Friday, December 16, 2011

I'm still here. Still dedicated to this blog. I've written a half dozen posts since my last, none of which I published because they were just too personal. It's been a long and hard 3 months away from my home, friends and mostly my husband. Henry has been having fun and staying busy with his cousins but I could only focus on the days left until Andrew got home. Now there are just 7 days left and in the last week I've started to get some of my spunk back.

I've got a lot of great things planned for me and my family in the next few months. I'm eager to get settled into our new home and get to the know the area we will be living. I'm hoping that I will continue to grow and improve in Georgia as I did in Monterey but this time I want to focus more on learning to not let others opinions and negativity affect me. I want to learn how to stay positive in less than ideal situations and enviroments and I also want to learn how to better appreciate and use the opportunites that I have.



Monday, October 31, 2011

The last day in October

Today is the last day of October and it's been a whirl wind of a month. To me, this month has always gone by at a snails pace but this time it's like life was in fast forward motion. My sister, who never sits down, was always suggesting things to do and we had a lot of exciting firsts happen!



Millie lost her first tooth! And then her second a few days later.


Granddad built a fire and cooked smores for the kids!


We went to the Kid's Museum on Bainbridge Island
 


We baked goodies!


The cousins came to visit!

Henry used the potty for the first time!!!


Henry used water colors for the first time.


Henry completed NASA training. THAT was a big day.

We took the kids to a corn maze/pumpkin patch.


Granddad spent .50 on a whoopee cushion that the kids thought was priceless.


We went to Raab park and enjoyed the good weather and pretty leaves.


We took the kids to see Puss and Boots and it's the first time Henry sat through an entire movie.


Finally, we went trick or treating with our cousins, Millie, Chase and Taylor.
Not pictured is Henry's first time swimming which he ended up really enjoying and a "hike" through the new-ish Fish Park here in Poulsbo. It was a busy month but a good month and I'm sure November will be no different. While there are some days that I just want to sit and do nothing, I really do feel thankful for a family who keeps me on my feet to help me keep from thinking about how sad I am without Andrew here. We are into week seven of this separation and he has 7 more weeks of training that will hopefully fly by just as fast. I am just thankful that he will be finished with training in time to spend Christmas with us. 





Thursday, October 13, 2011

Is that a huge wad of cash on the ground?

Remember that time I thought a wadded up ball of napkins in the middle of the Target isle was cash and went through mental hell to reach it only to find out it was napkins?

Yeaahhhhh, today was worse than that. My sister and I went to Walmart to grab some needed things (namely Lysol, Lysol and more Lysol seeing as I'm on my 2 or 3 cold this month) and after paying I got $100 cash back, all in twenty dollar bills, jammed it in my tiny purse and went on my way. I was already having a rough morning and forced myself to get out and run several errands so by the time Walmart shopping was over I was drained and Henry, who is also sick again, was ready for his nap. I was clumsy when getting him into his seat and dropped my purse which I immediately bent down to get as I saw a nickle roll from it. Big whoop.

I get in the car and happened to glance into my rear view mirror and see a walmart worker move fast to pick up some "trash". "That's unusual" I think. And then I think to myself, "That lucky bastard just found money. I wish I was that lucky. All I find are wads of napkins."  "I should make sure that cash wasn't mine." I peek into my wallet and sure enough the money is gone. I jump out of the car and see a twenty under my tire. I grab it and then start running at full speed down the parking lot, looking left and right but I can't find the guy. Finally I see him and he's getting into his car and I yell "Hey! I think you grabbed my money!"

He nervously got out of his car and said, "Yes, I..I..I.. was going on break but was going to turn it in when I got off."

I smiled and said, "Ok!" Not sarcastically. I wanted to believe him but as I walk back to my car I can feel how hot the bills are from being clutched tightly in his hands and I feel bad. I'm always dreaming of finding a wad of cash on the ground, he must have messed his pants about finding $60.

That's right. $60. Plus the twenty that I found by my tire. That's just $80. I'm still missing a bill. I knew he didn't have it. I was counting the times he grabbed "trash" on the ground and I knew the $60 was all he had. So I crawled on my hands and knees in the parking lot looking for the last bill.

Napkin

Napkin

Reciept

Used baby diaper

Napkin (There is no bigger tease)

Finally on the other side of the car next to me there it was, next to their drivers door, waiting for a new owner. Was my purse so offensive? Didn't it know how much I loved it and all of the nice things I was going to use it for? And now it was trying to hitch a ride with a lame Windstar mini van when it could be cruising with me in my super awesome Scion rocking to Yo Gabba Gabba.

I felt the guilt as I picked up the last bill as well. Thinking about how it really would have made the day of that walmart shopper as they returned to their vehicle.

But alas, this chick has bills to pay.

I'm blessed. It was a windy day and the guy could have told me to get lost and kept my money. I'm blessed to have found every bill.

And I also won $20 off of a $1 scratch ticket last night. And despite my mother publicly outing my purchase of $11 dollars in scratch tickets (a second one of which I won $2) I still made a $11 dollar profit and that's still dang good.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

practice run

My sister and I decided to wear Day of the Dead makeup for Halloween this year so I did some practice runs tonight. I used cheapo Halloween makeup from Walmart but now that I know the makeup is simple to do I'm going to get some good makeup to use on Halloween night. I haven't decided whether or not I'm going for half or full face makeup, white base or my natural skin color, and the colors and the patterns are not concrete either. It's a lot of fun to practice and try new patterns though. The makeup sticks from walmart are dull and while I look the thicker petals I prefer the thinner lines on the mouth and teeth that a good pencil with a fine tip would make. Also with a finer pencil I will be able to add more details around other areas of the face. We decided that we would like to use false eyelashes and along with the flowers we are wearing small lace veils. We are also going to experiment with using a doily as a stencil on the forehead piece and see how that comes out. Lastly, jewels to accent the top of the forehead at the ends of the web, at the chin and maybe a few around the eyes. We have some old Mexican Wedding dresses that we are going to alter and we are thinking some cowboy boots.

Friday, September 23, 2011

moving day



The movers came and went within 4 hours on Wednesday. It was a relief to have it done so quickly but the next day and a half where excruciating as I cleaned 1200 sq feet of our house on my own. Now that it's done and over with I can relax for this last day here in Monterey. Henry and I have been staying with our friends, Desiree, Ben and Avery, for the last few days and it's been really nice. Great food, fun conversation and a great bed to sleep in. I have never been more comfortable as a guest in some ones home.

I was excited that Henry's Ponyo plushie came in before we left. I was starting to worry.


This afternoon I have to go back to the house to do the walk through. I've come to terms with the fact that they might charge us for a little cleaning because by the 8th hour of scrubbing I was done. Next move I will hire a cleaning service. I'm never doing that again.

My poor cat is in a large kennel inside the empty house. I know he must be so mad at me. I keep having to remind myself that he's in there. I'm worried I might forget him!

Tomorrow morning we head to the airport at 9am to pick up my Dad and get on the road to Washington. I still haven't come to terms with the leave. It's hard to think about leaving a place that has been an important part in growing up in just the short year and a half we've been here. I made amazing friends, learned a lot of important things, especially about myself, and Henry had his first steps and many other firsts here.

It's sad but still exciting to move on and discover new places! I'm really looking forward to learning my way around Augusta. I've been fortunate enough to talk to a  lot of people who have lived there and hear their advice about which places are great and which parts to avoid. It's exciting to think that Henry will start school there in a year or so and that our family will hopefully grow by one member. Hopefully.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

That felt good. That felt perfect. I want more

I can't reveal much about the Triple M-D Last Hurrah super secret/masonic/ritualistic gathering my girl friends and I had last Thursday. Just a small remark that was made the next morning as we sat around the breakfast table talking about different things we and our friends had been "Pinning".

"Pintrest is life changing." I said as I giggled.

Which I then followed with, "No, I'm serious."

And I am serious. I joined Pintrest  a month or 6 weeks ago and I feel like I've made some really great changes in my life since then. I cook more, I find new and creative ways to teach and entertain my son, I feel inspired to eat and live healthier and I feel a kinship with the women on the site who are looking to better their lives and inspire each other by sharing what motivates them, what makes them laugh and helps them to express what they are feeling through art, photography, and writing.

Even my Mother-in-law who joined shortly after me linked this article on her facebook, which by the way I have yet to read because I've been too busy pinning, but based on the title I'm going to guess it's a positive piece on the amazing, life changing effects of using Pintrest, otherwise I may have just made an ass of myself linking it to this pro-Pinning blog post. Pintrest may be life changing but obviously has not changed the fact that I have a awful habit of jumping to conclusions before checking facts.

Onward.

Today from 2pm-4pm, as my son napped, I sat in my bed, eating Sweet & Spicy Doritos from the bag while cursing my sister in between bites (she introduced me to them last year) and Pinning. As I go back and forth to my home board I keep catching a glimpse of how many other Pinners, specifically women, had re-Pinned something of mine that I had been lucky enough to come across on the main page a couple of days ago. This specific Pin was the blog of a woman who lost 135 pounds. After I put this blog on my health and fitness board I sat and read it for a few hours and was touched by her sincere and honest style of writing. She was able to say things that I have felt but in the most beautiful way. A way that could make anyone who sneers at over weight people find an understanding with the struggle.

I sat and looked at that list of Pinners, re-Pinning this woman's blog  and then looked down at my hand, paused inside of the Doritos bag, and I felt sick. The words from her blog ran through my head.

Her are links to 3 of her posts titled, "What I Miss About Being Fat" parts 1,2 and 3.

"What I Miss About Being Fat,part 1"

"What I Miss About Being Fat, part 2"

"What I Miss About Being Fat, part 3"

And then read her posts titled "My Exercise History".

"My Exercise History, part 1"

"My Exercise History, part 2"

"My Exercise History, part 3"

After getting over the amount of Doritos I had eaten, I waited for Henry to wake up, put on my shoes, got him dressed and went for a walk.

Just 2 weeks ago I was jog-walking a mile in 11 1/2 minutes, which was a huge accomplishment for me, and then life got busy with the upcoming move and guests staying and I stopped exercising. It was easy to put it aside because my shins were killing me and my body was not adjusting well to the shock of exercise that I thrust it into so quickly. I was feeling I had good reason to put it to a temporary halt. But my history will show that the halts are never just that. Unless you call 2 years in between active exercise temporary.

 I hate the pain my body has to go through when I exercise. It makes me hate doing things that aren't exercise at all. It makes me avoid things that sound like exercise but aren't. Like walking. I used to love walking. As a kid I was always walking all over the small town I grew up in. I walked to my friends house, to the convenience store and to the beach. But as an over weight adult I've associated walking with exercise when I shouldn't. Walking is healthy. Walking is therapeutic. Walking is a sensory exercise. It opens up my mind to so many things.

Smells. The smell of the ocean. The smell of people cooking dinner for their families. The smell of laundry detergent blowing through the dryer vents. The smell of fresh cut grass.

Sounds. The birds, of all kinds, talking to each other. The cars going up and down the high way. The dogs barking as we walk past their fences. The trees rustling with the breeze. (I think I'll break into Colors of the Wind right about now.)

Sites. The kids riding their bikes on the side walk, the nutty rat-squirrels running around, the ocean over the sand dunes, the soldiers pulling into their drive ways after a long day at work.


I love walking. Why don't I do it every day? Why don't I walk everywhere? I have the time. I have the legs. I have the love for it.

So when I set out on my walk today I knew I wasn't going to run. I wasn't going to time myself and I wasn't going to measure how far I'd gone. I walked slow enough to enjoy everything around me but also with an eager pace,wanting to see, hear and smell more. I let my sons stroller do most of the guiding through the roads and side walks and ended back home thinking,

"That felt good. That felt perfect. I want more."





Thursday, September 8, 2011

Harry Potter wand tutorial



I saw a tutorial for these wands several months ago and knew I had to do them. I finally bit the bullet and attempted them a few days ago. The first tutorial I tried ended in burnt fingers and over all disaster. The idea was to roll the paper and pipe it full of hot glue. It was a great idea in theory but in practice it caused me to curse and throw glitter in the air in a very angry way, which is probably the biggest sin in the religion of crafting. Happy glitter throwing is a gift to the Crafting Gods but angry glitter throwing? That's a no-no.

Before giving up I decided to google and see if there was a better tutorial. There was! This guy laid out the instructions wonderfully. For step by step pictures and instructions go to his Instructable site and also gaze upon his beautiful wands. I think he sells them too.

I'll lay it out for you here as well.

1.First grab a few sheets of white printer paper.

2.Take one sheet of paper and put some double sided sticky tape across it diagonally.

3.Start rolling the paper from one corner to the other tightly and so that one end is more narrow than the other.

4.Once you roll past the sticky tape use some Elmer's glue or Mod Podge and apply it to the the end of the paper and then finish rolling it up. Hold on to the wand until the glue dries. The glue is important because it keeps the edges of the paper sealed down, making the seam less noticeable.

5.Next take another piece of paper and repeat only making it tighter than the first one. You don't need to glue this one closed, just use a little tape to keep it from unwinding and then shove it inside the first one. This builds a pretty solid foundation for your wand.

Here is where I differ from the designer of these particular wands. He didn't want to put a chopstick inside of the wand because he worried it could poke some one's eye out. I on the other hand think that eye loss by a Harry Potter wand would make an awesome story and honestly, chop stick or not the double paper roll is strong enough to poke some one's eye out.

6. I didn't have any chopsticks but I had bamboo skewers so I took three of them and shoved them in to the rolls as hard as I could and then broke them off at the end.

7. BTW, if you want to put something special in your wand it's best to do it before the skewers.

8. After the skewers are in, take the hot glue gun and pipe it in, sealing up the paper and skewers and filling what little empty space there is left.

9. Next pipe a little hot glue on to each end to make a nice round little ball. This gives both ends a finished look.

10. Next take your hot glue gun and pipe a pattern, or non pattern on to the wand. The trick to making your wand look really cool is not to get weird about making it perfect. Tree branches are nobby and rough so if you want a wand with a lot of character don't think too much about what you are doing.

At this point you might look at your wand and think it looks horrible but if you get over the imperfections you will see it's amazing potential!

11.Next, seal it up with a coat of spray paint. Doesn't matter what color. I used white.

12. After the spray paint dries brush on the base coat of the color you choose with an ACRYLIC paint. I used brown. I used a sponge brush and after painting with stokes I ended up dabbing the next coat on to give it a more textured look. Let the paint dry.

13.Next take your distressing color (I used black) which again should be ACRYLIC and put a little water on it and stir. This is your wash color. You are going to paint in onto your wand and then wipe or dab it off. I used a paper towel to dab mine but I suggest a sponge or washcloth as some of the paper towel I used stuck to the paint. The distressing color gives the wand dimension and age.

If you find that the paint is not staying on all of the hot glue pattern don't worry. The last step will cover that.

By now you should be pretty dang excited because it's looking finished and if you like it the way it is, it can be done. But if you want to give it some more character go to the next step.

14. For the gold and silver sheen you see on my wand I used Rub N' Buff gold leaf. It come in a little metal tube for about $3.99 (Michael's Craft Store) which might seem like a lot but it lasts forever. You need the tiniest amount to finish your project. You just put a little on your finger and rub it over the hot glue patterns.I even used whatever was left on my fingers to rub the rest of the wand and give it just the slightest tint.

That completes your wand! I am really impressed with how solid this wand is. I made 4 total. One for myself and each of my girl friends who are all HP fans.





I have never had so much fun working on a project. Even at 27 years old I looked at the finished wands and couldn't help but pick one up and give it a flick while whispering, "Stupefy" at my cat, which was kind of pointless because he's pretty clueless already but I swear, for a few minutes, he was acting like a complete moron.

I plan on making some more wands in funkier and brighter colors next week.

Are you wondering what the core of these four sister wands are? Well, I walked to the farthest reaches of the Mystical Forrest's of Narnia and collected the most magical substance known (or unknown) to man. The menstrual blood of a Unicorn. The process of collecting it wasn't pretty so I wont go into the details but it was promised to keep my friends and I bonded for the rest of our lives, so it was worth it.

When I told my Mom about my project she said, "I had no idea you were such a nerd." I told her I didn't either. I guess if there is one superior nerd it's the HP one. I will proudly wear my badge!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

10 seconds in the mind of a crazy-ish person

I have had anxiety for practically my whole life. It's caused a real problem for me and I've passed by a lot of great opportunities and adventures because I was too disabled by it. Thankfully in the last few years I've learned to managed it quite well. I enjoy socializing a lot more and I can go out and run errands like a normal person. But when things get stressful, anxiety likes to rear it's ugly head. Kind of like this:

I completely understand how you feel, Sigourney.

We are moving in a few weeks so my anxiety is pretty high and I get panicky over crazy things. Things so crazy that at the end of the day when I'm calm and reflect on my day, I consider commiting myself to a mental institution. 

For example: You know that feeling you get before you win something? Like, you know you are going to win big on a scratch ticket or raffle or what have you, and your heart and stomach lurch into your mouth? I got that feeling yesterday when I spotted a huge wad of cash in the main isle of a Target, only it was accompanied by chest pains and nausea because that's how my anxiety works . I saw the cash and in the 10 seconds between spotting it and reaching it, the following thoughts went through my head.

  • Oh my gosh look at that huge wad of cash!
  • That person passed by it and didn't see it!
  • What if some one sees it before I reach it and we have to fight over it?
  • Look casual.
  • Don't lurch for it.
  • Quickly and casually pick it up.
  • Should I turn it in?
  • [-Forget that! Finders-Keepers, baby!
  • Please let their be a Benjamin in that wad
  • Why is it taking so long to get to it.
  • The isles are shrinking!
  • Everyone is staring at me. They know what I'm looking at now.
  • They'll judge me if I don't turn it in!
  • screw them, they would keep it too.
  • What if some one sees me pick it up and says it's theirs?
  • They'd be lying!
  • I think I'm going to throw up.
  • I'm just going to walk past it.
  • No, that's stupid! Get it!
Finally, after what feels like a trek across the United States I reach that huge wad of cash, I get my hand ready for the quick and casual scoop I'd been planning, AND....................................................

and................................................

and.................

 &^*$##$%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's a freaking napkin.

A. NAP. KIN.


I got worked up over a wad of napkin.

You know, I would be really interested in seeing what exactly my face looked like the moment I realized it wasn't money. Did I look as insane as I felt? Could people see the battle that had just gone on in my brain?

 What I was feeling was a mixture of things.

 Embarrassment

 Frustration

 Relief- I probably would have fought with myself over my poor morals for keeping the money for the next 10 years.

If you are wondering what goes on in the other 86,390 seconds of my day...It's typical. I think? I hope?

 Common topics that bring up anxiety on a daily basis.:

  • Food. 
  • Where did my son learn that word? 
  • Zombie apocolypses.
  • Sticky surfaces.
  • Cat hair.
  • Where did my son find that pointy object?
  • Rabies.

The list is infinite but thankfully most anxiety inducing thoughts pass by quickly these days and my life is full of happy and fun and lots of laughter.


Friday, September 2, 2011

the perfect post work out meal


This crappy picture was brought to you by a 1.8mp camera phone.

Pregnancy changed a lot about me. Mainly in the food department. The thought of an egg during my pregnancy (back in 2008) was unbearable. Even before I got pregnant, an egg that was not scrambled and cooked thoroughly was not making it's way into my mouth unless it was through baked goods.

But now I find poached eggs to be a gift from the Chicken Gods. I've tried several different ways to cook them perfectly and I like the plastic bag in boiling water method but it really only works If I have some time to cook at a leisurely pace. So a few days ago I picked up a microwave poacher that would allow me to cook poached eggs when in a hurry. Initially, the sounds of a microwave poached egg sounded kind of repulsive but I thought I would give it a try. It actually worked out great! I made two perfectly poached eggs in under 2 minutes which I ate with 5 other things that I would have never eaten before getting pregnant.

1. Sun dried tomatoes.
2. Feta Cheese
3. Multi-grain bread.
4. ground pepper
5. basil

I know, number 4 and 5 are kind of weird but I'm really sensitive to ground pepper. If a lot of it is cooked on high heat my throat gets sore and itchy and I cough. Same goes for Cayenne pepper and as far as basil goes, I just never really cooked with herbs and spices.

Anyway, this meal, in my opinion, is about as satisfying as a meal can get. I recently saw a little sign on Pintrest that said 50% of your workout is wasted if you don't eat within 30 minutes of finishing. I have no idea if this is factual at all but I like the idea so I'm going to just go with it because I'm always ravenous after I work out.

Pregnancy has opened a culinary door which has allowed me to enjoy some of the most beautiful and delicious foods but it also closed the door on most pastas which is a bummer for my husband. He loves it.

Tonight I'm going to give him a little of what he likes (pasta wise) with this recipe. I anticipate that it will be a hit!


http://www.insockmonkeyslippers.com/spinach-lemon-spaghetti-frittata-w-feta

scratch that! I'm making this tonight!

http://www.eat-drink-smile.com/2011/04/cauliflower-crust-pizza.html

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hi, I'm here to pick up the copies of the National Enquirer that I special ordered.

This afternoon I went to the PX down the road to pick up a Western Union and as I was waiting for everything to go through a man who strongly resembled Bill Cosby , came to the counter holding a National Enquirer and his wallet. I chuckled in my head thinking, "You came to the PX just to get a National Enquirer?" No judgement here, it just struck me as odd. I mean, I understand people purchasing just the New York Times or something like that but running to the store to only pick up The National Enquire without anything else seems....wasteful? I don't know. National Enquirer and popcorn would make way more sense to me.

Anyway, the cashier asks him if that's all he's purchasing (probably also wondering why he's not getting popcorn) and he says no and that he's there to pick up his special order that's come in. She asks him what  his name is and what he ordered and he gave her his name and told her 3 copies of The National Enquirer. In response she said, "3 copies of National Geographic????" <---Now wouldn't that make sense? But no, he told her again, The National Enquirer.



This is super cereals. I'm here to pick up my special order.

So, as I'm standing there waiting for my Western Union to be processed I start wondering why on earth, Bill Cosby needs, in addition to the one in his hand, 3 more copies. Maybe his nephew or grandson is the half alligator, half Bat Boy, half Man-Bear-Pig (am I using fractions correctly?) on the cover and he needs copies for all of the family!!!! How amazing would that be?!?!


That's my nephew!



I start thinking about being nosey and asking him why he needs so many copies but what if his reason isn't as interesting as what I've imagined it to be? What if he just buys it to line the bottom of his pet cockatoos bird cage because it absorbs the smell of poop really well?

I can't have the strangest thing of my day be made only averagely interesting with a perfectly reasonable explanation so I choose to forgo the questions and stick with my imagination. It's the only way I can adventure these days as a stay at home Mom ya know?


Monday, August 29, 2011

a bad cookie habit


I have a bad habit that I know I'm not alone in. That habit is coming down with cookie making fever and eating the dough before the cookies are done which can end 3 different ways.

1. Code Red Sugar Coma: I have eaten so much dough that I don't even cook one cookie. I just put the dough in the fridge for later.

2. Code Orange Sugar Coma: I have eaten too much dough but I'm still able to muster up the energy to  bake a couple of cookie sheets worth and put the rest of the dough in the fridge for later.

3. Code Yellow Sugar Coma: I ate just one spoon full of cookie dough so I feel fine and I'm cooking all of the cookies but I've satisfied my cookie craving so now I'm uninterested in baking and the cookies that started out the size of a silver dollar are now as big as a dinner plate because I just want to get everything baked and over with.

However, today's baking experience has been a bit different. A couple of weeks ago on Pintrest I found this lovely recipe for pudding cookies and I've been using some self control to abstain from making them.

Well, that and I've been on a toffee-popcorn kick so my sweet tooth was being fulfilled. So I lied, it had nothing to do with self control.

Anyway, today I finally decided to make the cookies. I softened the butter, put the eggs in warm water to get them to room temperature, had to borrow a half cup of flour from my neighbor and then, finally got all the ingredients mixed together nicely. During this whole process I remember thinking, "That's a lot of flour!" (4 1/2 cups) and "That's a lot of eggs!" (4 eggs) but I just shrugged it off because I was trying a new cookie recipe and my cookie making has never really gone beyond the back of a Nestle Toulouse package. <---That was said in my best Phoebe Buffay voice BTW.

As I'm staring down at this gigantic bowl of finished cookie dough I realize that it's...well.... a lot of freakin cookie dough, just like I was thinking as I was putting the ingredients together. So I go to the blog page I'm reading from and in teensy letters, below the recipe it says, "this makes about 8 dozen cookies".

After I put my eyeballs back into my head I thought. "Challenge accepted."

 I hadn't over done it on the dough, I was feeling only a little sugared out so I threw a few fist pumps in the air and started dishing out the dough on to those cookie sheets like a maniac. After the first three batches I started getting a little edgy though. I only have 2 cookie sheets and one only fits 6 cookies on at a time. Every time I put a new batch in the oven I went back to the gigantic bowl of cookie dough and contemplated "The Giant Cookie".

 Then I started feeling more than a little edgy.

"Why does it look like that giant wad of raw dough is growing? It looks bigger than it did 2 dozen baked cookies ago."

I really just wanted one damn cookie. Or three......

I just wanted to satisfy my cookie craving!

Now, almost 3 hours later the last batch is in the oven and I'm ready to sit down and put my feet up but my son has been napping this whole time and as soon as I put my feet up he will wake up. As soon as he wakes up I will have to leap across the living room and hide all evidence of cookie making because if he sees even one crumb than he wont eat anything but a cookie. And since I'm tired from baking I don't have the energy to chase around a toddler who is flying on a sugar high. Do you see what an ugly cycle this is?

I'm never baking stupid cookies again.

PS. in case you are wondering how the cookies turned out. They are the prettiest, most deliciously textured chocolate chip cookies I've ever made.

But they're still stupid and I still hate them.

Updated for pictures:


Do you see that sneaky little hand?
 

He approves!


Friday, August 26, 2011

let's celebrate at Mundaka


Andrew and I are going out tonight to celebrate 10 years together (5 years married September 22nd) and while I suggested Lalla Grill, AGAIN, he suggested Mundaka and I'm not going to argue with him! We went to Mundaka last year for our anniversary and I've gone once or twice before that with my friends and we've never been disappointed. Mundaka is a teeny, tiny, eensy, weensy resturant in Carmel, California,(46 seats to be exact) just 20 minutes south of where we live, and it serves authentic Spanish tapas.


I've tried several things from their menu but my favorites are the goat cheese and almond stuffed- bacon wrapped dates, the Patatas Bravas which are potatoes cooked in duck fat served with aioli, and the lamb slider that is tiny and yet so rich that I can only eat half of it.

Mundaka, like my other favorite restaurant (Lalla Grill) serves foods that are made from all locally grown and organic produce and livestock. Or to be more specific:

 "we believe in serving “real” food only. YES: fresh, local, organic, biodynamic, free-range, line-caught, sustainable, fair-trade, home made, from scratch. NO: antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, high fructose corn syrup, artificial anything"

Not only is the food as pure as it can get but it's beautifully plated and the ambiance of the restaurant is wonderful and cozy and personal. It is decorated with recycled and salvaged items from buildings that were torn down in San Francisco and houses that burnt down in Big Sur.

The prices are very reasonable in my opinion. You are paying for the purest, freshest foods cooked by professionally trained chefs. You can get tapas or a large plate and it ranges from $2.00 single tapas to a $42.00 plate (steak). Most plates are in the $5.50 -9.50 range.

If you are looking to have the experience of Mundaka without spending too much, than  I recommend eating a light meal before going to the restaurant and choosing some of the smaller plates they have to offer. They will serve you a delicious plate of complementary toasted baguette with tomato and garlic butter with your meal as well. It's heavenly.

If you are eating on a weekend night call for reservations. And if you are having a romantic dinner for two you might get lucky and be seated in the most intimate spot in the restaurant. A tall cubby under the stairs with a curtain that they welcome you to pull together for more privacy.

How can a dining experience get any better than that?


*pictures came from the Mundaka web page photo gallery.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Darlyn Jeanne


Starting as early as grade school I remember kids having to leave school  for a few days to attend the funerals of their grandparents. The older I got the more frequently it happened and I told my friends, "I'm sorry for your loss" but had trouble feeling empathetic since it had become such a common thing. Even though I watched Nini, (my Moms, Mother) struggle with Leukemia practically my whole life, and even when the prognosis was at its worse and I worried, I never truly accepted that she was going to die. And she didn't. At least not from the Leukemia.

No, the years went by and even when the doctors gave her 6 months or a year she still pressed forward. She never complained, she was always on her feet, working hard, meeting new people, making new friends, calling and writing her friends and family, sending out care packages, reading book after book, and finishing her crossword puzzles. She was truly taking advantage of ever precious minute she had and I think that for every minute she cherished, God gave her another minute to live.

 When she passed away I didn't really confide in my friends and the amount of grief I showed in front of my family has been limited. Because of this I feel like I have yet to come to accept that my Nini is gone.

Since she passed in early April of this year (from a sudden onset of congenital heart failure) I've written my Grandfather several letters, never thinking much about addressing only him in the letters. But today I wrote only his name on the envelope and the emotion flooded over me.  Henry drew some great pictures today and I took the one specifically for his Great Grandfather, wrote a letter from Henry and put it in the envelope and then the thought of how much joy Nini would have gotten upon opening the letter came to me. She would have outwardly exclaimed how brilliant Henry is! She would have looked at it and been able to see all of the possibilities for Henry. She would have written him back with a picture that she drew herself. Something wonderful.

Anyone who knew my Nini would know that her loss was not hard just for her family but for every individual that she had come across. I like to believe that every person that Nini met was influenced in some way by her, whether it was a big or small way, and I know that those that were have passed something of her along to each person they have come across. Her kindness and generosity was infectious.

Nini was special to me. She was more than my Grandmother. She was my friend. I told her about my worries and my struggles because she would promise me that despite the mistakes I made, I was still a person that was worthy of wonderful things. She never let me leave her presence without re affirming my self worth. "You are beautiful inside and out.", she would say. And there was nothing patronizing or obligatory about the way she said it. I could see in her face and feel in her gentle touch that she thought the world of me.

I am sad that my son will not know her the way that I did but I am hoping that if I can be, even just a little like who she was, that he will know her through me.



Monday, August 22, 2011

negative calorie foods and the pros and cons of juicing.

I've been seeing a lot of talk about negative calorie foods lately. I've known for a while that celery was one but didn't realize how many wonderful tasty negative calorie foods there are. Negative calorie foods are foods that burn more calories when digest than they contain.
Check out these yummy negative calorie foods:



I like green smoothies/juice because it allows me to get my daily intake of fruits and veggies quickly. Most of the time I make my own green smoothies, but lately I've been drinking this stuff:


However,1 serving (8oz), has  27 grams of sugar!!! This is all natural sugar but after I saw that I decided to look up the pros and cons to juicing and came across this article from Food Republic. In it they say, " because juicing removes the fiber from fruit and veggies, your body absorbs fructose sugar from fruit juice more easily and this can upset blood sugar levels." so this leads me to believe that if you juice all of those lovely negative calorie foods listed above that they will cease to be negative calorie foods as your body wont need to work as hard to digest them. No wonder I feel so lethargic after drinking it.



Since I eat other fruits in addition to my green smoothie during the day I have to be careful about my sugar intake. Most people can pretty much ignore what they take in as far as natural sugars go but I shouldn't. I am insulin resistant so not over doing it is important. I try to keep my added sugar intake at about half of the daily recommended intake (40grams) and be reasonable about the amount of natural sugar I ingest. I don't want my insulin resistance to turn in to "diabeetus" ya know?

After spending a reasonable amount of time researching all of this I think I'm going to stick with eating all my fruits and veggies whole and just stay with my daily dose of Chlorophyll in liquid form.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Let them adventure, let them discover and then, if need be, take them to the doctor.

I love visiting with my friend Desiree. I dont' know if she will remember this but I first met her at a photo shoot that my other friend, Margaret, arranged for a bunch of girls. Desiree introduced herself to me in a way that would make me love her pretty much instantly. She said with her thick Mississippi accent, "Hi my name is Desiree, spelt like desire but with and extra E, last name Cantu like, "You can too" but with a T U".

Over the last year or so our friendship has really grown. The other day while we were visiting with each other we were talking about how as children we were often dirty, barefoot, climbing trees and well, just all out adventuring. We both had swampy areas by our houses and were cringing about how we used to adventure into them barefoot, touching squirmy reptilian things. Ignorance is bliss, we agreed. If we had thought about the leeches, malaria(?), salmonella, etc., we probably would have been terrified. My grandparents used to live in Monroe Louisiana and next to their house was a pond that they took my brother and I to swim in. Years later when my brother and I were older we were both horrified to learn that that pond had snapping turtles in it. My toes curled up inside of my feet just thinking about it. Again, ignorance is bliss.

But back to Desiree and I. We laughed about a woman who was concerned that Desiree was letting her daughter climb so high on one of the jungle gyms and asked Des, "What if she falls?" To which Des replied, "She will probably get hurt and then I will take her to the doctor." I laughed because it's exactly what I would have said. I let Henry climb play and learn to discover what his body is capable of. What I'm having problems with is him picking things off of the ground. I need to get over it. Obviously, I can be reasonable. Cigarette butts, needles, etc. are off limits but feathers, mud, rocks, bugs and all that fun stuff should be discovered. I have to remember that just because I don't like having dirty hands now doesn't mean that he shouldn't be able to play in the dirt. I loved to play in the dirt as a kid! I remember it well. If he catches something icky like lice, or a cold or whatever it may be than we will make a trip to the doctors. I would rather have a child with an adventures spirit than a child that is terrified of germs and of getting hurt.



it was hard for me to let him play in this stinky mud but he loved it.
If I can't catch him then he falls. I let him get scrapes and bruises and bumps on the head and then I kiss him and if need be take him to the doctor. He will learn to be careful but confident. He will learn his limits and hopefully with a little encouragement stretch those limits and do amazing things. Desiree and I care about our children's safety. Absolutely. And anyone questioning that will swiftly meet a knuckle sandwich, but we also care about our children's sense of self. We want them to challenge themselves and discover new things on their own so they can feel the sense of pride and confidence that comes with it.

Here is a picture of me at 2 years old. I'm the little one on the left with a cast on my leg. I just asked my Mom how it happened so that I could get the story right as I tend to mix up memories or make them up entirely. I remember wanting to do a cartwheel on the deck railing like a gymnast would on a balance beam, and falling off. My Mom came out to find me crying and took me to the doctors. My leg wasn't actually broken although that's the easiest way to explain the cast. Apparently when I fell the skin that surrounds the bone separated and filled with fluid and blood and a cast was needed to help it heal.


While my Mom never encouraged me to get on the railing and I'm sure she was hurting and worried for me and I know I was hurting, I'm glad that she still allowed me to be adventurous. I still went on to do gymnastics, climb trees, jungles gyms and more,(climb on top of refrigerators to eat cakes reserved for bakes sales), and when I got hurt, never once did I question whether my Mom cared about me. I still trusted her and felt safe with her even after my fall. I need to remember that Henry will get hurt but he wont blame me. He will seek me out to comfort him and if I do it correctly he will get up and carry on.

after sliding face first down a cement side walk.

The proof is in his smile.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

iSpy bag redo and a day of relaxation and movies


Last night I re-did Henry's iSpy bag, (transferred everything to this completely clear pencil pouch) and today he's played with it several times and really understands how the game works which is very pleasing.

Today has been a laid back movie day. I woke up easily, feeling great, drank my green smoothie, ready to take on the day and then threw up. I have no idea why. I feel fine now and even ate a large brunch two hours later. But I have been feeling a little tired and lethargic so I'm chalking it up to some kind of bug and taking it easy. The weather here has been dreary the last two days after one day that actually felt like summer around here. Monday was beautiful and warm and I'm hoping to have a few more days like it before we move. The movers are coming to pack our things on the 22nd of September, just over 5 weeks away and I'm starting to feel a little weepy over it. As much as I love Washington and miss it and all of my family there, I've never been happier than I have living here.

I got out of my shell and made several friends just one month after getting here, who I have come to love like family. And though the weather is often cloudy I appreciate the very moderate weather and the beautiful ocean and mountains. There isn't much to complain about living here. The grocery prices are a little high but that has been my biggest complaint really.

However, I prayed hard for Andrew's next station to be Georgia and in 5 months we will be settling in and I am excited for a new adventure! I'm thankful too. I just need to remember that when I start complaining about the heat and humidity.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I spy bag


I found the instructions for this iSpy bag on Pintrest but the original blog and post was done by Mom's Crafty Space. I liked her idea of hot gluing the ribbon to the zipper. That was my main concern in making this for Henry because I knew if he open up the zipper the mess would be epic. Honestly, Henry couldn't care less about....oh hey, as I was writing that he doesn't seem interested he suddenly took an interest in the bag. Well, isn't that they way it goes.
The only thing about this bag that I'm not fond of, at least for Henry's age and abilities, is how small the window is. I went to Target and bought some really cheapo clear pencil bags for .69 cents each so I think I'm going to redo his bag in one of those.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fire! Muwhahaha!


Aren't these flash cards cute? They are Earth Vocabulary Flash Cards by Mr.Printables and they're free!

When I showed Henry the picture of the flame he said, "Hot!" He didn't know the word fire because I always called it danger and hot. So the day I made these I taught him the word fire which he then repeat with squinted eyes and a menacing voice. "Noooooo." I said. Not "Fiiiiiiirrrreeee." Just, FIRE. And danger!"
Is it a boy thing to find fire so fascinating? He hasn't really seemed too interested in it until I taught him the word and then it ignited this primitive intuition about how powerful it is. Or at least that's what his borderline creepy little voice seemed to tell me.

Anyway, I printed these adorable flash cards, rounded the corners and laminated them. I also added the hole and the ring so that they will all stay together. Just click the word Mr. Printables above to go to their page. They have abc's and number flash cards as well as lots of other great teaching printables.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

burger.

This picture was taken from the burger. website.
We ate out for the second night in a row. We usually don't do that but we went for a late afternoon drive and ended up in the Santa Cruz area. We knew traffic would be bad on the way home and that Henry would be hungry and past his bed time so we had to stop. And where do you stop when in Santa Cruz for a good meal? Well I'm sure you can go to a lot of places but we like to go to burger.

burger.

That's what it's called. Just burger., but it's more than just a burger place. It's a place to go when you NEED not just a regular hamburger but a hamburger sandwiched between two krispy creme donuts. Or a burger covered in chili sandwiched between 2 whole grilled cheese sandwiches or.......Well, here, I'll just list the menu.

burgers.

all burgers served medium well. burgers are dressed with market fresh lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and our special house sauce. your choice of Humboldt grass-fed beef, Diestel turkey patty or our House Made veggie patty. burgers are served with a sampling of shoestring fries or sweet potato fries.
  • the burger.  $5.75
  • the Dude  $7.25  …  avocado  l  bacon  l  jack cheese
  • the Chuck Norris  $7.25  …  jalapeno  l  jack cheese
  • the Notorious B.I.G.  $7.25  …  bacon wrapped burger  l  baked beans  l  cole slaw
  • the Syd Barrett  $7.25  …  mushroom  l  swiss cheese
  • the Mike D  $6.75  …  house made veggie patty  l  jack cheese
  • the Jello Biafra  $6.75  …  house made veggie patty  l  jalapeno  l  jack cheese  l  donut bun
  • the Hank Wiliams Sr.  $7.75  …  onion rings  l  bacon  l  cheddar cheese  l  bbq sauce
  • the Chili Burger  $7.75  …  housemade chili  l  cheddar cheese
  • the Snooki  $7.75  …  a chili burger between two grilled cheese sandwiches
  • the Phatty  $7.75  …  a bacon cheeseburger between two grilled cheese sandwiches
  • the Redonkadonk  $8.25  …  the Phatty with grilled spam
  • the Kim Kardashian $13.50 … a double Phatty
  • the Luther  $6.75  …  a bacon and american cheese burger between glazed donut buns
  • the Johnny Marzetti  $7.75  …  a burger with house made mac n’ cheese and tomato
  • the Spicoli  $7.75  …  topped with fries, swiss cheese, guacamole and japapeno aioli
  • the Adam Sandler  $5.50  …  sloppy sloppy joe’s
  • the Pink BRGR  $9  …  house ground wild salmon with lemon dill aioli
  • the Monroe  $7 … a burger topped with artichoke hearts and aioli
  • the Dolly Parton $8.50 … our double burger
  • the Bluto Brutus $11.25 … our triple patty burger with a fried egg
  • the Lowrider $ 6.25 … a burger topped with pepper jack and house made salsa
  • the D.A.C. $ 7.25 … a burger topped with bacon, smoked cheddar, BBQ sauce and jalapeno aioli
  • the Jake Blues $7.75 … a bleu cheese and bacon stuffed burger
  • the Ah – Hee burger $9 … house ground sushi grade ahi tuna with cilantro chili limi aioli

sliders.

  • the Don Ho  $5.75  …  fresh pineapple and bacon aioli on hawaiian sweet rolls
  • the D.F. Wallace  $7.25  …  lobster and crab served on a new england bun
  • the Badabing Boy  $7.25  …  2 meatball sliders on a bed of garlic fries
  • the Kobe Sliders  $11  …  2 kobe beef sliders on sweet buns on a bed of tater tots
  • the Lamb Sliders  $9  …  2 topped with caramelized onions
  • the Wingnut  $5.75 … topped with grilled onions, bleu cheese and coleslaw
They also have hot dogs, pizza, sandwiches, salads, milkshakes and other desserts and 5 different kinds of fries. Their sweet potato fries are really tasty.

Today Andrew and I split a Monroe which has Swiss, artichokes and aioli on it. Oh goodness it was so good that I wish I had ordered a whole one for myself but since we ordered an extra side of sweet potato fries we were pretty satisfied.

My Dad is coming into town next month to be my driving buddy as Henry and I make the road trip back home. I was going to pick him up from the airport in San Jose and then get straight on the road to Washington from there but I'm thinking we are going to have to back track just a bit so he can have a burger to remember.

sinful and the Biebs

I picked out some nail polish last night after dinner at Lalla Grill (my wish was his command) and this morning I took some time to paint my nails. I always paint one nail in the store before I purchase a color and I picked several that were just awesome. Not only in color but in price at just $1.99 a bottle. Last night I bought two different colors by SINFULCOLORS PROFESSIONAL.  The first one, Dream On. A beautiful hot fuchsia-ish color. I also bought Midnight Blue which is the color that it sounds.

Here are my nails painted with Dream On.


And here is my ring finger painted in the Midnight Blue.



A tip for painting with the Dream On: It actually dries in a really cool mat texture so if you want the shine you need to add a top coat. I use Sally Hansen's Diamond Shine Base and Top Coat. I definitely put a base on my nails before using the polish. It helps keep the polish from staining my nails and it makes my polish last longer.

Did you know that on the East Coast ladies like to have their ring fingers done with an extra special polish or decals or rhinestones? A lady on a forum I was on talked about it and I gotta say, I like the idea so I'm sporting it today with this fancy color.


This sparkly color is called One Less Lonely Glitter, and is designed by Justin Bieber under Nicole by O.P.I. It was on sale for $6.50 at Target and I have no idea what the original price was. Probably around $9 bucks like most O.P.I. polishes. I poked fun at my late discovery of the designer of the nail polish but really, if Justin Bieber had any actual part in designing the polish, I would have to tell him good job. It coats very well and the color is pretty.

You know when the best time to paint your nails is? After you have done the dishes, showered, gotten dress and the kids are asleep. No smears here people!

Over and out!

Friday, August 12, 2011

a great day to make up for past bad days and bad days to come

Today has been a simple and yet extraordinary day with so many contributing factors. It's Friday, it's pay day, I spent time with wonderful friends this afternoon and heard great news from my beautiful sister. I am trying out a new snack recipe, Henry took a long nap and is now playing nicely by himself and I'm thinking we should celebrate all of our blessings with a nice dinner out on the town. Last time I got to choose the restaurant and so I asked my husband where he would like to go tonight and no word yet. I'm secretly hoping he will hand the choice back over to me so we can go to Lalla Grill which has been my choice for the last 3 outings. It's just so yummy that I can't think of any where else I'd rather go.

First of all it looks like this:


This is the outside patio, the inside is just as wonderful.


And second of all their menu is wonderful! I have to admit. I've ordered the same thing every time I've gone but only because it's so amazing. I order the Carpet Bagger Steak Bites which are oysters wrapped in steak strips and a piece of bacon served on a bed of baby arugula with a honey mustard dressing and the combination of flavors really does it for me. Last time we went Andrew chose the crab cakes and we traded one for one and they were  just as delicious.

I have yet to try a dessert there but have heard wonderful things about it and I've enjoyed several of their drinks which are very creative and have cute names. The atmosphere is really nice and the servers have all been wonderful. The seating is comfortable and intimate and the food is decently priced. In fact you will pay the same for a crappy meal at Applebees as you would at Lalla's. Did I mention they buy and use local, organic produce and meats? And their kids meals are wonderful. We ordered Henry the chicken strips which were actual pieces of chicken that were breaded and baked and were so very tasty! No processed meats here! Everything is house made.

Well, my honey roasted chickpeas are almost done cooking. Just 10 more minutes for the honey to cook until it creates a nice shell and then we shall tastes the goodness. Hopefully!

*The above picture was taken from the Lalla Grill website.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

fighting the guilt of a lazy day

I've earned a lazy day this week. Especially after working "overtime" most nights in the last week. Yesterday evening I cleaned out and organized my craft storage room until 9:45. But no matter how much I've earned it I can't help but feel guilty about it anyway. Or maybe it's the fear of 1 day turning in to 2.

 I will give myself credit in showering and getting out the door before 10am this morning. I was planning on being naughty and making another trip to Michael's but last minute I went to Goodwill instead to see if they might have what I need first. They didn't but I got a few useful things.

The first good find was a brand new Dr.Seuss book, Fox in Socks. This is a Dr.Seuss book that I've seen but never read. Have you ever tried reading it? It's almost painful. My tongue and jaw were sore by the end and I'm pretty sure my son had a, "what the hell are you reading to me" moment. I did enjoy the challenge though.



I also purchased a cheapo place mat with a map of the world on it so Henry can learn the states, countries and oceans. The ladies that work in this particular Goodwill are nutty and nonsensical and extremely giving. I've come to love them. Today's nutty worker was checking out my items when she notice that two didn't have price tags. A brand new coffee mug and the cheapo placemat. She charged one dollar for the place mat and fifty cents for the new mug and I giggled in my head. It doesn't bother me. They've given me items for nothing before, (shhh, I don't know if they are even allowed to do that but they refuse to let me pay!!!) so I have no problem paying $1 for a place mat that is worth less than a 1ply piece of toilet paper.

My other purchase was a to-go coffee mug which was also one dollar AND pink, so double win.



The day is still young and my crafty bone is itching. Maybe I will get something useful done today after all.....