Friday, April 29, 2011

Oh the Sweetness

It's Friday! I have lots to do today in preparation of Ry Guy's birthday party tomorrow. I decided to have it at home because I may be a little bit insane. (Also there is a huge art festival in town and the park is going to be full of out-of-town day trippers.) So, that means I have a cake to bake (and decorate in a Toy Story theme), clean the bathroom and kitchen (not so bad), spruce up the living and dining room (mainly dusting), and then there's The Playroom. I'm thinking I'll just put away about half the toys so tomorrow afternoon (the party is at 5:30) I can freak out about whether or not I have enough food instead of all the Hot Wheels and various Mr. Potato Head parts strung out across the floor. Actually that does sound like a good plan. Well, not the freaking out about not having enough food, but the toys being put away, yes.
As you may or may not know, yesterday was my birthday! T planned a surprise birthday party for me (apparently my dad was pretty involved as well) last night at my parent's house. My whole family was there and it was a lot of fun. We had tacos and my mom made me a coconut cream cake. So delicious!!

Now I am off to make another cake. I have eaten cake every day the last week. But I am starting to really desire savory foods. Good thing we're having burgers tomorrow! It is lunch time right now though and...

I'm starved. Must. Find. Food.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Letter A

Yesterday while I was in the WalMart I found some alphabet flash cards for the kids. These are laminated and have a sentence with the learning letter dotted to trace. The kit included a dry erase marker and eraser. It is made by Crayola and was $8, the cards and all come in a handy hard plastic case so you will have a better time keeping up with them. The cards are front and back and both sides are laminated for writing/tracing. I snatched these up because I thought it was a good price and because my homemade flash cards really lacked pictures and creativity. D-Man is going to start kindergarten next fall (2012) and T and I have decided to really dive into teaching him the basics that he will need to know. He hasn't seemed very interested in the alphabet so I started out yesterday with just the letter A. We decided to focus only on one letter a week so that there is no confusion and he can really soak up all there is to know about each letter. For example this morning we spent approximately 10-15 minutes focused on A. He studied the flash card and then I spread out our homemade cards and had him find A after mixing up the letters several times. We also traced big and little A and he decided to write it on his own and did an awesome job! I was really impressed with how little time I felt we spent that he could already write it on his own. I also wrote out some sentences and had him find all the A's for me. He really impressed me today!


Here he is tracing A on Mama's homemade worksheet. (Please ignore my weird fingers)

Today is also my birthday. I feel no older than yesterday and I'm not telling my age. Not because I think I'm old, but because I like to keep you guessing. 

Have A Super Day,
 P.S. Here is a link to the Crayola Wipeoff Flashcards at Amazon.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nothing Happened and Ry is 3!

That's a lie. Things did happen yesterday. The first significant thing has to do with Ry Guy and glasses. Then there is the other significant thing: NO rain.

For a couple months we have noticed something "off" with Ry's vision. We finally wrangled some money to see the eye doctor and (I was right) he needs glasses. He has what is called Strabismus or crossed eyes. His left eye muscles haven't developed properly and he also needs prescription lenses. I'm just really happy that this is a correctable problem. We get to start some eye exercises to increase his muscle strength looking to his left with his left eye. He picked blue glasses and looked super adorable in them at the doctor's office. Ry did amazing with the shape chart and would tell the doc, "That's another circle...that's a square...a heart...that's a house...I already told you, that's a square!" It got pretty boring for him but he stayed with us and didn't loose focus. Then we had to dilate his eyes. This was definitely the worse part. He hated getting the drops in his eyes, but did get a new car out of the treasure box for being a good sport. While we were finding him glasses he ddecided he was done and wouldn't look at me or the lady helping pick out his glasses. I got three pair on him before he went into "Let's get outta here" mode. (It had been 2 hours and past nap time.) I vetoed the Harry Potter glasses (I don't know what the lady was thinking when she put those on him), tried to have him try on a rectangular type which I didn't really see because at that point he was laying on the floor, so I choose the squarish frames that I did see on him for like 3 seconds. Overall, my 2 year and 364 day old son stayed on ridiculously good behavior for me. (Today is his 3rd birthday! We are partying Saturday although he is getting a gift tonight and I put candles on his cinnamon rolls this morning and sang Happy Birthday to him.)

As for the significant rain, which we desperately need, there was none. We have been under 2 tornado watches (Monday and Tuesday) with a whopping 20% chance of rain. In case I failed to mention it we live in Texas and are in an Exceptional Drought (which is the worst possible). I'm sure if you have watched the news (even national news) you probably have heard about all the terrible wild fires in Texas. We seriously need rain, but apparently all we can get is lots of wind (bad, bad, bad!) and tornadoes. Last night I was super hopeful because I saw this incredible cloud coming across the sky and it totally let me down. 

This cloud was moving south to north with the sunset
behind it. 

This was coming straight over our house moving the same direction but higher in the atmosphere. 

Nothing happened.

Even though I packed the diaper bag in case we needed to get to our storm shelter. (Which is just another house out here, only it has a slab foundation and is very sturdy.)

That was that. Now I need to get my list ready and head to the grocery store to pick up a few things. 

Happy Birthday Ry-Guy. Love you always and forever, 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Just Some Pictures

 Little Rose carried this blue egg the entire time. And threw a fit when I tried to put it in the basket.

 By far the best Easter for Ry-Guy.

This one was snatching up eggs left and right!
Except the one placed in a bowl with spider webs. He graciously let Ry-Guy grab that one. Then he told him to put in his basket!

Hope you had a great Easter weekend,

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Weekend-ness

Our Easter weekend is full of good times! The boys are getting haircuts with our brand new clippers. One down, one to go. I love these clippers.
Little Rose got new shoes. The first pair I picked at the store actually fit! While I was strapping her pretty little sandals on an older gentleman came over and handed me a 20% off coupon. How sweet of him. Now I have to pass it on, right? The good deed I mean...I had to surrender the coupon.
T got some awesome Craftsman tools. We were under the (wrong) impression that the set didn't come with a battery or charger. I don't know why it wouldn't, we could've just read the box. He got two batteries but no charger. While I was engraving his name on his tools I found the charger and battery in the box. Then I read the box where it says they are included. He is outside right now, but I bet he will be so thrilled when he finds out! I'm charging that battery up for him (cause I am such a sweetheart). I got a new lip gloss and some some foundation. I like the lip gloss. The foundation made me look like a....ghost/zombie/dweller of an asylum. Apparently holding the bottle next to your face in WalMart does NOT help picking out a match for skin tones. It has been years since I bought foundation. I don't know why I feel compelled to tell you my purchases from my most recent trip to town. I'm sure you are dying to know what else I got. Too bad!
The real reason I even logged on to post anything was to say "Happy Easter" to y'all. So there. I hope it's really wonderful and everything you thought it would be.
I have to go finish everything I started,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An Unspoken Bond

I'm going to show you a picture of my favorite chicken. If you have only seen chickens from picture books or from far away this is not the same. This is going to explain why middle child is scared of chickens. They just look plain creepy. Chickens have beady looking eyes, weird prehistoric looking feet, pointy beaks that they occasionally peck you with and when they get excited they fly up all around you and freak you out. OK, so they freak me out when they start flying around, not necessarily anyone else. But, I understand why Ry gets freaked out by them and says they are going to "get him" when they get within a 5 foot radius of him. This chicken is our only White Leghorn we have. She has been with us for two years now? I think. Anyhow, she survived the hawks and chicken snakes for two years and lays the biggest eggs of all. I give a lot of eggs away, but never hers. I hide them away to bake with. She is never been broody, never fought for food, always a happy little girl.
Here's the thing though, she's getting old. Her eggs are becoming a rarity and the shells are quite thin. It makes me a little sad to think about her going into retirement. I think I will just put her in my garden when she stops laying eggs. She can live out the rest of her days in peace eating grasshoppers for me. I have tried not to get attached to any animals, but when it comes down to it, she's really my favorite. I'm always happy to see her when I go to water and feed the chickens.
Isn't she just a darlin'? 

It's a face only a mother could love,

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Bouncing Good Time

It's Monday, which means you get to hear about my wonderful weekend! Friday I recieved a message that our trampoline was in. I had it delivered to our small town Sears because I didn't want to spend $90 on shipping. (It was on sale when I bought it- $90 off and an additional 5% off) I was not going to spend my savings on outrageous shipping charges. I went and picked it up and thankfully my mom was able to help me slide it out of her suburban when we got home. The thing weighed over 170 pounds! Apparently the trampoline had been the talk at the Sears store. When I picked it up all the employees had something to say about it. Like, they wished they were the ones getting the trampoline. I didn't know what the hype was about because sadly I had NEVER been on a trampoline. It's true, I know I wouldn't forget something so awesome if I had been able to experience it in my childhood. We set it up after the kids went to sleep. I think it was around 9pm when we started. It was 2am when I got to bed. Thankfully we have a security light on our electric pole so we didn't have trouble seeing much. After some miscounting by me and having to adjust a bunch of springs which pinched T's hands and gave him multiple blood blisters we were done. T immediately started jumping and doing back-flips and I kinda jumped a couple times but was pretty tired and nervous about the whole thing. I have issues with feeling "out of control". Anyhow I was heading back into the house when I heard T saying something along the lines of, "HELP! I'm stuck!" I turned and saw that he was practically all the way off of the trampoline. Thank goodness we set up the enclosure, it was holding him above the ground but he was so far off the trampoline he couldn't get himself up. I had to go push him back onto the trampoline. Needless to say, the netting there is a little stretched out. I am secretly glad it happened because if it was able to hold a grown man surely will hold my little darlings.

The boys woke up the next morning and the first thing they asked was if they could get on the trampoline. They love it. They spent three continuous hours on it. The even ate breakfast there. So far they are making it well worth the money. I'm not sure they have ever enjoyed something so much. I was going to put up a picture but I only have pictures with T doing back-flips and me looking very stiff. I do have a better time jumping alone because I am paranoid that I might cause them some injury.
That was pretty much our weekend. We spent the entire time on the trampoline.
Now I'm back to real shopping and laundry,

Friday, April 15, 2011

Brand Spankin' New

Yes, I received my camera yesterday afternoon. I had to wait several hours before I got to use it or even take it out of the box, too. It seemed like a torture game. The reason I had to wait around to even open the box and all was because my god daughters were here visiting. So I didn't get any pictures of them but there could have been a million dollars in that box and I would have just left it there on the table while I enjoyed those cutie-pies. When they left I had to cook supper and then pulled out the camera only to realize I had to charge the battery pack first. Why did I think a rechargable battery was the way to go? (I think an extra battery is in my future.) Anyhow, around 8:30 last night I took my first pictures and I was pretty impressed right off the bat. It's got this fancy "smile dectection" and "face dtection" mode which is cool. It took a series of pics of Ry Guy in the smile mode and they turned out great. Then T had to test it out with not smiling and smiling. It would immediately detect his smile and take a picture. So much for trying to confuse it. It has a lot more modes and of course I am trying to figure it all out. I just went out and took a couple pictures of the dogs and I guess Lori is camera shy. She kept hiding when I pointed the camera her way. I got one picture of her though and it's not the best but I have to show you our "possum dog" at some point.

So, the camera is a Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS. It's tiny but powerful. It's got a textured coating (not that super smooth glossy finish) which I find helps with gripping the camera, especially if you ever get clammy hands. Here is the link to see it yourself. (Canon doesn't know anything about me, I just wanted to show you my cool new camera.)

Hopefully I will get several years out of this camera and thousands of pictures. I don't know what I will do with thousands of pictures but I do have a lot of bare walls!

Everyone smile!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dogs, Hot Wheels and Smells

This is going to be pretty random, just warning you.

We usually have our dogs kenneled at night but we decided to give them a chance at freedom and they decided to bark and chase owls all night. This did not go over well with me because I am not a heavy sleeper, although I can sleep through various noise, barking dogs is not one of them. And if you ever hear our dog Lori bark you will understand not being able to sleep through that. So, I told T that those dogs better be in their kennels last night and he retorted, "If a raccoon kills the chickens then it'll be on you." I really could have cared less since I like my sleep and all but I gave those dogs another chance. And they barked all night. I am almost certain that 90% of their barking is at the wind blowing. There's no denying that Lori let us know every time that dreaded mountain lion was here picking off our lambs, but there is only so much getting up to check on those barks I can handle. Now it's T's turn to get up and call them back to the house because I'm not getting out of bed in the middle of the night for dogs anymore. I eventually can tune them out, but it takes more effort than I'd like to exert in the middle of the night, you know? Anyhow, T said they blew their chance because they woke me up again last night. Ha, they didn't even know they were getting a second chance.

I don't like how my kitchen smells. Especially when I keep forgetting to wash the roasting pan I used last week and then shoved in the corner to let it soak. It didn't let me forget it last night. I even got the question, "Do we have a dead mouse in here?" Um, no, that would be my roasting pan.... Remember that yummy roast last week? Anyhow, you can't really forget something after your husband suggests that something has died in the kitchen. I washed that pan right away this morning. Gagging and all. Sorry, y'all. And don't get all grossed out about dead mice, it happens out here in the country. And even in towns and cities. Remember the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse? That maybe should've had a disclaimer at the beginning.

We ordered a trampoline for our Ry-Guy's birthday. Yeah, I have never been on a trampoline so I am pretty darn excited about it. And since they don't even understand the concept we have told the kids about it and how exciting it will be. I am also excited because I am hoping that it will keep them outside longer. Like, long enough that I can put away the piles of clothes that have started taking over my room. Maybe I am also praying that by them being outside the house will stay neater as well. I try to keep it picked up but it gets a little old when I clean the living room then go into another room and when I go back through the living room it's covered in hot wheels cars and trains. I scream a silent string of words that are unacceptable to say in front of children (or here) feel defeated and give up. What is even sadder is I keep going through their millions of toys and try to get rid of them. Then they find that box and discover "new" toys. I also can't get rid of the hot wheels because T said he would have noticed if any of his were missing as a child and my boys definitely notice when theirs are missing. I think they have them all memorized somehow. "Which yellow car are you looking for? There are 7 of them right here is it possible you could use one of them?" "No, it's the yellow car with the red stripe that I got 4 weeks ago and I forgot I even had it until today when I thought it'd be awesome if you dropped whatever you're doing in there and helped me look for it for a few hours." That is pretty much when I shout out a pretty awesome quote from that TV show with those characters named Elaine, George, Kramer and Jerry. It goes something like, "Serenity now! Serenity now!" It's a daily occurrence. You'll understand if you have children.

If you made it through that, thanks for listening.

Monday, April 11, 2011

They Have Reared Their Ugly Heads

We had quite a busy weekend. I was really ready to just put my feet up and relax yesterday evening after multiple trips into town over three days. I was worn out. I grabbed some root beer and Blue Bell ice cream before heading home yesterday and T and I enjoyed us some delicious floats after we put the kids in bed. 
Saturday night's Pancake Showdown was yummy to my tummy. The general consensus was my father-in-law's pancakes were delicious but possibly too sweet for syrup. He made apple pie pancakes. I thought they were great as well, but I could only eat one! I got lots of compliments about my Sunday Pancakes being light and fluffy. They also lent well to adding syrup which ended up really completing the pancake. So, it wasn't really a fair competition, I thought, because our pancakes were so different. Everyone enjoyed it though and that's what matters around here.
The weathermen got me all excited about the chance of rain last night... but no rain graced our dry land. I went out this morning to water my garden and found a horrid mess of tiny grasshoppers everywhere. So I immediately starting searching for any remedies to destroy those so hated pests. I vow to try my best to destroy them and protect my precious vegetables from them. I will not relive last years complete and utter demise of my green beans. Three days of destruction. I don't think I can handle it again. It's April for heaven's sake and these evil grasshoppers are conspiring against me already.  I have to be quiet though for fear if they hear my plans to suffocate them with dish soap and oil they will instantly evolve and develop a resistance to such treatment.
Planning my demise of the evil grasshopper empire,

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Ramblin' and Such

It's grocery shopping day here. My favorite and least favorite day of the week. I'm sure everyone can relate to that. Yea! I get to stock up on snacks and apple juice for another week and No! please don't make me go to that place. I just don't like crowds. Or standing in checkout lines. Or walking a mile through the store and then remembering something on the opposite side. This is so much fun and I haven't left my house yet! Other than that really fun trip waiting to happen we are planning a really awesome weekend. We plan on spending some time at Home Depot or Lowes, the mechanic shop and home. Home improvements this weekend and regular maintenance stuff for the cars. Home was pretty obvious; sorry if I made you think we were going on a grand vacation! It would be really nice though.
I thought you'd like to know what's on my grocery list. It's not really that interesting but this is what I get when I tell T to add what he needs to the list: Shot gun shells, 1/2" corded drill, jeans. And then there's just the regular stuff: allergy medication, milk, graham crackers, bananas... predictable. I just like looking down and seeing "shot gun shells" on my list. Tell me we aren't country now. As for the drill, he can find that himself tomorrow.

Pretend it's been about 18 hours since you read the above paragraph. It's Saturday and we have been everywhere, man. I took our Jeep in yesterday while I wandered the aisles of Wal Mart. I didn't take it to Wal Mart actually. I took it to our mechanic and they did all that routine stuff to it. It only cost me my left arm. Today we took in the car T has been driving and got new tires. That cost an arm and a leg. He also got his drill...I pretty much made him get it. He was ready to hyperventilate about getting new tires on the car but I did NOT want to hear about how worthless his old drill was and how he wished he could have a better one. We were there. We had money. We spent said money. He is happy. And that makes a happy Mama. Then we meandered over to the Best Buy and Staples to look at printers. It's been a couple years since I have had a printer of my own, so I let the store get the best of me and ran out the doors screaming about technology and robots taking over the world. I really didn't know what anything on the little description cards meant. It prints at what speed (and why does it matter?) Laser or ink jet? All in one or, well, I didn't see any that were sole printers. I did pick one at each store and then told T I would decide at home. Haven't decided. I DID however, on a much happier note, decide on a camera!!! Yes, that does require 3 exclamation points from me. When I get it sometime next week I will post some awesome pictures and tell you which camera I chose. Until then I will leave you hangin'.

Wait! Don't go, I have to tell you, my father-in-law and I are having a little pancake showdown tonight. I am making my lovely Sunday Pancakes and he is making super fruit filled (I can't compete with him) pancakes. I don't think anyone will actually be judging so it's all in fun. And who can resist pancakes? Not I.

Have a fabulous weekend,

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pizza Dough, Corn Dogs, Etc.

Last night I tried a new pizza dough recipe. It's a keeper. It was so easy to make and definitely kicked my old pizza dough's butt. We had gotten into a pizza dough rut. The same dough every Sunday night... always turned out a little tough, too crunchy for the kids, the toppings were totally masking the unremarkable crust we had grown accustomed to. That's probably why homemade sauce and fresh mozerella were the stars of the show. Not that there's anything wrong with delicious toppings, but we could make a nice pasta dish out of the same stuff. The crust is where it all begins... the blank, yet perfect canvas that holds our favorite toppings together. I must give The Pioneer Woman all the credit for this crust. It's in her cookbook (The Pioneer Woman Cooks) which I have had for over a year now just waiting for me to try it. It's also free on her website here. I have tried many of her recipes and never has one disappointed me. I didn't have olive oil (what is wrong with me?! I keep forgetting to put it on the grocery list) and substituted canola oil and it turned out very well. I will not go back to my old recipe, in fact I may black it out of my cookbook. The Crust. It was very easy to work with and I spread it out in the pizza pans with my fingers like the recipe stated. It was much thicker than our usual dough so I expected the bottom to be a little soggy, however, it was beautiful and crisp! A perfect golden brown crust that was the perfect combination of crunchiness, chewiness, and airiness (is that a made up word?) that I have been waiting to devour. T said it was by far the best crust yet. The kids actually ate their crust instead of declaring it inedible, because our old crust used to crack our teeth. I just can't say enough about this crust. It was perfection.

I am frantically researching cameras and am proceeding to narrow it down. I keep finding wonderful things to take pictures of and start reaching for my camera only for it to tell me to turn it off again. How dare it "talk back" to me! I told T my price range and he breathed a sigh of relief when I told him; he thought he was going to have to shell out thousands of dollars. I thought he knew me better than that... come on I have a hard time buying essential items at the grocery store like milk, diapers, bath tissue... Funny story, or sad, you can decide. This weekend I went to HEB (a local chain of stores in Texas) and debated getting the special "Buy corn dogs and get popsicles free" coupon they had. I started thinking on this two days before I even got to the store. Then at the store I went against my gut feeling that was telling me corn dogs are gross (reading mechanically separated chicken and pork in the ingredients nauseated me) and dropped a box in the basket then went and found the popsicles. I wheeled my way to a checkout lane and then my heart started pounding. I stared long and hard at the box of frozen corn dogs. I tried to convince myself that corn dogs every once in a while doesn't hurt. I tried to convince myself that the boys would gobble them up. That led to me imagining them morphing into obese porker children that don't get up off their butts unless they have reached the bottom of the chip bag and are in search of a new glorious bag of artificially flavored cheese puffs or something like that. Yes, I went there. Anyhow, I gave into my gut feeling and turned the basket around and returned the corn dogs to the freezer. I then selected a better popsicle for the kids because they do deserve to have a little fun and I'm not a complete freak-of-a-mother. So, you can only imagine the way I research cameras. I feel like it's a five four year investment/commitment to consider. I'm sweating now. I have to make the right decision based on other peoples reviews, my gut feeling, and a salesperson. I'm done ranting. My time is up.
Dear God, please give wisdom, amen.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Unpredictable Sunday

I know it's Sunday and not a usual posting day for me... what day is? Anyhow, it's been such an interesting morning I wanted to share. We captured an escaped cow that was really hauling butt down our road. It's not our cow but we felt we needed to stop it from reaching the highway. It came into our yard and now we are trying to track down it's owner.
T went to look for our cow and calf and ended up spying on a hog family. An actual boar, sow and piglets. He and Brenner (his dog) were on either side of them and T had his shotgun (he decided not to shoot this time).They got out of trouble and were heading to the house when Brenner "pointed" and T called him but he was off. I will have details about this later.
Yesterday the boys and T were talking about what to get me for my birthday which is at the end of the month. They discussed getting me a new computer which I shot down, a new camera which I considered and then shot down, new clothes (yes), a king size bed... I choose the king size bed on the crazy whim that they weren't very expensive. I was proved wrong and was left with clothes, possibly jewlery, and dinner out, because I just can't spend that much money without having heart palpitations. My camera is four years old and I can't directly connect it to the computer, but it still takes pictures and I have a very hard time replacing things that still work. My camera must have decided all it needed was that unwavering devotion from me to make it's life complete. This morning I turned it on and it started automatically zooming in and out. Then it told me to turn it off then back on. I followed it's instructions. It continued to tell me this over and over. I dumped the batteries and replaced them. It continues it's nonsense. Now, my dear friends, I can get a new camera. I am happy with the prospect of a new camera with advanced functions, however I have serious commitment issues. I am notorious for researching the heck of things, buying the best determined product, feeling deep buyers remorse, returning the product and then deciding it was really worth it and purchase it again. I am not kidding. I did this with my first digital camera I bought myself. Then T bought me the one that just died (I didn't have the buyers remorse or research panic attacks to deal with.) I have been researching a new camera for 2 hours now. This really isn't good for me or my family. It's lunch time though and instead of wallowing in self pity and undesired adrenaline rushes I'm off to fix lunch.
Goodbye for now and wish me much success,