Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hello Winter.

Hello there Winter.  You're a wee bit early.  Next year please wait your turn and allow Autumn to have her time in the sun.

Walking through dirty, slushy sidewalks is no way to travel while trick-or-treating.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Stand Aside and Let Him Climb

A few years ago, while at a local festival, my Sports Fanatic asked to climb a rock wall.

The wall was high.  There were grown men unsuccessfully attempting to climb the same wall.

My boy was only 7.

Since I am not a fan of heights, or any experience that requires a safety belt and a helmet, I was hesitant.  But my little guy insisted he wanted to climb the wall.

And so we let him.

To make a long story about a phenomenal memory short, he took our breath away.
He never looked down, never quit climbing, and he went all the way to the top.

As a parent it's tough to push my own fears aside and let my munchkins discover who they are.  I constantly fight the urge to shield them, protect them and keep them under my wing.

I'm forever reminding myself to stand back, breathe, and remember how much they are capable of.

Because it's so much more than even they could imagine.
Happy Weekend ~ hope it's amazing!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Exercise Mentality

Every year, I run a pretty tight exercise ship from March until the end of October.  I run four or five miles several times a week.  I interval train and I run in local races.

Even if squeezing in a run means running at 6:30am, I am on the pavement.

Once the air turns crisp and the days get shorter I lose my rhythm.  Time slips away from me and the sneakers take a backseat to Ugg boots.  Running shorts are tucked away and jeans and sweaters call my name.

My obsessive "how will I squeeze in a run today?" voice dulls down and pretty soon days will pass without even a thought of exercise.

It's quite lovely.

Usually I spend November and December decorating, baking and shopping.  I run enough holiday purchases up and down the basement stairs to qualify as cardio.  I carry toddlers in stores and lug shopping bags in sub zero temperatures.

"Mommy Sweat" hits its annual peak.  And that is all I need until January rolls in.

Within reason, everyone needs a breather.  The pace has to slow and the body and mind need to regroup.  I don't advocate letting a fitness regime go, I advocate allowing the bare minimum for awhile.

The bare minimum is all that is needed when I'm wearing five layers every day.

This Spring, when the Earth begins to thaw and the sun is shining early, I will once again lace up the sneakers and hit the pavement.

For now I look forward to my "modified" exercise regime.  Holiday shopping bags, occasional treadmill, toddler lugging and everything in between.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Favorite Halloween Costumes

I have been a mommy for ten Halloweens.  Over the years we have collected many costumes, some original and some not-so-original.

We do have the giant orange pumpkin suit in our costume bin.  And the pirate.  And the princess.  Ah, and of course the witch.

Naturally my favorite costumes are the ones that took some thought.  They took some preparation.  I can thank my mother for 90% of the preparation, the thinking end I handled just fine.

A few years ago, LLG loved to read Where the Wild Things Are.  He still loves to read it.  With my mother's help, LLG was able to be Max for Halloween.

For one evening, he was King of Where the Wild Things Are.

He gnashed his terrible teeth and roared his terrible roar.  And he sailed back over a year, in and out of weeks and through a day, and into the night of his very own trick-or-treat paradise.

Last year, with my oldest son finally outgrowing dressing as Mario and Luigi, we were able to get a little creative with his Halloween gear.

He asked if he could be a UPS man.  With some Rit dye and some iron on letters from Michaels he was part of the UPS team.  And his box was ideal for holding candy.
My Gymnastics Queen has a severe weakness for the Costume Express magazine that arrives twenty times every fall.  While we manage to make any costume she chooses a tad unique, her most original was the 50's girl.

With black shoes, ribbon and some felt these are easily homemade.  And adorable.  And warm with leggings underneath.
Halloween is a magical time when munchkins can be anything they like, all day long.  If you celebrate, share your favorite costumes.  I'd love to see them. 

Happy costume preparations - five days and counting until the universal sugar coma.

Mommyhood Footnote:  The Moopa has yet to ask for any particular Halloween gear.  Until she does, she will choose from the hand-me-down bin we tuck away in the basement.  That's how the cookie crumbles.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Activity: Haunted Halloween Houses

My mother, who raised six kids, has long made these houses with munchkins over the years.  My mom has taught me just about everything I know when it comes to fun for my munchkins.

And what she didn't teach me came from the genes.

These houses are perfect for Halloween parties, sleepovers or just for fun on a weekend with your munchkins.

empty, rinsed dry small milk or orange juice cartons
vanilla frosting
graham crackers
haunted house decor (gummy worms, gummy skulls and spiders, chocolate candies, cereals, etc)
paper plates
paper bowls
plastic knives (or wooden Popsicle sticks)

The trick with haunted house making is pre-assembly.  Have cartons dry and ready for graham cracker walls the night before you need the houses.

Assemble roof and walls with vanilla frosting and graham crackers.  Set each house on paper plate, securing with frosting.

Let set overnight.

Once munchkins are ready to make their haunted houses, set out a small bowl of assorted candies and cereals next to each munchkin.  This makes all the finger licking MUCH more tolerable.

I also give each haunted house assembler their own bowl of frosting and their own plastic knife.

This goes back to the licking thing again.

Some munchkins take their time and construct a masterpiece, some slop it all on there and eat the candy.  Either way, the activity is always a big hit.

Mommyhood Footnote:  Remember to supply exciting candies.  Play Halloween tunes.  Make a house with the kids.

As with everything in life, "Halloween House Making" is what you make it.  So make it totally awesome.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Field Buddies

Usually, when I truck my munchkins to any practice or event there is an abundance of kids awaiting them.  These kids also are dragged from event to event because they aren't in school yet.  Or they aren't on a team yet.  Or they are watching their siblings play in a game.

Regardless of why they ended up there, I love all these kids.  They make my life easier.

Usually all the "field buddies" congregate and find each other.  They make up games to play and they run around like crazy people.  Every mom keeps one eye out for all of them and we throw down the hammer when things get out of control.

My munchkins look for these "friends" at every field.  They come to know the kids who will be at each practice.  Many of these kids are in different grades and even different schools, but they are buddies.  They forge a strong "we live a similar existence" bond.

And having these kids around makes "waiting around" so much easier.
There is no greater disappointment than arriving at a destination and finding no "friends" for my munchkins to play with.  I immediately must think of ways to keep them busy and dig out snacks from my purse.
"Field Buddies" make my life easy.  I love easy.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A 32nd Birthday

Today I am 32. 

Birthdays, for me, are much like any other day.  The munchkins need breakfast.  Everyone still needs clean underwear and dirty floors still drive me insane.

But this morning my munchkins showered me with birthday love.  My boys each gave me earrings they chose at the store.  My girls gave me slipper socks because my feet resemble icicles on any given evening.  Hubby presented me with my favorite candy store chocolates and lotto tickets. 

The sun is shining outside my windows and the air is crisp.  There is a cold Red Bull waiting for me in the fridge.  This morning I will watch my daughter at gymnastics and this afternoon feasting on cake and chocolate.

And tonight I will be freezing on the sidelines as my son quarterbacks in his football game.

Life doesn't get much better than that.  Happy Birthday to me.

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Pumpkin Patch" Cupcakes

These little beauties were inspired by Charlie Brown.  "The Great Pumpkin" is a timeless classic that will forever hold a place in our mess of DVD's.

Last week I purchased a bag of those delightful candy corn pumpkins that can only be bought this time of year.  They are 100% sugar and my munchkins swarm to them like moths to a flame.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

These cupcakes can be whipped up in a flash.  All you need is candy corn pumpkins, vanilla frosting, food coloring, and some Vince Guaraldi tunes.

Green decorator's sugar, which has been in the Christmas aisles since August, adds a nice touch. 

24 cupcakes, any flavor, baked and cooled
2 containers vanilla frosting
green food coloring
green decorator's sugar
1 bag Brach's Candy Corn Pumpkins

Frost cupcakes with vanilla frosting.  I speak for munchkins everywhere when I ask you to please frost generously.

In a small bowl, add a few drops green food coloring to approximately 1/2 icing from one container.  Mix until icing is a nice shade of green.

Spoon 1 tablespoon green icing on top of each cupcake, and spread with a fork to create "grass".

Sprinkle "grass" with green sugar.

Top each cupcake with pumpkin.

Simple.  Easy.  Fun.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Afternoon Movie: Legends of the Fall

I remember when Legends of the Fall  hit the big screen.  Brad Pitt was never hotter and the name "Tristan" became quite the trend.
I can understand why.

Yesterday, still weak on the energy from battling the flu last weekend, I did something I haven't done in years.  I sat and watched a movie while Moopa napped.

Encore was playing Legends of the Fall.  Brad Pitt was dreamy and Anthony Hopkins was commanding.  The evolving tale of this family tugs at my heartstrings because it so perfectly portrays how complicated life is when children grow up.  

People develop different ideals.  They fall in love.  They grow apart and but family always ties them together.
There is so much love, passion, family, war, politics, history and heart in this film I needed a box of tissues every half hour yesterday.

I cannot watch this film without crying my eyes out.

Tristan, I have nowhere to send this letter and no reason to believe you wish to receive it. I write it only for myself. And so I will hide it away along with all the things left unsaid and undone between us. (Susannah)

Oh Susannah.  Excuse me as I dry my tears.

And now, to Target for a Frappuccino.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thank Heavens for the Dog

Every few nights, my little guy sneaks into our room because he can't sleep.  Or he had a bad dream.  Or he just feels like it.

Regardless, I flag him into my bed because my butt is not gettin' up.

Recently I inquired why he is sneaking into our room at night.  He told me it's because he "doesn't have anyone" when he gets afraid.

His older sister has the Moopa in her room.  I have Daddy.  The Sports Fanatic has his bunk bed.

Don't ask.

Tonight when I went to say goodnight to dear LLG, he had solved his problem.

I'll let you know how this new "arrangement" works out.  I'm thinking the dog is pretty pleased.  

As long as my "midnight wanderer" stays in bed and the dog doesn't leave a 2am poop on the rug I'll let this continue.

Thank heavens for the dog.  She causes plenty of problems but she manages to solve them as well.

Have a fabulous Wednesday.  The weekend is on its way!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Valuable Lesson in Losing

This year, my son's football team is "winning challenged".  We have played six games and lost every one.

Some we have lost by a landslide.  Some we have lost in a down to the wire dogfight.  Regardless, we have lost every game.

The boys are good kids.  They work hard.  Despite their less than desirable record they still show up to practice eight hours each week.

We have a variety of athletes on our team.  Some are fast.  Some are strong.  Some have a good arm and some have a good understanding of the game.  There are even some who still don't know exactly what is going on, but they still show up.
Watching your child lose every game is no walk in the park.  The parents, players and coaches are all frustrated.  There are many opinions as to why we are losing, and everyone thinks they have the answer.

But this week I had an Oprah "Ah Ha!" moment.  What matters most was suddenly crystal clear.

We may be losing, but we need to focus on what is important.  Despite our record, each player is valued.  As long as the players show up and put their heart in, they deserve to play in the games.

They are part of the team. 

Every game, the coaches make certain all twenty six players have time on the field.  Rather than field the best eleven and have most of those boys play both ways (sport talk for offense and defense), they rotate the boys in.  Our team doesn't have 14 kids playing 95% of the game and 12 kids playing 5% of the game.

Many teams don't share that system of play. 

Foul language is not permitted and the players are expected to be respectful.  The boys don't bully and they don't blame each other for a loss.

We have kids on the team who get out on the field and are confused.  They line up in the wrong position.  Those boys have teammates who move them where they need to be.

This is because their coaches told them who needs the help.

There is something to be said for coaches who value the kids on their team.  There are many coaching mentalities, and the best come with putting the players first. When players are valued by their coaches, they are also valued by each other.  They learn by example.

I wish all parents had this same experience for their munchkins. 

Every team represents their town, their families and themselves.  A winning record might be good on paper, but character is what wins in the long run.  And if winning games is our biggest challenge, than I would say we have it easy.

Our team has already won where it matters.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Halloween Spider Web Cupcakes

Tis' the season for junk food.  Last Thursday I made approximately 60 Halloween cupcakes.  Half went to the school snack sale and the other half to my son's classroom for his 6th birthday.

In my efforts to make the birthday cupcakes exciting I made spider webs.  I even added a spider ring.

Always the overachiever.

But I can say with confidence the munchkins loved them, and they looked pretty "Halloween fancy".  They also made my spider ring impulse buy at Target extremely worthwhile.

These are fabulous for Halloween parties, for the classroom or just for fun at home.

I would even recommend bringing them into the office.  You never outgrow cupcakes with plastic spider rings.

1 box cupcake mix
1 container vanilla frosting
1 container chocolate frosting
1 plastic sandwich bag
1 pack spider rings

Prepare and bake cupcakes as directed.  Let cool.

Once cool, frost cupcakes with vanilla frosting.  Fill plastic sandwich bag 1/2 full with chocolate frosting and with scissors snip off small corner. 

Using the sandwich bag, make two large circles with the chocolate frosting on each cupcake.  Make one circle inside the other.
With a knife, start at center of each cupcake and gently drag knife down to edge.  Repeat four to six times, depending on how you want your "web" to look. 
Add spider ring and admire.
Happy Monday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A 6th Birthday

Today "Little Lunatic Guy" turns six.

LLG is a different bird.  He truly is.  He inherited all the "weird" our gene pool had to offer. 

He is inquisitive and he speaks his mind.  This isn't always a good thing.

I have found myself red faced with embarrassment more than once with his public "honesty".

Not only is LLG honest, he extremely animated.

He loves to play and has a clever imagination.  The world is his playground.  He incorporates all surrounding objects in his imaginary world.  He utilizes rocks, drawers, pillows, shoes, underwear, socks, hats and anything else within reach.
He is incredibly patient because he has to be.  He has an older sister who makes the rules and a younger sister who takes his things.  His older brother has long been involved in sports.  LLG has learned to wait at fields, in cars, at gymnastics studios and football games.

And true to LLG style he is an animated "waiter".

This year was a big year for my little guy.  He now rides a two wheeler, goes to school all day and he learned to swim.
He is beginning to grow up and gain his independence.

LLG constantly amazes me with his quirky "one liners" and his personal style.  He enjoys wearing "handsome clothes" and has long been a fan of head wear.

In preschool:
My "Little Lunatic Guy" is now embarking on another chapter in his always interesting, never routine existence.  And I wish my baby boy all the happiness this world has to offer and many adventures in his year ahead.

He has brought us adventure since the day he was born in the front seat of our car.  And I am eternally thankful for every thing he is and I can't wait to see who he will become.

Because I can bet the house it will be anything but ordinary.
Thank heavens for that.  This world has enough ordinary.

Happy 6th Birthday to my "Little Lunatic"!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Trip to the Dentist

On Monday, the munchkins had no school.  I love to torture them and make necessary appointments on "no school" days.

Monday was Mommyhood's day at the dentist.

I make my life easy and book all their dental appointments one after the other.  An assembly line of cleanings.  We book a two hour time block and rotate the munchkins in and out of the hygienist chair.

Luckily we are close, personal friends with our dentist.  And we have evolved since my oldest munchkin thrashed, screamed and sent the dentist tools flying as a Novocaine needle approached him a few years ago.

We have learned to be "good patients".  An important, difficult lesson to learn.

The munchkins now entertain the office while I discuss palate expanders, cavities, flossing and braces.

Always good times.

I am happy to announce we were mostly cavity free.  The only cavity detected was in a baby tooth.  Thank heavens those stinkers fall out.

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

M&M Pretzel Cookies

Last week, while wasting more time on Pinterest, I saw a "pin" of a cookie with pretzel pieces baked in.  The cookie looked plump, chewy and succulent.

Naturally I decided a similar cookie was worth making.  Since I am fairly loyal to my current chocolate chip cookie recipe, I decided to work with mine rather than try a new one.  Change is frightening when it involves cookie making.

And sticks of butter are not cheap. 

The end result of my pretzel cookie experiment was exactly as I hoped it would be.

The cookies were a roaring success.

M&M Pretzel Cookies
(recipe can be halved)

Blend until creamy (minimum 2-3 minutes on medium high speed):
2 sticks butter, very soft
1 stick margarine, very soft
1 cup sugar
2 cups dark brown sugar

Add (one egg at a time) and mix well:
2 tablespoons vanilla
3 eggs

Turn mixer to LOW (the slowest speed you have available), and slowly add until JUST combined:
2 cups bread flour
2 cups all purpose flour (OR whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking soda

Measure 1 cup bite sized pretzels and break into pieces.  Repeat with M&M's.

Stir broken pieces by hand into cookie dough mixture.

Chill while you preheat oven to 350.

Once oven is ready, scoop generous amounts of dough onto cookie sheet.  Dough should be thick.  I prefer to make large cookies, because bigger cookies are better if you are limiting yourself to one.

Once cookies are ready for the oven, selectively push M&M's and pretzel pieces into each cookie.  No one wants the cookie with one M&M.

Bake 10-12 minutes, check cookies.  Remove from oven when centers are slightly raw, but edges are beginning to brown.  Let cookies sit on tray 2-3 minutes, allowing centers to set.

Cool completely on cooling rack.  Try to resist them.

I failed to resist, grabbed the largest one, and cracked open an ice cold Diet Coke.

And I enjoyed every last bite.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A "Dryer House Fire"

This past weekend was interesting.  I saw Teresa Giudice.  My Gymnastics Queen landed her back hand-spring. 

My mom and dad's dryer caught on fire.

The last event was a rather surreal, "I can't believe this is happening" moment.  When you are standing outside your parents' house, watching the smoke escape through the windows, it truly stuns you. 

This past Saturday was a well planned, busy day.  That morning we were busy with football and gymnastics practice.  Afterward I was meeting Hubby at my mom and dad's to go to a festival.  The sun was shining and it was warm and pleasant.

A perfect fall day. 

When I pulled up my parents' drive about noon, my mother had my munchkins loaded into her car.  She was motioning to me and yelling from her car window.  There was much confusion; I had no idea what she was trying to tell me.  I pulled my car closer and I heard her yell that the house was on fire.

Before I continue, I need to explain that my parents live on a mountain.  They are on thirteen lovely, private acres.  Their house is all wood and the trees surrounding it are abundant with fall foliage.  While the setting is tranquil, it is not ideal in an emergency.

When I was able to park my car, my mother explained the dryer had caught on fire.  The alarm sounded but they were quick to dismiss it until they saw smoke from the other end of the house.  After dialing 911, and removing the munchkins from the house, Hubby found an extinguisher in the garage.

If I was present, I would have knocked him flat on his tushie before I let him back into the house.  I was not present.  And so he went back into the house. 

The upside was he was able to put the fire in the dryer out.  The downside was that the fire had already spread into the wall.

He also came out of the house choking because of the smoke inhalation.

To make a very long story short, the fire trucks came.  We live in a small town which translates to EVERY fire truck came.  An ambulance came to check Hubby and the munchkins ran around in the wilderness.  Myself, Hubby and my mother wondered exactly what was happening inside the house, and how badly the fire had spread.

Thanks to Hubby and his extinguishing efforts, the damage was much less than what it would have been.  And aside from the house smelling like a barbecue smoker and some significant damage, we were lucky.

These past few days we have truly laughed much and counted our blessings.  All is well that ends well.

I am now reminding everyone to never run an appliance if they are leaving the house.  Never run an appliance if you are going to sleep.  And always check that your fire alarm is working properly.

As we start our week, I am hoping it is MUCH less eventful.  

Happy Columbus Day! Be safe!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A "Real Housewives" Run In

Last night was interesting.

Hubby and I dropped our two youngest munchkins with my mother for the evening, and we decided to treat the older two munchkins to dinner.

Our schedule and our finances do not allow for many dinners out with the munchkins. 

We decided to head down the street to the restaurant where I work.  We know everyone, the food is delish and it's pub style.

We can also play Keno.  

After we finished our dinner and lost some money playing Keno, Hubby announces that the band just arrived.  We all looked out the window next to our cozy booth and saw a large "limo bus".  It was extremely large.

I work at this restaurant every weekend.  I see bands arrive.  I told Hubby this band must have some serious groupies.  And if they are good enough to travel in that bus, they are about to be quite disappointed with the turnout currently awaiting them.

We continued to watch as people exited the bus.  There was a camera man.  And a lady in very tight, shimmery cocktail dress.  She was tiny, and the dress was rather naked.

Since it was approximately fifty five degrees outside, she added a maroon "boa" to keep her warm.  I would have gone with a parka, but apparently the boa worked for her.

I couldn't help but watch her.  She was very familiar.  Confident.  She was half naked and it was freezing outside.  She had a gentleman with her who was short in stature.  He was wearing jeans and a button down dress shirt.

My munchkins were very interested in this scene in the parking lot.  They have never seen a band arrive anywhere.  Let alone a band arrive right outside the window of the restaurant they are dining in.

I was very interested in this scene because she was familiar.  And there was a camera.  And then I realized she looked like Teresa Giudice.  She looked EXACTLY like Teresa Giudice.  And the man looked like her husband.

My mommybrain is slow, and as I told Hubby that looked like the lady from Real Housewives, he mentioned that it MUST BE the lady from Real Housewives of New Jersey.

And it was.

Just as I was about to dash out the front door and ask for a picture, they loaded the bus.  Disappointment washed over us as we realized they were not coming in for dinner.  But it was rather exciting regardless.

The munchkins had quite an evening.  Dinner out, a little Keno and a celebrity siting right outside their booth window. 

Never a dull moment in Mommyhood.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cake Batter Bars

For the record, I saw these on Pinterest.  I'm beginning to sound like a broken record. 

However, I didn't keep to the recipe because I needed 28 bars.  I was bringing these to my son's football team, and they need cookie bars larger than rice grains.

My recipe turned out just perfect.  The end result was cake batter bar heaven and 28 bellies full of sugar.

Be careful not to overbake, because I strongly believe in soft, chewy centers.

Cake Batter Bars

2 1/2 cups vanilla cake mix (Funfetti works well)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup butter, very soft

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
Sprinkles (if desired)

Heat oven to 350. 

Grease 9x13 baking dish.  Blend butter and sugars on medium to high speed until creamy.  Add eggs and vanilla, mix well.  Add remaining ingredients, blending on low until just combined.  Stir in colorful sprinkles if desired.

Pour into prepared dish, bake 25-30 minutes.  Check bars at 25 minutes, if center is extremely "jiggly" continue baking.  Center should be a little gooey. 

If you can resist, let bars cool before cutting and serving.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Blog Makeover

Yesterday I needed a change.  I was sick of sidebars and pictures and everything in between.

I needed a blog cleanse.

I took a few hours (collectively) and made a new blog header.  I fired my blog background and switched up some fonts.

The blog is clean.  There is less clutter.  My blog is a place of solace once again.

I hope my readers are pleased with the new "look".  Change can be so refreshing.

On another semi-related note, I hope my munchkins are in good form after school.  My need for clean has carried over into my housekeeping life.

I am on a cleansing, clutter purging spree that may last until evening.

No Barbie is safe.  All dry markers shall be sent to the trash.   Loose papers, toys without parts and socks without matches are about to meet their doom.

But first, to Starbucks for a Frappucino.  The energy needs to come from somewhere.

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Waterfall Braid": My New Favorite Hairstyle

My new favorite style is entitled "the waterfall braid".

I am thrilled to announce that if you know how to french braid, after one viewing you will be able to recreate this "do."

The only member of our household who has the hair for this style is my Gymnastics Queen, and she is sporting it at school today.
I was able to braid this while we waited for the bus, which makes it very mommy friendly.

Here is the link for the tutorial, if you would like to try this as well.

Happy Braiding!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

My new semi-obsession with Pinterest had me "pinning" everything I love over the weekend.

While "pinning", I was searching for a crowd-pleasing-college-football crock pot meal.  We had friends in for the weekend, and we tend to eat mucho when our friends visit. 

Hence the "crowd pleasing".

I found this barbecue chicken recipe, and quickly pinned it to my "recipes" board.

I then tweaked it, made it and we devoured it.

The End.

Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce (I highly recommend Sweet Baby Ray's)
  • 1/2 cup light Italian dressing
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (light brown works as well)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Place chicken in slow cooker on high.  Mix remaining ingredients in small bowl and pour over chicken.  Cook 3 hours, and remove chicken.  Shred using fork, place back in slow cooker, turn to low, and cook another hour.

Serve on plump club rolls.

Recipe adapted from

Monday, October 3, 2011

Competition Season for the Gymnastics Queen

Competition season for my little gymnast is upon us.  I am sitting here with a brain ache because I have been trying to make sense of the upcoming schedule.

We have competitions every month until May.  Some are sectional qualifiers, some are state qualifiers, some are just meant to suck money away and some just contribute to more brain ache.

The poor coaches must have such pity on me because every time a meet sign up is emailed I email them back.

"Does this apply to us?"

"Would you recommend this meet for us?"

"Will any of this ever make sense to me?"

"Have I driven you crazy enough or can you stand more?"

Today I am destined to sit and unscramble a slew of gymnastics emails and write out several checks.  I will then comb my calendar for nights I can beg for more shifts at work.

But I can guarantee you that next month, as I watch my daughter compete for the first time as a Level 4 gymnast, it will all be worth it.  Her enthusiasm and smile will make all of this make sense.
Until then I will serve sizzlin' steaks and lick my wounds with ice cream.

Happy Monday everyone!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Zesty Lime Salsa

I am suffering from an over abundance of garden tomatoes.  I see no end to my predicament.

To alleviate some of the tomato overload, I made salsa.  Fresh, zesty, with-a-little-kick salsa.  Hubby likes this salsa because it's not spicy, more lime-y and refreshing with a little hot.

You'd have to make it to understand.

Zesty Lime Salsa

4 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 lime
1 jalapeno pepper minced, divided

Toss tomato and onion in medium bowl.  Slice lime and squeeze lime juice over mixture.  Add jalapeno  to taste.

I was out of jalapeno peppers, and I made this work with a teaspoon of Sandwich Toppers.