Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hella' Fun!!

I stole this photo from my friend, Tammy's blog. She won't mind. She's cool like that. Guess where these 4 fun men were headed this fine evening. You'll never guess. They were going to see Def Leppard, Poison, and Cheap Trick in concert. Tammy got the tickets for Greg for Father's Day. See. Cool like that. Can you say ROCK ON?!?!

Now guess what their fun, attractive wives did in their absence. You'll never guess. We attended the adult session of Stake Conference. (We went to church for those of you who don't speak "Mormon lingo".) That's right, baby. Can you say RIGHTEOUS?!?!

And here I sit, in the wee hours of the morning waiting for him to come home. Wondering how many skanky women he ogled, how many bras he saw, how deaf he'll be tomorrow morning. Good times! (Thanks Tammy.)

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Aha!

Puppies CAN, in fact, be Ferber-ized!! The past couple of nights have been almost blissful. Maybe I'm a dog-whisperer. Ceaser Milan, watch your back . . .

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hey, You -- You With the Face! I Don't Want Any of This Tonight!

That's right, Cassie. I'm talking to you. No more of this sleep-all-day-cry-all-night routine. OK?

Quick update on the dog situation: She's fantastic -- hardly ever barks, loves us to a fault. Better than we could have ever hoped for. But the sleeping. Ah, sleeping. I think I can almost remember what it was like to mostly sleep through the night. This doesn't seem to be her strong suit . . . yet. I thought maybe we were lucky enough that she would take to sleeping with Sis right away. Turns out that was, in fact, beginner's luck. I'm so glad that she feels comfortable in our home now. Really, I am. But the late night wandering is too much for me to take. She's back in the crate and none too thrilled about it. It is taking me back to the days of my eldest's infancy. (NO, not because we kept her in a crate at night.) Last night, so desperate was I for sleep, I began to implement the Ferber method on my dog. I let her cry for five minutes before going in and settling her down. Then ten. Then somewhere in the 15 minute stretch she FELL ASLEEP!! For an hour. Then we began again. Yes, I know she's a dog not a baby! It's just that I only know babies. Call me crazy, but that was the best night of sleep we've had so far. I'm desperate here, more for my family than myself. They all have busy days ahead of them. They all need sleep. And, at the end of the day, I need Cassie to be the best puppy ever to prove the rightness of my "inspiration" that brought her into our home.

Still, it warms my heart to see her cuddle up next to one of us while we watch TV. And to watch D carry her, slung over his shoulder like a human baby, showing her all the things in our home she should be impressed with. Ah! And this feisty little pit bull mix just lets him do it, as patient as the day is long. There's some real love there. It's truly a beautiful friendship.


(Thanks to my nephew, Kyle, for the title of this post. At our family reunion in Vegas this summer he would point at Brent and say that every night. Why? Not important when you're laughing as hard as I was.)

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

We all have a few little things that we do occasionally for enjoyment or relaxation. Things that we would be hard pressed to fess up to in a crowd. Things like:
  • going back to bed and sleeping til 11:00 after the fam leaves the house in the morning.
  • iCarly on Nickelodeon
  • Toddlers & Tiaras on TLC
  • texting flirtatiously with my husband
  • convenience store nachos
I don't care. I mean those things aren't necessarily MY guilty pleasures . . . necessarily. Whatever. We all have them. We all do, right?

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fine . . . My Weight is a Multi-Dimensional Issue

I love to bake. LOVE it. Like, Luh-uh-uh-uh-uhv it. Whatever. I am who I am. Really, it's just Sunday (after church, hello) and Monday (Family Night). That's not so bad, right? I think my family would mutiny if I tried to mandate a total boycott of baked goods. Anyway, this weekend I concocted some deliciousness that begs to be shared. Enjoy!

Home Made Oreo Cakesters


1 box devils food cake mix
1/3 C. water
1/4 C. softened butter
1 egg
1 can cream cheese or vanilla frosting

Preheat oven to 350*. Mix first four ingredients at medium speed for 1 minute. (Dough will be stiff.) Drop dough by heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. Allow to cool. Make cookie sandwiches by spreading a thick layer of frosting in between two cookies.

Mini Doughnut Cupcakes


1 C. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 package yellow cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare mix
1 Tbsp. ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease and flour 48 mini muffin cups. DO NOT use paper liners. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Prepare cake mix according to package directions, adding nutmeg. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake about 12 minutes or until light brown and toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from pan. Roll warm cupcakes in cinnamon-sugar until completely coated. serve warm.

So, I ate all this crap (not as much as I could have), but I did not have any soda yesterday. Small victories.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

The End of an Era --OR-- To All the Drinks I've Loved Before,

Coke, my love, this isn't easy for me. Dr. Pepper, you better listen, too. And you Mountain Dew and Pepsi (even though you're just my booty-call when Coke isn't available.)

Trust me, it's not you. It's me. OK, maybe it's you a little. You're no good for me. We can't continue this self-destructive little dance. You were always there when I need you, sure. Hot summer day? There. Afternoon drags? There. The Breakfast of Champions? It's you. All you. In my moments of deepest need you were my bubbly, glistening beacon of hope. You got me through my twenties and early thirties -- the all-nighters studying for finals, the days with sleepless infants, the half-marathon. You once seemed to be all I would ever need.

But I'm on to you. You are the reason I am fat. Don't deny it. Oh, you talk a good game, playing with my taste buds like you do, but underneath it all you're evil. You're loaded with empty calories and regret. Trolling around with drinks like you is fine for younger women, but I've grown. It's time that I found "The One". Something that will support me in my goals. That will make me feel better about myself. Something I can stick with for the long haul. That's right. Water.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. Water is so boring. So . . . . . . boring. I know. I've flirted with water before and always come back to you, but this time is different. This is for good. Listen, it's not like I'll forget the good times. You'll have a little place in my heart forever. When I see you in the grocery store my pulse will always quicken. When I see another girl enjoying you're company I'll salivate just a little. You'll always be my favorite, but I've made my choice. Have a nice life. And don't be hatin' when I get all thin and sassy with water. That's just the way things go.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Missed the Party and I'll Cry if I Want To . . .

I've been sick. Like, sicker than I've been in years sick. Like, swine flu sick. (OK, maybe that was over the top.) Coughing, achy, stuffy head, fever sick. So sick that my dear husband thought it best if I didn't go camping with the rest of the fam and all our friends from church this weekend. Really, he was right. Staying home was best. But I can't help it if I feel sad. Sad to the bones that I missed the crawdads. Sad that I missed the hiking and creek wading.

Sad that I missed the two hour drive into the mountains in the rain followed by the miraculous clearing of the skies over the camping area. Sad that I missed staying up until one in the morning chatting with friends while the children played around the campfire. Sad that I missed the french toast breakfast and the dutch oven cook-off at lunch. Just so very sad.

I blamed it on being sick and overly tired, but I think my "poor me, I've been left out" sadness is at fault for the crying jag I've been on all afternoon. I don't like to miss the good stuff. Really don't like it. Especially when it's so very good. Thanks everyone involved with planning this camp-out. I hear it was a real blast. Next year

I'm there--

no matter what!

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Calling Myself Out

If you've read my blog for with any regularity you know that I struggle with my weight. I do. I've never been a "skinny-minny". At my best, I'm athletically built. Dense. I weigh more than I look like I do. At my best. Right now . . . not at the top of my game . . . I look every bit of my actual weight. (You thought I was going to say the number, didn't you? Nuh, uh,uh.) It's an all-time high for me. Even nine months pregnant with my third child I was 20 pounds lighter than I am today. I've outgrown my wedding rings. Whatever. It is what it is. I can't change what I've done. But I can change what I'm doing now. No excuses. I eat too much and I don't work out. I've done the math. I don't need to feel sorry for myself. (I don't.) I don't need a competition or a silly "diet". (They don't work for me.) You see, at the end of the day it's not my size that troubles me, per se. It's the fact that I'm not being proactive about my health. What I need is some accountability. So, I'm telling you.

I'm committing right now to work out 6 days a week. I'm committing now to trade in my beloved Coke for water. But also, I'm committing to feel good about myself no matter what the number on the scale says. Please all, as my friends, don't allow me to whine to you about not liking my body or being "fat" and "lazy". Don't shower me with undeserved sympathy and kindness when I skip workouts, because I will try to let you do that. Don't talk me into believing that the status quo is good enough. It's not. (And if you see my husband please tell him the rules, too, since he may not read this.) I hope I'll lose a little weight, but maybe not. At least I'll be doing something. And rest assured, I'll post again to let you know how it's going.

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Best Left to the Pros . . . Hmmmph!

So . . . you may have noticed a few changes in the looks of my little blog here lately. It all started when I wanted to add a signature to my posts at the bottom. I googled. I followed a tutorial. I altered html code. Voila! Signature. Spurred on by that success, I followed an awesome tutorial on kevinandamanda.com to add the cute new font for my post headers. Altered more html code. Easy cheesy. Then I wanted to make my comments stand out from your lovely comments (which I LOVE to get . . . ). Googled, followed tutorial, googled again and kept changing the code until it looked how I wanted. No big. Well, last night I decided I wanted three columns in my footer so I could put three pictures side by side down there. I found a tutorial and started reading. In the first paragraph it said in BOLD LETTERS , "Altering html code is risky and is best not attempted by amateurs." (Or something to that effect.) WHATEVER!!!!! I've turned that Minima template inside out and backwards and I'm just a lowly mom/interior designer. I guess I didn't think about the way I was taking my blog's life in my hands each and every time I opened the "Edit html" tab. I would have been devastated had I killed it with my experimentation. But I didn't. Yeah me! Throwing caution to the wind seems to be a theme around here lately.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Throwing Caution to the Wind

I promise this blog is not going to turn into "Adventures in Puppy Training". Just one last post . . .

None of us could bear another night like Monday night. It was MISERABLE. Cassie even seemed to know that she had done us wrong and was working overtime yesterday to make up for it. Only 2 accidents in the house all day, both the liquid variety and both directly in front of the door. She was a good baby. Anyway, last night I had a crazy thought. If Cass likes Sis so much, why can't they just sleep together. In Sis's bed. Sans crate. The risk was inherent-- would she wander around in the night, laughing on the inside as she left her particular brand of presents for us to deal with when we awoke? Would she gift Sis right there in the bed? Who knew? But Sis is always game for an adventure. I tucked the girls in bed at 8:30 and heard not a peep until we got them up at 6:15 this morning. Even through the construction that was going on in the kitchen until 10:30. (My pantry . . . I'll post about that when it's done.) No accidents. Just sweet, peaceful slumber all around. Beginner's Luck? True Love? Whatever. I'll take it.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Call off the dogs, Sassy!

This morning was not fun. No one even tried to be kind or respectful. The sass was rampant. It was rough. Cassie the dog cried ALL NIGHT LONG. I'm not kidding. All night. Not one of us could sleep. At 3:30 I decided to go talk her down from her hysteria. It worked. As long as I laid right there next to her crate. So I did. But she didn't sleep. Nope. Just sat there watching me sleep. Punk. She's curled up on her favorite spot on the floor snoozing away. NOW. Now, while we are all plodding through our busy day bleary eyed and grumpy, she sleeps? Grrrrrrrrr . . . .

On a pleasant dog note, look at what I found:
Same brand I use for my hair!! Nothing but the best for my puppy. It smells delicious. My puppy may be a punk, but she's not going to stink. Wait, OUR puppy. Right.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oh. My. Yummy. --OR-- Why I Am Fat

So . . . I've been baking again and guess what? It's recipe time!!! This weekend I made two delightful pies and twice baked potatoes for a friendly gathering. No photos. No. I was too busy eating. As always, you'll never make anything easier.


Fresh Strawberry Pie

Oatmeal Crust:
1/2 C. butter
3/4 C. flour
1 C. rolled oats
1/2 C. chopped nuts
1/4 C. sugar

Preheat oven to 400*. Melt butter and stir in next four ingredients. Mix well and pat into a 9" pie pan. Bake 12 min. or until golden brown. Cool.

Strawberry Filling:
4 to 5 C. whole strawberries, cleaned
1 C. water
1 C. sugar
4 Tbsp. corn starch
1 small package sugar free strawberry jello

Place cleaned and dried strawberries in cooled pie crust. Stack until nice and full. Combine sugar and cornstarch in saucepan and mix. Add water and cook until thickened and slightly clear. Add jello powder into thickened mixture until dissolved. While warm, slowly drizzle the filling over strawberries until berries are covered. Refrigerate until set. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Pie

Crust:
1 1/2 C. flour
3/4 C. soft margarine
3/4 C. chopped nuts (or oatmeal if your family doesn't like nuts)
1/4 C. sugar

Combine all ingredients and press into 9" pie pan. Bake at 375* for 15 minutes. Cool completely.

Layer 1:
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 C. powdered sugar
1 C. cool whip

Mix and spread in bottom of cooled crust. (Friend Tammy suggested adding this layer to the strawberry pie. Can you even imagine the goodness?)

Layer 2:
1 lg. package instant chocolate pudding

Follow directions on package for pies. Pour on top of cream cheese mixture and chill
Top with remaining cool whip and serve.

Twice Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes
Milk
Butter
Sour Cream
Crumbled bacon
Shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese

Bake potatoes. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out centers. Mash potato insides with butter, milk and sour cream. Stir in bacon and cheese (as much as you like). Spoon back into potato skins and bake at 350* until golden brown on top. This is such a no-brainer you don't have to measure anything. You can't go wrong.

P.S.

Day two with dog: More poop and pee on my floor than I could ever have anticipated. Still the loveliest dog you'll ever meet. In the words of my Ri, "Only a jerk wouldn't love Cassie."

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

"Remember those walls I built? Baby, they're tumbling down. . . "

(Beyonce fans in the house?) Anyhoo . . . I caved. Big time. I caved and I'm not the least bit ashamed of it. We are, as of an hour ago, the proud owners of a cattle dog / staffordshire terrier mix named Cassie. And she's a lovely little puppy. Truly, I'm head over heels for her. Every bit as much as the children are.


This is how our week went: We found out about the sale at Halo Animal Rescue. We discussed. We decided we're not ready for a dog. I couldn't shake the thought that we needed a dog. We discussed again and, again, decided we're not ready. But the decision just wasn't sitting right with me. Weird because I'm NOT an animal person. Never have been. Never planned to be. But guess who is an animal person. My daughter. My sweet daughter who has felt so lonely for the past year or so because of all the "friend' issues she's had at school. My dear daughter who I have prayed over repeatedly, begging the Lord to bless her with one true friend. And, while a dog would not fill that void for me, it's just what she needs. SHE was ready for this. Brent and I discussed again this morning and realized WE needed to sacrifice our wants for her best interest. It's what parents do, right?

When I told Sis about our decision and our reason for making it, she sobbed. At that moment, all my apprehension dissolved in her pool of tears. This was RIGHT. We drove out to Halo, waited in a mile-long line in the heat, prayed the dog we wanted would be available when we got inside, cried when said dog came out on another woman's leash, and rejoiced when they showed us her litter mate. She LOVES Sis. She LOVES us all. She LOVES to be loved. It's like she was born to be OUR dog.Like I said, I'm head over heels in love. Brent will come around.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Givers

Some people would just about give you the shirts off their backs. I'd like to think I am one of those people, but we all know that I am not. (But I'm working on it . . . ) I have several friends who I know I can count on all the time. For anything. At all. They'd come bail me out of jail at two a.m. if I needed it. I never have, I'm just saying. In the past twenty-four hours I have been really touched by a few unexpected "givers". First, yesterday morning my Visiting Teaching companion gave me a wheat grinder. Out of the blue. Just like that. And not her old wheat grinder because she had gotten a newer, better one for herself. No. Brand new, in the box. (You should know that the LDS people believe strongly in being prepared for a rainy day and having some food stored up in case of emergency.) She said she just felt "inspired" to give it to me and she wouldn't even consider letting me pay her for it despite my pleas. How could she have known that I have cases and cases of wheat and I've been fretting lately about finding a good, affordable grinder?! And even if she had known THAT, how could she possibly be kind enough to just give one to me?! I can hardly fathom it.

Then, last night as I was skulking around strangers' blogs, I came across kevinandamanda.com. There you can download hundreds of free fonts. It was like I had found Nirvana. I LOVE fonts like I love chocolate. Maybe more. And they take samples of handwriting from people and turn them into customized fonts. FOR FREE!! I have been coveting the software that does that ever since I saw it in SkyMall Magazine years ago. Do you know how much time they must spend doing that kindness for random strangers?! Or how much money they could be making for those services if they wanted to?! It boggles the mind. Also, they have tutorials galore, recipes and all sorts of other fun stuff. I don't know these people. I probably never will, but I had the greatest day thanks to them.

Some people just do better than they have to. They don't get caught up in the competitive nature of our society. The "What's in it for me?" or the "I can only be worthwhile if I have more than you" mentality. They're givers. I want to be just like them when I grow up.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

GO!!!

Oh, what a beautiful morning!! The sun is shining. The birds are chirping. The children have been safely (and happily) deposited in their classrooms. And I am heading out to a 9:30 Pilates class with my friend Tammy before Lunch Bunch at Benihana. I like the way my day is shaping up so far!


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Friday, August 7, 2009

Ready. Set.

  • Meet with school nurse and district nurse about diabetes care plan for #2: check
  • Talk to administrator about changing schedule for #1: check
  • Meet (and like) teachers: check, check
  • Buy $100 worth of school supplies: check
  • Get vaccinations for #1: check
  • Threaten #3 with his life if he meets the new assistant principal this year: check

Backpacks are packed. First day outfits are laid out. It's official. We're ready to go back to school. Not just ready. REEEEAAAADY!!!

PS. Since when do elementary schoolers need flash drives?! Back when I was in 2nd grade we only had one computer. For the WHOLE SCHOOL. And we didn't get to touch it. We watched the grown ups touch it. What a brave new world we have here.


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Thursday, August 6, 2009

What Are the Chances?

How is it possible that the little girl who made Sis so miserable in school last year is in EVERY SINGLE ONE of her classes this year?! What have we done to deserve this great big karmic kick in the pants? Oi!!! Here's to one more year of "being the bigger person". (Unless we can get her schedule changed. Which we are trying so desperately to do.)

DISCLAIMER: I don't usually go to such lengths. I truly believe in being flexible, going with the flow, and, honestly, being the bigger person. We've NEVER asked for a schedule change. EVER. But if my child doesn't have an advocate in her parents, who can she turn to? And I don't think any of us can bear a repeat of last year. Wish us luck.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Back to Business

Alright. Enough shameless begging for attention. Back to the chaos at hand. My baby D is a certified nut. I swear to you. He and his cousins got to watching ghost videos on YouTube whilst their mamas were chit chatting downstairs last week in Vegas. They must have been some real doozies because I now have to sit right outside the bathroom door while he "accomplishes his missions". Or just be OK with the door being wide open. He cries himself to sleep every night. Even after he says a prayer. And I say a prayer for him. It's a little ridiculous. Monday night Brent lost his temper (it was his turn -- he'd been patient the night before) and sternly told D to go back to bed and sleep. Through his sobs, D yells down, "I caaaaaan't!! You don't get it! You haven't seen the things that I've seen!!!!" Ummmmmm . . . it's not like the kid was in Nam. Does it make me a bad mom to laugh out loud in my child's moment of deepest despair. Because I may or my not have, depending on your answer.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Was It Something I Said?

I am most sincerely apologetic for whatever I've done. Listen folks, I GET passive-aggressive. I do. But this silent treatment?! C'mon. No comments?! Not a one? Really?! It's like I'm talking to my children. Or my husband . . . Do I have to break down in tears? Or tap dance? Because

. . . Hello, my baby. Hello, my darling. (Shuffle ball-change and . . . jazz hands) . . .
OK, I jest. But I do love you all. And a comment or two might be nice. I'm just sayin'.

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Do You Need a Good Chuckle

Yep. That's my baby girl. We laugh and laugh every time this photo comes up in the photo screen saver rotation. Enjoy!

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

All Good Things Must Come to an End

There were good eats,

fun games,

and an iPhone.

There was grandpa,
(complete with the book and the diet Dew. Even in the midst of riotous game play and rowdy conversation.)

and the foster kittens,

(such sweet kittens)

and the essential Canuck.

Cousins aplenty,




and "bromance" galore.

(such sweet bromance)

One week spending time with mom and dad, grandma and grandpa Great, almost all my adult siblings and the complete array of nieces and nephews. Move over Marie Osmond, this is priceless.


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