Sunday, February 28, 2010

An amazing letter.

Read this and be changed as a parent.

This wise mama put into words a most amazing letter to her sweet children.

And all I can say is my sentiments exactly.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A little snicker.

You know how my son is going to his first soccer practice today?

Well, on the way home from preschool, I was asking him if he was excited.

"Do you remember what we're going to tonight?"

"Soccer pwactice! I can't wait!"

"Do you remember what your new team's name is?"



Told ya' he thought the Cheetas had something to do with Cheetos, and of course, that got confused into the Fritos.

Yep, I think we'll be practicing our new team name all the way to practice tonight...

Random. And some more random.

You know you've missed it.

The random, that is.

So here's a bunch for you.


I am officially a soccer mom today.


I'm hoping that the new minivan that comes with this title magically appears in my mailbox. Or something like that.

Not really.

I'm just a soccer mom with a 4Runner, but it still works, even if it's not a minivan.

My kid has been in soccer since age two, but he's been only in little classes. Today, my friends, he is on a TEAM!

They have a team name and everything -- the Cheetah's.

Pretty much all my kid thinks about cheetahs is that they must all eat cheetos and wear big black sunglasses.

Here's hoping he learns to dribble the ball towards the correct goal. Ha.

Make us proud, baby, make us proud.


I like alfalfa sprouts on my sandwiches.


I read somewhere in BlogLand today the best boy cat name ever. Next to Harry, I mean.



Heck yeah, now I want a cat named Ned.

How awesome is that?


My son was being super sweet and stroking my face the other day as we were lounging on the couch. He'd been telling me how much he loves me and thanking me for taking care of him (this was when he was feeling quite a bit under the weather). Then he looked at my forehead and said,

"What those stwipes on you forehead, Mama? Who give you those?"

Awesome. Nothing like a kid to point out your flaws and imperfections. And wrinkles. When did I get old enough to start having someone point out my wrinkles?!

I didn't miss a beat:

"You and Papa." ;)


I know God loves me because last week I was at the grocery store and in the freezer case, there were several half gallons of...

{cue choir of angels and heavenly light beaming down}

...BlueBell peppermint ice cream.

Don't worry, my friends, I showed some restraint.

I only brought home two.


Here's a nice little random video for ya', from my favorite movie of all time.

Saw the movie.
(about a bazillion times)

Took the tour.
(dragged my mom across Oregon to see the film sites)

Bought the t-shirt.
(and hooded sweatshirt of the 20th anniversary)


And with that, the random cup is officially empty. Until next time...

PTQB February block #3

valerie's block
Originally uploaded by Jacquie G
Jacquie's got quite the eye! Don't you just love this one? The best part is what she calls it -- the "underwater sister's portrait gallery". Thanks, Jacquie!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Need me some tunes.

Listening to this today makes me happy.

I am a huge Sondre Lerche fan, ever since I discovered his music via the movie, "Dan in Real Life". (Love the movie as well.) I know I've already blogged about him before, but I just can't stop loving his music. I own most of his albums, and this latest album ("Heartbeat Radio") is yet another favorite. I popped this CD in the car this morning after not listening to it in a few months, and it was just the ticket to start my day off right. Such easy music to listen to, perfectly appropriate for everyday living.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Be mine.

So Valentine's Day was this past Sunday. Did ya' know that? ;)

Nope, I didn't forget.

But since we were on day #5 of our houseguests, well, it might have just taken a backseat, other than the occasional, "Oh! Happy Valentine's Day!".

Last week, I made a last-minute decision to make Valentines for my boy to pass out at school. It would have been a heck of a lot easier to just let him pass out the drugstore variety, but I figured this might be one of my last times that he is young enough (and impressionable enough) to let me make something for him. When I saw this tutorial, well, I was smitten. Tissue cozies during the height of virus season? Perfecto. I figured they'd all be getting plenty of candy, so even if the kids weren't all that impressed, maybe it would at least make the parents smile. We made rocketship ones for the boys and lips for the girls (and teachers).

And with our germy little household this week, I'd say these were made just in time.

PTQB February block #2

block for valerie
Originally uploaded by katiejeanbags
Gorgeousness from Katie! Told ya' -- this quilt is gonna cause some major quilt envy. I've got some talented friends!

PTQB February block #1

My first block from Sarah! Cute, huh?

Pieced Together Quilting Bee - Round Two

Our online quilting bee has moved into it's second round (read: year) of swapping. I knew it would be a good opportunity to actually use up fabrics from my stash instead of spending money on more fabric that I am lusting after, so I jumped at the chance to snag the first month. After some searching online, I found the perfect inspiration for my fabric in this quilt by Natasha :

(photos from Natasha's blog)

Seriously?! Go check out her website. Natasha is one talented quilter! She also has her own Flickr group full of photos inspired by her work. Oh, to be that talented that other people made things inspired by your own creations!

I fell in love with her quilt, and I knew it would be perfect for the fabric I was sending out. I forgot to take a picture of the fabric I chose, but when I post the pictures of the quilt blocks that have been made so far, you'll see. I'd been hoarding my Heather Ross Mendocino fabrics -- the mermaids and octopi and squid and seahorses, etc., in the aqua, brown and orange colorway, so it was time to cut into them, painful as it was.

Be on the lookout for more posts with the quilt blocks that have been made so far for me. I circle my mailbox daily like a vulture, just waiting for more packages to arrive with mermaid goodness!

Are your hearts fonder of me yet?

(You know, since I've been a bit absent and all.)

We had out of town houseguests for six days.

Yep, I said six days.



If that doesn't wear you out, I don't know what will.

Six days of houseguests when you are used to a super-quiet little household of three all the time is quite the shock to the system.

But we had fun.

We did a special activity every day.

Thursday we went bowling.

How stinkin' cute are these little buddies? Lifelong friends, no matter the miles that may separate them.

My man and his cute buns. One day he will thank me for posting this picture because we all know a day will come when our buns will no longer be as cute. My man was the big winner -- he's got a crazy wicked arm when it comes to bowling.

Love those bowling shoes, don't you? We were missing one small pair of a young boy who may have decided he was done participating.

Friday we took the young'ns to a paint-your-own pottery place.

Check out the rockin' dinosaur my little artist (that's "ar-teeeeest") painted.

And then we went to the park because the crazy Minne-SOH-tans thought that 55 degrees in February was a downright heatwave. Yes, they were also equally impressed with the snow flurries we got just a mere two days later. Gotta love Oklahoma weather.

Saturday we went to the local Bass Pro Shop to wander around (Minne-SOH-tans love that place). My husband plugged all of the machines with quarters so we could all enjoy some friendly competition at the little shooting range game in there. I maxed out at a score of 130 (pretty low, yipes), but I did manage to shoot the turkey and the badger several times. Then we all ventured out to Safari Sanctuary, a local animal sanctuary that rescues exotic animals (most of which were probably purchased on the black market) to see the tigers and lions and the LIGER. (Shout out to my favorite feline, Rocky.) Napoleon Dynamite would be proud.

Keep in mind, there was no zoom lens on my camera. It is up close and very personal at this place. We love it.

I really wasn't kidding about the liger (dad was a lion, mom was a tiger). He is our favorite attraction. I wish I could have gotten a picture of him standing so you could see how huge he is. And, just in case you were wondering, you can buy bags of frozen raw chicken to feed to the cats using these poles, my husband's favorite part.

Again, no zoom lens. There was only about three or four feet between him and I (and maybe a couple rows of chain link fencing).

I can't remember what this little guy was, but when he would walk he was super slinky.

Besides the big cats, there is also a whole other side to this place with tons of other animals -- a zebra, pigs, goats, donkeys, llamas, monkeys, wolves, a porcupine, a prairie dog, a turkey, lots of geese, and then a house with snakes and birds and lemurs. You're able to pet a lot of the animals if you want. We also lucked out and were walking by right when they were getting ready to take a baby kangaroo on a Valentine visit, so we got to pet him as well. He was super soft, like a mink coat.

This blonde (not albino) raccoon was my other favorite.

But these little newborn boogers were not my favorite. Apparently we got there just after the boa constrictor mama gave birth. To a whole lotta babies. And no, I'm not responsible if you have nightmares after reading this post.

My husband got a little up close and personal with a wolf, which was pretty much against the rules, but the wolf had gotten out between the two lines of chain link fencing so he was closer than he would have normally been to us. Plus, he really took quite a liking to my husband, who was thrilled to no end to get to pet a wolf. I normally refer to my husband as "Saint Francis of Assissi" at our house, patron saint of the animals, since my husband is a crazy animal lover.

Last, but not least, we got to go in the room with these little guys (and a humongo iguana) and feed them fruit snacks. They were so much fun!

Later that evening my husband and I hurried downtown for an intimate wedding of one of our closest friends, where I played a random song or two on the piano and might have even snuck in a John Denver song. A wedding is not complete without John Denver. Haha, hopefully my friend agrees.

Sunday afternoon the boys went to Dave 'n Busters while we gals got gussied up and went to the ballet -- Sleeping Beauty. It was both of those things -- beautiful and made me quite sleepy. It was the first ballet for both Minne-SOH-ta girls (mom and daughter alike), so that was fun.

Monday we took the crazies to our local bounce place -- Bounce U. It was my boy's first time to darken their door, and let me just say, it was quite the hit. Shout out to Annie, who was also there with her kids -- nothing like running into your blog friends in real life! An hour and a half of non-stop bouncing was just what the doctor ordered for all three kids. They were all plumb wore out, as my grandma used to say. And we capped off their stay with a special dinner that night at a local favorite -- White River Fish Market. (Nothin' like a nationally known fish restaurant smack dab in the middle of landlocked Oklahoma!) I am not a fishy person, but I must admit, the food was great, and our Minne-SOH-tan friends loved it.

I'm proud. I had coupons for pretty much every single activity, so nothing cost more than half of what it was supposed to, or it didn't cost at all, like the ballet, since I get comp tickets. We also didn't even pay a single cent for any of the three kids at Bounce U. The coupon was supposed to be a B1G1, but I think the girls running it were so swamped they didn't care. Awesome.

My sweet boy quietly cried himself to sleep Monday night, knowing that it was his last night with his buddies. Bless his sweet little heart.

We all had a good time. Even though it's been five, almost six years, since we left Minne-SOH-ta, we still miss our friends dearly.

But we're all wiped out.

Even the felines.

And I am utterly exhausted.

Ex. haus. ted.

I think that's Latin for "needs a vacation". And a pedicure.

But there is no rest for the weary, folks.

It is my week off from ballet this week, but lo and behold, my sweet little boy that never ever ever gets sick, is sick.

Six days of all play will do that to ya'. So no school for him yesterday or today (we'll see about tomorrow), which means no catching up time yet for this exhausted mama. Thank goodness I've been popping the Airborne for the last week or so.

What about you? Been up to anything fun?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Whoo, it's hot in the kitchen!

I know I've been M.I.A. this past week, but I most certainly have not been M.I.A. from my kitchen.

This homegirl has been cooking her little heart out over the past week. I cannot tell you how happy I am that I have finally embraced my inner domestic goddess and gotten to where I actually like cooking. What a battle it has been over the past few years between myself and my kitchen. It used to be that the thought of having to make dinner was pretty much the last thing on my list of fun things to do. I was very much intimidated by having to not only think of something to make, but also go to the grocery store to buy the ingredients (which I still don't like very much), and actually take the time out of my day to prepare the dinner. (I know, I know, insert a very resounding wahwahwah from Laura Ingalls Wilder or your other pioneer superwoman of choice.)

I have finally gotten into my groove and taken the time most every Sunday to sit down in the afternoon and make a list of at least 3 or 4 meals I'd like to make that week. (I remember my mom pretty much cooked 5 nights a week and Sunday lunch, but I'm not quite up to that speed yet.) Then I make up the grocery list so that Monday morning, the boy and I can head to our favorite neighborhood Walmart grocery store to buy the stuff. So far, the new groove is working. Of course, this plan of attack would not work so well if it wasn't for this item, purchased back in 2008 from etsy seller Jot It Down:

I think I paid $6 for this notepad, and let me just tell you, I luuuurve it. It is perforated down the middle, so you can rip the shopping list off, stick it in your purse to take with you to the sto' (duh), and then you can clip the weekly menu list up on the fridge for future reference.

One of the other magic items that makes my newfound love of cooking so much easier is this:

my recipe notebook. It's still a bit haphazard and unorganized, but at least you can get the gist of it. I need to go through and add dividers to organize it like a cookbook so things will be easier to find in it, but since I use it often, I pretty much know where everything is anyway. I basically bought a cheapo 3-ring binder and a package of clear sleeves at the Walmart. Since I am a magazine connoisseur (magazine whore just didn't have the same ring to it, even if it was a truly great description), I just cut (er, rip) out the recipes from my favorite magazines and put them in a sleeve. Most of the recipes come from Southern Living, Midwest Living, Martha Stewart Living, or Country Living magazines. (Hmmm, with all of those "living" magazines, I should have a better grasp on this domesticity thing, don't you think?) I do the same thing with great recipes I find online -- print them out and stick 'em in a sleeve. Then when I am cooking, I take the sleeve out of the binder, and if something splatters on the recipe, it wipes right off.

Because of the fact that most of my favorite recipes come from online or out of magazines, I have gotten rid of most of my cookbooks, except, of course, for my two signed copies from Ree and Serena, and a small assortment of booklets and such I've collected from churches, friends, family, etc.

What about you? Where are your favorite recipes from? Do you have a great way of organizing them?

And since I shouldn't have a kitchen post without a recipe, here is what's on my stove this very minute:

Angela's Stovetop Chicken (from Southern Living magazine, January 2009)

"Test Kitchens Professional Angela Sellers prefers to cook her chicken on the stovetop. Seared to a golden brown, then simmered with a small amount of liquid in a Dutch oven, the meat is extra juicy and fork-tender, making it perfect for chicken salad, pot pies, and dumplings -- plus you ge tthe added bonus of a delicious broth for soup."

Makes 4 servings; Prep: 10 min.; Cook: 1 hour, 5 min.

1 (4- to 5-lb.) whole chicken
1&1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine

1. If applicable, remove neck and giblets from chicken, and reserve for another use. Sprinkle chicken with salt, garlic powder, and pepper.
2. Melt butter with oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add chicken, and cook, breast side down, 5 minutes or until golden brown. Turn chicken, breast side up, and reduce heat to medium-low. Add 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup wine to Dutch oven. Cover and cook 1 hour or until a meat thermometer inserted in thigh registers 180 degrees.

*I didn't measure out my dry ingredients, but instead just liberally sprinkled them on. That's how I roll. And I poured in closer to 1/2 cup of wine, because the less wine in the bottle I waste, the better, since I'm not a huge wine drinker.

And for your listening pleasure, one of my favorite "kitchen" songs...