Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ahoy!

Well you know what they say.Stuff.  They say stuff.

And clearly, I am not "they" because I have had absolutely zilch to say.  Nothing.  Nada.

We've been busy.  I'm taking full advantage of understatement here.  There's not a word for the kind of busy we've been. 

Then we were kidnapped by two scurvy knaves


and taken here



where this knave declared it officially summertime



and told us we were forced to do this for the week



And there's nary a dustbuster in sight.

Anyway, we're headed down to the beach for a pre-dinner swim.  Then, we're descending upon Paula Deen and her restaurant tonight where, as Coach said, we'll put an epic hurt on the buffet.

I'll keep you updated on our adventures, but in the meantime, go here for a chance to win a $100 Visa Card, compliments of Purina, BlogHer, Mack, and me.

See y'all!


Friday, May 27, 2011

A Few Out-of-Context Quotes

Quartz: ...and that's the story of the grown-up and the two aliens.

Wes: I bet you can find it.  It's shaped like a coffin. 

Andrea: Actually, farting is allowed in our house.  But hitting is not.

Onyx: I am playing pyramid-locked-up.  There's two good guys, Shoelace and Amset-Ra.

Sapphire: I am a sandwich!  Eat me, eat me!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May Mom Blog

So, when Nadia and I started out this month, we had thrown together a last minute idea hoping for the best. What we got was an overwhelming response and an indescribable group of women that have touched my heart in more ways than I can count. So overwhelming, in fact, that we actually have a few days scheduled in June to fill out the overflow!

Being a mother can be all-consuming. It can be difficult. It can be wonderful. And these women are showing us all the different facets on a daily basis. We've had a military wife, an adoptive mom, a mother of an autistic son, and so many more.

The thing that I have gained most from this experience is that we are all so different, yet so alike. We all struggle, we all rejoice. And having this community of moms to celebrate motherhood has also, I hope, created an additional support system to other moms. We can share our successes and our failures together because we know what it's like.

I am so proud to be a mother of two amazing kids. And even through the rough days when they are yelling and driving me crazy, once I tuck them in bed, I see what a true blessing they are to me. And even without a crystal ball, I know that they are going to be amazing people. My hope is that I will do right by them every step of the way.

Today was actually supposed to be a post by Debra at Write On Target, but she ran into a little snafu in her plans. But, please be sure to check out her blog. She is a writer and is actually a local friend to me.

And if you are just now checking in with the #MayMomBlog hop, please check out the chart that I have listed below to find the ones you've missed. Yesterday's hostess was Carrie at The Sweetest, so any listed after her are our future hostesses.




NadiaMusings By The Light Of The Moonhttp://musingsbylightofthemoon.blogspot.com/
Christine All About Momsensehttp://dailymomsense.blogspot.com/
CrystalDomestic But Not Marthahttp://www.domesticbutnotmartha.com/
DanaThe Sears Familyhttp://masonsears.blogspot.com/  
Wendy JeanKeeping Up With The Pickleshttp://the-pickles.blogspot.com/
KimberlyAll Work & No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Somethinghttp://www.makemommygosomethingsomething.com/
CorinneOde to Blogginghttp://odetoblogging.blogspot.com/
JenniferJennHefferhttp://jennheffer.com/
JanaThe Bees Kneeshttp://thebeeskneesbaby.blogspot.com/
DeborahThe Truth About Motherhoodhttp://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/
AniAnime's Musingshttp://animesmusings.blogspot.com/
JulieI Love Purple More Than Youhttp://www.ilovepurplemorethanyou.com/
JillYeah. Good Times.http://yeahgoodtimes.blogspot.com/
JackiWhat Did She Say?http://www.whatdidshesay.ca/
BrandiThe Adventures of a Dysfunctional Supermomhttp://dysfunctionalsupermom.com/about/ 
TheresaMy Life As Tazhttp://mylifeastaz.com/
SaraMomma Findingshttp://www.mommafindings.com/
CarrieThe Sweetesthttp://thesweetest3.com/
DebraWrite On Targethttp://debralschubert.blogspot.com/
Jen Little Miss Mochahttp://littlemissmocha.com/ 
AmyTransplanted Thoughtshttp://www.transplantedthoughts.com/
LeslieLeslie Gail's Blog - New Life Focushttp://newlifefocus.wordpress.com/
NatalieMommy of A Monsterhttp://mommyofamonster.com/contact-me
KarmenFamily Sized Funhttp://familysizedfun.blogspot.com/
JCLittle Animationhttp://www.theanimatedwoman.com/
AdrienneOn the Road Less Takenhttp://www.ontheroadlesstaken.blogspot.com/
KellyGo Go Gadget Zenhttp://gogozen.blogspot.com/
SusanMemoirs of a Writerhttp://www.susanoloier.blogspot.com/
ElizabethMother's Gilthttp://mothersgilt.blogspot.com/
Allana PrattBlog and Vlog Musingshttp://allanapratt.com/blog-and-vlog-musings/
KelleyKelley's Break Roomhttp://www.kelleysbreakroom.com/
CaroleNational Momhttp://www.nationalmom.com/blog.html
JanetTulip and Thelmahttp://www.tulipandthelma.com/
SeanAverage Supermomhttp://www.averagesupermom.com/
Kim Rubber Chicken Madnesshttp://www.rubberchickenmadness.com/

Monday, May 16, 2011

How To Make a DIY Costume Gas Mask



In case, dear reader, you have ever longed for a gas mask of your very own with which to protect your delicate scentsibilities [sic] and strike fear into the souls of your enemies, have no fear!  With a few simple household items and craft tools, after a few hours you too can look intimidating while breathing in nicely filtered air! (NOTE: gas masks are for costume use only and not intended for use in warfare or for protection from hazardous materials)

Here are the materials you will need: 

Materials:
  • An old duffel bag, or other source of flexible PVC/vinyl-type fabric
  • A spice jar from Costco (the square ones with bronze colored lids), or other source of lenses and cool gas mask accessories
  • Two mason jar rings and lids (not wide mouth)
  • Some straps (from old duffel bag)
  • brass brads
  • respirator (medical or hardware store)
Tools:
  • Dremel and/or Drill
  • X-acto knife
  • hot glue gun

First, paint your respirator to fit the look you want.  We were going for a sort of steampunk look, so we painted it brown.

Drill holes in your accessories to make them look like filters.


We sanded our accessories slightly to help the paint stick and give them a more grungy, metallic texture and painted them a brassy color (it took several coats).  This is a plastic kids' cup from a birthday party a while ago.  The spice jar lids are already a nice bronze color, so they didn't need any painting, though we did paint the little inside cap, that already has holes, to match it.

While the other parts are drying, cut out your PVC to be about the size and shape of your head.  Hold it up to your head, and place the jar rings in the right place.  Mark where they should go.

Now, using an x-acto knife, cut a circle out of the PVC the same size as the smaller part of the jar lid. Then, flip the jar lid over so you are using the large side, and cut slits at 45-degree intervals to make it easier to glue the jar ring on to the PVC.

Place the jar rings over the holes.  Using a hot glue gun, glue the mason jar lids to the PVC.  Since you cut eight flaps in the previous step, it's not too hard to just glue one flap at a time.


For the lenses, use the spice jar, or some other kind of rigid clear plastic you might have lying around.  Trace two circles around the mason jar lids onto opposite sides of the spice jar.

Next, cut out the plastic on the lines you made.  Try and smooth out any rough edges, and make sure it fits inside the mason jar rings.  Hot glue them in.

Next, you can attach the straps to the mask using the brass brads.  We used the respirator's straps to go around the back of the head, and then added one additional strap on the top of the head to help the gas mask's shape.

After the paint has all dried, hold the mask up to your face and put the respirator where you want it.  Mark where it should go.  Glue it onto the bottom half of the mask, and cut off any excess PVC.


Last, add your accessories to the respirator.  Hot glue them in place.

Guess who this is?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

So, it's Mother's Day and I'm thinking I should post. I think I said everything about my kids in the last entry, but I'd like to take this in a different direction.

I was a basically well behaved child for most of my life. However, during that handful of rebellious years, my mother went through a lot of worrying and aggravation. I stayed out all night. I went out when I was supposed to be grounded. I disobeyed. I yelled. I even moved out to live with a boyfriend and his family for a while. I was just as selfish and inconsiderate as a teenager could be.

Through it all, she waited up, she argued, she demanded and she tried to make more rules for every one I broke. She also supported me, loved me and never gave up on me. And after I finally grew up, I realized all she went through while she was dealing with plenty of other issues. We don't realize what our parents deal with in their lives until we become adults with worries of our own. There are bills to be paid, friends and family to help, our health to take care of and jobs to weigh on top of it all.

It takes a long time for the tables to turn and a child to appreciate her mother. I didn't want to be smothered. I wanted to make my own mistakes and learn from them myself. She hated it. But, somehow, I think she understood. And now, after having my own kids, I think she was just grasping for a way to keep me from getting hurt. Isn't that what all mothers want? To keep their kids safe?

My mother took care of five kids. She was a second mother to all our friends. She cooked dinner every night. She helped with homework and attended school functions. Our house was always clean. We didn't have a ton of money, but we had everything we needed. We were a house where board games and outdoor play were encouraged and cherished. She did more for us than I ever realized.

Now, after two kids of my own, I appreciate her more and more every day. Her strength and love for us was boundless. No matter how much we probably drove her nuts, she was always there for us. I love her dearly and I hope she knows that there could never be another mom that compares to her.

***While many would assume I'd post a pic of my mom at this point, anyone in my family knows that is the worst thing I could do. My mom HATES pictures of her anywhere, so posted for all the interwebs to see would be mortifying in her eyes. Instead, I will post a pic of her beautiful mother who was the sweetest, cutest, giggliest (yes, giggle-i-est) lil grandma a girl could have. In our family, we called her Nanny. We lost her only a few months after I had my son 11 years ago and she is desperately missed. Happy Mothers Day and eternal love to you both!


That's me with Nanny!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Yard Sale on Saturday!

We're having a yard sale on Saturday, 8am-noon if anyone wants to come and sell or buy stuff. I have never done a yard sale of my own, so I'm excited, and the kids are getting very into it.

I have to take pictures of the kids playing happily together to remind myself that it does sometimes happen.  It's so much easier to remember the arguments, sometimes . . .

Monday, May 2, 2011

Canine Culinary Capers

Watch out.  I've blogged two days in a row.  I told you it was a resurrection.  Today I have something for you.  Go here to my review page; you can win $100.

You remember this guy.  This is my baby, Mack.  He still likes to snuggle up on the couch and watch television with me, which is a far cry from the other boy who lives in our house.  That boy just likes me to drive him places and buy him food.  He also has a fondness for ripe bed sheets.  So, Mack is my baby now.


He's quite a character, and he tends to be obsessive.  Compulsive really.  I'm just going to call it like I see it; the dog has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

I have no idea where he gets it.


Perhaps you don't know what Coach is holding.  That would be the bracket he made when we decided to have a Wiii Just Dance dance contest.  A BRACKET.  And y'all- he was ruthless.  RUTHLESS.  He had no qualms about decimating the girls.  Honestly, I didn't either.  Apparently snow showers and 80's music bring out the worst in both of us.  So, we both ended up in the championship round.  Coach vs. Me.  Mano-a-mano.  (And before you wonder if I spelled it correctly, I did.  I looked it up.  It's a phrase we took from the Spanish.  It means "hand to hand," so technically I guess we were really culata-a-culata.  Go look it up.  I'm not telling you what it means.)

Anyway, back to this guy-


He's obsessive about two things: tennis balls and food.  Back in the fall his love for food got him into a little bit of trouble.  Go to my review page and read all about his culinary capers.


See y'all!
 

Respect, Appreciation and Love

Last night, we experienced a momentous occasion. I would be remiss if I ignored this event as it relates to us today. My father was in the Army. My grandfather, my husband, my cousin, my friend…they have given their all to support our freedom in the armed forces.
And as I watched the news, I spent some time reflecting on what this means for us. Without delving into the politics and morality issues of war, our military is full of men and women to be proud of.  They deserve respect and thanks from every one of us. I try to instill this thinking in my children. It was only a week ago that I was in the grocery store with my kids when we passed a man in fatigues. As we walked by, I smiled and thanked him for his service. My son then told me that while on the school bus one day, the children all yelled and waved to a military vehicle that was next to them on the road.
As I raise my children, I try to impress small lessons that sink in quickly. I try to lead by example. Table manners? Sure. Never wander off? Absolutely. Respect? Ok…let's face it, that's a tough one. Even if I think they don't always show it properly, at least now I know they give it when it counts.
I was a fairly good kid growing up. I had my rebellious years for a bit, but like everyone else, I never thought I would be a strict parent. After having kids, it's much easier to appreciate my parents and what they did for me growing up. Being a mom is a tough job. We have to make rules and know when to draw the line between friend and parent. We have to put up with the "No!" and "I hate you!" and "It's not fair!" screams. It's not all cupcakes and sprinkles.
The good thing is, there are many more wonderful moments to remember fondly. The first giggles, first steps and first words are always exciting. But then there are the times that you get to see your child developing an individual personality. Or watch them enjoy their own achievements. One of my favorite moments with my son, now 11, is watching him get his first hit in baseball. As he ran to first base, I could see the glow of disbelief and pride on his face. He has also shown some great artistic potential. Going to the art show at his school was important to him. You could see it in his bubbly energy as we all walked in together. He nearly skipped to the exhibit to find his items. At his first guitar performance, he refused to look at me, probably knowing I was tearing like an embarrassing mother would.

My daughter is only four, and she is a whole different breed. It was obvious from the start that everything she did would be on her terms only. She can be indignant and frustrating. She can also be incredibly entertaining. Even when she misbehaves, my husband and I struggle not to laugh at her actions in order to show that being disciplined is serious. She's brazen and clever, and I think some day she is going to pursue her dreams with tenacity.

Even when they are exhausting, sometimes it's helpful to sit back and watch them for a few moments. Smile at their playfulness. Adore their quirks and expressions. The years pass quickly and each year holds new and wonderful changes. There are no words to say how I truly feel about my kids. They make me proud and joyful every day. They fill my heart and flood my soul.


It is my honor to direct you to our next blogger, Crystal. She will be posting her entry tomorrow at Domestic, But Not Martha at http://www.domesticbutnotmartha.com/ tomorrow.
Crystal has become a dear friend of mine on Twitter @DmstcBtNtMartha. She is a young mother and military wife and I find the timing poignant that she was scheduled so early in our tour to share her story. She is constantly working to help others with fundraising, volunteering and prayers. She is a kind heart and a beautiful soul and I am lucky to call her a friend.
Please be sure to continue the tour with her tomorrow!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Supper: Resurrection Edition

Hey y'all!  I know, I know- it's been a while.  Sorry about that.  We've been sucking the marrow out of our spring, but I'm resurrecting the blog this week.  Seriously.  And I know I've promised you "tomorrow" before and then gone all Scarlet O'Hara on you, but I promise- tomorrow I'll be back.

And I'm giving away money.  Seriously.

There are a million reasons why I haven't blogged lately: 52 research papers, coaching a track team, raising children, emergency room visits, life, terrible storms, life...

Truth be told, last week I asked G to take his sheets off his bed so that I could wash them.  He replied, "Noooo.  I just made my bed, and besides you just changed them."

Me:  "I don't remember the last time I changed them."

Him:  "Mom, seriously, you just changed them like in February.  Or January."

See?  Blogging is the least of my worries right now.  I'm 97% sure my mother just had a stroke when she read this, and obviously I need to get caught up on house work.

But I'm back.

And what better way to re-enter Blogland than with a couple of recipes?  I don't have a supper menu for you, but I have two dessert recipes that will, as Coach likes to say, "make your tongue slap your brain."

Peanut Butter Banana Trifle
3 cups milk
2 (3.4 oz) packages of vanilla instant pudding
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces sour cream
5 medium-sized bananas
1 package Nutter Butter Cookies
2 cups sweetened whipped cream

Place 3 cups milk and vanilla in a large bowl.  Add the pudding mix and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Stir in sour cream.

Cut bananas into small slices.  Break cookies into bite size pieces.

Spoon half of pudding mixture into a trifle dish or 3 quart bowl.  Top with bananas and cookies.  Spoon remaining pudding mixture over bananas and cookies.

Top with sweetened whipped cream (or you can cheat and use creamy Cool Whip).  Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

Double Chocolate Ice Box Pie
1 (9 ounce) package chocolate wafers
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 egg yolks
2 cups milk
2 (4 ounce) bittersweet chocolate baking bars, chopped
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar

Pulse chocolate wafers in a food processor until finely crushed.  Stir in melted butter and nutmeg.  Firmly press mixture on the bottom and up the sides of a lightly greased 9-inch pie pan.  Freeze crust for 30 minutes.

Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan.

Whisk together milk and yolk mixture.  Whisk yolk mixture into sugar mixture in the pan and cook over medium heat whisking constantly, 10 to 12 minutes or until mixture thickens.  Cook another minute.  Remove from heat.

Microwave chopped chocolate in a bowl on high for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring at 30-second intervals.  Whisk melted chocolate, rum, and vanilla into thickened filling.  Pour into prepared pie crust.  Place plastic wrap directly onto the filling (prevents a film from forming); chill 8 to 24 hours.

Beat whipping cream and 1/4 cup sugar at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Top pie with whipped cream.

Eat until you're slightly ill.

Take a nap.

See y'all tomorrow!
(I'm not kidding.  And I promise, there's money to be won!)

May Mom Blog Tour

During the month of May, Nadia Romanov (@NadiaR13) and I have organized a star-studded Mothers' Day blog tour. Each day a different mom will take the helm at her blog providing a mom-inspired post. We've gathered up some of our favorite women and asked them to join us in celebrating moms for the entire month.

Our first blogger will be Nadia, then I'll be hosting tomorrow. Every post will have a link to the next day's blogger, so be sure to read, enjoy and check for the next place to go. We'll also be posting reminders on Twitter and Facebook.

Our list includes the following fabulous blogs:


Musings By The Light Of The Moonhttp://musingsbylightofthemoon.blogspot.com/
All About Momsensehttp://dailymomsense.blogspot.com/
Domestic But Not Marthahttp://www.domesticbutnotmartha.com/
The Sears Familyhttp://masonsears.blogspot.com/  
Keeping Up With The Pickleshttp://the-pickles.blogspot.com/
All Work & No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Somethinghttp://www.makemommygosomethingsomething.com/
Ode to Blogginghttp://odetoblogging.blogspot.com/
JennHefferhttp://jennheffer.com/
The Bees Kneeshttp://thebeeskneesbaby.blogspot.com/
The Truth About Motherhoodhttp://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/
Anime's Musingshttp://animesmusings.blogspot.com/
I Love Purple More Than Youhttp://www.ilovepurplemorethanyou.com/
Yeah. Good Times.http://yeahgoodtimes.blogspot.com/
What Did She Say?http://www.whatdidshesay.ca/
The Adventures of a Dysfunctional Supermomhttp://dysfunctionalsupermom.com/about/ 
My Life As Tazhttp://mylifeastaz.com/
Momma Findingshttp://www.mommafindings.com/
The Sweetesthttp://thesweetest3.com/
Write On Targethttp://debralschubert.blogspot.com/
Little Miss Mochahttp://littlemissmocha.com/ 
Transplanted Thoughtshttp://www.transplantedthoughts.com/
Leslie Gail's Blog - New Life Focushttp://newlifefocus.wordpress.com/
Mommy of A Monsterhttp://mommyofamonster.com/contact-me
Family Sized Funhttp://familysizedfun.blogspot.com/
Little Animationhttp://www.theanimatedwoman.com/
On the Road Less Takenhttp://www.ontheroadlesstaken.blogspot.com/
Go Go Gadget Zenhttp://gogozen.blogspot.com/
Memoirs of a Writerhttp://www.susanoloier.blogspot.com/
Mother's Gilthttp://mothersgilt.blogspot.com/
Blog and Vlog Musingshttp://allanapratt.com/blog-and-vlog-musings/
Kelley's Break Roomhttp://www.kelleysbreakroom.com/



Enjoy!! And Happy Mothers' Day!!