February 28, 2014

TWELVE

He's a:

1.  Good Student

2.  Loves Football

3.  Great Memory

4.  Helpful (when he wants to be)

5.  He's definitely from his Father's side of the family

6.  All Boy

7.  Ipod Obsessed

8.  Plays Tough

9.  Freckles Make Him Handsome

10.  Smart

11.  Loves Lacrosse

12.  And The Walking Dead

Wishing my (official!) pre-teen son, who is sometimes moody, but still loveable, a very Happy 12th Birthday!  As we venture into this new stage of life, please be gentle. Have some pity for your aging parents. Love your brother, even when he annoys you. He's the only one you've got!

February 25, 2014

Weekend Recap

~ We finally have a working Kindle in the house again. It's a miracle.

~ But they sent me two? As of Friday night, I had a total of 4 Kindles in the house. The big joke over the weekend was how many more Kindles would show up on the doorstep!

~ Two Kindles and an incorrect PetSmart.com order were returned via UPS yesterday; today I will deal with the 4th Kindle that erroneously arrived.

~ Lacrosse try outs were had as well as the 1st spring season soccer practice

~ I took advantage of the warmer weather on Saturday (53 degrees!) and thoroughly cleaned out the inside of my car. However, the gust of the wind that slammed the door on my knee? P-A-I-N. For a moment, I thought my leg was broken. The bruising is terrible. It still really hurts but my car is CLEAN!

~ And yes, there was cake. Cookie cake. Bud's 12th Birthday was celebrated a little early.


~ Yesterday was a glorious day off for me and the boys had school. No delays. No snow. Ah, joy. I spent a good part of the day running errands but that is therapeutic to me. I also did 5 loads of laundry and spring-cleaned my bedroom. It was a very productive day and just what I needed.



February 21, 2014

Kindle Fire Woes

Last year Boo wanted a laptop in the worst way. At the time he was 8 years old. Buying an laptop for an 8 year old seemed wrong. We have a family computer so he didn't need his own. He wanted the laptop for the sole purpose of playing Minecraft. We stood firm and said no, so he saved his money and bought a tablet computer. Enter the Kindle Fire.

It is a nice device, it's fast, and has a bright screen. We brought it home, set it up, and immediately put it in an Otter Box for protection. He played with it off and on for about 2 months and then it got put in a drawer and forgotten about. Typical.

As Christmas was approaching and I signed up for an Amazon Prime trial subscription, we pulled out the Kindle Fire hoping to take advantage of the Amazon Prime perks. But the Kindle would not charge. We tried various cords and outlets and sometimes it would charge but it would take f-o-r-e-v-e-r and then you would start to use it and the battery would drain almost immediately. We tried resetting it. We'd let it sit and try everything all over again. Nothing worked.

So I finally called Kindle Customer Service to report the problem. It was our lucky day. The one year warranty was still in effect so they would ship us out a "new" one right away.  I wasn't sure what new meant, if it would actually be new or not but I was happy to be receiving a replacement, especially since our Kindle hadn't been used much and I was certain it had not been damaged in any way.

The new Kindle arrived yesterday. It wasn't new but refurbished. As long as it works, great, right? HA. The "new" Kindle Fire that was shipped would not turn on either!  I tried plugging it in, the Kindle Fire screen would pop up like it was starting up and then the screen would go black. No indication the device was charging or if it needed to be charged. Are you kidding me?? 

So again, I called Kindle Customer Service. Now I have TWO defective Kindle Fire's in my possession. And yes, you guessed it, another one is being shipped out to me today. I wonder how many they will send me?

Keep your fingers crossed the third Kindle will be the charm. If not, I give up.  Stay tuned!


February 19, 2014

It's Birthday Time Again

We're celebrating Bud's 12th birthday with our family this weekend. It's a tad early but schedules meant doing it this weekend or not until later in March. His actual birthday is February 28th and for some reason, celebrating it in March always seems wrong to me because he was born in February, albeit the very last day of the month. Usually!

With his "advanced" years, planning a party has become more challenging. He doesn't like Scooby Doo or Spongebob anymore and we've overused the football theme. I love to plan a party around a theme. That's when the ideas start to flow! But he's a boy. I can't do all the cute and fun stuff girls would appreciate. I have to surf the internet to scratch that itch.  I love my boys to the moon and back but boys are boring when it comes to party planning.

So I'm sticking to a normal birthday theme, colors and simple "Happy Birthday" plates. It does make things easier...  but I did make a candy bouquet to be the centerpiece on the table:



It was very simple to make. I took a small glass vase I had at home, jammed a floral foam block in the top of it, attached the candy to skewers with tape, and arranged them by poking the sticks through the floral foam block. Then I covered it with tissue paper (cellophane would work well too).  I also cut a few strips of the tissue paper to twist through the sticks on top to hide the sticks and floral foam. All the candy, tissue paper, floral foam and cute ribbon were purchase at Dollar Tree. Love that store! 

p.s. I have fixed the stick on the Starburst!


February 18, 2014

Snow Pack

It's still accumulating. It may never melt. The boys may never have a full week of school ever again.  I like winter, I do, but even I've had enough.

I'm tired of constant dirty floors.

I'm tired of constant wet dog.

I'm tired of freezing my ass off when I take the wet dog for a walk every night because he doesn't care that it's only 10 degrees outside. He wants his walk regardless, Master Slave!


Moving to a warmer climate looks more appealing with each passing day. It's a shame it's such a pain in the ass to move!


February 13, 2014

Spot the Kitty

Do you see her?


Gunner did not.

If he had, it would have been all Tom & Jerry up in here.


February 12, 2014

A Prediction

I'm going to go out on a limb and predict yet another snow day for my children tomorrow. At this rate, they might be in school until July. And I just might lose my mind.

I know. Please don't say it. I will miss them one day. I should cherish these days. I should be happy I have healthy children who can go to school. I am. I am a lucky mom, I'm well aware of that. But that doesn't take away the stress that comes with being off from school every other freaking day.  Routines are disrupted. Work? I haven't been on time since I can't remember. Kids whine. Kids get incredibly lazy. The Duggars we are not. Kids whine when they actually have to go to school. And kids lose their minds when all that make-up work is sent home as homework.

Monday night was a baaaaad night in our home.  My 4th grader has morphed into flea high on sugar. He had a lot of work to do, including some classwork he did not complete. All this random time off from school has melted his brain and ruined the school routine. I realize it's winter and snow happens, but it's a disruption taking away the tender ability my 9 year old has to focus on school work. 4th grade is a tough year in school and all this time off is. not. helping.

As of right now, school won't let out until June 18th. It's going to be a very long four months.


February 11, 2014

Chicken & Vegetable Stir Fry

A few weeks ago I made a chicken and broccoli stir fry using a stir fry sauce from a jar. It was "all natural, no preservatives" with readable ingredients on the label but it did not go over well. So, I took to the internet to find a from-scratch stir fry sauce recipe.

I was feeling peppy last night when I got home from work so I decided to give the stir fry sauce recipe a try.


It looks good, right?

It was delicious! Here's what you do:

2/3 cup soy sauce (I used reduced sodium soy)
1/2 c chicken broth
1/3 c rice wine (I substituted 1/4 c apple cider vinegar)
3 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp sesame seed oil
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp garlic
1 tbsp ginger

Bring all of that to a boil. Meanwhile, dissolved 2 tbsp of cornstarch into 1/4 c of water. Once the sauce is boiling, reduce to a simmer and add the cornstarch/water mixture. This will thicken up the sauce.

In a separate pan, saute the chicken. Once the stir fry sauce is ready, add the sauce to the chicken, add the vegetables, and let that simmer for about 10 minutes.

For the vegetables, I used an Asian vegetable mix and an extra bag of broccoli. Both were the smaller "steam-ables" vegetable packages you can find in the frozen food section of your grocery store.

I wish I could say one of my children gave this a try. Before I added the sauce, I reserved some of the diced chicken and vegetables to serve to my boring son. He dipped the chicken in BBQ sauce. The other one ate chicken nuggets, as usual. I am a professional short order cook.

Enjoy!

February 10, 2014

Overheard in My Kitchen

"Mom! My tooth fell out at school today" (while he's placing said tooth on the counter)

"Well that's good, can we get it off the counter? Didn't they give you one of those tooth-holder things at school?"

"Yes (he puts the tooth away) ... It was really loose so I started playing around with it during math. I could have pulled it out but I didn't want to miss math, because I like math, so I waited until lunch to pull it out."

Can I hope this enthusiasm for math will always continue? 

I guarantee my 9 year old would have missed math and spent as much time in the nurse's office that he could possibly spend in order to avoid going back to class!  

Two brothers, so different, in just about every way.

February 7, 2014

Chocolate Soy Milkshake

I have a new favorite dessert. I'm trying to cut back on sugar, which is really hard, while increasing some good-for-my-aging-body foods. I managed to sneak quinoa into a rice dish I fed to my family last week and no one detected a thing. They all ate it, even my ultra picky 11 year old.

But dessert, I love dessert. It's always been my downfall. If I had a choice between eating dinner or eating dessert, I'd pick dessert every single time.

Looks good, right?



Add 1 cup of ice, 1 cup of chocolate soy milk (I used Silk Light Chocolate) and 1/2 a banana. Blend/puree well. You end up with very decent size "milkshake" for about 140 calories.

Enjoy!


February 5, 2014

It Will Get Done

I'm almost embarrassed to confess that our 1/2 bathroom still isn't completed. It's the only room in our house that was wallpapered floor to ceiling. Every other trace of wallpaper has been removed from my home (boy's bathroom and 1 bedroom).   I don't think I've yet mentioned in 2014 how much I hate wallpaper so here it is again... I HATE WALLPAPER.

But this wallpaper is special. It was apparently put on the walls as the house was being built because as I was removing it, I discovered the walls were not painted and I could see pencil markings on the drywall, probably written by the construction workers (and it was applied completely behind the toilet!)  We are the second owners of this house. It was built in 1999. What makes this wallpaper special is how ugly it is. You would never know that someone in 1999 picked out this wallpaper on PURPOSE to put up in a beautiful, newly constructed home. It baffles my mind.

So I started scraping off the wallpaper too long ago. It's  been so long.  It's chore and a half and I'd get annoyed every time I had to think about doing it. But I was doing so much damage to the drywall, it wasn't even worth my time trying to get it off.  At first we decided to just rip down the drywall and start over ... but that's a pain in the ass. Been there, done that, don't want to live through it again.




This is how it looks right now. Apparently my husband is finally tired of listening to me whine about the state of the bathroom that he finally started demolition. I'm not sure if you can pick up the detail in the wallpaper, but it's a creamy tan color with brushstrokes of mauve, mint green, and a darker tan. Ugly. But even better? The counter top matched.



Good bye, pink-hued counter-top I will not miss you.

With any luck, when finished, it will look a lot like this:



I will paint our existing vanity a "shark" gray and custom-order a counter-top (since we have to fill an odd-length space ... isn't that always the way?!)  We plan to use v-groove paneling to achieve the same horizontal look as you can see in the photo.  We will panel right over the existing drywall and leftover wallpaper. This way, one day in the future, if someone else demolishes the bathroom, they too can enjoy the brush-stroked Aztec-like wallpaper that someone once thought was a good decorating choice. 

With any luck and a lot of cooperation from my Husband, I hope this will be completed by my birthday. It's all I really want anyway so I think it's a good goal to aim for. March 25 is D-day!

Wish us luck!


February 4, 2014

At Least The Cupcakes Were Good

You definitely can't say that about the game!  To get all the way to the biggest football game of the year and play like that? I'm assuming all Bronco players are currently in hiding. Congratulations, Seattle Seahawks. I was rooting for you. I really like your uniforms.

Does it annoy anyone else that a majority of the Superbowl commercials were leaked online before the game?  Sometimes the internet is good, and sometimes it's not. Why can't we be patient and be surprised?  I really miss the 90's.

Oh the dip! The dip was absolutely fantastic. You must make it for your next party.  Every last glob of it was smeared onto a piece of bread. So very good!!


Yes, I cheated and used canned frosting. Sometimes you just need canned frosting. The funny thing is when I do? Never any leftovers. Go figure.