Unique Traditions for Easter

When Ashton was two years old, celebrating his third Easter, we decided to do things a bit differently.  This was the first year that he would have a proper basket, and I wanted to make sure it was something special.  At the time Kohl’s had these wonderful Cat in the Hat stuffed toys, so we got him the stuffed animal and the book to match.    Sure, there were a few toys, some candy filled eggs, and the like, but the center piece was the book and the stuffed toy.  Since then, we’ve decided that we would make Easter a holiday of books.  Last year, Ashton received a copy of Where’s My Cow along with a cute little fluffy cow, and Anwyn got a Pat the Bunny book and toy set.

This year, Anwyn is getting a nursry copy of Peter Rabbit (a shortened version, for little ones) and a matching stuffed animal.

The copy of Peter Rabbit plus cookies and candy.

Some sidewalk chalk, but only because it has poka-dots.

They each got new water bottles.


For Ashton, I found a copy of The Giving Tree, but didn’t really have a good idea for what to pair it with.  So Aaron is going to run to Home Depot, where we found some apple tree saplings for a good price.  Ashton is going to get to help plant his own apple tree in the yard as an Easter gift.

This includes all of the same things that Anwyn’s basket did.  Switch out the chalk for a deck of Go Fish cards and they’re practically identical.  I added an apple to Ashton’s basket, to go along with the tree and the book.  Both baskets also include a windmill, because the kids love them and they were less than a dollar a piece.

I hope everyone have a fantastic weekend, no matter what they celebrate.

Published in: on April 22, 2011 at 8:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pie and Turkey Day

I was watching tv one day and came across Man Vs Food.  In this episode (which I failed to see all of) Adam visits a little place called Yoder’s Restaurant in Sarasota, FL.  He was there to discuss pies.  When he came to the question of the most popular pie on the menu, the woman said without a thought, “our Peanut Butter Cream Pie.”  Of course he then asked her how to make it.

As I watched this woman assemble the pie, only one thought screamed in my mind.  “Aaron’s family would love this!”  I knew at the next big event I would be making this pie.  And of course, as that was only a couple of months ago, the next big thing (outside of birthdays) is Thanksgiving.  What better time to make a pie?  So this last Sunday I made a test pie.  I have never made a pie before and I wanted to make sure it would work out before Thanksgiving Day.  A sort of dress rehearsal.  We went over to Aaron’s folks’ house for dinner, and they were more than willing to serve as a test audience.  I figured out what tweaks needed to be made, and everyone enjoyed the hell out of that pie.

Now I have to admit something.  I’ve been living with this idea in my head for about two months now, and couldn’t for the life of me tell you where it came from.  I vaguely remembered that I saw it on Man Vs Food, but couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant, or even where he was.  I had to look all of that up just now so I could write this post without feeling guilty about not giving credit where it was due.  In the process of looking it up, I found a number of recipes.  It hadn’t even occurred to me to look it up.  The whole idea seemed rather straight forward…

You start with a crust.  Whether you want to make the crust or buy ready made is completly up to you.  I cheated, and bought a Pillsbury roll and bake crust (they were on sale).  You make a mixture of peanut butter and powdered sugar (after some experimenting I worked out that it was 1 part peanut butter, 2 parts powdered sugar) and pour half of it into the crust.  Make home made vanilla pudding and pour that it.  Top with a little bit more peanut butter mixture, some whipped cream, and the rest of the peanut butter mix sprinkled on the top.

The first trick I had to learn was how to make home made pudding.  I had never even though to learn.  I am glad that I did.  It is amazing, blissful, and tasty.  I will never eat jello pudding again (I lie, but I probably won’t ever buy it myself).  If you want to use box pudding, you can.  It will make me sad, and your life will be just a little empty because of it, but you can.  After learning to make pudding, everything else was pretty simple.

I will make another pie this evening, to be served tomorrow.  If the reviews I have already gotten are anything to go by, it will be a hit.  For anyone who wants my pudding recipe, leave me a comment and I’ll send it via email a few weeks before Christmas.

Every year I collect my favorite recipes that I learn that year and send them to friends and family that I think will appreciate them.  Please let me know if you want to be added to that list.  Along with the pudding, this years recipes include…

  • Hot Chocolate Milk Mix
  • Chocolate Syrup (for chocolate milk or on top of ice cream)
  • Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes
  • Tomato Soup Cake (I know it sounds weird, but trust me)
  • My Granola Bars (a very adjustable recipe)
  • Acorn Squash Soup (which will also grace the Turkey Table this year)
  • “Butter Chicken” (Not a true butter chicken, but a tasty and fairly quick rendition)
  • Naan (to go with the butter chicken)
  • Zucchini Parmesan
  • Slow Cooked Whole Chicken (not so much a recipe as an idea and guidelines)
  • Slow Cooked Gingered Chickpeas and Tomato Stew

So if you want on the list, you have to tell me.  I will not send these recipes via facebook or any other means, only the people on the email list will receive them.

Published in: on November 24, 2010 at 8:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

All About Cats

A few weeks ago my mother and I took the kids up to Oklahoma to visit family.  We saw the kids’ great grandparents, and I finally met my Aunt Cyndi and Uncle Pat’s kittens.

Kitten might be a bit of a stretch.  They are about a year old, and huge!  They have two beautiful Siberians and I think they might be the most spoiled cats I have ever met.  Observe…

First, their living room toys.  

Then, the tower.  

Next to that, the window shelf that Pat built.  

And the ramp to the loft that he built for them.  Not to mention all the baskets of toys they had.  So, as I said, spoiled.  But if we had cats this beautiful, I might be inclined to spoil them as well…Not to say that our cats are not lovely.  And since we do love and want them to be happy (and want Bonny to stop climbing the walls) I was inspired to come up with something myself.  We already had carpet in the garage, so I found a cheap bookcase and altered it a bit.This is what the original should look like.  We had to do some hack work to make it sturdy enough for two hyper cats. So we added boards to the back to brace it a little bit.
I cut holes in the shelves and added carpet.

When the whole things was done the cats seemed quite pleased with their new toy.

After all the pain and frustration this thing caused, if they didn’t play on it, I might have strangled them.

Published in: on July 26, 2010 at 7:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Still here

Some day I’ll be able to start a post on this blog without an apology about how long it’s been since I posted. Today is not that day.  2010 is officially trying to kick my ass.

Aaron has a new job.  Nothing really to say there except that it’s awesome and everyone in our house is much happier.

My brother got married last weekend.  It was a beautiful ceremony, a fun reception, and everyone seems to have had a blast.  Well, there was one exception, but that person was being intentionally difficult and no one cared what she thought by the end.

Anwyn is huge.  Ok, maybe not huge, but she feels like she’s gotten really big.  She rolls around without any issues and she desperately wants to crawl.  She babbles and giggles and makes all sorts of noises at us.  She has two teeth, and today she signed “eat” along with her signing video.  Well, she signed something that looked like eat, but i could tell that’s what she meant.

Ashton started school!  He loves it, they love him, everyone is happy.  He’s going two days a week right now, and we might try to switch to three later on.  It’s an amazing preschool where they teach music and dance classes.  This means they wear his butt out and he actually takes naps again and oh my god did I mention how much I love this school?

Also on the Ashton front, Lissa finally made him a stuffed animal that she started ages ago and it’s kind of awesome.  Back story time:

When Ash was younger we had a yarn store down the road.  I went in there looking for a gift for Lissa, and the owner (who loved kids) grabbed my son and wandered off with him.  When they came back he was drooling all over a ball of green fuzzy yarn.  The owner said it was a gift for him, that that maybe someone could knit him something cute out of it.  She saw froggies.  I saw a baby plush Cthulhu.  Lissa saw things my way, got started on the toy, put it away to do something else, and there it sat.  For a while.

She finally got it finished, and now Ashton loves it.  At first it was his dragon, and then we explained that it had a name.  So he now calls it Lulu.  When we call it Cthulhu he corrects us.  And then asks why we’re giggling.

It snowed recently, and I owe you a picture post of it because it was a lot of fun.  We got about 12 inches, which is unheard of in North Texas.  We lost power for three days.  Fun times.

We’ve Done it Again

So my bestest friend Lissa and I have started a video blog.  The very first episode will go up tomorrow, at some point.  If I can find out what time she wants to put it up I’ll start a count down on twitter or something.

Basically it’s the two of us acting like we’re being tacky and catty bitches.  So a standard Friday night for us.  We’re hoping that other people think it’s as funny as we do, but who knows.  So far it seems to be the main segment (whatever main thing we’re doing that week), some footage of Aaron doing whatever he wants, and Twitter Time.  Twitter time is where we answer questions or take requests from Twitter.  This started because of someone named Josh Cagan* asking us about donkey punching.  Really, watch the episode tomorrow and you’ll understand.

So you can find this amazing train wreck over at Oh My God Friday.**

I will be adding it to my blog roll list so it will be easy for everyone to find.  Check us out.  Give us your support.  Tell us when we’re being stupid.  Give us ideas to talk about.  And for the love of God feed our desperate need for attention!!! (We’re a little silly)

*Look!  Bold print!  That means you should click on it!

** Bold means click.  And you should check us out.  Really.  We’re funny.  We laugh all the time.

Good Bye 2008

This was not an exciting year for me.  Really, it wasn’t.  I didn’t work, didn’t have any great revelations about myself, didn’t grow, didn’t change.  I’m a little annoyed with myself, actually.

Ashton changed so much that it was scary.  But then again, he turned two in October, so I think that’s a requirement. Aaron picked up his violin again and has started to combine hobbies.  He’s played violin for studio functions twice now, and played for Isis’ New Years Eve show.

I look through my Myspace and I don’t see anything.  Sure, I performed at different events, and I joined the MultiCultural Dance Team at the studio, but that’s really all I’ve done.  I guess I’ve read some good books.  I’ve become nothing but a mom who happens to have some hobbies.  My weight hasn’t changed much – it may have even gotten worse over the last couple of months –  so there wasn’t any great accomplishment there.  I just existed.

So I have some goals…

I need to get myself out of the “routine” routines that I’ve been doing for the studio.  I need some new inspiration.  I’m working on it

I want to light a fire under Isis’ ass and see about getting a parade detail worked out.  We (the studio) haven’t done a single parade in the last year, unless you count Scarborough Faire.  I’d like to have an actual group who does parades, and actual small choreographies within them.

I want to pick up a more productive hobby.  I want to get better with my jewelry making and actually see about setting up an Etsy acount and sell some stuff.  This is going to reuqire some new equipment, instead of me faking it with what I have (peyote beads don’t work with a regular needle very well.  I need some proper bead needles).  I would also like to learn to tat and combine the tatting and bead work.

If I could find a way to pick up some extra time working on flowers, I would love that.  I’ve offered to help some friends who have a shop, and I would like to learn as much as I can.  I really want to do this for a living.

So there you have it.  Not very lofty goals, but you have to start somewhere.  Most of them involve educating myself further in the things I enjoy.  Hopefully I can take the things I love and become successful with them.  Wish me luck!

This Year in Fail

Last year I actually put together a list of new years resolutions.  I know, silly.  I really don’t like them, but I manage to do one almost every year with every intention to follow through.  I do try to come up with stuff that’s actually attainable, but it’s still easy to let yourself down to some degree.  So here is my rundown of my success for the year.  I know I still have a month left, but I fail to see how any of these can be accomplished in 30 days.

– Go to yoga more regularly.  I’ve been really having issues getting back into the habit. I was really good about this one.  Up until October I went almost religiously.  But due to medical and personal issues, I have had problems going for the last couple of months.
– Change my eating habits.  This one is already in process, I just need to stick to it. I’ve mostly stuck to it, but not as well as I probably should have.  It’s just so easy to run and grab fast food when you’re busy with a two year old.  But for the most part I try to be a good girl.
– Work on feeling better about my body.  Do we see a theme here? I have no idea how successful I was with this.  My body has been strange and weight seems to be yo-yoing.  My main concern is the tummy that Ashton left behind.  It’s been two years and I still can’t seem to work any of it off.
– Come to terms with the Damsels, and strive to help make them better.  I think there may be some changes that need to be made, not just talked about.  And a few very serious conversations need to be had.  I’m not looking forward to this one. We have completely revamped the Damsels, and have taken most of the year off to work on various stuff.  This is one resolution that has been done, and is still in progress.
– Dance better, if I can.  I need to strive to be more creative in my choreography. I try.  I think my routines are starting to look… routine.  I seem to be in a rut as far as dancing goes.  But I’ve joined the Multicultural Team at the studio, so I think that will help me with different styles.
– Dance at a nursing home event.  I need to know when they are.  I’ve never actually done one. I still haven’t done one.  I never know when they are.
– Hang out with more than just three or four friends all the time.  I love these people dearly, but we have friends that we’ve not seen in a long time.  I think it may be time to try and strengthen those connections. We’ve tried, but haven’t been very good about this.  All of our socializing have been with the same group of friends.  But we have seen a few other friends this year.
– I would like to try and be pregnant at the end of this year.  Don’t know exactly when we’ll start trying, but some time and the end of this year. Unless I get pregnant this month, this one is down the drain.  This was my biggie, and I really was hoping to be pregnant by now.  I hoped that the second pregnancy would be easier than the first, but we discovered that I had to be medicated again just to have a regular cycle.  This is a major factor in any mild depression I’ve been feeling lately.
– I think I would like to make a non-holiday visit up to Oklahoma to see everyone. Mom and I seem to be making a yearly summer visit up there with Ashton.
– Go camping without going to a Ren Faire.  I’ve wanted to go camping for the sake of camping for ages. Yeah… no.  I only went to one Ren Faire this year where I camped anyway.  Someday…

So that’s my year end success rate.  I’m sure I’ll put up my new year resolutions within the first week of 2009, but for now I have no idea what those might be.

S’mores

I should not be allowed to get creative when it comes to desserts.  We have clearly seen in the past that no good can come from it.  But yet, I continue with my mad concoctions.  This time it was my s’more cookies.  I promised that I would share with you, so here goes.  I do not write recipes, keep that in mind.

Pick up a box of graham cracker crumbs and follow the recipe on the side of the box for graham cracker crust (usually used for cheese cake).  I doubled the recipe so that I would have plenty.  Get yourself a muffin tin (this should make about 24) and spray it down with non stick spray.

What I did: I only lined the bottom of the tins so it would be more like a cookie.

What I should have done: Actually made little pies (or tarts) and lined the bottom and sides with graham cracker crust.

After those bake for however long the box says to, set them aside to cool and start making your marshmallow.  I used this recipe and it turned out lovely.  You will not need the powered sugar and corn starch, because you are not making actual marshmallows, but a filling  You want them to stick to your crust.  You will then fill the marshmallow cream into the little graham cracker shells.  Move quickly!!!  The marshmallow will start to set up and become very difficult to work with.  Set them in the fridge over night to set up.

The next day melt some milk chocolate.  Chips work best in my opinion, but it’s up to you.  I used a whole bag of chocolate chips.  No idea how much that was (already threw away the bag) but you get the idea.

What I did: I tried various methods to cover the cookies completely in chocolate.  After this failed impressively i just tried to dip the tops of the cookies in, and had a lot of marshmallow melt off in the process.

What I should have done: Since they would have had whole crusts around them, I should have just dolloped the chocolate onto the top (if you’re fancy you could probably use a piping bag, but you have to work fast so that it stays soft).  They would have been much prettier that way.

S'more Cookies

They’re not very pretty.  But damn, they taste awesome!

This is Halloween

So another spooky day has come and gone.  But this was a rather important one.  It was important for me as a parent as well as a person who loves this silly Holiday.

For the first time since we got our own house I decorated the yard.  Oh sure, I had always put up spiderwebs before, but I’d never done anything to this degree.

You see, back when my siblings and I lived with our parents we did a huge (by school kids standards) yard haunt.  We put up tarps in the driveway to create an entrance, and would fill it with scenes of monsters, torture, and mourning over the dead.  The driveway led around to a fence to the back yard where we would have a full haunted graveyard scene.  It was wonderful.  All of our friends from school would come over and help us out.  Mom said that after we moved out kids would still come to her door Halloween night and ask why there was no haunted house.  It always made me very glad to hear that.

Now, the set up at this house is no where near that, yet, but one day I hope to have something that at least resembles the set up we had there.  img_0797

img_0798

Zombie

Some of this stuff we already had around the house.  I always try to keep a full bag of spiderwebs around, and the zombie coming out of the ground was from an old costume of Aaron’s.  The gravestones were new, but they were for a great price over at Walgreen’s, probably cheaper that I would have ever been able to make them for, and considerably nicer than the ones my brother and I made all those years ago.  We will (and already have) be checking the sales the day after Halloween to pick up more stuff.  At night it looked great.  We had replaced the standard light bulb in our porch light with a blue one, which cast a very eerie glow.  (My husband just about got killed over that bulb.  I asked him where I should go pick one up the day before Halloween, and he said to go to Party City.  The night before Halloween.  I barely made it through the door before I turned around and left again.  Silly man)  I sat on the porch with the candy in a black robe with the hood pulled down so no one could tell if I was a person or a prop.  Got a couple of kids really good with that one.

I also said that this was an important Halloween for me as a parent.  It was Ashton’s very first time to go Trick or Treating.  Aaron got to take him around and I got to hand out candy.  It apparently didn’t take him long to get the hang of things, and he even said trick or treat a few times (this is a child of few words).  Aside from him trying to go into the houses of strangers, it sounded like a success.  He brought back a fair amount of candy, but then who could resist that face?img_0808

Published in: on November 5, 2008 at 8:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Yes I’m alive

I know, I know, I’ve been neglecting you all.  I warned you that this would happen.

I don’t really have anything exciting to share with you lately.  The only thing going on in my life is attempting to make Ashton understand what the potty is for.  I can’t begin to tell you how exciting that is.  Yesterday I put him down for a nap and when I checked on him he had pulled both his pants and his pull ups off.  Thankfully nothing was wet.  I’ve discovered that pull ups are considerably more expensive than regular diapers.  It may be time to convert to cloth trainers.  That should make my life interesting.

I belong to a group called the Drunken Damsels.  We are a naughty wench act that roams around North Texas and sings at small Ren Faires.  If you are in or around the area of DFW and looking for an interesting act for your next event, give us a buzz over at The Drunken Damsels.  Now that I’ve gotten the plug out of the way, I can get back to the point.  We are working on recording some stuff.  The cd will be called “Just a Taste” and will have six tracks on it.  It’s a garage band recording, so nothing fancy, but we certainly are having fun with it.  Word of advice: if you plan on recording, don’t share three or four bottles of wine before doing so.  It doesn’t work out well and you end up with some interesting blackmail material.  Moving on.

I’m a belly dancer.  No really, I swear!  I’ve been dancing for over 6 years now.  I know this isn’t really that interesting to most of you, but I’m quite excited.  The studio I belong to has recently started a Multicultural Dance Team.  The purpose of this team is to learn the traditions of different Middle Eastern cultures and dances.  So we get to do the research, and create the choreographies, and then teach it to the rest of the team.  Then we can go to schools, libraries, and museums to give demonstrations.  I’m really looking forward to it!  We will have a featured segment in the upcoming Christmas Hafla in Grapevine TX.

Speaking of belly dancing, I will be performing this weekend, and I’m barely ready.  Like, half the routine is me faking it, but I don’t care.  It’s really the musicians that are being featured here, as it is an entirely new piece.  I can’t wait for everyone to see it (or, I guess in this instance, hear it).

So that’s been my life.  Singing, dancing, and toddler potties.  I guess I don’t need it to be any more exciting.