Thursday, December 31, 2009

wow, it's almost over

Our trip AND the whole year. Crazy. No time for deep reflections as we are still on Christmas vacation. I'm pretty sure we are heading home tomorrow and I can't tell you how happy that makes me. We had a really good time but I got totally overwhelmed on about day number 4 of festivities. A good cry and a nap helped me through it but it just felt like A LOT this year. I always love seeing my family but Patrick's family lives here, too, and while they are not a close knit clan, I always feel a sense of responsibility to spend time with them. (I've gotten over this during other times of the year that we are here but it feels different at Christmas, you know?) So anyways. I'm pooped. We have had lots of fun and part of me still wishes I could stay and see just a few more friends. (you know who you are...xoxo)

I wish I could say that I'd find the time to record it all but I think we all know that won't happen. Some of my favorite things: the nice drive up here ( husband is so funny), being around Patrick a lot for the last week, seeing my sisters and brothers (it's like my parents have 6 of us kids now...), Christmas Eve at my mom's and Christmas Day at my dad's, seeing what the 50mph winds did to the lake on Christmas Day (amazing. like nothing I've seen before. no good pics because I was getting splashed!), seeing all my other family at Kristy's...

Well, my time is up. My kids just discovered where I was hiding and want a little attention. Did I mention I'd like to go home now? :)


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

sending Christmas wishes to you & yours

Mailing Letters, originally uploaded by Smithsonian Institution.

I am running out of daylight over here and haven't had time to sit down and post about all the fun nonsense I wanted to. Ah well, we can't have it all. :) At least I am getting us all packed up and ready for our (hopefully not too) snowy journey tomorrow morning.

I wish you all a blessed Christmas! Enjoy each other and the sparky lights, cookies & wreaths. Next week it's onto Valentine's Day! heehee.

more stuff NOT ABOUT ME

Remember the Italien? Here it is on display in Vegas!!

And, the XM-800 goes on the block in can see more of this amazing car here. Go Dad!

(and you too, Mom!) :) xoxo

I really want to go on and on about myself

but my dear seester requested pics of James' party. sigh. ALRIGHT.

First though, I have to show you his concert on Friday. Can you see him there? And Wendy's hand? :)

Ruby fell asleep about 15 minutes into it. Good thing Patrick was there to tote her heavy butt around.James himself checked out at about the halfway point. He just stood there with his hands in his pocket and a dazed look on his face.
He perked up a little for the after party. (and the cookie)
Okay, here it is...the party!! Right after I sent out the invite my friend Neelone asked if James would consider sharing the party with his buddy Zach. James was happy to and it worked out so well. Neelone and I did the shopping & planning (and paying!) together and it made it a lot more fun. This place is huge, too, so it was good to see lots of kids get to use it on Sunday. James had a blast. He's never had a friend party before (well...when he was 3, I think...and otherwise it's been family or taking one friend for a special outing) so he was amazed at the PRESENTS. That was fun. He loved everything he got and it didn't feel as overwhelming as I thought it might.
Basically it's a huge room with lots of padding and stuff to climb on. The kids can just go wild.
And the dads.

James was soooooo excited about the air hockey. He loves air hockey.
We ordered one sheet cake and I made one James safe cake and they were decorated pretty much the same. The Bakugan idea was Neelone's...I though it looked really cool.

Discussing their approach?
Happy Birthday, little buddy. (it was actually 2 weeks ago)
It was super fun and I was super glad when it was over. That meant I could go back to reading Under the Dome. I lost almost the entire weekend to that book but it was a good one. I haven't read Stephen King in years and almost put it down at glad I didn't.

Oops! Snuck a little in there about myself. xoxo

Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm not sure...

if I'll get to post this afternoon but if not, for sure tomorrow!!

I hope you all are well. We had a busy and painful (my tummy hurt) and lazy weekend, all at the same time somehow. Today is about pesky little tasks and visiting the doctor. Oh, and I've got a cold so my nose is red and hurty. I bet you are all dying to hear more of this awesome life. xoxoox

Thursday, December 17, 2009


ugh. I have made (and eaten) all the cookies I possibly can for the day. They are all done save my beloved gingerbread ones as I know I'm the only one who will eat them and really, do I need my own batch of cookies right now? Uh, no. (my mom made my favorite cut outs...yummmmmmmy.)

So now my kitchen is a mess and I've never even had any coffee today and it's 1:30. Crazy. I want to clean the kitchen and drink about a gallon of water (and then coffee) before 3pm. Wish me luck!!


cookies, cookies, cookies

Please forgive my absence yesterday. Ruby and I were very busy meeting friends and getting some hairs cut. I had grand plans of making cookies yesterday afternoon, so the kids could decorate them after dinner, but in the end all I could do was fall asleep on the couch, waking up just in time to order some pizzas.

So, today is cookie day! There is coconut button dough chilling in the fridge, the chocolate cookies with cherries, white chocolate chips (chips from here) and walnuts are done (shown below...OH MY LORD), plain chocolate chip (James' request) are next on the agenda and while those are baking I'll mix up my other favorite chewy chocolate gingerbread dough. oh my. The coconut buttons and gingerbread can be baked any time over the next few days so I'll get to them when I feel like it. And Oh! I wanted to make another batch of these for them to frost. Goodness. We'll definitely be giving some of these to our neighbors. Some of them. :)

Thanks for all the nice support regarding my concerned reader. My sister left a particularly funny comment on that post yesterday. :) xoxo

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

the good stuff

Neelone and I were just going to do self-serve buckets of goodies for the kids to pick from on their way out of the party but decided it might be too chaotic or provoke fistfights. ("I wanted the YODA notebook!!") So these inexpensive & cute lunch bags came to the rescue again. Red for girls, blue for boys...we're going to have 40+ kids there on Sunday. Ruby loved helping me put these together this morning even though it was awfully hard for her not to break into the shiny new cupcake chapsticks. I need a few more to have on hand for anyone who shows up without RSVPing but I think we're almost set.

A week or so ago I saw Hillary, of the lovely Wee Wonderfuls, post about making Shrinky Dink ornaments with her son. I loved the idea and was happy to find the plain Shrinky Dink (not the actual brand but that's how everyone knows what I mean) paper at JoAnn's on Saturday. It was $5 for 6 sheets and I had a handy 40% off coupon so it was a great deal. Sadly, the children lost interest pretty quickly as I made the mistake of letting on to them how much I wanted them to color on the "special" paper. Yesterday my sister said I should just have them out on the table, ready to go, so they can do one whenever they like and I think that is a brilliant idea.

Anyways, here is one from each of them. I love them. They bake up in about 4 minutes.
Actual size of mine...the original piece of paper was about 4x bigger. (I used a pint glass to trace my circles)
Here is the laptop on the kitchen table...this makes me very happy!
An old cardboard nativity I found at the dig this summer. I love it.
And just a couple shots of the living room. I didn't put nearly all my decorations up this year but am feeling happy with what we do have. I especially like this corner because for months it was piled high with my sewing stuff. The shelves are still full of my stuff but the rest of it is packed away downstairs for the time being.
and the other side of the room:

other good stuff:

-I get to go get my hair cut tonight.
-Late yesterday afternoon I was laying face down on my bed (taking a moment, not thinking of ending it all) when Ruby came in and crawled up next to me. She patted my head and asked if I was praying. I wasn't but she made me realize that I should have been. Thanks for that little reminder, Lord.
-James is back at school today. His eyes stayed puffy most of the day but the hives only came back once and only in the crook of his elbow. He was clear again this morning (eyes, too) so I'm hoping he has a non-itchy day at school.
-Only 8 more days until we head up to Duluth for Christmas! I am really excited to see my family and friends and looking forward to visiting some of our favorite spots. I am really looking forward to all the time with Patrick. xoxo

Alright, gots to go. xoxo

my first anonymous email

I got an email from an anonymous reader last week who was concerned about me. They were bothered by the "disrespectful" post I wrote about my mother and were wondering if maybe I was depressed again as I get so upset with Ruby all the time. (referring to what I wrote in that same post that was about my mom, which when I now reread it, still sounds like my usual self to me)

Well, how kind. I think signed emails are a little easier to take seriously than anonymous ones but I do think that the part about my mom might have confused some. See, she left a funny comment on one of my posts gushing about my dad wondering where all her love was. So I replied to her, sarcastically, as we tend to do. I think most of you know how much I adore my mother. She is awesome and I have nothing but mad love for the old bag. :) See? We're just like that...we like to make each other laugh.

The part about Ruby, well, all I can say is welcome to reality. Sometimes I think harsh things about my children and sometimes I share them here if I happen to post in that moment of anger or frustration or whatever. This is my blog and I want it to be an honest reminder for me of my life. I am struggling with Ruby right now in a few ways, and sometimes I get really mad at her, but I am also trying to remind myself that this is typical kid stuff and it too shall pass. At 3.5 James liked to throw things, hit me on occasion, never stayed in his room when he was told...sounds fun, right? Ruby shows her anger and frustration in different ways that are physically harder on me because they are so LOUD. (she shrieks at James, and her cry is piercing to say the least...and she cries A LOT when she's frustrated.) And it's usually in the late afternoon when James is home and I am on the tail end of my patience. And I easily will give her a consequence for screaming at me or James but her emotional crying is harder to deal with...can you punish a child for showing their emotions? I need her to learn other ways to deal with that frustration but it's not as easy as it sounds. So, yes, it's a challenge and yes, I do get very mad at her sometimes but really, there's no need to worry about me. If I need meds I will get them. If I wake up some morning without seeing the fresh start ahead of us, that's when I'll be concerned about myself. And please, use your name next time. I normally wouldn't even address this but the email wasn't totally nasty and I thought it might be something that more of you had wondered about me.

Do you all think I'm a psycho b*tch?? Yikes. I hope I don't come across that way. I'm only that way sometimes, promise. :)

I have all this fun stuff to post about but I can't tack it on to the end of this business. I'll start fresh I do each morning. xoxo

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas goodies

This year I decided to make a trio of goodies to give to some of the people on our list. I made this caramel corn, this peppermint bark*, and of course, these pretzel turtles**.
I got these paper lunch bags at Target, (40 for 1.92...brown ones are just as cute but I was feeling wild this year) filled them up and sewed them shut. Ready to be delivered!
And because I like when other people do is my "behind the scenes" shot.

Magic like this doesn't just happen, folks. ;) heehee

Any recipes you want to share?

*I also added a bottom layer of melted milk chocolate chips and added 1/2 t peppermint extract to each layer

**I always drizzle these with melted white chocolate and sprinkle...they look a lot more festive that way


high tech, kind of

WEll, after YEARS of waiting, Patrick finally has our wireless connection up and running. Yes, I am at the kitchen table with a lap top! How odd. Of course, it's an old lap top and my pictures just crashed the system so no pics right now. I'm too lazy to go up stairs. :)

My weekend was very nice. I hope yours was. Was it?

Patrick encouraged me to take some time to myself on Saturday and I did. I had called our babysitter earlier in the week and she never returned my call (bye, bye, girl!) so I spent the first hour I was gone kind of sad and missing Patrick. I always like to have at least one date with him at this time of year...just to sit together and enjoy the busy-ness around us. sniffle. my bunny. Anyways, I decided to have lunch at Pizza Hut (olive garden was packed) and it was very nice and cheered me up. The pasta dish I tried was not very good but I had a nice sunny spot, a nice waitress, and cute kids that were not loud or my own around me to eavesdrop on. I sat there and very nearly finished my Christmas cards after I ate my lunch. I hit Kohl's (a zoo!), 2 thrift stores (scored big!), Target (I am so sick of Target), was a good day after all. I got everything checked off my list and that felt GOOD.

That night James woke up at 1am with hives covering his body. They were everywhere. Patrick said he had given them a bubble bath with some kids Method shampoo/body wash we've been using and we figured that must have been it. ?? He hadn't eaten anything else different at all. So he gave him a shower, I slathered him in Eucerin and gave him a dose of Benadryl, and he was off to bed again. (with us, of course.

Yesterday the hives came and went all day. My friend and I had to finish shopping for the birthday party next weekend (James & Zach are sharing a party) so James stayed and played with Zach while we were gone. They played outside and I think the sweating in his snow clothes was not good for his poor skin. He looked HORRIBLE last night when he went to bed. I had gotten hydro-cortisone for him and that just made it worse.

He woke up this morning with a clear body, which was unbelievable, but a swollen face? I kept him home today for observation and am waiting for our allergist to call back. I gave him Benadryl again but his eyes are still puffy. How odd.

Anyways, that's it for now. An update, nothing more. :) Have a good Monday and don't stress out because Christmas is next week. Just let some stuff really feels good. :) xoxo

Friday, December 11, 2009

my mother is amazing, too

Hey you guys! I never told you about how when my mom was here at Thanksgiving she spent one whole morning cleaning our disgusting refrigerator! She did! And even though she slacked off on the microwave this time, we totally forgave her because the fridge was such a mess. And then she fell down my stairs Monday morning, making this horrible noise when she landed, a noise I will never be able to fully erase from my mom-ory, and the first thing I thought was, "She's staying longer." HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA. And it wasn't a negative thought, just the realization that I'd have to keep talking to someone all day long.

And then, 38 years ago, she gave birth to me!! She did! She is pretty creative and likes to start lots of projects but doesn't usually finish them. Luckily, she finished me (and my brother and sister!) and look how I turned out! My mom sure can grow those kids. (and push them out of her vagina, as she likes to remind us.)

So, while my Dad might make lots of things that last forever, my mom does, too! Well, maybe not forever, but I'm hoping to hit 90.

Thanks, MOM!!!!!! (okay, dear readers, lets hear some MOM love so she will pipe down a little.)

The picture above is just from this morning. Ruby is a rolo-unwrapping pro. For reals. And the morning was nice but now she is making me S-I-C-K.

And all that crap I like to say about slacking off on my parenting?? What a load. No, 3 year olds are hard. James almost killed me when he was 3 and Ruby? Ruby is even MORE 3 than he was if that's possible. So add her three-ness to my pregnant-ness and OH MY GOD.

And I feel guilty saying that because lots of times she is my little ray of ruby with the softest bum in the world but, well, lots of times SHE ISN'T.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

milk free egg free sugar cookies

I made these tasty little cookies yesterday afternoon. The recipe is actually a recipe for Thumbprint cookies but I know my kids wouldn't dig the jammy center so I rolled them into balls and pressed them flat with a sugared drinking glass. I baked one sheet for 8 minutes which gave me a very soft (but not mushy) cookie once set and one sheet for 10 minutes which gave me a crispier edge with a still soft center. My family liked both and at press time there are only 4 left. I plan on making another batch of these (they are super quick and easy) for them to frost and sprinkle and skip the cut outs altogether this year.

Here's the recipe:

  • 1 cup dairy free margarine, softened
  • 2/3 cup white sugar, plus extra for dipping your glass in
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract & 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or use all vanilla)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and white sugar until smooth. Mix in extracts. Mix in flour until dough comes together. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Dip drinking glass in sugar and press down on each ball to flatten until approximately 1/4" thick.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Let cool 1 minute on the cookie sheet.
If you want to make the original thumbprint cookies, the recipe is here.


the beautiful aftermath

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good morning

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009


He added a fireplace. Of course he did. It's perfect, no?

I wish I had the energy to gather up photos of all the creative stuff my Dad has made over the years...a lot of it is in my own house. Even more in my memory...from the gift wrapped in carpet Baby Beans doll I got for my first birthday to the carpeted walls in our basement (and his van!) to the pieced together Thunderbird logo rug to the soldered metal art to the multitudes of Thunderbirds & Amphicars & one-of-a-kind vehicles he's Dad can do anything. And he does it all beautifully. xoxoxo

(James is hollering for cereal or I'd come up with more...they are right on the tip of my brain!)

snow day


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