Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ohhh scary

OK, So I downloaded a new APP for my phone that takes cool pictures.

I snapped these on Halloween night. My BFF did the make up on the kids and wow...it's pretty amazing.

Leelee's Queen of Hearts suddenly looked Very Tim Burton. And let's face it...Danger Girl is the epitome of the walking dead.





Wednesday, October 27, 2010

costumes!

Confession: I've spent the better part of this week sewing Halloween Costumes. Three days. Two costumes.

I better score mega cool mom points for this.

So many of the costumes in the store just don't hold up well. For most families, this isn't a big deal. The kids wear the costume one night, maybe a few more times, but they don't get regular use. The costumes are relatively disposable.

That's not the case for our family.

We have a huge storage box full of costumes. I love costumes. I particularly enjoy seeing my kids play dress up. Even Leelee plays dress up still. She doesn't call it dress up. She calls it Make Overs and puts her sisters in costume and does their make up. Then they put on a fashion show. It's still dress up.

Our costumes need to last. They are played with as much, if not more, than the regular toys.

And so, I'm pretty much forced to make their costumes each Halloween. They practically have to twist my arm to get me to do it (ha ha). Actually, I love to sew costumes more than anything else, except maybe aprons. I love the fantasy. The kids faces light up. They get to play like little kids! What's not to love about that?

This year, I had three children that wanted to be zombies, or variations on the undead. Tonight was out Trunk n Treat at church. The Boy went as a survivor of the zombie apocalypse. Like most years, he was the only one that "got" his costume. I suggested he wear a cardboard box painted to look like Corn Pops and carry a knife...you know, be a CEREAL KILLER. As D says, "gee, I wonder where The Boy gets it from" LOL

Little B was your garden variety zombie. Quite literally. A zombie from Plants vs Zombies.



Danger Girl wanted to be a zombie ninja, but at the last minute, I convinced her to be the Bride of Frankenstein. AND...I got her in a dress! WOOT! Her hair was MUCH bigger than this when we left the house, but it rained...




I saved the best for last.

First up, Miss Fabulista as Cinderella. This is a costume I made. It took me about two hours and cost...$7!





And my crowning achievement (or what really took up all my time)...Leelee as the Queen of Hearts. This costume took forever to complete and a large amount of fabric. I made some mistakes (like forgetting a crucial bodice adjustment) and had to pin the bodice up on her shoulders. But it looked fabulous on her and I'm pretty much the only one who notices the mistakes.




And just because I love these last two pictures. They really show the fun she has in the get up...


Monday, October 25, 2010

menu plan monday--oct 25

This month has just flown by. Tomorrow, The Terrorist official graduates from the terrible 3s to the Fabulous 4s. I am sure she's going to be totally fabulous from here on out. No one tell me any different! I'm going to live with my delusion until it becomes a reality.

She wanted pizza for her birthday dinner. We made pizza Saturday night and had cupcakes. She was quite happy. All she wanted for her birthday was a purple pony. Purple ponies were in short supply everywhere except the dollar store. The Fabulista was thrilled with the purple pony from the dollar store.

This week is a busy one (ok, what week isn't busy for us?) with the church trunk n treat, school meetings, you know...all the usual stuff. Sorry there aren't any links this week. Much of the menu is coming from the November issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray.

Menu

Sunday: Pot Roast
Monday: Enchiladas
Tuesday: lemon chicken with biscuit topping
Wednesday: Chili cookoff at the church
Thursday: pork scallops with apples and sweet potatoes
Friday: pancakes
Saturday: Pizza

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sleep and Soda

Aside from the back to school cleaning challenge I've been failing miserably at, I'm also not getting enough sleep.

Not getting enough sleep really wears you down.

I think about my toddlers what they are like when they don't get enough sleep. How silly of me to think I was any different!

I've been such a bad mom because I've been tired. Plain and simple. No patience. No energy. No motivation.

My solution? Drinking caffeine sodas, of course!

Initially, I started drinking the sodas because I read it helped those with ADD to focus. I found I had more energy and was getting a quite a bit done. I thought it was a total win.

Then the sleeping stopped. I would be up doing things around the house til midnight, then lie in bed til 2 a.m. trying to sleep. The little ones are up by 7 and we are out the door by 730. I'd be dragging by noon and in need of a pick me up. Really, someone my age should not be existing on basically 5 hours of sleep! Ok, NO ONE can possibly be living a healthy life on just five hours of sleep.

So, I'd drink another soda and find myself up til the wee hours. It was a vicious cycle.

Three weeks ago, I made a commitment to myself to go to bed earlier. I was a better mom, but there were times when I found myself hitting Sonic for a 50 cent Dr. Pepper. I realized I was really throwing away money and my well being. It had to stop.

I went cold turkey off the soda. I relapsed. I was up til 3 a.m. I was a bear. I was a bad mom. I was miserable. My kids were miserable.

No more caffeine sodas. No more staying up til midnight. Bed at a reasonable hour is a good expectation for everyone in the family! I guess just because I'm mom doesn't mean I'm above the rules.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

I'm on a total cupcake kick. I got the Martha Stewart Cupcakes book recently and was totally hooked. If you love to bake, this is a must have for your cookbook collection. I judge a cookbook by how many recipes I actually use out of it. So far, every recipe has turned out wonderfully. I keep going back to it.

Cupcakes are generally great because they are small and there's really no guessing on the portion size.

The book also has some great recipes for icings. I'm not big on icing or frosting on cakes. I like a nice glaze, but for me...the best part is the cake. The less sugary frosting, the more cake I get to eat. The exception being Costco Cakes: white cake, cream cheese icing, with cheesecake filling...and it has to be cold.

There is a great blog featuring the Martha Stewart Cupcakes. This month, the group made Snickerdoodle Cupcakes.

My little Fabulista (formerly The Terrorist, but she's turning 4 and isn't so terrorizing anymore), has started referring to herself as Little Chef and me as Big Chef. She wanted to help me bake cupcakes. How could I say no to this face?




She loved helping me scrape down the sides as we mixed. I try to give her all sorts of jobs that are kid friendly but can't mess up the finished product. Also important to remember to have things pre-measured so you don't end up with too much...say salt...or mixing up the amount of baking soda vs baking powder...or forget how much flour you've added already. Not that any of that has happened to me (recently)!




Of course one of the best parts about baking with mom...Eating the beaters.



As I said before, I'm not a big frosting person. Leelee made cupcakes a few days before. We were out of frosting and she made the fluffy vanilla frosting from Martha's book. This keeps pretty well in the fridge and after a few days, is the same consistency as frosting in a can. According to Martha, one batch of frosting is enough for one batch of her cupcakes. For our family, it's enough for 3 batches. We just reused that frosting for this recipe. Even tho it wasn't the light and fluffy variety that is suggested for the snickerdoodle cupcakes, it was still delicious!




Martha Stewart's Snickerdoodle Cupcakes


Makes 28

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • Seven-Minute Frosting

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.
  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
  4. To finish, combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (Ateco No. 809 or Wilton No. 1A), pipe frosting on each cupcake: Hold bag over cupcake with tip just above top, and squeeze to create a dome of frosting, then release pressure and pull up to form a peak. Using a small, fine sieve, dust peaks with cinnamon-sugar. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.



Menu Plan Monday- Oct 11

A whole week went by with very little chance to blog. Don't worry. D did something stupid (love ya, honey!) and I will blog about it once he's not so sensitive about it. The drugs are starting to wear off, so he's a wee bit cranky.

This is fair week, but because of life happenings, we're not doing the fair this year. It's a good thing because this is a crazy week without adding going to the fair pretty much every day in to the mix.

The kids are staging a fair of their very own in the backyard. They have plans to wake up at 630 a.m. to set the whole thing up. If any of them happen to wake me up in the process...well, it won't be pretty.


Last week we had some delicious food. D was disappointed when he came home from work Friday and discovered we weren't having pizza. "But it's Friday. We always have pizza on Friday!" So, pizza is making its return to Friday night. We ended up having pizza Saturday night. I changed it up a bit and made a few deep dish pizzas instead of three larges. We had BBQ with banana peppers and a margarita pizza (yum!)

The Maple Walnut Chicken was so bad, D opened up a can of soup...and he hates soup. Only one of the kids liked it. It was a universal YUK, which doesn't happen very much around here.


Sweet Mustard Beef Roast
was definitely the highlight. It was absolutely delicious!

MENU

Sun- Buttermilk Fried Chicken (from the plaid BH&G cookbook...CLASSIC!), squash w/ carmelized onion and garlic, fresh veggies
Monday: Ham and potatoes
Tuesday- TBD
Wednesday-- Slow Roasted Pork with cabbage, carrots and carroway
Thursday --Deep Dish Mexican Meatza Pizza
(this is a family favorite)
Friday--Pizza
Saturday--Breakfast

Monday, October 4, 2010

Menu Plan Monday--Oct 4

Enough about who's saying what around here! It's time to focus on what we're eating.

I finally got around to making the Mango BBQ Pulled Pork. It was amazing. Leelee loved it and she hates pretty much all "BBQ." What she really hates are tomato based sauces other than pasta sauce. This was a vinegar based sauce.

The tostada goop was made with major variations. I didn't have beans, so I substituted rice and corn. I also forgot to put it in the crockpot, so I poached the chicken instead. It was a HUGE hit. Definitely going to make it again.

MENU OCT 4

Sunday--Pulled Pork
Monday--CheeseBurger Mac n Cheese
Tuesday-- Chicken Broccoli Casserole
Wednesday-Sweet Mustard Beef Roast
Thursday-Maple Walnut Chicken w/ apple cheddar rice
Friday-Spaghetti
Saturday-Breakfast

Speech Therapy

This week is starting out quite well. It finally feels like fall here in central Alabama. I actually had to put on long pants and socks. Today, I'm even wearing a sweater! The high today is in the mid 70s. It's downright chilly!

It's taken me 6 years, but I can finally wrap my head around mid 70s being soup weather. Of course, in about two months when it's still in the mid 70s and I'm hanging up Christmas lights, we'll talk about how well I'm adjusting to the southern climate.

It was a typical Monday for me. Running late. Can't find my car keys. The kids missed the bus. On the way to taking Little B and Danger Girl to school, I remembered I had a meeting at Little B's school at 945. Dropped Danger Girl off at her school, ran my errands, did the preschool drop off, ran home, showered, then took Little B to school just in time for the meeting.

Little B is going back in to speech therapy. He has problems with his Rs. Did you know there are 21 variations of the letter R? Because of all the different variations in how R is used in English, when the R sound is off, it effects the way the child's entire speech sounds. Of those 21 variations, Little B can consistently make one of them...RL as in squirrel. He can sometimes say AIR as in FAIR. He failed to make all the remaining R variants. He'll attend speech twice a week, probably for the next two school years. Hopefully he won't be going off to middle school getting speech therapy.

This isn't a surprise to us. Little B started speech therapy at age 4 with a major articulation delay. D and I were pretty much the only people who could understand him and that was only about half the time. He caught up to what were considered "normal" delays in second grade and was dismissed from speech. I don't really understand how a kid who had to be taught how to make pretty much all sounds properly would suddenly figure out R on his own, but that's the way the school system works. Now that they consider him "broken" again, we can move forward with fixing it.

He's very excited about going back in to speech. He's been very self-conscious about his delays.

Danger Girl sounds just like Little B when she talks, but for right now, it's considered developmentally appropriate. I'm probably going to ask for an evaluation anyway, just in case I've become so accustomed to listening to her that I'm missing something. It can't hurt. I just have to remind the speech pathologist that she's an older first grader, rather than a young one! On paper, she should be in second. Pesky birthday a week before the cut-off.

Meanwhile Little Miss is finally starting to talk. She's lagging behind where the others (except for the Boy) were at this age. But she's making progress. She says important words like mommy and chocolate and cupcakes.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Six Words Friday: For the Record

For the Record

For the record, I am employed
I get paid in hugs, kisses
Dirty Laundry, Dirty Dishes, Dirty Floors
Don't get dirty or clean alone

Writing, Sewing, couponing, volunteering, tutoring, cleaning
Mom is a full-time job

Don't let people tell you differently

I write. I'm good at it.
I went to college for it.
Admit it, I've made you laugh
I have educated and informed you
That makes me a real writer
Plus, sometimes I actually make money

Sewing is an old school skill
Never thought I'd be a seamstress
Never thought my work was good
But it is. People buy it.
The proof is in the profit.

I wanted to be a writer
Now I sew more than write

I was never to be mom
I spent more time as mom
Than on any other job/hobby

Yet somewhere I am mocked, undervalued
Because I am not working/producing
As if 21 hours of labor
(that is total for 6 kids
go ahead hate me for it)
As if bringing 6 brilliant kids
into this world wasn't enough contribution

I am raising them to be:
Smart, Sensitive, hardworking, creative, brilliant, productive

I am taking my intelligence, skills
and teaching. Giving back. Giving forward.

Future generations will call me blessed
Because I have blessed my children
with my time. with my heart.

For the record: I am MOM