My 3 Monsters: September 2009

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Hotter'n Hades

I love living in Arizona. When we moved here from Orange County 8 years ago, I didn't expect that. It's charms were not overwhelmingly or immediately evident to me. But now you'd be hard pressed to get me to leave. We've acclimated to the heat. Really. I'm just used to being sweaty now. The thing I will NEVER get used to, however, is the LENGTH of the summer. The fact that consistent triple digit temps last from May to November. I'm dying here!! I hope every year that we'll be down to the 80's by my birthday -- two and a half weeks from now. It's really all I want.


Bless You, Amish People

My youngest brother once said, "If I weren't Mormon, I almost definitely would . . . not . . . be Amish. But they make some pretty good food." True, bro. True. I'm sure many of you have tried Amish Friendship Bread. The starter makes it's way around my group of acquaintances every couple of years. It's delicious. My sister gave me a starter this summer which I promptly left atop the toaster oven and killed. Boo. My sister also introduced us to Amish Baked Oatmeal. It's a lovely dish that tastes much like half-baked oatmeal cookies. We smother it in sliced fresh peaches and warm milk and it's positively heavenly. You should try it.

Amish Baked Oatmeal

3 C. oatmeal
1 C. sugar
1 C. milk
1/2 C. melted butter
2 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
warm milk
fresh fruit (optional)
brown sugar (optional)

Combine first 8 ingredients and mix well. Spread evenly in a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Immediately spoon into bowls and add warm milk. Top with fresh fruit and/or brown sugar if desired. (Oh, you will desire!)

You may think you don't like oatmeal, but think again. You don't know nothin' until you've tasted this.


The Best 65 Dollars I Ever Spent . . .

Remember this? I absolutely LOVE hearing it's sweet strains wafting through our home every morning and afternoon when Sis is practicing. I don't know a heck of a lot about music (more the dancing type, myself) but I think she is a natural. She's received perfect marks on her playing tests so far. Sure, it's only "Hot Cross Buns" or "Good King Wenceslas", but it is truly lovely. I can only hope our future ventures into music training will go as smoothly.


When I Was A Young'un . . .

Things I Can Remember Living Without:

the internet
heck, home computers
cell phones
microwave ovens
cd players
cookie dough ice cream

To name but a few. And I'm not even very old. Crazy!!!


Wishful Thinking . . .


Oh, how I would love to go shopping right now. I'm in the mood to dump EVERYTHING I currently own and start again from scratch. Closet, furniture and all. Whatever. A girl can daydream a little every time Anthropologie comes out with a new catalog.


Why, I Never!

This is how our dog sleeps much of the time. Am I right to be a little taken aback by it? I mean, it's odd, right?


Tutu Cute

I have been looking at this blast from Sis's past and missing the days when she could just run around in a tutu and it was cute rather than . . . odd. Oh, she would still wear a tutu today. In fact, I have some big plans for her Christmas dress, but it will have to be a scaled down version. And Christmas is so very far away! Luckily we have a friend who is turning two tomorrow. And so, voila:

I LOVE IT!! The pink and black. The zebra. The flower. The sheer volume of it all!! It's so lovely and voluminous that it stands all on it's own. I can't wait to give it to her. And because we don't do anything halfway, Sis made her the accompanying bling:

Happy Birthday, Delia!! (It's my secret hope that MY Baby D will grow up and marry this baby D someday. We'll see . . . )



As promised, I am going public with my health-kick progress and . . . . drumroll . . . I have lost 9 pounds!!! Here's the kicker: I've not had a drop of soda. In THREE WEEKS!!! I've actually really tried to avoid any drinks with calories and/or flavor. Not lemonade. (OK, twice.) Not even Crystal Light. I just had to go cold turkey. I feel really fantastic. I think I'm more in tune with what my body needs. I've learned that, quite often, when I thought I was hungry I was really just thirsty. For water. Who knew?!

Sadly, I've not done as well getting to the gym. I'm averaging twice a week. Boo. Rob, maybe it's time for one of those verbally abusive phone calls you promised. I've just over-committed my mornings and if I don't get to the gym before I put my hair and make-up in order, it's not gonna' happen. So I'm renewing my commitment to exercise. Yesterday I went to my first cycle/spin class, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was not easy and my bum is so very sore, but I'll go again later this week. Mark my words.


What've I Done to Deserve This?

Overheard yesterday morning: The boys in their room "getting ready for church". (Yeah, right.)
Ri: Come and get me!
D: I can't beat you up right now because Mom said not to.
Really, he didn't ask, but that was a lucky guess.

After church: The whole family meets in our designated meeting spot. No one has seen D. Brent leaves to make the rounds and look for him. A minute later D saunters out, hands in pockets, cool as a cucumber.
Me: Did Dad find you?
D: (with a wink) Nope. I found myself.

Oy Vey!!! I love my kids. I truly do.


And So the Destruction Begins . . .

Cassie's a puppy. She doesn't know better. She's so stinkin' cute and getting angry won't bring my shoes back. I just didn't really think about this aspect of puppy training when I made the decision to buy my children a puppy. Guess we need to move the shoe basket that always been a fixture next to our front door.

It's fine. I've had these shoes for years. Since my sister Kelly's wedding. But I'm going to miss them. A Lot.


What a Coup!

My friend, Kristine, is awesome. She is the mother of eleven ('nuff said, right), musician extraordinaire, well-read, and creative. She got tired of her kids going to Taco Bell and stealing sauce packets to use at home. When TB wouldn't sell her a case of sauce packets, she created her own knock-off. It's absolutely delicious. Put it in a bean burrito with refried beans and a little chopped onion and cheese and you'll never be able to tell the difference between homemade and the real thing. Really, I'm as excited about this as I've been in a while. She shared the recipe with us at Super Saturday today and I'll share it with you.

Taco Bell Mild Sauce

2 tsp. cornstarch
4 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. sugar

To dry ingredients add:
1 small can tomato paste
3 C. water
3 Tbsp. vinegar

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Sure, Taco Bell bean burritos are cheap, but I seem to crave them at the most inopportune times . . . Sunday afternoons, for instance. And, let's be honest, who isn't looking to save even a few pennies these days. Enjoy!


More Paintin' Goin' On.

So . . . this project was a quickie this weekend. I was hired to repaint a part of an existing mural so it's not my usual style. I don't love it, but it's fine. Whatever. Notice a familiar face sliding down the slide? My kids got a kick out of Cassie in this mural. It's silly.


Were They Raised in a Barn?!

Um, no. No they were not. So, why does my children's bathroom look like this? This is the result of a week's worth of grooming. One week since the last deep cleaning of this room. Maybe you can't understand my horror. Let me take you on a tour . . .

Half a tube of toothpaste spit in the sink. Unrinsed. Toothbrushes lain willy-nilly.

Tub still full of water from last night's baths . . . maybe the night before. Look really close and you'll see the chunks of an entire bottle of conditioner dumped in there. That's not the first time I've seen that mess. Nor the last, probably. Notice I've closed the toilet lid. You're welcome. There are also dirty clothes covering the entirety of the floor, rendering the bath mat useless.

Oh please, Calgon, Brent, Mommy, anyone -- take me away! This mess did present me with the opportunity to try out my new home-made bathroom cleaner. It was fantastic! Give it a shot. If it can clean my kids' bathroom, it can clean anything.

Home-made Bathroom Cleaner

2 C. hot water
1/2 C. vinegar
1/2 tsp. antibacterial dish soap
1 tsp. Borax

Mix all ingredients in a squirt bottle and go to town on your bathroom.


My Two Cents

I'm baffled by all the fuss over President Obama's speech to the children of America today. Seriously. My children sure as hell went to school today and listened to that speech, and here's why: HE'S THE PRESIDENT OF OUR COUNTRY! Now, to be fair, I didn't vote for the guy. I don't think he's done anything (yet?) to deserve the "savior" status his fans have given him (and he seems OK with claiming -- or at least tolerating) . I don't think our country is any better off now because of the "change" he went on and on about during the campaign. Maybe we haven't seen his best tricks yet. At the end of the day, that's not what this is about. He is our leader, like it our not. That's the beauty of democracy -- we all get our say. Some of us are always going to pleased with who wins and the rest are not. But when all is said and done, ideally, we pull together and make the best of what we got. Like him or not, we (the voting public) have entrusted him with a huge responsibility. The task of making this great country of ours the best it can be. My children attend fabulous schools. PUBLIC schools. FOR FREE! If the President of the United States wants them to sit for ten minutes and listen to a message he has prepared, they're darn well gonna' sit and listen. Because we respect our leaders. "But what if we don't agree with what he has to say?" "What if he's brainwashing our children to be the good little socialists he knows they can be?" I've read all the crap. Guess what! It's our responsibility as PARENTS to watch the speech ourselves and . . . here's the kicker . . . TALK ABOUT IT with our children. Here's what my youngest child remembered of it: "It was BOOOOORRRRRING!!! There was a story about a awesome guy, but I don't remember what he did." Sounds like whatever devious scheme the President may have had really worked well. I'm offended on the President's behalf that we don't trust him to speak to our kids. That we raised such a ruckus about all this that he had to publish his speech ahead of time for our approval. It's a little ridiculous to me. Whatever. America is all about Freedom -- freedom to choose what we want our children to be exposed to, I guess. I just feel like there's a lot of misplaced anger here. Why don't we, the parents of America's youth, band together and take on MTV, the entire entertainment industry, or media in general for brainwashing our precious children into being sex- obsessed, disrespectful punks?! Anyone in? OK, thanks for listening. Soapbox being put away now.


Me plus Yoga equal . . .

A swing and a miss. Went to my first (and last) yoga class Tuesday night. I went. I tried. I don't know.


"Stay-Home" Mom

I always laugh a little bit on the inside when I tell someone I'm a "stay-home" mom. Equally humorous to me is the simple explanation, "I don't work". I used that one just today. For a "stay-home" person, I don't spend so much time in my home. Don't get me wrong, there are days -- like last Friday when I watched an entire season of Project Runway on Bravo from my couch in my PJ's -- when stay-home is an apt description. But then there are days like today. My dear husband didn't wake me up when the alarm went off because I had been up until 12:30 the night before working on a project. Sweet of him. Except for the fact that I needed to be at Sis's school by 7:45 to put up a giant calendar that I had designed and crafted. (One of the ongoing projects I have volunteered for this year.) I woke myself at 7:00 and hit the ground running. Made it to school by a little after 8:00 and worked on the calendar until 9:15, at which time I sprinted to the nurse's office to help with hearing and vision screening for an hour. Finished with that, I ran home, picked up a banana cream brownie pie I made the night before for the sister I visit teach -- it's her birthday today. Visited for an hour, then stopped back by my house to pick up another two pies (one for the other girl we visit, one for my companion) on my way to our second appointment. We visited for another hour and then I ran home to meet my kids. They get out of school early on Wednesdays. Then it was cleaning, making phone calls, checking e-mail, figuring out dinner. Lots of days end up like this.

Even when I do stay home, I still feel like I work pretty hard. Whatever. I probably wouldn't have it any other way. Except maybe I'd have someone clean my bathrooms for me, in a perfect world. I am profoundly grateful for this little old life of mine. It's a really good one. My husband works hard so that I can "stay home" and "not work". And so that I don't have a boss telling me not to sleep on the job. Because I squeeze in a nap almost every day, with no apologies.


Guess Who . . .

. . . did "surgery" on this dog last night. Uh huh. Moi! Yours truly. I removed the stitches from her spaying all by my own self. Because I'm a Bad A@#, too! And mostly because I wasn't about to spend more than I paid for that sweet little doggie in the first place to have someone else do it. Whatever. I sew . . . poorly. I've picked out a stitch or two in my day. Never from a canine abdomen, I grant you. But I googled it. It's all good. I saved the day. Yep. Little old me.

PS . . .

Her beautiful black fur is turning brown. :( Is that normal?! I am not pleased. Black and white with a red collar matches my home. Brown, not so much. Good thing she's a sweetie. She can stay.

We're SOOOOO . . . Cool?

Take a look at that last picture I posted. Yeah, the one before the Def Leppard concert. I didn't notice late Saturday night -- in fact not until one of those fine gentlemen pointed it out himself -- that, while the two in the middle are flashing the "rock on" hand sign, the men on either end of the line are kindly saying that they love you in sign language. Awwwww. That's so cute.

Now. Lest you think that both of those middle boys are so "Bad A"(because I KNOW that's what you were thinking . . .), let me tell you that the taller one, the one who is not so much my husband, made all the men drive by his house before they left so he could kiss his wife goodbye, having forgotten to do so before he left originally. Nice. My husband, upon leaving for the evening, took all the cash out of my wallet and blew me a kiss from the door. So, yeah. I married the only TRUE Bad A@# in the bunch. Yeah me!

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