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

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What's a Birthday without a CAKE?

On any given day, I love decorating cakes. Love it. But on my birthday...well...I'd rather have someone else put forth all that time and effort for me.

Aunt Denise baked the cake and then (bravely) let all three kids decorate it. You can almost tell which sections match which child. There's a horde of chocolate chips (pirates, I'm told) swimming in sprinkles. That has to be the work of the Boy. Then the careful writing (it's harder to write on a cake than it looks) and flowers. Obviously da Boo's contribution. Those smudges of color amongst the fingerprint up in the corner could not have been made by anyone else except Baby.

And it all tastes really good with rocky road ice cream.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

True Colors Swap

Because it's my Birthday Week and I'm allowed to do whatever I want for the next seven days, I'm hosting a swap!

For those of you who don't know or have never participated in one, a swap is where a host blog (me) assigns participants (you) to a partner, who will then exchange a package with you that is prepared with the swap theme in mind. I'll give you all the rules here in a bit.

The theme I chose is True Colors. Basically because I love 80s music. Each participant will send me a little information about themselves, the most important of which will be their favorite color. Your partner will put a package together containing items in this color. Now, you don't have to have the every item completely monochromatic. For instance, if my partner loves lavender, I could obviously send lavender-scented items but also a color of nail polish, a pair of silver-tone earrings with lavender beads, and maybe some chocolate that has a lavender-colored label. Look at your partner's blog for ideas. Do they have a dog? Send a pet toy with that color. Does your partner love classic literature? Find her a book that has cover art containing that shade. See? Easy enough.

Now, for the rules. I've participated in several of these and have learned what works and what doesn't. One thing I definitely need is a set of rules outlining the whole shebang. If you're not going to follow the rules, then please don't sign up. Good? Good.

1. You must have a blog that is at least six months old, on which you have posted at least once a month. If your blog is private, you must be willing to invite your swap partner to view it.
2. Email me (duckduckcow at gmail dot com) with your name, address, blog address, a few details about yourself (number of kids, hobbies, etc.), any allergies or preferences (if you won't use anything cucumber melon-scented, here is your chance to say so), and your favorite color.
3. Please blog about this swap! The more participants we have, the more fun it will be for everyone.
4. I will send emails and I will expect a response. You'll get a) confirmation email with your swap number, b) your partner's information, and c) a reminder email just before the shipping date. If I do not get a reply, then you might be dropped from the exchange. Keep that in mind.
5. You must be willing to put together a package that is worth $20, not including shipping. I would like at least one handmade item, please. Share your talents! And remember value...while some people see "vintage," others see "junk pile."
6. You must mail your package on Friday, October 22 or Saturday, October 23. No later than that! Please do not sign up if you will be on vacation or too busy. It's not fair to your partner.

Go send me that email! I will close the swap on, Friday, October 8. You will receive your partner assignments soon after. (And if you don't hear from me, please contact me again...you know how I can be an airhead sometimes...) Also, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!

And LOOK! I even got a Mister Linky so be sure to add your name with a link to your post about the swap. It makes it a lot easier to find your partner, too.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Having a Bad Day

See? I'm not the only that has a bad day every now and then...

That's Baby sitting in the Time Out corner. And for the record, I did not send my 21-month-old to Time Out. She put herself there. She was frustrated and ran crying to the corner. I'm guessing she has watched her siblings go through the same thing on multiple occasions: whenever they're throwing a fit, they go to Time Out. Even Mommy has a Time Out sometimes...although mine usually involve locking myself in my room and eating chocolate.

And now I have Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" stuck in my head. I tried to embed the video here but YouTube won't let me use the real one.
Big meanies.
Maybe they need a Time Out.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Adventures in Cooking..and Explosions

My buddy, Just SO, posted about a pan exploding in her oven. It brought back some pretty vivid memories (I like to dwell on the past a lot, too).

When I was a blushing bride, I decided I would cook most of our meals. Hey, I was pretty handy with a spatula. The Man wasn't a picky eater. No worries, right? I had a small notebook (still have it!) that I carefully copied down my favorite recipes from my mom's collection. It was a treasure trove of goodness and down-home cookin'. The Man would have the Best. Wife. Ever. He was so lucky and he didn't even know it yet.

Then came my first attempt to make my new husband actual food. It was the day after the wedding -- a Sunday -- and we were pulling ourselves away from...uh...gazing deeply into each other's eyes long enough to realize we were hungry. I scurried to the kitchen and pulled out a box of Pasta-Roni. None of that mac n' cheese for my man! I was gonna make pasta in a slightly different shape with a slightly different color of cheese-like product. So gourmet.

That was when I realized that amongst the six wall clocks, four sets of towels, myriad gift certificates, and a planter shaped like a house that we had received as wedding gifts, no one had given us a pot. I had no way to boil water.

I think we ended up eating leftovers from the reception.

From the heirloom recipes, the Man really liked my mom's chicken and rice dish. Who could blame him? It was tender chicken simmered in cream of mushroom soup, laying on a bed of rice, and soaking in love. So one evening, I scurried to the kitchen yet again (see, back then, I was the size of a mouse so I did plenty of scurrying and scampering) and put together a batch. I had it timed perfectly to be finished mere moments after he came home from his last class. I'd made it plenty of times before and thought nothing of popping it in the oven and leaving the room. I then proceeded to practice writing my new name dozens of times study hard for my classes while I waited. So I wasn't at all prepared for the very loud popping noise and subsequent wet slopping sounds that soon emanated from the kitchen.

The pan had exploded.

Along with the "broken windshield"-like glass crumbs, my oven was now coated in creamed mushrooms, crunchy rice, and half-baked chicken. The love was gone.

When the Man arrived home, I was kneeling on the kitchen floor, tearfully scraping the remnants of our dinner and cookware out of the oven. After he stifled the laughter, the Man picked me up off the floor and declared "Let's eat out."

And I fell in love with him all over again.

Of course, that love dies just a little bit whenever he tells friends and near strangers this story as a fine example of my cooking abilities when we first married. But I don't make him Pasta-Roni anymore. We're strictly a mac n' cheese family.

What was your worst cooking disaster?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Battle of the Sexes' Shirts

Since my birthday is fast approaching, I've been sending links to the Man, guiding him in his gift selection ('cuz I'm nothing if not helpful when it comes to presents). The other day, I sent him the link for this shirt:

It's the molecule structure of Theobromine, the chemical in chocolate that makes you feel good. I thought it fitting, given my penchant for a nicely-crafted piece of chocolate.

He countered with this one:

To which I calmly respond:

And if he doesn't watch it, he'll be wearing this:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bake Dancing

Once again, I'm gonna talk about swaps. Sorry, but an addict feels the need to dwell on their obsession at all times. Lucky for me, I have a blog.

I joined the Moveable Feast Swap, where the package was to be food-themed. Oh, this was going to be fun! My partner was A.J. from iKnit.iPurl. She amazingly crafty and posts beautiful embroidery along with her knitted projects. I got to know A.J. a little bit through email and thoroughly loved getting her package together. So when my package arrived in the mail, I couldn't wait to rip it open.

Where to begin...
Pumpkin Spice Bread Mix - Looks soooo good!
Harvest Cupcake Liners - To add to my abundant collection of cupcake liners. I like cupcakes.
Candy Melts - Always handy when designing cakes.
Heart Cupcake Liners - Did she see my Valentine's Day madness? These are perfect!
Handmade Blue Hot Pads - Already in use! Gorgeous!
Vanilla Beans - Ooooo...I feel a creme brulee coming on!
Cupcake Decor - Boo swiped this as soon as I took it out of the box. Stinker.
cupcakes! Cookbook - And I already made a recipe (and wiped drool from the pages). The picture turned out weird but trust me when I say the caramel-covered tea cakes are addictive.

Thank you, thank you, A.J.!

And in honor of my birthday - because everyone should be celebrating it - I will be hosting my first swap. Now tell me how excited you are! (Oh come on...you can fake enthusiasm pretty easy in a 2-D comment.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

And He Says He Doesn't Read My Blog

The day after my cheery, upbeat and enthusiatic post, my husband brought home these:

He might be reading when my blog when he claims to be playing Facebook games. I think he likes me. Maybe he will sit next to me during story-time...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hey, You're Just Too Funky For Me

I'm in a funk.

I'm not reading much, not really writing (I'm sure you've noticed the derth in posts and comments), certainly not editing.

I don't wear make-up every day or matching clothes and some days, I skip the shower.

I don't leave my house very often, don't chat with friends, and haven't had a Girls' Night Out since my mom was here.

And? I'm not even baking all that much. A newly-diagnosed diabetic gave me a bunch of sugar substitutes and asked me to try them out in some of my recipes (so I could tell her which ones were worth using) and I resisted. I waited a whole week before opening a bag.

Enough is enough! It's no fun being like this (and my house is a mess, too).

What do you do when you're just not feeling like yourself?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Too Cool For Me

Why is it that whenever I see a guy riding a motorcycle that looks like this:

I always think of this:

Anyone else see it that way?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

At It Again

Is there a rehab for swaps?


Because I swear I am addicted...I just mailed off one yesterday and here I am, signing back up for another. Mamarazzi hosts the best swaps! This one should be lots of fun. Making a package of my favorite guilty pleasures...but would my partner really want hot chocolate mix, bubble bath, and a mix tape of old 80s music? Who wouldn't, right?

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

*Thanks for everyone who weighed in on the party conundrum. I appreciate the feedback. At this point, I've decided to have the party the week before Halloween. The deciding factor? I have the hardest time deciding what to have the kids do at parties. This way, I can have them decorating their own trick-or-treating bag. It can double as their take-home-the-loot bag. One less stress for me! And if you see any other cool Halloween party ideas, send them my way!

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