Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The unoffical theme of Christmas: Balls

Balls are an essential (and perhaps under-appreciated) part of Christmas.  There's the colorful balls you hang on the tree.  The balls made of snow that you get to throw at unsuspecting and unprepared family members.  And the balls that make their appearances at holiday parties: cheese balls, meatballs, rum balls...

But I have for you today, my friends, the best holiday balls of all: Oreo Balls.  I'm not sure where this recipe originated, though I'm sure someone claims credit (and, to whoever that person might be, I am not at all greatly apologetic for not giving you your due).  My sister taught me to make them years ago; her roommate showed get the idea.

This recipe contains three ingredients.  That's right, THREE. It also requires no measuring.  And, these tasty little buggers blow people away every time I bring them to a party.  Though, when I bring them to a party, I usually try to class it up a little bit and call them something like "Oreo truffles" or "Oreo cheesecake bites."

The truth is...they're balls.  Cheap, easy, fast.  But, oh, so delicious.  (And, also, perfect for any time of year.  Though if I allowed myself to make them year-round, they would be a staple in my diet, and my waist would not thank me.)

Here's what you need: Oreos, cream cheese, and almond bark (you buy it in the same place you buy the chocolate chips).  If you want to get fancy, you can also buy white chocolate almond bark for decorating.

Put the whole package of Oreos in a bowl and mash them up.  I used a potato masher (mostly because it made for a better picture than a spoon).  They can still be pretty chunky...the goal is just to not have any whole cookies left.

Next, add a whole block of cream cheese.

Then, mix the cookies and the cream cheese with a hand mixer.  At first, you're going to say, "What the heck is she talking about?!? This was a terrible idea! There's no way the hand mixer is going to do anything except cause cookie bits and cream cheese to fly about my kitchen!!"  But, keep going.  Eventually, they will combine.  I promise.  Also, you should have used a bigger bowl (I make this mistake every time, and don't realize it until I am at this step).

You'll know you're done when you have this horrid looking brown goo.  It's ok if there are still some chunks of cookie, as long as they're not THAT big.
Now, you take the brown goo and roll it into balls the size of walnuts.  Roughly.  I put mine on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.

Now, put them in the freezer for an hour or two.  (Full disclosure: I never do this because I'm usually running late and don't have the time to do this before I'm supposed to be at the party.  It works fine anyway.)

After the balls get nice and hard (in the freezer...what did you think I was talking about??), melt some almond bark in a bowl.  I usually use six cubes at once, and melt it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, so that I don't scorch the chocolate.  Lesson learned the hard way.

Dip each ball in the chocolate, coating it thoroughly (or mostly).  I use two forks to finagle the chocolate-coated ball onto a new sheet of wax paper to dry without messing up too much of the chocolate shell.

I'm not very careful about how I dip the balls, so they usually end up with these goofy little wingy things attached to the bottoms.  I just break those off once they're dry.  And voila - nice looking Oreo balls.

You could stop here, unless you want to be the super-impressive, over-achieving potluck attendee whose food contribution puts everyone else to shame (of course!). 

 In that case, melt some white chocolate almond bark, and put it in a plastic baggie with the tip of the corner cut off. (Don't melt the chocolate in the baggie....again, lesson learned the hard way).

Drizzle and swirl to your heart's content to pretty up your balls.  When you're done, you'll be so sad that the drizzling is ending, that you'll want to doodle smiley faces and write "I love you" in chocolate on your wax paper.  What's that?  That's just me?   So be it...

Once they dry, put them on a pretty platter, and you're done!  Now eat one.  Seriously.  You won't regret it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Special Special is ready to go

Each morning, I wake up and instead of lounging lazily, snuggling with my baby, we rush out of bed and into the bathroom. (And here I thought potty training would make my life easier...) Even before he's done peeing, it starts: "Go, go go! Toot, toot! Go, go, go!"

He's incessant.  He pushes on my legs, leans his whole 25 pound mass against me, and urges me, "Go, go, go!"  He isn't satisfied until I've set up all three of his train tracks, and put the appropriate battery-powered engine on each track.  Then, he sits back and sighs in relief because all is right with the world. 

For the next twelve hours, those little engines will chug around their tracks dutifully.  Throughout the day, he'll go back to them and play for a bit, then he'll wander off.  But if I dare to turn them off, even for a few minutes, he's right back at it, "Go, go, go!  Toot, toot!"

I made the unfortunate mistake of buying a "Talking Thomas" train engine the other day.  Now, the soundtrack of my day consists of, "I'm Thomas, the number one blue engine!" and "Cinders and ashes!"  Then there's this one: "My Special Special is ready to go!"

Perhaps if I'd ever watched Thomas the Tank Engine, I would know why he says such a thing.  But I haven't, and I don't.  Instead, I can only wonder what on earth a "Special Special" is.  And, it could be that I'm slowly losing my mind as a result of the never-ending train noises in my house (or as a result of the anxiety attacks I feel coming on hourly as a result of my completely unresponsive real estate agent...but that's a story for another day), but every time I hear, "My Special Special is ready to go," I can't help but hear some kind of weird, sexual innuendo.  But, on the bright side, it makes me giggle every time!

P.S. Sorry for my long absence, friends.  Life has gotten the best of me these past few weeks, but I'm back.  Hopefully for good!

P.P.S. Thanks to aforementioned trains, we now go through four batteries a day.  A day!  I'll give you one guess what the only thing on my list for Santa will be this year...

Monday, November 7, 2011

My initiation into motherhood

Last night, I became acquainted with the last of the bodily fluids parents have to deal with: vomit.  It took me totally by surprise because I'd basically already given myself a pass on this one.  You see, I thought spit-up counted.  Oh, was I wrong.

Spit-up, in retrospect, is kind of cute and endearing compared to actual vomit.  Actual vomit that coats your baby's crib, the floor, your sheets, your duvet, your shirt, your pants, and your socks all in one shot.  Actual vomit that has a stench that lingers through the entire night no matter how much you try to clean.  Actual vomit that has remnants of what your child has last eaten, and those things are string cheese and olives, not breastmilk and more breastmilk. Actual vomit that I was left to try to clean up myself with a shaking, puke-covered toddler clinging to my chest because my husband was out of town for work.

Suffice it to say, last night was a long one in the Spaghetti household. And today will be filled with load after load of laundry followed by a hot shower as I try to erase this memory for all of us

But, I feel like my induction into this club called motherhood has been fully completed with this last round of hazing.  Sure, there will be plenty of surprises to come, but dealing with bodily fluids won't be among those surprises.

Please tell me I'm right about that, won't you?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The only good thing about snow in October

I am proud to bring you the much-awaited video!  See, I told you the fourth time would be the charm.  Sadly, I don't know that this video was actually worth waiting for.  I mean, it's cute and all, but don't be disappointed if you're...well....disappointed.

The thing is, once I'd failed to upload the video THREE times, it was more a matter of principle than a matter of thinking you really needed to see this video. Alas, here it is.

I've decided there is only one good thing about snow in the first week of October.  And this is it:

Friday, October 14, 2011

What I'm doing when I'm not blogging

If you haven't noticed, I've been kind of quiet on the ol' blog recently.  So, if you're still here, thanks for sticking around!

I wish I could tell you that I was off sky diving or exploring remote caves in South America or something while I wasn't blogging.  I even wish that I could tell you that I was just too busy cooking, cleaning, and taking care of my family to have time to blog.  At least that would be a good excuse.

You want to know what I was really doing, though, while not blogging?  Watching soap operas.  And drinking Salted Caramel Mochas. But mostly watching soap operas.

When I was a kid and got to stay home sick from school, I used to dread daytime TV between 12:00 and 3:00 p.m. because there was nothing on but soap operas.  Now, I wish I could reclaim all those years that I was missing out.  In fact, I've decided that one of the greatest things about being a stay-at-home mom is that the best soap opera (I'm talking about none other than General Hospital) happens to coincide with nap time.  Seriously, smart move, ABC. 

It's not that the acting is particularly wonderful or that the story lines are even remotely believable, but I think that's what makes them so great.  I also think that the people who write these things have to be geniuses because I hadn't watched a soap opera in nearly two years, but as soon as I started again, I knew exactly what was going on.  It was like I hadn't missed any episodes at all. 

I've also decided that my blog would be WAY more interesting if my life were a soap opera.  I could write things like, "OMG, guys!  I totally found out today from my third cousin's telepathic dog that my neighbor's baby isn't her husband's.  In fact, her husband isn't even her husband!  He's a serial murderer who had plastic surgery to look like her husband and then took his place.  And, to top it all off, he's my brother who I never knew existed!  But I can't tell anyone!  I don't want him to go to prison; he's family after all!"  Soap-opera Me apparently uses an excessive number of exclamation marks...

Alas, all  I have to tell you about is my utter failure as a youtube user.  You see, I have this super cute video I was going to share with you, but I can't for the life of me upload it.

The first time I tried to upload it, I fell asleep, and the computer battery died.  The second time I tried to upload it, I got bored half way through and decided to check my personal email (which is also a gmail account), but by signing into that email, I signed out of the youtube account where I was uploading the video and didn't realize it until several hours later when I went to post the video and it had been stopped in the middle.  Then, I uploaded the video for a third time.  Success!  Except that I hadn't signed out of my personal google account, which meant I'd uploaded the video to the wrong account.

Fourth time will be the charm.  Soon.  I promise. 

P.S. For all those who asked about my little's a Mint floor cleaner.  Mine's the basic model, but I love him all the same.  He sweeps and mops, but doesn't vaccuum (which is ok by me since I have no carpeted rooms in my house).  But I would recommend this guy as an addition to your Christmas list if you hate mopping as much as I do.  And, I'm in no way affiliated with the company, other than that I own one of their products, which I purchased myself.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Who doesn't need more robots?

If I doled out love and affection based on who contributed the most around the house, my baby would have to fight pretty hard for a position on my lap. And my husband would have to say sayonara to cuddling in bed because he’d have to move to the guest room.

Who would take their places you ask? This guy:

My Mint Floor Sweeper. That’s right. I might even say that he does more work around the house than I do. When I go out for a cup of coffee, he’s diligently chasing dust bunnies. As I am sitting on the floor building block castles for my toddler to knock down, he’s busy cleaning up the cheerios from breakfast. Long after I go to sleep at night, he’s mopping away so there will be shiny floors waiting for me when I wake up.

The best part is he’s always cheerful about his work. There’s no whining or complaining or procrastinating. He tackles each job with a happy little tune and a series of dancing blue lights. It’s like he’s having a little party for himself each time I tell him to clean the floor. If only my husband reacted the same way when I gave him orders…

When I got my little Mint sweeper, my mother was pretty skeptical. “I just don’t see how a machine is going to clean as well as you would.” Now, let’s be clear that she meant a general “you” not a specific “me.” Anyone who knows how well I clean would never doubt that a machine would do a better job. After all, some cleaning is better than no cleaning.

Anyway, “It can’t possible clean as thoroughly as a human,” she contended. And you know what I said? “Mom, I bet people said the same thing about washing machines and dishwashers when they first came out, but I don’t see you hand-washing your underwear.”

As it turns out, the Mint doesn't just do an ok job; he does a fantastic job.  My floors are cleaner - not just because I clean more often with the Mint, but because it cleans without leaving streaks.  This is something I NEVER managed to do when I cleaned the floor myself.  

I figure if there’s a machine to do my work for me, I’d be crazy not to let it. And since he never expects any affection in return, it’s really a win-win situation. Now, if only I could get my toddler to understand that hugging and kissing the floor cleaning robot is not necessary - and is in fact detrimental to his ability to do his job - we’d be in business.

*Full disclosure: I was not paid in any way to write this post, nor did I receive this product free to review. (I wish!)  I really just like it that much.*

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I anticipated gray hair, but I never thought my kid would make me bald

Some kids have blankies while others have teddy bears.  Mine has hair.  Specifically, my hair, though he'll also accept his Grandmother or Aunt's hair when he has to.

Little Spaghetti has fiddled with my hair for as long as I can remember.  I even chopped off my long, beautiful hair into a short mom haircut when he was four months old or so (something I SWORE I'd never do) in an effort to get him to stop playing with it.

There was even a brief time when his love of hair focused specifically on my eyelashes and I wondered whether I'd ever find a mascara to cover up massive chunks of missing lashes.

This week, I finally got to the point where I couldn't take the hair holding any more.  You see, I have gotten my little guy to sleep in his own bed (woot! that's a huge accomplishment.  I'm just sayin').  He'd stay there until about 4 am, at which point I let him get into bed with me.

Each day,  his hair addiction was getting worse and worse.  It got to the point that he started spending three hours each morning just rubbing, twirling, and pulling my hair, but not actually sleeping.  Then, it would culminate around 7 each morning with him wrapping his entire arm in my hair, followed by his foot.  As he wound more of my hair around more of his body, he - without fail - would end up laying on top of my head.

So I  cut him off. Ok, that's a lie.  I found a surrogate.  My mom had this doll that used to be mine.  She has hair.  Lots of it.  And he doesn't seem to mind the switch.  See?

Nothing more peaceful than a sleeping baby

In the morning, though, this is what we get.

Someone had a rough night!
She looks how I used to feel.  Luckily, I don't feel that way any more.  But I do spend thirty minutes combing out this doll's hair each day so that it doesn't become a total disaster.

Though, with the amount of hair she loses each time I brush it, I'm afraid she's going to be bald by his second birthday... Although, at least it won't be me!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This is the proudest moment of my motherhood

There were a lot of things I didn't expect before I had a baby...locking myself in the bathroom to get a little peace, having someone rip out my eyelashes, being plagued by sleep crawling.  But what happened today has been the biggest surprise of all.  The joy  I feel at this very second has been so unexpected that I must record it for all posterity.

This is the proudest moment of my motherhood so far.  It kicks the pants off of rolling over and walking.  I am actually quite shocked that this milestone is not listed in every baby book on the market.  Heaven knows it should be.

Today, friends, is the day my son learned how to blow his nose.  Like actually move air forcefully enough through his nostrils to cause boogers to come out of them. 

It was a beautiful moment; I wish you could have been there.  As he was getting out of the bath tonight, I held up a tissue to his sweet little nose, and said, "blow."  Dutifully, he blew.  But much to both of our surprises, stuff came out.  A lot of gross, green chunky stuff.

He looked at me with wide eyes, then smiled and proceeded to blow over and over and over again.  I almost cried.

This is a skill I have been wishing he would learn pretty much since the day he was born.  You see, I find boogers to be the grossest of all the substances that come out of an infant.  So gross that the only time I've found something gross enough as a mother to gag, it was a booger.

But today, with great pride, I can retire the trusty little green snot sucker that has been the bane of my existence for 18 months.  You've served us well, ol' bulb syringe.  Now, put your feet up, have a beer, and relax.  You definitely deserve a vacation.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I bet you didn't know I was a poet!

Do you ever get so busy that you feel like you don't even have time to think?  That's been my life lately. 

As I sit here typing, there are toys strewn about my house, there is a load of wet laundry just waiting to grow mold in the washing machine, and there's a half gallon of milk that's been sitting out too many hours for it to be safe to drink any more. 

So, I'm going to share a poem I wrote several months ago.  I don't share my poetry's mostly a private enterprise.  But I like writing it.  Hopefully you like reading it.

Also, I should note that I am the kind of poet who only knows how to write one kind of poetry - the kind that rhymes.  I know there are other kinds, and I have nothing against them.  But I don't write them.  So, you'll have to put up with my obsessive need to rhyme.

Just after the baby falls asleep

I've never known a stillness
like the quiet in a mother's home
just after a baby falls asleep
and she finds herself alone.

Her ears still ring with the sound
of a baby's little hand
pounding on the coffee table
like the proudest drummer in a band.

Echoes of tiny giggles settle
like a dusting of snow on the ground,
and shouts from a mouth of toothless grins
fade to a new peace found.

The suddenness with which it comes
makes this quiet quite a shock:
as if the world forgot to spin,
and time stands still on the clock.    

It is in these moments of deafening silence
before my mind turns to laundry piled
that I worry most – and wonder most –
what this life will hold for you, child.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mommy Fail #141: Taking my toddler to a sports bar

I generally try not to take my baby to places that aren't really for kids.  But sometimes, I don't have a choice.  Like a couple nights ago: we got busy, and then had to run to a friend's house who is in the middle of serious renovations.  Before we knew it, it was 8 p.m. and nobody had eaten.  So our friend suggested the place that's right down the street from his house, which happens to be a sports bar right across from the local university.

I was a little surprised to see that they had high chairs, especially considering that all of the tables in the entire place were bar height with stools.

Little Spaghetti wasn't too thrilled with his short seat, but I found it very convenient to just be able to push him under the table when the server came with the food.  That way I didn't have to worry about hot food getting spilled on him.

Don't worry: I took him out of there to eat dinner.  I'm not THAT mean.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My laundry utopia

I mentioned a little while ago that I was up to my elbows in taupe paint because I was remodeling my laundry room (I may have referred to the shade of paint as "u-taupe-ia," if you can believe that).  Anyway, I want to share with you the fruits of my labor.

As a (mostly) stay-at-home mom, I get to play pretend a lot.  I pretend to be a teacher, a maid, a gardener...But my favorite thing to pretend to be is an interior decorator.  Though, a handyman comes in close second.  You see, I've had LOTS of practice at those two jobs since we've basically renovated our entire house since we bought it just over a year ago.  For proof, check out the time I transformed the "bruise wall" into a magical sunroom retreat.

Back to the laundry room: it was old and horribly gross, but I knew a couple cans of paint and some new floors would fix it right up.  Take a look!

The wood laminate flooring is a huge upgrade from the cheesy linoleum that was supposed to look like bricks.  And was suspiciously missing a piece so you could see the subfloor.

The cabinets were updated with a fresh coat of white paint.  And the handles that did not match with each other at all were replaced with handles that were all the same.

I love how it turned out!  Now I have my own personal laundry utopia.

And, the best, most awesome part of this whole remodel?  Making my own stainless steel countertops.

Did you even know there was such a thing as stainles steel paint?? Or someone crazy enough to paint it on their counters?  Oh, yes, I did.

But, to see the details (and the stunning results) of my countertop transformation, you're gonna have to check out my guest post at Momma Bird.  Hope you enjoy! (And say hi to Michelle while you're there.  She's awesome.  And crafty.  And reads stories on video.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why are you offended by my GPS?

I have a GPS.  And I use it.  Not to get to the grocery store down the block or my son's pediatrician, but if I'm going to a shop I've never been to or an office in a different part of town, you better believe that thing's up and running.

Especially when I'm out of town, I have a tendency to program every destination into my GPS when I'm the driver.  Lately, I've noticed a trend that I find quite confusing among my friends and family: there are a lot of people who seem to be offended by the GPS.  They sit in the passenger seat, sneer at the pretty little black screen a few times, and then say something like,

"Wow, that's a really stupid way to go.  I NEVER would have told you to go that way," or

"You could have just asked me, I knew where this place was all along," or

"I know my voice might not be as charming as your British robot's voice, but I can give directions."

They act like I'm insulting their knowledge and expertise just by using my turn-by-turn navigation.  Like I don't trust them to get me where I need to go.  Frankly, I just don't get why it's such a big ego blow for me not to ask for directions.  

Perhaps I don't understand it because I like to chat with people as I drive, and I'd rather just let the conversation flow than have to ask every three seconds, "Am I supposed to still be going straight?" or "Am I in the right lane?  No, I know I'm in the left lane.  I didn't mean the right lane, I meant the correct lane."

Or maybe it's because almost every time I'm responsible for giving directions, I get too busy jabbing away at the driver and we end up going two miles past our on-ramp before I declare, "Oh crap! I should have had you turn a while back.  I guess we'll be taking the scenic route."

All I know is that I like my GPS.  And I don't plan on giving it up any time soon.  So, should you ever be in the position where you need to ride with me and I type in the address to your house when we get in the car, just let it go.  If you're nice, I'll even let you change it to the sexy Australian girl's voice instead of the British guy.  Cheerio!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Can you explain something to me?

Would you believe that me winning Blogger Idol was not a good enough reason for my son to stop the obnoxious habit he's developed of finger-painting whatever happens to be for dinner on the table? Then when I told him he better get with the program and learn to use the big boy potty or I'd put my people in touch with his people and the results would not be good, he smiled at me and peed on the floor. Finally, I had to come to grips with the fact that this new-found stardom was not going to be my personal easy button when I woke up at six this morning with a 25-pound toddler sleeping on my head.  On top of my head.

So, it turns out that it's back to real life for me. And I'll be the first to admit that there are just as many things I don't know now as there were four days ago.  I'm hoping some of you have the answers to life's deep questions, though.

First, there's Katy Perry's new song: "Last Friday Night."  It's not the song itself that I take issue with, just a couple lines.  You see, she says, "Think we kissed but I forgot," but just a few lines later, "Then had a ménage à trois."  My question is this: how do you remember a threesome, but not a kiss?

Next up we have drivers (particularly those from the great state of California) that drive in the left lane.  All the time.  Even when there are no other cars for miles except me driving behind them, wanting to pass (in the left lane like the law says).  Are they actually unaware that they are supposed to drive in the right lane?  Or are they just being jerks?  Or is there some joke that I'm not cool enough to know about?

Last but not least, how does Mother Nature know exactly when I'm getting sick of my summer wardrobe?  This morning, the temperature had dropped about 25 degrees, the smell of fall was in the air, and I got to bust out my sweaters that I'd just started fantasizing about.  The timing could not have been more impeccable.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Can I say thank you again or will you stop reading my blog?

I'm going to keep this short and sweet because I've been so nervous that I haven't eaten in three days, so I'm desperate for a sandwich right now.  Between this and the cotton candy, I think I might have a marketable diet plan on my hands here.

Anyway...It's official, folks!  The Spaghetti Westerner is the 2011 Blogger Idol (and, it just so happens, the first Blogger Idol ever!)  Woot!!

You can watch the official announcement video here.  It's long, but there's some super funny vlogs from the other contestants included, and it's worth a watch if you've got the time.

I really and truly mean it when I say that I could not have done it without the support from all of you.  I'm not just trying to give some cheesy speech where I pretend like I care about everyone who needs to be thanked...I honestly just really DO care about everyone who DESERVES to be thanked.  And that's all of you. So, thank you. I want to give a special shout out to The Mommy In Law, who called me after I watched the video because she figured I'd be alone (I was) and want someone to celebrate with (I did)!  How awesome is that?

I'd love to be able to give back to any of you that I can, so let me know if there's a way I can help or down the road. And, in the spirit of giving back, if you have a few minutes to spare, check out this post.  The organizer of Blogger Idol is helping a family in Pennsylvania who lost everything in a flood a couple days ago, and I wanted to help spread the word!

And now, I'm getting a sandwich.  But, I promise to be back (and to actually have the brain capacity to write on my own blog now that Blogger Idol is over!)

Oh yeah, did I mention: THANK YOU!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

If I were a hooker, would I be worth more than $25?

There's at least one person in this world who doesn't think so, but I'm not going to tell you any more about that. If you want the whole story, you're going to have to go read my post on Blogger Idol this week.  And don't forget to vote for me while you're there!

You ready for more shameless begging?  To be honest, I'm surprised nobody took me up on my offer to pluck their great aunt's eyebrows from last week.  I promise I'm a whiz with the right pair of tweezers!

Seriously, though, I am honored and humbled to have made it to the FINALE of Blogger Idol.  I am one of just TWO contestants left standing, and I know with 100% certainty that I wouldn't have made it here without you guys.  Thank  you.  I am not joking when I say that I want you to let me know if there's any way I can ever help you in return.

So, one more time...will you please vote for me?  And share the link with your friends, your neighbors, your secretary, your dog (hey, his vote counts too as long as he has his own Iphone).  You can vote once per device per browser (laptop, cell phone, ipod, desktop, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer...the combinations are endless!)  Make sure you vote in both polls.  And polls close at midnight on Thursday, central time.

If you're curious what I had to write about this week, I've got great news for you!  I had to write on two topics.  First, I had to write a letter to my future  blogger self.  One judge said it was totally uninspiring and only good for "mommy bloggers."  Do you agree?

Then, I got to pick whatever topic I wanted.  I chose to write the highlights of my dating history (like the guy who offered me the $25...).  There's also a picture of me in my dance costume from the fourth grade.  If that's not enough to get you to read it, I don't know what is!

And, finally, because I'm trying to think about something other than Blogger Idol...Have you ever grown potatoes in the garden?  This was my first year, and I loved it!  I got to dig in the mud for treasures like a kid yesterday to find all the pretty little potatoes buried deep in the dirt.  I've come to the conclusion that potatoes are the most satisfying of all plants to harvest.  Look at these little beauties!  Now what should I do with them??

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mommy Fail #132: Using the dryer

I let my son wear Crocs.  I know that some people consider that a fail in itself, but it's not the one I'm going to address today.  No, the story I'm going to share today involves a pair of shoes my son will never wear again.

He had this adorable pair of orange Crocs, but they started getting quite dirty.  Someone told me that I could run them through a cold wash, and they'd clean right up.  Being the kind of person who avoids work at all costs, it sounded like a great idea.

And it was, they came out all squeaky clean.  Well, one did at least.  The other was wrapped somewhere in the king size sheets I'd washed it with.  I decided to just run the dryer for a minute to see if the missing shoe would come loose instead of digging around in the damp, twisted sheets (did you catch the part about me avoiding work at all costs?).

Except...I forgot to turn the dryer off after just a couple of minutes.  Instead, the poor little shoe went through an entire dry cycle.  This was the result.

That's no camera trick.  One shoe is significantly smaller than the other.

Well, at least I can hope I save someone else from the same mistake.  Learn from my fail: don't put your Crocs in the dryer!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

You probably think this post is about you...

First, thanks to everyone for your support this week: I made it to the top two in Blogger Idol!  Next week is the finale, and it's going to be an intense showdown between me and Justin from Daddy Knows Less.

Now, onto the good stuff.  This post is a follow up to a post from a few weeks back called, "Nevada, why are you so vain?"  (Hence the  title...come on, sing it with me!)

I think I might be a little loopy from the paint fumes.  You'll have to bear with me.  You see, I decided that now would be a good time to remodel my laundry room.  Perhaps I really have been going through withdrawals since I'm no longer party planning.

For the paint in the laundry room, I went with a color called "perfect taupe." But the longer I spent in that tiny room painting, the more I started thinking that if you're going to declare a color to be the perfect shade of taupe, you really ought to call it "U-taupe-ia."

Get it?  Where's my 17-month old to crack up at my corny jokes when I need him...

Sleeping, that's where he is.  Which is where I should be, so I'm going to stop talking and get on with the vanity license plates.  I'll catch you on the flip side!  And by flip side I mean tomorrow...not the afterlife.  Just so we're clear.

Spiteful wife or obedient husband?
Well, I suppose you do.
See, now some people do know how to be clever...
I can't think of anything classier, actually.
I might have believed you were British...if you weren't driving a Geo Tracker.
Just goes to show that no matter what regulations the Nevada DMV
puts in place, people will still find ways to have X-rated license plates.
Do you have any good photos of vanity license plates to share?  Send them to me, and I just may feature them in my next edition of the license plate game!

Photos courtesy of my good friend Dan.  Thanks, Dan!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Get on the horn!

A few weeks ago when we took our road trip to southern California, my husband and I were discussing our plans for the evening.  We were driving to meet some relatives, and I told him we'd be having dinner with them,but that we hadn't made specific plans yet.  To which he responded, "Well, get on the horn! Find out what the plan is because I'm starving."

"Aye aye, captain!"  I said, all the while thinking, "really? Who in the heck says something like 'get on the horn?'"

But! I am now giving you the same call to action: get on the horn!  But by horn I mean computer.  I know, I'm not using the phrase correctly at all, but give me a break, huh?

And why should you get on the horn?  To help this girl get to the finale of Blogger Idol, that's why.  I really need your help this week.  Like really really really need your help.  So I'm begging you (because I'm not ashamed to beg), pretty please won't you vote for me (voting has closed. Thanks for your support!)?  I'll walk your dog or mow your lawn or pluck your great aunt's eyebrows...just vote!*  I'd also never say no if you offered to blog about it or ask your facebook/twitter followers/entire office staff to vote either. 

This week, I had to give an election speech of sorts, so if you need more convincing about why you should vote for me, read this.

Don't forget to floss! See, good hygiene starts early. 
Actually, I think he just likes the minty-ness of the floss.
Finally, I'll leave you with a few random thoughts and a cute picture because my nerves are so frazzled right now from worrying about whether or not I'm going to be the next Blogger Idol, I'm lucky I can put together a sentence, no less a paragraph.

-I think it's a bad sign when you order your morning coffee, and the Starbucks chick says, "With an extra shot of espresso, right?"  Is that the nice way of telling me I look like I need a nap?

-Is it just me or is "get on the horn" a really weird expression?  Do you use it?  Do you know where it came from?  I should probably ask my husband...I'm sure he'd have its origin filed away with all the other useless facts he knows.

-I think my son was trying to tell me something this morning: while I was getting ready, he started putting my dirty clothes in the trash can.  Maybe mommy needs a new wardrobe.

-I have this probably insane desire to go buy finger paints for my 17-month old because it seems like he'd have a lot of fun with them.  Can you talk me out of the disaster that will surely come of this if I go through with it?

*Offers only valid if you live within a 30 minute drive from me.  Or if you want to pay for my plane ticket.   Either way.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dear Recession, Go home!

I'm not exactly sure where “home” is for a recession. The 1930s? The Weimar Republic? It doesn't really matter as long as it's anywhere but here.

I don't know if anyone's told you this, but you're not really wanted here. Haven't you heard that saying? Fish and house guests stink after three days. Well, it's been way longer than three days, and you've more than worn out your welcome.

I mean, it might have *seemed* like we were inviting you with all of our out-of-control spending, our insanely inflated housing bubble, and our eternal optimism of perpetual growth. Truth is, your name definitely wasn't on the list for this soiree. And you know what that makes you? A party crasher.

And not the fun kind of party crasher who starts a late-night, drunken karaoke competition, professes his love for everyone at the table, and proceeds to pass out in the bushes. No, you're the kind that shows up, drinks all the free booze leaving everyone else sober, insults the party hostess by calling her a fat cow, and gets the cops called for disorderly behavior.

Speaking of etiquette, didn't anyone ever tell you that if you're going to crash a party, you should at least bring a present? And by present I don't mean pink slips, foreclosure notices, and plummeting 401k valuations. Those kind of presents are about as popular as a savings bond at a five year old's birthday party, but without the promise that “in twenty years this will be worth 50 dollars even though I only paid $25!”

I think it's clear we're all pretty sick and tired of your shenanigans. You can feel free to pack your belongings and get out of town. Or, actually, leave your belongings because I know someone who might need to sell them at a yard sale next week to make the mortgage payment.


How about you; what would you say?  Feel free to add your own p.s.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dr. Seuss Party: Revealed!

First off, I need to say thank you again for your support with Blogger Idol.  I am officially in the top three.  The TOP THREE, people!

I will need all the help and support I can get next week: vote for me, pimp  me out on your blog or Twitter, pass me a bottle of tums as I watch the elimination video on Friday (I swear I'm going to have an ulcer by the time this is over).

I'm so proud to have made it so far, but even more proud of YOU, my awesome readers and friends who have gotten me here.

Alright, I've talked and talked (and whined) about this party, and now it's over and I don't know what to do with my spare time. So, in an effort to make the glory last a little longer, I bring you at long last: the Dr. Seuss baby shower.

My dear friend is having twins, which is something I can say that I never hope to experience.   But, to help her celebrate (and prepare), I threw a Thing 1 and Thing 2 shower.

Overall, I think it came out really well.  Minus a few mishaps like letting all the cotton candy melt in my car.    It was a fun day, and she looked radiant, as any woman growing two babies should.

We had a photo guest book.  Everyone wrote messages to the mom or babies, then we took their photo with some cool props: an old frame I'd painted to match, a boa, a Cat-in-the-Hat hat.  I'm going to put the pictures all in a book for my friend to have record of all the attendees.

I LOVE decorating with paper lanterns. They make a big impact in any space. And they look pretty Dr. Seuss-y.

Because I was throwing this shower in the home of a person I'd never met four hours from where I live, I didn't want to show up and put nail holes in her walls and ceiling to hang up the lanterns.  So, I filled some big vases with glass beads, and used those as the base to support some garden stakes I picked up from the dollar store. These were the perfect way to hang the lanterns quickly, easily, and without permanent damage.

I hung Thing 1 and Thing 2 onesies with these fun, giant clothespins I found at the craft store at Easter time. I dyed plain ol' white onesies red with Rit dye, then printed out and ironed on the decals.

This is the only picture I managed to get of the custom water bottles I worked so hard on!

I cut red and white circles of various sizes out of craft foam, and used them to decorate all of the tables and flat spaces I could find.

Wow, that's a lot of presents!
We played a few traditional games like Guess How Big The Pregnant Lady's Belly Is.  Isn't she cute?

And we had a few "passive" games, like this one, where people had to guess the number of jelly beans in this jar that I made to look like the Cat-in-the-Hat hat.  How many jelly beans would you guess?

And then, there was the food.  The food was my favorite part of this shower; I had so much fun with it.

Brown bar-ba-loots Truffla Fruits from
The Lorax
Poodles Eating Noodles from Fox in Socks
Macaroni Salad
No Seuss party is complete without Green Eggs and Ham
Green deviled eggs and ham cream cheese roll-ups
Homemade Yertle the Caramel Turtles

Spinach Dip
My favorite shower food:
Swedish fish

Hop on Pop(corn)
Cinnamon and sugar popcorn
Yot in a Pot - saucy pineapple meatballs
from There's a Wocket in my Pocket

Fox in Socks Three Cheese Trees: Colby Jack, Swiss, and Cheddar
Yink Pink Ink Drink (raspberry lemonade)
from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
A crumb that was even too small for a mouse from How the Grinch Stole Christmas
because even baby showers can have a sense of humor
 And the crowning achievement of the party: Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes - red velvet cake, cream cheese frosting, and blue cotton candy hair on top.

And finally, me!  Enjoying myself putting the hair on the cupcakes.  Notice the Dr. Seuss apron.  I made it myself!