Monday, October 13, 2008

Hello Again!, Chicken Soup & Glue Ghosts

I am sorry I've gone missing. I have missed you dearly.
I get so crazy in strong waves of what I want to do. Sometimes I am all about blogging and chronicalling my existence almost breathe by breathe. Other times I just go and go and go for over a month without really thinking about how the time has passed. I am not sure if it has to do with Mom being sick and being so cognizant for so long and needing to break free and live again like no one is sick for hope's sake. But, for whatever reason, here I am now.

Now that is turning to fall, I am all about soups, chowders & stews. I tried a new Tyler Florence recipe tonight for Chicken Noodle Soup that I came across in a family magazine put out by Scholastic, called Parent & Child. I somehow got a free subscription to it which is an added bonus. Knowing cold/virus season already seems to be setting upon us, I thought this is a nice easy, handy recipe to keep at the ready...great to make for a sick friend/family member or just good for a comfort food night.

Chicken Noodle Soup-- (This is a good base recipe. Makes a nice traditional mild flavored homemade tasting soup...without all the sodium of canned, but could easily be spiced up to add much more flavor.)

1 store bought roast chicken
2 qts. cold water
2 carrots, cut into circles
3 ribs celery, roughly chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/4 bunch fresh thyme
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 c dried pasta noodles ( I used penne & loved it).
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 bunch fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1. Place whole chicken in stockpot. Add enough water to just cover chicken.
2.Add carrots, celery, thyme, onion & garlic. Place over med heat & slowly bring to boil. Simmer for 25 minutes. Remove chicken and shred meat.
3. Season shredded meat with salt & pepper. Put back in pot. Add pasta.
4. Gently boil pasta until cooked, add lemon juice & parsley. Serve! Makes 4-6 servings.

Also, looking for a super quick and easy for all ages Halloween craft?
How about Glue Ghosts?
We made ours in a jiffy after preschool today.
What you need:
Wax paper (ours was recycled from another craft. pardon our wrinkles.)
White school glue
Googly eyes

Spread out wax paper. Squeeze glue onto paper to create a ghost shape. Decorate with googly eyes (and any other adornments you might like). Allow to dry over night. Peel off wax paper, punch a hole through and hang at your window or in a tree outside!

And last but not least for those of you who have been following along with my mom's progress, here's an update:
Mom (Bev) completed her 7 weeks of radiation therapy. She, with her oncologists, decided that chemotherapy was not best for her concurrently, so she has not taken it yet. She is feeling good, all things considered. They did do a CT scan last week and found that there look to be new nodules (what spots on the lungs are called when under 1 cm in size) in both lungs. They can't tell if it is more cancer. She is scheduled for a PET scan on December 3. So, until then, we are just living life and praying and hoping. She so loves her cards & everything sent her way. Your kindness and love means the world to her & me both. Oops. I think that may be bad grammar. Sorry. :-)
Much love to you all!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Facebook, anyone?

So, I finally cracked and joined facebook. Just a quick post saying that I hope any of you bloggy friends will look me up there, as I'd love to be able to keep in closer touch & facebook is a nice & easy way to do I can hopefully SEE you there, that is if you post a photo!
Here's my profile link-
Just send me an add friend request. That's it. All done!:-)
If you haven't tried it, be forewarned. It's quite addicting.
Hope to see you there!

Friday, August 8, 2008

When I'm 64............

A tribute to my dear Mom, Bev, as she turns the age the Beatles made famous....64, of course!
Thank you to all of you who have been so tremendously kind to send Mom greetings, cards, well wishes, handmade treasures, and most importantly your love, prayers & support as she goes through her treatment for lung cancer. I don't know if I can ever justly represent in my thanks just how much your generosity and kindness have meant to all of us. It really has made the difference in seeing us through this terribly difficult time. And for those of you who included a return address, Mom is steadfastly working her way through sending you a return greeting, if you haven't heard from her already! :-) And for anyone who hasn't had a chance to send Mom postcard or greeting, but would still like to, Mom would LOVE to hear from you. The mail makes her day!! Really!! Just email me using the link her for her address-

Mom is now in her 19th day of radiation treatment. Only 9 more days to go!! She gets the weekends off. So far the side effects have thankfully been minimal, and not nearly as bad as we worried they might be. She has recuperated quite well from the surgery. She's now 2 months post-op! She is still debating the merits vs. drawbacks of taking chemo for her specific cancer, stage and her own particular case.

Mom isn't usually a ponytail wearer, but it has become her hairdo of choice due to its ease of effort while recovering and not feeling 100%. I have to say, I think it looks quite cute & girlish on her. She belies her 64 years!

Happy Birthday Mom!! We love you and hope to celebrate many, many more happy birthdays with you!

When I'm 64

When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine.

If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door,
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four.

You'll be older too,
And if you say the word,
I could stay with you.

I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride.

Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
Who could ask for more.
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four.

Every summer we can rent a cottage,
In the Isle of Wight, if it's not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck & Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line,
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away

Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four.

Monday, July 14, 2008

20 Years.........What?!?!

Twenty years. It's hard to believe even seeing it in print. How does time fly by like that? Really?! I still feel like I am in my 20s, so it's super hard to convince me that the postcard that arrived in my mailbox announcing my 20 year high school reunion was actually intended for me. Well, I guess the inclusion of my name alongside my overly eye-shadowed, senior year photo helped, but still I deny.

After a lot of back and forth, yes I will, no I won't, I finally decided that yes, I will make the leap & attend.

In a unique twist, my husband and I graduated from the same class. No, we are not high school sweethearts, rather, we hardly knew the other existed back then. My husband did remind me we sat at lunch together (amidst a group of people) for an entire year, which somehow I forgot? Seems strange now, considering I am married to the man and have borne his children.
Oh well.
In all honesty sometimes I still forget that we've had lunch together, but now it's more likely due to early-onset Alzheimer's.

Apparently that same year we "lunched", I must have asked him to sign my yearbook. Back then I had a pair of riding style boots that had a vintage-y o-ring harness type detail. Think vintage Frye with a bit of an English riding twist. Quite cool. I'd still wear them if I still had them.

Evidently my now-husband had a thing for them (but not for me). He went so far as to comment on them in my yearbook? Strange for a sixteen year who is purportedly straight, yes?!? I concur.
But, what I didn't think strange was when I read this comment aloud, courtesy of some fairly lousy penmanship: "Well, chemistry has been a great class and so has lunch, talking about your boobs and all."
Boobs?? How forward! Maybe he did notice me after all!!
Funnily enough, it was less weird to me for a teenage boy to comment on my (non-existent then & now) boobs than my boots.

So now here we are, 20 years later, together, boots, boobs and all, gearing up for our 20th reunion. Any other "Class of 88-ers" here? Would love to hear if you are going or not, or if you already went and how it was?

I am tempted to sign up as a temp banquet worker for the night so I can go, but be a fly on the wall...or maybe a disguise..bearded lady anyone?
August 30th is the big night. I'm excited one minute and filled with dread the other. :-)
Wish me luck...(in other words, please don't let me have the smallest boobs and biggest butt).

Older, yet wiser.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ode to Jell-O

So, Jell-O. That's where it's at.
Can you tell I am a product of the 70's?
Actually something about summer gets me all hopped up on Jell-O.
It doesn't have to be crazy, fancy, swanky Jell-O like that which bedecks this hipster scene-
Oh, to only look 1/2 as glam as the lady in the striped dress.

Actually, I'm a simple girl with simple dreams. Just Jell-O, with fruit mixed in, pretty much rocks my world.
My all-time favorite is orange Jell-O with crushed pineapple and mandarin oranges.
Oh heavenly, fruit juicy goodness!
Lime with pineapple is pretty up there too.

Recently I picked up this Jell-O cookbook, less for me, and more under the (false) impression that it was worth something. Usually I have a good eye when thrifting, and a fairly good memory, which typically likes to serve me correctly. Not in this case. This book can be found pretty much everywhere for a couple of bucks, at the most, which is what I normally would have thought. But, for some bizarre reason I had this lightbulb flash while thrifting that I had seen it go for $15-$20 bucks on ebay recently. Not true. Maybe I confused it with "The Old Joys of Jell-O".
So now I am its proud owner indefinitely.

After having made fruited Jell-o, devouring it, only to make it again for three days straight, I realized this book is really where it truly belongs, not by chance, but perhaps by divine intervention.
I have to admit I've thought many times of hosting a retro themed party with a largely "molded" party know aspics and congealed salads galore.

With fabulous guests like this-
But with one caveat, it should be kitschy, but also good tasting. I am not into wasting tons of food just for the humor. The guilt is too great.

After thumbing through a few pages, I am now all giddy for this book. I want to experiment and see what retro food fare is worthy of a revival.

I do have to say upon first glance this recipe scared me. Barbecue Jell-O? I was almost certain it was going to contain meat, which freaked me out. Thank goodness I was wrong.

This is one I really will try-
Actually the fun & frothy little recipe above reminded me of my one time childhood fave, Jell-O 1-2-3-
Do you remember it too? The Jell-O dessert that magically separated into 3 distinct layers?
Then I realized that you can no longer buy Jell-O 123. Sad. And sadder still that it probably hasn't been on the market for 20 years or more, and I just noticed. I guess that's why they stopped selling it, customers like me. You can't quite make a killing on a product people think to buy once every twenty years or so.

But, wait!!!!

Now you can re-create it in your very own home--
Homemade Jell-O 1-2-3
What you need:

3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water with enough ice cubes added to equal 1 1/4 cups
1/2 cup whipped cream
3 oz package any flavor Jell-O

What you do:
In a blender, mix the gelatin and boiling water together. Add the ice cube/water mixture and mix until the ice cubes are melted. Add in the whipped cream & mix for 30 seconds. Pour into dessert/parfait glasses. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Voila! Serve & enjoy!

Peace, love & Jell-O!

p.s. Does anyone else think one of those kids in the very first photo at the top looks like Quinn Cummings of "The Goodbye Girl", or is it just me?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Easy, Yummy Homemade Ice Cream in Five Minutes Flat!

So, what to do on a hot summer day?
Make ice cream of course. But not just any ice cream...
Five Minute Ice Cream
**The best kind of ice cream for toddlers to make, hands down. No patience required!**
Actually, this version allows young and old alike to be instantly amazed at the simplicity of forming their own ice cream without a machine or even the aid of a freezer.
I am sure there is some sort of science property being demonstrated here, but I am not entirely sure what it is....something to do with the salt and the ice (thermodynamics?). Sorry while technically I do have a Bachelor of Science, it is in Clothing, Textiles & Design, so I can't help you too much here. I did find this link though, which should help you understand the hows & whys.

Wanna try making it yourself?

Gather up the following:
* ice cubes
* 1/2 cup kosher, sea or rock salt
* 1 cup half-and-half or milk or whipping cream
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 resealable sandwich size bag
* 1 gallon-size resealable freezer bag
* dish towel

Now here's what you do:

1. Fill the gallon-size bag half full with ice. Add in all the salt.

2. In the sandwich bag, mix half-and-half (or milk or cream), sugar, and vanilla. Seal tightly.

3. Place the small bag inside the large bag. Seal the large bag tightly so it won't leak.

4. To protect your hands from the cold, wrap the dish towel around the outside of the large bag. shake for about five minutes, or until the milk mixture turns into ice cream.

5. Grab a spoon and enjoy! *Makes about one serving or one regular scoop.*

It's yummy! Can you tell?

Oh, and for a visual treat. This is my new fabric I thrifted in L.A. (that's Lower Alabama 'round these parts.) I love this fabric so much that I want to marry it..which is perfectly fine with 3.5 year old Amelia, as she's been begging me to let Daddy marry her instead of me anyways. We can't even hug lately without her bursting into tears. Talk about an Electra Complex---yikes!

Monday, July 7, 2008

A FUN, FUN Weekend Jaunt

So we took advantage of a three day holiday weekend to take a short trip three hours down the road to our state capital, punctuating our journey with little comma rests at state parks along the way. A simple trip, but quite fun indeed. And reasonable with regard to affordability both dollar and travel time wise (keeping in mind we had two toddlers in tow).
I have lots of great photos to share but until I can carve myself out a bit more time to post them, here's a "tide me over"....

I found this sign to be rather ironic. I mean, I'm all for safety as much as the next guy, but this seemed to be a bit of overkill...and then the "have a FUN, FUN time" afterthought? Who can even think of having a fun time, much less a doubly all caps FUN, FUN time after reading this party-pooper, buzzkill of a sign?
Believe it or not, while it looks like they have covered all the bases and then some, I managed to spot a few rules they somehow managed to overlook....

1)Don't even look at the swings. Feasting your eyes on these devices of fun could cause injury (eye or otherwise).

2)Don't smile, laugh, run or play. Any of these actions is enough of a distraction to become a sure death trap.

3)Don't even think about having too much fun. Setting yourself up to be too hopeful, you're sure to just come crashing down. Better to set the bar low. (Not to mention the risk you run with all those thoughts of folly racing around your head. You're bound to give yourself an aneurysm).

But remember, have a FUN, FUN time, nonetheless!!!!!!!

Hope you all had a Happy 4th!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Little Off Topic...Freezer Paper Stencils, Anyone?

Cancer has consumed us lately, but I don't want to allow it to rule us any longer.
It wants to take a stronghold on patient, caregivers and loved ones alike. And while we acknowledge its presence, it is a most unwelcome guest that we won't be rolling out the red carpet for. In fact we are doing our best to rather rudely escort it right out the door with a "good riddance" send off.
So, on that note, a reprieve. Actually this is a deja vu moment, as we crafted these a few weeks back, but hopefully this gentle reminder of life pre-cancer will get us back on track with just slight modifications, being ever more loving, positive, hopeful and appreciative of every moment of every day.
And now, back to normalcy (or some semblance thereof)-
An eternal classic, freezer paper stencils.
I used to love to make these in high school & college. This craft is a great economical tool to be able to constantly churn out new, one of a kind clothing & accessories on a dime. Actually Mom got me into stenciling originally, so thank you Mom. It's funny how a very "Mom-ish" craft can be so eternally cool. And with this one, the sky's the limit. This is truly one of those crafts where skill level does not come into play. Everyone is an instant expert, so you are only limited by your creativity. And even if you aren't feeling terribly creative, you can scour the internet to turn up images that are free to use, print them out and make them into a stencil.
A Quick Tutorial---

What You Need:
A t-shirt (or any other item you wish to stencil)
Reynold's Freezer Paper
An exacto knife or cuticle scissors
Fabric Paint (or any permanent paint that will withstand washing)
An image you wish to stencil
A stiff bristled medium sized paint brush (any brush will do, this is simply my personal preference)
An Iron
A piece of cardboard

1)Print, or draw your image onto a piece of paper.
2)Tape your computer paper to your freezer paper with the paper side up and the shiny/waxy side down.
3)Cut out the actual image (if printed on computer, you will be cutting away all the black printed area), leaving the outline of the image intact on your paper.
4)Remove the tape and computer paper.
5)Place your stencil onto your t-shirt and iron it on, using a dry setting, with the shiny side down, facing the shirt.
6)Place the cardboard between the front and back of your t-shirt, sliding it into the shirt under where you will be painting to prevent any bleeding of the paint through to the back of your shirt.
7)Brush your paint on liberally, taking care to evenly coat the paint and making sure to reach all the tiny corners, details of your stencil.
8)I like to use a blow dryer to speed up the drying process and evaluate whether or not I think my shirt needs another coat of paint.
9)Once the paint is as dark as I'd like and dry, I carefully peel back the freezer paper to reveal a beautiful stencil. I like to heat set it again at this point with a blow dryer.
10) Don your creation, twirl around, admire oneself in mirror and be proud!

Here's a shirt I made for Amelia recently. The t-shirt was not my top pick, but it was what I had on hand, so I used it. I always try to use what I have on hand first before buying anything else. And when I have to buy, I try to buy from thrifts & second hand shops first! Consume less. Recycle more! :-)

Happy Creating!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Long, Hard Day

Mom had her surgery today. It was scheduled for 11 am, so we arrived at 9:30 am as instructed. The surgeon unfortunately ran into a complicated emergency surgery just before Mom's and wasn't able to operate on her until 2:30 pm. Bless Mom's heart. Her sweet little throat was so dry, but she couldn't have as much as a drop to drink. I wanted to sneak her one, but thought better of it. Dad & I waited out the 2.5 hours in the surgery waiting room fluctuating between worry and hope. The doctor who is apparently an excellent surgeon, but not the best at bedside manner, came in at 5 to tell us the news.

Mom's mass proved to be malignant based upon the frozen section they took mid-stream. He also found some very suspicious lymph nodes that were hardened and appeared to be malignant as well. They did only have to remove the bottom half of the right lung, not the whole lung. The diaphragm seemed ok. The liver wasn't accessed. Now we wait for the pathology report in a few days time to tell us type of cancer, stage, and course of action.

We were able to visit with Mom in the ICU and one of the saddest parts was that she looked great and seemed to be recovering in leaps and bounds (which of course is a great thing, don't get me wrong), but it just made me wish that she was recovering to find it was benign or just an infection and that life would go right back to normal, or be better even, feeling healthier than ever.

Now, we face the unknown. So many variables. I am so terribly sad right now that I am just beside myself. I can't even believe I have sat this still to write this much. I feel like I will have a panic attack any moment or hyper-ventilate. I want to call Mom and confide in her just how I feel, as if this is happening to other people, but I can't. Because this is us and she is resting in jolts between bouts of pain with tubes all over the place. And it's eerie to not be able to reach out to her and it scares me of what it will be like one day if she is no longer here.

My Dad cried, not once, but many times. I have only seen him cry once before. It pained me deeply to see him so sad.
I am trying to get all my crying out tonight, so I can just go and be strong and fully there for Mom starting tomorrow. But, it is hard. It hurts so much in my heart.

I prayed a lot and this happened, but I will keep my faith and pray more. And help Mom heal. And show Mom just how much I love her. And help her do all those things that make her happy. I just have one hope and that is for time to be on our side.

Thank you to everyone for your support. Please keep those good thoughts and prayers coming. We will need them now more than ever. As always, can't thank you enough.

Monday, May 26, 2008

My Dear Mom

Sorry to have disappeared. It was not my intention, but sometimes life dictates the priorities and unfortunately, doesn't rate blogging "up there". :-)
The reason for my absence? Just trying to get prepared. Prepared for Mom to head into surgery Thursday (5/29) to have a lobectomy (& perhaps more, if what they find calls for it) where they will remove the bottom half of her lung. They still don't know what they will find. Possibly an infection? Possibly a tumor (benign or malignant)? They will also check the liver and the hemidiaphragm as well as higher up on the lung as there are some additional suspicions in all of these areas that they want to rule out, or take care of, if need be. If there does prove to be a malignancy, they will go back in and re-look at the brain, as there was some activity on the PET that they were concerned with, pending the lung findings, but were not tell-tale based upon the PET alone. I am trying to stay calm and supportive, but I must say I worry.

For my part, I have been busying myself trying to get organized as much as possible, so I can be at Mom's (& my Dad's) beck and call over the next several weeks. Running errands, sitting bedside, cooking, cleaning, laundry...all that good stuff, both there and here. Dad will be there of course, but he'll need help, and I of course, want to be there doing all that I can.

Mom will be in the hospital somewhere between 5-8 days they estimate. She will be in ICU for the first day or two. This is good. She will have round the clock care for hopefully much of that first week, when it will be the toughest, I would think.

In trying to think what else I could do for Mom, I decided to ask for random acts of kindness on a couple of web forums such as to send Mom a postcard or a quick little note or card. Mom is all about the simple things and I really think mail makes her happiest. She has always collected postcards since she was a child and still pen pals via snail mail with cousins and friends, never having learned how to operate a computer, as much as I have coaxed her .
If you would like to send Mom a greeting, I am sure she will just be beside herself.
The cards will hopefully trickle in surprising her while she recovers, bringing her joy each day she recuperates. Just email me using my blogger email link and I'll send you her address.
In advance, I can't possibly thank you enough!!

To all of you who have been so sweet, kind & supportive through all of this so far, I want to send you a huge, heartfelt, very sincere thank you. Your thoughts, positive energy, well wishes, hopeful stories, experience & wisdom have proved immensely helpful. Just know that you're wonderful & I think you are the cat's meow!

My posting will probably be sporadic for a fair while, but I will try my best to post asap on Thursday post-surgery to update you on Mom's condition.

Warmest wishes, big hugs & much love to you all--

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sharp, Shiny Objects Make Lovely Gifts

So apparently I have a fixation on sharp objects.
For mother's day my husband bought some things directly from my wish list and I got the following:
A Fiskars desktop rotary trimmer
An Olfa rotary cutter with a pinking attachment
and a new Exacto knife.
These purchases make a very clear statement to me.
I mean clearly, it is apparent my husband feels comfortable in our relationship.
Some guys might think twice before arming their wife with such a deadly crafting arsenal. Not my husband. I must say I am quite flattered by this purchase.
Isn't it nice to be so still in love and trusting? Verrrrrrrrrry trusting.
Well, he does sleep with one eye open, but Pshaw!!

P.S. I know some of you are thinking how non-glamorous my gifts are and how you would disown the man and family that bestowed these things upon you. I understand, really, I do. But, truly, these are things I wanted, but hadn't gotten around to getting, so it made my husband's life much easier. Plus, I love that it reflects the fact that he listens to my wants/needs and makes an effort to support my hobbies/interests. And to his credit, he also picked me a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers that he grew from seed and cooked me his favorite breakfast recipe of his grandmother's. I am so lucky, truly.
One year I actually asked for a filing cabinet for Valentine's Day. Yes, I am this close to having the butterfly net used on me to put me in the little white truck with the words "State Hospital" on the side. Hopefully they'll have high speed internet there so I can still blog away. I'll surely be more prolific with all that time on my hands! :-)

P.P.S. Look at my wrapping paper for my Mother's Day gifts. Yes, it is the newspaper. Not the comics, mind you, but the local news & editorial sections. Bless his heart, he did ask me just before bed where I kept the wrapping paper. I thought he wanted me to start wrapping his Mom's gift at midnight, so I grumpily hollered to him in the next room, "Don't be worrying about that now. I'll do it in the morning, I just want to go to bed!" And that's why I celebrated Mother's Day by reading about a local man being sentenced to 46 years for his deadly DUI. Well, Happy Mother's Day to you too!!

P.P.P.S. Damn. I just noticed I threw away that "Free Oil Change" coupon that my smaller gift was wrapped in. Bummer.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!!

Just wanted to hop in here for a jiffy and say, Happy Mother's Day!!!

Nothing says "I love you more than words can say, Mom" more than an ever so thoughtful, drunken sailor tattoo gotten just outside the gates of a Naval installation. So there ya go.

On a sincere note, I hope everyone is enjoying some time creating great memories with your loved ones today--
And for those who are moms, I hope you are also enjoying a little time to spend doing that which you love and which is something true to you. Being a mother is a selfless act, and as a result, we can lose our sense of self. It is very important now and again to take time to remind yourself of just who you really are, outside of mom and wife, and what you really like to do that makes you jump for joy, giddy with pangs of happiness. And while Mother's Day is about spending time with family so they can show their appreciation of you (& you in turn can marvel at your little baby birds that qualify you as an honoree this holiday), a great gift for you from them can also be the gift of time. Time to allow you to stop & think and realize and appreciate who you are right now. To reflect upon how far you've come and where you still want to head. We are constantly redefining ourselves as we grow, so a little insightful time is a wonderful thing, as it's not often busy moms get to sort of just sit and daydream a bit or dabble in that new "whatever it may be" which has been on the to do list for a while, or enjoy something we used to love pre-kids. If I could give you any gift, this would be my gift to you. And I hope that someone close to you shares this sentiment and steals my gift idea.

And just know. They wouldn't be here, nor could they do all they do, without you. You are a modern day marvel.

With love & admiration from one mom to another---

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Pee Wee & Sun Tea

Many moons ago I had picked up Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Pee Wee's Holiday Special on VHS. I guess it was in middle school that I became a Pee Wee fan. Pee Wee's Playhouse came out while I was in college, but that didn't keep me from watching it and buying collectible merchandise. Of course, who am I kidding. College "keeping me from watching anything". Isn't that an oxymoron? Even Pee-Wee's pervy arrest didn't stop me.When I first pulled out my two old VHS tapes for the kids, I wasn't sure how they'd react. Perhaps Pee Wee had run his course and modern day children would no longer love him like I did. I was delighted to be wrong. My kids were mesmerized. They were particularly interested in the guest stars on the holiday special. Charo, The Del Rubio Triplets, Frankie Avalon and lest we forget...Grace Jones....... who basically looks just like this in the video:

Frightening, yes? Grace sings what my 3 year old Amelia finds to be an irresistible rendition of Little Drummer Boy. "Amelia and Grace often harmonize ..." pa rum pum pum pum!". It's very clubby.

So, when I decided to spend some Amazon gift certificate loot on some DVDs for the kids, I thought perhaps a good addition to our collection might be Pee Wees Playhouse. Once it arrived, we tore it open, popped it in and were having ourselves a fine & dandy time right up until the start of the episode that states (& I paraphrase as I am too lazy to go start up and freeze the DVD frame to copy the text):
"Warning. This episode includes the preparation of Sun Tea. The CDC advises that there are significant health risks associated with the preparation of sun tea. Please be advised."

What?!?! Sun Tea? Innocent, wholesome, tea made from harnessed sun energy, sun tea!?!?!

I did what any good mother would do.... I told the kids to hurry and chug-a-lug their eleventh glass of sun tea for that day (don't want to let a good pot of tea, water and bacteria go to waste) while I plopped myself down to google "sun tea dangers" and found this article on snopes. It confirms that yes, sun tea is dangerous, due to the risk of bacteria forming in the water which doesn't get heated to high enough temps by the sun to kill it.

Yikes!! Who knew?! Well, maybe everyone. Admittedly, I haven't made sun tea in quite some time, nor been offered it by anyone. (Yes, I was kidding above). I actually sort of forgot it existed. Ironically enough the same day I watched this life-saving sun tea video message I ran into my own old Lipton branded sun tea bacteria bunker with its yellow beer tap spout. There it was sitting dusty, in the back of a cabinet, just waiting to stir the turd. Literally.
I closed the cabinet ever so gently, so as not to wake the sleeping jar. Then I proceed into the pantry to find a canister of peach tea flavored crystal light, all the wiser, and content to drink it while simply sitting in the sun instead.
Thanks, Pee Wee!

Friday, May 2, 2008

My Family Magnified x 2

Us under the lens this past week-

Thursday made stuffed poblanos, this recipe from Everyday Food.

Was quite pleased with both the ease of preparation and the overall results. A nice two-fer. Two-fer? Gosh that sounds so radio station disc jockey-ish. Isn't it weird when a word comes out of you, that is not really, "you"? I guess we all get brain-washed now and again by popular culture. Things just sort of slip in to our psyches unbeknownst to us and one day just sort of creep, crawl then blog their way out.
What else?
Friday morning I did Sunday comic transfers with the kids. Confusing, I know. Maybe I should be doing Sunday comic strip crafts on Sunday. That way I could incorporate a days of the week lesson and turn this little crafty number into another two-fer. High five! Only that would make too much sense. Next thing you know I'd actually be wearing my Tuesday undies on Tuesday rather than Thursday. Then the world would explode.

And yes, I do buy (& make) shirts for my daughter. Cute ones, too! She just never wears them. In case you haven't noticed in all of our crafting sessions she is topless. Maybe in her mind she is eternally crafting on the shores of the French Riviera.

Super easy and even though toddlers may be a teensy bit young for this one, not having the brute strength required to achieve the end result, my two were still fascinated with the magical process.
Comic Strip Transfers
You'll need:
A copy of the Sunday strips in their full, glorious color
1 T dishwashing detergent & 1 T white vinegar mixed together in a plastic bowl.
A stack of printing paper (I used scrap printing paper). Here, here! Let's hear it for recycling!
a metal spoon

Have the kids dab their fingers in the vinegar mixture wetting their fingertips thoroughly and then rub the comic strip frame of their choosing getting it good and wet, but not overly saturated so that the paper is tearing or muddying. Once your little one has completely covered the frame he/she wishes to lift, place a piece of paper over the top of the comic and then rub over the moistened comic strip with the back of the spoon. You'll need to use a little bit of elbow grease. Voila! A transfered comic. Of course, having Silly Putty on hand would be great so you could show them that old trick too, and of course now, lo & behold, we have ourselves another, yes, two-fer. Gah!
Oh. Just a sidenote here. Have you ever been reading a blog and come across someone saying "wala!" or "walah!" when unveiling something? The first time I did I was stumped. I sat there for a good few seconds putting my mind around it. When I tried saying it aloud, that was when I realized what was really going on. Apparently these bloggers had only heard the word "voila", but never seen it spelled. Being that the word's origins are in France, I do have to agree that the spelling is certainly not intuitive to us Americanos.

And last but certainly not least, my Mom Update--- Good news!!! Mom had her PET scan yesterday and they did not detect cancer. Hip, hip, hooray!! I am so very thankful for this news, I can't begin to tell you. I just hope everything continues on this path. They still want to biopsy the lung mass and most likely remove it, so we are still waiting to find out more.

Coop & I will be spending a Mommy & son weekend together starting tomorrow morning as Michael & Amelia are driving out to join Matthew on a Boy Scout campout. First on the agenda for tomorrow? Blowing enormous bubbles.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekend Robbery...

Not to worry, I wasn't burglarized or anything. It's just that my weekend went and I didn't know it had come. A blur. A big 70's naked, streaking through my church parking lot, blur. Yes, that really happened. One Sunday my mom and I were headed to our car, along with other congregants disbanding from the 10:30 service, when lo and behold a nude man ran streaking across our parking lot and into the woods which conveniently abutted (pun intended) our parked cars. I wonder what possesses people to do such things. Streaking has just never been one of those things to grab me by the horns with the slightest bit of temptation. Maybe if my body looked like Heidi Klum's, I'd be all about it.

So what did I do this weekend in retrospect?
Well, I watched Atonement. Even though I said I wouldn't until I finally finished reading the book first. Note: I bought the book on several friends' recommendations over five years ago and never managed to get past chapter one. It wasn't the book's fault. It's that I wait too long to go to bed and then still want to read, but can't keep my eyes open. Even toothpicks can't help.
I do have a weird thing about not wanting to see any movie that I think I might want to read the book for, until I've read the book. It ruins it for me. I think it's because I have a masochistic disorder that makes me live to complain about how the movie didn't live up to the book.
And so what did I think of Atonement? Good, but make sure you are in the mood for sad. I bawled (but I am a sap).

I also made BLT pizza, not to be confused with my Cuban pizza. Yes, that is guacamole in place of sauce. It was pretty yummy. But, be sure to eat it all in one sitting. Leftovers are all wonky as you don't want to eat cold, white, anemic looking bacon the next day which makes you want to heat it, but then when you heat it, you get hot guac & warm, wilted lettuce. Not so yummy.

Super simple. Use premade pizza crust (I used Pillsbury refrigerated crust). Bake it fully. Spread on guacamole (I love to make homemade, but cheated this time and used Sam's Club premade). Sprinkle with crumbled bacon (the only thing I had to "cook"), sliced cherry tomatoes, lettuce shreds & shallots (I used red onion, as I didn't have shallots handy).

Oh and for a little too much information (and my discovery of the day), if you are sick with severe head congestion (like I was all weekend), be sure to try blowing your nose with wet wipes. Yes, wet wipes. This is one of those act of desperation things.. like being in the kids' room and having my nose start acting like a faucet with only my arm or a wet wipe to wipe it on. Who knew? The wet wipe moistened my sinuses and really was productive in helping clear all that gross congestion. And it soothed my sore nose which was all scratchy from blowing. It takes a little getting used to, as your nose expects something dry, but I swear, try it. Maybe I need to mail off my poor man's patent for "wet noses". Necessity is the mother of invention after all, right? :-) Oh, and while I am at it, wet wipes are also the best thing for lifting rug/carpet stains too! Just call me Heloise.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Picture Says 1,000 Words

Two posts in a row with no photos? Criminal.
So, in hopes of correcting my terrible blogging faux paus and making it up to you, here is a mini photo smorgasbord with only snippets (in my world = long paragraphs) of text to bog you down.

I know these are everywhere and have been since the dawn of crafting, but I was happy to pull out several vintage pillowcase dresses that I made way before my daughter was even a twinkle in my eye. I used to sew them and sell them on ebay back when I first started selling there in 1999. Because I suffer from easy onset boredom, I stopped making these (and didn't bother even trying to sell the last of the batch, apparently). These were in a Rubbermaid bin in back of a gargantuan closet that the Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe all live in.
It's a wonder I found them. Now I want to make more as I have a stash of vintage pillowcases that rivals Mt. Everest--
And they are so easy and only need the teensiest bit of elastic as I make the straps from the pillowcase too. Some people use ribbons or other trims I think? So I always have what I need right on hand.
Here are two faves of the ones I stumbled upon.

This is a sweet little print I found thrifting. I love her expression of wonderment.

This little sunny vase was left in a box of trash alongside the road when I took the kids for a stroll. Finders keepers!

And this quilt was bought at an antique shop in Foley, AL that has since shut its doors. $3.
I love it as it reminds me so much of the Gee's Bend Quilts. Alot of it is poly, but I don't mind one bit. I took lots of closeups of various configurations, as it's the details that really reel me in.

The back:

I am hoping to use my quilts, vintage fabrics and aprons to do some domesticity/vintage textile inspired product offerings very, very soon to be offered on etsy! Stay tuned!!