Monday, November 23, 2009

Cumin Popcorn & Other LIfe Lessons from the Prairie Princess

I promised early on to use this blog as a forum to educate and inform you, my readers, on the matters of life. Tonight I will do just that. May your lives be enriched by what you're about to read.

1) Never leave your boys' first wrestling tournament BEFORE medals are given out because you ASSUMED that they would not be receiving one since they only won one match each. And then thinking you're a fantastic mom because you spared them the disapointment of not having their name called during the awards ceremony and the whole pep talk you gave them on the way home about how proud you were of them and how with some more practice you KNOW they can win medals SOMEDAY. Umm yeah, turns out both boys placed 3rd in their brackets and received medals, which their coach gave them tonight at practice, since their horrible mother DRAGGED them away from the medals ceremony because she thought she was doing them a favor. Add it to the Worst Mother of the Year nomination.

2) Never turn your cell phone to SILENT and then hide it in a secret place. Wherever I hid it is a darn good hiding place because after hours, now days (or 1 day) of searching I still can't find it. Not sure how sympathetic Verizon is going to be given that I've threatened to lose it under the tires of my truck, on one of the 17 times I was in there exchanging it for one that actually worked. In the now 24 hours I've been without my friend, my phone, I've come to realize that I MUST have it in my life, I may die without it. But just know if you've tried to call or text me and are getting irritated with me for not responding it's not by choice. I'm still alive, but just barely since I'm without my cell phone.

3) NEVER EVER accidentally substitute cumin for cinnamon when making cinnamon popcorn. I had come across a recipe on for cinnamon popcorn that sounded delicious so I thought I'd make a batch for the family tonight. You know since we're not going to be eating hardly at all this week. (Yeah right.) The recipe says to put butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl to melt it in the microwave. I put the butter and the sugar in the bowl and then grabbed the brown bottle (not THAT kind of brown bottle although one would think given what happened next) out of my spice cupboard. I glanced at it, saw the Ground C on the front, and was satisfied that it was indeed the cinnamon. I poured 1 1/2 t. in with the butter and sugar and set it on 1 min to melt. As I stirred it, I thought it smelled a little weird but I thought it was the leftover supper in the crockpot down the counter from me. It wasn't until I had dumped it over some of the popcorn and grabbed a kernel to test, that I realized it was NOT in fact cinnamon and was actually THE WORST THING I'VE EVER TASTED (besides peas and tomatoes). Gag me. And then I cried big crocodile tears because at the seemingly young age of 31 I'm misreading labels like a 95 year old. Bring on the bifocals and the cataract surgery. On the bright side, when I made the cinnamon popcorn and actually used CINNAMON it was delicous and made the house smell wonderful and not like a taco joint. Weird.

4) When printing the design for your Black Friday Discount Divas shirt read the directions for the transfer paper carefully and only print it reversed if the instructions tell you to do so. First of all, YES I'm one of those Black Friday shoppers, Black Friday IS my favorite day of the year. And secondly, YES we have shirts and they are awesome. Or will be once I get the transfers printed correctly so you don't have to stand in a mirror to tell what they say. Oops. I'll post a picture of the finished Discount Diva shirt AFTER Black Friday, you know for copyright reasons and such. Or maybe you'll see them on the 6 o'clock news on Friday when they interview us Discount Divas about our record breaking 15 hour shopping day or the deals we've gotten or our too cool shirts that no one else thought of.

There are lots more life lessons I could teach you my dears, but we'll take it slow. I've given you a lot to think about. Take your time, digest it, share it with a friend, learn from it, put it to use. Don't make the same mistakes I have. And whatever you do, keep your sugar FAR, FAR away from the cumin.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And the Award Goes To.....

for Worst Mother of the Year....yours truly!!! I've pretty much had this award in the bag since motherhood began for me but this week I sealed the deal. Rewind to Monday night. I'd been sick all weekend and really felt like death by the time I got home from work on Monday night. I dread Monday nights anyway because it's my chauffeur mom night. Here's how a typical Monday goes 'round here: homework, quick dinner, chores, drive Dakota to piano lessons, sit in driveway of piano lessons because it's 20 minutes from home, after she's done with piano drive the boys to wrestling practice at the school, go home try to be productive for the hour and a half they are at practice but with travel time it's more like an hour, go pick them up at the school, come home, fall on to couch exhausted. Sounds thrilling right? GI Joe helps out when he can but often times he has appointments and top secret military stuff (not really). This Monday night however he called to tell me he'd be able to pick up the boys from wrestling so once I got home after dropping them off I could get into my PJ's, drink some cold medicine, and curl up on the couch with a blanket and the DVR remote. I was ecstatic. we were getting ready to leave for piano lessons Dakota casually mentioned that she had a concert tonight. Ummm...WHAT?!? I hadn't seen any notes about this or mention of it in the newsletter. Upon further investigation I discovered I had written it on the calendar at the beginning of the school year but that was AGES ago...who looks at the calendar every day anyway? Geesh. For a split second I thought about telling her too bad she was just gonna have to miss it because Mama was cashing in a sick day, but then I came to my senses and realized that that would be bad even for the Worst Mother of the Year. So instead we scrambled around trying to prepare for the concert. Dakota informed me that she was supposed to wear dark jeans and a white shirt. Easy enough. Too bad when we showed up all the other kids were suspiciously wearing BLACK dress pants and white shirts so she looked slightly out of place but whatever, she didn't care and it was just further evidence of my pending award (WMofTY). Then she informed me that she had a solo! Seriously, how does a girl who tells us everything we never wanted to know about EVERYTHING from dinosaurs to the book she read to the game she played at recess FORGET to mention that a) she had a concert and b) she had a solo? Grrrrrrr....
I downed some good cold medicine and then set about getting her to piano lessons, the boys to wrestling and then Dakota to her concert. The real award winner of the night though was Dakota. Check out her stellar performance. We'll call this "Expressions by Dakota." Please enjoy the show.

The "Hi Mom, thanks for actually suckin' it up and bringing me to my concert!" expression

"The Yawn" -Between you and me I felt the same way.

"Normally I could care less about my need for a manicure but my nails are so much more intriguing than this boooooring concert"

"Sigh.....I could've written a program better than this in my sleep, they don't even have all the constitutional facts right, darn political propaganda, wait Dad is that you?!?"

"Just shoot me"-again, I could TOTALLY relate
And the Emmy goes to....Dakota for her stirring performance of the State Song and her trend setting hairstyle, aptly named "headband too far back on the head, hair sticking out all over."
And THAT my friends was worth the price of admission.

Worst Mother of the Year Signing Off

Sunday, November 15, 2009

When I Said I Do


Today GI Joe and I are celebrating our 12 year anniversary. I know, how can someone that does not live in Arkansas or in medieval times be only 25 and have been married for 12 years? It happens, I'm proof. I'm also totally lying. Although we were young, we weren't THAT young and we were legal even without parental consent.
We've had an abundance of sentimental, nice, moving posts here lately and frankly I've had enough. So instead of gagging you with tales of how blissfully happy the past 12 years have been and how wonderful GI Joe is and how I'm such a great wife (ha ha) I'm gonna break it down for you. Let me tell you about the wedding day.
You know how I'm kinda over the top, have princess like tendencies, and am a bit of a drama queen? Yeah? Well, that's nothing new and a wedding did nothing to lessen these personality traits of mine.
My mom and I had been planning (scheming) for months, like before GI Joe had even proposed, to make sure every single detail was perfect. This may come as a shock to you but the colors were PINK w/ silver accents. The service time was set for 6pm, ideal for candlelight. We envisioned a Cinderellaesque wedding, and by we I mean my mom and I, once GI Joe realized he was marrying the wrong girl for a camo wedding in a tree stand out in the woods, he just wanted whatever made me happy. P.S. It was good for him to learn that lesson early on. He did have one disclaimer, that he would NOT wear any pink except for the flower. I worked with that.
After all the planning, plotting, dreaming, the day FINALLY came. The morning of the wedding is all a blur to me but I do remember riding in the car with my Dad and my sister Hilary on the way to the church to get ready, when Hilary accidentally spilled the beans about a slight snafu in the ceremony plans. I can always count on Hilary for such things. GI Joe's dad was supposed to sing a song as the mothers lit the unity candles and were seated. I had given him the background music far in advance of the day and had utmost faith that it would be sung beautifully WITH the lovely background music accompanying him. The big news that Hilary spilled was that he was NOT going to use the background music and was instead going to sing it acapella. I'm not proud of what happened next but I FREAKED OUT. I was sure that it was going to ruin the wedding and I was even more upset that the change had been made without consulting me. Once Dad was done scolding Hilary for letting the cat out of the bag, he very firmly told me to quit being a drama queen, that the lack of background music was not going to ruin the wedding, and that's how it was going to be so get over it. Thanks Dad for going so easy on me on my wedding day. (Sidenote: The acapella song turned out AOK because it allowed GI Joe's dad the flexibility of singing the line "A vow that will NOT be undone" 23 times instead of the 2 he would've been allowed with the background music. He also did some pointed head nods and such towards GI Joe while singing it causing the crowd to erupt in laughter. It may have helped Bridezilla loosen up a little too.)

We arrived at the church to get ready for the pictures that were to be taken pre ceremony. I had insisted that GI Joe, his groomsmen and ushers get there ridiculously early too, probably just to make sure they'd all actually show. I MAY or may not have gone a little Bridezilla when I received word that since they were already dressed and ready and pictures weren't for another 2 hours they were going to go down the street and grab some burgers. I absolutely forbid anyone from leaving the premises because I just knew that if 9 guys, including my groom went out for burgers, someone would get hit by a bus, choke on their burger, or some other tragic event that would prevent them from coming back in one piece for MY WEDDING. It's really a wonder that GI Joe didn't RUN AS FAST AS HE COULD FROM THE CONTROLLING, OVERDRAMATIC, DEMANDING, BRIDEZILLA HE WAS ABOUT TO MARRY. But instead he and his posse stuck around and endured the pangs of hunger just to appease me. Thanks boys, see I told you you wouldn't DIE from hunger!

We bucked tradition and opted to do all the pictures prior to the ceremony, mainly because we wanted to eat sooner. We had our "moment" when GI Joe saw me for the first time in all my bridal (non Bridezilla) glory and in that instant I knew that it didn't matter if the song was sung acapella or not, or if the groomsmen started fainting during the ceremony from hunger, or that the music didn't play right. All that mattered was that I got to spend the rest of my life with this incredibly handsome, nervous looking, (starving) guy in the scuffed cowboy boots who was looking at me with nothing but pure love and adoration. I'll never forget that look. Oh sorry about the sappy, it was just one of those moments worth reliving, now on with your regularly scheduled programming.
We survived the millions of pictures I had insisted upon and then went back into our respective hiding places until the ceremony was to start. My entourage (bridesmaids) and I had a prime location at the back of the church with a curtained window looking into the sanctuary. I remember sitting there peering out of that window, watching as the 365 guests filed in, thinking it was really happening. Oh and then I remember FREAKING OUT AGAIN because they weren't playing the right music. Crisis quickly averted when one of my bridesmaids quickly ran and told the sound guy to fix it ASAP before Bridezilla reappeared. I think by that time in the day they were all terrified and realized I was hanging on to sanity by a tattered thread. :)
I watched from my vantage point as GI Joe seated the grandparents and how proud of him they all looked, even my grandparents, he has that effect on people. Probably because they'd known me the longest and knew what he was about to get himself into! Then it was the mothers. I watched as my mom proudly gave him a big ol' kiss on the cheek before she took her seat. Then I watched as one by one my 6 bridesmaids (small wedding anyone?) made their way down the aisle. And then it was my turn. My dignified Dad refrained from RUNNING me down the aisle to throw me at GI Joe's feet although I'm sure he was tempted given the gray hair he'd earned from raising me. We made it down the aisle and Dad had to go from father of the bride to co-officiating the ceremony (ahh the perks of being a pastor's daughter and marrying a pastor's son) and forgot to give me a kiss before he gave me away. I'm still in therapy for that one, just kidding. It probably had something to do with me distracting him by continuously and frantically whispering to him that GI Joe's dad was doing things out of order and would he please get up there and get this wedding back on track before the whole thing was RUINED?!? (Sidenote: Everything was going exactly in order I just have control issues.) Dad made up for leaving me hanging at the altar when later in the ceremony when he read a poem to me that left no eye in the place dry.

During the Broadway musical, I mean ceremony, I had planned to sing a song to GI Joe. Approximately 14 times my (now) father in law handed me the microphone to sing and approximately 13 times I handed it back to him and whispered "NOT YET! It's not my turn," as our other wedding singers started to sing. Geesh you'd have thought he would've read the program and the 3 page outline/schedule my Dad distributed at the rehearsal the night before, he must've been too busy practicing for his ACAPELLA performance.

Speaking of my now father in law, not only did he keep trying to force me to take the microphone he also tried to catch me on fire. I'm gonna go ahead and hope that it was nerves and not a ploy to off me before I married his son. On the 14th time he handed me the microphone to sing, when it was actually time for me to sing, he also knocked over one of the candles next to the unity candle. Because I was leaning towards him to accept the microphone (finally) my veil was precariously close to the falling candle and it was millimeters away from lighting my veil and heavily sprayed hair on fire. Not on my wedding day!! In one fell swoop I grabbed the candle and set it back upright with one hand and in the other held the microphone and prepared to hit the first note of my song. I am such a multi tasker, in this case however, it was more a matter of survival.

The song ended and believe it or not I didn't forget the words or bawl my head off. It was surreal because while I sang to him, it was like GI Joe and I were the only ones in the room. To anyone who attended, my apologies if it sounded terrible, love is not only blind but deaf too, so neither GI Joe or I noticed.

As you may know I'm directionally challenged. Left, right, east, west, north, south, they all give me a headache. This was a problem when it was time for me to put the ring on GI Joe's finger. I grabbed his right hand and started trying to get the ring on his ring finger but he was pulling it away. For a split second I thought maybe he was getting cold feet and was going to refuse the ring and then leave me at the altar, a jilted bride. O ye of little faith. How about he was trying to get me to stop trying to put it on the wrong hand and instead put it on his left hand where it belonged? Ooops my bad, but in my defense this was my FIRST wedding, how was I supposed to know that?

The downside of having a musical for a wedding is that it takes awhile and there's a lot of time spent wondering what you should be doing while a song is being sung. You can only gaze lovingly into your betrothed's eyes thru so many songs. Finally, it was time for the kiss, which was slightly awkward since we were given permission by the officiating ministers who also happened to be our fathers. And strangely enough my dad especially, had discouraged this type of public display of affection with boys my entire life and now all of a sudden he's telling me to do it in front of 350+ people? Talk about mixed messages.

Our dads pronounced us husband and wife and that's when Dusty Springfield came on the scene. As everyone was wiping their eyes from the moving, heartfelt ceremony (namely our mothers), Dusty began to sing "The only one who could ever teach me, was the SON OF A PREACHER MAN....." and we boogied on out of the sanctuary as our wedding party followed. It was so unexpected, silly, fun, and totally us. And now every time they hear that song I would bet that our wedding guests remember the crazy couple who had it as their recessional song.

I had a few more Bridezilla moments before the evening was said and done but hey, I was entitled and no one got hurt, so what's it matter? I will take this opportunity to apologize to anyone I may have yelled at, snapped at, or bossed around on that November night 12 years ago. Except for the limo driver, you had that one coming buddy.

Overall, our wedding day was absolutely perfect even with my (and my mother's) little bouts of crazy. I think in honor of that special day I'll put on my beautiful dress, prance around the house in it, and subject the family to the sacred viewing of "The Wedding Video." I'm sure they will thoroughly enjoy that.

Here's to the first 12 years and many, many more!!!

NOW (Wow we're old)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

She's More

As of today we are crossing over into uncharted parenting territory for us...the era of double digits. Our firstborn, our girl, our inaugural attempt at this parenting thing turns 10 today. I'm not ready for this but as I do when there's a birthday let's talk a little bit about our newly double digit girl. It's good therapy for me.

When GI Joe and I got married we were on the 5 year plan, meaning we weren't going to start having kids until after we'd been married 5 years. Dakota was born 4 days before our 2nd anniversary. Plan failed. We were sooo young but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. We were too young and dumb to freak out about every little thing as many first time parents do, instead we were oblivious and absolutely smitten with this gorgeous creature that we created and I gave birth to.... NO DRUGS. Have I mentioned that before? You know that I was in labor for like 22 hours WITHOUT ANY DRUGS? Yeah I'm a rockstar like that but having earned that badge the first time, I asked for an epidural at about 35 weeks with the next 2, just to be safe.

We decided that we weren't going to find out if we were having a boy or girl when I was pregnant with Dakota. We had names picked out for both, did the unisex nursery, and being the shopper that I am, stocked the closet with both boy and girl items. Looking back I have no idea how this control freak, type a planner did that but we did and I'm glad we did. It was one of the coolest surprises in life (not that we repeated with #2 and #3 but it was fun once.) GI Joe had been hoping for a boy as most men do with their first child but from about 6 months on I had a feeling it was going to be a girl. The minute the doctor said it was a girl in that delivery room, I saw GI Joe undergo an instant transformation from tough guy to wrapped around that little girl's finger and it's been that way ever since.

When the doctor said it was a girl, I had instant visions of mother daughter shopping trips, frilly pink things, and a room full of baby dolls and tea sets. Boy, was I in for surprise. Not only has Dakota taught me how to be a parent but she's also taught me to expect the unexpected in sooo many ways.

Here are a few things about Dakota that have made the past 10 years very, very interesting and make me look forward to the next 10 years with great anticipation.

*The girl is smart. She was reading before she went to kindergarten and now in 4th grade she's reading and writing at a 9th grade level. It's pretty awesome when you're 4th grade daughter corrects your punctuation and offers alternative words for you to use when she's sitting next to you as you're blogging. Note the sarcasm. She's very smart but she's also very flighty and always has a 100 things going at once. Every time we go to conferences we hear the same thing, "Dakota is very very bright now if we could just get her organized." She's like the mad scientist minus the bad hair. I can't wait to see what she does when she grows up.

*She's extremely artistic and creative. She's constantly drawing and we're not talking stick figures, we're talking a herd of horses complete with mud splattering beneath their feet and manes blowing in the wind. Her drawings are incredible. Lately, I've been having her sign and date them so one day when she's a famous artist I can sell them on ebay to support my shoe shopping habit. Hey it's the least she can do for me given that I gave birth to her....NO DRUGS!!

*She's much like her father in that she is who she is and if you don't like her then that's fine, she's not going to lose any sleep over it. She's never one that NEEDS to have people around her or someone playing with her. She's perfectly content in her own little world and if you'd like to join her there then great but if not that's alright too. Unlike a lot of girls her age she's not into sleepovers and talking on the phone or petty girl stuff. Being the social butterfly that I am, that concerned me so I asked her why she never wanted to have anyone over and she responded with, "Because I see them enough at school and if I had them over I'd have to entertain them and I'd just rather not have to do that." Good point, how could I argue with that?

*From "her cowgirl boots (that she wears daily) to her down home roots", she's about as country as they come. She's an independent, confident, free spirit whose idea of a perfect day would consist of hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and exploring the great outdoors. No shopping, manicures, or Hannah Montana for her, in fact she wrinkles her nose at the mere suggestion of those things. The boys at school are already in awe of her since she catches the biggest fish, hunts with her very own gun, and isn't afraid to get dirty. I imagine it's only going to get worse as she gets older but I'm not worried she's got very, very high expectations and also the kids in her class think her daddy kills people for a living.

*She's our high maintenance hick girl especially when it comes to food. Her favorites: Godiva chocolate, Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, lobster, crab, and sushi. Seriously. There's no way a pimply high school boy working part time at HyVee would be able to afford to date her in high school. Which is good considering she's been told since birth that she wasn't allowed to date until she was 42. Given her expensive taste that's probably not so unreasonable after all.

*She's so tender hearted specifically when it comes to animals. She's not the most nurturing when it comes to other people but give her a sick or injured animal and she'll go to extreme lengths to nurse it back to health (including the application of medicinal herbs she's read about and harvested from our ditch or back pasture) and then showers them with love and affection. And help us all if the kitten or the bird or the whatever it is she's rescued doesn't survive, we're talking major meltdown. This is one of the many ways she's a lot like me. Nothing gets to me more than a sick or injured animal. However unlike me as much as she loves animals and hates to see them sick or injured she has no problem shooting pheasants or quail or deer come hunting season. Somehow that's totally different in her mind. Weird.

*She's politely blunt and if you need corrected she'll let you know, nicely of course. For example, a previous Sunday School teacher of hers gave her some misinformation once and Dakota quickly corrected her and then showed her where the right information could be found. That's how she rolls like it or not.

*She's weird, really weird. She runs like a T Rex, hisses like a cat and swears there's a clan of Cat Warriors holding secret meetings and living in our woods, among other things. I got nothing, she's just weird but we love her anyway.

She's not at all the daughter I had dreamed of having..... but she's more. Happy Birthday to our little cowgirl!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Truthful Tuesday

Since it's been strangely uneventful around the Zoo lately, well except for when I thought I lost the only set of 4 wheeler keys and was sure I would have to look thru all of the animal ahem..compost in the barnyard in search for the keys since that was the last place I remember having them and I just knew that one of the animals had eaten them, only to discover them in a coat I NEVER wear to do chores or to ride the four wheeler. Guess what I found with them? My pink work gloves and lip gloss. So I guess I have worn that coat for outside activities before. Other than that and the possible swine flu outbreak we've currently got going, all is well here. So instead I thought I'd try a Truthful Tuesday edition, which is a whole bunch of random truths that you never wanted to know about goes.

*I have an unhealthy obsession with the Pioneer Woman and her new cookbook. And by unhealthy I mean my cart at Costco looked like Paula Deen's fridge with the bulk quantities of butter, sour cream, cream cheese and heavy whipping cream I was purchasing. I'm going to do a little Julie and Julia experiment and cook my way thru Pioneer Woman's new cookbook. Maybe someday there'll be a movie about it, I want Gwyneth Paltrow to play me. In the meantime, plus sizes here I come. :) P.S. If you don't have the cookbook yet please buy it immediately, it's awesome and has lots of pretty pictures which is what I look for in a cookbook.

*I think I'm headed towards being an alcoholic...seriously, an ice cream alcoholic. I recently discovered Haagen Daaz Bailey's Irish Cream ice cream. I didn't get ID'ed when I bought it and there are no warnings on the container but does anyone know if I might as well be playing beer pong? Is the alcohol still in it? Someone please tell me before Wednesday so I can add myself to the prayer chain at church if necessary. Thank you for your cooperation.

*I have officially entered into the Chauffeur Mom stage of raising children and I don't like it one bit. Would it be so wrong to tell my eager, athletic boys that they cannot participate in sports until they can drive themselves to practice just because I'm lazy and need to spend my evenings in my flannel PJ's parked on the couch eating bon bons? (As if.) On the bright side, Blade assured me that when he's in the NFL and wins the Superbowl he'll give me his Superbowl ring. Ok I suppose that's fair, now if I can just survive the next 11 years of driving Miss Daisy aka Dakota, Blade and Ryder.

*I am SOOO excited for my favorite holiday...Thanksgiving/Black Friday. Discount Divas Sunrise Shopping Tour 2009....woo hoo! I LOVE IT!

*As much as I loathe scary things and creepy masks, music, etc I really want to see "Paranormal Activity." It can't be any scarier (read: worse) than "Where the Wild Things Are" that we saw on Saturday night. Great book, horrible movie. It was awkward and sad and weird and slow and I took a 30 minute nap during it. The highlight was definitely the nacho cheese we sprinkled on our popcorn.

*As of recently there is NOT a single white wall in our house. Nothing against white walls but I love color. The final room to undergo the white to bright transformation was the laundry room. It's now a lovely shade of "Love's Light Pink" and I really, really love it, and that's all that matters considering I spend a good chunk of my time in there against my will.

*Our household is hopelessly addicted to the show Man vs. Food and are planning future family vacations based on the food featured on that show. You should check it out. Warning: Don't watch on an empty stomach, you WILL walk away hungry. I'm always overwhelmed with the urge to cook up a giant steak or burger at 9:00 at night after watching it.

*I was once accosted by law enforcement for 3rd degree reckless throwing. One of my finer moments. Maybe I'll tell you about it sometime.

*I got to see and hold my new nephew Jonah last week. Perfection. Just when I think I'm completely over baby fever I hold a beautiful, sleeping newborn and then start thinking maybe a 4 kid family wouldn't be so bad. But then they start crying and stinking and wanting to eat and I snap back to reality and our comfortable sleeping thru the night, no diaper or formula buying, life and decide it's WAY more fun to live vicariously through my sisters. Thanks guys!

*Did you know I've "arrived" in the blogosphere? It's true, I have. I'm now a regular guest blogger on, complete with my own pretty icon. Nothing says you've made it like your own icon. I can retire now.

*I think the next addition to our zoo may be a zebu. To quote the Veggie Tales, "ZEEEEEBBBBBUUUUUUU!" There's one on Craig's List right now that's speaking to me but I haven't given into temptation...yet. An early Christmas present perhaps? I heart zebus, and zebras, and zorses, and zedonks. Ain't nothing but a Z Thang baby. (That was a little tribute to my "black era", if you can name that tune I will be thoroughly impressed.)

And that's all the truth you're getting out of me for now because YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!! And mostly because I can't think of anything more and the Bailey's ice cream is calling my name. Peace out.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Time for Change and Cherry Dip Cookies

Let me put your mind at ease right away, this has nothing to do with Obama. :)

This is the true story of a girl, $373 in change, and her favorite cherry dip cookies. Read on.
I am part of a committee at work that has been doing various types of fundraising throughout the year to raise money to put back into the community thru things like buying DVD's for the pediatric oncology unit at the hospital, adopting low income families and senior citizens for Christmas, and many other warm fuzzy things. Through all of this fundraising, quite a bit of change has been collected and it's been sitting under my desk in giant bottle banks for approximately 2 months. It just sat there and taunted me daily with "someday you'll have to take us to the bank, ha ha ha." I put it off as long as I could but the time had come when we were going to be writing checks and donating the money in the community. We thought it would be in poor taste to bounce a check to one of the charities we were trying to help so the bottles of change under my desk had to be deposited. Somehow the job fell to me. Early in the week I decided that Thursday would be designated "Bank Day." Sometimes I have to talk myself into these things.
Thursday finally came and I poured all of the change into one bottle bank and started out on my journey. First obstacle....getting out of the revolving door at work hoisting the 50 pound, 3 foot tall bottle bank without getting stuck. I'm sure the Security footage was comical but I did manage to get out without major incident. I'm more of a drive thru bank kinda girl even though I tend to hit stuff with the Princess Mobile when I do that, but I'd much rather hit stuff in the drive thru lane than have to go in, but that's just me. For the life of me I just couldn't figure out how to make going thru the drive thru with the giant bottle of change work. I had to suck it up and go in, there was no way around it. I arrived at the bank, unbuckled the bottle bank from the passenger seat, and made my way in. I kid you not when the tellers saw me walk in the door carrying a giant bottle filled with change they all avoided eye contact and tried to look very busy. I made my way up to one of the tellers, nearly throwing out my back from the weight of the bank full of change. He looked up, looked at my giant bottle, and then said, "There's a coin counter by the door, you can count it there." Oh you mean the door THAT I PASSED TO WALK ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE BANK CARRYING THIS HEAVY BOTTLE OF MONEY ONLY FOR YOU TO TELL ME TO TURN AROUND AND DO IT MYSELF?!? Oh that one!!! ("Jesus Take the Wheel" began playing in my head at this point.) Whatever happened to Customer Service? It's a lost art I tell ya. So I hauled my cargo back across the bank and found the change counter. Upon further inspection of it, I found that you had to lift a lid to get to a circle about as big as a saucer where you poured your change in to be counted. I knew right then that this was not going to go well as it required coordination and we all know that's not one of my strengths. With one hand I had to try and keep the lid propped open while trying to hoist the giant bottle bank up into a position to pour the money into the tiny circle in the middle of the machine. I think you can guess what happened when I began pouring right? If you guessed that SOME of the change made it into the opening as it was supposed to and SOME of it went bouncing 40 different directions across the bank floor you'd be correct. People were staring, the bank tellers were looking guilty and still avoiding eye contact, and I was about to start busting out bank windows with my giant bottle. Seriously. Finally the machine was done counting what I had poured in and what I had recovered from the bank floor and spit out a receipt showing how much change it had counted. $373!!!! That was ALL in change. Right below the $373 it said "A 5% fee will be deducted from this total for the use of this coin counter. " And that's when I had an aneurysm. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!! I marched right on up to the first available teller I saw, laid down my ticket for $373 in front of her and very calmly said, "I need to deposit this and please tell me this FEE is a joke, did you just see what I went through over there because you guys wouldn't count the change for me and now you're going to charge ME a fee? I should charge you a fee for putting me through this." The teller very stoically in her Russian accent said, "We charge you no fee since you be a customer." Well, isn't that special? In addition to the $373 in change, I had a big wad of bills that needed to be deposited as well. I filled out the deposit slip for the change and the cash and handed it to Hilda. It took her no less than 73 years to count and recount the stack of cash only to tell me it was $200 less than what I had written on the deposit slip. Annette, the committee treasurer, had counted the money before she sent it with me to the bank and I swear to you that I didn't stop and do any shoe shopping on the way there, so told her to count it again. Another 73 years later she told me it was still short. By this time I had sent Annette a text that said "Bank=sucks" and had downed 3 of the complimentary Dum Dums suckers in an effort to keep from screaming in frustration while at the bank. Sidenote: I totally solved the mystery of why banks always give out's very hard to scream at your bank teller with a Dum Dums in your mouth. Coincidence? I think not. I was done, I changed the deposit slip to the amount Hilda said and called it good, sorry Community, that's $200 less we can spend on you but hey it was either go with that or me spending some quality time in the slammer for going postal at the bank. :) Finally, the transaction was complete and she had the nerve to tell me to have a nice day. PUHLEASE, a nice day? Don't make me hurt you Hilda. I picked up my now empty, bottle bank, grabbed another handful of Dum Dums and left. What a way to spend a lunch hour.

Now on to the Cherry Dip Cookies which have absolutely nothing to do with this story except that they make me happy, and believe me after my 45 minutes of torture at the bank I could've used about a dozen of these for immediate consumption. These are the easiest cookies you will ever make and you can vary them and create all kinds of strange and wonderful combination, but this happens to be among my favorites.

Little known secret about me...I LOVE cherry dip cones from Dairy Queen. More so the cherry dip, I could do without the cone and even the ice cream if I'm being completely honest. I always request the triple dip so I get lots of the cherry goodness. When I was pregnant with Ryder in the summer of 2003, this was one of my pregnancy cravings that i couldn't get enough of. One night after a rousing night of bowling with friends we stopped at DQ and I totally double fisted it and had a cherry dip cone in each hand. It was a glorious night. Anyway, these cookies remind me of my beloved cherry dip cone. Try them.

Cherry Dip Cookies
1 cherry chip cake mix
1/2 pkg cherry chips
1 egg
1 stick + 2 T butter
2 T. water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the egg, butter, and water with the cake mix until well combined. If it's still dry and lumpy add a little bit more water, it's still gonna be thick but should be workable and cookie dough consistency. Add in cherry chips. Drop by spoonful onto greased cookie sheet or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes. They'll be soft and fluffy and chewy and delicious.

And that's it...really. Easiest cookie recipe ever. Some other exciting variations: chocolate cake mix w/ peanut butter chips, strawberry cake mix w/ white chocolate chips (I call these pinkalicious), chocolate cake mix w/ caramel swirl chocolate chips, the sky is the limit. Enjoy!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Patella Potato

This conversation took place in the car the other day:

Blade: Ouch I hurt my kneecap.
Dakota (deep sigh): BLADE, you should really call it by its proper name of patella.
Blade: Whatever, that's harder to say.
Dakota: Actually Blade, patella is a shorter word than kneecap. (eye roll) I'm just trying to make you smarter.
To add insult to our intellectual injury, she then spelled it out for us. It's a tough job she's got, teaching the unteachable.

Confession: I had to google patella and make sure she wasn't feeding us a line and also to check her spelling.

The results? Dakota: 2 points Dakota's Obviously Unintelligent Mother: 0

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Frightful Fun According to Some

Have I ever told you that I am not a fan of Halloween? Let me list the reasons why: bats, scary masks, spiders, clowns, costumes, scary masks (oh did I say that already?), Haunted Houses, too much candy + no willpower=tight jeans, cold, and last but not least…poopy ninja pants.

At first I was going to tell you the whole sordid tale about the Trick or Treat night poopy ninja pants but then decided that maybe, just maybe, you wouldn’t be able to handle it, or want to for that matter. I barely lived through it. Besides that I think it may traumatize the not so innocent child involved if I blogged about it to the entire blogosphere as it was not one of his (or her) prouder moments. But if you do want some good, funny, bodily function stories go here Jessie has lots of them AND the stomach to relive them by blogging about them. I’m not there yet. Gay llamas? Yes. Poop incidents? No. It just feels wrong.

How about instead of poopy ninja pants I tell you about how I nearly soiled my own pants Haunted Housing this Halloween season? Sounds like fun right? Maybe for you, not so much for me.

One might ask why someone who is easily frightened, loathes dark places, scary masks, spiders, bats, creepy things, costumes and clowns would subject themselves to Haunted Houses which are known for having all of these things and more. It’s against my will. I am forced to every year by my husband and our friends John & Trish, and more recently, our entire church youth group. Apparently, I’m THAT much fun to go Haunted Housing with. And because I do enjoy making sure others have a good time and being the life of the party I allow it, I guess. I’m kind of (non sexually) sadistic that way.

The outing was planned months in advance and I looked forward to it with dreadful anticipation. The pros: We always have lots of fun with John and Trish and there was bound to be dinner. The cons: The Haunted House part. When the day of terror finally arrived, I woke up with a pit of fear in my stomach. Every time I thought about our plans for the evening, my heart would
race and I'd break into a cold sweat. I tried to think of reasons we shouldn't or couldn't go. We couldn't find a sitter so I was confident that was my out. Until we discovered that the Scream Park we go to had a Low Scare Kids Package and also that our kids were more than excited for their first Haunted Housing experience. Darn, although I was slightly relieved and excited about the possibilities of Low Scare since we'd have the kids with us. Maybe I'd actually survive a Low Scare Haunted House. Oh who am I kidding?

We arrived at the Scream Park and got in line to go thru the first Haunted House, the low scare "Castle of Blood". Sounds scary right? There was a big group of us including my mother-in-law, father-in-law, 2 teenage girls, 3 teenage boys, John and Trish, and then our family. Dakota started showing signs that she is in fact my daughter, getting wide eyed and jumpy every time she heard a noise and started saying she had changed her mind that she didn't want to go. GI Joe assured her it would be fine. I was too busy jumping and screaming at the slightest movement to be of any comfort (and this was just waiting outside in line.) However, I did warn Dakota to not take it personally but that once we entered the Haunted House I wouldn't be able to pay any attention to her as I could only be concerned with my own survival. I know, I know Mother of the Year. The creepy lady taking the tickets at the entrance, whom I couldn't look directly at for fear I'd wet myself, informed us that we'd have to split up into groups of 5 or 6. And that's when I lost all of my low scare comrades except for Dakota. Blade wanted to go thru w/ the teenagers and Ryder wanted to go thru with his Nana and Papa and Dakota's head was buried so far into Justin's hoodie that we assumed she just wanted to stay with us. Blade went first as I yelled to the teenagers he was going with, "DON'T LET THEM HURT MY BABY! KEEP HIM SAFE!" Don't worry he wasn't the least bit embarrassed. Then it was Ryder's turn to go thru and I gave him a similar speech and then off he went into the darkness. A few minutes later Blade came out with the teenagers SMILING. He loved it and said, "Mommy it really wasn't that scary." Then creepy lady gave us the go ahead to go in. And the horror began. It was terrifying and horrible and I screamed...A LOT and LOUDLY. The creepy guys in masks kept chanting my name in their Satanic voices and that is more than I can handle. How did they know my name you ask? Hmmmm...because I have such wonderful friends and family, that's how. I may have sold out my very own daughter and threw her to the back of the line because I wanted GI Joe behind me, you know for protection. Hey I warned her! I had a death grip on Trisha in front of me and a death grip on GI Joe behind me. Somehow we made it out of the Castle of Blood alive....barely. I was experiencing shortness of breath, chest pains, racing pulse, you know the norm but no one was concerned, they were all too busy laughing at how my sons had managed to go through it and come out smiling and laughing and their mother was about to keel over from fright from the same Haunted House.

We moved on to the next Haunted House, Chaos, at the Scream Park that was supposed to be the scariest. All I knew is that I could hear a chainsaw and that alone caused me to break out in a cold sweat. People did NOT come out looking relaxed and peaceful. No, mostly they came out looking terrified. This was NOT a kid appropriate, low scare one so the kids hung out with Nana and Papa while John, Trish, GI Joe, and I got in line. And because I'm still too traumatized from the whole ordeal to talk about it I'm going to turn the blogging reins over to GI Joe and he'll tell you about the rest.

GI Joe: Two years ago my buddy John and I thought that it would be hilarious to have a mask with us to put on going through the Haunted Houses. Well this year I bought one, THE MASK FROM SCREAM, while I was in Little Rock, AR for military school. (Sidenote: Prairie Princess HATES the Scream mask, she gets freaked out in the costume aisle at the store just walking past it...perfect.) It took so long to finally buy one because, anyone who knows me, knows how much I hate shopping. I can spend all day in -20 degree weather deer hunting, but when I step thru the doors of a shopping mall all energy is drained. I called my buddy to tell him the news, and we knew this was going to be a special year at the haunted houses. I hid the mask under the driver's seat in my truck, so Prairie Princess would not accidentally see it and ruin the surprise. I was able to tuck the mask in the pocket of my hoodie (God bless hoodies) to have it ready to go. While standing in line a character in a scary mask with a red light kept walking thru the line, and every time Prairie Princess saw him she would become short of breath and a little jumpy. We finally came to the entrance of the haunted house known as Chaos. The order that we went in was my buddy John, then his wife Trisha with Prairie Princess' face buried in Trisha's back, and me. I was the "protector" of anything "bad" happening to Prairie Princess! Mmmmuuuuhaaaaha!! When Prairie Princess enters haunted houses, she has no sense of reality. I was able to slip on the " Scream" mask, and pull my hoodie over my head, all while she maintained a death grip on my right arm. My buddy likes to take it slow throughout the haunted houses because they put a lot of work into them, and we may just like to make our wives' torture, I mean, experience last. A little ways into Chaos, PP became brave enough to pull her face out of the back of Trisha's coat, just long enough to turn to make sure I, her "protector" was still there standing strong. Instead to her horror she looked straight into the face of "SCREAM"! The look on her face was priceless. Her eyes started to well up, and death came across her face. She took off running, not knowing where to go, screaming. She was yelling "WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY HUSBAND!" This phrase was repeated over and over again. Let me remind you, I had to put on the mask while she had a death grip on my right arm. She kept running throughout Chaos, running over a little girl that was with her family, who went into Chaos before we did, scaring the crap out of her. Imagine the Prairie Princess running. In case you can't, do you remember the TV show "Friends"? There was a woman by the name of Phoebe who, when running, had all limbs going in all directions causing bodily harm to anyone who was within 5 feet of her. That is PP running. At the end of Chaos, there was a man waiting with a chain saw that chased people out of the haunted house. Our children thought it would be funny to wait right outside of the exit to scare their Mommy when she came out. Remember Phoebe running, and the warning of anyone within 5 feet? Well, let me just say when the chainsaw revved up, PP ran over, and toppled our children trying to get to safety on the outside of the haunted house. I think she scared them more than they scared her the way she came tearing out of there, limbs flailing. Once on the outside she found a bench, and sat there trying to catch her breath, and muttering " My heart hurts!" while the rest of us gathered round her laughing until our hearts hurt. What a great night. I still have the mask hidden just waiting for the right moment to.... Well you know! One last thing, PP could not sleep that night, I can't imagine why. She kept getting up, and starring at me to see if I had the mask on. One night I will! Oh yes! One night I will!

Prairie Princess: Do you see what I have to live with? Something else you should know about this experience. When I turned and saw that I was clinging to a guy in a Scream mask I actually thought that one of the actors had slipped in and taken GI Joe's place. So not only was I face to face with my nightmares, but I also thought they had killed off my husband. I had no idea it was my husband, the man I love, the father of my children playing a cruel joke on me. So you can understand why I was just a wee bit freaked out, right?!? I didn't find out it was him until I was outside on the benches having the paddles of life being applied to my heart. So NOT funny.

And that was only the 2nd Haunted House, there's still a Haunted Walk to tell you about. It's a miracle I'm still alive to blog about it really.

I leave you with this....because I want you to get the full experience.

And now I will never read my own blog again. ***Shudder****