILLER FOR ASSIGNED SEATING!!!) so we went to Kohls.

I really didn't need anything new (or at least I couldn't justify spending money on something new), so I just browsed the jewelry/purse/purfume section while my husband looked for more shades of khaki pants.

I was drawn to the cheesy celebrity perfume section after I found two pairs of earrings in the clearance section for $4.60 each (Naturally, I could justify THAT score!). I'm super picky about perfumes. I can't stand them to be heavy or flowery. I mostly like them very light and citrus-y, which they rarely are. My other problem is that either I will smell one in the store after smelling several dozen and think I will like it, only to discover once I have it at home that I actually hate it. OR I will smell something I like on someone else but when I smell it on myself it will make me want to throw up.

So imagine my absolute HORROR when I picked up a green glass bottle and sprayed it on a sample stick, then sniffed it, then liked it, then sniffed it again, then sniffed it over and over for about 5 minutes (resembling, I'm sure, a crazed cocaine addict) and still not getting sick of it, then spraying it on my wrists, smelling it and LIKING it on my wrists, and then looking at the bottle to discover...

IT WAS A BRITNEY SPEARS PERFUME!!! I've already blocked out the exact name of it out of disgust. OK, that's a lie. I memorized it. It's called "Believe."

But what am I to do now? I am pretty sure I am too cool..ok, too old...ok, too embarrassed to buy a Britney Spears perfume even if I actually like it (and continued to like it all through the movie, by the way. Dagnabit.) So please, someone ease my mind by telling me you secretly have a stash of Hillary Duff and Celine Dion perfumes lining your vanity.

A Few Of My Favorite Things

If it has not been made clear to you thus far that I adore baked goods, you haven't been reading my blog nearly close enough. Shame on you. I suggest you go back to last January when I began blogging and read each post over again, much more thoroughly this time. You might want to take notes. Or... if you prefer to cheat yourself out of hours and hours AND HOURS of hilarious, thoughtful, sometimes bitchy posts, fine. Just take my word for it--I love baked goods.

I am also a bit of a baked goods snob. Like everyone who is a connoisseur of something--be it fine wines, Swiss watches, or incredibly bloody video games--you get to know what you like, what is quality and what is trash. And unfortunately, a lot of baked goods and pseudo-baked goods out there are trash. At the bottom of the scale is Hostess. Hostess was a dream come true to me as a snack-food-deprived child. But as a baked goods critic-of-sorts now, I wouldn't waste my time, let alone the calories, on something so base.

Store bought cakes come next. Some are good, some are not so good. The factory produced ones are usually pretty disappointing, while the in-store bakery ones can be pretty decent if you shop around.

Restaurants vary in their ability to make a good dessert. Some are excellent. Some so-so. Some not worth eating again even for the cherished sugar rush they produce.

Mostly the ones that I like best are homemade. Nothing beats the fresh ingredients and tender loving care of a homemade dessert (except perhaps the fresh ingredients and tender loving care of a French bakery dessert. But I digress...) And if you make it yourself, you get all the glory and appreciation for the fact that your cake tastes 1000x better than store-bought.

There's probably something else you have picked up on about me if you read my blog: I hate to be a follower. I'm not a train-jumper, a trend follower, a copy cat, or a craze-keeper-up-wither. Usually my policy is that I prefer to do anything that no one else I know is doing. Unless said trend is clearly, totally, 100% ME, in which case I'll avoid following the trend until it has almost become passé. Then, and only then, will I jump on the bandwagon-- pretty much just before the bandwagon breaks down. So it is with some level of chagrin that I admit to being a pretty shameless copy cat of my sister when it comes to baking. She just picked it up sooner and got better. So now I just have to set my pride to the side and learn from the expert.

Yes, in case you were wondering, I am finally going to arrive at the point of this post: My Favorite Things. This installment is Baking Strips. Are you completely let down? All that introduction and talk about sugary confections and I'm going to talk about baking strips? Well, you'll see why in just a second. First, let me explain what they are. Baking strips are little strips of cloth that you soak in water prior to baking layer cakes, then you wrap them around the cake pan. And then when the cake bakes, rather than getting a huge hump in the middle of it, it rises completely evenly, making it flat on top. Ever try to make those humped cakes into a layer cake? It's a nightmare. Not only is it virtually impossible to cut them flat on the top. But then you have to try to get the frosting to stick to them without picking up crumbs from the cut-off area. (Or else you have to flip them over and deal with the same issue on the bottom of the cakes). Baking strips are the magic cure to the cake hump. And they could not be easier to use.

Here, examine my proof:

See how nice and flat they are? And they still have that golden brown, firm skin on the top that makes frosting them so much eaiser.

Now you can see why I must bow down and worship the flour covered floor my sister bakes upon. Because without these little numbers, my cakes would be humpy. And while they'd probably still taste good, I'd miss out on all the oohs and ahs produced by a truly delicious AND ergonomically correct cake.


These clips speak for themselves. (They're all very short, less than a minute)

Friday, November 14, 2008

What's in a Name?

Does your purse say Brada instead of Prada? Has "Western Family" become your nickname? Is "Kirkland" a hot label for you? If so, you're probably a bargain shopper. And all things equal, I like to be a bargain shopper too. I do. But I also hate to waste my money on crap. So usually my policy is that if I can taste the difference or see the difference in some other significant way, then I pay for the name brand without worrying about it. If the difference is negligable,however, I don't. I will never pay $200 for a pair of jeans because the difference between $200 jeans and $50 jeans just isn't big enough. But sometimes I don't know. I'd like to save $5 per tub of washing machine soap, but will my clothes come out looking like I rolled around in mud? And if I buy designer imposters fragrances, will dogs and cats start howling when I come near? If I go with the dollar store bubble bath, will my kids grow extra toes? Sometimes I just don't know! All I do know is if I buy the cheap brand and it just plain doesn't work, then I've wasted money, not saved it. I don't want to spend my money and get a vastly inferior product. That's why I LOVE when Consumer Reports comes out with a new article that pits name brands of common products against the store brands. I love when they do all the dirty work for me. Because I'm pretty sure they will mention it if extra toes are involved.

In this month's article, Consumer Reports rated batteries. AA batteries. And guess what? Those fancy expensive litheum ion batteries that cost $4 for 2 actually do work better. But when it comes to just plain old alkaline batteries, Kirkland brand rated 7x better for the price than Duracell or Energizer. SEVEN TIMES BETTER! For the price. So let me be clear. That doesn't mean that one Kirkland battery will last last 7x longer than one Duracell. What it means is that if you spend $10 on Duracell and $10 on Kirland, you'll get 7x more battery life for that $10 with the Kirland. So unless my memory serves me very poorly, I've been paying $1.50 more for Duracell batteries at Costco and getting 7x less energy. who's giving me extra toes?