Monday, August 31, 2009

School Daze

Here are the girlies on their first day of school. A week ago.

School started for the girls and I a week ago today, and let me tell you, life is cuh-RAZY right now. I can hardly believe I've gone for more than a week without touching my blog, let alone had any time to read other people's blogs.

We are very much in survival mode right now. I started the school year completely overwhelmed by the multitude of textbooks and the accompanying paraphernalia that they seem to come with these days. By Tuesday I was on information overload and experienced a series of little mini meltdowns, all at home thankfully.

I'm not a big whiner, generally, but when Peanut Head came home Tuesday and asked me how my day was, I couldn't get an intelligible word out. I responded "I . . . I . . . I . . . iiiiiittttt's just so HAAAAARD! Whaaa!"

And yes, it was all accompanied by the Ugly Cry. The one where my lips curl up into my nostrils and I can't get them back down to cover my teeth properly. And of course this flattering display is always accompanied by much sputtering and snorting, and just a little bit of snot.


But I got through it after the attractive venting session with Peanut Head and the good cleansing and snort filled cry in the shower. And things are getting better every day.

My sixth graders are great too. They're an amazing bunch of kids and very well-behaved. I have their fifth grade teachers to thank for that, I'm sure.

We are still very busy, and as predicted I need to beef up our supply of under drawers for these lean laundry days.

But we are alive and well, and I don't want you to think that we dropped off the planet or anything like that. I may be popping in and out of here less often and more sporadically, but I will be continuing with the blog, so just keep me in your feed reader and I'll show up now and then. I read each and every one of your comments. Thank you for taking the time to leave them, they brighten my day.

I'll be around . . . 

Thursday, August 20, 2009


So, I have some news. 

You may have noticed that I haven't been blogging as much. Well . . .

I got a job.

Yep. I'm going to be teaching sixth grade again, but this time at an elementary school instead of a middle school. Yes, an Elementary school so I'm preeeeetty sure the Potty Prancers will not be appropriate. Not that they ever were, but I think you know what I mean. In fact, I broke down and made some respectable potty bathroom passes instead. I'll try to remember to get pictures of those tomorrow to share with you.

Life is going to be changing around here. The girls are going to have more responsibilities than ever, and I'm going to relax my housekeeping standards. Seriously, a lot of relaxing and letting things go is going to be happening.

I've always admired working mothers and wondered how they did it all. For me, I know the answer is going to be that I can't do it all, but instead I will do what I can, crappily well and make sure that what I choose to do is important to me.  And I'm going to go and buy a lot more underwear for those lean laundry days.

Not only that, but certain things around here are going to be streamlined. The girls and I had a hair appointment the other day. I got some highlights, or a weave, or whatever it is that girlie girls call this . . .

And I love it. Funny story though, take a look at my Ginormic Head. My head really is not that big. In fact, I have kind of a pin head with a no-neck that looks a little small for my body. Or maybe my body is too big for it. I don't know.

Either way, my head is super-sized here because my hair lady, The Magician, teased it. I believe the term that she used is "back comb," but the result is the same. I ended up with this helmet of hair that I could not believe belonged to me. Seriously, it was immovable, sort of nest-like, and oddly perfect in shape. I could not stop touching it and looking at it. It defied gravity.

Hmmmm. Can I back comb my boobs?

So, I got my hair refreshed and the girlies got their heads shaved.

I'm a horrible mother and this is proof.

For all of our relatives that will be calling (Aunt Marcia), horrified, to demand of me "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO THEIR GOLDEN LOCKS?!!!" I'm going to have to just stop and have a moment of silence and gratitude for Caller ID.


I had to get the girls' hair cut short because I will not have the time to mess with it in the mornings. And I know this sounds like an excuse, and maybe it is, but you know about Zoe Bug's little issue. The issue which still has not been resolved even though I was hopeful that the silky pillow case would be the magic bullet. I won't post that picture again because it's responsible for ruining several computer monitors, and for that I apologize. Really, I do.

So I got the girls excited about (I bribed them with ginormous lollipops) getting short (boy) haircuts, all for my own selfish needs.

I've been telling them for weeks that we were going super short with their hair so that they could learn how to comb their own hair. While it was short. And easy. And it was going to be motivation for them to take care of their own hair. So that when they could prove to me that they were ready for long hair by taking care of it themselves, well then they could have long hair.

Yeah. I'm sooooooo smart.

And I know that you know how this is going to turn out, but I'm going to say it anyway.

It backfired.

It backfired BIG.

They love their new hair. They especially love the bangs and to torture me they insist that their bangs be spread out just so on their foreheads in Frankenstein fashion, mocking me. Mocking me. Mocking me.

And I ask you, who won this round?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Backpack ID Tags Take Two

My kids start school next week, so the past several weeks I've been trying to get all their things ready to go. Today I finished their backpack ID tags.

Last year I posted the tags I made for them here, but this year I've changed them a little. The first thing I did differently was to create the tag itself in my Creative Memories digital scrapbooking program. I also laminated the ID tags with my laminator instead of using the plastic badge holders. The tags feel more durable this way, but time will tell.

I'm not sure that our family is the best for stress testing the tags since we have girls. I say this because I see what boys do to their backpacks. They use them as shot puts, they use them as sleds (with or without snow), and all sorts of crazy things. Boys are rough on backpacks. And everything else.

Stinkerbell's backpack has been through two years with Zoe and it's about to start its second year with Stinkerbell. That's what I'm talking about.

Here's what Zoe's tag looked like when I was making it in my software program. After I printed it, I cut it right down the middle and used the right side for the back of the tag and the left side for the front of the tag.

I feel like I should mention that the Creative Memories software is not Mac compatible. You see it on my Mac because I'm running it through windows with a Boot Camp partition blah de blah, gobbledy-gook. The Rocket Scientist set it up for me and it works, that's all I know and it's all I care about.

Once I cut the tag in half, I mounted each side on a piece of card stock. It makes the tag a little more sturdy and it looks nicer that way.

Then I ran it through my BFF, the laminator. I'm thinking for Halloween I need to come up with a Laminator costume. Sort of a parody on The Terminator. I haven't figured out the logistics yet, but I think a cape is involved. Maybe some kind of laminated paper cape. Hmmmm.

You can see here that the tag still needs to be trimmed. I trimmed it, leaving a little excess at the top so I can beribbon it. That's important, you know.

Here are the lunchbox ID tags. They're about half the size of the backpack tags.

Once all the tags are trimmed to the size I want, I round the corners with my corner rounder. We're accident prone in this house, so I want to get rid of sharp corners.

Plus I don't want Stinkerbell putting someone's eye out when she lets them have it with her backpack.

I used my Crop-a-Dile to punch holes in the tags, and then I slipped a split ring through each tag. Split rings are simply key chain loop thingies. The size I used were 20 mm.

For the backpack ID tag, I punched some extra holes along the top to tie ribbon to. I didn't do it on the lunchbox tags because lunchboxes are hard enough to keep clean without adding ribbon to them.

The final step is to seal the ribbon with heat so that it doesn't fray. I just use a lighter and swoop in real quick. Any longer and your ribbon will catch on fire. Take my word for it.

I also have a lobster clasp attached to this keyring. It makes it easier to clip to the backpack zipper, and I can take it off a lot quicker if I need to wash the backpack. You don't have to have the lobster clasp though. They keyring alone is enough.

I'm starting to think these would make cute luggage tags too. Oh the possibilities.

Here are the lunchboxes.

I love the Dora lunchbox.

But I think the Hannah Box is going to meet with tragedy. I had a dream that it got run over by a bus.

Hey, it could happen.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

BBQ Ribs

With summer on it's way out, I had to share this BBQ Pork Ribs recipe with you before it's too late. The light is already changing here in Idaho. It's taking on that yellowy gauzy cast which reminds me of sunsets. It gets me a little bit excited for fall, but at the same time I'm sorry that summer is coming to an end.

This is the spice rub, which you rub all over the racks of ribs then cover and refrigerate overnight.

The secret to great ribs is not only in the sauce, but also to cook them long and low. Something I don't always have the patience for.

It's worth it though. By the way, there's really no way to eat ribs daintily. They're finger food. Smashley was trying to cut at them with her knife and fork and she wasn't getting anything. It was hilarious. Of course, I took it upon myself to make fun of her. Some things were made to be eaten with your hands, OCD issues and all.

In fact, Stinkerbell has a little trick for food like this. She takes a wad of napkins in each hand and then grabs the food with them. Sure, you end up eating a little napkin that way, but if you're an OCD freak like her, apparently it's worth it.

I think you should make some BBQ ribs this weekend. And if you want to eat them while wearing rubber gloves, I won't tell.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Hmmm. What's wrong with this picture?

You got it. I need to clean my floors. I don't know how I've let them get this bad.

At least the girls are only playing on the floors in their pretty dresses before church. I think there's something wrong with that. Aren't we supposed to be thinking about peace and love before we go to church, and not playing war?

Regardless, Daddy is so proud. He's been spending hours with the girls, helping them put their troops in formation, teaching them how to spot and then pick off the officers, and showing them how to get the maximum body count with just one shot from the Nerf dart gun.

I do my part too. The troops were on maneuvers in the hall the other day and I leaned down with my blow dryer to see how many I could take out with one blast. It turns out none.

I guess they've been practicing so much and now they're Army Strong.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Another Problem Solved

I'm so excited to share this new thing with you, I can barely contain myself.


Sorry. I tried to hold it in, but I have no self control.

Okay, last school year I made up this little grid doo dad in Excel. A little mini spreadsheet so to speak, that I kept on the fridge. In the mornings I could look at the day of the week to remind the girls and myself of recurring weekly things that we had to remember stuff for.  If it's a P.E. day, no dangly earrings, skirts or clunky shoes. Show & Tell, don't forget it. Spelling test day, we can take a quick test while we're eating breakfast. You get the idea.

It's something I used every day last year and it really helped me.

Um, but it's not cute, right? I like cute. 

So, I've been obsessing over this little thing and how I could put it right by my front door so it would be even more helpful, but how could I make it cute? Seriously, this is the kind of ridiculousness that takes up valuable space in my head.

And if I want to get it out, if I want to purge it, I have to satisfy the need. Right?

Now that we're all on board, take one more look at my little mini spreadsheet and then go here and come right back, okay?

Can you believe that? I love it! It's brilliant. It's exactly what I was looking for. And dang it all, the blog I found this on, The Idea Room, has some excellent ideas on it. And I needed another blog to follow like I need a hole in my head. Great.

So, super nifty idea, right? Except that in my world I want some cute to go with my spread sheet. At least for this. Because I'm going to be altering the magnetic board anyway, right?

Oh yeah. I didn't tell you about that yet. I already had this tired old magnetic board that really wasn't being used to the best of it's ability, so I stripped all that stuff off, pried the sunflowers and clothespins off, gave it a quick coat of black paint to cover up the words, and then I turned it into this.

Isn't it great? I'm so excited I can't even stand it. The second it was finished, at 1:00 a.m. this morning, I woke Peanut Head up and demanded that he hang it up for me ASAP.

He declined.

So, here's what I did to pull the vision together. I put a thin coat of Modge Podge on the sheet metal, then I smoothed scrapbook paper down. Then I covered it all with a thin coat of Modge Podge on top. In this picture you see bubbles, but I cursed those bubbles and smooshed them down so they vacated pronto. Well, after the Modge Podge dried, or at least some time during the drying process. I don't need to know the science behind it. It's magic.

Once the Modge Podge dried a little, I couldn't wait for it to dry completely, I put some Photo Tape on a couple pieces of gross grain ribbon and I adhered them over the seams where the different pieces of paper met. The ribbon makes a nice divider for the sections of my board.

Then I put the girls' names down, which I cut with my Cricut that I'm in love with, and I printed out a couple of cute pictures. It was Janae's brilliant idea to attach magnets to the backs of the pictures so I could change them out as the girls grow. How cool is that?

I made my days of the week and my things to remember in Excel. I did them in Excel because a) I love Excel and b) I could do them quickly and add the uniform borders super fast. Hey, you use what you know, right? I'm sure there are other ways to do it, but this is what I did. Just call me Spreadsheet Girl.

I printed my reminders on plain white paper and then I cut them out, leaving a smallish border around the black line border.

Then I laminated them, of course. And the best part? I gathered up all those cheapo, I mean free, magnets that I've collected from phone books and businesses, and I cut them up to turn my reminders into magnets.

Crazy, isn't it? I love crazy.

I was able to get five magnets out of one business card sized magnet. The odd size magnets like the trash truck, not so much. But that's okay because they were free.

Next I applied tape runner to the backs of the magnets and stuck them on the backs of my laminated reminders that I cut apart and trimmed.

And TA-DA! Brilliant, huh? This is what I love, love, love about reading other people's blogs. I find some of the coolest ideas and I get so much inspiration from people in the blogosphere.

And now I've solved another one of my Great-System-But-It's-Not-Cute dilemmas.

Is there a support group out there for that? Maybe with the name Freaks of the World Unite or something catchy like that.

Here's my new magnet board in its new home, right behind my front door. I so love it. Go ahead, tell me I'm a freak. I can take it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

For Crying Out Loud . . . SMILE!

Remember when I had Stinkerbell's pictures taken by the amazing Brandee? Well, I finally got Zoe Bug's pictures taken too. The pictures above are great, but let me tell you, Brandee had to really work for them.

Zoe spent at least a half an hour refusing to smile. I about came unglued on her. 

We even put Stinkerbell in there to try and warm her up. Which was a little ironic since we had the same problem with her. At least when Brandee asked her to smile this time, she immediately pulled one of her fakey smiles.

Zoe got a little silly too, but she wouldn't cooperate, the little monster. Brandee had to go in and PhotoShop her smile, pulling it slightly up at the corners. She's amazing.

Zoe's wearing her poopie face in this picture. We call it that because, well, . . . never mind.

Apparently we can't make her smile.

I had the idea to run home to get Zoe's pink boots, and when I came back the girls were running around the house chasing Brandee's puppy and giggling like there was no tomorrow.

It loosened Zoe right up.

Now that's better. It's not a full on smile, but it's not sullen discontent either.

But maybe this one is.

I see my baby in this one. Zoe hasn't changed one bit since she was about eight months old. Sure, she's bigger and she has more hair, but her face is exactly the same. 

She has lots 'o forehead, no eyebrows and no visible eyelashes. Which makes her forehead look even more expansive.

Except today, because my friend, GaeLyn, artfully applied some eyebrows and I swiped her eyelashes with a little mascara. I wonder if Zoe felt like Miss Potato Head, the way we tore into her with the hair and the make-up.

What do you think?

Personally, I love Zoe with eyebrows and eyelashes. She's a sweet little thing and I could just eat her.

Here we have Happy Meets Melancholy.

It's really a look, but don't confuse it with Zoolander's Blue Steel.

This is introspective.



I love Zoe Bug. She's my Delicate Flower.

And then there's this little stinker.

Man, what a pair these two are. T-R-O-U-B-L-E. All caps.

Okay, forgive me, but do they look like someone cut some scary mouths out of a magazine and pasted them on their faces, slightly out of proportion?

That's what you get when you fake a smile. Remember that and don't let it happen on your face.

Doesn't Zoe look like a little lady in this picture? Trust me, it's an anomaly. I can't get Girlfriend here to keep her legs crossed when she's wearing a dress. Ever. She prefers to sit with her legs sprawled out in opposite directions. Just like her Daddy. 

I think she's part spider or something.

Whoa Nelly! I wasn't prepared for this one, but I about fell on the floor laughing when I saw it.

Zoe recently learned how to cross her eyes like this. She taught Annika how to do Taco Tongue and Annika taught her how to cross her eyes.

They're helpful like that.

Zoe Bug loves her new boots. Every time we leave the house she tries to get away with wearing these babies with shorts. I tell her "Try again, Sister," and she stomps off all melodrama and petulance oozing out of her pores.

Now I have to go through the bazillion pictures that Brandee took, and figure out which ones I want prints of. I've only shown you a fraction of them, but let me tell you, I have my work cut out for me.

Which one is your favorite of Zoe Bug? Help me out here.