Too Fast

I dropped Z off in the carpool lane at school this morning.  As I was trudging along towards the exit, I glanced up and saw a little girl walking along with complete confidence, Hello Kitty backpack bouncing up and down.  I thought to myself, "Wow, that's a cute little girl."

When the carpool lane moved up a bit, I saw that the cute, confident little girl was Z.

When did my baby girl get so big?  She is so beautiful it makes my heart hurt.


Let There Be Light!

I got to check a couple things off my 2011 To Do List today.  I am SO very tickled with how everything turned out!    I started out on the front porch with the cool porch lights T gave me for Christmas.  As with so many home improvement projects, it all went so quickly once I got started, I couldn't figure out why it took me so long to get around to doing it!
First, I had to remove the heeeeeedeeeeeous brass ode to the '80's that was the existing porch light.  I am sure it was the bees knees 25 years ago, but today?  Not so much.  They had pretty cool photo sensors so they would come on at night and turn themselves off in the morning, but that feature had long been rendered useless by the multitudes of mud daubers that made their home on the back side of the light.
I unscrewed the nuts and pulled the old light off.  Once I quit being skeeved out by all the cocoons/webs/bug remains, I found this fine example of home improvement.  The mounting bracket was screwed into the siding instead of an electrical box.  I guess they must have just sided over the box at some point.  I was somewhat flummoxed about what to do next.  Eventually, I figured out how to make the mounting hardware that came with the new lights work.  

It was not without some blond moments, but I got them up.  Ta dah!

I was so pleased with how the front porch turned out, that I was inspired to get to work on the light in my entry way.  (Also?  It doesn't hurt that Chica is coming for a visit this weekend and I want her to see all my pretties!)   The main sticking point on this project was that I had to paint a brass fixture black.  Turns out I have spray painting anxiety.  T kept saying he would do it (he's really good at it), but that was on his time table, not mine.  The nagging necessary to get him to do it just wasn't worth the wasted breath.  'Cause I can do anything!  Right?  Right.

So spray painting.  I know what all the right things to do are, I am just too lazy to actually do them.  So instead of Naphtha and steel wool, I wiped down the brass with rubbing alcohol and called it a day.  I did my best to spray light coats, but that is my downfall with spray painting.  I did manage to avoid any drips and the final product looks pretty darn good!  (Especially hanging from the 10 ceiling - you can't see the texture added by all the dust blowing around here in west Texas!)

Once everything was dry, I pretty much repeated all the steps I went through on the front porch, minus the insect-related portions of the festivities.  Thank goodness!

 Even without shades, the newly black chandy was a VAST improvement over the old light.  I always thought that one looked like a big spider clinging to the ceiling.  Blech.
But with the shades?  SQUEE!!  I am in love!  This fixture is a lot more traditional that my usual style, but I think the beading and eyelash trim make the little shades over the top adorable.  I chose black for the chandy to tie in with the wrought iron on the stairs.  Usually, I'm a brushed nickel girl, but I don't mind mixing up my finishes some a bit.  No need to be too match-y-match-y! (Blasphemy, I know, Sister K!)
So here is the finished product of my entry way.  I am quite proud of the antique, hand-dyed, hooked rug.  My great-grandmother made that!  The picture doesn't do it justice.  It's gorgeous!  I'm glad I found a place to use it!  My entry table is made with four plaster columns I have had since college.  I just throw a runner on top and I am good to go.  Leopard, of course.  I think every room can use a little animal print, and I often use it as a neutral.

I really like how the new hanging fixture adds some presence to the entry hall.  It looks much more deliberate and not like some leftover the builder slapped up there.  And better yet? This project was FREE!  I swapped out my old kitchen hanging fixture with the one at the ranch, so the light was free.  I painted it with high gloss black spray paint I had left over from some other project.  The shades were a birthday present from Sister K for a fixture back in Small Town.  Love that!


Boy + Dog = GROSS

While playing out on the swing set/fort in the backyard this afternoon, Q decided that he was much too busy to come in the house to use the bathroom.  Instead, he stripped down, hung his hiney out the door of the fort and dropped a bomb on the steps.

Then Holly ate it.


No Fair!

To whom it may concern:

I would like a refund on the last 24 hours.  It is simply not fair that my sweet Z should get a stomach bug so close on the heels of her chin/tongue injury over the weekend.  Having badness coming from both ends is not at all conducive to her healing process.  Fever?  Headache?  Really?  Hasn't she suffered enough?  Please look into this oversight and correct it as soon as possible.

Rae Ann



 This week, Bountiful Baskets opened a new location in Wester.  The pick-up is at 10:30 in the morning, so I didn't have to crawl out of bed and schlep to Less Wester at 8:15 on a Saturday morning.  I was so excited!

Z rolled out of bed begging to 'go somewhere', so I bundled up the kids and took them with me.  I had decided to be a volunteer, so we were going at 9:30.  (Volunteers get to split up the extras!)  The distribution happens at a park, so I figured it was win win.   Play time for the kids.  Extra veggies for me.  Sweet!

Unfortunately, all did not go smoothly.  It was a chilly windy morning, so the kids started whining about going home almost right away.  I fussed at them to get out from under my feet and GO PLAY.  I gave them the option of sitting at the end of the table where we were working or going back out to play.  They chose to play.  Whew, right?

Um, no.

I was elbow deep in tangelos when a I heard a blood curdling scream.  I look up and see Z coming toward me like something out of a zombie flick: hollering and covered in blood.  It took me a moment to process what I was seeing, but once I did, I ran to her as quickly as my little round self could go.  She had tried to do a flip on the monkey bars, slipped and split her chin and chomped her tongue.

The cut was wide open, and to my untrained eye looked like it might take a stitch to close it.  After I staunch the worst of the bleeding, I reach for my phone to call T.  No phone.  I had taken it in the house to charge, which I never do, and forgotten put it back in the car.  I sprint back to the tables and ask to borrow a cell phone.  I only hoped T would answer a call from an unknown number - he's a hard core screener. 

Luckily, he did pick up, but he didn't have any answers for me.  But he had lots of questions.  Finally, crying freely now, I told him that I was all flustered and that I just needed him to tell me what to do.  Totally uncharacteristic.  Finally we agreed that he would come to me, bring my phone and we'd figure it out together.

While we were waiting for him, the nice mom who let me borrow her phone got my basket together and offered some advice.  She told me there was a walk-in clinic not far from the park.  She said her five kids had required stitching up from time to time, and they were nice there.  So I borrowed yet another phone, from a friend this time, and headed out.

Z, meanwhile, has been caterwauling the whole time.  The idea of stitches made her cry even harder.  Q joined in when I told him he would likely go home with Daddy (he wanted to see the stitching up process).  Finally I had to tell him he wasn't allowed to cry since he wasn't hurt and I couldn't have all three of us crying!

They were, indeed, quite nice at the clinic.  When they saw that Z was actively bleeding, they took her right back.  A nurse cleaned her up and we waited for the doctor.  The wait was maybe 45 minutes, which as it turns out was a good thing.  By the time he got there, Z was fully calmed down and in a post-adrenaline-rush crash.  It was determined that the scarring would be the same whether we stitched or didn't stitch, so we went with the much less traumatic butterfly bandage.  Z was disappointed that it didn't have actual butterflies on it.

After the clinic, we went out for medicinal ice cream.  Other than some slushy speech from where she chomped her tongue, she doesn't seem to be any worse for the wear.  I, on the other hand, am sporting
a few new gray hairs.  Good thing blond hides gray!



Perhaps this is why I am tired this weekend?

6:46 - Alarm goes off
7:05 - Roust Z from sound sleep
7:15 - Crabby Q emerges
7:35 - Take Z to school
8:15 - Make breakfast for the boys (unheard of!)
9:00 - Take Q to school
9:15 - Race home to load my car with mountains of carefully prepped baby items for the Just Between Friends consignment sale.
9:30 - Drive like a bat out of hell to get to Less Wester (the next town over)
10:00 - Volunteer as a clothing inspector at the JBF sale (So I can shop early!)
2:00 - Wolf a quick lunch with Bun at Sonic
2:30 - Race back to Wester to nab Q and pick up Z's ballet stuff
3:00 - Pick Z up from school
3:30 - Stop for quick snack before ballet
4:00 - Drop Z off at ballet
4:10 - Take Q to park to burn off extra energy and catch my breath
4:45 - Pick Z up from ballet
4:50 - Dinner on the run at Wendy's; make Z do half of homework before diving into kid's meal
5:15 - More race car driving back to Less Wester
5:45 - Take wrong turn on way to cousin's house. Again.
6:00 - Drop kids off
6:15 - Wander randomly through down town Less Wester.  Call Bun for directions.
6:30 - Finally arrive at pre-sale and shop, shop, shop!
8:45 - Back to my cousin's house (without getting lost, this time)
9:05 - Pick up kiddos and drive back to Wester, no speeding
9:35 - Get kids pajama-ed, tooth brushed, and into bed
10:00 - Play with new clothes from the sale, as had consumed too many caffeinated beverages to go to sleep (removing tags and pins)
11:00 - Fall into bed when T gets home from work.

I am glad every day isn't this busy!


Cauliflower Conquered

I got another cauliflower in my Bountiful Basket two weeks ago.  I put off using it until it was on the verge of spoiling since my last run in with broccoli's pale cousin was nothing short of a debacle.  Bun swears that she likes cauliflower pretty much any way you can make it, so I knew there must be some way of preparing cooked cauliflower that wasn't a total gag-fest.

She suggested roasting it, so that was my plan until I stumbled upon this recipe from 101 Cookbooks.  They called it Simple Cauliflower, and the seasonings were flexible and seemed similar to what Bun suggested, but the cooking time was reduced by 80 per cent.  For this last minute chef? Score!

The end result was delicious.  Even my super-picky-doesn't-try-new-things husband gave it a thumbs up.  The popcorn sized florets (that T even helped cut up - will the wonders ever cease?) were nicely browned and the garlic and parmesan were the perfect combo.  My version was a little less gourmet than the original recipe, but, I think, no less yummy.

Here is my new go to cauliflower recipe:

Simplified Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Onion powder
1 clove garlic, minced (I used the jarred kind)
Grated Parmesan
To prep the cauliflower, remove any leaves at the base and trim the stem and cut it into tiny trees.  Most florets should be about the size of a piece of popcorn . Make sure the pieces are relatively equal in size, so they cook in the same amount of time. 

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cauliflower and stir until the florets are coated. Wait until it gets a bit brown on the bottom, then toss the cauliflower with a spatula. Add seasonings to taste.  Brown a bit more and continue to saute until the pieces are deeply golden, about six minutes. In the last 30 seconds stir in the garlic.

Remove from heat and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Gobble it all up yourself.  Serve immediately.