Sunday, May 31, 2009

Potato Salad

Now that the kids are out of school, I have summer on the brain, and summer means lazy days and picnics. Unless your name is Peanut Head. Then you have to go to work and make money so your wife and kids can stay home and play. Sorry, Peanut Head.

If it makes you feel any better, we'll save you some potato salad.

Actually, I'm not a big fan of potato salad, but Peanut Head loves it so I have to know how to make it.

Here are the ingredients: potatoes, mayonnaise, ground mustard, salt, pepper, celery, onion, pickle relish, hard-boiled eggs, and paprika.

Which reminds me, someone asked me what I think of the Olive Oil mayonnaise. I hate it.

I guess I should probably tell you that I hate mayonnaise, so you should never ask me what I think of mayonnaise. Peanut Head likes mayo though, and he thinks it's great, so there you have it.

Potato Salad is super easy to make.

And now you have a recipe card for it too. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kindergarten Graduation

Stinkerbell had her Kindergarten graduation this week. Isn't that the silliest thing to graduate from Kindergarten?

Oh, but it's dang cute, let me tell you. The Kindergartners entertained us with loads of songs they learned this year. It makes me smile just thinking about it.

You have to love the cute little caps made out of Styrofoam bowls and poster board too. Both of my girls had these for preschool graduations as well. Even sillier, but even cuter too. The bummer about these little hats is that they're impossible to keep on their heads.

After the first experience with these, we got smart and poked holes on the edges to loop a ribbon through, then we just tied the ribbon under their chins. Way cute on the girls, but maybe a little embarrassing for the boys.

But this year, somebody had a brilliant idea. I don't know who came up with this, but it's genius.

Duct tape.

Is that smart or what? So they lose a tinsy bit of hair, so what? Hair grows.

Here's Stinkerbell with her teacher, Ms. Austin. Thanks for a great year, Ms. Austin!

Kindergarten teachers are special people. They have the hardest jobs in the world.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Banking Crisis Hits Home

Remember the cute Allowance Jars that I made for the girls once upon a time? I was convinced that they were going to enable me to teach my kids how to manage their money. Well, guess what? I failed.

Maybe I'm being hasty here, but let me just share recent events with you. Picture this, it was a beautiful Memorial Day weekend, perhaps the first Memorial Day weekend in a decade without freakish hail or snow, the kids are playing outside, the birdies are chirping, the ice cream truck is meandering through the neighborhood . . .


Four kids come barrelling into the house, running around willy nilly. I'm downstairs, but I know that I'm hearing more footsteps than my two, so I run up to investigate. I find four little girls, two of them mine, sweet faces smiling, fists full of wads of cash, all too happy to tell me that they're going to get some ice cream. 

"Um. Where did you get the money?" I ask

"From our allowance jars," Stinkerbell reports, smiling and batting her eyelashes. Already, Girlfriend knows how to work a situation.

"I don't think so," I say, "You can each have one dollar of that, put the rest back."

"Aw, Mom," my monsters whine.

I come back ten minutes later to check on things. Two of the girls still have a couple dollars each, but they are quick to tell me that they "found it in their mailbox." Hmmmm. It sounds fishy to me, but I didn't see where they got it, so I didn't feel comfortable grilling them further.

I decided right then and there that my girls weren't ready to be responsible for their own money. If they had given money to their friends, it was gone and I wasn't going to pursue it. Let it be a lesson to us all.

So I got out my old cash box and photocopied some bank registers. One at a time, I had the girls give me their money, keeping track of which portion goes to savings, charity, and how much is theirs to spend. 

All the money got pooled in the locked box, and they have to come to me to make a withdrawal. Just call me The Bank of Mom now.

Do you want to know the really sad part? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway. All together my girls had around seventy dollars. Seventy dollars! I know. They have more money than I do. That just goes to show you how quickly $1.50 a week adds up. I think I'm going to start putting $1.50 a week into my own savings account. The little brats.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Potty Prancers

I've been a little nostalgic lately, and I keep thinking about these crazy clown shoes. I don't think I've talked about it much on my blog, but before I had my girls I was a teacher.

I know. It's crazy, huh? When I was in the teaching credential program, we were warned that it wasn't a good idea to use sarcasm with your students.

Um . . . what? I don't know if I can do that, I thought. Turns out, I couldn't. Sheesh. Big surprise. But seriously, it worked for me. I taught sixth grade and some of the kids got it, and some of them didn't. There were never any problems as a result. We had a lot of fun together and we even got some learnin' done. I was the Multiplication Nazi, let me tell you.

So the reason I've been nostalgic, is that I'm getting my ducks in a row to go back to the classroom. Annika will be in first grade next year, so the time is right for me. The thing is, I want to teach in the elementary school for awhile, while my girls are young. I love the younger kids, but honestly, all age groups have their own endearing qualities. 

In the meantime, I'm reliving the good old days of the Potty Prancers. In my classroom, the Potty Prancers were big, plastic clown shoes, with POTTY PRANCERS written on the sides in thick, black Magic Marker. The deal was, if one of my sixth graders came to class and wanted to use the restroom, they had to wear the Potty Prancers in place of a hall pass. Since I taught in California, the hallways were outdoors, so any kid wearing the Potty Prancers would make a loud, echoing shuffle noise as they walked down the hall. Inevitably, this would cause students in other classes to turn their heads away from their teacher in order to watch my bladder challenged student making his way to the restroom. I say "his" because it was always the boys who were willing to wear the P.P. shoes. The girls would only wear them if it was a real emergency. This is on account of girls have more class and decorum. Well, at least in sixth grade. I'm almost positive that this holds true most of the time.

We had other teachers in our school that would make kids carry a toilet seat for their hall pass, and that was equally enjoyable to watch. Everyone was all "You're going to take a dump. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha." As if middle school wasn't bad enough. Seriously, it has to be the single most awkward, gawky and embarrassing time in every kid's life. Don't you think?

Personally, I'm embarrassed still for my middle school self. I have stories, but let's save some of them for another day, shall we?

The Potty Prancers were retired on my last day of teaching sixth grade. I threw them in the trash, and shortly after that I found three students fighting over them. Yes, they were all boys. I got a little tear in my eye though, because it was then that I realized that they enjoyed the entertainment provided by the P.P. shoes just as much as I did. Teaching is so rewarding.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself teaching sixth grade. The kids I taught are all adults now. Every now and then, one of them will find me on Facebook and it makes me feel so old. Then I get to feel proud when I see all the good things they're doing. But then, in a way, it's also kind of creepy to think of them doing adult things, when I think of them as kids still.

It's kind of like my own kids, I guess. They are under the impression that they are not allowed to get married until they're 25, they have a college degree, and they've started their careers. We've also negotiated living arrangements. They will live at home and we'll keep their husbands in the basement. And I get to keep their babies too. Sounds pretty sweet, doesn't it? Well, I guess that depends on who they marry.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Deviled Eggs

With Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, is anyone else thinking about picnics and grilling outside? Well how about some Deviled Eggs for celebrating?

This recipe is simple and yummy.

Here's what you need: eggs, salt, black pepper, dill weed, dry mustard, paprika and mayonnaise.

The addition of the dill weed came from my friend, Pat, in Sonoma. Hi Pat!

The first thing you need to do, of course, is hard boil your eggs and peel them. I have to share with you my new discovery for hard boiling eggs so that the shell comes right off. I learned about it over at Green Lite Bites, on her video post with step-by-step instructions. I tried her method today and it really works.

The picture above is an egg that Stinkerbell peeled, which explains the gouge, but it really was easy to peel.

I love to use this Pampered Chef Decorator for my Deviled Egg innards. It makes them pretty and I don't have to wrestle the filling into the eggs. I also learned this trick from Pat, although she uses a regular pastry bag. I'm not real coordinated with pastry bags though, so I use this.

See? Pretty.

Here's the recipe card, complete with the instructions for hard-boiling the eggs. If you're anything like me, you'll forget the trick by the next time you go to make them. Like Easter in my house.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Photo Shoot for Stinkerbell

I am so excited! A few weeks back I had Annika's six year portraits taken and I just got them back tonight. I usually go to JC Penney Portrait Studios, but I was tired of getting pictures with the eyes looking so dark that you couldn't tell what color they were.

Lucky for me, a real live photographer lives in my neighborhood. Her name is Brandee and she is A-MAZE-ING. She has a ginormous big girl camera that was just a teensy bit scary looking. And let me tell you, Girlfriend knows how to take some seriously good pictures and then edit the heck out of them.

Stinkerbell had a lovely little scratch on her face, I'm sure from over-loving on the cat, and Brandee Photoshopped it right out. Actually, she did a lot of Photoshopping. The scratch is just one example.

This was our first experience with a professional photographer. I'm used to the little 15-minute sitting appointments, so you can imagine my surprise when Brandee spent three hours with my little Snot Box here. Three hours!

Brandee was hilarious too. She has her photo studio set up in her basement, and at one point her husband, Garth Brooks, was walking through and he commented on this little stool.

"Where did that come from?" he asked.

Brandee casually replied "Oh that old thing. I've had it for 50 years. It was free." Never mind that Girlfriend can't be out of her 30s, at most.

This gorgeous beaded jacket? Brandee's. Yep. She ripped the price tag right off it before tossing it to Stinkerbell to put on.

That cute little knit cap? Brandee's too. It was really brown and I think the flower was white. Photo Shop magic.

This pitiful little smile was the best that Stinkerbell could muster. In three hours. You'd think a girl would warm up after that long. Not Sister Girl here. She didn't wanna.

Oh. Oh . . . you better watch out. You might actually S-M-I-L-E.

Nevermind. I don't feel like it.

Oh, we're going to give it another try.


Let's call this one "Forget About It" in black and white.

After taking 800 pictures inside, we went for a little drive downtown. We were looking for some interesting backgrounds.

I loved Zoe's comment when she saw the pictures. "Where did you guys go? The dump?"

By the way, isn't that skirt to die for? Brandee's.

I love this one. I'm calling it "You Want To Make Something Of It?"

You won't believe what Stinkerbell is sitting on . . .

It does look like we're at the dump, doesn't it?

But look at that wall! Isn't the Photo Shop work on that the coolest? I love, love, love it. Brandee is amazing.

James Dean anyone?

All in all, I thought this was the coolest experience. We're definitely going back to Brandee. She's an excellent photographer and not pricey at all. Another thing that I really loved, is that she let me buy the CD of all the pics so I can do whatever I want with them. What photographer does that?

If you want to check out more of her work, go check out her blog.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Super Size Me

The girlies and I were standing in line at the store check-out counter when the begging began. Doesn't it always happen at the check-out counter? The placement of candy at the check-out counter is really marketing genius. Kids are always wearing their parents down, begging and begging and begging. It never stops. Sometimes you give in and let the kid have some candy, and sometimes you can't help yourself and you get your own. More than likely if that candy hadn't been placed right there at the check-out, you never would have picked it up. Am I right?

Well, this time I was feeling magnanimous so I told the girls they could each pick out a piece of candy, so long as it wasn't packaged in plastic crap that would never break down in the land fills. I know I'm a freak. My kids are going to grow up warped. They'll have nightmares about our landfills bursting at the seams, plastic mutating trash monsters chasing them. I'm just doing my part to help Mother Earth, saddling my kids with their fair share of environmental guilt.

Anyway, how do I get so sidetracked? Zoe decides to test my limits, of course, because that's her job. She nonchalantly says, "Mama, can I have a King-Size?"

I, in all my parenting wisdom (making it up as I go), reply "Do you want a King-Size Butt?"

Argument over. Score one for the Parents.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Malibu Barbie Lives in Idaho

Am I the only one who remembers Malibu Barbie? No really, because she lives in my town now, and she's on the PTO at my kids' school. No lie.

The first time I saw her, I knew it was her, even though she's had a makeover and she looks a tinsy bit different. She also drives a mini van, but you can still tell it's her.

For starters, she let her roots grow out. Yep, she's really a brunette. I am so not kidding you. I know you think I'm making this up, but I'm not.

Malibu has had three kids since her time in the sun. Not that you could tell. She is Barbie after all. Except that now her name is Heidi. 

Yeah, her name is Heidi and on her Facebook profile, she lists cleaning as her hobby. Cleaning! Can you believe that?

She's disgustingly perfect. I don't think she sleeps either.

Early in the school year, we had to meet at school at ohhhh-dark thirty in the morning to put up a gazillion flags before school, and she was there. All chipper and cute, bubbling over with energy and enthusiasm. Not a hair out of place and perfect make-up. And I'm sorry I couldn't help myself, but I did have to turn to her and inquire if she even owned a pair of real sweat pants. Seriously, she was there in a cute little matching exercise pant and warm-up jacket ensemble. Really, an ensemble. I don't own an ensemble anything, so I'm pretty impressed by this.

I've seen her painting clothes too, and they don't look anything like my painting clothes. Hers are cute little capris with a cute little short sleeve shirt. Seriously.

And do you want to know the worst part? I'd like to hate her because she's so perfect, but I just can't because she's too dang sweet. She's at school all the time. She, along with another parent volunteer, teaches art to the entire school for free. Actually, I take that back, she's paying the school to teach art for free because she never turns in her receipts to be reimbursed. Sssh, don't tell her husband. I think he might raise his angry eyebrows if he knew.

Oh, and she runs the Accelerated Reading program, she's involved with everything at school, and she's always smiling. And her hobby is cleaning. Cleaning!

And if that isn't enough, we just elected (and I use this in the loosest sense of the word) her to be PTO President for next year. We railroaded her into it.

I know y'all are just dying to see what she looks like now, right?

Okay, here she is.

Hee hee. Sorry. I couldn't help myself. Do you like it? I made this today to give to Malibu at the PTO meeting today. First I was going to dye the real Malibu Barbie's hair brown, but then I took the cheater route and just bought a Belle Princess doll and chopped her hair off. I made the beauty queen sash thingie with my label maker, and the little bag with my Cricut. 

I love the little bag. It's my favorite part. I had to get a picture of it because she's probably going to rip the bag off her Mini Me before her husband sees it.

Do you believe me?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms and moms-to-be out there. I started off my day with sweet little gifts from my monsters. Isn't this little flower arrangement from Stinkerbell the cutest?

And Zoe Bug gave me a cute little recipe book compiled by her class of their favorite recipes. So sweet. I'm always looking for new recipes.

When I was in school, I don't remember making cute gifts like these for my Mama Llama. In spite of some of the hideous gifts we made for my mom, she saved everything we made for her. For-EVER. In fact, I distinctly remember looking at that stuff sitting proudly on top of her dresser and thinking "Why does she she keep all that crap?" Now that I'm a mom, I get it.

Look, I even got breakfast in bed. The girls told me "Now Mom, you have to stay here in bed until we bring you breakfast." 

"Okay, I guess I'll make that sacrifice and lay here a little longer." And I was so looking forward to springing out of bed and dusting the curtains. Oh well, another day.

I could hear Peanut Head in the kitchen with the girls as he supervised the cracking of the eggs. Then I heard him exclaim "Not too much butter, she doesn't like a lot of butter!" My girls like to lay the butter on thick and it's nasty. And I love butter.

Look at their sweet, shining faces. And that hair!

Some of y'all think I teased Zoe Bug's hair for that crazy hair picture that I use all the time, so I hope this picture alleviates that suspicion. It's for real, man. This is my life. Every. Single. Day.

Friday, May 8, 2009


For the past couple days I've been bonding with my Cricut, and can I just tell you, I LOVE IT! When the Cricuts first came out, I really wasn't interested in them because I had already started making the transition from traditional to digital scrapbooking, and I didn't think I would use a Cricut enough to justify the expense.

Well stick my foot in my mouth again, but I love this thing and I can't see my life without it now. I probably never would have started even thinking about the Cricut if I hadn't stumbled upon Nannygoat's blog. Talk about inspiring. She made a Spring banner without a Cricut and she kept saying that making one of these with a Cricut would be a breeze and Cricut owners were lucky, and the seed was planted.

So, in short, it's Nannygoat's fault so I hope she's prepared to take full responsibility for this Cricut love of mine. 

Would you believe that Nannygoat even gives a tutorial on making banners, and I still managed to screw it up?

Can you tell what I did wrong? I bet Nannygoat can.

I put my eyelets too close together so the banner hung all wonky. At first.

I am Queen at fixing screw-ups, since I make so many of them, so this is what I came up with.

I just took some little scraps of paper and covered every square millimeter with adhesive, then stuck them over the string real good so that it would hang just how I wanted it to.

Hey, I know my grammar stinks, but it worked. If you want to check out Nannygoat's tutorial, go here

The Font Cartridge I used was Doodletype.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Manly Clipboards

I do not know what is going on in my town, but it appears there has been a run on clipboards.

Mattie Cake asked me if I would make clipboards for her kids to put their chore charts on, and when I went to get clipboards at my local Wal Mart, they were clean out.

Can you believe that?

I've only made a couple dozen the past few weeks, so it can't just be me. Can it?

Well, luckily we have two Wal Marts and the other one had lots of clipboards.

Which reminds me, if you're looking for ideas for teacher gifts, these altered clipboards make great teacher gifts.

Anyway, Mattie Cake has two boys and two girls, so I knew the flowery girlie clipboards weren't going to fly for her boys. Which meant that, dang it, I had to go shopping for boy paper. Manly paper. You know how much I detest going to the craft store more than three times in one week. 

Right. I really like it. Unless it's for something boring like Modge Podge.

And look what I found on my hunting and foraging trip . . .

Camouflage ribbon! Isn't it nifty? It's my favorite ribbon right now.

Here are the girlie clipboards for Mattie Cake's girls.

And did you notice the names on this batch of clipboards?

I got a new little present this week from Peanut Head for Mother's Day. He let me have it early.


Peanut Head got me a Cricut! I've been playing with it all day and I love it!

I was so happy with Peanut Head, that I hijacked his manly clipboard for a little reconditioning.

Hee hee. Now no one will ever try to steal it from him. Because I know all the men are going to want it now.

I even beribboned it for him. Do you think he'll like it?

For the altered clipboard tutorial, go here. Also, a couple people have asked me which Cricut cartridge I used for the clipboards. It's the Doodletype Font Cartridge, and I did the letters in Shadow mode.