Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall Color

The seasons have changed. Our days are shorter. The air is crisper. The trees have started to turn colors.

I have no idea when this tree turned from green to red. I did not even notice this tree, even though I drive by it every single day on my way to work. I do not think I have noticed up to this point because of the time of sunrise. It is happening later. Have you noticed? Of course you have, how could you not notice we are rising in the dark?

I noticed it this week because the sun shine pours onto it first thing in the morning. The entire tree looks like it is ablaze. Any other time, it is just an ordinary tree whose leaves have turned red. But in the morning, it demands attention. The first day I noticed it, I actually slammed the brakes on!  I feel blessed that I have seen it ablaze. When it is at it's peak.

So, I ask, are you seeing things at their peak?  Too many times we focus on a persons low points and fail to recognize them when they are at their peak. Take a moment this weekend and enjoy someone in their peak. Share a moment with those you love.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Repurposed Garden Art

I know I have said it before, I will say it again. I love fall.

I really love fall festivals!  And I love really cool creative people that come up with new ideas at fall festivals!

I found this super cool garden art at a recent fall festival.

The base of this piece is a lid from a 5-quart kettle. Then a re-purposed ceiling light shade. Next is a small glass dish, followed by a disregarded vase. The pretty glass pear sits on another small glass plate.  Each piece is secured using a waterproof sealant.

I have it sitting in my garden. When the sunlight hits it, it just sparkles.  Look in your cabinets. Do you have glass pieces that need a new life?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

They Grow Up



When it comes to parenting, I have done things a little bit different. By no means am I alone. There are many families like mine.  My children are years apart. I got one completely through early childhood and into adolescents and then started over.

This is important to me because I have had a moment of what life will be like for me in a few years at the same time, I am charting new territory. I am muddling my way through adolescents with The Boy and I am repeating parenting a preschooler with The Short Chic.

The Boy is a great sleeper...NOW. Back when I was a single mommy and he and I lived in a two bedroom house, I could not get him to sleep by himself. He told me later he was scared. He never felt safe in his bedroom.  Once I remarried and we all lived together, he immediately started sleeping in his own bed. And I got acquainted with sleep again.

Then The Short Chic came along. Having had years of sleep, I liked it. I loved it! So I took the easiest route I could. I allowed her to sleep with us. She slept better if we were there (I am sure once again a safety feeling). And let's face it: I got more sleep too! Now, we have been working on breaking this habit. She has slept in her new bedroom all by herself for almost the entire month. Enough time to develop a new habit as adult "experts" say. And once again, I am only sharing my bed with my loud snoring husband!

They grow up. It happens slowly. Honestly right before our eyes.

I never thought The Boy would potty train. Stubborn, he was! But you know what, we kept trying and he learned it. Same with reading. Same with fractions.  The amount of time I have spent studying sight words, multiplication tables, and how to do fractions is exhausting if I stop to think about it. And the joy of that in our household is that soon we will start that process all over again as The Short Chic starts school. I know that  as frustrating as it can be to go through that, eventually, it does level out. The Boy does his own studying now. At times I even feel; dare I say, useless in his world.

They grow up.

The Short Chic is in a whiny, temper-tantrum stage right now. There are days when I can't really stand the sound of her voice. It feels like she will never learn to communicate her needs without screaming, stomping, or crying. But, life with The Boy tells me she will learn it.

The Boy has driving on his brain. In four months he is eligible to get a drivers permit. As with most teens, he is anxious and tells me on  a daily basis how impatient he is about driving. It is one of the last things he needs me for right now. Transportation, cooking, and cleaning.

So, yes, I have done things a little different. I get one child through a stage, hopefully successfully, and then repeat it a few years later.

They both are growing up. And you know what, they do it quickly. Honestly, right before our eyes.

Yesterday, The Husband and I attended the wedding of a friend's daughter.  My husband and the bride's father have been life long friends. He was around when she was born. I am relatively new to their lives. I have only been on the scene for seven years. But, I can tell you, the bride was in elementary school when I came along.

And now she is grown up.

It was a very bittersweet moment. Here is his little girl getting married. He was not ready to let her be grown up. Yet, she is. I think he would rather she be screaming out in the middle of the night that she had a bad dream. Or having her patter into his room to tell him Santa has come. I think he might have been ready to drive her to college, more so than watch her get married. To say good-bye to the little girl who is now a woman.

Because they grow up quickly.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Winner, Winner!

I was having a so-so day. 


I have a lot of work to do and I have been focused on getting it done. Then I go to check my inbox and I see this email...

From: Marni  
To: itsmylife2002@yahoo.com
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 10:32 AM
Subject: WINNER!!


Congrats Pamela!!! You are the winner of the ScrapMaBob at Sassy Sites! You will now be entered into the drawing for the EZ Craft Desk!! I am SOOOO excited for you... and little jealous! :) Email me back with your address, phone number, and full name so I can pass your info on. XOXO!!

_______________________________
{Marni } 
   Sassy Sites!

Talk about turning a so-so day into a super rockin' day! I am so stinkin' excited to be a winner! What did I win, well I won a ScrapMaBob:


But the most exciting thing: winning this puts me in the running to win this:

A super cool, super awesome EZ Craft Desk from The Original Scrapbox. I have been dreaming about this desk for so long! It is amazing and would be super awesome in my newly cleaned out craft room!

The contest is on September 23...this FRIDAY! 

Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Homecoming

Another sign of fall; homecoming. It is homecoming weekend. I could not attend my own high school's homecoming because my son had his first homecoming weekend.

The football game was last night. We won! Our home team is now 4-0.

Tonight is the dance. It is so much easier to get a boy ready for a dance than it is a girl. I should not gloat too much, The Short Chic will not stay short forever. Our largest stressor getting ready for this dance; getting our dry cleaning back from the dry cleaners. We took The Boys suit and dress shirt in on Tuesday and we were told it would be back by 2:00 on Friday. When I went to pick it up at 5:30 Friday, only the suit was back. They told me the shirt would be back Saturday morning. Well it was not. So they promised me they would deliver it by 4:00 on Saturday. ONE HOUR before we were to arrive at the date's home.

The rest of the day was spent doing regular household errands. We picked up the date's corsage. We grocery shopped. The Boy napped. We watched football. And the whole time I worried we did not have a back up for the dress shirt. 4:00 p.m. came and went. No shirt. Now they promised me by 4:20. The Boy leisurely got ready. Even The Husband was worried. He was so ready to get in his truck and go to the cleaners to yell at them. I asked that he wait. But I love the fact that he was ready to go!  They arrived at 4:21 p.m. with our shirt.

The Boy's date for homecoming is a beautiful young lady. Her parents invited us over for photos.
They exchanged pretty flowers. The floral shop owner told The Boy that their flowers would look nothing like else at the dance. The date's dress was very pretty. It looks blue in all of these photos but it is really purple (The Boy loves K-State!). The hem line had a little toe peep in the front and a built in train in the back.

The proud parents got in for some photos before we left to go meet the large group. Eighteen young people where to meet for photos and dinner before the dance. That is correct, 18!!

The gathering of the 18 was quiet comical. The girls on one side of the cul-de-sac; the boys on the other. You would have thought they were back in elementary school!


It only takes a parent to get it rolling. Then soon all the boys and girls are posing. With a large amount of silliness!
I think this might be my favorite photo of The Boy and his date.

Or maybe this one?

 All the couples. There ended up being only 17 young adults (a last minute broken heart caused one of the girls to be solo.)
The entire group. That is The Boy and his date two from the left. They left to go to dinner together. With little adult supervision. I am praying they manage their money well and don't leave a $20 tip for a $10 meal. The dance starts at 8:00. There is a post party...somewhere. I drew the late night card. Meaning, I get to pick them up from the dance and drive them to the after party.

Pumpkin Season

I love pumpkin.  You can ask my husband. He rolls his eyes and starts eating out this time of the year just to avoid all the pumpkin I cook up!

This morning, with a chill in the air, I dug into my pumpkin supply to make my first pumpkin treat of the year,  Pumpkin Spice Latte. The recipe comes from the Crock Pot Girls Facebook page (just look in the discussion boards for all kinds of yummieness!)

Pumpkin Spice Latte

1 1/2 - 2 cups of strongly brewed coffee (I used my Toddy system)
4 cups milk
4 T canned pumpkin puree
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4-1/2 cup sugar (I used the full half cup)
3 T vanilla

Add the coffee and milk to your slow cooker. In a separate bowl, whisk pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, sugar and vanilla together. Add to coffee mixture and whisk again. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Whisk again, Add whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.

It makes enough to share. So invite a friend over and enjoy the fall! Have the leaves started to turn colors in your yard?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Up-cylced Letters


I have been remaking my Short Chic's bedroom. Her favorite colors are Orange and Green. It took a moment for me to figure out the whole color scheme, but I got it.

We put these letters up in her nursery some four years ago. They were painted purple. She has grown out of her nursery and the purple color scheme. But,I love this letters so I had to decide what to do with them to incorporate them into her big girl room.

I found  a stack of scrapbooking paper that was all pink, orange, and green. PERFECT!!

The rest was pretty easy. I traced the letters onto the paper. Cut out the paper letters. Mod podged the paper to the wooden letters. Then added more mod podge. I let it dry. Trimmed it all up using an exacto knife. Then I added embellishments, which I already had on hand in my scrapbookin' stash.


The end results, totally reinvented, upcylced letters for The Short Chic's bedroom! I  am looking forward to showing you all the rest of her new bedroom soon!

I Eat Cookie Dough Batter!

I do. I eat cookie dough batter. There I said it. I have to make extra cookie dough to allot for the amount I eat while baking. Somewhere in the back of my head, I always tell myself, "this is not safe for pitty sakes there are raw eggs in here!" But I eat it.

Then,  Making Memories with Your Kids posted a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip a while back and I noticed it does not have eggs in it. I have been itching to make it. So last night was the perfect excuse to whip up a batch.

Last night was a bit crazy. The Short Chic started dance lessons. Her Nana and Papa came home from visiting North Carolina. Her Nana left this morning for Mexico and my absolute favorite TV show was on last night, Sons of Anarchy.  Knowing we would have people stopping by and dropping in to partake in those events, I made the family a treat.

Can I tell you how yummy it is! The joy of this recipe, you can eat this cookie dough dip without worry of consuming raw eggs! Of course you still need to know it has sugar, fat, and calories!  You serve this dip with graham crackers, Teddy Grahams, or Nilla Wafers. Or a spoon. A spoon would work great!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

1 stick of butter
 1/3 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup of min chocolate chips

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and stir till it dissolves and the mixture starts to bubble. Remove from the heat and add vanilla.
In another bowl, mix cream cheese and powdered sugar till smooth.
Pour cream cheese mixture into brown sugar mixture and mix till combined. Add chocolate chips. Stir.

Enjoy!

I know I did!

Monday, September 12, 2011

It Comes Out of Nowhere

I have been having a great day on the heels of a great weekend. Truth be known, I think I have been having a great month.

Then I come home and see this on my Yahoo! News:

FILE - In this undated file TV publicity image released by Starz, Andy Whitfield portrays Spartacus in the Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Whitfield died of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in Australia Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Starz Entertainment. LLC, File)


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Andy Whitfield, who played the title role in the hit cable series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," has died at age 39, according to representatives and family.
Whitfield died Sunday in Sydney, Australia, 18 months after he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, manager Sam Maydew told the Associated Press.

Just like that, my world is unsteady. I am back in the doctors office a year ago being diagnosed with lymphoma. 
I do not know Andy Whitfield.  I do not even know the character he plays on the Starz network. I do know from the article that he had non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and was diagnosed a short 18 months ago.  I guess my point is, I am not grieving someone in my life.  He is a virtual stranger to me. 
But, I sit here on my couch as I type this, sad. Overwhelmed with sadness.  They told me when I was diagnosed that it was a "safe" diagnosis and that the fatality rates were low. Low like 2 % low.  I never felt that I was at risk of dying.  So, how does someone die from it?
My friend Regina just shakes her head at me. She says I am the only who never processed that people still die from Cancer. I know people die from Cancer. I know that all too well.  But not from a cancer that all of the medical providers I had say, "if you are going to have to have Cancer, this is the one you want."
The logical side of me points out that I had Hodgkins Lymphoma and Andy Whitfield had non-Hodgkins. I was diagnosed in a stage 1 and I have no idea what stage he was diagnosed with.  But, I am not logical right now. My logical side has been taken over by my emotional side. The side that is screaming, seriously I could have died!
Just the other day a friend asked me how I was doing. I told her I was back to normal. I would like to restate my position. I am not back to normal. I am physically feeling fine. But I am suffering from shell shock and anything Cancer related can rock my world.

Fake Makeup

The Short Chic's best friend Little Mess is turning 4 years old.

Little Mess and The Short Chic have something in common. Both of their mommies are picky. We won't let our little girls play with make up because they make too big of a mess.

So, for her birthday I decided to make her some "fake" makeup. I am sure it is going to delight her. And make her Mommy happy too!

The first thing you do, is buy real makeup. I would suggest not spending a lot of money on it because you are going to be throwing it away. You just want the containers. In fact, if you have makeup containers at home, you do not even need to buy new makeup. I got this makeup from Dollar General. Each one cost me about $1.50.

Take a knife and scoop out the makeup. Throw it away. Then wash the containers in soapy hot water.

After the containers are clean, dry the containers.

And finally, the pure genius part...use real fingernail polish and pour it into each little compartment.


Sit the tray aside and let it dry. I suggest putting it up high so little fingers can not find it. Once it is dry, you have containers of fake makeup that look real. Maybe they won't appease an older child but they are great for those younger ones who want to practice everything Mommy does. Only without the mess!

The finished product:


It makes The Short Chic happy! She carries hers around everywhere we go!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Remember...

I remember being early for work that day. It stands out because I am normally late for work.

I remember the employee who called me and told me he was running late because he was watching the news about a plane crash in New York City.


I remember gathering around a TV at work watching the news coverage. There was no cable. We tried to get the best picture we could through air waves.

I remember the moment when I realized the totality of what I was seeing. It was not just a plane crash. It was a deliberate action. And the plane that was hijacked was full of Americans. I remember watching the towers fall.

I remember I was living with my Uncle Dean and my Aunt June. They kept calling me and begging me to come home from work.

I remember watching as the federal employees who worked across the street from us state employees were released and sent home. I remember hours later, the city forced us home when they shut water off to the downtown area.

I remember how small and innocent The Boy was back then. He is half grown now.


I remember how quiet the sky was that evening. And for the week afterwards.

I remember not wanting to watch another minute of the horror on my television but I could not move. I could not turn it off. All the stories of acts of heroism that day. All the lives lost. All the devastation. No, there was no way I was going to be able to stop watching.

I remember it all being incomprehensible.

I remember being scared. Unsafe. Vulnerable.

I remember feeling sad. For days. Weeks. Months.

I can not believe it has been ten years. That does not seem possible. I do not think there was been a day or week or month that we have not remembered. It altered our way of life. It made us regular citizens victims and targets of evil and hate.

My God be with each of us tomorrow. I pray for peace.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Perfect Fall Festival

I love fall.

I love fall festivals!

One of my favorite fall festivals is the Chatauqua in my birthplace, Chillicothe, MO. Today, I drove the hour and fifteen minutes northeast to attend the festival with two of my gal pals. I think The Lord gave me a small gift, The Short Chic decided she did not want to leave her Daddy's side all day today so she stayed home. I had a Mommy-free day!

Why do I love fall festivals. I love crafts. I love seeing new things. Running into old friends. And trying out some new foods!

I ran into this lovely lady. When I was 14 years old I was a candy-stripper at our local hospital. She worked at the hospital in the front office. She taught me to answer the phones, how to file, and many more office tasks. She is such a wonderful lady with a great heart. It did my soul good to see her today!



I found new garden art. How cool are these recycled glass decorations. They had so many variations, it was really hard to select just one. I ended up buying the one on the bottom, it is six pieces of glass and will look great in a patch of flowers next summer.
This is the really cute pear that sits on top of my new garden art. It is a pale pink/peachy color. My husband wants to know if this piece has any functional use. I told him No, but it isn't it interesting!

 I learned a lot about wool. The photo above is of a woman who had spent four hours making this Llama wool hat. She told us she was no where near done. She was using soap to help clean it and help form it. I wish I could remember the specific word she used to describe what she was doing. Oh, yeah, and I learned that Llama's wool is much softer than lamb.

 This lovely lady explained how she was spinning Llama wool to make yarn to knit and sew with. She also thought Llama wool was much softer and less scratchier than lamb wool. She had a lovely spinning wheel and spent a great deal of time explaining how it worked to us.  Melissa from Living on Gods Grace went with me. She was pretty excited to see that Rapunzel is alive and well.
 We also spent some time watching this lady work on her pottery wheel. I have never done pottery and think I might put it on my bucket list. I so enjoyed watching her.

There was a man there teaching us how to tie brooms. Can you just imagine how many generations have tied their own brooms?

 Oh and food! We had some yummy food today. Walking taco's are a must these days. We also ate cake truffles. Homemade Root Beer.
 And does anyone know what these are?   They might be one of the biggest festival foods around.  We watched a family cook 'em up hot. Yep, pork rinds. Who knew they came like this.  I was raised in the country and had never seen them in this form.
 This is one cup of pork rinds cooking in a bunch of hot oil.
After they cook, he drains them, dumps them into the big blue plastic container. His wife then takes them and adds seasonings to them. My Momma purchased bbq flavored.  Is there honestly anything better than cooked pig fat?

I also enjoyed seeing and spending time with these two gals today. We went to high school together.  It has been a while since we last saw each other.

 I bought the Short Chic a new headband. Orange and Green are her favorite colors. How perfect was this find?!! I only hope she will now keep it on her head!
The other cool thing I purchased today is this piece of tin. It comes from an old church. It is very pretty! I am looking forward to putting it in my house.

The only other exciting thing that happened to us gals today...we got caught in a rain storm. As we started to leave the park today, it started sprinkling on us. By the time we got a block away it was a complete downpour! Soaked! That is the best word to describe us gals by the time we got back to my car. Absolutely soaked!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Major Milestone!

Today was a big day in our household. My Short Chic started preschool.

She woke me this morning around 7:30 a.m. when she ran into my bedroom crying.

(Before I go on, I feel the need to provide you with a small amount of background information so you can see how relevant the 7:30 a.m. is to me.   I am the mom who lets their child sleep with them. Sleep is very important to me and I would just rather have her comfy in my bed, safe, than get up in the middle of the night. Easy habit to get into...bad habit to break. I decided over my mini-vacation that I would break her and have her sleep in her own bed. Recognizing that ME getting up and taking her back to her bed when she climbs into mine is the KEY. So last night, she came crawling into bed with me at 1:00. I got up, carried her back to bed and thought I would lay down with her until she went back to sleep. Well, I woke up with a start when I realized I was the only person in her bed. She had crawled out and was back in MY bed. So, I drug her back to her bed. Waited till she fell asleep...AGAIN, and went back to my bed. The time: 5:45 a.m. I had been messing with this Short Chic and her bed since 1:00 a.m.

So, at 7:30 when she comes crying into my bedroom I am neither sympathetic or empathetic. I am tired. Cranky. And Sleepy!

It takes a few minutes to turn my Mommy on, but I do and find out she is crying because she is scared to start preschool. She is scared because she thinks the other kids may not like her. Or they will think she is a baby.

All during her bath, I reassure her no one is going to think she is a baby because all the kids will be her age. During breakfast, I tell her a story about a little girl who started preschool who was very scared to leave her Mommy. But her Mommy told her that while it was scary to do new things, it was also exciting because she would make new friends and learn new things.  And when the little girl got to preschool and saw another little girl crying because she was so scared, she was able to comfort the scared girl and made a really good friend.

The Short Chic ate up the story and was so excited to go to preschool because she wanted to make friends with a new little girl. She hoped her name would be Jasmine (who is her favorite Disney Princess)!


At home, before going to preschool.

Each preschooler was allowed to pick out their tote bag at Meet the Teacher night. No surprise The Short Chic picked Orange, her favorite color. I love how it is almost as big as she is! She has to take it to school every day.


We got to preschool and no more tears where shed. She walked in, found her cubicle, hung up her tote bag and immediately started looking for her seat. She kinda forgot I was even there.

Beside her cubicle. 


With her teachers. Notice I am left way behind!
Each preschooler was suppose to find their initial at a desk and color it. The Short Chic was given an escort, but I can tell you all, she already knew what initial was hers.

She was seated with two other little girls and one little boy. The little boy was very scared and when his Grandma left he began to cry. I really thought, "oh no! She is going to start crying!" But she did not.  That is when she told me she was fine and I could leave.  Big gulp to push down the emotions in my own throat!

One the way out of the classroom, I took a moment to look around the room. The teachers had done a great job getting ready for the students.  I did well. My own tears did not crop up till I was safely in my car, driving to work, with the radio up loudly.



  I have no idea how the day went or what she did. She is not the best reporter. I know she had banana's and animal crackers for snack. I know she made a friend, but she does not remember her new friend's name. I know she learned one rule...You do not push. It is rude. And I know she "learned" to play house in the house area.

And so, we reached a new milestone today. We have transitioned into formal learning. And we all survived!