Here's my little guy. Lately he's obsessed with putting his hood over his head only - no arms - then running fast and shouting for all to hear, "I'm a Superhero!" Here he has stopped for a brief moment, and even struck a tough guy pose.
Mama Kat's writing prompt that I chose this week was, 4.) Your significant others family is coming over in two hours..think about what’s in your kitchen. Now QUICK…what’s for dinner!?!
What's that you say? The in-laws are coming over for dinner in two hours? I got this in the bag, honey. This scenario is one excellent reason for meal planning, my friends. I always know what's for dinner and I've done all of this week's shopping last weekend so I'm stocked and ready to roll. Boo-yahhhh...as my daughter would say. (Oh, dear Lord.)
What I had planned for tonight's dinner was Broccoli Cheese Soup in the crockpot. Here it is 2PM and I haven't started it. Funny thing about crock pots - they're slow cookers. So that idea is out. Instead, what I do is go to the handy-dandy interwebs and look up a recipe for broccoli cheese soup that doesn't require the crockpot. After all, I have all the ingredients! So that's actually what's for dinner tonight. I'm pulling out a ciabatta loaf I have from the freezer and calling it good.
There's always a chance that the in-laws come over on a night where a personal food preference or a food allergy leaves them hungry, or the amount of food I bought will feed our little crew but can't stretch quite far enough to feed a couple more mouths. Let's run with that to make it interesting.
In that case, I'm rifling through what's left of the meal plan for the week to see if anything else will work, or just go to the freezer. First though, I'll set out chips and salsa which I always have...or right now I have a wheel of brie and even crackers to go with it, score!
As for dinner, I'm still looking...I always have frozen chicken breasts - defrost, marinade and grill = done. Right now I have a 10lb. bag of potatoes calling my name and all the ingredients to make twice baked potatoes = done. I'm also trying to clean out my chest freezer in the garage because I plan on doing some MAJOR freezer meals this upcoming week so let's take out a ton of frozen broccoli and make a mean steamed broccoli = done. How can steamed broccoli be tasty, you ask? Why, with lots of salted butter, friend, lots of salted butter. That's what's for dinner in a pinch.
Or, let's be honest here, I might suggest they just pick up a pizza on their way out to the house.
I found myself with a little bit of extra time today because my kids went back to school today. Luckily, our school district had the foresight to make a call to all the parents on Saturday night to remind us. I was convinced, and told a number of people, that our kids started back to school on Tuesday because today is normally a holiday.
Imagine my delight when I found out my husband was also off today. Because it's a holiday. So we dropped the kids off at school and had a breakfast date and then went to an early movie. A fun way to start the new year, I say!
A much better start than slipping and falling on my bare arse and hand (ouch) while climbing out of the hot tub to stop my sleepy daughter from waking the rest of the kids in the house in the weeeeee hours of the morning on New Year's Day.
It could have been so much worse. I could have hit my head. I could have broken that wrist I so gracefully used to try to stop my fall. But it makes everything so much worse when your clothes are nowhere to be seen and your robe is...over...there...just...out...of...reach. And there are well-meaning people in the hot tub looking down upon you, asking after your well-being. I mean, I did just fall out of the hot tub after all. But we moms, sometimes we have to get up even when we really don't want to. Even when our dignity is compromised. Even when it would be so much easier to lay there on the concrete slab and let someone put a robe over you so you can compose yourself with grace. But no, there's a child awake in the house who is surely going to start that siren cry at any moment. So scramble I do to grab that damn robe, tend to the kids and wrap up a wonderful New Years Eve.
My year in review? Wow, that's so hard, especially when I didn't start blogging until April. Alas, I did have a life before blog (LBB), but not as easily documented I suppose. Let's just jump right in, shall we? January January started off with a bang with a storm of snow enough to sled and play in on New Year's Day in Prescott, AZ.
And we ended the month with my daughter's 5th birthday held at her favorite park at her request, Sunset Park in Sedona, AZ.
February February brought my first 5k run at the Sedona Marathon. Yep, I thought I was going to die and I didn't even run the entire thing. I paced myself, you know? A little bit of running. A little more walking. Wuss. Out of shape. All true statements. But I was proud that I did it. I'm proud that I didn't collapse and have the fire department cart me to the finish line. Am I doing it this February you're wondering? That'll be a no.
March March brought an exciting move. We moved about an hour away and into our new house. We are now closer to my husband's family and hoping mine will someday be closer too. This is sunset in our neighborhood the evening we moved, March 1st, 2011. I pulled over at one of the wide spots in the road and snapped this picture because I couldn't believe the orange tinge to it. I didn't know then that I would have a million chances to capture beautiful sunsets from our back patio.
This is what we woke up to on March 2nd, 2011. A welcome home snowstorm!
One more? March also brought a trip to Laguna Beach, CA where Maddi was the flower girl in my cousin's wedding. Beautiful wedding. Beautiful Flower Girl. Ham of a brother.
April April found me quitting my job to do some freelancing work and pursue my dreams. It also brought Jameson's 3rd birthday, decked out Toy Story style. Here, he's helping me make the cake he picked out.
May May is a busy month in our house. Mother's Day, my birthday, our wedding anniversary, school year ends, Memorial Day.
Here, our daughter is excited to graduate preschool. Ms. Thang, if you will.
June By now, summer was in full swing. Something happened in June, I just don't know what. My parents had a wedding anniversary and my sister had a birthday.
July We're back on the map in July! July is also busy around here what with the 4th of July, my husband's birthday, his parent's wedding anniversary and a new nephew born this year.
August Our summer is winding down here as school starts the beginning of August. Wha-Wha-Whattt? Yepperoni. We're back to the grindstone and I blogged about that first day of kindergarten.
November Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving Day Parade and Thanksgiving at my parent's house!
December Is an explanation necessary? As soon as the decorations went up the kids went crazy wanting to know, "When is Christmas?" So I made an advent calendar and we counted every single day. December was full of Christmas spirit, fun and wonderment.
I've done a lot of reading this month, so how about some book reviews? Tonight's is The Magic Roomby Jeffrey Zaslow. As it says on the cover, it's "a story about the love we wish for our daughters". I was immediately drawn in, simply from the cover.
Synopsis from Goodreads.com: You may not have heard of Fowler, Michigan, much less Becker's Bridal. But for the thousands of women who have stepped inside, Becker's is the site of some of the most important moments of their lives-moments that speak to us all. Housed in a former bank, the boutique owners transformed the vault into a "magic room," with soft church lighting, a circular pedestal, and mirrors that make lifelong dreams come true. Illuminating the poignant aspects of a woman's journey to the altar, The Magic Room tells the stories of memorable women on the brink of commitment. Run by the same family for years, Becker's has witnessed transformations in how America views the institution of marriage; some of the shop's clientele are becoming stepmothers, or starting married life for a second time. In The Girls from Ames, beloved author Jeffrey Zaslow used friendships to explore the emotional lives of women. In The Magic Room, he turns his perceptive eye to weddings and weaves together secrets, memories and family tales to explore the hopes and dreams we have for our daughters.
************* My Review Yes, immediately I was drawn in. One night I stayed up till 4AM just reading and getting all misty-eyed meeting these brides and reading about them.
There are eight brides featured in this book and their stories are sure to delight, make you smile, make your cry, make you cringe, make you remember, make you think about the future. I know I did. I have a daughter. Someday she'll probably get married. Who will she marry? How many frogs will she kiss before the right one comes along? What is her story between now and then? And then after? Certainly questions I can't answer now, but I am so looking forward to learning the answers.
First line: "It's 9:20 a.m. on a Tuesday in July, and Shelley Becker Mueller, owner of Becker's Bridal, stands at the store's back door jiggling her key in the lock."
"When Becker's Bridal hosts their 'Blowout Sample Sale,' Shelly and Alyssa never know who will show up, or what secrets they carry with them...there are always families who've arrived here with a lifetime of bittersweet memories." p. 208
I suppose that quote sums this whole book up into a tight little nutshell. That's exactly what it's about - we get a sneak peek into a handful of bride's lives and how they arrived at "the magic room", all from the perspective of the Becker family who has owned the store for more than 70 years.
Dislike moment: Oh come on, I don't know what to call it. In essence, the part I didn't like.
While I liked all the Becker family women, Alyssa, the youngest, now possibly the next heiress to the store, made me a little crazy with her whole deal. She is 24. She works at a bridal store. Her boyfriend won't commit yet (he works at the bridal store in the back office). Uncomfortable? He is not ready. She has this to say near the end when she is trying on gowns for fun after hours. "A part of Alyssa, though, wonders if her time will ever come. After she gets out of the wedding gown, she plants herself in a comfortable chair on the sales floor, exhales, then tells Mona with mock exasperation: 'Maybe my mom and I will be the last two spinsters in Fowler. We'll just live our sad little lives, and keep selling wedding gowns to everyone else.'" p. 242
To me, that just smacks of yuck and desperation and passive aggressiveness.
To learn more about this book and the brides (or share your own story), visit the author's website at MagicRoomBook.com. You can also join the growing discussion on this book by visiting The Magic Room book discussion onBlogHer.
Go ahead, that link above will take you right to her Etsy shop so you can buy one instead of crafting one if you're so inclined. I should have done that in the first place.
Things started off strong. Here, I have my supplies prepared.
Getting right down to business, I tied a knot in the back and started rolling that hunk of yarn around the wreath form. It took me about an hour to get this far.
Nice holes in that foam, you say? My son thought it was made for poking in pencils months ago.
By this point my back was killing me. I was obsessively scooching the yarn together so the white space didn't show. I was exhausted. Yet I forged on for nearly half the wreath before I decided that was quite enough. My eyes hurt. So I set all my supplies aside and decided I'd continue another day.
Time passed. At least a week. And still the yarn sat there attached to the form with the scissors sitting tauntingly next to it. Tauntingly to whom? Oh, certainly not to me. I forgot about the project altogether. No. Tauntingly to my son. Why would scissors be sitting next to this thing but for cutting?
This is how I found it a few days later. Severed. All that hard work.
Some crafty divine goddess would laugh in my face for feeling defeat. Pick it up, tie it off and begin where it once ended. That's what she would say, I just know it. But at that moment, and even still today, I didn't want to hear it. It still sits like that, severed. Though I bundled it up and threw it back in its craft bag so I don't have to look at it every day. I'll save it for another day when I feel up to tackling that thing again.
Lessons Learned a.k.a. Tips For Next Time a.k.a. I Learned the Hard Way So You Don't Have To
It takes a LONG time to wrap a standard size wreath form, unless you are a super-human crafting goddess. Next time? I'm going with the mini-wreath form. Start small and perfect it.
Keep crafting materials out of the reach of children. Their curiousity cannot be curbed and they love to "help".
OK, enough with the Debbie Downer 'tude. How about a success? This was super easy and super delicious.
Frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot. Got some BBQ sauce on hand? And vinegar, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, garlic powder? You're golden. Stir it up and pour over chicken and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Click here to jump to the original recipe.
We went down to the courthouse to look at the lights and came home well after normal dinner time. Instead of grabbing food on the way home or trying to throw something together when we got home - open crockpot and dinner's done! The kids asked for seconds, even. This is going in the "thumbs up" pile.