Monday, November 26, 2012


We had a fairly low-key Thanksgiving this year, just a traditional meal at my mom  ("nonnie") 's house. The Cupcake has been hit by a 2nd round of this horrible cold, she had about 2 days of reprieve and has otherwise had a drippy nose and cough for TWO MONTHS. Awful. But she still managed to look pretty cute in the fancy pants Janie & Jack outfit Grandma Deb bought her when she was in town last year - it fit PERFECTLY!

The adorable little tam was tolerated just fine in the car, but flung as soon as we walked into the house. Sigh.

Somehow, after much convincing, she put it on for a few more snapshots:

Food, family, and a few good photos - what more can a mom ask for?

I also had the rest of the weekend open to tackle some holiday projects - Christmas cards are in the mail!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Let there be light, dammit.

I have a loose tradition of putting up Christmas decor the day after Thanksgiving. I'm not sure if I've done it every year, or for how long, but it makes sense and I usually have some free time over that weekend, so it's convenient. This year the hubs had to work but The Cupcake was being semi-accomodating so I was able to sneak downstairs  and wrestle the medium sized tree up the stairs from storage. It's a partially collapsable 6 footer or so, and usually we just leave it set up in the laundry room during the off season. I take off the decorations but not the lights, since that seems like a waste of time just to put them back on again and it they don't fall off like ornaments do.

Last year I used a new set of lights for the first time, some fancy-schmancy LED ones I scored at Target on clearance the day after the prior Xmas. Red & white. I was happy to see that the tree would fit perfectly on top of a desk we have in front of the window right now, keeping more of it up and away from TC and showing off the lights out the window very nicely. I set up a sparkly tablecloth, plugged in the tree and...nothing. Well, 3 of the 4 strings were nothing. Dead.

Guess these weren't the kind that stay lit when one goes out. Sigh.

Next step: unwrap all the stupid lights, and try to keep them untangled.

Worst step: pretend that in jiggling and removing all the bulbs and putting them back in that I will somehow know what is wrong and make them work again. Ha. Ha Ha. Repeat for all 3 strings. Ha.

Actual worst step that I hadn't even anticipated: flinging TC into quarantine in the hallway when she whips one of the dead strings off the table and smashes one of the (apparently glass) bulbs on the floor, sending glass shards everywhere. 20 minutes sweeping and vacuuming ensue. Possible obscenities muttered. All lights end up in the trash anways. Lose 1 day + a few dollars. Spin again.

And the story concludes with a trip to Target for new lights, a pondering of the LED ("greener" but expensive) vs. traditional lights, hubby requesting they blink, and an eventual decision to get the cheap Earth-killing lights (in multi-colored "twinkle" variety) because the rest of the string will stay lit when one goes out, and thus in theory shouldn't need to be replaced for a few years. The LED ones could last longer, but if one goes I'd have to figure out which one or end up in the same place as this year. Also, after winding them on, I found I only needed 2 sets instead of the 4 I used last year, so the whole tree is done for less than the cost of replacing one of the broken LED strings. Works for me. I even found the adaptor so I can use a remote to turn them on and off instead of digging behind the furniture. Super productivity points.

Yet to come: deciding which ornaments to risk with the cupcake...

Friday, November 16, 2012

I like Pork Butts and I Cannot Lie...

I totally cooked something in the crock pot today.

All by myself.

And it was good.

I know millions of people do this all the time, and for some people it is a way of life, but I spent the past 12 years with a crazy food obsessed dog who would stop at nothing to get at a tiny morsel of anything, so a crock pot full of simmering meat was definitely off limits. Norm could leap 2 babygates high with no problem, anything on the counter was always in reach if the mood struck him, and short of putting it on top of the refrigerator (which still might not have deterred him)I just couldn't make a crock pot work. So we never tried it. This is a whole new world for me.

I got a $10 pork butt and threw it in my like new crock pot (I think I used it once for Halloween) with a cup of apple cider and 1/2 cup of water, let it sit on low for 8 hours and it shredded up pretty nicely. We ate it on wheat buns with a little bbq sauce, and there are at least 4 more meals left, so I'm doing AWESOME on my budget with this meal.

Crock pot confidence level: rising.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stuff I'm NOT doing...

-  cutting my hair for a few more inches so I can knock "donate to Locks of Love" off of my bucket list. Not sure if I'll make it, as the urge to chop is pretty strong, but I'm getting really good at the rolled up ponytail I wear every day. I'm also growing out my bangs and remembering why I swore I'd never have bangs again...last time I had half grown-out bangs...

- painting our bedrooms. Despite having $100 in paint cluttering up the kitchen floor, I just can't seem to make time for this project, and I just don't really want to do it. Especially now that it's too cold to leave the windows open. Boo for lack of motivation.

- putting up holiday decorations. I didn't put up a single Halloween or Thanksgiving item. It was weird to have spent MONTHS in previous years on Halloween, and this year there was zero evidence in my house. I used to make whole photo albums of decor! In theory I'm going to try some Xmas goodies this year, but in reality - I guess we'll see.

- crossing stuff off my bucket list. I've hit a dry spell in my progression. Part of it is financial - a big part - seeing as stay at home momming doesn't really leave a lot of discretionary funds for travel, shopping, and babysitters, but part of it is just a differing of priorities right now. I may have to add some "with The Cupcake" things to my list, which are the more urgent goals in my life right now.

- roller skating. I miss it. I kept meaning to go and bring TC in her stroller (one of our area rinks allows it) but their open skate is always during naptime, and she's starting to be able to escape from her stroller too easily, I don't want to be caught on wheels chasing after her or trying to tackle her. So I guess now I wait for her to start skating too? :) Or maybe just for a babysitter?

- reading. I just finished "The Passage" and I can't decide if I liked it. I do enjoy myself some vampire literature, and post-apocalyptic stories, but it was so BLEAK. And every time I got into one storyline, it abandoned it for a new one. So I'm going to wait on the sequel, at least till the cheap paperback comes out. What should I read next? I need something fluffier.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

3....2...1...ZOMG CUTE

 Our final Halloween celebration, that of "actual" Halloween, Wednesday evening the 31st.  We went to the "new zoo" (we have two zoos nearby, the "new" one is at least 20 years old but I've always called it the "new zoo" so it's hard to stop now) for their members-only "HallZOOween." I warn you now, The Cupcake's grand finale costume might be the cutest thing ever to occur on this blog:
Yes, she even wore the "at" (hat)! In fact, we finally took it off of her halfway through the trick or treat stations fearing she was broiling and knowing she kept walking off the path when it bunched up over her eyes, but it was maybe even cuter off, so that's okay.

I didn't make this or anything, I obvs have no time to try creativity lately. I found it on a rack titled "boy costumes" which seemed pretty weird for 2012, but whatever, I wasn't deterred. I knew my little space"man" would be adorable. If I could get her to wear it. We tried a few practice runs ahead of time and it was unclear what would be tolerated, so when she actually seemed delighted (or just distracted enough) on the big day, I was overjoyed.

HallZooWeen was really nice too, it was all indoors (score!), the kids got pretty good treats (cheese its, goldfish crackers, animal print sunglasses, a little fur print coin purse, and a ton more) and it was definitely better than being outside, and the lines weren't long until the end. TC enjoyed seeing a few animals too, and  afterwards we went to dinner and called it a night.

Halloween 2012 is in the books. I still feel like I missed something because I didn't dress up in something grand (I wore my alien hat again with Ms. SpaceMan) but all in all, it was a good time and we accomplished a lot considering I'm STILL battling a cold (this has been weeks).

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Things that go bump (scrape, scratch, whoooo) in the night:

...all the really old mylar balloons wafting through our house on air currents whenever the heat kicks in. They scrape across the ceiling and make a subtle but definitely noticable scratching sound as they cling to life and I forget to put them out of their misery. Right now we have a round blue Chuck E. Cheese and a red heart that have both seen better days, but they seem to be clinging to the sky so I let them hang out. The heart is from  a party store and has to be going on 2 months old. This shocks me since our latex balloons from the State Fair didn't even survive 24 hours, and some of our Dollar Store mylars only had a few days. Guess that extra $0.99 for the  real deal really makes a difference. Lesson learned.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Gold Stars & Gold Boots

I have two baskets of clean laundry sitting on the floor ready to be put away (that the hubby lovingly washed, dried & folded). Scratch that, there are THREE. The final remnants of the the yard sale (2 months ago?) are still on the porch waiting to be dragged back upstairs and sorted. And this weekend I have to find a new place for a bunch of furniture we are inheriting.

But none of that was on my list this morning to accomplish, and what was I totally knocked out of the park, so gold stars and celebratory dances all around!

The moral of this story: set reasonable goals. Today it was mail the bills, make a bank deposit, pick up some jackets my debate kids ordered, and pay the Target bill in-store. It was fairly lengthy considering I had just a few hours and TC in tow, but I was optimistic. When I got in the car I had to add "get gas" somewhere on the list, and later in the day "call the cops on the crazy lady in the semi truck who wouldn't get out of the turn lane and then got out of her truck and yelled at me" (for "being rude" when I honked at her after the 3rd cycle of the light she blocked a whole line of cars from our left turns as she used it for her personal parking lot without her flashers on - "Can you drive this truck?" she yelled, to which I replied "no, and if you can't either, get out of it!")

Anyways, there will always be stuff that doesn't get done. A freaking ton of stuff. And new stuff will show up out of the blue and demand immediate attention. So I triage, and only worry about a few things a day. One day all that was on my list was to refill the soap dispensers. Were there 10,000 other things that should have been done? Absolutely. But I wasn't going to get that many done, especially not while sick and wrangling TC. So I set my sights on one thing, got through it, and everyone survived the day and felt good about it. I'd much prefer that to having all 10K on my list and feeling like a looser every day when I don't make measurable progress.

It also opens up the opportunity for "extra credit" gold stars - I knew eventually The Cupcake needed boots, and I've been putting it off (not on the top of the list yet!) but while at Target we wandered past some and had a moment to try them on and figure it out. TC has yet to let go of her new sparkly gold boots without crying (the poor Target cashier did try her best to get them back quickly) so I think they're a hit. On a related note, kids' boots are ridicuously expensive.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Halloween Morning

While we didn't make it to all of the Halloween events I had wanted to, in hindsight we still did quite a bit. It feels a little anticlimactic that I didn't wear a grand costume for anything, but I had a few minor ones, including one for Halloween Morning.
We were matching monarch butterflies! I found the wings a while back at Joann's, clearanced out well before October, I think they were $9. They were a glitter nightmare but I just waited till I was out of the house to open them up, and they got a little floppy as the day wore on, but the effect was still cute. We made quite a splash at the nursing home we trick-or-treated at Wednesday morning.
It was a really cute event, I'm so glad we went. I'm generally uneasy in nursing homes and at mom-group events, and this was both, but it was pretty fun and low stress.

The Cupcake loved running up and down the wide hallways and there wasn't too much trouble she could get in along the way. At the end of each hallway were a couple of residents handing out candy, and again TC picked up on how to take it and put it in her bucket pretty quickly.  

Afterwards we gathered in a community room for cookies (sugar cookies - the messiest of the cookies, and least toddler-friendly. Oops.). TC sat down to dig through her candy (other than Kit-Kats, I don't think she recognized any of it) and there was one little old lady sitting alone by the TV. TC picked up a little box of pink Nerds and walked over to her slowly, and sheepishly set the candy on the arm of her chair. I melted.

Then she mashed a Crunch bar and a whole bag of M&Ms all over my car, so it's not all rainbows and lollipops.
But it was pretty darned cute.