"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Home Security

As paranoid as I am, I always keep the doors locked, even when I'm home. Some people find it a little disconcerting that as soon as they enter my home, I will lock the door behind them. If it came down to a fight, they have to judge whether or not they could take me before they can relax.

Last night as I was walking through the house, turning off lights and checking locks, I made an interesting realization: my kids are way better at keeping the house secure than I am. Seems like each toy was strategically placed right in my path, with it's pointiest features ready to make contact with bare feet.

So here's what might happen if someone attempted to break into the house:

First, he'd begin in the kitchen. Why, I don't know...maybe he wants a snack to start off his burglary. But in the kitchen (where, by the way, toys are forbidden) he'd be so intent on looking around for something he could steal that he wouldn't see the little ride-on car until he was stumbling over it. He'd regain his balance and then pause, checking for signs that he'd been heard. Satisfied, he'd continue on, ignoring his throbbing ankle and removing his shoes so he could move quietly. Because he isn't used to looking for them, he wouldn't see the kid-sized table right there next to the family-sized one. He'd bang his knee something fierce and really have to work at not swearing. But two steps away from the table he'd step on something that felt like a metallic porcupine. Really, it's a Happy Meal toy but the sensation when stepped on is the same. Limping slightly, he would continue on, sure there were riches to be had. On the third step he'd lose his balance when his bare foot made contact with something impossible slippery laying right in the middle of the step. It is a booby trap? Nope. Just my daughter's discarded ballerina costume.

Not caring now, he'd plow his way up the stairs. That plastic wheelbarrow is the perfect height to smack him right in the sensitive part of his shins and it's placed right at the top of the stairs. Keeping his balance will be the hard part. If he starts going down, it's all over because he has arrived in the Toy Room. Little cars and figures are littered across the floor like a bed of nails, just waiting for him to come crashing down. He's sweating now, maybe crying a little, seriously reconsidering this life of crime that he's chosen. After a few missteps and the ensuing pain, he hasn't even made it to the hallway. After picking yet another lethal Barbie hand out of the his foot, he gives up. No amount of money is worth this. He beats a hasty retreat, stumbling over toys and charging down the stairs, only to slip on the ballerina costume and fall the rest of the way. Back on his unsteady and bruised feet, he forces his way past the mini land mines, bangs his other knee on the kids' table and trips over that annoying car until finally, he can make his escape.

Unfortunately, the authorities have already been alerted and are waiting for him outside. Willing, he surrenders, hands in the air as he limps to the arresting officer. As he pleads for a paramedic, the cops shake their heads at his poor choice. Not only did he have to contend with all those deadly toys inside the house but this would-be burglar over-looked one big fact of life: people with children don't have any riches stashed away. They've had to spend all their money on keeping those kids clothed and fed. There are no jewels beyond the costume sets mixed in with their dress-up clothes.

Silly burglar. Never stood a chance.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Overwhelmed

I have the greatest friends and neighbors! Shortly after my last post was published, my doorbell rang. It was a very lovely woman who I am lucky enough to count as a friend. She immediately filled my arms with the makings for dinner and breakfast tomorrow as well as some yummy treats. I wanted to kiss her but her husband might get jealous so I just cried instead.

Then another friend insisted I bring the kids over Saturday morning to play so I could rest. I resisted but she was pretty adamant. I'm glad I let her help me because Saturday was by far the worse day yet. I have something like a weird combination of a chest cold, allergies and the flu. I returned home with visions of hot uninterrupted showers filling my head...only to promptly spew all over the kitchen. So the first half hour of "me" time was spent cleaning the kitchen floor.

I ended up calling in reinforcements after that. Aunt Denise came over after naptime and stayed until after bedtime. She ran the kids around outside while I passed out in bed. She made dinner while I sat and read a book. She cleaned my kitchen while I laid on the couch with a cold compress on my eyes. She dunked the dirty kids in the bathtub while I...actually, I don't remember what I did but I am sure I was useless. She is wonderful! And the best part? My children are still alive and did not need to be strapped to their beds.

Yet another friend is bringing me dinner tonight. (She is notoriously a healthy eater and I am not...so I told her she could bring me dinner as long as it wasn't healthy. She'll probably find some sneaky, tasty way to make me eat vegetables anyway.)

So those are my good overwhelmings...let me tell you the not-so-good.

Friday night the entire family was invited to a birthday party...at Chuck E. Cheese (did mothers everywhere just groan at the mention of that name?). Now, I knew that someday, I would have to enter that establishment so my kids could have the experience. I have fond memories of the place from when I was a kid. I hoped that the Man would have also been a part of that, so that way we could each chase a kid around. Not to be. The Man is gone away, leaving me for networks and servers and hubs and a bunch of other stuff that I don't understand but pays our bills. Still, it wouldn't have been such a bad thing if not for a couple factors: I had a painful cough and quickly ran out of cough drops, the party table was located right next to a gigantic speaker that constantly blared annoying "party" music as played by the robotic band on stage, and the Boy taking "freak out" to a whole new level on his very first game there.

To mark the occasion (discovering yet another ring in my personal hell), I had the kids sit in the car that takes your picture.


The Boy wanted to know who this person was beside him that kept talking to him. He decided Chuck was okay, since he never tried to grab the steering wheel.


Da Boo had been pulled away from her buds to get her picture taken so she was a little less excited about it, as can been seen in her ultra-posed smile.

After getting them in bed that night, I virtually collapsed. No wonder Saturday was so much harder. The good news? I have a doctor's appointment Monday morning! That's less than 24 hours away! Yipppeeee!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Surrender

This morning, I was awakened by my son trying to forcibly feed me a lollipop. Where exactly he found said treat is questionable. He took it personally when I refused.

Looking outside, it's a miserable day. It's cold. It's windy. It's snowing. Yup, snowing.

I am sick. I have a painful cough, which, while agonizing, doesn't have the right symptoms to warrant a prescription. I could really use some drugs. Not for me...for the kids. One is semi-sick and the other is perfectly fine. The semi-sick one is just sick enough (same cough) to be whiny, hog the humidifier and constantly burst into tears at the slightest slight. Not sick enough to medicate and therefore, send to a druggy nap for the afternoon. The other one is about to be sold to gypsies. They just need to raise their price a little more so I can afford that all-expenses-paid resort trip.

Did I happen to mention that the Man is gone? Yeah. Won't be back until next weekend.

The only thing keeping me from pulling on pjs and crawling back into bed for the rest of the week is the fact that tonight is Book Group. The book for this evening? Twilight. So of course I'm going. Even have a babysitter lined up. Just hope I can get out a complete sentence without coughing up a lung.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

FHE: Under the Sea

Here's a tip for ya...something to help you figure just what is wrong with your son if he is cranky, whiny and all-around being a pain: if he comes up to you and begs you to change him, even if you don't see anything in his pants, change him anyway! This will save you the experience of an utter meltdown and subsequent non-stop sobbing (the boy, not you, although you'll be tempted) until you can finally wrestle him onto the changing table. There, you will discover that yes, he was indeed poopy, as he indicated, but it was a ninja poop...hiding until the last possible moment. Then you'll spend a few ear-splitting moments trying to clean your poor son and then rubbing Desitin on the chapped skin. So...if this happens to you, listen to your son. He may only be three but he knows when something ain't right on his bottom.

That's the preamble to tonight's FHE. Basically, I had a headache and was mentally exhausted, the Boy was coated in cream but still in need of some serious comfort, the Man was tired and worried about his grandfather and da Boo...well, she was fine. So for FHE, we talked about sea creatures. This was also a practice run for the Boy's preschool class Tuesday morning. I was teaching and chose sea creatures because I found some cool fruit snacks at the store. See? It's always about the food for me!

Opening Song: Twinkle Little Star (really, did you have to ask?)

Opening Prayer: Da Boo volunteered. She says about 75% of the prayers around here...

Lesson: We talked briefly about what fish needed to live (water, plants or rocks for shelter, food) and where you could find fish (oceans, seas, lakes, ponds). Then we talked about what else was in the water besides fish. Da Boo had all kinds of answers. The Boy mostly listened with wide eyes (something tells me that swimming lessons are going to be difficult this year).

For the last book order through Boo's preschool, I picked a book about fish to give to the Boy for his birthday. It didn't arrive in time, due to Spring Break. Da Boo brought it home today so we read it. It's called Fidgety Fish and Friends. It's kinda cute, rhymes so the kids love it, and talks about all different kinds of sea animals.

Looking back, I should have talked a little more about how God created these amazing animals to share our world with us, that they are not just a source of food but also can teach us many things. So, if you teach a lesson like this, you might want to close a little better than I did.

I think the reason I got distracted and didn't really close the lesson was because the Man suggested we call his grandpa. His grandpa is an amazing man. At 16, he ran away to join the circus (seriously!) and then, after that wasn't so fun, he joined the Navy, lying about his age. Whenever we get to visit with him, I always ask to hear more stories from his life. He's got so many! Unfortunately, he has pancreatic cancer. He has lived 1 1/2 years longer than expected. It looks like his time may be over soon and that just breaks my heart. We let the kids talk for a just a minute each and then we got to talk to him and the Man's grandma. I had to break out the tissues.

Closing Song: Once There Was A Snowman (because what better way is there to celebrate Spring than to melt a snowman?)

Closing Prayer: The Man.

Activity: The Man got some new toys. The first was a special cable to make the Wii more high def. The other one was a new game called Endless Ocean. It's a beautiful, serene game. You really ought to watch the videos! Some spectacular stuff! And the kids were totally mesmerized. I love it already, simply for that fact, not that I've played it. They got to watch the Man play for a little bit before I was a big meanie, making them get in jammies and go to bed.

Treats: Aunt Denise gave me a really fun cookbook* with lots of cute snacks and treats for kids. Da Boo was in charge of treats so I showed her a couple options from the new cookbook. She chose the Super-Lucky Cereal Treats. They are basically like Rice Krispy treats made with Lucky Charms. Pretty tasty!


* This link does not go to the exact book, but only a portion of it...mine is a 3-in-1 cookbook and this is one of the parts.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Soap Opera Sunday: My Romance That Never Was

I've been wanting to post for Soap Opera Sunday for a looooooong time! I gots oodles of soapy goodness from all my boy-crazy adventures. For the first one, I am going to share with you my love that never came to be.

As a transfer student on BYU campus, I was amazed at just how big and how packed the campus really is. You never saw the same person twice, unless you waited for them to pass or were actively looking for them. But every Monday-Wednesday-Friday, on my way to the Tanner Building, I always saw the same guy. He was right out in front of the building when I was walking up. Now, remember, I used to be really cute and he was adorable himself so of course we noticed each other. After noticing each other a few times, we started realizing that we seemed to always notice each other. First we would smile or nod as we passed, but then we occasionally said hello. It was an expected part of my day and a nice little lift before a boring class. And as strange as it may seem, I never stopped to talk...until one day.

I was heading to the Tanner Building, as usually, looking oh so cute with my long curly hair and dark red lipstick. He pushed through the doors and headed out. Only, something was different. I never understood why but it seems that whenever someone has something wrong with their clothes, like their skirt is tucked into their pantyhose or there's a button undone, I always seem to notice. And no one else bothers to tell them, so I do, rather than have them be embarrassed later, having walked all the way across campus like that. Do you understand why I am telling you this? My guy had his zipper down.

Immediately, conflict ensues. Do I tell him? Do I actually stop him and talk to him, only to make him blush in a way I never intended? Or do I nod and walk on? Can I ignore it? Of course, I can't. So I decide I must talk to him. If it's meant to be...

I put my hand up in the international gesture for stop. He grins. Then he takes my hand and places it on his chest, drawing me closer to him.

"Did you want to talk to me?" he asks, still grinning.

"Uh, yeah," I start to lose my nerve...he has gorgeous eyes! No...Wait! You have to focus! "Actually, your zipper is down."

His grin falters.

"What?"

"Your zipper," I say again, trying to seem reassuring, to somehow convey that I don't judge him for his faulty trousers. "It's down."

He lets go of my hand and hurriedly scurries around me, tugging at his zipper.

"Uh, thanks," he mumbles as he strides away.

I can only sigh, and wait for Friday.

Friday comes and I attempt to look like it's business as usual as I stroll to the Tanner Building. He's no where in sight. I frown. This is odd...but maybe I hurried to class in order to see him so no big deal. Surely I will see him Monday.

Monday, same thing. No guy, zipper in any position. He's not there.

I never saw him again.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Petting the Wind

A good friend and I have a standing play date. We try to get the kids together once a month and do something fun outside the house. This time, we visited a local petting farm.

The morning had an ominous start. The Man called to inform me that he had both sets of car keys in his pocket. I guess I need to start buying him tighter jeans if two wads of metal bits don't phase him. And being the big meanie that I am, I made him drive home and give me back my keys. He arrived just about the time we were getting ready to head out. The Man casually mentioned that the wind was blowing rather strong up by his office. Should have listened a little better.

We arrive and the place is pretty empty. Usually, it's packed. Yet another sign we ignore. Then we tried opening the doors. Ooooooh boy. Now that was an experience. The wind was blowing so hard that the kids had a difficult time walking forward, we had to support them from behind. As quickly as possible, we get inside the building. Then begins the debate: stay or go? The kids are far too stoked about seeing animals to leave here without tears and possibly screaming. Shucks. The attendant assures us that the main building offers a wind break with only the furthest reaches being windy. We decide to go for it.


Here the kids greet a distant relative. Wind is not bad at all! Glad we grabbed jackets, though.


These pygmy goats were about the cutest things there...besides the kids, of course.


And of course, the pony rides. Life would no longer be worth living if da Boo didn't get to ride the ponies. Da Boo is riding Lacy and the Boy is on Nutmeg (although I strongly suspect the male attendant made up those names just to appease me). Surprisingly, it was the Boy who threw the biggest fit when the ride was over.

We couldn't stop to see the various poultry because the wind was just too much over in that section but I did get to admire some beautiful horses. Then, I'd had enough of their attitude so I put the kids in jail.



Da Boo said she was in for stealing the farmer's horse and the Boy said he was guilty of being stinky (which is often the case).

Instead of enjoying a leisurely picnic at the petting farm, we fed the kids in the car on the way back home. I got to eat my lunch at stoplights. Then it was time for naps! Woot!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Birthday Week for the Boy

Beginning Sunday, we started celebrating the Boy's Birthday week. Monday, we had lunch with friends and then got to play with them at our neighborhood park (I got a little sunburned, if you can believe that). Tuesday, we went with another friend to the local petting zoo. It was possibly the windiest day in history so that made for some interesting challenges but still a good day. Wednesday, the Boy and I made cookies (7 Layer Bars) together. He likes to help me cook, there's just not much he can do so this was the perfect recipe for him. We also took The Co-ed shopping and I let the kids get their own bags of popcorn 'cuz I am the bestest Mom evah! (and I luhve having tiny little pieces of popcorn all over my carpets). Thursday, we went to the library and the Boy got to pick the movie we check out. He chose Safe Side...again.

Today was his actual birthday. Da Boo wanted to give him her present first thing in the morning. I probably should have wrapped this the night before because I gotta say, to a person who is half awake, invisible tape is mind-boggling. The Boy didn't seem to mind as he immediately ripped it right off. Then after eating a sugar-laden breakfast (because it is the most important meal of the day), he got to open a gift from Grandma (the Man's mom). After they played some, I brought out the gift my mom got him while she was here. I rolled it out for him and his head exploded, he was so excited. He squealed several decibels higher than usual when I announced that he would get to go to Kangaroo Zoo again today. First, he got to eat lunch out. He chose the location based purely on the play equipment, so off to Arctic Circle we went. I don't like their food, but their ice cream is good, their play area is perfect for smaller kids and they give out those free mini-cones so the Boy thinks it's a close as one can get to Heaven. After lunch and scrambling around in plastic compartments, we headed to Kangaroo Zoo. This time, no one beat up my kids (unless you count their own siblings) and I only lost one of them for seven minutes. But after we'd been there one hour, the tantrums started. The Man was supposed to meet us there as a surprise but he was running late (no surprise). By the time he arrived, I was ready for a tantrum. So we all went home and took naps.

For dinner, we had the Boy's favorite things: chicken nuggets, pears, crescent rolls and jello. When I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, he said strawberry so that's what he got. Because it's very pink, I let him choose the candles (he picked little tiki heads) and place them on the cake. He'll get the fancy, decorated cake for his party in a little bit, no worries.


Here he is with his loot: new jammies, new toy Cars, new rug to play on. He had a great birthday, was constantly hyped up on sugar and had a steady stream of presents coming in. Not bad for three years old.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Answering Fan Mail

So I've gotten a few emails and messages that bear sharing (especially the good ones). Also, I thought I'd take this opportunity to answer a few burning questions my loyal readers might have. Shall we?

Q: "Does this stuff really happen to you or do you make it up?"

A: Nope, all the truth. I once had a friend tell me that my life should be a Seinfeld episode. I think that was a compliment...


Q: "Hey Jess, I'm sure you know this but I check your blog all the time, I love it! You're the only person I know who updates daily, which means I ALWAYS check yours. What I want to know is, how do you manage to blog, AND decorate amazing cakes, AND keep two kids and a husband happy? Do you have a maid? I can't seem to get dressed most days, and the house...it ain't pretty!"

A: It's easy: I don't actually clean my house. I just kinda shift stuff around when I'm on the phone or if the Internet is down. And my kids basically take care of themselves, really. Well, except for the feeding, dressing and changing part but really, how often do I need to do that? The key to all this is keeping the husband deliriously happy...that way, he doesn't always notice the mess or the unkept children, just that his wife is an ultra-hot babe and can bake a mean dessert. (And are you just being nice because you really know me and want me to do a birthday cake? Cuz it's working!)


Q: Did you take [cake decorating] classes?

A: Just two of Wilton's classes. I didn't take the flower class and I should probably re-take the fondant class. I highly recommend those classes, as long as you have a good teacher. Most teachers will give lots of useful hints and tips during class but others (who themselves are professional decorators) seem to hog the secrets of the trade, afraid of a little competition. Anyone who saw my roses would instantly know, I am no competition at all.


Q: You reveal way too much personal information about yourself. Bad things can happen to people who do that.

A: Or good things can happen, like my distant family and friends get to see all our adventures, watch my kids grow and learn, laugh at the funny stuff and cry with the sad things, or maybe someone will love my blog so much that they'll give me a million dollars. Now, if you don't mind, I must continue posting my mother's maiden name and my social security number. Go use your scare tactics on another mommy blogger who doesn't keep a gun in the house.

FHE: Finish What You Start

I am still recovering from the loss of my mom...it's was dinnertime, yet there was no food on the table! What happened? Oh yeah...someone has to do the cooking around here. So we had leftovers.

For Family Home Evening tonight, we talked home improvement. And no, we didn't grunt like Tim Allen. Instead, we took a trip to the local Home Depot and discussed plans. Since we painted the living room, we are also putting up crown molding. We were pretty sure which style we wanted. Luckily, we found a remnant in our chosen style, so we took it home to hold against the wall and ceiling in various locations to see if that was really what we wanted. Oh, the exciting life I lead.

We also got an edger-thingy. Not quite sure what the official term is but it's to help hold back the carpet while I paint the baseboards. It's pretty cool. I just hopes it works.

And we strolled around the garden section, where most of my ideas and suggestions were heartlessly shot down without a backwards glance. Oh, wait...the Man occasionally reads my blog...so let's try that again.

And we strolled around the garden section, calmly discussing and exchanging contrasting ideas on how we each thought the front of the house would look with various vegetation. Ultimately, we opted to wait on making any decisions. And I tried not to pout.

Treat: Brownies my mom made while she was here. These suckers have two pounds of chocolate in them! Seriously! I go all giddy just thinking about them!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Woe is Me

My momma is gone. She left this afternoon and already I am sad...and so is my kitchen.


Here she is with the kiddos before church this morning. *sigh* Hope she and my dad come again soon.

While she was here, we had some fun. We went to a couple interesting places, ate some good food, talked and talked or sometimes just read books together. And she helped me make this. And if you look at the picture up at the top closely enough, you'll notice that the wall behind the couch is no longer white...she helped with that, too. More pictures coming, along with a product review.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Perdoneme

Do you watch Psych? It's about a guy who basically has a photographic memory but pretends to be psychic as he helps solve cases with the police. We love it! The Man thought it would be dumb and tolerated it for my sake, much like I tolerate watching college football. It only took a few episodes and he's hooked. Wish I could say the same about football...

There was one show a little while back where the main characters are investigating a murder on the set of a Spanish soap opera. Have you seen those? They are over-the-top dramatic, extremely cheesy and make the actress in me run away screaming. And they're funny. Of course, I don't speak Spanish beyond "No habla Espanol" (required when people call trying to find the previous owners of our phone number), so the jokes kinda go over my head. This episode was particularly funny because Aunt Denise teaches Spanish. Sometimes da Boo makes up words and tries to convince Aunt Denise that she is speaking Spanish "just like Dora." Unfortunately for da Boo, Aunt Denise isn't fooled. Then I discover this little gem:



Besides, it's been a while since I last posted a YouTube video. :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

FHE: A History of Prophets

We haven't been the best about having FHE lately so I insisted we do a little something, even if it was quick...it still needed to be done. Just before this last General Conference, a long-lost friend sent me a packet of activities for the kids to do during the talks. There were great ideas like a maze, a hidden picture, connecting names with pictures of the Apostles, and connecting first with last names. My favorite was a section will pictures of all the Apostles with a tie next to them. While they were speaking, the kids we supposed to color the tie to match the one the speaker was wearing. At the end, there were pictures to color of all the past presidents, starting with Joseph Smith, and leaving a blank area to draw a picture of the new Prophet.

Opening Song: Twinkle Little Star

Opening Prayer: Crazy Grandma

Lesson: Taking those last few pages, we looked at all the Prophets of the Church. Da Boo could name the first two and the last one but we went through all of them in order, saying their name and looking at the picture. If I had more time to prepare, I would have found out something interesting to share about each one, to help them remember that these men were real people. Then we talked a little about how President Thomas S. Monson is now the Prophet and what it means to be a Prophet as well as President of the Church. The kids were very fidgety so we didn't go into too much details, just enough to get the point across.

Closing Song: We Thank Thee, O God, For A Prophet

Closing Prayer: Me

Activity: We are getting ready to paint the living room. The Man lifted up the couches and the kids scurried underneath to retrieve all the lost puzzle pieces, train tracks and other random toys that had been forgotten. It's like Christmas, really...finding all these things you thought we lost forever. Next year, no Santa. Just lift up the couch!

Treats: Sadly, the kids were very hyper tonight and had refused to eat dinner. Around here, if you don't at least make an effort to eat your dinner, you don't get dessert or treats. So no treats tonight. After the kids went to bed, my mom and I had some See's candies. Yum!

Monday, April 7, 2008

As If My Kids Aren't Hyper Enough

We took the kids to Kangaroo Zoo last week. They go nuts about this place so I didn't tell them we were going until the night before. Even at breakfast, they were super hyper, begging to leave immediately. We left after lunch (because I like to torture them).


This is a pretty cool place, full of bounce houses, slides and other inflatable fun things (although I don't think anyone working there has heard the concept of "dusting"). The first time we came, they were nearly paralyzed with joy but this time they were off running. One of their favorite things is a sea monster with other inflated sea creatures (picture above).


Here's da Boo, having a great time on another slide, followed closely by the Boy.


And here's the Boy...crying. He looks so little way up there...Then there's the 2 story tall slides. Da Boo loves these. The Boy does not. However, he follows her blindly and it's only when he's up at the very top that he remembers "Oh yes, I am terrified of heights." Well, that's probably what he says mentally but to everyone is just sounds like hysterical shrieking. I have to send da Boo up to try and talk him down (ie: grab his hand and try to haul him down the slide with her).

See this couch?


Very cool, no? It's possibly the most uncomfortable thing you've ever sat on - provided you haven't actually sat on a bed of nails. Hard, stiff plastic made to look like a comfy couch is just another way of lying. Kinda like breast implants.

So at one point, I'm just sitting around chatting (because it's what I do best) when this chunky lady with weird hair comes up to me.

"Your son is hitting my daughter," she informs me as my son hides behind my legs.

I kinda ignore her and grab my boy. "Are you hitting little girls?" I try to ask him but he wiggles free and runs away. I turn to shrug my shoulders at the other woman but she is already walking away. And I think she rolled her eyes. Still, punching other kids ain't cool, so I occasionally stroll around the place to keep on eye on the kid. Sure enough, I watch him push a little girl down a slide that he was waiting to go down. Uh oh. Hope that wasn't that lady's girl. Oops...looks like it was...here she comes again. I'll just escort my boy out of the way...Crisis averted. Then moments later, I am circling the area again, looking for my kid when I notice the other mom. I glance over where's she looking just in time to see my son haul a bigger kid down from a ladder. The bigger kid doesn't take to kindly to that and punches my kid something fierce. Mine goes down for the count, wailing pitifully. The other mom almost chuckles as she strolls away! That does it...we're leaving!

Just in case you were wondering...that last story is told from the "other mom's" perspective. It's an effort to put myself in her shoes, I suppose. And yes, my hair did look weird that day.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Because I like Having No Self Esteem

I am a glutton for punishment. Having not learned my lesson from last year, I signed up for the annual fund-raiser. And of course I offered to bring a cake. I did learn one thing from last year...next to "decorated cake" on the sign-up sheet, I wrote "will bring with me." So at least this time I wouldn't be double-booked.

Last year, I spent almost four hours decorating and perfecting a cute teddy bear. It sold for $22. Normally, I charge $40. This year, I decided I wasn't doing a teddy bear. I was going to do something that would take me two hours tops to decorate - including making the icing (and it takes me f-o-r-e-v-e-r to color icing). The theme for Girls' Camp this year is Pirates. Why this was chosen for young girls, I have no idea but hey! At least it made things easy for me.

After searching the Internet, I was half-tempted to make a pirate ship. Wouldn't that be cool? And I'd never made one before but really, how hard could it be? Then the sensible side of me (she doesn't talk much) reminded me of my two-hour limit. Oh yeah. So I opted for a pirate's treasure map. Turned out pretty well. At least, I liked it. And my kids did, too. Well, I think they did...they were utterly devastated when I said it wasn't for them. The final price? $30. Went to the same family that got the teddy bear last year. :)

We spent nearly twice as much as we did last year...ending up with two babysitting coupons (both from our favorite babysitter), a jar of hot fudge sauce, a plate of chocolate goodies, 6 sessions with the chiropractor (the Man's back is all out of whack), and a horse-back riding session. One man offered two hours of construction work. It went for over $100! The winner? His wife.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Tell Me Your Favorite!

I commented on this under the Co-ed's birthday but could really use your help.

FamilyFun.com is hosting a cake contest. You can enter a cake a day, if you want. Rules for the contest indicate that the cake should be easily duplicated by others (those who don't do this every weekend). I've already entered two: the Coo Coo Clock and the Salad Bowl. But I don't know which ones are most popular...

So which of my cakes do you think is the best? And I will probably enter a teddy bear (but just ONE) because those are so cute.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

FHE: Les Mis

Sorry, folks...once again, there was no official FHE at the Cow household. However, my mother and I went to see a local high school production of Les Miserables, which happens to be my favorite musical. Being a high school production (and having been in several of those myself) I wasn't expecting a whole lot. I'd heard good reviews, my mom wanted to go so I figured, why not?

I won't go into the drama that ensued before the actual curtain went up but I will say that saving seats for people who aren't going to actually show up until minutes before show time should be illegal.

Anyway...

First and foremost, the voice talent was amazing!! Seriously, that statement deserves both exclamation points. The lead actor had such an incredible voice that there was major applause after every song. I got chills during "Bring Him Home." The female lead had a great voice, also, far better than any of the girls in my high school. They even had the revolving stage. The director was very good and from what I understood, had a personal connection to Les Mis and treated it that way. Costumes were great and the set looked cool. And the orchestra...WOW! The orchestra was tremendous!

Now, the bad stuff. The male romantic lead...well, his voice was good but his acting was so bad I wanted to climb on stage and throttle him (also, hint to this guy...when kissing a girl on stage, you don't have to actually kiss her and if you do, please don't make us all listen to it over your microphone...twice). The female romantic lead had a nice voice but a lousy microphone messed it up. And it seemed that anyone who couldn't sing as well was still a part of the ensemble. I don't think they turned anyone away...there were too many kids up there. At times they were falling over each other, shoving and scuffling on stage so much that it detracted from what the principles were doing. And it was just annoying. I felt crowded. There must have been a time crunch because as soon as they finished a scene - or rather, as they were finishing a scene - the kids were coming back on stage to clear away the props. Let the man finish his song and then clear, people!

Overall, it was a superior production. Very impressive for a high school. And some spectacular music.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dinner With A Fool

I like holidays. Some holidays I get a little too excited about. This was the first year I actually had a plan for April Fool's Day: I was going to make dinner! While making dinner, itself, is not exactly spectacular (unless I manage to not ruin it), what I had planned was different. Invited to take part were my mom (also my partner in crime), the Man, the Co-ed and Aunt Denise.

When they arrived, the table was set and there was a salad with a bottle of dressing on the table. The Co-ed looked a little nervous...after the last salad I served her, I don't think she knew what to expect. When everyone was seated, I announced that in honor of April Fool's Day, we were going to go a little crazy and have dinner backwards. Dessert would be served first. Then, I brought out this:


Mmmmm...looks delectable, right? And still, everyone seemed a little less than at ease. As I cut into the cake, it was the Man that guessed: the cake wasn't a cake at all. It was meatloaf, covered in mashed potatoes, with cherry tomatoes and ketchup as decoration. But the Boy didn't believe me when I told him it wasn't cake. He brought me his plate, asking so very sweetly for some cake. I finally let him have a taste of the "frosting." The look on his face was horrified - and priceless. I told him to go spit it out in the trash. But that wasn't good enough...he threw up. So dinner was off to a less-than-stellar beginning...

After "dessert" was finished, I brought out the main course:


These grilled cheese sandwiches looked so real that both kids burst into tears when I told them this was their bedtime treat. It took some heavy persuading, some sniffing, and finally very cautious bites to convince the kids that the "sandwiches" were actually slices of toasted pound cake schmeared with cheese-colored frosting. But once they were deemed edible, the kids woofed 'em down! Now I have to find something just as convincing for next year.

Other pranks played: I gave da Boo an unsolveable maze. She loves mazes and quickly became very frustrated with this one. She does not appreciate a good joke. Later on, she pranked called me. Asked if my refrigerator was running. So next year, I am going to do this to the kids. I'd tell you more but I really ought to go catch my fridge...

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