Monday, October 25, 2010

So, so much

Right now I'm not the bestest of people to be around. I'm more than likely driving my family nuts with my brooding, procrastinating, angry, Doom's Day outlook on life. It just feels like nothing is coming together. That cosmically, the play that is my life has been staged a tragic comedy of errors. 

I do not like this. Not one bit. 

The crux of my issues is that I am powerless over how they turn out, when they work themselves out or what I can realistically do to provide anything from not happening. It feels like the Universe is out for it's pound of flesh from me, though, I can't determine why.  And it feels like so much more than just a measly sixteen ounces.

I'm desperately trying not to be cynical.

Or pessimistic.

Or jaded.

I know there are things in my life I have been blessed with. Good things, funny times. I get that...logically. But right now they are lost to me even while staring me in the face. I just can't stop feeling the way I do. There is just so, so much I can't handle and looking into the future provides me with only more dispair that this long road is truly neverending.

But I'm trying.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mac n Cheese and Home Fries

I used to get food from Schwans. I started with them years ago when I was huge pregnant with #4. I like some of their stuff and they have fairly good prices considering I don't have to drag a ton of kids the store. Then I looked at the ingredients list.

Oh. My. Word. The quick bake fries have FIFTEEN ingredients. Seriously. Fifteen! It's a french fry, I thought to myself, what on earth could it be other than a cut potato? So, I stopped buying the fries. I stopped buying boxed dry mac n cheese eons ago but trouble is my kids really like mac n cheese (what average kid doesn't?). So, the poor favorite mac n cheese got left for "special occasions" meaning someone else made it wherever we happened to be.

But no more! I have come up with some simple, healthy alternatives for these classic comfort foods.

Home Fries or Baked Potato Wedges

1tbs oil
sprinkle of salt
seasoning (optional)

I used white potatoes with the skins on, olive oil, Hymalaian sea salt and salt free general purpose seasoning.

Cut the potatoes into wedges. Place in a bowl with the oil, salt and seasoning. Use your hands to toss and bake at 375 F for 15 min, then flip and do another 15 min.

Mac N Cheese

1lb noodles
1lb cheese
2 cups milk
2 tbs Flour

Cut the cheese into small chunks. Melt the cheese in the milk in a sauce pan over medium high heat adding flour in 1tbs increments to reach desired thickness. While this is cooking boil the water and cook the pasta, we used shells. Drain pasta when finished, put back into the pot and stir in the cheese.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Apron Tutorial-ish

It was brought to my attention that by the time I got the girl's costumes finished it would be too late to share the pattern because it would more than likely already be Halloween by then. Yes, I've been procrastinating making the costumes.

Please excuse the crummy photos but here is the general gist of the girls costumes. These are very versatile aprons I've designed based on one we found at a thrift store eons ago. I'm putting a very basic peasant shift under each which will later be used as jammies or decorated for regular wear dresses. The aprons are small enough to not take up much room after the holiday and the materials are inexpensive.

 I took each girls measurements and drew out the pattern. The front panel is cut 4 times (fold in half and cut on the fold for the chest piece). I added 1/4" seam allowance to each side of each measurement.

Sew together at the shoulders and iron open to creat a rectangle with a rectangle in the center with raw edges all round the outside. Pin right sides together and top stitch along the inner rectangle. Turn right side out and iron flat. Iron a 1/4" hem along the outer sides leaving the bodice bottom open.

The bottom apron is cut approx 5" wider than the top and I hand pleated it to make a "skirt" Sew the skirt right sides together to the back and front of the waist pieces on the bodice. The ties are 3" by 25" made into a double fold bias that was sewn on top of the seam of the top and skirt.

I used a scrap piece of white and navy blue bias tape (because that's what I had on hand) to creat the little crossed bodice on the front of Emmy's. She's Little Red Riding Hood. Her peasant underdress will be white and I will be making a red fleece hooded capelet for her.

Olivia is going to be Alice in Wonderland. I used very inexpensive white muslin for her apron. I sandwhiched some ruffled edging along the outer sides of the bodice. Her underdress will be light blue.

Cordelia is going as Dorothy from Oz. Her apron will be blue checked like Emmy's but without the front detail, she'll have a white underdress too. She's the only one that got anything additional in the form of red sparkly shoes. But again, she can reuse those after the festivities are over.

If you have any questions I'll be happy to answer, I know written directions can be a little vague but I just don't have the time to do a full blow tutorial right now! Hopefully you understand.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Flat Marcus

My cousin's kid is reading Flat Stanley in their Kindy class and we are the lucky recipients of his self-portrait flat person, Flat Marcus. This is the first of this we have ever done before.

Now, the instructions said to take *a* photo of Flat Marcus and to write about our community. But I'm what they label an "over-achiever".

Here is Flat Marcus peeping from our mailbox.

We took him to many places but here are some highlights. Above: Raymond James Stadium home of the Bucs. Below: Flat Marcus tanning himself on Clearwater Beach. (note: I laminated him because I knew were were going to get him wet and I am supposed to send him back).

He visited University of Tampa and the Plant Museum which looks like a fairy tale castle.

It said sending a souviner was "optional" but we all know that to over-achievers optional means must. So, Flat Marcus will go back to three dimensional Marcus with some beach sand and rabbit wool.

And being that this is set for Kindy aged kids, I had the brilliant idea of creating a photo book instead of filling out a boring old survey. We included a map of where we live (printed off Google maps) along with dots to show the places Flat Marcus went. Each page opens like a book with one side the photo and the other descriptions of our lives, community and where we took Flat Marcus.

I tried to write it like a story book, making it easy for Kindy kids to understand with short sentences for each photo and still be somewhat exciting.

I mailed it out this morning and completely forgot to take a photo of the book before it got packed away with a small baggie of super soft white beach sand and super soft white bunny fur.

I hope I the kids get an opportunity to do this again soon!

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's that time of year again.

No, not Halloween or fall or autum or harvest or anything like that (though those are all happening here and are wildly important to us).

Nope. It's NaNoWriMo time again.

Let me take you back in time for a moment to November 30, 2009. Last year I was happy, optimistic and tired beyond belief. I have an OLL sticker on my car and a NaNo one on my laptop. I earned those last November.

After that day, I lost my novel for about five months. I missed the deadline to get my book edited and published into a softcover for free. I started six more novels and haven't finished a one. I failed miserably at Script Frenzy. I don't even want to talk about that. Forget I mentioned it.

And now, October 18th, 2010, my mind is racing with scenes for a new book. I actually have the thing mapped out start to finish, something I haven't really ever done before. I'm researching names, establishing hirearchies and developing a world unseen before.

If you click on the "Writing" hot link on the right you'll see some sporatic mentions of my creative writing side. I've always been interested in writing. It's one of those Must Do Before I Die things, to get published by an actual company and have my book present for sale at say...Borders.

High asperations? Possibly. But we only go around once on this crazy ride. I intend to max out my ticket.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Why I sometimes feel like I'm taking crazy pills

Cordelia "Mom, do you think toothless is real?" (from the movie How to Train Your Dragon FYI)
Me "I don't know, maybe sometime it was real, probably not now." (me trying not to disillusion my 5 year old)
Cordelia "I wish toothless was real."
Me "That would be neat. I think toothless is cute."
Cordi "Who's cute?"
Me "Toothless."
Cordelia "Who's toothless? Livi is missing her front teeth but she's not toothless."
Me "The dragon."
Cordelia "What dragon?"
Me "In the movie."
Cordelia "What movie?"
Me "How to train your dragon."
Cordelia "Oh, we just bought that. Do you think toothless is real?"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A call to arms

well, maybe more like a call to your cutting table. I'm in need of some vintage yellow 6.5" quilt squares. Blues/greens/pinks are welcome too but with some sort of yellow involved.

Emmy informed me the other day "When you make my ye-wouw bankie?" and when a three year old looks at you in a certain doe-eyed way there really isn't anything much you can do but graciously acquiesce.

I was thinking of doing a swap. I have a plethora of fabrics longing to be cut into something. I can send back as many squares as I am sent. I have a good stash right now but only about 6 differnent patterns and definately not enough for a twin sized quilt.

If you're interested in helping me make a little curly haired babe's wish come true, send me a message at and we can arrange the swap.

If you need coaxing here you go.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happy Day!

Yesterday was husby and my twelve year anniversary. Yeah, TWELVE. I can hardly believe he's put up with my insanity this long and is actually looking forward to dealing with me for even more years to come.

Twelve years ago.

It's hard to remember a time before kids. Where we did things as a couple or did nothing at all.

A magical time where I actually fit into a single digit pant size. And I complained it wasn't good enough.

Then the busy days of childrearing started and those special times between us grew further part. We don't have the luxuries of coupledom anymore. Our days are harried with our separate persuits; his, working to support us and mine, supportive of our work. But it's been a good twelve years. Looking back at the memories of our childless days, I smile, I laugh at our immaturity, but I wouldn't trade the world to go back.

Here's to a happy day and many more to come.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I learned my lesson the last time I made pita bread, that cranking up the oven to 500F during an 100 degree day just isn't really very smart. So today, now that the weather has turned to cooler days that hint at autumn, I thought it would be a great treat to make today.

Learning still, from my tendency to just do it myself rather than letting the kids help, I let the kids help. Home Economics has become a core subject.

I was really happy with their ability to use a rolling pin. Though I mixed up the dough in the Kitchenaid and manned the fires of Hell oven, there wasn't a whole lot else for them to do.

Don't mind the marker on her hand, it won't wash off so I didn't worry about it getting in the food. Who bought non-washable markers anyway? Oh, me. Right.  

I have found that I actually crave good pita bread with a generous smearing of raw, local honey more than chocolate chip cookies. And that is really saying something. 

My favorite quote of this whole thing was Olivia exclaiming "Oh my God, we're EATING SCHOOL!"

Sunday, October 3, 2010


**** Parental warning: Profanity is involved in this post****

I'm so riled up right now I can hardly blog straight. I am so angry, pissed off, frustrated, my rage is so huge it needs it's own zip code. I want to run outside and scream to the world "What the fuck is wrong with you?!?!". Though, half my neighbors don't speak English, I think they'd get the gist of my question. The other half would think I've finally fallen into the deep end.

I came home from church today, looking forward to a relaxing afternoon of crafting while the kids chilled out and watched a movie. But I couldn't get in my driveway. There was a white SUV parked infront of it and a man hopping out, jogging towards my house. I stopped and watched. Rolled down the window. He proceeded to take some logs I was saving to cut and dry to have a campfire with the kids. I yelled out the window and we exchanged words about his removal of my property from my property. Apparently, he was confused that the items sitting a good twenty feet into my yard were not in fact trash, even though they had a close proximity to the recycle bins. He threw them back towards my gate and they hightailed it out of my street before I could even pull into the driveway.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned someone stealing my debit card number and charging things to my bank account. I still haven't gotten all my bills set up with the new card number.

What is going on with people and stealing? 

It is obvious that charging things on someone elses card is wrong. But isn't this person's behaivor in the same category as the other? Why does he feel it's acceptable to remove even something that he may feel is trash from someone else's yard without permission? If it is worthy to him, could it not be worthy to me also? Who gives others the right to decide?

I teach my children that stealing is wrong. We had a period with Olivia where she would pocket things at the store. Every time I found her out we walked back to the store and she confessed and apologized. I explained how the system works and why her behaivor isn't socially acceptable. She doesn't steal anymore. Have these adults missed this lesson?

The definition of stealing in my Encarta dictionary is this: to take unlawfully, to take something that belongs to somebody else, illegally or without the owner's permission. I came in and looked it up. Then double checked with Google to reassure myself that the world hasn't flipped on it's head and stealing doesn't now mean what I have always believed so.

Not only am I angry but I feel violated. If these people came to my home when it's obvious no one is here with the intent to take what doesn't belong to them, what else are they willing to do? What would they do when we are home? My place of safety doesn't feel so much that way anymore. Did he think about that when he assured me "it's all good." before hopping back into the passenger side as his get-away driver hauled ass in reverse away from me?

I assure you, it's not all good. Not good at all.

I have always felt that the past few generations have developed a sense of entitlement. That they want but not work. The general attitude of "someone else will if I won't" vibrates through me when I'm in large crowds. This feeling of absolution when knowingly doing wrong. Entitlement without earning is a sin. Thinking you can have something because of who you are, where you pray, what you look like, how much stronger you are than someone else, who your parents are, how much money or education you have or the fact you can just plain get away with it without getting caught should be right up there with the Thou Shalt Not Kill.

The world is not a free ride. What you do has consequences. The things you do because you can hurt other people. While you sit in the safety of your unviolated home smiling about the one you just put over on someone, that person at the end of your sin is weeping. Whether it's stealing from "the man", taking what might be an insignificant wood pile, pocketing that wallet left in the bathroom stall, falsifying statements or writing down a credit card number with ill intent


And Karma is a bitch.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


One of the hardest parts of parenting small children is the constant shifts in stages. I'm experiencing a multitude of stage changes in my youngest, Max, right now. He has decided he is finished with naps. He has learned how to scale the stair gate. He has shunned his bed in favor of mine. He has developed a huge jealous streak and will fight you tooth and claw if you even think to give me more than a passing glance. All in the past three short weeks.

Our recent wonderful working schedule of schooling while he takes a 2-4 hour nap in the afternoon has been shredded to bits under his tiny hands. He demands my attention during math. If he could reattach himself in some way to my body he would. His three word vocabulary is incessant until I break down and give him whatever "this" he is feverously pointing at no matter if I'm in the middle of instructing a lesson. He bites. He steals handwriting pencils and mars English books with crayons.

I think back to the other kids who have all gone through similar changes. When they discover they are actually a different person than I am. When they can act on their curiosity. And make big messes. That they have needs and wants and can actively get them met. That they can vocalize those needs and wants. Loudly. Though, when the majority of them entered this stage, we weren't beholden to the law to homeschool. 

Needless to say, its been a challenging past few weeks. Trying to mete out a new schedule that gets everything done, sees to everyone's needs, has been a start-stop-fail-start again operation. But we all go through stages. Areas in our lives when what had worked for us no longer does so and an overwhelming need to grow and change. They can be dramatic, like Max's new emotions and abilities, or subtle changes in routines and desires. I know that has been true for me, at thirty, I'm at a stage in my life that requires that dramatic change and I, like Max, have to take the whole family on the ride.

Yes, it's harried, frantic and frustrating but it's still miraculous to see the changes in him. The emergence of the person he is meant to be is amazing. The potential is limitless and astounding. Awe inspiring. I wouldn't miss this metamorphosis for the world.

I just hope whomever is watching my changing stages is equally impressed.