Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Okay, minions, here's what I want:

A stack of old, vintage-y (I say vintage-y and not vintage because I can afford vintage-y and not vintage) suitcases.

Empty frames.  Not even vintage-y, but full on broken and therefore cheap  free.  Maybe.

Now somebody come over and make these things happen!

While we're wistfully daydreaming of decorating here are a few more inspirations:

What think you, minions?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I am not a decorating genius.  I admit it.  I know what I like and I'm great at picking things out at stores (and not buying them), clipping out photos from Country Living (and losing them), and organizing my Pinterest wall (without implementing them), but I am terrible at knowing what will work in my space.

I have friends who are great at decorating.  My friend, Tawni, does nutty things like paints her fireplace mantle purple and while we all titter behind her back at her insane ideas, she ends up with the coolest looking living room ever.

My friend, Mariah, spray paints everything black.  It works.

But they refuse to come over and help me, so I need your help.

Two areas:

Area #1:  plant shelf.  Who invented these dumb things anyway and what am I supposed to do with it?
I don't do plants.
Also, I am not 13 feet tall.

Area #2:  weird little cubby niche thing.  What am I to do with this?

Please help me.  Consider it charity.

Monday, December 26, 2011

post christmas

So how was it, my little elves?  How was your Christmas (Christmases? Christmasis? Christmas'? Whatever.  I'm going on my fourth week of eating nothing but sugar, fat, sugary fats, fatty sugars, and the occasional slab of meat.  Don't judge.  Also, in my quest to have cute bohemian type hair (drat you, pinterest) I've been wearing a purple plaid headband all day to go with my disheveled ponytail and I'm pretty sure I've cut off the blood flow to my brain.  We have blood in our brains, right? I mean, ideally we do, right?  Again, whatever.)  Where was I before my addiction to parenthesis took over?


It came.  And now it's gone.  And I'm left with that terrible let down feeling that only comes once a year and can only be relieved by a steady diet of pie.  It starts earlier every year.  The let down feeling, not the pie.  Well, sometimes the pie.  This year my sadness at Christmas being over began the second I woke up on Christmas Day. Which seems a little premature.  

It was a lovely day, but it's always the anticipation of the lovely day that is the loveliest for me.  The Jolly Old Elf, as usual, bit me in the tush.  Gianni was determined to receive a particular Lego brand fire truck with dalmation.  He wanted this more than life itself, more than a cup of sugar, more than a day in his underpants, more than world domination.  I tried to talk him out of it but that always makes me feel like the scene in Miracle on 34th Street when Kris is so appalled at the thought of gently urging children to request certain toys that he clangs Mr Nail Biter Mustache Guy on the head with his cane.  Well, he had other reasons, but that was certainly one of them.  Anyhoo, I planted many a sub-conscience thought in my Pooky's head that maybe he'd like something better, something less expensive, something more practical, something like play dough or a glow stick, but no dice.  The Pooky is very one-track-minded, which is evidenced by the squillion rounds of Monopoly Deal he forces me to play each and every day.  He wouldn't be talked out of it and so I haunted several toy aisles in several stores looking for the magical dalmation/fire truck Lego set and finally found it at Toys R Us.  Me being me, of course, I left without buying it, thinking cheerfully to myself that I would drop by in a day or two if I hadn't talked him into play dough and buy it then.  Of course when I dropped back by two days later (a scant one and one half day before Christmas) they were sold out of Over Priced Lego Dalmation Fire Trucks.  Naturally.  My honey bunny being the dear that he is, managed to buy it on the Site-to-Store Walmart thingamabob.  All I had to do was go pick it up.  One and one half days before Christmas.  I don't like Walmart one and one half days before St Patrick's Day, much less that close to Christmas, but I figured my procrastination served me right and I fully deserved to be pepper sprayed, trampled, and maced by people in their pajamas and sports bras.  

Oddly enough, none of that happened and the purchase was a success.

Christmas morning arrived and Pooky eyed the gift with a ponderous look on his face.

That's the wrong one, says Pooky.

He was quite enthralled and delighted with the bag of Cheetos in his stocking though.  

Oh, I haven't shared a recipe with you recently, so here's a good one I just discovered.

1 cup scalded milk, cooled to bath temp 
1 stick butter 
sprinkle with yeast
add: 3/4 honey, a tablespoon salt, 2 eggs
Add 4-5 cups flour

Let rise.  Shape into beautiful rolls.  Let rise.  Drizzle with butter.  Turn on oven 375.

Leave house to go see a movie.

Come home to Homemade Coal for your stockings.  They'll be black and hard as rocks.

This may seem like a lot of work and expense for lumps of coal, but nothing says Christmas like homemade.

Maybe it's the headband.  Maybe it's the toy shopping.  Maybe it's the sugary fats.  But I seem to lose brain cells this time of year.  You?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Beelzebub crafts and so do I

The only time of year I do crafty type things is December, zero hour, right before Christmas.  

And by crafty I mean hot glue, glitter, needles and thread kind of crafty, not rub my crone hands together and stir my cauldron kind of crafty.  I don't even own a cauldron.  

So here's what Miss Anna and I have been working on lately:

The lotions are a fun recipe that should have been a piece of cake but actually involved me searching for three weeks for a food processor, finding said food processor on craigslist, picking it up, searching high and low for beeswax, discovering it costs four jillion smillion dollars, frantically texting my crafty queen, Genesis, for alternate ideas, promising to kiss her feet when she told me to go to a health food store and buy a beeswax candle ($4, not four jillion smillion dollars), go to said health food store, learn to work food processor (which I love almost as much as I love Genesis), and then making five times as many batches as I thought I would have to because the amount was very small.


We call it Vanilla Pudding Lotion because it looks like vanilla pudding.  There isn't any vanilla in it though.  I should have called it Honey Pudding Lotion but I didn't think of it until now and I used a sharpie to make my tags.

Cause sharpies are where it's at.  Booyah.

These are batches of my favorite facial wash.  I've been using this and nothing else for three years now and I love, love, love it.  You will love it too if you jump feet first into the Oil Cleanse Method, promise.  All it is is extra virgin olive oil (I use 3/4 of the bottle) and castor oil (1/4) and a couple drops of tea tree oil.  It takes off make up like a dream and leaves your skin softer than a baby's bum.  Plus, it's cheap.  And it doesn't sting your eyes when you accidentally buy water proof mascara.  So, anyway, you just massage it in and take it off with a very hot cloth.  Voila!  Dewy skin that is free of chemicals and animal byproducts and questionable things.

More lotions.  I hope my little sister, niece, and mom in law aren't reading this.  If you are, girls, please practice your surprised/delighted faces when you open these.


These are headbands I made for my wittle bunheads at the ballet studio.

All thirty something of them.

I may or may not have hot glued my fingers together at some point.   Hey, look!  I do have crone's hands.  

And of course, there are the obligatory batches of homemade deliciousness.  My favorite is the toffee in the christmas tree jar.  That's for my soon-to-be brother in law.  

Please ignore the crumbs and sequins in the crevices of my table.  Thanks for averting your eyes.

Oh, and I also made a scrapbook!!!!  That's a four exclamation point sentence right there.  I hate scrapbooking.  It's from the devil.  My personal hell will be a never ending scrapbooking party, complete with frightening paper cutting devices and endless stickers, with Lucifer barking orders at me about crooked borders and embellishments.  But I do love Anna and I do love how much she loved Nutcracker and how many photos she took, so I whipped em all up at Walgreens, scotch taped em all onto fancy paper, stuck em in an album, and wrapped it up under the tree.

The things I do for love.

Merry Christmas and may all your crafting be pain free, sparkly, and merry!

Friday, December 16, 2011

All I need is this thermos. And this chicken. And Linda.

If I had a chicken I wouldn't have to go to the store this morning and buy eggs.  I could just send my little ranch hand out to gather the eggs and then I'd have something with which to make breakfast sandwiches which everyone residing in my house has a craving for.  Also, to make cookies which is the logical thing to do when you have two giant bags full of cookies on your counter.  It's the holidays.  We make cookies until we toss 'em. If our collection gets under 200 or so, we start to panic. 

Will someone mail me a hen, please?  A little red one, one that preferably will grind wheat and make me homemade bread when she's not popping out eggs.  That'd be great, guys, thanks for taking care of me.

I discovered another Murphy's Law of Parenting:

#4876:  sweeping your entire house will ensure that a small being will have a jonesing for burnt toast.  Burnt toast that they will cart all over the just swept house, leaving behind a trail of breadcrumbs for their mother to find.  No wonder Hansel and Gretel's mom had had enough.  At the end of every mother's rope, you find a trail of telltale crumbs.  I sympathize with Hansel and Gretel's mother - we'll call her Linda.  Linda and I would be pals.  We'd sip margaritas in the back yard while our children wander off in the woods to eat the neighbor's houses.  

I love the word telltale.  We don't use it enough.  I smiled when typing it.

I don't actually have a theme to blog about today (or is it a meme? Is that the term?  I don't know.  I'm not a real blogger, I just play one on  I just need to keep my fingers from falling asleep because I woke up at 2 a.m. with a sore throat and a bout of frenzied brain activity and decided to glug half a bottle of Nyquil.  So when Moose was soft shoeing on my face at 8 a.m. I was forced to get up.  And discover the lack of eggs and fresh cookies.  Which was depressing.  But only mildly, because Nyquil has antidepressant powers.  I think.  Or maybe it just dulls your mind so much you don't realize how depressed you are or how your throat still hurts or your feet have grown another Hobbit size or how you haven't done any Christmas shopping yet.  It's like Forget Juice mixed with some Relax Nectar and followed by a shot of Sleepy Water.

In spite of that and the fact that I probably should not be operating machinery like a minivan, I really need to make myself presentable and go buy eggs.  And gifts for upteen people.  If this post confuses you it's due to the haze of Nyquil fumes I am currently under, and it's okay if you don't get me.  Linda is the only one who really gets me anyway.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


No Shave November turned into No Shave December around our house, and not just because the razor likes to fall off the shower wall at night and scare the living daylights out of me, but because I like my guy scruffy and he knows it.  But tonight he couldn't take the Sasquatch attacking his face any longer so I bring stages...the evolution of man.

Grizzly Adams.

Bob Cratchitt.

Rob Reiner/Meathead.

Ummm....1970s man in a questionably morally wrong line of work?  (hey, this is a family blog!)

Well, we all know why this look went out of style.  Speaking of which, Will Farrell singing Springtime for Hitler is just something we should all see at least once.

Bare as a baby's bottom.

He knows I like the mountain man look so if he knows what's good for his love life, he'll grow it back pronto.


Gianni refuses to call him Dad any longer and now refers to him as Uncle Mike who lives in New York.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

If Cousin Eddie Built Gingerbread Houses

When it comes to bread...
...Christmas trees
...dishwasher detergent
...dark chocolate
...trash bags
...feminine hygiene products
...paper towels
the motto 'round these parts is no substitutions, spare no expense, from scratch or name brand.

When it comes to gingerbread houses
...DIY projects
...laundry soap
...make up food (sorry, Milo, that horse may have turned)
...did I mention DIY projects?
the motto 'round these parts is easy, cheap, fast.  Which sounds more questionable and awkward than it actually is.

So, while our fudge may be homemade (see last year's post ) our gingerbread houses are graham cracker/tub o' frosting el ghetto wonders.  

After I built the walls for him, Gianni asked,
'Do I get to kick it over now?'
Because, of course, the only logical to do with something constructed is to demolish it.

During the Extreme Make-over; Gingerbread House Edition we watched Christmas Vacation.

Which we really need to get a family friendly rated version of one of these daze.  But oh my, it's funny. And the source of year around quoting.  Speaking of which, can you name the movies these Christmas movie quotes are from?

'Tis a ponderous chain.

If I woke up tomorrow with my head stapled to the floor, I wouldn't be more surprised.

I can't put my arms down!

We elves like to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.

Well, here's your hat, what's your hurry.  Alright, Mother, old Building and Loan pal, I think I'll go out and find a girl and do a little passionate necking.'

We ate a bowl of sugar, field dressed a cat, played with shot guns, drank some brown liquor, looked for women...

The insolence! The audacity! The unmitigated gall!

I want you to get married.  I want you to have nine children.  And if you only spend five minutes a day with each one, that's forty-five minutes and I'd at least have time to go out and get a massage or something.

Well, you really can't spell families without lies.

First correct answer gets a homemade gingerbread house and a batch of fudge a warm, fuzzy feeling.  And also a Christmas card.

Friday, December 9, 2011

attendant has been notified to commit me

Attendant has been notified to assist you...

... but I don't need any assistance.  I just need to pay for my milk and scan my swiss chard.

Please remove the last item from the bagging station..., I didn't put anything in the bagging station yet.  Are you talking about that gnat that flew by?

Attendant has been notified to assist you...

...I don't need assistance!  Ok, fine.  Whatever.  Where is said attendant?  Hello?

Item not found.

You can't find bananas?  They're a pretty common item.  


Umm, looks like nine. 9.  Noooo!  Wait, not nine bunches of bananas - nine total bananas!  Nine bananas!  I'm not running a school for monkeys!

Please remove the last item from the bagging area.

Ok, ok, it's all gone!  I put everything back in my cart!  Stop yelling at me!

Please put the last item back in the bagging area.


Why do I do this to myself every time? I like customer service just fine.  I'm not avoiding the friendly checkers.  Why do I think I can do their job faster?  I can't.  They're better.  I can admit it.  They can scan, I can tour jete, they can tally, I can pirouette.  They don't come to the ballet studio and expect to teach their bunheads themselves.  That would be silly.  

And trying to feed crumpled one dollar bills (earnings from your yard sale) into the machine is almost as embarrassing as - well, insert your most embarrassing scenarios here.  Especially if you mention to the skeptical checker-who's-not-a-checker-but-is-just-a-bored-employee-who-carries-a-magic-box-that-can-erase-your-mistakes, that you're a dancer.      

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

new blog launch

Hello, my peeps.  I began a new blog, this one dedicated to children's books.

Will you pop over and say hi?

If you have a children's book for me to review (or just gush over), let me know.

I think this could be fun.  You?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Sometimes you have to drill your four year old like a potential oil field about the True Meaning of Christmas.  Because when you are a Santa lovin' family, but also Christian, you have to groom your children to not embarrass you in front of church friends by staring blankly when they talk about Jesus' birth.  So you have to plant that holy thought in their playdough moldable brains every opportunity you get by randomly barking out,

'Why do we celebrate Christmas?'  

This way when someone from church asks he can stare mutely at them and whisper,


but when a total stranger tells him he's cute, he'll respond with a passionate shout of,


that sends them scurrying the other direction in a flustered state of mild panic.

Are we the only ones with this particular problem?  It's a pickle.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Glad you're comfy, Buckaroo.

Go ahead and spread out.


You and The Other Woman (hubby's body pillow.  She's a redhead.  Sometimes I call her Ariel) just take all the space you need.

Catch up on all that sleep that eluded you half the night due to hurt fingers, scary noises, tooting, crying, the blanket not being tucked in correctly, a threat to spank which made you exclaim "after my spanking, will you tuck in my corners the right way?", a million glasses of water, the looming certainty of death by starvation since your parents wouldn't let you snack at ten p.m., and many other reasons.

You go on and take the bed, sparky.  You had a rough night.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Promised Christmas Tree Post

Every year I regale you lucky ducks with near death experiences of our annual Christmas Tree Hunt.  You can check out old ones here and here.  Every year is different, seeing as how we're gypsy wannabes who can't stay put or go to the same mountain every year, but one thing remains the same:

Something will go hideously wrong.

Chopping down our own tree is a family tradition that began, I suppose, when I was but a wee babe, tucked in my Papa's flannel jacket while Mama sprinted ahead "just around that one last corner."  The menfolk in my family tend not to enjoy this particular tradition for some reason (something to do with missing football and lugging back a tree the size of Mt Kilimanjaro) and they will more than likely morph into the dad from A Christmas Story when he looses his cool over the furnace and weaves a tapestry of profanity that still hangs over Lake Michigan to this day.  But tradition is tradition is tradition and if they don't want gravy in their stocking to go with their coal, the menfolk will oblige the womenfolk and the childrenfolk.

Having lived both in Wyoming and Michigan, places where it gets rather cold and snowy to say the least, we were pleasantly surprised to trek through the dirt this year instead of the snowbanks up to our armpits.  We're used to losing Anna, who is vertically challenged, and only seeing the tips of her pigtails sticking out of the snow.  We've lost dogs altogether and possibly one grandpa.

So, this was fast!  It was not cold!  There was no whining!  The car didn't get stuck!  We didn't get lost!  We remembered snacks!  We only had to drive a mere thirty minutes!  We were back in under two hours!

I had even asked for time off from Nutcracker rehearsals so I could dedicate the day to our tree hunting.  My boss looked at me and asked if there was a death in the family to warrant such an absence twenty days before Nutcracker.  There might be, I replied, there's always that risk.

So, the problems didn't rear their ugly heads until we got home.  Then we came to understand a nugget of truth:

Some trees look smaller when they're on a mountainside then they do when you try to fit them in the living room.

Also, we're hoping forest service officials won't dust the stump for fingerprints because we may have lopped off more than the designated amount.  Whatever.  Let's not split hairs.

Let's just say there was pruning going on.

Eventually, we got the tree whittled down to Redwood size and set up.  The lights went on!  The gold beads went on!  All the ornaments (all 2134897.5497) of them went on!  The stockings were hung by the chimney with care!  I in my kerchief and Dad in his cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap (or a rerun of Everybody Loves Raymond).

Then it happened.  I walked by our Christmas tree.  We'll never know if my pajama hem brushed the branches or if I breathed too heavily or if a cold north wind was blowing through a window, but suddenly -

         * crrrrrrreeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaak *

I found myself being leaned upon like Lucy by Joe Junior in While You Were Sleeping.

The tree fell into my arms.  Or to be more precise, my hair.
Luckily, I broke its fall with my 5'3" body.  I'm sacrificial like that.  Also, I have a kid who faints so I'm accustomed to holding out my arms at a moments notice and catching things.

I yell for my handsome prince and he comes running.  We push the tree back up.  We try nailing fishing line to the wall - an old trick used by cave men and their Christmas trees - but we only have the world's smallest and most ineffective nails and the line slips right off.  Plus, the weight of our tree snaps the line anyway.  Then we realize our tree stand is busted.  This explains some things.  Like why the tree tried to kill me.  So in order to go to the store and buy a replacement stand we had to do something so dreadful I don't even want to talk about it here...
we had to undecorate the tree in the same day we decorated it.
Then we went and bought a new stand.  We splurged for the $19.97 one and not the crummy, deadly $7.97 one.
Then we came home and started over.
Two years later, we had our Christmas tree.

It was worth it.  Even if I had to take three separate photos to show you the full tree due to its size.

Tree and Elf.

This is the same expression I had on my face when the tree tried to murder me.

Our angel topper is dwarfed by the behemoth branches.  She also may or may not have a terrified expression on her face.  She doesn't get out much.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Obedience through bribery and other advice

Mama guilt is a peculiar thing.  It follows us Mamas around and yells at us when we're trying to sleep.  I have discovered that it can be stifled by - at least occasionally - resorting to Things We Said We'd Never Do.

Things We Said We'd Never Do Before We Had Kids Back When We Were The Perfect Parents With No Kids To Ruin Our Perfect Parenting Streak:

1.  Bribe them.  The experts say you cannot do this or chaos will ensue: the world will be consumed in fire, followed by death, maiming, soiling of quilts, and the stepping on of chickens.  But here's the truth (shh!):

If a purse full of candy means your toddler will let you roam the aisles of Ross twice per year, then get a bigger purse.

2.  Count to three.   Back before we had our own little nose pickers we said we'd never do this because "it only gives them three more seconds to be naughty."  Well, I'm here to tell you this:

We have already been programmed to count to three when we're upset.  You can't help it.  You're already doing it in your head, so it may as well come out your mouth.  Plus, it will buy you three seconds to get yourself under control so that you don't do something you will regret later, like snarf a carton of Oreos in despair.  Go ahead and count to ten if it helps.  I won't tell.

3.  Potty train later rather than earlier.  Who ever said potty training = freedom was smoking something, and I'm not talking about salmon.  

Potty training means two years of your life you will never get back, plus an intimate knowledge of every public restroom from here to Topeka.  Every errand you run will take fourteen times the amount of time it would take had your little muffin been wearing a diaper.

4.  Give in when nagged.  I always said/thought/read/heard that if you NEVER give in on a battle with a toddler, then YOU WILL WIN FOREVER.  That is a big, fat lie and whoever told you that is laughing it up.  Saying "no" only makes stubborn little gremlins more stubborn and more gremlin-y.  They really, REALLY like a challenge.  

So, do yourself a favor and just give in next time.

5.  Never let them become a picky eater.  I don't like picky eaters.  I don't like your picky eater and I don't like that picky eater across the street and I don't like my picky eater.  But they didn't become that way because you "let" them.  They just are.  Like spiders and high bridges and wedgie-prone underpants.  So, accept them.  Let them be.  Give them cereal for lunch (instead of steamed quineoa) and Nutella for breakfast (instead of vegetable stir fry).

I won't tell.

6.  If you don't read to them, they won't become readers.  Yeah, well, sometimes you read to them and they still don't become readers.  Set that example all you want and it still might not work.  I read all the time.  I read so much I forget to change my socks or mop the floor or parent my children!  And all I have to show for my stellar example are a bunch of kids who tell me they'll wait for the Xbox version.  

So go ahead and sink into that bubble bath with the latest romantic mystery...but don't expect your sacrifice to rub off into literate children.

7.  Have a strict bedtime.

Yeah.  Good luck with that one.

8.  Don't allow them to have a "sleep crutch."  You know, those things like binkies and babas and blankies and other things that begin with B.  Well, I'm here to tell you, surround that little angel with every sleep crutch you can possibly find.

We used to surround a snoring infant Cora with upteen pacifiers in the hope that when the one in her sweet angel mouth would fall out (which it would the second we hauled our tired bodies into our own bed), she would magically have enough power over her own limbs to grab the nearest one and pop it in herself.  This doesn't work.  But I still recommend the Circle of Binkies.

9.  Purify their water, boil their pacifiers, use non BPA bottles, give them organic food, use cloth diapers, etc.

At least when someone is looking.  This is key.  When you're home alone with Baby, do whatever the heck you want.

10.  Your turn. 

What rule do you break when it comes to parenting?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Just photos

Looky!  Crescent rolls!  As far as the eyes can see!  As many as your belly can hold, plus two!

Three strange woodland creatures I met in the woods.  Hence, the woodland in the woods...

Also, one small ninja.

And his mom.

I hope the park ranger doesn't fingerprint the stump we left that may have been slightly, just a little, a tad, a smidge, above 12 inches.  Ahem.

The hunters bringing home their kill tree.

Hold up for the ninja who was wearing last year's snow boots and couldn't walk fast.  Also, he needed a sandwich.

"Look, Mom!  I'm on a car! Don't I look good on a car?  Can I have a car?  Can I drive the car?  Can I borrow the car keys?  See you later, can I have them please?"

Sittin' on top of the world...lookin' down on creation...

Why is everything a song with me?

There is a story about the Christmas tree.  But I have to wait another day or two before I can laugh about it.  I'm still wincing.  Also, I can't walk by without PTSD flashbacks and thinking it's going to fall my head.  So...yeah.  Later.  First I must bask in the glow of 400 mini lights.

*contented sigh*

Saturday, November 26, 2011

What's in my head and on my lips

Coffee tastes best when it's stolen out of the pot before it's done brewing and it makes that little sizzling sound when the liquid hits the warmer. 

Gianni, this is my bath.  You can take your own in twenty minutes after Mommy is raisin-y.  Get your toes out.  Get your fingers out.  Quit stealing my bubbles. Ok, you can take the bubbles with you.  Don't drip. 

Yes, Anna, you can have a dark chocolate ginger truffle for breakfast.  It is the season.  Dark chocolate ginger truffles; they're not just for dessert anymore.

I miss the easy friendships I had when I was in my twenties, but I wouldn't go back because they were too easy and not tried by fire yet.  I love knowing that our little band has been through everything possible that could happen to humankind (well, almost) and one by one, we've helped raised one another out of the pits of it, dusted off our big girl pants, and squeezed our entwined hands.

When Thanksgiving dinner arrives I wonder why we only eat such a fabulous, perfect, flawless meal once a year.  Then, after upteen leftovers, I remember why.  No one will want it again for 360 days.

And it all tastes a little bit better when your Mom makes it.  I can't taste 1988 in my stuffing, or 1992 in my mashed potatoes.  Mine are all 2011 and they are lacking somehow.  My mom's food tastes like memories on a plate.

Yaaah, we're finally out of that all natural, green, eco friendly dishwasher soap and we can go back to the hole-in-the-ozone-layer, harsh, plastic-y packaged, dish tabs that I so very much love.  It was like I had a collection of faux milk glass for a while there.

This is the only time of year I like cookies.

Measure your butter when making shortbread, don't just eyeball it.  

Why is the laundry never done?  I hate seeing the bottom of the hamper only to have my view obscured by someone tossing in their underpants, completely and effectively dampening my warm, fuzzy feelings.

I'm so excited to chop down my Christmas tree tomorrow I can hardly stand it.  I'm a little nervous to be living in such a tree hugging state now though.  Especially if they find out about the Cascade dish tabs.  And that I only recycle when I run out of room in my trash.

I love that my man is obsessed with lights on the house and that I can't let him go into any drugstore or department store or grocery store because he will buy more.  

Why is there a fly in my kitchen?  Shouldn't flies be dead in November? 

Gianni's skin is so soft.  Maybe I should rub almond milk, dirt, tears, mud, twigs, oatmeal, salad dressing, Windex, dog food and car oil, on my face too.  Maybe I should make a Toddler Facial Smoothie and sell it on QVC.  

No, Anna, one truffle is plenty.

Gianni, it's time for your bath now.  What do you mean you don't want one anymore?  Can I at least remove the twig from your pants and rub the oatmeal into your skin a little bit better?  Can you spare some of that mysterious grease for my T-zone?

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Grateful for...

...where I was one year ago and where I am today. Last year I hit a deer with my van, which wasn't very holiday-like of me. This year I will stay out of vehicles.

Visiting friends.

Veggie trays while the turkey cooks.  Go, turkey, go!  Brown up, baby, and get in my belly!

The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in the background while we fill the crockpot with apple cider, Tawni rolls out a pie crust using a wine bottle, the number of guests keeps tallying up, the crescent rolls rise, the kids rollerblade, the dog enjoys his giblets, and we plan our Christmas tree hunt for this weekend.

Texts from my group home kids...happy thanksgiving to you too, you little gremlins.

Daughters who can take over the Dreaded and Hideous Gravy Whisking Chore that was the bane of my childhood.  Muwahahaha!

Six homemade batches of chocolate truffles ready to be sent off to Idaho.  Don't you wished you lived in Idaho?

Christmas cards in a perfect stack, ready for addressing.  Want one?  Send me your address.  If you are not in my red Wonder Woman address book, you may as well not exist.

A job I totally enjoy.

Writing that people enjoy.

A book that is almost finished.

Mom and Dad.

Boots, jackets, scarves, dresses with leggings. 

Milo and Gianni sitting perched on the floor watching the dog show on television.  Milo is sure to win, in spite of his giblet breath.  Gianni is also in the running in the hound category.  He is a most excellent howler. 

"Four Christmas'" on the dvr to watch with my snugglebunny one night with the extra chocolate truffles (it's not my fault that they all won't fit in the gift boxes).

The turkey induced coma I will shortly fall in to.  I will only be revived by the odor of apple crisp or pumpkin pie with freshly whipped cream wafted gently under my snoring nose.  

What are you thankful for today and everyday?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sibling Rivalry: A Love Story

The following is a piece I wrote for publication.  It was rejected.  I rewrote it.  Again, rejected.  A different publication showed a brief and momentary interest in it.  But again, rejected.  Then I thought to myself, 'Hey, Self!  I have a blog where no one rejects me!  Well, if they do I don't hear about it.'  So, here you go.  Please don't reject me.  

                                                 SIBLING RIVALRY: A LOVE STORY

It snowed last year:  I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.  –Dylan Thomas.

Is there a relationship so exasperating, exhilarating, angst-ridden, hilarious, bonding, mortifying, constant, giggle inducing, and annoying as that of siblings?  If there is, I have yet to see it.  Although we may love our friends, think we’ve told our girlfriends everything there is to know about us, lean on our spouses, have deep talks with our parents, adore our grandmas, and even sometimes befriend our own offspring, only our siblings knew us from the time of the younger’s birth and will be there when the last one breathes their last.  The language between brothers and sisters is even without words at times; a nod, a shrug, a snort, a shake of the head, a wave of the hand, and they instantly know what the other is communicating.  They interject your childhood tale with a well place eye roll, because after all, they were there too and know when you’re exaggerating.   
My sister – homeschooled beside me during the 1980s - is someone who, even when she struggles to understand me, is the type of fiercely loyal sibling who would drive the get-away car for me after I’ve knocked over the Piggly Wiggly.  If someone dared to suggest I should rethink my life of crime, she’d defend me.  This I know.  And I would do the same for her, although me being the elder I would probably smack her upside the head at the same time.  We’ve gone to bat for each other more times than I even remember.  I recently found my old diary and it was sprinkled throughout with all sorts of references to my sister; a few complimentary, some angry and critical, most ridiculous (I was eleven).  All of the mean parts were crossed through as though in remorse I had seen fit to undo what I had done to her by describing her character so unjustly.  Nowadays, she would still drive the get-away car for me, although in these later years it would be a van full of children, sometimes quarreling siblings themselves.  In fact, we’d be sure to be caught by the police as we pulled over to the side of the road to lecture them about the importance of being kind to your brothers and sisters.            
A sister is someone who will be brutally honest, snuggle under the covers during thunder storms, huddle with you during fearful times, loan you her clothes, steal your clothes, bully you herself but stand up for you with anyone else, braid your hair and pop your pimples.  She has heard you cry yourself to sleep, seen you in your birthday suit, was there when your first crush broke your teenage heart, conspired against your mutual parents with you, did your homework for you, solved mysteries and fought crime with you as her sidekick, learned to drive with you, and either did everything first or everything last, depending on birth order.  My sister is the first person to know when something is wrong with me and the last person I would want to hurt, although ironically she’s usually the first despite my good intentions.  She’s the finisher of all my good quotes and the only one who understands why I think they’re so funny.  We have numerous one liners that crack us up even though neither one of us could tell you why anymore; somewhere through thirty years we’ve forgotten the source.  Why would the declaration that the mashed potatoes are creamy be so hilarious, especially when there are no mashed potatoes to be had?  We’re not quite sure anymore…but we will always bring it up and then laugh together as everyone else in the room raise their eyebrows and back away slowly.  She’s the borrower of all my cute shoes, the thief behind most of my lost earrings, and in a way that only makes sense:  as a chubby little black haired babe perched precariously for a Kodak moment in my three year old arms, she stole my heart long ago.
If you don’t understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child.  –Linda Sunshine.

Sibling rivalry began in the garden of Eden and will continue as long as we call our fallen world our home.  Imagine how different the road trips in Heaven will be!  Why, I don’t know about you, but I plan on driving from one galaxy to another with nothing but peace in the backseat!

The lines of distinction are blurred when you have a sibling that is the same gender and close to the same age.  Their lives are conjoined and entirely fluid, even more so when they’re homeschooled.   Four and five year old sisters are almost one whole person.  This was evident one day as I asked my daughters what they wanted to be when they grew up.  Five year old Cora responded, ‘A cowgirl.’  Anna scowled and crossed her little arms over her chest.  ‘Fine,’ she muttered, unhappily, ‘I guess I’ll be the horse.’  Two separate identities and directions would have been unfathomable, unthinkable, and probably unexplainable to them.  If one is a cowgirl, then it only stands to reason that the other has to be the horse.  Poor little whippersnapper had to retire her dreams of being a doctor at an early age and learn instead to gallop properly.  Lucky for her, or unluckily, Cora at the ripe old age of eleven has changed her career path to Marine Biology.  Let us hope Anna swims well and can speak dolphin.

I’m sure the rivalry in our house will only escalate in the teen years, as much as I fight the idea.  There will be arguments over lip gloss and shoes, homework and drivers’ permits, chalk lines drawn down the middle of the bedroom, missing jewelry and clothes, more eye rolls than I care to think about, crossed out diary entries, hung up phone conversations, accusations, competition, drama and tears.  There will also be laughter, giggle fits, toe nail painting, hair braiding, shared jokes and quotes that no one else will understand or remember, late night cups of tea, whispered dreams, a whole lot of secrets, pinky swears, and hugs.  If I’m blessed enough, it will last until they wish the same things for their granddaughters and grandsons:  a rivalry that was really a love story.

This particular post is linked up at

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mein Lieblings

So today's the day the big homeschool blog awards come out and are announced and I draw the line at checking the website 2348798.345 times.  So while I pretend not to care, I will cheerily accept an award from Heather
who was sweet enough to give me this:

I think it's German.

And no one who speaks German could be evil!!!

Sorry.  I was momentarily taken over by Bart Simpson.  That happens sometimes.

Anyway, in the spirit of Bloggy Awards Etiquette, I must follow the rules and nominate blogs that I admire, adore, esteem, read frequently, etc.  Oh, and that are not well known.  No nominating Pioneer Woman or Gluten Girl or any such successful nonsense as that.  Only us slave labor bloggers.  The ones who have less than 100 followers.  Which reminds me:  we here at The Daze Of Us have 99.  Can I offer a prize to Ms. or Mr. 100?  Some homemade dark chocolate truffles?  A sappy card from Hallmark?  My love and adoration?  A pony?

Looking up these new blogs will give you something to do if you too are getting embarrassed at how many times you've tried to find out the winners of the homeschool blog awards.

So here you go...pop over...give them some love...leave them some comments...leave me some comments...leave the world some comments.

mommy sorority



I'm supposed to pick five, but I have to stop now.  Nooo, not because I'm going to check in on the winners again, but because Moose is trying to break my vacuum.  And anyone who hurts my Dyson will have to pay the piper.  Probably with his Halloween candy.  Also, I'm not supposed to be blogging right now; I'm supposed to be cleaning and folding laundry and then running off to teach munchkins how to chasse, and then come home to welcome my good buddy, Tawni, who is coming for Thanksgiving.  And she told me something about wanting her guest room to shine like the top of the Chrysler Building.  Whatevah, Miss Hanigan.  I am NOT letting her make moonshine in the bathtub.  Plus, she's preggers which means I have to forgo the turkey on Thursday and make pickles and ice cream sundaes instead.  So I have a lot to do.  Also, I may or may not have remembered to brush my teeth this morning.


Friday, November 18, 2011

So Are The Daze Of My Life

Today I wrote a thank you note on a Spongebob card and mailed it to my kid's new pediatrician.  Why?  Because I kind of hate the whole medical industry with every fiber of my being (and I am quite fibrous, believe you me) and so when I find an office that is actually nice to me and doesn't make me want to scream and kick my feet and throw myself prostrate on the train table in the waiting room, well, I send them a thank you card.

What I wanted to say (but didn't, mostly because it was a very small Spongebob card after all) was:

Dear Dr Drake and staff,

Thank you for answering your phone.  Promptly.  And for not putting me on hold for eleventy seven minutes, have me push #1 for English, put me through to someone else, force me to speak clearly to a robot who misunderstands me and tells me to repeat myself four times and then disconnects me, and all that jazz.

Thank you for taking new patients and for not sighing at me when I asked if you were taking new patients like the idea of seeing me and my sick child for a grand total of ten minutes per year and then extorting a ridiculous sum for it is just too, too much for you to bear.

Thank you for having a kind receptionist who remembered my Roo's name as we went in and as we went out.

Thank you for not batting an eye when I said I hadn't vaccinated my gremlins.  Thank you for not sighing, preaching, or scribbling down a long sentence in your notes that I would imagine would say things like "Idiotic mother neglecting children... Probably gave birth at home.  Most likely homeschools.  Expect children to die of easily preventable diseases immediately if not sooner.  Call CPS immediately. "

Thank you for having a background in food allergies which is the stuff dreams are made of in my life.  I was not impressed with the local allergist office here who, coincidentally, are rude, unorganized, rude, late, rude, didn't ever call in Moose's prescription, and are rude.

Thanks for telling me Roo's ear was healing nicely on its own thanks to my warm compresses and oils and she did not need any other treatment.

Lastly, thanks for having a name that totally sounds like a soap opera doctor's name.   It just gives me no end of giggles.  I don't know why.  Probably because anything related to medicine makes my brain cells melt and dribble out my ears onto my shoulders.  

Love, Melyssa.

And just to be clear, I don't REALLY hate medical professionals.  I just hate medical professionals who don't act professionally.  And the insurance companies.  Other than that, I like them fine.  I just don't like going to them because somehow I turn from Nice Sweet Ballerina Shy Bookworm Girl who considers 'fart' a naughty word, to Fire Breathing Dragon Phone Slamming Threat Hissing Tea Cup Throwing Girl.  Ask my husband about this strange medical malady.  He will confirm it.  He now handles every phone call to the insurance companies because I hung up on the last one.  And I don't hang up on people!  Really!  It's rude!  And I don't do rude!  But I don't want to offend all the nice doctors and nurses and staff out there because someday I might get some dreadful disease that I won't be able to treat with garlic or olive oil or Pau d Arco or Enya music or denial or Pinot Grigio or copious amounts of Nyquil.  Just kidding on the Enya.  And I will need those doctors and nurses and staff and I wouldn't want them to be offended or have notes about me.  That'd be bad.  Like, epic bad.

Did you get the title?  Soap opera?  Mixed up with "daze" instead of "days?"  Get it?  HAHAHAHAHA! Laugh with me, my minions, laugh!  It's the best medicine...the doctor told me so.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

In The Night Kitchen

I'm a big fan of books.  Yes, you know.  I'm walking on a cloud these days because we unpacked my LAST BOX OF BOOKS in two years, thanks to a home that is ours (so to speak) and not a corporation who would panic and call a meeting if I so much as moved a salt and pepper shaker, much less stack my books the wrong way.  My luvah bought me a huge craigslist bookshelf that was appallingly ugly until we put all the books in it and now, hopefully, the books are all you see.  

I like my books somewhat willy nilly.  I'll never alphabetize them for the following reasons:  1. No one would replace the title correctly  and 2. They look better grouped according to genre  and 3. The ones belonging to itty-bitties go on the bottom where their jam sticky hands can access them better and the grown up ones with questionable love scenes or random acts of violence go up top where my jam sticky hands can access them better.  

About a year or two ago, I made a resolution.  I don't make resolutions so this was nifty for me.  You ready for it?  Here it is: I will never say no to a child who asks me to read to him/her.  Even if I'm doing twenty eleventy things and my  hair is on fire, I will say yes and crack open that book.  I'm hoping this will reverse the rest of the bad mommying I've done over the think?

So...we bring you a favorite around these parts (not as beloved as Socks For Supper, the last book we shared with you here) that was recently rescued from its life of captivity and exile in a brown box:

In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak.

Being good ol' Maurice (ha!  Beauty and the Beast! ahem. Sorry.  I digressed into Disney for a minute) it is very similar in style to Where the Wild Things Are.  A boy goes to bed and has a strange adventure, only Mickey's makes Max's look tame and domesticated.

Oh look.  Some of my pictures did a head stand.  How odd.  Well, frankly it'd be much easier for me if you'd just turn your head ever so slightly than it would be to make me actually take these off now and start over.  Believe me.

So, anyway, Mickey falls through some kind of space and time continuum and runs into some fat and happy bakers who end up baking him into cake.

Mostly Moose goes for this book cuz there's a lot of gratuitous nudity.  And anytime there's nekkedness involved, a small manchild is gonna be there.

I love the red nosed bakers.

He escaped a run in with a loaf of bread.

Then he falls in some milk.  And naturally his clothes fall off again.  Cuz that's what happens fourteen times per day when you are a small manchild.

Don't think about a boy being in milk that will later be used to bake something.  We all know what little boys do in the bath water that involves the golden arches and making a homemade jacuzzi.

Eventually, Mickey gets out of that strange dream land, shakes off his bread crumbs and hollers COCK*A*DOODLEDOO!  We don't know why.  Again, boys.

It's a classic.  Read to your poppets and muppets and small menchild.  You'll be glad you did.

P.S.  Can we all sing a rousing verse of Reading Rainbow now?  Puhleeze?  You know you want to...

Butterfly in the sky...
...I can go twice as high...
Are butterflies big readers?  Don't know.  But if PBS and the exuberant man with the funny headband on his eyes says yes, then who I am to disagree?