"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. " -Helen Keller

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

This year has been so different than I hoped or expected but it has been so wonderful nonetheless. I had hoped to have a baby this year. While that dream was put on hold, we received the blessing of stabilizing my husband's diabetes. My hopes for Marty having a wonderful middle school experience were dashed completely but that enabled me to develop a closer relationship with him as he blossomed during homeschooling. Being removed from the stress and frustration of middle school has allowed him to relax and enjoy life as he develops into a wonderful young man. You know you have something special when a (near) teen actually comes up to you and apologizes for his behavior after a mini-meltdown. Joey seems to be thriving in his school and with his teacher this year and Gabe, thank God, is finally potty trained. All of my kids have developed such wonderful senses of humor and most of the time I genuinely enjoy spending time with them.

I have made friendships this year both online and in person that are thriving and flourishing. These friendships have provided me with so much pleasure and enjoyment. I could go on and on but what I really want to do is raise my glass in toast to all of you tonight and say...

May the new year bring
The warmth of home and hearth to you.
The cheer and goodwill of friends to you,
The hope of a childlike heart to you.
The joy of a thousand angels to you,
The love of the Son and God's peace to you.

New Year's Lunacy

The second full moon of a month is known as a blue moon. According to Yahoo News, "the New Year's Eve blue moon will be visible in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and Africa. For partygoers in Australia and Asia, the full moon does not show up until New Year's Day, making January a blue moon month for them." Yahoo News also says "the Eastern Hemisphere can celebrate with a partial lunar eclipse on New Year's Eve when part of the moon enters the Earth's shadow. The eclipse will not be visible in the Americas."

So, enjoy the celebration tonight and, if the skies are clear where you are, head outside for a minute and take a look at the blue moon that ushers out 2009.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

SHOW AND TELL: Christmas in Pictures

Welcome to our weekly expedition into the land of Show and Tell. Y'all know Show and Tell is wasted on the elementary schoolers. Join us weekly to show off an item, tell a story, and get the attention of the class. In other words, this is Show and Tell 2.0.

I promise that I won't continue to inundate you with Christmas stuff after today but I just had to share these pictures. Of course, all pics are clickable for closeup viewing.

my 3 crazy boys

Joey, armed and dangerous

from L to R: my BIL John (married to Keri), my dad, my sis Becky

my niece Kayla and her mom, my sis Keri

my Bil Jose (Vic's younger brother)

my niece Brianne (Keri's other daughter) and Gabe

from L to R: my MIL Ruth, my mom, my hubby Vic

my BIL Trevor (married to Becky) and my MIL
She had just told the grandkids to come say Merry Christmas if they wanted their money so Trevor came bouncing up saying Merry Christmas. She nearly fell out of her chair laughing.
BTW, the decade ends NEXT YEAR...we start counting our years with 1 C.E. (or A.D. as it use to be called) so the first decade ended at 10 C.E. and this decade and millennium started in 2001 C.E. and ends in 2010 C.E.
All Book Challenge participants, please check the previous post for info.
To see what everyone else in class is bringing to SHOW AND TELL, take a trip to visit the Miss Mel, Goddess of the Infertility Blogosphere.

Bullets Flying All Around...

I think I am ready for school to be back in. Marty and Joey are getting on each others nerves and I may have to kill one of them if vacation lasts much longer. This morning they were fighting over who had the most time on the Wii yesterday. I might have to make it off limits if that keeps up.

If you got a new Wii, new Wii games, or any Nintendo gear, go to Club Nintendo online and register it. You can earn virtual coins which can earn you prizes.

Just when the kids piss you off royally (fighting over the Wii), they get back on your good side by being helpful and nice to each other.

***ALERT, ALERT, FREE STUFF*** For all fellow Romance novel fans, go to All Romance Ebooks, and sign up for their newsletter. The email will give you the link to 175 free Romance Novels. Yeah, I said 175. They are available in a multitude of formats including PDF so you can read them on your computer if you are still without an eBook reader.

I've gone through1/2 of a large jug of vinegar making Gabe's Christmas volcanoes explode.

I love, love, love the Wii and desperately want to get Wii Fit Plus. Sounds like it would be a lot of fun. So far I haven't had a chance to do much except Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort but I have had fun with both of them.

I finished a HUGE craft project I was working on and it is going in the mail tomorrow. Y'all will get to see pictures soon. Now that it is done, I can get back to my PIF craft projects. I haven't forgotten you guys.

My reading has slowed way, way down due to the holidays and that big craft project. Sadly, I don't think I'm going to make it past 90 books this year. ALL BOOK CHALLENGE PARTICIPANTS...I will have a post up on January 1st for you to check in with your final total. I'd love for you to check in whether or not you made your goal. Since I know some of y'all had rough years, there will be a prize drawing for those who made their goal and there will be a drawing for those who didn't (but tried anyway).

I'm learning to knit. I've mastered casting on and hope to have actually knitted something small soon.

What are y'all doing for New Year's Eve? We are just hanging out here. We'll watch the ball from Times Square and the acorn from here in Raleigh drop on TV. I do have to go get the champagne today though.

So, what's going on with you?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The World Is Just Awesome

Huge thanks and a shout out to Shannon from Musings of a Fat Chick for reminding me of this awesome commercial. Somehow, since Christmas, I've been on a life is wonderful and I love everything kick and this commercial just hits the right note for me.

N from Two Hot Mamas said there is a new version of it playing this year. Has anyone found the new version online?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Coming out of the literary closet

I want to proclaim to the world that I love to read Romance novels and I'm proud of it. If you've glanced at my book list for this year, you might have guessed that already. Once upon a time, many years ago, I use to be one of those people that sneered at Romance novels. I use to think they were trash and not worth reading. Then my BFF Jennifer gave me one of the novels written by the uncrowned Queen of Romance novels, Kathleen Woodiwiss. I was hooked. The book was well written with an exciting story and a strong heroine. What more could you want?

See, even many people are under the misapprehension that Romance novel readers are un- or undereducated and focus only on the sex scenes. People are convinced that Romance readers are looking for excitement their own lives lack. People cling to the notion that Romance novels are stuck in the "Thank you for raping me" scenarios that were disturbingly common in the '80s. Those stereotypes do not describe the Romance novels or Romance readers of today. Romance readers are often highly educated, strong women and the books that fall into this genre cover the spectrum of quality just like books in any other genre.

I could go on and on trying to refute the stereotypes and myths surrounding Romance readers and books but, thanks to today's entry at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, I will just tell you to go read the piece Laura Clawson wrote over at Daily Kos. The brilliant SB Sarah quoted my favorite part of Clawson's article and I want to make sure it is read here too...
One of the key issues in judgments of the average quality of writing is that the romance genre is never allowed to claim love stories from outside the genre. Really beautifully-written, “literary” books with mystery plots or with sci-fi elements are likely to be marketed at least loosely in association with those genres. They get to have the best of both worlds—the marketing bump of the genre and the critical and social recognition due their quality. You don’t see love stories allowed to strike that balance, which severs a world of possibility from the genre, and an introduction to a new audience for at least some deserving authors.

I’m sure there are a hundred other myths to be attacked, and none will die easily. But in the end, even if they were mostly true, the disgust for romance novels and their readers would still look more like disdain for women and feminized culture than anything else.
I am truly delighted that the thing that made me really think today, the thing that had me pondering the socio-economic and political implications of a cultural phenomenon was an incredibly well-written article about Romance novels (something most of society considers fluff) and the comments that followed.

Please, please take a moment to go read the piece Laura Clawson wrote over at Daily Kos. You won't regret it and it might open your eyes to some great authors you've missed out on.

So, do y'all have any literary secrets you want to confess? There is nothing to dark to confess. Come on, spill it.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Our Fantabulous Christmas - Perfect Moment Monday

Lori over at Weebles Wobblog says that "Perfect Moment Monday is more about noticing a perfect moment than about creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between." And, Lori suggested I add this post to Perfect Moment Monday so I am complying :)

I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful holiday (whichever one you celebrate) with your family and friends. Honestly, this was one of the best and most exhausting Christmas celebrations in recent memory.

The kids were all thrilled with there presents and they've had a great time playing with the Wii. Yeah, we FINALLY have a Wii. I think I am as excited as the kids are. The older two didn't even complain about having to wait for the Wii to be hooked up when Gabe co-opted the television Christmas morning. My volcano obsessed boy got a volcano dvd from Aunt Jen and HAD TO WATCH IT RIGHT THAT MINUTE.

The boys had been shopping with my mom and had picked out wonderful presents for each other. They even picked out presents for Vic and me. They got Vic the GI Joe movie and they got me a knitting book. The kiddos did good! I do have to say that the best Christmas present (besides the Wii) are the tickets the boys and Vic got to WWE presents Smackdown ECW Live! See, that is not only a present for them but, it is a huge present for me. I will have between 2 to 3 hours of peace and quiet tonight...woooohooooo!

We had 15...yes, 15...people here for Christmas dinner. Somehow (certain people were a bit late, LOL), despite having seats for all, people ended up eating in shifts and that worked out wonderfully. However, I've discovered that having 15 people in my house after staying up until 2 am leaves me exhausted. I think I am just now recovering fully from Christmas day. There was a lot of love, laughter, and wonderful conversation.

My house is still a bit messy and I eventually have to find homes for the Christmas gifts but I can still saywithout a doubt that is was a truly wonderful Christmas. Even though Christmas day has come ans gone, I'm so glad we leave our decorations up through Epiphany. That means I have visual reminders of a truly wonderful day for a little while longer.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Giveaway Winners

With the help of Random.org, the winner of the uPrinting.com Postcard giveaway has been selected. Heather of GeekByMarriage won the postcards! Congrats Heather. You will be contacted by uPrinting.com via email about your prize.

Also, I wanted to re-announce that I just realized that I forgot to announce the winner of the Twilight giveaway. Kym, it was a close run between you and JJ but your passion for Jacob pulled you into the lead. Congrats to the winner, Kym of I'm a Smart One.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A letter about Christmas

Merry Christmas y'all. I hope you and yours had a fabulous day. I found this letter and don't know where it originated but love the message.

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 - 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing the President complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up... It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5 Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary-- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember:


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Warped Christmas Carols

Anyone who knows me can testify to the fact that I have a truly warped sense of humor. Last year, a friend of mine and I got into a contest to see who could come up with the most warped and plain WRONG versions of Christmas carols. Sadly, she beat me in every single category.

Please keep in mind that these were written in good fun and no people children creatures were harmed in the writing of these carols. For the sake of anonymity, the name John Smith will be used as necessary.

To the tune of Jingle Bells

Jingle Bells
your butt swells
because you ran your mouth
Now your siblings get to laugh
because you can't sit down,oh!


Put your toys
Put your toys
Put your toys away
If you do not do it
I will throw them away, hey!

To the tune of Auld Lang Syne

May old spankings not be forgot
As you try to sit in that chair
Maybe you'll think before you speak
And not get in Mommy's hair

To the tune of Silver Bells

Little Screams
Tears in streams
It's spanking time
at the Smith's

To the tune of So This is Christmas (War Is Over)

So this is a spanking,
and what have you learned,
Your mouth runneth over,
and now your heinie feels burned

So this is a spanking,
You're weak and I'm strong,
If you don't learn to be quiet,
Your childhood will seem long.

Merry Christmas Y'all!

SHOW AND TELL: Christmas baking 2009

Welcome to our weekly expedition into the land of Show and Tell. Y'all know Show and Tell is wasted on the elementary schoolers. Join us weekly to show off an item, tell a story, and get the attention of the class. In other words, this is Show and Tell 2.0.

Christmas baking 2009

sugar cookies

chocolate peanut butter fudge
and spritz cookies

Pepparkakor - a Swedish ginger spice cookie
I still have a few Swedish coffee cakes to make tomorrow and one apple pie for Christmas dessert.

We will have 15 people here for Christmas dinner so I have no doubt most of this will be gone. Also, we will be taking a large plate of goodies to the fire station that covers our neighborhood.
To see what everyone else in class is bringing to SHOW AND TELL, take a trip to visit the Miss Mel, Goddess of the Infertility Blogosphere.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Cooking Tips

We all know that holiday cooking is very different than our every day meal preparation. For holidays, we make dishes that aren't normally a part of our menu. We prepare quantities of food that normally never grace our tables. And, that is just the cooking. We haven't even gotten to the baking.

I've prepared a number of holiday(Thanksgiving and Christmas meals) entirely by myself and I've picked up a number of tips and tricks along the way that make it much much easier.
  1. Brining - always, always brine your Turkey. If you buy a frozen turkey, about 4 days before you plan on putting your turkey in the oven, put it in a cooler filled with ice and a brine solution. The most basic brine solution is just salt and water. You can add whatever spices you want (google brine recipes). All the salt does is affect the the meats ability to absorb the liquid. You will never have a turkey with dry white meat on it again. Be sure to add ice over the 4 day thawing period, this will ensure the turkey stays fresh until you cook it.
  2. Do all your prep work for the meal during the week before - peel and cut up the potatoes for the mashed potatoes, pre-cook anything that is going into the stuffing, prepare all the pie fillings, DO ANYTHING THAT CAN BE DONE EARLY AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE
  3. freeze the bread you will use to make the stuffing - Yes, really. As easy as it is to tear up bread to be used for stuffing, it is a hell of a lot easier (and much faster) to grab 4 slices of frozen bread at a time and cube it with a large butcher knife. I discovered how easy this was the year I forgot to thaw out the bread before I was ready to make the stuffing and I've been thankful for that mistake ever since.
  4. pie crusts and cookie dough can be made up to a month ahead and frozen
And, if you have the freezer space, hit the after holiday sales and buy an extra turkey or two. Last year, I picked up a turkey for 49 cents a pound in the week after Christmas.

Do you have any tips to make the holiday cooking easier? Please share them with us.

Damn my memory is going...

I just realized that I forgot to announce the winner of the Twilight giveaway. Kym, it was a close run between you and JJ but your passion for Jacob pulled you into the lead. Congrats to the winner, Kym of I'm a Smart One.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Me at Christmas

I saw this meme on both Stacie's and Delenn's blogs and decided I had to join in the fun.

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends. Okay, here's what you're supposed to do, and try not to be a SCROOGE!!! Just copy this entire post. Change all the answers so that they apply to you. Then post this on your blog.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper unless I'm really desperate
2. Real tree or Artificial? Real...I tried to talk myself into a fake tree one year and it was a pointless attempt
3. When do you put up the tree? usually around the middle of December
4. When do you take the tree down? around January 6th...it has to stay up through Epiphany
5. Do you like eggnog? yum, yum...especially if it has rum and nutmeg in it
6. Favorite gift received as a child? the complete Black Stallion book series
7. Hardest person to buy for? I don't have anyone that is really hard to buy for
8. Easiest person to buy for? my kids are so easy to buy for
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? mail
11. Worst Christmas ever? can't name a really bad one but the ones when we were going through loss after loss were tough
12. Favorite Christmas Movie(s)? Rudolph
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I don't have a set date. This year I actually picked something up in January.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? nope
15 .Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Swedish Coffee Cake
16. Lights on the tree? oh yes, miniature multi-colored bulbs
17. Favorite Christmas song? it depends on the moment but I love Winter Wonderland and Mary, Did You Know?
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? usually stay home
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, and Blitzen (Rudolph came later)...and I did that without Google
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? the fact that the merchandising gets earlier and earlier each year
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? we have no theme, if I like it, it goes on the tree
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed taters, sweet taters, veggies, rolls, etc
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? a new year full of good health for my fam (and maybe a little girl...) I'm stealing Stacie's answer.

Now it's your turn. If you play, please leave me the link so I can read your answers.

Perfect Moment Monday: In Snow's Thrall

Lori over at Weebles Wobblog says that "Perfect Moment Monday is more about noticing a perfect moment than about creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between."

Friday, we got our first snow of the season. Sadly, we fell on the dividing line that separated snow covered ground from nothing left around. But, the wonderful, magical first snow of the season did provide me with a perfect moment. I got to see that my almost teen, Marty, isn't such a teen that he can't get caught up in the magic of snow.

Go check out the other perfect moments at this week's Perfect Moment Monday on Weebles Wobblog.
And, don't forget to check out (and sign up for) my first big giveaway from uPrinting.com

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Year According To Facebook

I saw this on Kym's blog and thought I'd give it a shot and see what it had to say about me. Not sure what all this says about me except that maybe I played Farmville a bit too much...LOL. If you want to do your own, check out My Year In Status on Facebook. If you decide to join in the fun, post your link here for me to see and over at Kym's for her.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

uPrinting.com Postcard Giveaway

Recently, I was lucky enough to become a part of uPrinting.com's blog sponsorship program. I have been lucky enough to win a few uPrinting giveaways (take a look at the gorgeous print in this post) in the past and I wanted to be able to extend the opportunity to you guys too. uPrinting.com is sponsoring a postcard giveaway and the winner gets 100 custom designed postcards.

The giveaway details are as follows:
Giveaway Prize: 100 Postcards for one (1) lucky winner
4x6; Paper: 14pt Cardstock Gloss; Printing: Full color both sides
Sponsored bloggers and Winners have to pay for shipping

Yeah, you will have to pay for shipping. But, the shipping is only about $7 and the prize value is over $30. Normally, I would offer to spring for shipping but, this close to Christmas, it just isn't happening. I will announce the winner 1 week from today on December 26th. Think of it as a late Christmas present.

You can do so many things with these cards. If you have a fabulous picture for a (future) Christmas card, you could have get these made for next year's Christmas cards. If you have a business, you could promote your business with them. The ideas are endless. If you win, what would you do with the postcards?

All you have to do to enter is post and tell me what you would do with your postcards. Any entry that just says count me in will be removed. If you don't know what you would do, say "I don't know yet but I love the idea of x". Simple, yes?

To gain additional entries (after you've answered the question),
  • Follow my blog
  • add my button to your blog
  • tweet this giveaway with something like Win 100 custom designed postcards from @UPrinting and @dragondream http://bit.ly/5ygWFS #giveaway and post the link here
PLEASE DO A SEPARATE POST FOR EACH ENTRY (don't worry Rebel. I got you)

In adherence to the FTC ruling on Blogger Reviews and Sponsored Postings, I am disclosing that I will be receiving 100 Postcards from UPrinting.com for hosting this giveaway.

Friday, December 18, 2009

16 years ago today

16 years ago today, Adam Michael Seip was born still into this world. He was such a beautiful baby and he was the 3rd son of one of the most wonderful women I know. Chris is also one of my best friends. Chris sent me a message about Adam's birthday today and said "#16 today-he'd be getting his driver's license. i feel like i'm the only one left who really remembers him as a live, kicking, hiccuping baby. i feel so alone and so sad."

Please help me let Chris know she isn't alone and that there are other people out there who will help her remember.

*It's snowing. We have snow for Adam's birthday.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Love Stinks

It's a really good thing I didn't have plans for any adult fun last night because his actions would have stopped that in its tracks. I mean, I love my hubby but there are simply some things a woman can't get past. Last night, after the kids were all safely ensconced in their beds for quite a while, Vic and I headed to bed. After we crawled into bed, we were laying there snuggled up and were talking about the day like we usually do. That's when it happened. That's when the moment of passion killing stinkitude happened. That's when Vic let loose a fart of epic proportions. It truly was a fart that harkened back to Vic's firehouse days and the farting contests firefighters have. The stinkitude of this fart managed to worm its way past my congestion and had me coughing and gagging. Truly, if you were another male, that *fart was awe inspiring.

After his knee injury, Vic would claim his theme song was Up On Cripple Creek by The Band

Now, I think it needs to be changed to Love Stinks by the J Geils Band

*Can any of you explain why men are proud of their stinky farts and why they like to gross each other out with stinky smells?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

SHOW AND TELL: Oh Tannenbaum

Welcome to our weekly expedition into the land of Show and Tell. Y'all know Show and Tell is wasted on the elementary schoolers. Join us weekly to show off an item, tell a story, and get the attention of the class. In other words, this is Show and Tell 2.0.

I am so thrilled with our tree this year. All three boys and my *SBC Jennifer helped me decorate the tree. Joey got so excited that he was unwrapping decoration after decoration and not taking time to hang them up. Gabe was practically pinging off the walls with excitement while we were decorating. Even Marty has commented how much he loves our tree this year. Sadly, Vic was at work. The best part is that this year I got every single decoration on the tree but I think that next year I will either need a bigger tree (ours is at least 8 ft tall) or a second tree. I was out of room probably about 10 to 15 ornaments before I was done and I simply can't see myself stopping the collecting of these treasures.

Oh Tannenbaum 2009

lights all aglow - Oh Tannenbaum 2009

* SBC = sister by choice
To see what everyone else in class is bringing to SHOW AND TELL, take a trip to visit the Miss Mel, Goddess of the Infertility Blogosphere.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Customer Service Suckage

EARTHLINK IS PISSING ME OFF! I am trying to get those asshats to disconnect my dsl service so my new service can be hooked up. They actually expect me to believe it will take 5 to 6 days to get the phone line released. I call BULLSHIT! You know they would have it off instantaneously if I missed payment.

The first person swore the service would be off by Friday morning. On Friday morning, it was still on. Earthlink said they simply couldn't do any better than guaranteeing it disconnected by close of business on Friday. Well, needless to say, that didn't happen. When I called back today, they then decided to tell me that my service had been discontinued, after all I wasn't being charged anymore, but that it would take 5 to 6 days to get my phone line released. I told them it simply wasn't acceptable and I would accept no less than clearing the phone line today. Earthlink continued to try and say it wasn't possible. Finally, I told them I thought it was a load of crap because I knew without a doubt they would cut off our service with the flip of a switch if we missed payment. Hehe, it was after this that they promised to clear the phone line by the close of business today. I then told Earthlink that before this experience, I would have considered returning to their service but, after this experience, there was no way in hell I would return to them. They destroyed a 12+ year relationship in one boneheaded move. I futher informed them I planned on going public with this piss poor customer service.



Earthlink still hasn't disconnected my DSL which they had guaranteed would be off by the close of business on Friday. I hope like hell they get it turned off this weekend or it will delay the hookup of my new service AGAIN.

On the positive side, the hubby and I played refrigerator repair people this evening and the dead fridge has been resurrected! Wooohoooo, between his fix it skills and my Googlind know hoe, we can fix anything.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Offline most of today

Hey y'all, I will be offline and without internet service most of today. We are switching internet service providers and, due to the vagaries of the system we have now, we had to schedule it for cancellation before they new one got hooked up. It's a pain in the ass but the switch will be saving us a significant chunk of change each month. If everything goes smoothly, I will be back online tomorrow afternoon or evening.

Smooches and don't do anything I wouldn't do...ROFL.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

SHOW AND TELL: Gabe's and My Birthdays

Welcome to our weekly expedition into the land of Show and Tell. Y'all know Show and Tell is wasted on the elementary schoolers. Join us weekly to show off an item, tell a story, and get the attention of the class. In other words, this is Show and Tell 2.0.

On Sunday, we celebrated my 40th birthday and Gabe's 4th birthday. We had a wonderful time and way, way too much cake. My mom brought me a cemetery cake featuring a tombstone with my name and birthdate on it. LOL, I can't complain too much because she is getting me back for what we did on her 50th birthday. As always, I made the kidlet's cake. Gabe requested a big red ghost game cake. In his world, the big red ghost game equals Ms. Pacman. That's right, I made a cake that looked like the screen of Ms. Pacman. Not only did it have the whole screen, it had the extra lives, and it even had a score. I decided his score would equal his age (365 days x 4 = 1460). I made a chocolate cream cheese frosting that I tinted almost black for the background. Then, I made a batch of fondant (and homemade fondant can actually be yummy) that I then tinted all the various colors needed for the game. This was the first time I've ever worked with fondant and I think I did a pretty good job. All pics are clickable and open in a new window.
I got some totally cool birthday presents - some gift cards and TICKETS TO BLOGHER (which I'm currently trying to order and the system is fighting back). I've already used the gift cards. I bought these cool pjs
and this gorgeous shirt plus some candy cane striped fuzzy socks that aren't pictured
To see what everyone else in class is bringing to SHOW AND TELL, take a trip to visit the Miss Mel, Goddess of the Infertility Blogosphere.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Random Shit from me

I now pronounce that there is NO possible way it is already December 8th. It just really registered that there are only 17 days until Christmas and I am nowhere close to being ready. Yeah, I know I just had my birthday and logically that means it has to be a few days later but I am in denial. Please, please help me figure out how to gain an extra week or two.
My fridge is dead. Remember that wonderful, fabulous fridge I got from Craig's List (damn, I can't find the post with the pic). Well, that wonderful, fabulous fridge is a fucking fabulous paper weight. Thank God we have a second fridge and a chest freezer. I was able to transfer all the food and didn't lose anything. Damn it, we are not having good luck with used appliances and there is no way we can afford a brand new one. Grrrr
I have found the most wonderful group of women locally. It is a knitting/crocheting/women's social group called Girls With Purls. They are welcoming, incredibly talented (OMG, their yarn work puts me to shame), and just snarky enough to really be fun. I've been to one of their monthly meet ups and their Christmas party. It is so nice having some me time.
Gabe is completely 100% potty trained. He is even wearing underwear at night. I am so thrilled.
Do you see that little button on the top of my left sidebar? I have joined uPrinting.com's blog sponsorship program. That means in the near future I will be able to offer you all kinds of fabulous giveaways through them. I have been lucky enough to win a few of their giveaways on another blog and have been delighted with their products. I hope you'll be as pleased as I am.
Tune in tomorrow night's Show and Tell to see Gabe's Ms. Pacman cake and hear all about the party and our goodies.

Monday, December 07, 2009

A Shameful Case of Lust

I must admit, I have a mad case of lust for a kitchen accessory. I can't believe it either but look at thisIt's the 90th Anniversary KitchenAid Stand Mixer and I WANT IT! It's truly fabulous and Susan over at She's Becoming DoughMessTic is hosting a giveaway with this as a prize. So, if you love me, don't go visit the giveaway post and don't enter the giveaway BECAUSE I WANT TO WIN.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

40 years ago today a little red-headed girl came screaming into the world. According to my dad, he said "Hello beautiful" and I responded by screaming. I don't think I've slowed down or quieted down much since then. I have an incredible life, a wonderful family and fabulous friends. While I wouldn't mind someone suddenly dropping a million or two in my lap, I can't think of too many things in my life that I would change. As promised, I'll answer all the questions I got in the responses of my last post.

From JuliaS: what is one quirky thing about you that most people probably don't know, but would likely laugh themselves silly if they did? I have allowed a friend to take a picture of me wearing my bra as a hat.

From MrsGamgee: If you and your family were snowed in (like I am in danger of being today), what would you spend the day doing? In between getting kids in and out of snow clothes, there would be the requisite snowball fights and at least one batch of homemade hot cocoa. Other than that, I would spend the day stitching (either cross stitching, crocheting or quilting).

From Barb: What do you see as your dominant social personality? (i.e. shy, outgoing, funny etc) friendly and outgoing - I use to be shy, uncertain, and awkward but I got over that...LOL

From rys: What stupid and pointless thing drives you crazy, to the point that you HAVE to stop whatever you're doing and fix/change it on the spot? Sadly, one of the things that drives me the craziest happens in a situation where I CAN'T fix it. It absolutely drives me nuts when a teacher erases a board but doesn't erase it all the way. Those little chalk marks left behind make me want to jump out of my seat and re-erase the board for them. How ridiculous is that? I am so laid back about most things but for some unknown reason, that trips my trigger.

From Pundelina: What are the number 1 best and worst moments of your life? The number 1 best moment of my life is a shared honor. It's a tie between the day I said "I do" and became Mrs. Cruz and the moment I heard Gabe, my miraculous post-IF baby, draw his first breath and let out a wail. The absolute worst moment in my life was when we lost our daughter. We thought we had solved our IF problems. We had seen her heart beat. And, three weeks later, my favorite ultrasound tech looked at me and said "I'm so very sorry. There isn't a heart beat."

From Soralis: How do manage to blog, comment and run a family? Honestly, it's a combination of factors that let me do everything. First of all, I have a fabulous hubby who absolutely rocks when it comes to doing things around the house. He cooks. He cleans. He even does laundry. Secondly, my older kids really are very good about helping with things. Sure, they bitch and moan about it. But, they really are great with things. Third, my house is FAR from being pristine. My sanity comes first and that often means blogging and crafting before housework. Finally, I read really frickin' fast and that helps let me read and comment on a lot of blogs.

From Dora: You are coming to BlogHer, right????? Yes!!!!!! My parents absolutely rock and the are buying my BlogHer tickets for my birthday present. Now I just need to find a roommate to split the cost of a hotel room with.

From Beautiful Mess: What is the craziest thing you did as a teenager? I'm not talking about crazy teenager "I stayed out last curfew" stuff, I'm talking JUICY stuff. Spill it sister! ;o) I suppose you want juicier than stealing street signs. I had my very own stop sign on my bedroom door. Hmmm, does going to spend the weekend with your out of town high school boyfriend (at his parents house of course), telling them we were going to see a movie we had seen over the summer, and going to this little grove of trees at the local golf course to boink each other senseless count? If it doesn't, I could tell you about the time I had a one night stand with my ROTC squad leader in college or the time I paraded down the main quad of the Duke Campus in full Rocky Horror Picture Show regalia - 4 in strappy stiletto heals, a blue teddy, and fishnet hose.

From MrsSpock: What is the craziest thing one of your boys has ever done? I think I could write a book on this one alone. For some of these, I won't tell you which kid did it because they would die of embarrassment. Once, my kids were running naked through the house. One of them had used markers (washable thank God) to completely decorate his face. The other one was attempting to color his privates with a crayon. A different time one of them put on moon shoes and only moon shoes and bounced through the house stark naked. There was Gabe's dancing on the toilet incident. Or the time (a few years back) Joey decided to pretend to be a dog and, while on all fours, he went up to my dad and sniffed his butt.

Thanks for the questions and the birthday wishes. This was fun. And, if there are any other questions that come up over the course of the day, I'll add the answers here.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Interviewed by Aunt Becky

That's right, Aunt Becky interviewed ME! (ok, itsreallyforagiveawayandshesinterviewingwhoeverelsewantedinontheaction but most importantly ME!!!!)

Aunt Becky says...

I’m always telling you to shut your whore mouth. Now it’s time to open it.

1) Do you like sprinkles on your ice cream? Yes

2) If you had to choose one word to banish from the English language, what would it be and why? It's not a word I want to ban, it's a phrase. I want to ban "No offense but". That always sets me on edge before I even hear what's following. If it's offensive either don't fucking say it or find a better way to phrase it. Sorry, I really HATE that phrase.

3) If you were a flavor, what would it be? Hmmmm, my favorite, Chocolate Raspberry Truffle ice cream

4) What’s the most pointless annoying chore you can think of that you do on a daily/weekly basis? fold laundry - other than that I refuse to do pointless chores.

5) Of all the nicknames I’ve ever had in my life, Aunt Becky is the most widely known and probably my favorite. What’s your favorite nickname? (for yourself) Honestly, I've had very few nicknames. I would say it's a tie between my hubby's nickname for me (Pookie) and my dad's (Pooh Bear).

6) You’re stuck on a desert island with the collective works of 5 (and only five) musical artists for the rest of your life. Who are they? Billy Joel, Louis Armstrong, Beethoven, Toby Keith, Aerosmith

7) Everything is better with bacon. True or false? True False Oh hell, true

8 ) If I could go back in time and tell Young Aunt Becky one thing, it would be that out of chaos, order will emerge. Also: tutus go with everything. What would you tell young self? It is all worth the wait.

Now, it's time for y'all to
Mommy Wants Vodka

and ask me questions. No questions too silly or too personal (well probably not). I will answer almost anything so don't ask if you don't wanna know.

Answers to all quesations asked me will appear in my birthday post on Sunday.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Holy Grail (snort/snicker/bwahaha) of Parenting

I have found it. I have finally found a parenting book that truly embraces my parenting style. I hereby introduce you toAccording to the ThinkGeek website, the book teaches you everything you need to know to raise your children as pirates. It includes gems such as
  • At what age your child should be able to remove a bottle cap by taking out his glass eye and using his eye
  • Which offense requires administering The Flying Dutchman Wedgie
  • How to prevent sogging the quartermaster
  • The best place to maroon your disobedient child
  • How to remove chewing gum or a giant octopus from your child’s hair
  • The difference between plundering and pillaging
  • How to convert your minivan into a pirate schooner
  • When to smack your teenager in the side of the head with an oar

And best of all each information-packed section of the Guide to Pirate Parenting ends with “Your pirate’s progress,” a short quiz that shows whether your child is reaching his or her pirate development milestones. If you follow the instructions in this book and your child does not become a pirate, Cap'n Billy will refund the purchase price of this book. *

* Please note, Cap'n Billy reserves the right to make refunds in salt cod in lieu of cash, not that he plans to give any refunds anyways
So, is there anyone on your holiday gift list that this book would be perfect for?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Welcome to our weekly expedition into the land of Show and Tell. Y'all know Show and Tell is wasted on the elementary schoolers. Join us weekly to show off an item, tell a story, and get the attention of the class. In other words, this is Show and Tell 2.0.

Think back to your childhood. I bet most of you, especially those of you who were in scouts, can remember making a God's Eye. Did you know that God's Eyes or Ojo de Dios are believed to have originated from the Huichol Indians of Mexico but they are also found in Africa and the East? No, these aren't just a craft created by a scout leader or a desperate teacher who needed to keep you occupied for an hour or so.

*"The Huichol call their God's Eyes Sikuli, which means 'the power to see and understand things unknown.' When a child is born, the central eye is woven by the father. Then one eye is added for every year of the child's life until the child reaches the age of five." The God's Eye is also thought to represent the eye of God looking after you.

The God's Eye can be a simple craft created by a young child or a highly intricate work of art (go take a look, you won't regret it). All you need to create a God's Eye are two sticks and some sort of yarn or fiber. You could make one small enough to grace a Christmas tree (or a Hanukkah Bush) with toothpicks and embroidery floss or one big enough to decorate a wall with real sticks and bulky colored yarn. You can add beads, tassels, or additional eyes on the arms of the primary one. Basically, you can make a God's Eye a true representation of you.

Today, I made two very different God's Eyes. The first one was made with wooden chopsticks and yarn in Christmas colors. Each color of yarn was a different weight and texture which added beauty and interest to the project.

The second God's Eye is going to be a Christmas gift for Joey's teacher. I used two pencils and crochet thread for this one.
If you want to try your hand at making a God's Eye, check out my instructional article over at Examiner.com - How to make a God's Eye decoration.

This quote was taken from The Crystal Buffalo website - a site that sells Native American crafts ad jewelry.
To see what everyone else in class is bringing to SHOW AND TELL, take a trip to visit the Miss Mel, Goddess of the Infertility Blogosphere.

Happy Birthday Gabriel

Happy Birthday sweet boy! I can hardly believe you are 4 years old. But, when I look at everything you have accomplished in this year, I can hardly believe you are only 4. One of your biggest accomplishments is you are potty trained. It was a matter of putting my stubbornness up against yours but potty training finally happened. You don't know what a relief that is. I know that will power will serve you well later in life but it certainly has made parenting you a challenge.

I love that I never know what's coming next with you. You frequently make me laugh (remember the dancing on the toilet episode)...even when your humor proves you are as sick and twisted as your brothers and dad. I love watching you play and watch you act out the stories you create. You have an amazing imagination.

Like most mom's, I am firmly convinced you are brilliant. You know all your letters and can recognize most of them in both upper and lowercase. You can count in English and Spanish. Hell, you even know how to navigate your favorite website, PacmanGame. While you aren't reading yet, there are a number of words and letter combinations that you recognize. Your obsession with volcanoes has led you to learn a lot about them. You can tell me all about Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Ranier. You can tell me about dormant, extinct and active volcanoes. You can even tell me about islands like Surtsey being formed by volcanoes. You have educated all of us about your obsession ;)

You are also stubborn and willful and see nothing wrong with screaming no at me if you don't like what I tell you. Those difficult moments (or is it days) are more than offset by the hugs and the snuggles and the I love yous. All in all, you are a pretty incredible little boy and I am so lucky to have you as my son. I would go through it all again, all the loss and all the heartache, as long as I knew you were waiting at the end.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Great Recipe Round Up : Trial Edition

Mrs. Gamgee over at Hobbit-ish Thoughts and Ramblings is testing out Blog-Hop as a method of organizing a holiday recipe exchange. Take a moment and post a favorite recipe of yours and help her check this out. My submission is my Grandma's (and mom's) recipe for Swedish Coffee Cake.
Swedish Coffee Cake


1 box Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix
1 cup of warm water
1 stick of butter
¼ cup cinnamon
½ cup sugar

  1. Mix water, yeast from mix, and 1 egg
  2. Add hot roll mix to liquid mixture and stir until well blended.
  3. Sprinkle work surface with flour and knead dough until smooth.
  4. Return dough to bowl, cover, and allow dough to rise for approximately 2 hrs or until it doubles in size (if you are doing other baking, placing covered bowl on top of warm oven can speed process)
  5. Thoroughly flour work surface and rolling pin.
  6. Roll dough out into a large oval shape.
  7. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the surface of the dough. Blend using fingertips. (I never actually measure the sugar and cinnamon. I add it until it looks right since the dough doesn’t always roll out to the same size.)
  8. Melt butter in cast iron skillet.
  9. Pour melted butter over the cinnamon/sugar mixture on dough. Blend using fingertips again. (if the mixture appears too dry, add smalls dots of butter to dry areas)(if there is enough of the butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture some of it will bubble out and end up coating the bottom of the pan and give the coffee cake a slightly crunchy bottom)
  10. Roll dough up like you would roll a jellyroll. Crimp seam and fold and crimp ends of rolled dough.
  11. Place in buttered iron skillet with the crimped seam facing down. It will form almost a complete circle. (if you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can bake it on a cookie sheet).
  12. Using kitchen scissors, snip triangular steam vents into top of coffee cake. Scissors should be held at approximately a 45 degree angle when snipping. Fold triangular vent back onto the surface of the coffee cake.
  13. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes (until top is golden brown).

MckLinky Blog Hop

The disease

It's a disease that knows no boundaries and has no respect for our differences. It's a disease that affects men , women, and, yes, even children. It's a disease that crosses the lines of race, sexuality, faith, and class. Sadly, it truly is a disease of the masses. Hell, this disease doesn't even respect the dignity of age. Yeah, I guess that last sentence gave away the fact that I'm not talking about infertility. Today is World AIDS Day. Today is a time to remember the victims of this disease and to promote understanding and the search for a cure. As @Vix_Light said on Twitter today, "Remember your 3 C's: Condoms, COMPASSION and help fund a CURE!"(I saw the quote on Maven's Twitter stream).

PLEASE, PLEASE go read Dave's post I Saw You on Rolling Around In My Head. It is one of the most beautiful posts I have ever read and ties in beautifully with World AIDS Day.

Monday, November 30, 2009

All sides of a woman

Sometimes you will hear a song and it really speaks to you. It touches something inside of you. The funny thing is, you never really know what song it will be. One song I have always loved and always identified with is Bitch by Meredith Brooks...

I hate the world today
You're so good to me
I know but I can't change
tried to tell you but you look at me like maybe I'm an angel
innocent and sweet
Yesterday I cried
You must have been relieved to see the softer side
I can understand how you'd be so confused
I don't envy you
I'm a little bit of everything
all rolled into one

I'm a bitch, I'm a lover
I'm a child, I'm a mother
I'm a sinner, I'm a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I'm your health, I'm your dream
I'm nothing in between
You know you wouldn't want it any other way

So take me as I am
This may mean you'll have to be a stronger man
Rest assured that when I start to make you nervous
and I'm going to extremes
tomorrow I will change
and today won't mean a thing


Just when you think you've got me figured out
the season's already changing
I think it's cool you do what you do
and don't try to save me


I'm a bitch, I'm a tease
I'm a goddess on my knees
when you hurt, when you suffer
I'm your angel undercover
I've been numbed, I'm revived

What I love about this song (besides the catchy beat) is that it talks about women being complex individuals. We are not all good. We're not all bad. You can't tag us with a simple label and expect it to describe all aspects of us.

Infertility has the ability to rob us of many aspects of ourselves if we let it. Our desire for a child, whether it is a first child or a fourth, can become overwhelming and suffocating. Our schedules become all about shots and appointments and cycle days and temperatures and all the minutiae of infertility. When you are immersed in the murky depths of infertility, take a moment to surface. Take a breath and see the world around you. Rest assured, I know you often won't want to. I sure as hell didn't want to when we were experiencing loss after loss after loss. However, I had two other kids whose needs forced me to the surface and that was my salvation. Taking those moments can be a sanity saver, a life saver, and a relationship saver. I know that without my kids, my husband, and my dear friends I would have had trouble surfacing...trouble pulling myself out of the dark depths of infertility. Without all that support, it would have been far too easy to become one dimensional and allow myself to be defined by my infertility. If you find yourself in that place, I can say unequivocally that I will be there to help you pull yourself up and I can bet almost anyone else in this community would make the same offer. Take a moment to surface. Find your inner lover, your inner angel, or even your inner goddess. Find something that lets your mind escape from the depths of infertility and remember who you are. Throw off that label of INFERTILE and embrace the Bitch in yourself.
BTW, their are two fabulous giveaways that appeal to two vastly different sides of womanhood.

Momfiles.com is giving away a years worth of laundry detergent in concert with Tide. CLICK HERE to congratulate her on her 500th post and to enter to win a year's worth of detergent.

After you stop at that giveaway, go over to Sticky Feet Reviews and enter the giveaway for a lovely Emery Lin handbag from Foster Kade Designs.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Shout Out Sunday: Uppercase Woman

Shout Out Sunday is a fairly new meme started by Melissa over at Full Circle (and I found it thanks to Lori at Weebles Wobblog). The purpose of Shout Out Sunday is to
Choose a blog that has moved you. A daily must read. One you stalk. One that makes you laugh, cry or scream at the monitor. A new one you would like to give exposure to. Someone you would like to introduce to your readers and send a warm fuzzy while you're at it.
My Shout Out this week goes to Cecily over at Uppercase Woman. If you haven't read Cecily's blog, you don't know what you are missing. I've had the privilege of reading Cecily's blog almost from the beginning and I'm so glad I have. Cecily is smart, funny, and just a little bit (maybe a lot) snarky. Cecily is a hell of a mom and she is a true survivor of both infertility and substance abuse. Even when you don't agree with Cecily, she always makes you think. So go, read Cecily's blog, and maybe even add her to your reader. You won't be sorry.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Requested Recipes

Over the past week or so, two people have requested recipes for goodies I have talked about. The two recipes requested were Pepperoni Bread and the recipe for Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie.

Pepperoni Bread courtesy of Rys at Confessions of a Clutter Queen
  1. Pizza Dough (you can either google a recipe or buy premade dough)
  2. 1 pack sliced, or 1 stick sliced or diced pepperoni (if you want to reduce grease, use turkey pepperoni)
  3. 4 or 5 hard boiled eggs
  4. 1 lb shredded mozzarella cheese
  5. 1 lb shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  6. 1 egg
Grease a large cookie sheet with butter. Take half of the pizza dough and roll out to fit on cookie sheet (if you want the bottom to be crispy, sprinkle with grits or oats on the pan first). Chop hard boiled eggs. Layer pepperoni on bottom layer of dough. Next, layer chopped eggs, mozzarella, and cheddar on top of pepperoni. Roll out other half of dough for the top (think of it like making a giant Hot Pocket). Put top on. Press edges together, sealing the ingredients inside. Break remaining egg, whisk it, and brush it on top. This lets it brown nicely. Cut vents. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until top is golden brown.

I always make enough to have leftovers. This is even better the second day.

Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie from Marsha Brooks winner of Emeril's '01 Apple Pie contest
  1. 1 pastry crust for a deep-dish pie 9-inch (homemade or store-bought)
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 3 tbsp flour
  4. 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  5. 1/8 tsp salt
  6. 6 cups thinly-sliced peeled apples (You may need more if your family sits by the bowl and sneaks the sliced applies when you are not looking); Marsha likes to use golden delicious and fuji apples.
  7. 1 recipe crumb topping (see below)
  8. 1/2 cup chopped pecans ( I omit the pecans)
  9. 1/4 cup caramel topping

Ingredients for crumb topping:

  1. 1 cup packed brown sugar
  2. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 1/2 cup quick cooking rolled oats
  4. 1/2 cup butter
Directions for Crumb Topping:
  1. Stir together brown sugar, flour and rolled oats.
  2. Cut in 1/2 cup butter until topping is like course crumbs. Set aside.


  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Add apple slices and gently toss until coated.
  3. Transfer apple mixture to the pie shell. (I remove the store-bought pie shell from the aluminum pie plate and transfer it to a 9-inch pie plate of my own, but you do not have to.)
  4. Sprinkle crumb topping over apple mixture.
  5. Place pie on a cookie sheet so the drippings don't drop into your oven.
  6. Cover edges of pie with aluminum foil.
  7. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 25 minutes. Then remove foil and put back in for another 25 to 30 minutes without foil.
  8. Remove from oven. Sprinkle pie with chopped pecans then drizzle with caramel on top.
  9. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Finally, I have to point y'all to an incredible recipe over at The Pioneer Woman - Chocolate Truffles w/ Sea Salt I found the link over at Opi's Ramblings (God I love ICLW) and it looks incredible.

Friday, November 27, 2009

How I Spent Black Friday

I know many crazies people were out shopping and trying to score the deal of the century or at least the deal of the season today. Not me! Today, I was giving thanks that our kids have awesome friends with even awesomer (not a word, I know) parents.

When our house was build back in '73, the builders included a very cool looking wood burning stove. Sadly, even back in '73, the stove was not up to code and it DEFINITELY does not meet today's safety standards. It never, ever drew smoke up correctly and, frankly, was not safe to be used. Hell, even with the damper closed, there was a gap all the way around it letting the chimney act as a vent for the heat in the winter and the cool in the summer. Sorry, but I don't want to pay to heat or air condition the outdoors. The, to add insult to injury, it developed a serious leak during the last heavy rainstorm we had. The bitch had to go.
Dudley, the dad of our kids' friends, came over to help me remove the wood stove. It was a time consuming job but wasn't that difficult.

Yeah, that is me up there helping.

The kids used the pieces of the chimney we dropped to the ground to build a "cannon".

Gabe climbed the indoor ladder and tried to climb the outdoor ladder.
And, I now have this nice wide-open space...
With the hole patched, I'm no longer trying to heat the outdoors. Eventually, we would like to put a gas fireplace in this area. Until then, it will make a great location for our Christmas tree this year. And, the wood stove sans stovepipe will make a perfect outdoor fireplace. It will be fun to have a place to toast marshmallows. So, what did you do on black Friday?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

SHOW AND TELL: Thanksgiving Dinner with the Cruz Family

Welcome to our weekly expedition into the land of Show and Tell. Y'all know Show and Tell is wasted on the elementary schoolers. Join us weekly to show off an item, tell a story, and get the attention of the class. In other words, this is Show and Tell 2.0.

I promised you earlier that I would show off my Thanksgiving feast. I want you to know that I cooked this almost completely by myself. My wonderful hubby was my sous chef on a few items and was my clean up man (a job he excelled at). I truly owe him for the wonderful clean up job he did. It was truly fabulous to come home to a clean kitchen. Instead of dinner for 7, it ended up being dinner for 11. Guess it's a good thing I cooked like I was feeding an army. As I said before, the menu included a scrumptious 20 lb turkey, a delicious 8 lb glazed ham, garlic herb mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, apple-walnut-sausage stuffing, green bean casserole, corn, croissants, caramel apple crunch pie, pumpkin pie, and a cheese cake(the kids asked me to keep it at home). Everything (except the cheesecake) was made from scratch including the pie crusts and the cream soup for the green bean casserole.

turkey straight out of the oven

honey glazed ham sliced and ready to be served

homemade pumpkin pie

caramel crunch apple pie -
after you try this you won't want regular apple pie

The whole spread
starting in bottom left corner - pumpkin pie, ham, caramel apple pie
green bean casserole, gravy, apple-walnut-sausage stuffing
mashed sweet potatoes, turkey (covered in foil), garlic herb mashed potatoes
To see what everyone else in class is bringing to SHOW AND TELL, take a trip to visit the Miss Mel, Goddess of the Infertility Blogosphere.
BTW, for anyone who was wondering about the song used in Pink Glove Dance, the song is Down by Jay Sean.

Happy Thanksgiving

We are off to my MIL's house with a trunkful of food. That's right, I cooked the entire meal and we are taking it over there. My BIL is disabled and it would be difficult for him to come here. I made a scrumptious 20 lb turkey, a delicious 8 lb glazed ham, garlic herb mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, apple-walnut-sausage stuffing, green bean casserole, corn, croissants, caramel apple crunch pie, pumpkin pie, and a cheese cake. Everything (except the cheesecake) was made from scratch including the pie crusts and the cream soup for the green bean casserole. Pics will come later. That's my show and tell this week.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I've Come To Realize...

Hey y'all,

My brain is totally fried with homeschooling, holiday prep, and having all 3 k ids at home today so I decided to take the easy way out and do a meme. I really liked this one I found over on Mrs. Gamgee's blog.

I’ve come to realize that my chest-size. . . is one no human being should be burdened with.
I’ve come to realize that my job. . . is the very best one I could ever have.
I’ve come to realize that when I’m driving. . . I need to pay attention to my lead foot.
I’ve come to realize that I need. . . a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs and very little else matters.
I’ve come that realize that I have lost. . . my mind.
I’ve come to realize that I hate it when. . . when someone is a two-faced biotch. I would rather they be honest if they didn't like me.
I’ve come to realize that if I’m drunk. . . my southern accent becomes much more pronounced.
I’ve come to realize that money... is nice but there are many more important things.
I’ve come to realize that certain people. . . always think they are right and it just isn't worth fighting it.
I’ve come to realize that I’ll always. . . want to be the one taking care of others. I find it very hard to ;et other people take care of me.
I’ve come to realize that my sisters. . . are grown ups now. In my mind, they are still children. (I had to leave this in Mrs. Gamgee. I have this issue too.)
I’ve come to realize that my mom…is truly an amazing woman.
I’ve come to realize that my cell phone. . . is non-existent.
I’ve come to realize that when I wake up in the morning. . . I know I should have gone to bed earlier the night before.
I’ve come to realize that last night before I went to sleep. . . I should have just taken Gabe to bed with me. It was a long night because he was coughing.
I’ve come to realize that my dad. . . did so much to teach my sisters and me that we could do whatever we wanted with our lives.
I’ve come to realize that today. . . shows how much I can truly get done when I put my mind to it.
I’ve come to realize that tonight. . . shows just what a great team my hubby and I are. We kicked ass in the kitchen!.
I’ve come to realize that tomorrow. . . I get to let my eeeevil side free for a bit and I will be the only one that knows.!
I’ve come to realize that I really want to. . . go back to BlogHer next summer.
I’ve come to realize that life. . . goes by too quickly.
I’ve come to realize that my friends. . . are some of the most incredible people around.
I’ve come to realize that this year. . .marks the year when I can no longer deny my boys are growing up. That is hard to do when your oldest is 3 inches taller than you.
I’ve come to realize that my exes. . .weren't what I needed to be happy.
I’ve come to realize that maybe I should. . . be more active and make a little more time for me.
I’ve come to realize that I love. . . dark chocolate.
I’ve come to realize that I don’t understand. . .why my feet get cold in the winter even if I spend a day in a heated house
I’ve come to realize my past. . . is something I need to accept. Without this past, I wouldn't be who I am today.
I’ve come to realize that parties. . . are a blast if you are with friends
I’ve come to realize that I’m totally terrified. . .that someday I will disappoint someone I love.
I’ve come to realize that my life. . . is truly blessed.

I'll put my show and tell up tomorrow.