Thursday, December 08, 2011


The cakes I have made since last Feb....

Lilac turned seven, she had a Zhu Zhu Pet Party.

Blue and Gold celebration for the Cubs.

Pearl turned six in November, she had a Monster High party.

Henry had himself a Digger Truck party... and turned three. I cheated just a little, and made him a dirt-cake in one of his dump trucks. Those are some darling little orange cone candles and gummy worms. So that sorta makes up for it.

Well HE loved it!

...we had a little Thanksgiving dinner for just our family the day before the usual TG. Mostly so's we could have some leftover turkey and taters. But also to make up for everyone but me having to miss my mom's early TG, due to a whole household worth of the barfs. It's fun to have a formal table every now and again!

Friday, December 02, 2011


I have been eating gluten free for around a month and a half. The reasons I have gone GF are complicated, medical and sort of boring. And confusing. To my knowledge I am not exactly a Celiac... but I am not exactly not a Celiac. Confusing.

And if you are not me... boring.

If you are me, then it just is a new sort of reality. One that I was not entirely sure was doing me any particular good. Until today.

Backstory: I am not new to the "dietary restriction" world. I have been a little allergic to tree nuts most of my life, and ever since my early twenties, I have been really allergic to raw nuts. Itchy throat and mouth, swelling, mucous, general unpleasantness.

Upon reflection, I now realize that the increased level of tree nut allergy started around the same time as the lactose intolerance. And the arthritis.

Holy peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches. Even if you are me, this is BORING.

So one of the things people have been assuring me, is that after eating GF for a while, that I will be able to have dairy without the intolerance reaction.... that perhaps even the tree nut allergy will go away.

My response to that? I'd rather have bread than milk any day of the week, so why would I make that trade? I would rather have cookies than ice cream, hands down.

I went GF in the end, because I hoped I could get the arthritis under control and be able to run again. I would trade bread, and cookies, and cake, soups with a roux, and white vinegar to be able to do that. Apparently I will even trade flour tortillas. Y'all. Seriously.

So I have been GF, and the only thing that I have been able to see that has happened is that I had to give up doing Weight Watchers. Between all of my dietary restrictions and the Points Plus counting, that is just tooooo much brain power spent on thinking about food.

For a short time I thought that the arthritis was backing off, so I stopped taking my meds. But it turned out to be just a fluke, or wishing or whatever. I am back on the meds.

Aaaaanyway. Are those tears of boredom I see rolling down your face? You must be family to stick with a post this tedious. I will give you the upshot before you disown me... I haven't tried any milk yet. Pretty scared to, if ya wanna know the truth. But I ate the following this afternoon with NO reaction:
2 raw almond
1 raw filbert
1 raw brazil nut

MORE than enough to have me hacking and clawing my eyes out. Normally. And I had no reaction. Zip. Nada.

Am I thrilled beyond belief that I can eat raw tree nuts now?

Meh. S'ok.

Am I thrilled beyond belief that I am seeing what I now believe is the first of several health benefits? Heck to the YEAH! I am hoping for a cease-fire in the pain department. Please. Oh, please!

Plus, I think I will try this pie crust!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


"My mission president (I never know if that should be capitalized?) once told us missionaries that there are two kinds of people:
Folks who walk into the room with the sense of "Here I am!"
and then there are the folks who walk in to the room with the sense of "THERE you are!"

Then he invited us to decide for ourselves which kind Jesus was.

Also, this most definitely falls under the "just do it till it works" header. If you don't like the "fake it till you make it" saying, then think of it in terms of tithing. I think it was President Hinkley who said if you want a testimony of tithing, first you have to pay the tithing and then the testimony will follow. You have to first do the activities of a "there you are" person, then you become one."

I just left the above as a comment to this post.... and I deeply regret leaving it. Not because it is untrue, but because is comes off as preachy and ass-vicey... and it's incomplete.

The interesting thing is that as the mission president was talking about the latter kind of person, I recalled a friend of mine from back-in-the-day who exemplified this sort of behavior. I didn't just recall him, turns out I flat cannot think about what it means to be a "There you are" person whith out hearkening back to this guy. His name is Mark, and I am actually still in touch with him via FecesBook... only now he is a Karaoke (DJ? MC? Host?) in the Denver bar scene, and he goes by Mark Star-mijo. The man has not been able to run a quick errand in his life, he always knows someone or meets someone everywhere he goes.

You find Christlike attributes where ya find them.

He sees you, and you have his full attention and he wants to know how you have been and what is going on. He wants to figure out what make you you and he somehow communicates that he thinks "you" are great! As far as I could see by watching him in action, that went for pretty much anyone that cropped up on his radar, not just females.

Except when he was drugging hard he was this way and from the sounds of this article, he's back to his amazing "THERE you are" activity.... and I am glad. And as far as his ability to interact with people and SEE them and HEAR them... well... I wanna be like Mark when I grow up.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A Minecraft Birthday!

So my baby Birdie turned 9 just last week, and she wanted to have a
Minecraft themed birthday party. Minecraft is a computer game that is all kinds of fun, her new obsession, and the source of several very important life lessons for her. Maybe, if she gives me permission, I will tell y'all that tale... but suffice it to say, she got a good lesson in giving out info online, Griefers, using her mama's YouTube account without permission, and general Internet safety and protocol. Luckily, no actual damage was done during the experiencing of those lessons, and I am quite frankly glad to have had that lesson so well learned at such a relatively low cost.

Anyways... the Bird-day! First off, the invitations: the top looked like this...

That's a Creeper, one of the monsters that you battle in-game. It hisses, then it blows you up. This is clever, I promise.

The inside of the card said:
My name is Birdie, I am turning 9!
You are invited to my party
being held in a Mine.
We will battle spiders and zombies
and creepers so sneaky
we will eat cake and slime balls
you might think it's geeky
but it's really a

Next, even though in the game Minecraft, you can actually make a cake that looks like this, what she wanted was a Creeper Cake, so after much planning and research I made one. It took three 9x13 cakes, and two batches of buttercream frosting to do the job... but I did it!

(Pearl loves Creepers too! Especially French Vanilla Creepers!)

I used a can of spray-on food coloring to make the subtle block pattern on the frosting, and a little bit of store bought fondant dyed black for the face and toes. The homemade fondant tastes so much better, but I was already up to my ears in stuff to do.

Next I used some electrical tape to turn our kitchen table into a Minecraft "Crafting Table" where the cake was consumed and also where the kids made their "sword", "pick", and "torch" for using down in the "mine."

(also pictured are an example of a pick and sword)

Let me tell you how the party went.... Yes. You do get the blow-by-blow account because I am excruciatingly proud of this party that was a labor of love by all of us in Chaos, mostly Birdie and I.

First, the guests gathered, and since not every one on the planet knows what the heck Minecraft is (the game is still in it's Beta mode) we let the kids watch a short, introductory clip about how to survive your first night in the game. The clip also was a good explanation for how the party proceeded. First, we had them go into the kitchen where they harvested a block of wood (a piece of brown paper from the "trees" on the wall), which they then took to the crafting table to trade for a packet that included a cardboard pick head, a cardboard sword and four craft sticks.

They covered the pick and sword in foil and then we "crafted" the items using the covered cardboard forms and some of the sticks with tape and leaving one "stick" left over.

Next we went to the "coal" pinata that I had made by filling an empty Costco size Cheerio box with crumpled black paper bits of "coal" and some packs of Poprocks, just for funsies. (Hint: next time I would skip the poprocks! Messy! Garrr!) Since it is February and cold as the dickens out there, we tried to minimise the damage of doing this indoors, and so did not blindfold the kids for this activity!

(the green box is a Zombie Helmet used for Zombie Tag)

Afterward, the kids traded their last stick and their bit of "coal" for a dollarstore flashlight and some batteries. Viola! Torch! And the kids got to use all these items for the party and take them home as well.

Next, we tanked them all up on cake and milk drunk from silver cups (metal minecraft buckets), and green slime balls (scoops of lime sherbet) to replenish all of our energy and "life" before we ventured downstairs to "mine" and "do battle" with the monsters down there.

There was Zombie Tag, Pin the Skull On the Skeleton and Spider Races.

(Birdie made the Skeleton game herself!)

Open gifts.
Lots of leftover cake.
The End.
Except for Lilac's birthday party that is next week. Zhu Zhu Pets. Whuf.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I did it... yes, I did.

Soooo.... we got a very lovely couch and chair combo. Wanna see 'em?

Second hand. Beautiful. Amazing condition. Priced right...

...and we cannot get the sofa down the stairs to the family room, cannot even fit it through the door at the very top. On the flip-side... we are gonna be needing a couch to replace the one we currently have upstairs, it's a loaner from my folks who will be coming home some time in Aug or Sept. But that's a pretty looong time to live with that many big couches in the front room. But it looks like that's exactly what we are going to do. Yay.

Will I sell the couch and chair? Are you CRAZY!? I love those things!

All of which does nothing to solve the problem of seating in the basement. Sigh. Looks like it's time for us to get comfy on the carpet.

I am considering the cheap leather-ish (bonded leather?) sectional that comes in a couple of pieces so that we could slide them downstairs and put them together and then never move them again. Ever.

Unfortunately "cheap" is still $700. On top of the $450 we just dropped on our early replacement couch (and chair) for upstairs. NO T MADE OF MONEY here, people!

I did the following too, and that's all the segue ya get:
The other night I walked around the corner to the hallway to discover Lilac trying to teach Birdie how to climb the hallway walls by propping her hands and feet spread eagle on each opposing wall. Seriously, the girl can apparently wedge herself all the way up to touch the ceiling.

OBVIOUSLY the thing to do is stop such dangerous and potentially destructive behavior. But I could hear the note in Birdie's voice, and easily see the way she was "trying" to learn to do this climby/wedgie thing. I could see that she didn't trust her own body or ability to learn this. Like she "couldn't" do it, so she was sort of flailing about and getting frantic, and feeling like a failure. This bugged me more than the footprints that Lilac was leaving on my walls, so I ... ahem... well I coached Birdie a little.

Yeah. I encouraged my kid to learn to climb the walls. Whaddah schmuck I am! In any case she DID learn and now I have all kinds of sizes of footie-prints all down the hallway walls.

Whatevs. Better than boogers, and I have wiped more than my fair share off the hallway walls, so I know of whence I speak.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Witty and Newsy (newsy anyhows)

Well, fiddle-dee-dee! Turns out I was dreaming, and the blog fairy did NOT, in fact, visit my blog with witty and newsy posts!

I could have SWORN that she wrote one about how the very next day after that last post, everything got warmish and huge amounts of that snow melted off, filling up one of our window wells. Was only by dint of some hard and ickky labor by Birdie and myself, combined with much hopping about and yapping like lap-dogs by the rest of the crew that we did not flood out again.

Around about the time that Birdie announced that she couldn't fill, tote or dump one single more bucket of gravel, or help with one more shop-vac full of murky water that one of our Home Teachers knocked on our door with a plate of holiday cookies in his hand. I was pretty bushed too, and I really didn't want to call Dadguy home early because he was struggling at work to finish up some things that HAD to be done before he could take off for Christmas, so I asked poor Brother C to help. I swear though... fifteen to twenty minutes later the well stopped filling, whether the supply had started to freeze up again for the night or whatevs.... just glad it did.


Christmas was wonderful, and while I am glad it's over, I am a little perturbed at Santa Clause for not giving me MY wish of the loan of a few dozen of his elves for the clean-up of the holiday decorations and the tree.

Which is still up.
And decorated.


Looking forward to this spring when my little sis moves back to Utah from Baltimore. Yesterday as I was driving I overheard Lilac telling her sisters that she "...can't wait till my Aunt T'Amy comes back 'cause she will twuhhl me all I WANT!"


Yesterday all the kids had off of school for MLK day, and I decided to take them and one of Birdie's friends to go to the dollar theater showing of the Owls of Ga'Hoole. On the way to the theater that is a few towns north of us, we got caught in traffic from an accident on the freeway and were already five minutes late when we pulled in to the parking lot and saw the most epic line I have ever seen for tickets. We gave up and decided to hit a Redbox and get the movie to show at home, which was great except the kids wanted to put the couch, which is one of those metal framed futon couch thingees, into the bed position. I told them to wait a sec till I got Henry down for his nap, but by the time I got back downstairs the girls were looking at an almost flattened out futon, baffled as to why it wouldn't lay all the way flat. Yes indeedy, four little girls who couldn't have more than 200 lb combined, had managed to strip the bolts and warp the metal holding the thing together, by trying to shove the back part down in a way it wasn't supposed to go. Can't really get to mad. Piece a crap can't hold up to a couple of scrawny prepubescent girls? Phaugh! Can't really get mad... thing wasn't comfortable or much to look at, but we were hoping to make it last a few more years. Sigh...

Would just go on Craiglist (or rather, 'round here) but Dadguy is so VERY allergic to cats and some dog that it limits many of our choices.
Probly will try to get a 2nd hand couch anyways.

And HOLY CRAP is Henry hard on our belongings. Just the other day he salted Pearl's Sea Monkeys that Santa gave her. We tried hard to save 'em by switching out their water, but they were all cooked by the second day anyways.

I swear, he's either breaking it, pooping on it, bleeding on it or flushing it.

Wait... what was I talking about?