In The Grotto

My baby girl turned 6 last week. For months she had been requesting breakfast at Bob Evans for her birthday. I don’t encourage her to set her dining sights too high in our one horse town. She got all gussied up, wearing a new dress that her Nana had just made. For her sister. So it was a little roomy, but had excellent twirling capabilities. Besides, if you’re going to enjoy the fine dining experience of Bob Evans, it’s best to wear clothes that have a little “give.” Personally, I find that stretchypants work best for me.

We were suppose to have her “Mermaid” party that afternoon, but alas, that morning we discovered that 6 of our 8 cousin party guests were unable to make it. So, because we’re flexible, and I was frankly relieved to postpone it, we rescheduled for Sunday afternoon.

Procrastination is my friend.

At last Sunday arrived. I spread tarps all over the backyard. And set a large ring sprinkler in the middle. In essence, forming a lagoon.

By the way, spreading large blue tarps all over your lawn hides a multitude of landscaping sins.

I also had a largish baby pool filled with water, and a slide stationed to deposit slippery party goers into it. There were water balloons, and a finger painting station. I served a mermaid cake and ice cream cones. All in the lagoon. So the guests could be hosed down afterward.

One of my most brilliant moments, I know.

Other than a little rain, which no one really noticed, since the adults enjoyed the fact that their clothes were sticking to them because of the balmy conditions here in Armpit, Florida, the party was a huge success.

“THIS IS THE BEST PARTY I’VE EVER HAD!” exclaimed my Cailey.

I neglected to tell her that it’s the ONLY party she’s ever had. So, comparatively speaking, it really ranked way up there on the party chart.

We start getting all festive with the birthday party business, after the 3rd birthday or so. And unfortunately for Cailey, Jensen came along right about then and life came to a grinding halt.

But no more. We’re fast becoming party animals. In fact, I’m planning a party for Emme who will turn 8 next weekend. Since I survived this one. Mostly intact.

I have memories as a child of my mother giving me simple, but wonderful, backyard neighborhood birthday parties. There were games, snacks, and a gorgeous hand baked birthday cake. And my mother always looked spectacular with her 60’s bouffant hair, fashionable capris, and slings. I have the home movies to prove it. I don’t know how she did it. And my parties were always in August.

My daughter will have home movies of her mother with frizzy (not even my Chi could help me today) hair. The parts of my hair that weren’t sticking straight out were plastered to my pointy head from sweat and wayward water balloons. My mascara was running, and I was soaked from head to toe.

The grotto may have been my downfall.

But my baby girl mermaid had a 6th birthday party that she will always remember. And that’s what counts.

mermaidcake.jpg

October 22, 2007

Saturday Stirrings: New Fangled Farm Fry

Say that three times fast.

I’m a breakfast girl. It is by far my favorite meal of the day. And I’m not talking Cheerios or toast. I need something that sticks to my ribs to make it through my busy day. What with the children all trying to drive me insane and all.

When I was younger, living in Texas, and was still in possession of a metabolism, my favorite breakfast involved biscuits, gravy, bacon, and a side of heart failure. And I love potatoes, sausage, and eggs stuffed into a flour tortilla. Heaven.

Alas, I had to change my diet and my disposition. And I was none too happy about it either. Until I found this recipe. DO NOT TURN YOUR NOSE UP WHEN YOU READ THE INGREDIENTS. Just push your way past the gag reflex, and you’ll have a wonderfully delicious HEALTHY and hearty breakfast. I’ve even made this for dinner. You simply have to trust me on this one.

I got the recipe from Dana Carpender’s “15 Minute Lo Carb Recipes.” I heart her.

New Fangled Farm Fry

4 Slices Bacon (I’ve even used Turkey Bacon)
1 C. Cauliflowerets, chopped into 1/2 “ pieces
1 C. Diced Turnip, chopped into 1/2 “ pieces
1/2 C. Diced Onion
4 Eggs
1/2 C. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Salt & Pepper

Chop the bacon up into smallish bits. Start cooking bacon in a big skillet. Combine the cauliflowerets and turnip in a microwavable dish, add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover, and microwave on High for 7 minutes.

Drain the vegetables when they’re done. drain all but a few tablespoons of fat off the bacon, and add the cauliflower, turnip, and onion to the skillet. Sauté until the onion is translucent. Scramble the eggs with a fork, pour them into the skillet, sprinkle the cheese over the whole thing, and stir until the eggs are set. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Note: If you use Turkey Bacon, you will need to add a wee bit of extra virgin olive oil to sauté your vegetables. I sometimes serve this in a whole wheat tortilla for extra credit.

Serves 2. (12 grams of carbs, 24 grams of protein)

This and a pot of coffee, and you’re set for the day.

October 20, 2007

Mama Rock

Wednesday night was date night with my girls. We attended AWANA while Fiddledaddy spent a little bonding time with the boy. Much to Jensen’s delight. When Jensen was born, I thought I’d finally have a child that worships the linoleum I walk on.

I was mistaken.

As far as Jensen is concerned, the sun rises and sets on Daddy. As though he senses the balance of testosterone and estrogen in the house is askew. Even the death of Katie the Cat left the house still hormonally unbalanced. And with the onset of pre-menopause, well, the testosterone carriers in the house cling together. Afraid for their very lives.

By the time we girls pulled into the driveway, Fiddledaddy had put Jensen blissfully to bed. One down. Two to go. Just as we were preparing to enter the front door, we noticed a number of frogs on our front porch. Everything from small green ones to large fat bulbous amphibians. A plague, as it were. As Fiddledaddy opened the door, the commotion began, in domino effect. Emme shrieked, catching a small frog attached to the door. And thusly flinging it to the middle child. Who screamed. Then a large well fed toad attempted to hop into the house. Fiddledaddy scooted him out with his foot. At this point, Emme thought it would be sporting to stomp on this hapless frog. While wearing her crocs. The frog began hopping for his life, heading right for the middle sister and the mother, as she continued stomping. Have I mentioned the mother is deathly afraid of frogs? For no apparent reason. From all the shrieking and screaming, the neighbors must have locked their doors and pulled down their collective shades in an effort to avoid the home invasion robbery that was surely occurring next door.

Somehow the frog escaped certain death from squishing, and we made it in the door. Breathless.

But not without waking the sleeping baby brother.

Since the majority of the noise came from me, I felt obligated to go to him to comfort him back to sleep. When I entered his room, the crying ceased, and he looked up at me with tired red eyes. “Mama rock,” he stated. “Mama rock,” I agreed. We settled into the old faithful rocking chair. My baby boy laid his sweet head on my shoulder. After a few moments, he looked up at me and whispered, “Mama home?” “Mama home,” I reported. He smiled and sighed contentedly, “Mama home,” and he lay his head back on my shoulder. His breathing matching my own.

And for that sweet moment, he was a mama’s boy.

Chi Baby

wfmwheader2.jpgLast week, I discussed at length my hair woes. And I asked you all for help. I asked, and you answered. In a nutshell, I was stuck in a rut, only using Suave Shampoo and Conditioner. My dry dull frizzy hair looked liked a small family of rats lived in it. Styling involved a flat iron, which sort of worked for about 5 minutes, then I would usually resort to a pony tail.

Bad hair days were my norm.

But no more. Most of you recommended that I jettison the Suave. Which I did. Threw it away. And it wasn’t even empty. Which is highly out of character for me. I was once so cheap thrifty that I bought two cans of shaving gel that smelled like vomit. I endured that smell until those cans were completely empty. Took nearly 6 weeks.

The shampoo and conditioner that I settled on was one that was recommended by you all, Sun Silk for Blondes. I thought long and hard about the Revlon, but the sticker shock was too great. And I’m sure I’ll be trying out some other brands that were suggested as well. I also used Infusium leave in spray on conditioner.

But here’s the hair miracle. I bit the bullet and bought a Chi straightening iron. Several of you really raved about that one. Even Brittani, who I know is as200.jpg thrifty as I am. I’m not going to lie. I spent nearly $135.00 for this thing at Bed, Bath, & Beyond. With my coupon. BUT IT’S WORTH IT. I straightened my hair, and didn’t have to do one other thing until I washed it 3 days later. Not even a pony tail. Merry Christmas to me!

I wish I had checked the price of the Chi at Drugstore.com (link on my left sidebar). They have the turbo style Chi (which was $175.00 at BB&Beyond) for only $112.00. And the shipping is free. There are some other models there as well.

hair-good.jpg

This is my before and after. And it really only takes me about 5 minutes to straighten my hair.

With all that extra time on my hands I might just start exercising.

Just kidding.

With my hair looking so great, no one will even notice if I’m puffy. Anyhoo.

So, thanks to all of you who came to my aid last week, that’s my Works For Me Wednesday tip. For other helpful hints and suggestions head over to Rocks In My Dryer.

October 17, 2007

Depend On Me

The dinner conversation took a wrong turn toward body functions. It usually does if we all sit there long enough. A lively banter involving poop ensued. I’ve spent years fighting this phenomenon. Trying to instill a little decency and class into the evening meal. To no avail.

Makes you want to join us for dinner, doesn’t it?

The topic came to rest while discussing Jensen’s diapers. Suffice it say that he’s a healthy specimen of boy. I’ll spare you the gory details.

Emme piped up with, “Well. When I have a baby, I’m going to have the Servant changed his diapers.”

I chuckle under my breath. Servant indeed. As if.  I look up to find her gazing at me.

“Forget it missy. Not me. After I get Jensen housebroken, I’m retiring the old changing table. In fact, I’m never changing another diaper as long as I live. End of story.”

She shrugs her small shoulders and continues eating.

What remains unstated is that I fully plan on living with each one of my children when I’m long past coherent and continent. And then we’ll see who changes who’s diapers.

Circle of life and all that rot.

Revenge is a dish served piping hot. :0

October 15, 2007

Scratching My Head

And not because of my hair woes. Which I will update you all on this week. Let’s just say, my hair woes, are now, hair wows! That’s all I’m sayin’.

I’ve been chosen as Homeschooler of the Week by Amy and Christine from The Heart of the Matter. The first thing out of my mouth as I looked behind me, “What? Me? Are you sure?” I told my SIL later in the day that I was certainly glad they weren’t a fly on my homeschool wall this week. To say I’ve been feeling a tad inadequate as a homeschooling mom, is, well, inadequate.

And I’ve talked to enough of you homeschooling moms to know that, praise God, I’m not alone. Anyhoo. Head over to The Heart of the Matter to read my interview. Which I may or may not have given after 12 cups of coffee.

October 14, 2007

Saturday Stirrings: Death By Chocolate Cake

If you’re on a diet, avert your eyes from this one. This is a recipe that I dust off once a year, around the holidays, just to remind everyone in the family just why Fiddledaddy married me.

Oh sure, I’m sometimes easy on the eyes.  When I don’t have a pimple looming in the middle of my eyebrow.  Or when my hair doesn’t go postal.  Or when I’m not in the middle of a full blown hormonal meltdown.  Anyhoo.  And I can be plenty charming, especially after a glass of Port (the kind you unscrew). But those aren’t the reasons.

It’s The Cake. I made this creation during the Thanksgiving holiday for his family shortly after Fiddledaddy and I moved here to Florida. It solidified my rightful place in the family. The Cake gets talked about all year, and some time around our first cold front, I start getting inquiries. “So, are you going to make The Cake?” “It sure has been a long time since you made The Cake.” “We’d love to see you, but bring The Cake.”

After gaining 130 pounds with 3 pregnancies (all right, this was combined pregnancy weight), I decided to attempt to make The Cake using Splenda. The difference was noticed immediately. And I was chastised. This year there have been rumblings, “You’re going to use REAL sugar this year, aren’t you?”

Indeed I am.

People, the holiday season is just around the corner, and if you’re looking for a cake recipe that will ensure you a high popularity status, this is the one. And, shhhhhh, it’s really easy. But, no one else needs to know that.

Death By Chocolate Cake

It is imperative that you do everything in the order given. If not, I can’t be responsible for the results.

Mix in Large Bowl:
2 Cups Sifted Flour
2 Cups Sugar

Put in Sauce Pan & Bring to Boil:
1 Cup Margarine (2 Sticks)
4 T. Cocoa
1 Cup Water
Pour over Flour & Sugar & Stir
Then Add:
1 t. Vanilla
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
1 t. Baking Soda (Mix in Buttermilk)
2 Eggs

Bake @ 350 for 30 minutes in 13 x 9 pan

Frosting:
Put in Sauce Pan & Bring to Boil:
1 Stick Margarine
4 T. Cocoa
5 T. Milk
Remove From Heat & Add:
1 t. Vanilla
3/4 Box Powder Sugar
1 Cup Chopped Nuts

Pour over warm sheet cake (in pan)

Serve it from the pan. If I’m feeling spunky, and a little whitetrashy, I add sprinkles on top. Serve this warm with a little vanilla ice cream and you’ll get extra credit.

October 13, 2007

Gone Today, Hair Tomorrow

You guys so stepped up to the styling plate when I asked for hair help! I’ve taken copious notes, and am going hair product shopping this weekend. I’ll post “after” photos, when my camera makes another guest appearance in my home. If I gather up enough courage, I’ll take a “before” picture as well. Thank you so much for all of your suggestions. Including the one about moving to a dryer climate and shaving my head. And you know who you are. Jules. That’s all I’m sayin’.

Well, today I’m loafing around, writing over at the Homeschool Blog Awards site. A change of scenery is always nice. I’ll be back tomorrow with a tasty recipe for Saturday Stirrings.

Have a wonderful weekend, y’all!

October 12, 2007