Wednesday, December 31, 2008

When your birthday is New Year's Eve...everyone wants to celebrate with you

It seems like just yesterday that you were this small.

And now. Look at how you have grown.

You are becoming a remarkable young woman. Sweet and kind. Unless we are talking about your sister.

Smart. Inquisitive. Loquacious. Go look it up.

You are a wonderful daughter. Good sister. Mostly. And a great friend.

And tonight. During your birthday celebration...I saw the future.

As you and your friends. Instead of watching the show. Stood and stared. And screamed. And declared your undying love for the hot knights.

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Theme song: Pink - So What. Because that is what Katie says is her theme song. And can you just imagine three giggly girlies singing this at the top of their lungs last night on our way home from Medieval times? While they were jacked up on caffeine and Red Knight pheromones?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

And the 2008 Mother of the Year is...

You already know this is not going to end well, don't you?

Well...it started with Madalyn spending the night at a friend's house. Where she was accidentally knocked off the ladder of her friend's bunk beds. She was checked out by the parents. She could move her arm. Her wrist. Her fingers. They gave her some ice. And a hug. And sent her on her way.

The next day was when we met Santa. Madalyn told me her wrist was a little sore. When we got home, I looked at it. It wasn't swollen. She could move everything. In ever imaginable direction. With only a very fake sounding "owww" coming from her mouth. But...

She refused to use her right hand. She wouldn't eat with it. Insisted that she needed help opening doors. If I gave her something to carry, she'd either carry it in her left hand. Or would drop it if she needed to use two hands. But...

She refused to put a bag of frozen peas on her hand. Refused ibuprofen. And I just chalked it all up to Miss Drama Queen.

Told her to get over it. Told her that she MUST use her right hand. And even went so far as to recount the story of "The boy who cried Wolf."

Are ya'll groaning about now?

After a few days. I decided that it would be way too much of an acting job for her to continue to refuse to use that hand. And I made Michael take her to the doctor. Cause I was over the whole thing. And it was Christmas Eve. I still had a lot to do.

Michael and Madalyn spent the morning in the emergency room. Because you know I wanted to pay that $75 co-pay the orthopedist offices were closed. And after a few hours, Madalyn arrived home. With a fractured right wrist. And a splint. A sling. And looking like the cat that swallowed the canary.

I do believe I spent a few days channeling Shannon. Who was also quite sure that she would just KNOW if her child broke a limb. Shannon - I'll happily share my award with you!

So...what about you? Have you ever broken a bone? Had stitches? Had to take a child to the emergency room? Did you wait a few days to do it?

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Theme song: Rolling Stones - Mother's Little Helper. Because I am going to need it to get through the drama. And notoriety.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Lottery Dreams

The people in my mom's office pool their money each week. And they buy lottery tickets. Each week. Hoping that one day their numbers will come in. And they can all call in and have a group retiring party.

The other night, Mom said to me "OH! I forgot to check our lottery numbers!" I can't believe she didn't check. We could have spent the day in leisure. Rather than doing errands and chores.

And as she made this declaration, Katie's friend asked her: "So...Katie...what would you do if you won the lottery?"

I can immediately go into reverie. Do you all do this? Think about what you might do with your winnings?

I have already planned the trips that I want to take. To Europe. To homeschool on the road. For an entire year. To safari in Africa. To see the Taj Mahal. Cruise the South Pacific. To actually go to Antarctica.

I have bought vehicles. Paid off bills. Paid off bills for family members.

I have already re-decorated my house. Figured out where I want to add on. And wonder if a demolition a la Extreme-home-make over might be a better option.

I have given to charity. Saved for retirement. Saved for college.

And then my fantasy bubble burst.

Because Katie answered her friend's question. And told her what she'd do with her lottery winnings. "I'd get a llama."

So...what about you? Do you have lottery fantasies? Have you ever won money from the lottery? Is there anything that you want that is a little odd? Have you entered my very own version of the lottery?

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Theme song: Bare Naked Ladies - If I had a Million Dollars

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Weekend Winners: Games people play

I loved reading all your entries. About who you would take on a date. And what you might see. And about how so many of you haven't been on a date in years. And I really hope that you all can find a way to escape for an evening. For an hour even. Because for right now, you are just going to have to be jealous of Debbie over at Finding Normal. Who is the winner of the gift card for dinner and a movie. And a copy of "Love Actually." And our second copy of "Love Actually" goes to Shalee over at Sometimes it's Good to be Speechless. Congrats ladies! Email me with your addresses and I'll get your prizes right out to you.

Now that you have had a night out on the town. Or not as the case appears to be. This week's weekend winner prize centers around having family night.

One of my favorite kinds of family night is game night. We like to play cards. Board games like Monopoly. Life. Trivial pursuit. And then even games like Mah-jong. Which can be enjoyed by people other than those at the Jewish retirement home.

But one of my favorite games is Blokus.It's a challenge. It makes you think. And yet it can be played by your entire family.

Another option for family night is to do a read aloud. I have friends who did the entire Harry Potter series this way. Read together. As a family. My voice doesn't always hold out - and a lot of times we opt for the audio version. But storytelling is a great way to spend an evening. And one of my very favorite books is just the ticket. It's a tale that will be loved by boys, girls, and grown-ups alike. It's adventure on the high seas. Vikings. Trolls. Magic. And a wonderful way to spend an evening.And then one of the easiest and best ways to spend a family night is to watch a movie. And I cannot think of better movies than these two 80's classics:And if you already have the Princess Bride movie - you MUST read the book by William Goldman. It is wonderful! The movie is a faithful adaptation - but the book goes into more details and there are a few more adventures.

And what is a family night without snacks? You need some popcorn. Some candy. And even some Hot chocolate.To summarize: This week's weekend winner prize pack includes: Blokus, The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer, dvds of "The Goonies" and "The Princess Bride," and snacks.

Worth playing for? Here is what you need to do:

1. Post a comment here. Do you do family nights? Do you have a favorite game? Family movie? Book that would be a good read aloud?

2. For another entry...follow me. If you already follow me, you also get an extra entry. Be sure to come back and leave another comment saying that you are a follower!

3. Blog about this week's contest.

4. When you comment you get an entry. When you follow, come back and leave another comment saying you follow me. If you are already a follower, post another comment saying that you are already a stalker follower. When you post about it...come back and leave a third comment saying you did it. Then I can truly use random number generator and I won't have to type in all those names!

5. Contest ends Friday (Jan 2nd) at midnight. Winners have one week to email me to claim prizes. All unclaimed prizes will be added back into the pot. Winner will be announced next Saturday. Along with the final week of prizes!

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Theme song: REM - "Man on the Moon." Because "and the Game of Life yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah...Monopoly, twenty-one, Checkers and Chess...Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah...Let's play twister, let's play risk...Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah..." And I thank you for playing my "game" every weekend!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday Follies: Christmas in July July in Christmas?

It's that time of the week again...time for us to get to know one another. And answer some questions. And because my brain is frazzled, I have outsourced the questions. Outsourced them to Angie's Spot. Because she was coereced volunteered. So many thanks to Angie for taking time away from your Christmas holiday. And your Disney vacation after glow...

I find it so funny that people are always talking about "Christmas in July" sales and activities, but you never hear anyone talking about "July during Christmas" stuff. So, this week, I'll get the requisite Christmas questions out of the way, but the rest will be focused on some of my favorite July things. Merry Christmas everyone!

1. What was your favorite gift received this holiday season?

2. What was your favorite gift that you gave?

3. Snowy vacations or sunny destinations?

4. Do you decorate for the 4th of July?

5. Disney World or Universal Studios?

6. Favorite color: Red, White or Blue?

7. BBQ: Sauce or No Sauce?

8. Beach Bunny or Poolside?

9. Did you finish your school summer reading ahead of time or at the last minute?

10. Where is your dream vacation destination?

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Theme song: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy "Mr. Heatmiser" - and Angie...I must tell you that it's exciting to know that someone besides me knows and loves this group!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A visit with St. Nick

We have been going to the same mall to see Santa since Katie was born. Santa has been a fixture there since I was in high school. He is "our" Santa. And we go to this mall just for him. Even though the mall is in a bad section of town. Even though the mall is not close to our house. We have to go to our Santa.

On Monday, we ventured over for our annual visit. And just as we walked in the door, I realized that I did not hold the door open for Santa who was right behind me. He walks on stealthy feet. He was apparently running late. As were his helpers. So the girls and I walked around. Looked at closed stores. And chatted on a bench next to Santa's house. Which has apparently been downsized since last Christmas.

We finally decided to get in line behind two other families so that we would be ready when Santa was ready. About 30 minutes later, Santa emerged down the mall from us. And he stopped to talk to several families. Moms with babies in their arms. And Madalyn loudly declared that Santa needed to stop flirting. And get to his Santa seat.The idea of Santa flirting sent Katie into peals of laughter. Laughter that is so hard that she started crying. Especially when Madalyn. Given an audience held captive. Launched into her best Elvis impersonation. I am not sure why Santa speaks like Elvis. But in Madalyn's world. He does. And according to Madalyn. Santa was telling the mom: "Hey bay-buh. Wanna see my reindeer? Did you know...that I have a...a big sleigh?"

I swear. I don't know where she gets it. Or why.

So...what about you? What are your kids asking for this year? Is there anything that you are hoping to find under the tree tomorrow? Is there anything that you cannot wait for someone to open from you? (many thanks to Debbie. Because I totally lifted these questions from her post yesterday!) Merry Christmas to all! See ya Friday for our next edition of the Friday Follies. And don't forget to enter to win the date night!

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Theme song: Queen - I want it all. And because I wanted a Christmas song, too. Jars of Clay - God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman.

Monday, December 22, 2008

In the kitchen with Katie: Reindeer noses

Before Christmas, I wanted to leave you with one of our most favorite Christmas recipes. It's so delish. Because it combines the sweet of chocolate. With the salty of pretzels. This is the recipe I contemplated for my cookie swap. Until I read the rules of no child helpers. And this is the perfect recipe for child helpers. For the whole family to be helpers. Because it's not only delish. It is super easy.

Here are our ingredients. You can really play with this a lot. And use all kinds of kisses. We used peanut butter kisses. Plain kisses. Caramel kisses. Hugs. And we added rolos, too.

The first order of business is to get the wrappers off all that candy. And hope. And pray. And cross your fingers. That you get back the amount of candy that you expect. You might need to buy extras. Plus a few more. Because sometimes your helpers work with the rule of "one for the bowl. One for me. One more for me. One for the bowl..."

And you might need to put lots of people to work. Like your mom who is indignent that you took her picture when she had her glasses on. And no make up.

Or your brother. Who just thought he was coming over to spend some quality time with his mom. He had no idea that he'd be put to work.

And children. Have to put them to work. And their little friends, too.

Lay out your pretzels on a cookie sheet. We used tiny twists and waffle pretzels.

And then add your candies.Bake at about 200┬║ for 4-6 minutes. You just want the candies soft. Not melted. Just remember if you are using white chocolate. It melts much faster than the darker chocolate. And if you are using peanut butter kisses - they melt even faster than the white chocolate.

As soon as they come out of the oven. You can press in pecans. Or peanut m&ms. Or plain m&ms. Or whatever strikes your fancy.

After you have pressed the candy into the candy. Wait. Was that clear? Clear as mud I'm sure. Anyway. After the candy has been pressed. Into the candy. Put the sheet into the fridge or freezer to help the candy set. Maybe for about 20 minutes. Longer is fine. But you will need that pan for your next batch.

At Christmas time we call these Reindeer noses. At Easter, get some pastel m&ms and call them bunny noses. At Halloween, use the seasonal colors and call them Frankenstein's bolts.

But whatever the season. Whatever the shades. These are delish. And easy. And gone far too quickly!

So...what about you? Do you cook with your kids? Do they have a favorite thing to help with? To eat? Or what about when you were a kid? Did you like to help in the kitchen or cook? Did you have a favorite thing to make?

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PS - Did you enter to win? This week's prize is dinner and a movie. Oh, and a DVD of "Love Actually."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Weekend Winners: A little quality time

I think I am still on my Disney high. And its so nice to know that you all share my love of all things Disney. And I love that I might have inspired some of you to finally get your Disney pictures in albums. And for those of you that are hesitant. To create a scrapbook does not mean a work of art. It's a work of heart. With your pictures. And your stories being the most important thing.

I can't wait to hear about Mama Dawg and the Light of her life creating a sparkly, purply autograph album.

Or about Heather taking her kiddos for their first trip to Disney next year. And making another small album of their trip. Maybe just for keeping their autographs.

Or about Darcy's big surprise for her Boybarians. And she can document her whole trip in the big Disney scrapbook package.

Congrats ladies! Email me with your addresses and I'll get your albums right out to you.

Vacations to Disney got me to thinking. About the family togetherness. Because sometimes with a vacation. You get rather sick of each other. And the whole togetherness thing. Sometimes a little one-on-one is just the ticket.

I love to go on dates with my husband. We try to go out once a week. Try being the operative word. We used to have a standing date every Wednesday night. After church, I'd leave my mom to sending the girls up to bed. And Michael and I would play triva. But. The girls were really slacking on the cleaning up after themselves. And with the housekeepers arrival on Thursdays. It made for a crazy morning before school. So now. We just keep trying. Whether it's just running an errand together. Or actually going out to dinner. Or to a movie.

Don't you just love date movies? Lula did a post the other day about one of my favorite date movies - "Love Actually." I love that movie. All the stories. About how women love men with British accents. Hugh Grant and his little dance. And really. What is a nativity play without the Christmas lobster?

And speaking of dates. And quality time. Do you guys go on dates with your kids? Michael is great about taking the girls on adventures. Like to go go-cart racing. Or bike riding. Or on a walk through the woods.

I usually opt for the sedate kind of date. Like getting manicures. Or shopping. Or even better. A movie. We saw "Madagascar 2" a few weeks ago. It was so much fun. With much popcorn. And a ginormous diet coke. And my favorite kid date movie was "Enchanted" from last Christmas. So much fun. So silly. And a great way to introduce my kids to song and dance numbers. Or making dresses from curtains.

And then one of the best dates of all. Is a date with your girl friends. Sometimes the ticket is to just escape from your family entirely. I've done girls night at restaurants. My book club does a road trip each year. And I am usually forbidden from blogging about it. Because there might be some praying to porcelain gods. And movies that were discovered that were labeled with numbers. And the statement that all the actors are over 18. You know. Actors is a very loose term.

And besides road trips. Where said events might not have ever happened. (I do have an active imagination.) There are always movies that are best seen with girl friends. Like "Sex in the City." Or "Twilight." Or my favorite "Mama Mia."

So...this week's Weekend Winner prize is a dinner and a movie gift card. It includes a $25 gift card for dinner at your choice of: On the Border, Chili's, Macaroni Grill or Maggiano's. And a $25 gift card for Regal theatres. And a second winner will receive a dvd of "Love Actually." And you can have a date night right at home.

Worth playing for? Here is what you need to do:

1. Post a comment here. Tell me who you would take on a date with your winnings. Do you have regular dates with people in your life? Is there a movie coming out that you want to see? What is your favorite date movie?

2. For another entry...follow me. Almost to 200. I am ready to sing Pop-U-Lar again! If you already follow me, you also get an extra entry.

3. Blog about this week's contest.

4. When you comment you get an entry. When you follow, come back and leave another comment saying you follow me. If you are already a follower, post another comment saying that you are already a stalker follower. When you post about it...come back and leave a third comment saying you did it. Then I can truly use random number generator and I won't have to type in all those names!

5. Contest ends Friday (Dec 26) at midnight. Winners have one week to email me to claim prizes. All unclaimed prizes will be added back into the pot. Winner will be announced next Saturday. Along with the week nine prizes!

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Theme song: All I want for Christmas is you - Love Actually soundtrack