Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mid Week Musings

Lately, I’ve been much too busy living life (read: doing other stuff) to blog regularly about it. Here are a few things I’ve been up to:

*A weekend in Kansas City with my ENTIRE family, oh except for my dear husband and daughter, who didn’t join us until Sunday because they were TURKEY HUNTING. Have I mentioned I dislike turkey hunting? Yes, I think I have but what can you do? I have my New Kids, he has his hunting. J Even without them there for the majority of the weekend, we had a blast. We went to Worlds of Fun, which was well, WORLDS of fun, celebrated my nephew Micah’s 3rd birthday, and celebrated the dedication of my newest nephew Jonah. It was a wonderful weekend with lots of picture taking, laughs, food, and playing. I may be slightly biased but my family is pretty awesome except for…just kidding!

*Disproving the age old myth that chickens are glamorous. Oh you hadn’t heard that myth? Hmmm..weird I had. When we got these chicks, I had lofty visions of chickens fluttering about, providing my family with a plethora of farm fresh eggs, but somehow that dream never quite captured the grossness that is chickens. Not sure if you knew this or not, but chickens, namely baby chicks, poop, like A LOT. That’s all fine and good when they are free roaming around the barnyard but when you have them contained in a shed to protect them from predators, emus, elements, etc. It makes for one fine mess. For a split second as we were cleaning out the “brooder house” the other night I vowed that I was done with hot wings forever. Lucky for Buffalo Wild Wings I have a very short term memory, which also explains why I had 2 more children after my first drug free delivery.

*Speaking of poop, which we seem to be doing a lot on this blog lately, my wonderful backwoods boys and I, worked ourselves into stiff oblivion by raking and shoveling all of the manure out of the barnyard last night. I’m typing this with a pencil in my mouth because the rest of my body is too sore to move. We then loaded our “bounty” up and spread it all over the garden. I was explaining to the boys how this “natural fertilizer” will make our garden grow (if I don’t kill it first…remember last year?) and how our fruits and vegetables would be so juicy and delicious because of it. Ryder looked at me with a grimace on his face and said, “I don’t think I’ll be eating any cantelope (his very favorite) this year, that’s GROSS.” “Organic” may be overrated. J

*Hanging out in the Twilight Zone. In this special place, my extremely tomboyish daughter who typically enjoys hunting over shopping, getting dirty over doing her hair, and playing with bugs rather than painting her nails, was reading a book titled “A Girls Guide to Glamour: How to be a Goddess”(which surprisingly I did NOT write) AND wanting to experiment with the different beauty regimens suggested in the book. First up, a softening, silkening shampoo made of honey, vinegar, and milk. Followed by a facial mask of mashed strawberries, painting her nails 7 different times because she couldn’t decide on a color, and a softening foot treatment before bed. IT.WAS.BIZARRE. I rather enjoyed this momentary glimpse of a girly daughter but the entire night I kept asking her questions to verify her identity and looking for the candid camera. Could this be a glimpse of teenage Dakota? Hard to say. All I know is that she better keep her mitts off my special lip gloss.

*Doing a little singing gig. Yeah, that’s right a singing gig. In case you didn’t know, I sing, but not on demand. Scheduled performances only. Seems like the first thing people do when they find out I can sing is ask me to sing right then and there for them. Ummm no not gonna happen. Typically, I do wedding gigs, church gigs, national anthem gigs, but Saturday was a special kind of gig. I like using the word gig, makes me feel like a professional. Saturday’s gig was at the most hopping club in town….the nursing home!!! I had those peeps dancing on their chairs, waving their hands in the air like they just don’t care. Or not. The good news is that the pressure factor was very low, I wasn’t nervous about messing up. The bad news is that approximately 5 of them fell asleep while I was singing. I’m sure that happens all the time to Carrie Underwood too.

*Going to see the movie “Date Night” with my 3 dates and a bottle of brandy. I realize that makes me sound like a real class act but I’m just keeping it real here. One of my parting gifts from our weekend in KC was a nasty cold virus that my sister Hilary shared. Sweet of her right? As you know, when I get a cold I medicate with brandy. I’m telling you nothing clears the throat and sinuses like brandy. DayQuil doesn’t hold a candle to brandy. GI Joe and I had been planning for weeks to go see the movie “Date Night” with our friends. Plans changed and it ended up just being McDreamy and Doug who joined us. So there we were, me with a bottle of brandy in my purse, sneaking sips throughout the movie, with 3 dates surrounding me. Sometimes being me is not so bad. By the way, the movie was HILARIOUS and that’s not just the brandy talking. Sadly, that was the last of my brandy and I had to further medicate with real cold medicine…blech. Not near as effective.

*Driving like a speed demon through our small town as our one and only cop is currently wearing orange and spending some quality time in the slammer. But that’s neither here nor there, the important things are 1) our town made the news!!! and 2) we don’t have a cop right now!!! I have to admit, Mike the cop was always very forgiving of my occasional lead footness, which I’m sure stems from my days in high school working at Casey’s and I’d see him pull in and I’d go get his coffee ready (hey, I’m no dummy) but I was always worried that the next time he pulled me over he might not remember my gracious hospitality from 14 years ago. I’m going to enjoy this brief stint of freedom before a new, probably stricter, cop is hired. Life is a highway people, I want to drive it all night long.

Until next time my friends……

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fishing...Prairie Princess Style

I’ve mentioned before how one of the things we like to do together as a family is fishing. I’ve also mentioned what my idea of fishing is….kicked back in my pink chair, with my pink pole with the pink bobber floating above the raspberry scented magenta fake worm on the end (that GI Joe put on the hook for me) waiting for a nibble, while reading a book, soaking up the rays, enjoying the non stop laughs that the kids provide while making GI Joe pull his already short hair out. For a refresher on the sitcom that are our fishing expeditions go here:
I’ve been known to exaggerate on occasion but here’s an actual photo of me "fishing" from a few weeks ago. Notice the pink Snuggie. What can I say, it was windy and I was chilly. Also, please note that my pole is sitting nicely beside my chair, not even in the water, but that was purely out of consideration of GI Joe and his already demanding work load (read: kids). I make my family proud.

And then there's this girl. Obviously, I taught her everything she knows about fishing.

I think we're ready for our very own show on the Outdoor Network.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hangin' In There

Ever feel like this?

Yeah, me too. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Poop Post

What you are about to read is not for the weak stomached or the faint of heart. My apologies in advance for mentioning bodily functions in my blog. Gay llamas is one thing, but poop, well that just might be crossing the line. Please forgive me.

Recently, I had to have the age old talk with my boys. The one I'd been dreading. The one they never prepare you for in Lamaze classes. No, not the birds and the bees talk, I think our animals have already paved the way for that one. This one was much more disturbing. I had to have the "no pooping in the yard" talk. Yeah, you read that right, unfortunately.

Sunday, Dakota came in from outside and reported that Ryder had, ahem, relieved himself in the ditch. I wasn't thrilled with his choice of location, as the ditch is visible from the road, but I also wasn't overly alarmed as they are BOYS who live in the COUNTRY so this wasn't really unheard of. UNTIL, she elaborated and used the words "#2" to describe just what he had relieved himself of.

I felt all at once, a failure as a mother, disgusted, mortified, repulsed, ashamed, did I mention DISGUSTED? I read Ryder the riot act while trying to keep my gag reflex under control. I thought that was the last we'd have of this problem.

When will I ever learn to expect the unexpected?

A few days later, we were enjoying another sunny, warm day when I happened to look out my kitchen window and noticed Blade walking around the yard in nothing but his shirt and boxers. I realize they are straight up hillbillies and I'm lucky he even had his shirt on but typically even us hillbillies keep our pants on. I yelled outside and asked where on earth his pants were. He gave me a sheepish look and scurried off to retrieve his pants, leaving me confused. That's when Dakota again came to the rescue. She informed me that Blade had just pooped in the backyard and that we'd better get the dogs inside because they were sniffing around it. That kicked my gag reflex into high gear, my apologies for letting you relive that with me. Needless to say, THIS MAMA WAS MAD!!!

I understand urges but it's not like it's a 10 minute jaunt from the backyard swingset to a bathroom inside the house. Blade and I had a little heart to heart. He had no defense, just pure laziness and didn't want to waste time with a trip inside. Unacceptable.

I had a little "cut the crap" meeting with both of my public poopers and in no uncertain terms let them know that this was to NEVER EVER happen AGAIN. I also decided on a punishment that I thought was fair for the crime....scoopin' poop.

As in an entire winter's worth of poop deposited in our front and back yards by our 3 dogs. Oh yeah. You do the crime you do the time boys. They then spent an hour and a half fertilizing our garden with their finds.

Mama ain't takin' no crap.

This is typically where I would insert a picture of the events but I love you too much to do that. You're welcome. Instead think happy thoughts and let's look at what might come out of my very well fertilized garden.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Smokin' Day

Meet Amanda. My dear, sweet, friend Amanda. We work together, have kids the same(ish) age and gender, and have very similar interests including but not limited to: shopping, shoes, sushi, and Bon Jovi. We are twin souls, a quiz we took on the internet said so. And if the internet says it, it must be gospel right?

Please note that mine is a VIRGIN strawberry daiquiri, as for Amanda, well, not smoking may have driven her to drink. Also note to Amanda, we need to do a photo shoot this is so outdated.
A few years ago, Amanda decided she was going to quit smoking. I, of course, was all for this and may have “helped” her make that decision. Because I count Amanda as one of the coolest people I know, I couldn’t bear the thought of her w/ yellowing teeth, blackened lungs, or smoker’s cough, so I took it upon myself to be her smoke free mentor. Trust me it was totally unsolicited, but it’s what I do. Amanda is a very low key, laid back girl who does not really enjoy being the center of attention. You can see why we’re twin souls right? Because I’m exactly like that…except not.

As you can imagine, I took my self appointed job as her Smoke Free Mentor VERY seriously. This was life and death we were dealing with here. And no, I don’t over dramatize much, why do you ask? She had declared that on her 28th birthday she would start her quest to be smoke free. I appreciate declarations so in the days leading up to her smoke free D Day I posted this sign on her desk as pre game inspiration. Obviously, I’m not above using graphic images to try and motivate.

When she came into work the morning of her 28th birthday, among the balloons and streamers, she found these 2 things.

Her personal guide to a smoke free life and a purse sized motivational tool, in pink..duh.

In the smoke free guide were pictures and info like this.

Not to blow my own smoke here (no pun intended, ok you know me well enough to know it was totally intended) but I was even so kind as to map out dates and times of when she would start to feel the effects of her newfound healthy lifestyle. I do remember telling her not to be discouraged after one year of quitting because pretty much nothing new happens til year 5. If only every smoker could have a Smoke Free Mentor like me.

And this one took the cake. I still believe it would’ve been much more effective if I would’ve been allowed to photo shop cigarettes into the mouths of her adorable children. My editor vetoed me on the cigs. Even still, who needs a nicotine patch when you've got kid induced guilt?

Then there was the purse motivator. This was so that when she was at the mall or wherever and felt the urge for a smoke, instead of reaching into her purse for her Virginia Slims*, she could reach into her purse for this beauty. (*Sidenote: Pretty sure she did NOT smoke Virginia Slims. In fact, do ANY hard core smokers smoke those? They seem a bit wussy to me.) I tried to cover all the bases. It included quips like this:

Written ‘specially for Amanda by yours truly as evidenced by the pathetic rhyming.

I am happy to report that today marks Amanda’s FOUR YEAR SMOKE FREE ANNIVERSARY! I like to think I had a lil’ something to do with it, but let’s be honest mostly it was Amanda and her amazing willpower. The girl went cold turkey and surprisingly enough, did NOT kill, injure or maim anyone during the process, and even remained relatively pleasant. Even more shocking than being smoke free for four years is that EVEN after the motivational tools I provided, the disabling of her badge at work so she couldn’t get to the smoke shack, along with the daily…ahem…encouragement I provided, we are STILL friends. I told you she’s the coolest.

Congratulations (and Happy Birthday) Twin Soul! I’m so proud of you and your not so black anymore lungs!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easter Camera Nazi Strikes Again

Here's a brief overview of our Easter tradition, in this scenario I assume the role of Easter Camera Nazi (ECN).

-Get up way too early

-Find Easter baskets by following the "tracks" the bunny leaves behind that always start at the fireplace. Santa, the Easter Bunny, same diff. The Easter Bunny has HUGE paws, or should I say paw as it was a one paw track.

-Read note left by crackhead Easter Bunny. This year's note was left in Blade's pumpkin Easter basket (that's right Easter pumpkin ) and read:

Thanks for keeping me on my toes by mixing it up with the pumpkin Easter basket! Wait, do I even have toes? Anyway, rockin' Easter basket, orange is my favorite for obvious reasons. See you next year. Hoppy Easter.


Crackhead I tell you.

-Begrudgingly, get dressed in the color coordinated outfits that the ECN picked out after deciding on a color scheme for the year. This year's theme? Blue and brown. It's a sickness.

-Get really REALLY grouchy when the ECN INSISTS on taking pictures of the 3 littles prior to leaving for church. Can't you just feel the love?

-Get to church in time for the "sonrise" breakfast beginning at 8:30 a.m. Suggest possibly moving future sonrise breakfast to sonset. Idea rejected.

-Easter Camera Nazi takes more pictures, this time threatening withholding food unless she receives full cooperation. Please note, all smiles are forced only by hunger.

-Eat breakfast while being extra cautious not to get anything on the Easter attire for fear of the ECN. A full tummy makes for slightly more cooperative photo subjects. Well, that and $1 each.

-Endure MORE pictures after church but not without constant whining and complaining (even from GI Joe) during each picture taken. ECN was not deterred and called for back up so she could even be in a picture or two. (Thanks Trisha!)

-Hastily, rip Easter clothes off before ECN strikes with her camera again. Fortunately, she's moved on to other subjects. Nothing is safe from her camera lens.
As the kids were getting ready for bed on Easter night, I heard Ryder say to Blade, "Well, there's good news and bad news." Blade: "What's the good news?" Ryder: "Mommy promised not to take ANY pictures of us tomorrow! Blade: "Yay! So what's the bad news?" Ryder: "She'll be right back at it the next day." Deep sighs and scene. Oh how they know me. Someday they'll thank me for photo documenting all these memories, especially the ones made on this holy holiday right? RIGHT? Right. Well, maybe not the chickens, that might've crossed the line.
Hopping Off,
Prairie Princess aka Easter Camera Nazi

Friday, April 9, 2010

Current Events: The X Edition

I have a lot of big, heavy, important issues on my mind right now. Please bear with me as I vent:

*The movie “Brothers”-GI Joe and I watched this movie last weekend. Points of interest: Toby McGuire is NOT cute, especially when he has a high and tight haircut. I like him better when he’s wearing a Spiderman mask. However, Jake Gyllenhaal IS very cute and enjoyable in this movie. There’s some very disturbing things about this movie that make you yell at the TV screen and the ending is very ho hum. I give it a C, except for you Jake, A+. Speaking of Jake, I wish Reese Witherspoon would get her head on straight and get back together with him where she belongs. What is wrong with these Hollywood women? Speaking of Hollywood women, which we really weren’t but we are now, Renee Uglywellger is now dating Bradley Cooper. Not right, he could do so much better. Sorry, not a fan of Uglywellger after the whole fiasco with my friend Kenny Chesney.

You had me at goodbye Renee.

*”Lost”-There’s a lot of hype right now around this, the last season of Lost. I’ve got to be honest, the only reason I ever watch even one second of Lost is when Charlie, I mean Matthew Fox is onscreen. Apparently, they call him Jack now but to me he will always be Charlie. I miss and love you Party of Five. GI Joe LOVES Lost, whereas it’s always made my head hurt (except when Charlie is shown especially with his shirt off..oops did I just say that?) and made me feel, well, lost. However, I promised GI Joe that after Lost is done, and this summer when there’s nothing good on TV we can begin back at Season 1 and work our way thru. Mainly, I just want to see more Matthew Fox but we’ll keep that between us. Let’s let him think it’s because I want to share in and understand his interests more.

(You’re welcome)

*Jesse James- WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Cheating on America ’s Sweetheart, Sandra Bullock? Really? You’ve got issues bro. And given your choice in mistresses and your Nazi attire, I’d say your issues are bigger than just your wandering……eye. Now that I mention cheaters, you should ask me what I think of Tiger Woods sometime, it'll be fun.

Stab him with your Oscar Sandy!!!

*The movie “How to Train Your Dragon”-the kids and I went to see this movie on Friday night while GI Joe went to see “Clash of the Titans”. Clash of the Titans=not my kind of movie. How to Train Your Dragon=right up my alley. Great movie, the kids and I all loved it. I left the movie determined to acquire a dragon for the Koons Zoo, preferably one who flies, so I can ride it. So if you have any dragon connections let me know. Until I find one though, I’ll have to settle by naming our new baby turkeys dragon names. They’re basically the same thing right? Dragons and turkeys?

If only this came in pink

*Have you heard of the “Fat Tax”? I don’t mean to get all political here but this has my (extra large) panties in a knot. It’s not regular soda that makes people fat, it’s PEOPLE CHOOSING to drink too much regular soda and other bad for you foods that makes people fat. Take for example, my Reese’s eggs. Is it THEIR fault that I may or may not have gone thru 8 bags of them in the past month? Can I blame them for the discomfort I felt when trying to squeeze into my skinny jeans? No, I cannot. It’s on me, and I knew exactly what I was doing when I put those delicious morsels in my mouth. I’m warning you right now that if my state chooses to have the Fat Tax and starts additionally taxing my Reese’s eggs, I will do 2 things. 1) go straight up vigilante. Protests, lobbying, the works....who’s with me? 2) start a Reese’s egg bootlegging business, crossing state lines to states that do not charge the “fat tax” and smuggling them back into our state and most importantly into my freezer, where they belong. I will step down off of my soapbox now, thank you for your attention.

Phew, I feel so much better now that I’ve laid all that out on the table. Think I’ll go eat a Reese’s egg now, they were on clearance at my Wal Mart yesterday so of course I stocked up, you know before they start erroneously taxing them.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hamming It Up: A Recipe

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter. We did, well except for the typical grouchiness caused by getting up too early and having to wear ties, but that’s expected, after all it’s EASTER! My annual Easter Photo Nazi pictures will be posted soon. But for now I wanted to share with you a great way to use up that leftover ham. It sure beats turning it into funeral food and making ham sandwiches. We don’t have much leftover since we let our animals in on the Easter celebrations and fed them the leftovers. Yes, we fed our pigs ham, what of it? They have no qualms about cannibalism and in fact rather enjoyed their Easter treat, so who am I to judge? :-)

And now that you probably just lost your appetite thinking of pigs eating ham, here’s a recipe for you! This recipe is a fantastic way to use up that leftover ham. I don’t know how but these simple ingredients combine to make an amazing dish. Enjoy.

Ham and Pasta Skillet Dinner


1 lb small tube or shell pasta

3 T olive oil

1 T. butter

3 c. fully cooked ham, diced

1 large sweet red pepper, diced

½ medium onion, chopped (I usually use onion powder because I’m married to someone who detests visible onions in his food and has passed that on to our children)

¼ c. minced fresh parsley

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ t. dried basil

½ t. dried oregano

1 ½ c. chicken broth

1 T. lemon juice (freshly squeezed is the best)

¾ c. shredded Parmesan cheese (because I tend to be overindulgent I usually up this or throw in a bit of mozzarella cheese as well)

Cook pasta according to package directions-only cooking until al dente (said with your best Italian accent) since pasta will continue to cook and soak up liquid when added to the skillet. While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat until butter is melted. Add pepper, onion, and garlic and cook until vegetables are tender, about 4-6 minutes. Add ham, basil and oregano and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for another 2-3 minutes. Stir in broth and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half, and trust me it will reduce although you’re going to doubt me during the first 5 minutes or so but it will reduce. Stir drained pasta a little at a time into ham and vegetable mixture, you may not use the full pound, you don’t want the sauce to be lost with too much pasta, or maybe that’s just me. Add ½ c. parmesan cheese and toss. Sprinkle parsley and remaining cheese over the top. Serve immediately.

I have to admit that I was skeptical of this recipe at first due to the broth based sauce. Typically, when I make a pasta dish it’s heavy on the cream or tomato sauce (hence the reason for my current weight loss quest) so I was doubtful that pasta w/out either of those 2 would be bland and boring. Au contraire! Trust me, try this and you’ll see.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wanna Be a Hillbilly

It just happened. It wasn't something we set out to do, wasn't a plan we followed from "What to Expect When You're Expecting", it just happened.
Call it a product of circumstance but my kids are hillbillies. Straight up, down home, back in the woods, hillbillies.

It was in the 70's one day last week and when I looked out my kitchen window I saw clothes and shoes strewn all over the yard and 2 half nekkid boys down at the pond fishing for the football that they'd accidentally tossed in. One was throwing rocks at it in an attempt to get it pushed to the other side faster, while the other waited for it to come close enough that he could use the contraption they'd fashioned out of a tree branch and a net to catch it. When they finally came in, they were covered from head to toe in mud and smelled like dead fish. Ahhh the smells of spring. Ryder's defense? "It was sooooo warm outside that we just got too hot so we had to take our shirts off." For the record, it has NEVER EVER gotten so hot outside that I've felt the need to take my shirt off and run around the yard half naked regardless of what you may have heard. :)

Then there was the wedding we attended on Saturday. It was about a 2 hour drive away AND it meant getting up early on a Saturday so by the time we got to the wedding the kids were beyond THRILLED. They were sitting quietly thru the service (with scowls on their faces but at least they were quiet) when suddenly Dakota started picking at Ryder's head. I snapped my fingers at her to stop and she exclaimed in a rather loud whisper, "RYDER'S GOT A TICK ON HIS HEAD!!!" Now do you think we could just let it be for 15 more minutes until the I Do's were said and the wedding was over? NOOOOOOOOOO. Instead she kept saying over and over "RYDER'S GOT A TICK ON HIS HEAD!!" Finally, in an attempt to avoid a further spectacle, GI Joe motioned for Ryder to come to him, he extracted the tick, and sent Ryder back to his seat. Blade wanted in on the action and whispered loudly, "LET ME SEE THE TICK!" GI Joe and I were doing our best to ignore them hoping they would just drop it and quietly sit thru the rest of the service. Ha! Should've known better. We looked over and Dakota was picking thru Ryder's hair again and telling him, "Ryder, I don't think they got it all, hold on I think I see the tick's head, hold still, quit moving, let me see if I can get it" By this point, everyone seated in the rows behind us was looking at her as she picked thru Ryder's hair like a monkey. Awesome.When GI Joe gave them his best snap and "mean" look she finally quit picking but not before she leaned over and told me, "DADDY DIDN'T GET IT ALL, I CAN STILL SEE THE TICK'S HEAD." Jesus, take the wheel. I realize that Lyme Disease is a scary thing but I'm pretty sure that he would've survived an additional 15 minutes with that tick on his head. I like to think we did the our friend the groom, who's not much of a center of attention kinda guy, a favor by taking some of the attention off of him for a bit. I mean really, who needs all those people staring at you while you look lovingingly into your betrothed eyes? You're welcome Bill.

The moral of the story is this: we bring the classy wherever we go. It's what we do, but rest assured we still have all of our teeth.