Friday, December 19, 2008

Lazy Mom's Gingerbread Houses

The boys and I threw together a little party for some of our friends last week to make "gingerbread houses".

**WAIT** Scared of a mess? Object to children on sugar highs? **LOOK NO FURTHER.***

If game, you'll need:

12x12 piece of cardboard (or thereabouts) wrapped in foil

graham crackers (as if I would go to the trouble of carving perfectly shaped gingerbread pieces for 10 kids)

royal icing ( I use Martha Stewart's recipe from an old holiday book I have but couldn't find a link on the net.)

candy, candy, candy

did I mention candy?

oh, good because you'll need lots of candy.

Prep work: Start by carefully breaking the grahams in half (squares). Did you chip a corner, don't toss it, eat it! I pre-made the royal icing and divvied it into baggies. Each mom brought a favorite candy and the kids were excited.

If your kiddos are smaller, they'll need your help assembling. Once that is done, step out of the way, cuz the sugar high will set in about now and gum drops will fly.

Just cut a small hole in the corner of baggie and ice a square on the foil. Set-up two sides and ice together the corners. Build the other two sides. Now you can either use a flat top or an "A" frame roof. You might need to hold the "A" in place for a few secs until it will hold by itself.

Squirt a bit of icing here and there to mimic snow settling on the surfaces of the house and the ground. Sprinkle or place candy here, there and everywhere.

Here's how a few of the houses at our party turned out. I think there may be a few budding architects in the group.

Can you guess which two belong to my kids? I did help RePete with the structure. And Pete? Loves candy.




We found out that three marshmallows was too many for a snowman, especially with a hat!



Poor Frosty was caught in a snow storm.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow Globes

We made our using these items:


You'll end up with this:


Are you still there? Here's how to do it.

  • Thoroughly clean and dry the baby food jar.

  • Hot glue the little figure to the lid.

  • Fill the jar with distilled water.

  • Sprinkle in the glitter - the more the merrier.

  • Apply a silicone adhesive to the outer rim of lid.

  • Screw that baby on tight!

To finish it off, hot glue ribbon around the lid. My boys loved these!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Well, crap, time flies

when I am having fun.

Movie update. Slept until the mean vampires tried to snatch Bella. I mean how many times can you watch those two stare at each other or better (worse) yet, watch Bella flutter her eyelashes in confusion. Books? Much better. In fact I find myself thinking about reading and then remember, I'm done with them and slump my shoulders a bit. Oh well, good thing I have other things to occupy my time.

Like Cinnamon-Applesauce Ornaments.

Here's the cast of characters: (including my helper Repete)


Mix 1 cup applesauce with 8 oz cinnamon in a bowl until combined. I also add a few pinches of clove. I like mine extra smelly. Mmmm.


It'll look a bit like this...poop-ish...


Form into a ball for rolling and then roll to 1/4 inch in thickness.


Have your best helper ever cut out little gingerbread men or stars or trees or fish or whatever...


Then have him cut holes for the ribbon using a straw...


You can air dry these in place for 1-2 days or pop them in the oven on 250 degrees for a bit. (10-15 minutes) Just check them for dryness because I don't watch the clock. Oh and be careful when you open the oven door. The poof of cinnamon smell will just about knock you over. No lie.

Once dry, hang them on your tree for cinnamon-y goodness all season long or share them with friends. I also use non-Christmas shapes and my friends hang them in the kitchen for good smells all year long. After a few years, rub them with a bit of clove oil to "freshen" them right back up.



Thursday, December 11, 2008

Today is the day!

Now I've pulled two moms over to the dark side. We'll be going to see the movie tonight. Can't wait.


Speaking of that, I was in Wally with my boys and Pete was flipping through the posters. I thought nothing of that because I've looked through them in the past and it's nothing but Spiderman, Harry Potter, Hannah Montana and such. This day I did see Edward on the end. hahahaha

Anyhoo, Pete is really concentrating on a few of them so I walk over and see women in their underwear. (I won't even go into a rant about that.)

R: Pete, c'mon, let's go.

Pete: Mom, those ladies are HOT!

R: Do you mean they are only wearing their underwear because they are too hot to wear their clothes? *snicker*

Pete: No, I mean they are nice looking. (said while doing the multiple eyebrow raising thing)



It's also my birthday. My mailbox is full of birthday wishes which is so nice. What is weird is all the forums and websites that I have accounts with also sent birthday greetings. Such a strange thing to do.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day today.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ignoring my family... BN's fault.

Remember this post about the book?


I searched the Wally in my little town to no avail. The drugstores didn't have them either. Let me rephrase that. They all had the book, they just didn't have the sequels. Then I thought to myself since I, like so many others, totally ignore my family and friends, shirk all responsibilities and become almost trance like when I sit down with a good book, I am going to put off buying them until Sunday. BN leaves for a snowboarding trip with the guys on Sunday and won't be back until Wednesday.

So let's see..."New Moon" on Sunday, "Eclipse" on Monday and "Breaking Dawn" on Tuesday. I'll only read them at night after the kids have settled down, BN won't be here, perfection. What can I say, I read fast and it was a great plan.


BN saw how distraught I was when I came home empty handed that week after not finding the books here in hillbilly hell. So on Sunday, when I was leaving him and the boys for a few hours to run errands and I mentioned to him that I was also going to pick up the rest of the books he got all panicky and told me I couldn't buy them. Of course, I laughed in his face at the mere suggestion. He then told me that he ordered the rest of the books for me and they should arrive on Wednesday, maybe Tuesday.


Well, it's Tuesday and it's 8:20 pm and I am patiently (no make that impatiently) waiting for 9 o'clock to roll around so I can tuck the brats in bed and settle in for a little Edward and Bella time.


That means Wednesday and Thursday I plan to ignore my family.


I suckered another mother of young boys into reading the book and of course she is ignoring her family (her hubby is on the same trip as BN) and we are going to watch a teeny bop movie on Thursday seeing it's my birthday and all.

Can't wait.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Meme

The darling Ami of Ami.Mental tagged me for this and I'm glad she did. I love this one because I love Christmas. "It's the most wonderful time of the year"...ahem, where was I?

Oh, yes she tagged me for this and here goes. Not tagging everyone on my reader, but if you decide to play along, I'll see it!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Both! Depends on the gift. I like making my own wrapping paper but that becomes a full-time job this time of year so I save those papers for birthdays.

2. Real tree or Artificial?
We’re tree huggers so artificial, of course. We had live trees growing up and I hated the pine needles (I was the official vacuumer). Quick story. My first job, back when I had to support my habit, was at a drugstore. After Christmas, the price on artificial trees dropped so much that with my added employee discount, I bought a 6 ft tree for $9.99. I was only 17 but stored it away at my Mom’s until I moved out and had a house of my own. BN and I used that tree for the first 15 years of our marriage.

3. When do you put up the tree?
The day after Thanksgiving unless we are out of town and then immediately upon arriving home.

4. When do you take the tree down?
New Year’s Day. It’s such a boring day – what else am I gonna do?

5. Do you like eggnog?

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
I loved everything I received but a vanity and the Barbie airplane stand out. I also loved the wicker Barbie furniture my Grandma sent me the year before my parents divorced. What really amazes me about my Christmases past was that my Mom only spent about $100 on both me and my sister. Both of us! Is there anything out there today that costs less than $100?

7. Hardest person to buy for?
In-laws. Actually all adults are hard for me. We have everything and none of us are fond of gadgety things or gag gifts. Wasteful.

8. Easiest person to buy for?
My kids and my husband. Although, all three of them are very expensive to buy for. See #6.

9. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes, a tiny one my Mom gave me.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Always mail cards. I use them to send a new family picture and pics of the boys. I’m sure everyone is thrilled. hahaha

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
None comes to mind.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Miracle on 34th Street.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Late! I love shopping in the hustle and bustle. Call me CRAZY!

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
No. Buuut, I do have a stash of unused presents that I thought about re-gifting or donating.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Anything that is not traditional. I’m making lasagna this year.

16. What decorations are on your tree?
Things I’ve made, things the boys have made, things my Mom made. I found some pretty glass balls with birds on them two years ago. I love glass ornaments but never bought them because of the kids, but two years ago, Sushi told me about her family and how they all exchange ornaments for Christmas instead of other gifts (fab idea) and I started buying ornaments at the Garden store she pointed out. Beautiful things there. This year I risked putting them up. So far, so good.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
Um, all of them. The local radio stations start playing continuous Christmas music from Thanksgiving day until New Year’s and satellite tv radio has an all Christmas station. I am partial to the Mariah Carey Christmas cd. She funks it up a bit.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home?
Both. My family rotates houses for the big production. We usually go to the in-laws, but they have come here a few times too. Christmas Day is at home with BN and the boys. I always hated as a kid waking up, opening presents, then rushing off to visit family. My sister and I decided many years ago that we would stay home on Christmas. BN’s family doesn’t follow that rule so sometimes show up on that day at our house, but at least we aren't dragging our boys away from home and all their goodies.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
"Now there's Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all….Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"…oopsie, caught me singing again.

20. Angel on top of tree or star?
I posted about my Angel on a Fun Monday last year. She turns 40 this year. She was my Moms first Angel and when I moved out, she was my first Angel. I guess that means I’ll have to give it to Pete for his first Christmas…I think that is going to be hard to do…I really love that angel…for cripes sake woman, give it up…moving on...

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
We always opened ONE present on the Eve but BN’s family opened all on the Day. I’ve relented to his tradition except this year. BN and I always buy a “family gift” and this year I bought the Wii. I am letting the boys open it on the EVE. I can’t wait.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
Hyping up a toy and only having two in stock. The Christmas spirit is lost on the merchandisers. Of course, it’s lost on a lot of us, but I do love the commercial spirit.

23 What theme or color are you using when you decorate?
I’m a red and green kind of girl. Nothing says Christmas like red and green to me.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?
Again, nothing traditional. We don’t eat pig or cow and turkey for Thanksgiving is enough turkey for one year. I’m making lasagna.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
Wonderful memories with my loved ones and friends. I truly just love the craziness in the air and that people are generally nicer to one another. I prefer no gifts, but BN will buy me loads as usual.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Robinella's Craft Corner

or reindeer and soldier ornaments.

List of supplies:

  • doll and no roll clothespins

  • pipe cleaners

  • pom-poms

  • rick rack

  • thin gold twine

  • craft paints and brushes

  • google eyes

  • hot glue

  • scrap material

I'm not giving step by steps because they are so easy kids can do them. (with proper supervision of the hot glue gun, of course) And I think a picture does the trick. If not, feel free to email me with questions.

Let me start by repeating that it is so easy a kid can do it, but if you have boys, they may do their own thing.

My nephew thought Ozzy and Sharon were more fun to make. Have you seen that new commercial where Ozzy uses text messaging to translate? HAlarious. Does The Osbournes come on anymore? BN and I used to laugh our hineys off watching that. So where was I...

Pete started with soldiers then gravitated towards villains. I am partial to that swirly one.

RePete went right for the bad guys. With such names as Bubble Gum man and Glow Man.

So mom and I did all the rest (after we replenished our supplies at the local craft store).

The soldiers do not have faces. We could have painted them on but we too worn out by this time to care.
 (missing photo)

Here's the only remaining deer from when my sister and I were kids.
(missing photo)

And here's the new and "improved" version. Doesn't the one on the right look like he's trying to edge away from the one on the left. He looks a little uneasy.
(missing photo)

It was a lot of fun having my mom help us make these again. A little walk down memory lane and all that.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Robinella's Craft Corner

I love, love, love ornaments. I found this great idea for recycled aluminum ornaments in Natural Home magazine (Nov/Dec 2008). I've always loved jewelry, wind-chimes and Christmas ornaments. With this craft you can do them all.

Here's a peak at some of the supplies I used. You won't need them all, but many are helpful. For instance if you don't have a punch, a nail will work just fine. No tinsnips? Just use scissors. You get the idea.


First, I cut the cans to remove the tops and bottoms. You should wear gloves to protect your hands. I couldn't find my leather work gloves so I was just very, very careful. The aluminum is so thin, it was so easy to cut.


Here are the cans all cut up. Pretty sloppy since it was awkward to cut a straight line. But not a problem since you'll just trim that up when you cut your shapes.


Pete sneaked off with my camera. Thanks, Pete. Proof that I was actually doing this craft and one of the few times you'll ever catch me sitting during the day. Oh my aching legs.


Good Lord! Look how old my hands are getting. Anyhoo, here's where I used the ruler as a straight edge to draw my edges. The source I got this idea from suggests using a little paper template for nice precise shapes and sizes, but I didn't get my nickname from BN by using templates. That's right, just call me Half-Assed. I like to "eyeball" things.


Here are the two cans that have been trimmed. I'll be making TWO ornaments from these. The backside of the ornament uses the smaller squares and the front side of the ornament uses the larger ones.


See? Small square with wrong side facing the larger square. You'll need that little overlap to fold over and hide the sharp edges. It also gives you an aluminum front and back. No cola logos showing. You'll need to snip the corners as shown.


Now, fold the larger edges over the smaller square.


Then pound out all your frustrations. I also rubbed the hammer along the edges for a little more smoothing.


And voila! This is the front side. It's amazing how that half-assed thing comes back to haunt me with irregular shapes. That's okay. What's my motto? Say it with me... Handmade isn't perfect. It's charming.


Phew! I feel better. And so relaxed. Moving on.

Use that handy-dandy nail to punch any holes you need for hanging or just for decoration.



Oooo. Look how it is coming together. You can use floral wire or any gauge wire to hang all the doo-dads on. I saw these red glass medallions at the craft store and had to have them. Very funky. Looove it!


Here's the back of the ornaments. Also nice looking. Note to self: Do not use permanent markers unless I plan to cut all the ink off. Oopsie.


Drum roll please. My Christmas tree is not up. I'm not that loony. So I used Mother Nature and with all the golds and reds available I think these would make fine outdoor accessories. Does aluminum rust? Hmm...


Or hang several together to create a sun-catcher. Or if you watched my gift wrapping video, you know I love handmade gift tags. These would be great for that. Just use the nail to punch the name or initial of the giftee. YES! A gift on the gift. You are so giving. I love things that have dual purposes. Helps reiterate that whole recycle thing.


Can't wait to put up the tree and see how they look.


Next week will be a blast from the past. My mom is coming down and she's going to help the boys make ornaments she made with my sister and me many, many moons ago. Grandmas are awesome.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Robinella's Craft Corner

or Soap Making - Part III

I peek a lot. I'm sure that doesn't help the process, but I can't help myself. I just have to peek. On day four, I gently woke the soap mold and boy did it get heavy. It that possible? Would the hardened mix weigh more than the liquid mix? Probably not, but it definitely felt solid which was a good sign.

I removed the soap from the mold by pulling on the freezer paper.


Then I removed the paper from the sides which wasn't easy. I ended up slicing the ends off. How you cut this is up to you. I happen to have a very nice chef's knife that was the perfect length and the soap is not super hard yet so pretty easy to cut through. The texture or pliableness (is that a word) reminds me of clay.

You can use a ruler or eyeball it like me and cut into even sized bars. This batch made 36 bars.


Here they are all lined up on the cooling racks.


See why getting your paper all smoothed out might be necessary?


That's okay. I'm keeping him. Some soapers use potato peelers and other utensils to smooth the edges or make them more uniform and "perfect" but as I say time and time again, handmade isn't "perfect". It's the little character flaws that make a handmade gift, handmade. I like to think of these imperfections as charming. These bars will need 3-4 weeks to set-up completely.

And how about those scraps I cut off. Remember those.


My mother always taught me not to be wasteful. I let my boys help make those scraps into soap balls. Ever notice how your kid's soaps always end up looking like this anyway. Why not start out that shape.


Let's see how this handmade soap looks next to my all-time favorite organic bar of soap.


Pretty darn spiffy, I think. If you want to give these as gifts, just wrap them in a handmade wrapper. Get creative with this. If you start your soap making this weekend, they'll be ready just in time for the holidays.


**We aren't fond of colorings and dyes, but you can add these at the same time you add your essentials oils.

Next Friday, I'm making recycled aluminum ornaments. So funky, yet earth friendly!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Soap Making - Part II

Okay, so the lye is cooling, the solid oils are melting on low heat and the remaining oils are measured. The molds are lined so at this point, I measured my essential oils. I chose not to use as much as most recipes call for due to our family's sensitivities to smells. This will also save me money because essential oils are not cheap. Most of the ones I used are available in the health food stores and they are organic as well. I used a mixture of Peppermint, Lemon and Eucalyptus oils and they each cost just under $10 an ounce. This resulted in a great refreshing smell that will be nice this winter when everyone gets all snuffy and stopped up.

Once the solid oils melt, I added the other oils and took a temp reading. About 140 degrees. This oil mixture also has to get down to about 100-110 degrees. Since the lye was still at around 160, I filled the sink and added ice and it started cooling at about the same rate as the oils. I stirred the lye from time to time to keep it constant and I gently stirred the oils to get it to cool down faster.

When both temps were in the 100-110 range, I poured the lye mixture into the oils as I gently stirred with a spatula. Then I started mixing with the hand mixer and boy did it incorporate everything quickly. I used the mixer for about a minute, then turned it off and used the mixer to stir by hand for a quick bit. This process takes up to 15 minutes, although mine took less time. You want to make sure and mix a bit and hand stir a bit. This keeps the mixer from burning out, helps keep bubbles out of the mix and also helps identify true trace.


Trace happens when the lye and oils are mixed perfectly for soap making. The surface of the mix will get a satiny and smooth appearance and the mix will leave a pattern on the top when it drips from the spatula. You'll also notice how it coats your utensils. Like a thin pudding. Technical stuff here.


At this point you'll need to incorporate any essential oils into the mix and immediately pour into the mold(s).


Now it is time to put your soap to bed and let it work it's magic - saponification. Oooo - big word. It just means the oils and lye chemically react and turns into soap.

For bedtime, cover the mold with a piece of cardboard and wrap the whole thing in a nice warm blankie or big towels. Night night little soap concoction. Let it sleep for 3-5 days.



Come back tomorrow for the exciting reveal. You'll pee yourself!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Soap Making - Part I

Organic soaps are not cheap! And I am married to an organic snob who also has smell and chemical sensitivities.

So I set out to make my own. Well, actually I thought about it a lot, like almost a year. Then about two months ago, I tried my first batch the old fashioned way - by hand stirring. I missed the point of trace and my first batch failed. I was so depressed over this failure that it took me almost two months to try again. Last Wednesday, in fact.

All of my reading about soap making and that failure resulted in me buying a hand mixer. What a difference!

Without further ado, I'll talk about how to make your own soap. Since this is lengthy, I'll break it down over a few days ending on Friday for the Craft Corner post.

I started by just googling "how to make organic soap". Tons and tons of info out there and everyone pretty much says the same things. Then I googled soap supplies and essentials oils based on the ingredients I needed and found a plethora of sites for these as well.

I should add a note here that I did not want to use Palm oils due to the controversy over that and I only wanted essential oils because my BN and Pete are so sensitive to smells and chemicals.

Here's the list of ingredients and necessary items: There are wonderful, professional molds and accessories out there. I wanted to keep cost down so got a little inventive.

Necessary Items:
Mold (I bought very small shallow cat litter pans from Wally)
Huge glass Pyrex measuring cup (to mix lye)
Freezer paper
Double sided tape
Hand mixer
Cookie cooling racks
Piece of cardboard to cover mold
Scale that measures in ounces

36 oz Olive oil
12 oz Coconut oil
26 oz Soybean oil
14 oz Canola oil
24 oz Distilled water
12 oz Lye (used this site for calculations)

At this point, I lined my litter box fancy soap mold with freezer paper and used the tape to hold it in place. I wasn't as neat as you should be. Just wasn't feeling it that day.


Then I donned my gloves for safety and measured 24 oz water in the Pyrex measuring cup and 12 oz lye on the scale. **VERY IMPORTANT** Lye is caustic. It will burn your skin, eyes, lungs, etc. Wear gloves, goggles and work in a ventilated room. Read cautions about lye that come with it.

Okay now that you are too scared to go on, pour the lye into the water (not the other way around) and stir for at least 30 seconds to make sure you don't get any lumps. Here's a before and after of the lye process.


See how cloudy the water is when the lye crystals are first poured in. I recommend holding your breath during this time of mixing. This stuff is CAUSTIC and can burn you internally.

lye-tempNow notice how clear it is and WOWZER check out that temperature. 180 degrees! This stuff reacts chemically with the water and gets HOT HOT HOT and still CAUSTIC at this point.

The lye-water needs to get back down to a temp of around 100-110 degrees. I mix my lye solution in my deep kitchen sink to catch any splatters, because I can open the window right above the sink for ventilation, and because I can stop up the sink and add water and ice to help the lye cool faster.

While the lye is cooling down, I use my scale to measure out any solid oils, like coconut. I use a big stock pot to melt the oils on low heat.


With my solid oils melting, I use the scale to measure the remaining oils. You must use a scale for this process. The measurements needed for the lye and oils are by weight NOT volume.


This has gotten long, so I'll stop here and pick it up again tomorrow. Start googling and reading up on soap making. It's not as hard as it looks and the results will get you excited - I promise.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

I am no trophy wife

Yesterday we went to dinner and then BN and the boys wanted to stop for ice cream at Cold Stone. Not a big fan of ice cream myself so I didn't get any. The place was packed and the outdoor seating was full, so we sat on the concrete benches that wrap around the planting boxes outside of Cold Stone and the theater.

These two little boys came over and boy were they talkative. Charlie was seven and was relishing every bite of his ice cream. His four year old brother Jimmy, must have relished his, because his face was covered in it. They were with their dad and older brother (which explains the ice cream covered face-lol).

Like I said, Charlie was talkative and he started asking Pete about game systems. I think he asked if we had a "DS". Pete said no but we had a Game Cube and a PS3. Charlie mentioned a Wii and then they both started "outdoing" one another about the prices. Before they started beating their chests and challenging one another to wrestling matches, I interjected that I wanted a Wii.

Charlie was amazed and told me that he didn't know any other moms that wanted a Wii. I told him that I thought they looked fun and got you moving. He scooped out his last bit of ice cream, walked over and looked me right in the eyes (I was still seated) and said I should get Wii Fit cause I would lose lots of weight.

Now at this point, I remind myself that I can still squish my fat ass into a size 10 and might have told anyone else the same, but looking at his freckled face and blue eyes, I just threw my head back and laughed. I laughed heartily and then to his puzzled look added that he might be right.

Honestly, I don't think Charlie meant anything by what he said. I think he was just parroting what he knew about Wii Fit. But even if he did (and he might of) I really love the pureness and honesty that comes from kids. It's so refreshing.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Hollywood Sucks!

Today, while helping RePete get his pants on, he reached down and pointed to his testicles and said,

"Look, Mom, brains."



We have the Transformers movie and the boys have watched it a few times. Today, they played it in the van and that meant I could only listen to it since the screen hangs from the middle of the van roof just behind the front seats. And I was driving - so watching wouldn't have been a good idea. Kind of like talking on cell phones...

Anyhoo, with no visuals, I had to rely on my keen sense of hearing and what did I hear?

"Bro's before Ho's" As in your male friends come before your girlfriends.

What the hell?!!! Why do our movies have this kind of nonsense in them? It was the same feeling I had when watching Zathura. Why did the little eight year old have to call his preteen brother a dick? He could have called him a jerk and it would have had the same effect. And what mother lets her eight year old son curse...even for the sake of a movie.

I'm sure I am over-reacting and my sons didn't catch it (that I know of) since neither said anything. And MY eight year old WOULD ask about it. He's curious like that.

And I am not a prude. I just happen to think kids have all the time in the world to be affected by this kind of crap AFTER they stop being kids. I mean think about it. If the average lifespan is 80 years (give or take a few), and you are only considered a child for 18 years, then LET THEM BE KIDS FOR EIGHTEEN YEARS! They've got 60 more years to curse and "act adult".

My BIL, who is a child himself, thinks we shelter our boys. You yourself have probably heard someone say, "well, they have to learn sometime" or "they have to grow up some day". Well, no shit Sherlock! When they are 19, they can say bro's before ho's anytime they want, as long as they are not in my presence.

BUUUTTT we hope we sheltered put enough good sense into them that they choose better words than that.


Monday, July 28, 2008

How to K1ll your k1ds: Part II

Sunday was a nice day and we hadn't made plans, so I talked BN into gathering the troops and going Letterboxing. We decided to finish the job that Pogo and I almost died from gave up.

If you've never heard of Letterboxing and you like to hike, follow clues and use a stamp pad (woohoo), then make sure and click on it to find out more. It's the thrill of the hunt, usually with really bad directions and compass readings. At least that's my story. I don't know how to read a compass and BN said he did but we couldn't find the last box so we headed back to our van and called it day. Hey, 3 out of 4 ain't bad.

It wasn't quite as hot as that last fateful trip and BN took charge of the water. My oldest has a habit of watering the flora when we hike. Not only is it annoying but it makes us all cranky when we run out. We no longer have the stroller so BN ended up carrying RePete the last mile. He's a good daddy.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Family Reunions

My dad's side of the family gets together yearly for the family reunion. It's always held at my Aunt Pat's home, not only because she has acres and acres and the setting is perfect, but because she's the Matriarch of the bunch.

My dad left us and began his new family when I was nine years old. Because we moved away and of course because they were divorced, my mother never really took us to visit with any of dad's family over those following years. I was always saddened by that and being a kid, of course, I didn't understand everything that transpired during those times and why it was the way it was. I kept in touch sporadically with a couple of my cousins but nothing lasting.

After graduating, my dad came back into our lives and with him came the rest of the family. That first year I went with him to our family reunion, I was filled with excitement and trepidation. I stepped out of the car to be met with the hardest and most heartfelt hug from Aunt Pat. She couldn't stop looking at me and telling how good it was to see me. Those missing years melted away.

With everyone else, it felt a little different but still good. All the "stories" were told again and again. There are lots of stories and inside jokes that my sister and I didn't get. We met cousins we didn't get to meet before or that we were too young to remember. Pictures, food, swimming, games, fireworks. A typical family reunion.

Each year we've returned and listened to the stories again and again. My sister and I, though we feel a part of the family, still feel a little outside of it. Just enough to wonder if we'll make the trip each year and just enough to pack up the car and go.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Boyly Moments

That is a play on Boy and Girly.

I think little girls are great. If I had little girls, I would have been happy. But I didn't. I had little boys. Oh, okay and truthfully, I like little boys better than little girls. They whine less, for one.

I know people who have boys and keep trying for girls. (And the reverse of that too. Gotta have a boy to carry on the proud family name.) I've never understood that. I'm so happy to have two healthy, intelligent kids, that I could care less how they go pee-pee.

So for those of you with boys that are longing for girls, I'd like to share a few Boyly Moments with you. Boys will tickle your back and brush your hair - if you bribe them.

And if your little mudslingers are into pain and torment, go buy a jar of wax. I used to go to the salon to get waxed but making time for appointments often left me with hairy legs and an invite to the pool. So I decided to start waxing myself.

You've never truly bonded with your sons until they've lovingly ripped the hair off your leg. And mine really get into it. I certainly didn't ask for their help but the thought of ripping something, possibly causing pain really appeals to my two.

So don't think that if you are blessed with boys, your mothering isn't complete. Those Boyly Moments are just as wondrous and painful. See? Their laughing, my crying - just like mothers and daughters.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Our Future Proctologist

My husband is the King of Too Much Information when it comes to our kids. I like to keep our kids informed also, but know when to stop.

So one day we are on the subject of getting physicals and BN somehow blurts out that at 40 years old, men get a rectal exam.

Pete: A rectal exam?

BN: Yes, they stick a finger up your butt.

Pete: OMG, that will hurt. No way am I getting that done.

and round and round they went.

Two days ago, Pete comes out of the bathroom, face all concerned and asks,

Pete: Mom, is a doctor really going to stick their finger all the way up my butt?

Me: (I'm gonna kill BN) Yes, a doctor, with a glove on his hand, will insert his finger in your anus as part of your exam.

Pete: Well, that will hurt too much. Not gonna get it done.

Me: That'll be up to you. But it's part of a regular checkup at that age and most think it is necessary. It won't hurt too much if at all anyway.

Pete: Well, I just tried it and I couldn't get my finger in there.

Me: You did scrub your hands when you were done, right?



Thursday, July 10, 2008

Her Carseat

The boys love watching Flushed Away and they especially love the song played during the credits, "What's New Pu$$yCat?"

Pete, my ever inquisitive one asked what a pussycat is? We told him a cat. Then he shortens the song and leaves off the cat. Gah!! We wait. Hoping he'll just finish the song and move on. Nope. He wants to know what pu$$y is. We tell him it means cat. He thinks and then asks how it could also mean cat and we tell him that lots of words mean the same thing. He continues to say it over and over and over.

So I finally break down and tell him that pu$$y is usually not a word that is said by itself and not a word we want him to say. WHY??? (ofcourse) BECAUSE! I say.

moving on...

My Kubi-girl is a strange little kitty. She walks around like she owns the house and is tres particular and then she up and uses RePete's old carseat for a bed. It really doesn't suit her queenly demeanor at all and yet I love her more for it.

I really get a kick out of saying to BN, "Kubi is in her carseat." It sounds hysterical to me. I need to get out more.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Two Days into Camp

Pete was very apprehensive about going to day camp. He's never been. Even though the camp is through his gymnastics gym, he was still worried.

So Monday I went in to pick him up at 3pm sharp as promised and guess what? He begged me to let him stay longer. I told him I'd be back at 4pm and at four he was ready to go home. Not because he didn't like the extra hour, but because he was plum worn out! He had a blast. I knew he would.

Tuesday he asked if he could stay until 4pm again. I'm cool with that. Why?

Psst. Come closer. I have to whisper this.

I feel like a heel for saying this, but I am glad he wants to stay until 4pm. I know, I know. MOTY and all that, right. BUT, I didn't have to yell one time yesterday. Obviously, I don't have to yell any day, but I do. I didn't have to have all of my answers, suggestions, questions nitpicked. I didn't have to thwart whining. There was none of the constant sibling squabbling.

RePete and I had a very relaxing day together. And when Pete came home? I was better equipped to handle it. I did have to raise my voice once last night, and bit my tongue a few times, but all in all I felt more calm.

I think this week-a-month camp thing is going to work out just fine. But let's keep this between you and me, kay?


Monday, June 30, 2008

Fun Monday - I so quirky

The lovely Lisa of Lisa's Chaos wants to know if we have any quirks. According to BN, Quirk is my middle name. As usual I have no idea what he is talking about.

Here are a few of his favorites:

  • I stack my Christmas presents. After opening them, I stack them neatly. Wazzamatta wit dat?

  • I like ice. Milk, soda, tea, whatever. lotes de hielo, por favor!

  • The pant legs of pajamas cannot ride up. I been known to ask him to reach under the covers and pull my pants legs down in place, pretty please.

  • I prefer not to sweat...ever. Not even when working out. BN bought me a deeeluxe fan that sits right in front of my BowFlex treadmill. And the fan needs to point towards my face.

  • The soap dispenser has to be on the sink next to the faucet. BN likes it behind the faucet area and the boys leave it all over the counter. Soap has its place, people.

  • Every food product I order is special. No onions, no tomatoes, etc. BN refuses to order at the drive-thru for me. He always goes in to make sure they get it right. Such a darlin' man.

  • I refuse to put down the car window next to me, no matter what! Anyone with hair longer than a Dorothy Hamill can vouch for all the little wispy hairs tickling your nose and lips when the wind blows.

  • Lip Balm! I must have one tube in every purse, drawer, nook and cranny. Need I say more?

  • I think that is enough for now.

Thanks, Lisa for a fun topic. Although I don't see any of these as quirks, but rather life necessities.


Thursday, June 26, 2008


I am so happy my oldest will be in day camp next week. After 742 consecutive days with my sons, I need a break. That's one of the drawbacks to homeschooling for me. I love my children, but I am an introvert. I NEED time alone to regroup. And wouldn't you know that I'd have two sons who need to be around people to regroup.

1 introvert + 2 extroverts = Mommas going crazy.

Sign me up for Mother Of The Year. (MOTY) Voting has begun and I am clearly the winner!!!


Monday, June 23, 2008

Fun Monday - Clothing

The Hula Girl has decided we need to show clothing that we just can't part with.

I didn't even have to give it a minutes thought. I already knew exactly what I would show.

Back in 1993, BN went to Thailand. While there he purchased a short set for me made of Thai silk. He was so proud of that purchase. He thought I would be just as thrilled. He was so wrong and now he only buys me jewelry. He's a quick learner.

Back in 1993, I was a size 5/6. I had a 24 inch waist. This outfit was labeled "One Size Fits All".

Even now at a size 10, it still doesn't fit me.

Everytime BN sees it hanging in the closet, he reminds me that I have never worn it. I remind him that I never will, but one thing is for sure, I'll never part with it.


Friday, June 20, 2008

RePete's Pet

We went to Sonic yesterday and RePete got this bug catcher in his meal. Thankfully, the bugs did not come with it!

At my sister's house, he caught a bug and showed it to me. It's a beetle.

Repete: Mom, Mom, Mom (his new speech thing), I have a pet.

Me: Really (resisting urge to say it two more times), what's its name?

RePete: Bug.

Me: Oh that's great!

RePete: Look at his little head. It's tiny.

Me: Yep, it's a beetle.

RePete: Oh. He's my pet.

At this point my sister and I, and later BN and I, laugh our asses off (when he can't hear us of course) as we borrow lines from "Dumb and Dumber". "Pretty bird", we say as we stroke an imaginary bird head.

I forgot to mention that the beetle was dead. I love that kid.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Speaking of Poop

After 3 days of hiney squeezing and tippy toes dancing, RePete, at the ripe old age of 4 years, 4 months and 16 days crapped on the pot.

A very welcome ending to this chapter in my Mommy Book.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Round Robin - I Made That!

This time around we have to show things we've made, whether that is food, crafty things, kids, whatever. This is a tough assignment because I usually give away what I make - except for the kids. (insert nervous laugh)

Back in November/December timeframe, I started a Robinella's Craft Corner Series. (hmm, I should start that back up) Anyway, you can see what we made here, here, here, and here.

As photographers in this ring, some of you may be interested in this post about building a light box. I ended up cutting the box down so that it was square and that helped with the lighting tremendously.

So let's see what I might have hanging around or any photos of things I've done.

View photos of old artwork here.

Here is an antique bureau that I refinished and that wild fruit laden tree on top is one of my creations. I'm not so good with the fruit - but I really liked how it turned out and it made a great vignette for our foyer.

This little stool was done by special request for my neighbor who is petite - only 4'-10". Her daughter is equally petite and needed a stool for the potty. So I made this:

And finally, in our first home (originally built 1914), the chimney could not be used without extensive repairs, so the previous owners covered up the wood stove openings in the chimneys. It was hideous. BN ripped out all the tacky plaster covering the fireplace opening and I faux finished it.


And after:

I don't how big this will click up to but on the mantle shelf is a model I made of our first home out of cardboard. It became an ornament for our tree - which my first son tore to pieces as a baby.

Enjoy the rest of the Creative Robins out there.