Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Much Needed Reprieve

The weekend is winding down. There are only a few more hours left in this day meaning a new week will start momentarily. Time is running out. We are only two weekends away from The Boy's high school graduation.

Graduation preparations have taken over our lives. My living room has become one giant party planning craft room. I have project after project in multiple stages of completion. My technology skills have been put to the test as I try to create a graduation video. I find myself exhausted but sleepless as I run through to-do list and budgets nonstop in my head!

With all of that said, the past two weekends have brought a small reprieve. They have been prom weekends.  I found myself immersed in tuxedo's, gowns, flowers, photographs, and dancing if only for a few moments! One last high school tradition before graduation.

This years prom festivities were so different from last. Last year he attended two proms. One he went with a group of friends and the other a blind date. One of my wishes was that he would find someone special to share a prom moment with.  A few months ago The Boy met a girl.  I would love to share more on the two of them but I have to keep reminding myself that some stories are not mine to share.  But, I will say this: The girl has since rocked his world! It is a nice feeling when you see your child learn to share his world with another person. Well, someone other than his sister or his brother.

Since they do not attend the same school, he got to experience two proms again this year. One date for each of them. Two nights of dancing. Two nights for making memories.

The first prom was hers. She attends a small private school and the dance is student organized and ran. Ironically we found ourselves right back at the place we visited last year for prom photos.  I would imagine this waterfall has seen many prom goers!  There was a small, well dress group that went to dinner and the dance together. Although it was small, The Boy reported that he had a great time and it was actually fun.

Our second prom was for his school. There was no large group to organize. It was just The Boy and his girl.  Last summer I completed a Kansas City Fountains Tour and I visited parts of the city I had never been in. One of the places I stumbled upon was called The Colonnade in Northeast Kansas City. The Boy requested we take prom photos there. Knowing it was a beautiful location I thought it was perfect. Mostly because I doubted any other prom goers would be there. It is a quiet location, forgotten by the masses and it worked perfectly for us.

Little did we know when we selected The Colonnade that his girlfriend's mom grew up in this part of the city. She told us a lovely family story about her grandparents eloping and the only photo they had was taken in front of The Colonnade.  the old fountain in her Grandma and Grandpa's photo has been removed but the structure is still there. And looks amazing.

 I am such a sap for meaningful moments and places. I certainty do not know this couples future but it does feel as if the stars aligned themselves to share this moment.

We experienced rain all day. Luckily that dried up but what lingered was really unseasonable cold weather.  I am not going to lie to you all, it was downright cold! As I sat at home looking at prom photos that other proud parents posted on social media I saw many girls with goosebumps on their arms as they fought through the cold for the sake of a perfect prom photo.

Getting a boy and a girl ready for prom could not be the further apart on the spectrum. The girlfriend spent most of the afternoon getting her hair done (I believe three hours was the exact time commitment). Then there are the nails. And the makeup.

The Boy on the other hand,  spent the entire afternoon at the Kansas State University Spring Fling out at Sporting KC Park. His Wildcats played in a spring exhibition game that his family got tickets for. Instead of working on his hair, he was most excited to meet and wish Tyler Lockett best wishes in the 2015 NFL Draft this week.

He got home thirty minutes before we were schedule to arrive at his dates home. Thirty minutes to get ready.  Sorry to all the mom's of girls out there ! I promise my time is coming. The Short Chic is already planning for her future prom.

We were fortunate enough to surround these two with loved ones before prom. Their entire families came to wish them well. Even Aunt Tracy and Darren were able to swing by and see the couple before they departed for the evening.

The kids were driven to dinner and to the prom by a local service. Their driver actually asked them if they had just gotten married! He was not the only person, someone else drove past The Colonnade and honked their horn at them. They were home from prom by 11:15. I think they had a good time. But I feel like they had a better time at the first prom.

The focus on public school prom in our area is on the photos and the party bus. So many people stay at prom for less than a half an hour.

Another prom season has come to an end. The tux was returned this afternoon. The dress is headed to the cleaners. The flowers have wilted. All that remains is the memories and the photos.

Sadly, my small reprieve from graduation planning is over. If I were the drinking kind of girl, I might need some cocktails to help me forget that in just a few short weeks my little boy, who is no longer a boy, will be graduated. And before I am ready, he will move away to go to college.

And the next time I see him this dressed up will likely be when he or his friends start creating families of their own. But, seriously, we do not need to rush into anything!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Senior Skip Day

Senior Skip Day.

A tradition I am familiar with. One that has not gone by wayside and, as I found out this week, is still being celebrated by seniors across the county. The Boy had his Senior Skip Day this week.

I remember my Senior Skip Day. Let's just say there was alcohol, sex, and drugs involved. (Not that this blogger was involved in those activities but they were present.) So, to say that The Boy's Senior Skip Day caused me a lot of anxiety is not an understatement!

The Seniors planned their skip day to coincide with home opener of baseball here in Kansas City. In case you outsiders forgot our Kansas City Royals are the 2014 American League Champions and this city loves their boys in blue! For those that could not get tickets to the home opener, tailgating in the parking lot was a better option than watching the game from home or a local drinking establishment.

Part of me was excited at the location for Senior Skip Day. I do not condone teen drinking and I spend a lot of time talking about that with my son. I was very concerned about how easy teen drinkers would be to get the attention of undercover and uniformed police officers.

I was also concerned with driving to and from the stadium. Yesterday alone, 40,000 people attended the game. That does not include all those extra's who drove out just to tailgate. That is a lot of people navigating the roadways at one time.  While two years of driving makes The Boy an expert in his head, it clearly does not in mine!

I am happy to say, he made it safely to and from Senior Skip Day. And while he never got tickets to the game, he did help cheer our Kansas City Royals to their first official victory of the season!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

From our family to yours, we wish you a Happy Easter!

The Boy's Final Food Day

This post is about The Boy. And Buffalo Chicken Dip. But mostly about The Boy and his love for Buffalo Chicken Dip.

Throughout high school, The Boy has occasionally had a "food day" at school. I can't even remember when the first food day was held. 8th grade? Freshman year? Sophomore, maybe.  What I do recall is that The Boy told me about food day around 9:00 p.m. the night before.

 In a sheer panic to come up with something that would give me cool mom points, I scoured the kitchen pantry to find something he would like.  I happened to have a few chicken breast cooked (we prep them and they make a quick lunch), we always Ranch Dressing, shredded cheese, and even cream cheese on hand. By accident we had a bottle of winger sauce in the fridge. So, we made Buffalo Chicken Dip.

Not only did I get cool points, The Boy must have gotten them as well. He came home and report his dip was a hit! He has continued to ask for it every time there is a food day. Unfortunately, The Boy's advanced planning did not get much better. He would always tell me about the food day the night before. My husband and I learned to adapt ourselves to his short notice. We switched to having canned chicken breast on hand and winger sauce became a staple in our pantry.

His planning may not have improved but over time we have transitioned from Mom making the dip to son making it. If he has not learned how to cook anything else, he knows how to make Buffalo Chicken Dip and ramen noodles. Sounds like a survival plan for college if you ask me!

Now that you know and understand our pattern for the past four or so years, imagine my surprise when this year, his Senior year, he starts telling me about a food visit a few days in advance.  A sign of maturity! A sign of advanced planning! It has finally started happening. Please say it is not a fleeting moment!

Tuesday of this week, The Boy and I were out shopping. Before we prepared to leave the store, I asked him if he had any needs. He blew me over when he said, "Mom, we have a food day on Friday." I did a happy dance right there in the grocery store aisle. So pleased with his advanced planning, I even gave him an opportunity to pick something new. But no, The Boy loves Buffalo Chicken Dip.

We have about 25 days left in his high school career. Today could be his last food day. Sadly, I will miss this moment next year.

The Boy's Favorite Buffalo Chicken Dip

10 ounce canned chicken breast                                                        
1 block of cream cheese
1/2 cup winger sauce
1/2 cup ranch dressing
2 cups shredded cheese

Put everything in a microwavable bowl and microwave in small increments until you can easily stir with spoon and everything is blended. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Lies, White Lies, and the Things We Say

Here is a known fact about me. I tell everyone that I am 32 years old. I have been telling people that since, well, since I was 32 years old.

Obviously my husband knows this is not true. The Boy knows this is not true. The Short Chic has not yet figured it out but she is highly suspicious and will probably figure it out next month when I turn 32 again.

Here is another fact but this one you probably don't know. My being "32" makes my Momma mad. Not like mad like I am mad about chocolate. Like crazy ridiculous mad. I do not know why. But over the years I have found that she will take whatever step she can whenever she can to make sure to tell everyone that I am really not 32 years old.

So, let me be straight, I know I do not look like I am 32. I do not think I look as old as I am but I seriously doubt that I am fooling anyone when I say I am 32. So, why claim to be 32?

Thirty-two was when so many things in my life came together. My dad died when I was twenty-nine, I got a divorce when I was thirty, and from twenty-nine to thirty-one I worked in a job where I was very unhappy.For three years and some change, I was not in a good space. I was not the person I wanted to be. I was sad. I was hurt. I was even angry. Thirty-two is when I let all of that go and reclaimed me.

I don't think it is so crazy to honor and celebrate that.

But then I think, do I even need a reason to be age 32?  I am not the first or only person who has hovered at an age. So, then why does my Momma find it so offensive?

She thinks I am lying when I say it.  Is it a lie? By definition of saying something that is not true is a lie then yes, I am lying. But let's be clear we all tell lies. Some of them we over look. Some of them are culturally perpetuated.

  • My daughter has now lost three teeth. Each one she expects and has received a gift from the tooth fairy.  
  • How many people my Momma's age actually believed the stork brought them into this world?
  • When I was little I was told I could not drink coffee because it would stunt my growth.
  • How many little boys are told if they play with their penis it will fall off? 
  • Every year we celebrate two religious holiday's that are seeping in non-truths. Do I need to point out the Easter Bunny or even Jolly Saint Nick? 
  • My wonderful elementary teachers spent weeks teaching me the meric system because our country was going to start using it. Guess what, the only time I use it is when I consider running a 5K. 
  • Was anyone else told that if you read in poor light or stood too close to the TV that you would hurt your eyes?  No one said anything about the genetics involved in determining my poor eye sight. 
  • Popping my knuckles would give me arthritis. 
  • How about that annoying toy someone gave your child. Did it really break or did you just remove the batteries to save your sanity? 
I read an article that says parents will tell their children some 3000 "white lies" during childhood. Three Thousand. Clearly, I am not the only person telling a non-truth. Maybe that is why the definition of "white lie" was made.  My age is a small or unimportant detail to my children. How I care for them; guide them, inspire them, and provide for them should be the most important details. Not how old I am. 

For the record, I never tell my medical providers that I am 32 years old. I do however, need a moment to do the math because my age no longer defines me. My abilities and my accomplishments define me. 

And shouldn't those accomplishments be what makes a parent happy? So, yes, I am going to keep telling people that I am 32 years old. Maybe one day I will celebrate my twentieth anniversary of my 32nd birthday. Maybe? But not any time soon!

What about you? Do you have an age you're are hovering at? 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Eiffel Tower Birthday Party


The weatherman threatened us with snow all weekend but once again we got very lucky and the sun shined on our birthday girls party.

This year we selected to have our birthday party at a local social painting place. For those of you who are local, we selected Blanc Palatte in Liberty Missouri. I really liked the party package. They offered instructor lead painting, personalized photos or the ability to select from their library, as well as the space is amazing!  Our host for the day was Jamie and the girls loved her. The Mommies loved her.

The birthday girl selected the painting she wished to paint, an Eiffel Tower no doubt. I did ask the instructors before I booked if 7 year old could really paint and I was assured as long as the Mom's let go they could. I took that as code for keep the Mom's busy.

The birthday girl got all dressed up for her birthday party. I purchased her a new black dress and a strand of pearls. We were hoping to look like Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's.  She did have gloves but keeping those on her was probably as difficult as predicting Missouri weather.  An hour before her bedtime and she is still completely dressed up. 

As our invitations indicated, the theme for this party was the Eiffel Tower. Last year I purchased a cake from a local baker but this year I decided to resume tackling the cake myself.  I made a double layer, dark chocolate cake with strawberry white chocolate ganache filling covered in buttercream frosting pipped with a 1M to create roses all over the cake. 

With the exception of the Eiffel Tower, I purchased what I needed to make this cake at our local Michaels Craft Store. They have Wilton baking pans, Wilton disposable frosting bags, decorators tips, gel food coloring, and nonpareils. I purchased the Eiffel Tower cake topper online and found silver birthday candles at Target. The entire cake stood on a black metal cake stand. It was absolutely beautiful!


In addition to the cake, I made Eiffel Tower Lollipops using Wilton bright pink candy wafers and lollipop sticks (also purchased from Michaels). I purchased the mold on Amazon. Making the lollipops was super easy.  Just melt and mold.  I added a black and white polka dot ribbon to set it off.

The food for the party was kept as simple as possible. Part of my plan to keep the Mom's busy was to serve them wonderful cheeses from France as well as some vino.  I served turkey and Swiss sandwiches on croissants in case the little girls did not appreciate the cheese.  My hardest decision was in deciding what cheese to have and what to leave behind. I ended up with nine total varieties of cheese.  I also served chocolate covered oreo's as well as French Soda Pop that I obtained from World Market.  

My friend Krista just returned from visiting Paris and she emailed me a few photos to use. I selected this photo and went to Office Max and had an engineers print made of it. It cost less than you would think to make a photo the size that I did. I mounted the photo to a foam board from Home Depot. I added some paper fans and created a back drop for the food table.

I used mini canvas and easels to identify each cheese and I used a painters board for the actual cheese board.  I think it enhanced the venue nicely.

I spent many hours hand painting  chocolate covered Oreo's for the party. (Again, everything used here came from Michaels.)  They were a huge hit. The guest gobbled up every single one of them. 

I think the birthday girl got as much paint on herself as she did the canvas. The girls had a great time painting. In fact, the birthday girl's Nana also had a fun time painting. 

All of the girls really enjoyed the painting. Many of the Mom's wished they were painting as well.

This party made my little girls day! She has fallen in love with Paris and the Eiffel Tower. She was so giddy and silly all day long because she was so happy. I think in her dreams she was in Paris and left behind the cold and snow that has been plaguing us for so long. 

A private birthday party at Blanc Palette gives you two hours in the venue. So, after painting we had food, cake, and opened presents. I had also purchased a Paris themed Bingo game from Etsy so in our final moments we played a game of Bingo. Each girl was able to take home a pink chocolate Eiffel Tower Lollipop.

 And just like that, the party is over. Your left with the understanding that your baby has turned another year old.  I would like to thank the folks at Blank Palette. It was honestly a great party! I would also like to thank all those who came out to celebrate with us.

I am updating my blog post to enter into Michael's #SpringtimeinParis #Contest.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oscar 2015

Happy Oscar Sunday!

It has now been 18 years since I started my love affair with the golden statue. I lover his movies and I love his fashion and I love his night!

I managed to squeeze in all eight Best Picture nominations  by midnight last night. I am not a movie critic so I know nothing other than what I respond to. So, here are my reactions to the movies:

The Grand Budapest Hotel: quirky and fun. I wish I would have re-watched it again since I watched it so long ago.

Boyhood: Impressive that everyone dedicated so many years to making this movie. Beyond that, I did identify with Patricia Arquette's role  as she watches her son grow up and moves on. This is the chapter I am in with my own life. Other than that, do I dare say, I just thought it was okay.

American Sniper:  I love Clint Eastwood. I love Bradly Cooper. It was a good movie and I enjoyed it.

Selma: I loved this movie. I did not really think about the controversy of nomination snubs until I watched this movie.

The Imitation Game: Going into this one I had no idea what it was about. I will tell you that I was blown away. I loved the science. I loved the history lesson, and I was angered by the social injustice gay men had to undergo.

Birdman: Okay, I am going to be honest. This movie was just plan odd to me.  I hear all of the Oscar buzz and I think to myself, yep, this is why I am not a critic.

Whiplash: As a social worker, I know abuse is abuse and that it is not okay. But I still found myself inappropriately chuckling during this movie. Painful to watch. When does drive and ambition cross a line? I am not sure but this movie takes us there.

The Theory of Everything: I was up till midnight watching this one last night. I love this movie too! I found myself cheering and crying and totally wrapped up in this story.

Who am I rooting for: Imitation Game or Theory of Everything.  However, if I listen to the predictions I think these two have lost their steam to win.

Each year we base a whole menu from the movies. This year is no exception.

We spent the day watching past winners on Starz and having appetizers. I made Jalapeno Popper Dip for American Sniper. Bradley Coopers character says, "I'm not a redneck, I'm Texas". What says Texas better than tex-mex.  We also had Queso for the movie Boyhood. "More, Queso, yes more queso."

For dinner we had Roasted Cornish Hens for Birdman, Roasted Smashed Potatoes for The Theory of Everything (maybe if every scientist explained theories in relation to potatoes and peas I might understand!), and Collard Greens for Selma. Momma, I actually cooked Collard Greens and they were amazing.

For dessert: we had cream puffs for the Grand Budapest Hotel. Apple Nachos from The Imitation Game. Remember when Alan Tuning finally attempted to make friends with apples. Finally, Drumstick ice cream cones for Whiplash.

Our meal is over. The cocktails are poured. We sit and watch The Red Carpet. Anyone else noticing the white trend?   The show is about to start! See you all tomorrow so we can talk about the winners?

Who are you rooting for?