Sunday, December 28, 2008

I was wrrr...

For the record, it appears I was mistaken about the number of college bowl games on tap. There are not 19 as I said earlier, but 34. As in, thirty plus four. Pete also informed me that over half the eligible teams go to a bowl game. Which means if your team is staying home, you probably need a new coach. Or some under-the-table deals.

So there you go...continue your football-watching marathon.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

You know you're done baking when...

...your socks stick to the kitchen floor. Ya'll will be happy to know I ended my Grinch-dom about being overwhelmed with Christmas preparations. And even though I didn't get to the day-long process of making sugar cookies *...which a certain sister of mine may never forget, I am ready for the holiday and ready for Santa's sleigh to land on our rooftop.

(But just to keep myself on my toes, I decided to spill a half-gallon carton of orange juice on the kitchen floor this morning. Pete made the ever-so-sweet comment that the floor needed mopping anyway...)

And by the way, pray a prayer for my friend Shannon who, today and tomorrow, will be suffering the worst effects of her first round of chemotherapy. And for my little friend Jonas, who is only five months old and in the hospital with labored breathing, the cause of which is still undetermined.

Here are a few pics from the season; everyone be safe and enjoy the holiday! See you, several days.

* J the Sister: don't freak out when you see these pics of the boys making sugar cookies; they were gone in a day. I'm really not sure how that happened...

Saturday, December 20, 2008


"Honey...did you know there are 19 bowl games?!"


"Yep. And they start today!"

Thanks for the warning.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stop. The. Madness.

Ranting time: I would really like to show up for Christmas Eve festivities and not be sleep deprived. Or have a headache. Seems like every year I commit myself to too much pre-Christmas activity and then I wind up too tired to even enjoy the holiday itself.

The thing is: I don't have to do most of it. They are things I've signed up for, things I want to do. In spite of my husband still ailing from foot surgery. And my nasty head cold. And ugly weather that causes the boys to miss a day of school.

Part of me likes the busy-ness. The hustle-bustle of the season. The feeling of accomplishing a lot in a short amount of time. The "yuuuummm" look on people's faces when they taste something I've baked or made them for Christmas (wait, have I ever made any Christmas gifts?). Finding the right gift, taking the boys to holiday activities, baking...I love all that.

Then a minute later I'm like...why did I need to go to all that trouble? No one is grading me on my Christmas efforts. No sugar cookies this year? D MINUS. That gift wrapping job is mediocre! C Plus. Slaved over a countertop painting meringue snowmen with fondant scarves? A PLUS!

Yeah. Not happening. This year or ever. And yet maybe it does in my own little head. Maybe I'm a little proud of all that baking I did when Alex was only three months old. Or maybe I feel like since I stay home I should get more holiday stuff done (okay, that doesn't make sense even to me).

So anyway, for me it's a constant struggle between doing what I enjoy and simply overdoing the joy. I have to find the happy place that's comfortable.

And allows me to keep my eyes awake during Christmas Eve Mass.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Last minute shopping? No problem!

I've done a ton of online shopping this Christmas. "Shopping" being the keyword...haven't actually bought but one item by mail order. (Except for that I-really-deserve-this-and-I-don't-care-if-Christmas-is-for-giving splurge I went on last week at Sephora. If you haven't tried Philosophy products, you really need to throw a shopping tantrum, too.)

Anyway, it occurred to me while I was shopping that people will buy anything. Why else would the following items be available:

Racing Nuns -- holy hilarity for only $5.99.

Hug Me pillow -- how much if you want the whole man?

The Ex Five Piece Knife Holder -- with "unique holder." To say the least. There was a day when I would have bought this.

CD Destroyer -- Die, CD! Die! I'd buy one but I have a three-year-old who can also accomplish the task of ruining a CD, and he's free. (By the way, once I found this site, I stopped looking for wacky items people actually buy, since they are all for sale here.)

Ya'll have fun shopping out there...

Overheard: learning Christmas carols

Mickey is currently practicing for two different Christmas programs so he's knee-deep into learning carols for both of them. Yesterday I noticed his twist on a classic:

"...let evvv-rry haaart, prepaare HIS rooommm...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Anniversary of ice storm

This week marks the one-year anniversary of By Far The Worst Ice Storm to Ever Hit Oklahoma. Ask anyone here and that's what they'll call it.

Our house was dark for 11 days, during which the boys and I hibernated at my mom's in Hometown about an hour away. I posted a little from there, beginning here. Enjoy the icy blast from the past. And if anyone still needs to buy me a Christmas gift, a built-in generator would be nice.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

House decorated

Tonight I finally finished putting out all our Christmas decorations. We don't really have much, but what we do have fits nicely in our house. It's been half done for days and I even contemplated just forgetting it and calling it good that I got the tree up.

But I persevered, and amidst kids and laundry and a laid-up husband, I unwrapped all my decorations and got them in their designated spots on the mantel, etc. Ahhhh, I love it when it's all done and I get to see my Christmas stuff for a few weeks. Every one of my decorations evokes a special memory when I open it, even if it's something I bought for myself. There's the Pier 1 phase I went through in the late '90s, the craft show phase in the late 80's (thank goodness that was short-lived), and the Hallmark phase that...hmmm, still in that one.

The neat thing this year is that unwrapping all the Christmas stuff still seems new for Mickey and Alex. Mickey even said "I can't believe there's so much Christmas in our house!"

I just thought of something: Mickey's four years old. This may be the first Christmas he remembers forever.

That's right, honey...lots of Christmas in our house now and always.

Drink this for instant Christmas spirit

My friend Shannon posted over at BlogHer about gifts for teachers: very enlightening for those of us whose kids are just getting started in school. Her article pointed to a great idea for a teacher gift...heck, for anyone: Fireside Coffee. A perfect blend of coffee, chocolate, and spices of the Christmas season. Yum! (And at that link there's also another hot drink idea.)

Here's the incredibly simple recipe (and it tastes good no matter how you package it).


1 cup powdered creamer
1 cup powdered hot chocolate mix
2/3 cup instant coffee
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg

Mix together in large container and distribute into jars. Instructions attached to jar should read “Mix 3-4 heaping spoonfuls in a mug of hot water.” (For the instructions, I went to the scrapbook store and had them cut cardstock to fit on the lids. I wrote out the instructions in silver ink...hard to see in the photo. Then attached them with double-sided tape.)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Overheard, but not from Mickey or Alex

Pete had an outpatient procedure done on his foot today. He's fine and resting downstairs...might be a while before he makes it up here unless he improves on his skills with the crutches.

So during the pre-op the nurse was going through the millions of questions about Pete's health history and everything about his current health. Of course, the subject of his pulmonary embolism came up and then she mentioned, sort of to herself, that he'd "had a bout with it."

At least that's what Pete heard.

What she really said was "when was your last bowel movement?"

To which he said " 2006."

I wish I could say I've been on vacation...

...but not so. Posting has just taken a back burner lately. The Home Team is in the throes of decorating for Christmas, shopping, going to local Christmas plays, practicing for two Christmas programs...

...and trying not to get too overwhelmed with it all.

(Think if I use another one of ... I'd set some kind of record?)

Here's a pic to tide you over until the real content starts back up. It's the boys mocking the Christmas Card Photo experience:

Come to think of it, I have more than one of those. Mickey calls this one "Will. Not. Look. Happy."

And Alex's "Mom, you're scaring me."

Early Merry Christmas, everybody... ... ... ...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's okay to be thankful for little things

Finally the Strep has subsided. Life is good. I can drink water (and Diet Coke and coffee) with a vengeance. I did drink my fill of the perfect-temperature water...but 24 ounces was a bit of a lofty goal. Suffice it to say my thirst is quenched.

Thanksgiving. Tomorrow. Alex and Mickey keep asking Pete and I what we're thankful for and I keep wondering what a good one-word answer would be meaningful to them but not too deep. So the last time I said "Amoxycillin."

And of course this year, and probably for years to come, I'll remember that it's the anniversary of Pete's hospital stay with a pulmonary embolism. Thinking about that situation still makes me shudder just a little. Since then we've had some what-if conversations that are very uncomfortable but necessary and I've also read and heard others' stories who turned out tragic instead of miraculous. And I'm thankful for his recovery all over again.

Then every year I also think about my dear friend from school...who rode home with my sis and from college the day before Thanksgiving circa 1985. I remember how excited she was about going home for the holiday. So much so that she had this weird chant that she repeated over and over...a simple but effective "It's Thanksgiving!" For some reason it has stuck in my mind all these years and my sis and I still utter it from time-to-time and laugh all over again. I'm thankful for such a fond memory!

And the last memory that surfaces every year at this time is from way back, when our family still struggled financially. When I was in elementary school, I remember during the days leading up to Thanksgiving there was an effort to collect money for a needy family in our school. Our teacher passed around a large manila envelope and all the kids would drop in whatever coins they had. Then the teacher would tuck it inside her desk until the next day...up until Thanksgiving.

When school broke for the holiday, I remember seeing that same envelope on my mom's desk at our home.

I remember thinking...what's that doing here, we're not starving! Surely there are families who need this more than us. Thing is, I know we probably DID need that envelope that year. I'm thankful people cared about our family.

So those are the things I think about every year at Thanksgiving. Some insignificant, some monumental...all of them part of my life.

Happy Thanksgiving, ya''s to the big and little things in your lives.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

All I'm saying...

(Update: This is my 400th blog post...glad I could provide you such riveting content on this special day.)

When the Evil Strep has finally done its damage and left, and my throat no longer feels like someone pinching the furthest recesses of my tongue with the strength of Alex, and my jaws don't hurt, and my neck is fully functioning...

I'm going to get a 24 oz. bottle of water. And a straw. And get the bottle of water to the perfect temperature, when it's cold enough to quench your thirst but not so cold it starts hurting before you can finish. Yeah, that temp.

Then I'm going to put the straw in, take a deep breath, and I'm drinking the ENTIRE bottle in one breath.

I may have to blog the ecstasy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Strep is back

Yep, diagnosed today. Only eight months since the first time I had it. And this time Strep Throat brought its friends Achey All Over, Gigantic Headache, and Fever. These guys together have caused me to sleep most of the last two days and disrupt the lives of some very helpful family members.

Then my sister tells me that she heard strep can "live" in someone...a carrier. And yet they won't see any strep symptoms. But they are still contagious, which is the reason I got it. I confirmed this phenomenon at the doctor's office today. Nice.

I'm going to bed now.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I had to do it. My little boy's hair was getting out of control. So was the number of times he was getting called a girl. Twice a day, sometimes more, I was clarifying the gender of my child. A time or two I thought about letting it slide...just let 'em think he's a girl and pretend for a second I have a daughter.

But nope, I've always clarified.

(But I REALLY hate it at Easter and Christmas when all you moms of girls get to buy frilly dresses.)

So I took the boy to Christine (no, really, that's the name of the lady who cuts their hair), and said, "he needs to look like a boy. I know you can't do anything about his pretty face, but please work on the hair..."

She looked at me and said "you mean, like with clippers?"

No. And let me clarify that. NO!

But she did do a little trimming.



After: Behold the BOY, whose haircut also came with a smirk apparently.

(And Miss Christine's also good at creating diversions for photos.)

Ahhhh, so my little boy will no longer be mistaken for a girl. Except he still has his pretty face...hopefully that won't change.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm glad it wasn't me...

Jump over here to read about why my boy will be wearing a leash for the next five or six years.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Self-inflicted pain, but in a good way

Today I ran the Catholic Charities 5k Run for Life with The Moms' Group. It was the first race I've done in five years. More than five years, actually. A long freaking time, I can tell you that.

And it hurt. It hurt badly. I forgot streets go up and down. I forgot 5k was 3.2 MILES. I forgot I hadn't run a step in months. I was reminded of all these things as the pain began just after the first kilometer marker. What? You mean I have FOUR MORE of these things to go?

There were a few good things: I didn't get a cramp in my side, the shinsplints didn't flare up, my feet didn't ache. I did have trouble breathing, in part because of, um, not having run a step in months, but also because I've been fighting a cold for the last few days.

Other than not being able to breathe, I was good to go. Too bad running requires breathing.

So I was painfully slow compared to my last race five years ago. And as I rounded the last corner of the last kilometer, I was loathe to see the clock and the "4" in the first position of my time. As I neared the finish line, I heard a smattering of applause, but kept my head down and pressed on. Without looking up I knew it was The Moms...the five or six of them who had faithfully stayed until all of us finished. I knew they could have been long gone, but they stayed anyway. My Moms...they are truly priceless.

So now as I write this I can't...really...move too well. But every time I feel the tightness in my legs, the twinges in my quads, I'm reminded that I didn't let my lack of training or my extra weight stop me today. Slowed me down quite a bit, but didn't stop me.

And don't worry, I can breathe now.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A cure for what ails me at Christmas time

A lot of little things can get under your skin at Christmas time...and one of the most painful is the packaging that houses a lot of items as if they were made of solid gold. Try to wrestle an item out of one of those plastic clamshells and you are likely to get attacked by it and have scratches to show for it. Then there are the industrial-strength twist-ties and plastic and cardboard to cut through on some items. When I finally released a toy from its packaging, I find myself wanting to hurl it across the room rather than lovingly put it into the hands of one of the boys.

Enter this beauty: the Open-sezz-me Plastic Package Opener:

Last year during gift-opening I had the foresight to bring a Ziploc bag with screwdrivers, two pairs of scissors, and wire cutters. It came in quite handy and saved a lot of rummaging for the proper tool and then resorting to using my teeth.

But this little doo-dad looks like it might get through some tough packaging...hmmm. Maybe an early gift to myself is in order.

I might also add that yesterday I noticed an article on Amazon's front page about how they are packaging some toys in easier-to-open methods so as to avoid "wrap rage." For the life of me I can't locate the article on the site again, but it gives me comfort to know they feel my pain (and scratches).

I know it's early to be thinking about this kind of thing...would it surprise you to know we already have a babysitter for New Year's Eve?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Don't wait until the last minute to vote!

We live two houses down from our church, which today is a polling place. I looked out my window at 6:50 a.m. this morning and the street in front of my house was already lined with cars.

Since I know I don't have to encourage ya'll to vote since you're all fine upstanding citizens, I DO want to encourage you to NOT wait until the last minute. Can you imagine being turned away at 7:01 p.m.? Then you'd be forced to keep your mouth shut for the next four years...the horror!

So get out there as soon as you can and then wear your "I Voted" sticker all day to remind your friends and coworkers. Or your the case may be.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Sometimes I wonder if I should even have this blog. I mean, at the heart of every blog (and yes, I mean EVERY) is writing. Words strung together to make sense, and hopefully entertain or enlighten or provoke you into a thought you never had. At least that's what good writing does.

And said writing should spill. Spill out of the writer, good stuff. Not like that last sentence, either. It should feel like thoughts on paper. Writing shouldn't bring anxiety to the writer. It should be like an eloquent speaker speaking, like a star athlete running, like a fine actor bringing you to tears.

But lately the only thing flowing out of this writer is...nothing. Blogging lately has been like driving through a neighborhood full of speed bumps (I seem to remember using that metaphor somewhere lately...hey, it works).

Some days I used to die to get to the keyboard so I could get something down. I would jot notes, mental mostly, about things I wanted to write about. I would stay up late and annoy Pete with the pecking of my keyboard...just to get something down before the thoughts escaped me.

Not so lately. Writer's block seems to have taken up residence here.

So if I'm sparse out here of late, you'll know why. Blogging should be fun and guilt free...and lately it's neither of those things. So I'll spare you the junk and wait until the words flow out of my fingers again...

Hopefully that day isn't too far off.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

(Not) Wordless Wednesday: Halloween '08

Dear Mom,

I know you think this costume would be so cute if I'd just wear that ruffly collar around my neck. Since my Grandma made the costume for my cousin a few years ago, I'm sure it would mean a lot to her, too...if I'd just wear that collar.

The thing is, mom, that collar creeps me out. I can see it out of the corner of my eye when it's around my neck and it makes me claustrophobic. It might scratch me or rub up against my cheek, or the ribbon might rub my neck. I really can't take that chance, mom. And honestly, I think it makes me look even more like a girl than my long hair (which you are not cutting anytime soon, by the way). I think I was nice enough to let you put some clown cheeks on me with makeup, which in itself is a mystery to me because doesn't it just make me look more girly?

So you will have to settle for the collarless, ruffle-less clown this year. Sorry. At least I let you talk me in to wearing the darn thing.



Dear Mom,
"I want to wear this football uniform every Halloween. Forever."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Last post on purees...promise

After this I promise to move this blog on to another really. It's possible the holidays will give me something else to post about besides which fruit or vegetable met an untimely demise in my food processor.

But until then...

I have one more recipe to review: it's the big kahuna of puree recipes. The most unbelieveable of them all, at least in Deceptively Delicious. It's the one where people say "ewwww" and "no wayyyy" when you tell them what's in it. If I hadn't seen Jessica Seinfeld on Oprah talking about how convincing this recipe is, I'd have never tried it.

"It" is a recipe for Brownies. With spinach. And carrots.

And it rocks.

I have a palate that can detect the tiniest smidgeon of vegetables or any other "grow food" in any recipe, so I was skeptical from the git-go. But I could not taste either carrots OR spinach. And I closed my eyes and concentrated. And the only thing my taste buds met was chocolate. And lots of it. The recipe itself calls for baking chocolate as well as cocoa...probably to beat down that veggie taste as thoroughly as possible.

But the real test came when I cut "rownies" for the boys.

(Lettuce and tomato, anyone?)

I rest my case. And they asked for seconds.

You can check out the recipe in its entirety at Oprah's site. I guess Ms. Seinfeld thought it was too good to make us all pay for it.

To wrap up the pureeing chapter of this blog, a thought did occur to me: if they're lucky the boys might get a scant tablespoon of each vegetable I add, since most recipes only call for a half- to one cup of puree. But in the past two days, I've completely disguised three different purees in foods they love (and I did it in front of them).

Maybe one day they'll eat those foods in their recognizable form, but until then every little bit counts.

Here's what I'm doing today

Bloggy Giveaways is hosting another giveaway carnival. No, I do not have a giveaway here...why break my streak of not participating? But I do plan to spend today perusing the growing list of sites who are giving away stuff on theirs. During the last giveaway carnival, I won a set of cleaning supplies (and boy do they look nice in my cabinet) and a children's Christian music CD which my boys love.

So ya'll take some time to check it out...and let me know if you win anything!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

You're not alone

In case you've had trouble posting comments here lately, don't give up. I understand Blogger has been temperamental today and lots of people have had trouble with that on other blogs.

So please be patient while they figure their...stuff...out. I'm sure it will be working properly again soon.

It's Thursday. And that's about it.

Update: I almost forgot! I'm posting over here today.

My goodness! I don't have much to say today but I really need to get that bathtub post further down on the's too disgusting to see on a daily basis. And the tub itself is still disgusting, by the way. Maybe this weekend I'll get to it. Maybe.

So since there's not much else going on here, I will relegate my content to the weather. Last night the temps here in Tulsa dipped down to...well I don't know exactly but it was a chilly 68 degrees in my house this morning. So for the first time this season I dressed the boys in jeans and long-sleeved shirts. And I guess Alex doesn't remember what long sleeves feel like: he kept stretching his arms out like he was trying to get them to scoot up his wrists.

And since the leaves are creeping ever closer to being in full fall bloom, I'm also keeping my camera charged and ready to photograph the boys outdoors; just maybe I'll get a keeper for Christmas cards. There's a park about five minutes from my house that every photographer in town is closely monitoring right now. The very day the leaves get to their peak vibrance, the squirrels will have to move aside for the onslaught of photography sessions. I heard once that the park is so much in demand for commercial photographers that some sort of permit is required to shoot there. Let's hope that doesn't apply to me and my point-and-shoot Canon.

We are also one day from the one-year anniversary of Alex's unplanned dip in a fish pond. Back then I thought, wait till next year. Next year I won't have to worry so much about him running off. He'll listen and he'll stick by me and he'll come when I call him.

(sigh) Maybe next year.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday: CLR Bath and Kitchen

Today I'm participating in Tackle It Tuesday over at 5 Minutes for Mom for the first time...mainly because I've not tackled anything until now.

But this is a fun little event: I signed up for today's TI...wait, maybe I'll just spell it out...Tackle It Tuesday solely to see if I could get my tub clean. I can't really believe I'm posting pics of my filthy tub for all to see. I'd almost rather put my social security number on here. I promise most of my house is pretty clean, but don't we all have tasks that we put off until we can't stand it anymore and so then we tackle it and it takes us three hours to perform the task?

That's my bathroom.

Okay, so the girls at 5 Minutes for Mom had a wonderful Tackle idea where they sent Tacklers a free bottle of CLR Bath and Kitchen in exchange for bloggers' accounts of how the stuff works. And of course there are prizes involved!

So here's my account. Avert your eyes if dirty tubs make you squirm.

But first, since the product says it can be used in the kitchen, I decided to give that a whirl. You will notice that my kitchen sink is pretty shiny, and you'll wonder why my tub doesn't look like that. But the night of the testing, I did have some scratches on it from a pan that are kinda hard to scrub off.

BEFORE CLR Bath and Kitchen:

AFTER CLR Bath and Kitchen:

Like the instructions said, I let CLR Bath and Kitchen hang out on the stain for a couple of minutes. Then I got a damp sponge and got to scrubbing. And scrubbing. The stain did come off pretty well, but no easier than with Comet or baking soda. C- on the kitchen test.

Now, let me say before you witness the site in my bathtub, that we do not take baths in this bathtub, only showers. Our feet don't care if they're standing on a stain. And I don't wear my contact lenses in the shower so the place looks pretty clean to me no matter what. The boys take baths in another bathroom in a CLEAN bathtub. Trust me on that.

So now that I've given you all my excuses, on with the testing.

BEFORE CLR for Kitchens and Baths:

AFTER CLR for Kitchens and Baths:

I used the product both on the tub area (in the corner) and on the fixtures. I let CLR sit for a few minutes, then got a damp sponge and tried to wipe off the grime. If you think the before and after pics of the tub look the same, you're not the only one. I kind of expected it to be difficult, but I hoped the scum on the fixtures would be gone. Instead of the shine I was hoping for, it's just mildly better. Could be I was asking a little too much from the product, although right on the label it says it attacks "soap scum." C- on the bathroom test.

Bottomline, I think CLR Bath and Kitchen is better suited for areas that are, shall we say, used to being cleaned.

For more accounts of CLR's performance and Tacklers who had better luck with this product than me, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Overheard: cracked up by both boys in one day

Mickey and I were discussing yet another crafty thing he produced for his daddy to take to work with him:

"I want to give these to Daddy to take to work."
"Honey, Daddy doesn't really have much room for more stuff at his work..."
"Okay, well, he can just keep them here at home on That black thing."

And with Alex, today we went to a little grocery store that had prominently displayed three little signs, one for Visa, one for MasterCard, and one for Discover.

Alex points to the MasterCard sign:

"Mamma, is that dot com?"

Holy cow.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm so stinkin' tired...

I can't even really think straight right now, but I'm not delirious enough to forget to tell you I'll be taking a bit of a bloggin' least until Monday, or Tuesday, or something. You know how I hate deadlines. And self-imposed deadlines make me want to curl into a ball on the floor. No, on my bed. My very soft and inviting bed... Bye.

Field trip to 918moms

It's Thursday...time for your outing to my post at

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"That thing" landed in my mailbox today

The same day I mentioned a piece of kitchen equipment my mom used to use, Chef's catalog turned up in my mailbox, with this on page 65:

No, it is not a "triple digital timer," but a "chinois with pestle and stand." And that's pronounced "sheen-WAH." I gotta say...I don't remember my mom ever using that word in our house. But we had one of these things and I can remember her putting persimmons and other stuff I wouldn't eat through it. And I really have no idea where the puree ended up once she pressed it through this tool.


Did my mom food-deceive our family thirty years ago?


That sneaky woman...

Why I'm not Pioneer Woman

So last week I got all excited about starting to sneak vegetable and fruit purees into my family's meals. Right about that time I saw this post from the queen of instructional cooking: Pioneer Woman. I've never made any of her recipes, but I figured the pumpkin puree would be easy enough...since it only had ONE ingredient. How hard could it be?

If you read her post, you will think that making your own pumpkin puree is the easiest thing in the world. I still believe it is, unless you're me. And my oven.

Everything was going just fine (with the help of my Curious Georges)...

...until I got to the puree part. The critical part, I suppose you could say.

My little mini-Cuisinart started tripping over large chunks of pumpkin that didn't get cooked through during the roasting process. A little like driving along a smooth highway and then hitting a speed bump. Then another, and another, and another. I had checked the pumpkin to make sure it was soft enough, but apparently I shouldn't have taken the word of just one sneaky piece:

So I figured, well, that's a problem, but not unfixable. I'll just strain the puree through my colander. Riiiiight.

The puree was too thick to fall through the holes. It needed a little coaxing, only I couldn't quite find the right coaxing tool. I was really wishing I had one of those things my mom had (has?) when we were growing up...that thing with the wooden thing that pushes stuff through holes and then it falls down the sides into a bowl. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, so I tried a rubber spatula to push it through. Effective but slow. I tried pushing a small saucer down over it. Pumpkin smooshed out around the sides. A mess (ya think?). Then I tried a pasta scraper thingie...a bigger mess.

So I looked at Mickey, who was watching the process unravel the whole time, and said "...there's only one more tool I haven't tried..." I turned to the sink and washed my hands WITH SOAP, then dove them into the puree. Messy? Yes. Slow? Yes. Effective? Finally. And entertaining for little boys.

I was left with a bit of a mess...and since the process, started right after breakfast, took a mere three hours longer than I expected, I had to fix the boys lunch amidst it all. That was fun.

But by golly I got my pumpkin puree in little half-cup portions. Which will be consumed by members of my family in one way or another.

So who knows if I'll ever have the courage to try another one of Pioneer Woman's luscious recipes...I may need therapy first.

Updated: Yes, you may purchase one of these half-cup beauties...for $137.50. Each.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Shhh! And let the deception begin...

In an effort to get fruits and vegetables past the lips of Mickey and Alex, I've borrowed Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld from a friend. The basic principle of the book is to incorporate pureed fruits and vegetables into recipes, unbeknownst to anyone but the cook. (And yes, put the real thing on their plates, too, since they still need to learn to eat the non-pureed stuff).

Over the last few days my kitchen has been in a pureeing frenzy: pumpkin, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, and carrots have all been spun to smoothy goodness in my mini-Cuisinart (the pumpkin was difficult, to say the least, but that's another post).

In fact, the other night I incorporated cauliflower puree into a mac-and-cheese dish I made with boxed pasta, mixed veggies, and kielbasa sausage. It's always been a favorite of Mickey's and Pete's (and Alex is working on his issues with food containing more than one ingredient).

So that night as Pete and I cleared the dishes from dinner, I rattled off my list of upcoming pureeing tricks to him, to which he groans and says, "I don't know if I'm ready for all that..."

He still doesn't know I've already begun the only kind of deception acceptable in a marriage.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pumpkin patch pictures

Because pumpkins are for climbing, right?

Only 80 degrees...where is the cool of fall?!

Keeping four little hands off this table was not easy... I gave up.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Home Team plays an away game

My first post at is up; check it out here. And every Thursday. 'Cause today's...Friday.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Fear not...

I posted the other day about my big debut as a blogger at today. Only my big debut turned into big technical problems, so that's why my inaugural post isn't out there yet. Seems Opening Day at the new ballpark was a bust for The Home Team (who is Late Blooming Mom over there. Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it...)

However, my bio is out there, so skip on over and read things about me you already know. Something about seeing them on that fancy web site makes them a little more...fancy, don't you think?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sixth folder, sixth picture

You may have read about Mary at Owlhaven's recent 30 Days of Nothing, a challenge I knew better than to try so I just watched her in admiration.

This time, however, she and her friend Sara at A Shower of Roses have thrown out a challenge even I can handle:

Access the My Pictures folder on your computer. Go to the sixth folder. Go to the sixth picture and publish it on your blog.

Alright, ladies, here you go:

Wow, and ain't it a beauty.

It was taken in January of this year at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas. The boys and I tagged along with Pete on a business trip to the area and took advantage of the indoor water park for a day or so. Rather than risk getting my real camera wet, I purchased a waterproof disposable camera, with which I took this picture. Even though it doesn't show any of my peeps, I wanted a shot of where we spent almost the entire time while we were there.

I think $6.99 camera was a wise purchase, don't you? I know you're marvelling at the photo's detail, the crispness, the vivid color of the...lockers. And notice how the shot shows the contrast of the outdoor wintry mix that was falling (you can't see it? It's there, I swear) and the blue of the 18-inch-deep water. And the moms and dads who look pretty much bored out of their minds...see how the lens captures the skin tones only mid-winter in Texas

So there you have it, Mary and Sara. The challenge is met. I hope my readers survive.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Little things can make your day

While shopping at The Gap:

"Ma'am, I just got a call from an associate who told me everything on sale was just marked down another 25%..."

While doing housework (what! It happens!) while Mickey played with his toys by himself:

"Mom, is it okay if I organize these?"

I seriously cannot decide which one I'd rather hear more often.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Is nature too mature for a child?

Tonight Mickey and I sat on the sofa and channel surfed to the Discovery Channel's Planet Earth. I'd heard about this acclaimed series before...some comedian said it had been nominated for an Oscar, but wondered how hard it was to film grass growing.

Thankfully, however, tonight's episode was all about ocean life. The film, even on our not-flat-screen, not-plasma, really-wishing-it-would-die television, was absolutely mesmerizing, to me and to Mickey. Even Alex paused for a nanosecond to watch schools of colorful fish and swimming bunches of snakes (yes, SWIMMING). got interesting. The scene turned to sea lions hoisting themselves up on a beach to acquire a dinner of fresh penguin.

The sealion's teeth went around the penguin's neck and then the thrashing began. I was hoping it would be over in a flash and go back to the little baby whale and its mamma, but the carnage continued for several seconds. I finally turned the channel amid protests from Mickey. He wanted to see the rest of the show in spite of his DVD of Happy Feet sitting on the shelf next to the TV.

So when are little kids mature enough to see examples of the circle of life? At what age is it okay to let them see lions attack a baby water buffalo? 5? 7? 19? Did your kids ever see something similar on TV and get upset over it?

Sigh...yet another parenting issue to ponder, for sure. That, and how to answer him when he asks if the chickens he saw in the petting zoo at the fair are the same kind as the chicken that ends up in nuggets.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


The other day I alluded to a bit of news. For those of you who had some pretty wild ideas about what I could possibly want to announce to the world, well, just have Diet Coke (or a cup of coffee, or something stronger if needed) and calm down. Here's the deal:

Beginning next Thursday, October 9, I will be a weekly contributer to the blogging section at The site is focused on local issues for moms in the 918 area code here in Oklahoma, which is basically the eastern part of the state.

But of course, we all know that "internet" is synonymous with "everywhere," so even if you're not a 918er, feel free to visit us from time to time (and especially on Thursdays!). The site also has sections, such as the Forums, where moms everywhere can find useful information and chime in on discussions.

At I will be focusing a little more on parenting issues from both a local and global standpoint, and not so much on how I get out of drying dishes. But fear not, I will still be updating this blog whenever the mood strikes.

(And by the way, my ID on 918moms will be Late Bloomin' Mom. But if you think that means I can't hold my own in chasing a toddler through Target, just try me.)

So there's the news: now go check out 918moms!

Stephanie Brings it On

Need a lil' pick-me-up this morning? Go visit Steph at Adventures in Babywearing today. She just had a baby a couple of weeks ago, a girl, and she already has three boys. Go ahead, take ya about 30 seconds.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The "What's up with you?" post

It's October! It's October! It's October! I sent Mickey to school with a sweatshirt on this morning...ahhh, fall. The cool temps in the morning and the crisp evenings are almost enough to help me get over summer being over. Maybe by the end of the month I'll be okay.

First things first:

-- I've got some news that is burning a hole in my pocket but I want to wait just a few more days before divulging. Stay tuned!

-- My roommate at BlogHer '08 (Mary of Owlhaven) just completed 30 Days of Nothing, and managed to feed her family of twelve on $194 during September. Read about how she did it and see if you're not just a little inspired.

-- This week I found a new way to season my one and only healthy addiction: edamame. Sprinkle on a mixture of equal parts chili powder and Lawry's seasoning. Used it on shelled or not shelled. You shall be amazed.

-- When we went to the fair the other day, the boys (and Pete and I) were captivated by three of these guys. Even the website is fun...

That's it in the what's-up-with-you department. Don't forget, check back for some news around Friday-ish.

Wordless Wednesday: Fleeting Friend at the Fair

For more Wordless Wednesday, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Alright, already! I give you...the bangs

No, really, I do have hair on the other side of my head. And in the back. The rest of it looks pretty much the same as my profile pic on the right side of this page so I didn't see much point in posting a pic of my hair down.

(Cool trick: making a photo black and white and fuzzing it up a little goes a long way to hide bloodshot eyes that occur when photographing yourself at midnight. But apparently does nothing for dark circles.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Best Rube Goldberg Ever

"Ever" is not enough. Watch for my favorite part: the cell phone call.

Learning your haircut

Got me a new haircut the other day. Ironically, by the same woman who has cut the hair of two of my sisters as well. Isn't some sort of discount in order here?

Anyway, after years without bangs, stuck in a rut with the same ol' style (much like my cooking...hmmm) I sat down in the chair and said "cut me, Tina!" (Based on her blank stare I don't think she got my Rocky reference.) So I explained to her I didn't want some wannabe bangs that would end up getting shoved up into a lazy-tail like the rest of my hair. I wanted to look in the mirror and see something different for once. Some bangs with authority!

So, she cut me all right. To just below my eyebrows. Yikes!

So I came home and stared at them in the mirror. The haircut you come home with from the salon can never count as the real haircut, since you had no hand in fixing it. You have no idea what it's going to do until you get your own hands on it. Which I did. And I still have no idea what it's going to do.

It's been about ten years (15? 20? Who really knows...) since I dealt with bangs and it's obvious I have forgotten everything I ever knew about fixing them. I know one thing: if I pull out my curling iron like I did back then I will get laughed at...and not in a good way. Some people I know may even hit me over the head with it.

So now I'm just left to learn them. And try to do something cool with them like Ashlee Simpson, or Pete Wentz, for that matter. I'd like to Palin-ize them just a little, but without so much pouf. I bet Sarah doesn't stare in the mirror and wonder what hair tool she's feeling particularly skillful with that morning.


I guess I will let them do whatever they will do, and continue to have flashbacks to junior high when I washed my whole head of hair just to get my bangs back to square one so I could fix them all over again.

In the meantime, don't judge me. Don't cock your head sideways and try to figure them out. Just smile and say, to yourself, please..."yeaaah, she's still learning..."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The other three words we all need to hear

This morning as Alex finished his cereal, he got down from his chair and announced "I feel pretty, Mommy." Hearing the words made me smile as I watched him run off to play.

(My first reaction was "It's a good thing you're feeling pretty because it's picture day at school..." I nearly sent a comb with instructions for his wild hair.)

Then I wondered what it would be like if I announced "I feel pretty..." on the days when I'm feeling just the opposite. We all have days when we feel like we got it goin' on. Whether it's a new haircut or a new outfit or maybe the scale was forgiving that day. Doesn't "feeling pretty," even though you know you were the same person yesterday, make you walk a little taller, smile a little more, be just a little friendlier to people?

Who the heck knows what was on Alex's mind when he said that this morning. Could have been the milk he spilled down his shirt and I didn't get on to him. Or maybe that I let him have sugar pellets (otherwise known as sweetened cereal) for breakfast. Whatever it was, it made him feel pretty. As long as he smiles for the camera, I suppose it doesn't really matter...

So tomorrow, when you're hating your hair once again, willing three (or thirty) pounds to be gone, thinking you need to get your teeth whitened, look at the mirror and say "I feel pretty." See if just hearing the words lifts your spirit a little.

If not, Lucky Charms might do the trick...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

WFMW: Dealing with hospital stays

Yesterday I had to go to the hospital where Pete was admitted back in 2006 to fight his pulmonary embolism. * (I was paying a bill.) As I traipsed the boys through the halls to find the cashier, I felt the tension from two years ago wash over me all over again. I didn't tell the boys where we were going, but Mickey asked immediately " this the hospital where Daddy stayed..."

Anyway, it really made me start thinking about what we went through. I got a crash course in dealing with a husband's unexpected hospital stay and wrote the post below about it. Thought I would share it once again if you haven't been reading my blog for long.

Like the title says, I hope you never need these tips.

(Originally posted December, 2006)

A list I hope you'll never need

A wife can learn a lot when her DH is suddenly awarded a six-night, seven-day trip to a hospital. (And NOT an all-expenses paid trip, I might add.) It was a little different than, say, when I went in to have my babies: we weren't prepared at home with the kids, DH wasn't prepared to be absent from work for that long, and the obvious difference is that it was a very tense situation, not a happy occasion. So I feel compelled to post a list of things I learned when DH recently went on his little trip, and I hope you will never need to remember them:

1. Before you leave for the hospital or as soon as you get there, get a pad of paper and a pen and keep them with you all the time. I didn't do this, and I had six pieces of information written on a ragged 3x3 Post-It. Phone numbers, medical terms, room numbers, etc. You'll get all of this spewed at you in rapid succession and you'll want to remember it.

2. Have someone bring you a sack full of snacks and bottled water to keep in the hospital room, for you and/or the patient. Hospital food gets old very quickly and you won't want to leave his bedside for food anyway. Someone did this for me without my asking and it came in so handy.

3. Grab your cell phone charger.

4. Back to the pad of paper: jot down questions for the docs as you think of them. They talk fast and they spend limited time in your room so you need to make the most of it. It's also good to record any medications they are administering so you can Google them later or ask someone else to. And Google-ing doctors' names is interesting, too.

5. The more machines and/or cords involved in the patient's stay, the more important it is to be there with him all the time. The nurses, as compassionate as they might seem, will not hang around to help the patient get situated after getting up to use the restroom or if he needs to turn over. It's especially hard for them to get comfortable if they've had blood drawn or needle pokes in both arms.

6. You need to make sure you are there when the doctors visit. DH will think he is lucid, but ask him to repeat something the doctor said and you could get a blank stare.

7. Ask questions. The medical staff seemed a little robotic at times with all their procedures and such and soon you will find yourself wondering, "just what was that blood-draw for..."

8. Listen to the people who tell you: "you need to worry about DH and not your kids..." If you know the homefront is covered, allow yourself to focus on being at the hospital. It is hard to do but people really do want to help so you have to let them. It's really the only choice.

9. Speaking of the homefront: ask the people there to keep a phone log of calls so you and the patient can look at it later. Again, this was done without my asking but I so appreciated it.

10. I was wishing for one of those mini voice recorders for remembering what floor of the parking garage I had left my car. There were a few trips winding up and down on foot with my keys trying to follow the sound of my "beeper."

11. Pray with your DH, not just for him.

That's about it. I have been working on this post for awhile and now I'm ready to move on to funner things (shut-up, sometimes non-words work).

*He made a full recovery!
For more great tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Trying new recipes: Chicken Pot Pie

Doesn't everyone have a different version of Chicken Pot Pie? And does anyone's look like the ones that come in little round foil tins? There are so many varieties of CPP and techniques to make them that finding any perfect recipe is impossible. But I think I have found quite the contender...and from a most unlikely source (unless I'm the only one who doesn't feature Jessica Simpson as a chef).

The other day I mentioned I was watching Rachael Ray when Jessica was on and she was sharing her recipe for Chicken Pot Pie. The recipe was so simple I didn't even have to write anything kind of recipe!

I intended to post the link to RR's website where I did look it up later, but unfortunately it's now nowhere to be found now...hmmm.

So here it is from memory:

Jessica Simpson’s Chicken Pot Pie

One can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Rotisserie chicken, shredded
One can Cream of Chicken soup
One can Cream of Mushroom soup
One cup chicken broth

Separate the crescent rolls into triangles. Place about 1/3 c. chicken on each triangle and wrap the crescent roll around the chicken. It was a little like wrapping a 20 pound baby in a receiving blanket, but it does not have to be pretty because it’s going to be bathing in soup in a minute. Just do the best you can to cover the chicken.

Place the chicken "pillows" in a (sprayed with Pam) 9 x 13 dish. You’ll have eight of them. Mix the soups together and pour over the pillows. Then pour the chicken broth over the whole thing.

Bake at 350 until nice and bubbly.

That's the recipe as she made it, but I made a couple of changes:

-- Used two large poached chicken breasts, shredded.
-- Added most of a bag of frozen mixed vegetables to soup mixture before pouring over chicken.
-- Omitted chicken broth and 1/2 can of mushroom soup; whisked one can of milk into soups.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Honorable? Why thank you!

A few weeks ago I entered this post about Colors in Scribbit's monthly Write Away contest. Turns out it was chosen as one of the top entries in the contest! (toot, toot, toot...)

Ya'll head over there and read the other winners and the submissions. The writing talent on mom blogs continues to amaze me...

Everyone calm down

I have seven sisters, and apparently the number of them concerned that I would loan my hairbrush to this person is growing by the minute.

Put your fears to rest, sistas; I fumbled with "...uh, no, I don't have one..." fully realizing she knew I was lying. No one with a mass of hair like mine goes out in public, a very rainy public, without some sort of weapon for her hair. Now if I'd have had a teeny-tiny purse, maybe. But I carried the behemoth that night so I'm sure she was thinking "yeaaaahhhh, riiiiightttt..."

But thankfully she did not challenge me, and instead provided us details about how much she needed to fix her hair.

I don't know, I think the ball cap was a pretty good start... (ouch!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Keen insight from Mickey?

Or lofty goals for Pete? Or maybe Mickey knows something I don't. He started the conversation:

"...did you know the cheetah is the fastest animal?"
"No, I didn't know that."

Then a few seconds later:

"...but I bet Daddy could beat the cheetah."

Kenny Chesney and...who was that again?

Last week Pete and I got to go to the brand-spankin'-new BOK Center recently built here in Tulsa. We were there to see Kenny Chesney and Leann Rimes (apparently Pete has a thing for LR so I took out a loan and for his birthday I got us some pretty good tickets).

A sight to behold, for sure, but for us, the beholding-worthy site was right outside the doors:

I would say it pays to have friends in high places, but that would be a trite and pretentious phrase and we here at the Home Team do not flaunt our good fortune when it so very rarely descends upon us. Except for right now.

Dudes, my friends hooked us up.

Here's the scenario: (the kind that requires lime) And free parking across the street from the Center.

I love these friends!

Here's me and the friend we now owe favors to. (About two seconds before this picture was taken that woman in the brown shirt asked me if I had a hair brush she could borrow.)

"...what to wear, what to wear. Shoot, this Hanes t-shirt still has a few hours left in it. Lemme get my hat. And a necklace!"

The ferocious guards at the entrance to the tent...keeping all the unsavory freebie-seeking characters out.

...or keeping them in?!

Could he have at least grabbed the blue hula-hoop?

Okay, now here's where it gets ugly: Leann Rimes, the whole reason I sold my...ahem. The reason Pete was counting the days to the concert? Called in sick. Something -itis. I don't know. I believe he'll be scarred for a while.

So in her stead, Miranda Lambert sang her substitutin' lil' heart out. Way to step up, girl...

Then the man made his grand entrance...

If you look really closely you can see his jeans standing there.

His songs will make you want to sell everything and move to the Caribbean. Get a boat and just float around all day...

Not too sure Pete feels the same way. He's still feeling pretty bluuuu-uuu-uuuu-uuuu-uuu....