Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Twitter-pated Deer Warning

I really don't have anything to post. So I'm posting anyway. Don't ask.

I just warned Sis as she went out the door to watch out for deer because I've seen more deer today than I've seen in the last six months. It's like in the movie Bambi: Spring has sprung and all the forest creatures are running around all twitter-pated and looking for mates. Unfortunately they're very suicidal when they're twitter-pated, so we drivers of fast motor vehicles have to be extra cautious.

And a driving tip for those who aren't familiar with suicidal deer tactics: If you see one deer cross in front of you, don't take a deep breath and think you're "out of the woods" (pun intended). Oh no. If you see one deer, chances are he has several buddies who are going to cross right behind him. Definitely slow down and expect one of those buggers to jump out in front of you when you least expect it!

For those of you interested (there are some, I swear!) here are some photos from our recent performance at Rakkasah:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom! (with bonus cake recipe)

I always celebrate my mom's birthday even though she's been gone almost 7 years. (7 years!!!!) I guess maybe that's a testament to her memory and her legacy. It sure doesn't seem like 7 years has gone by because I remember her and think of her and even sometimes hear her in myself. In some ways she's still around, which is cool. I guess we should all be so lucky to have people that want to remember us always! That's the kind of person she was.

I generally make a cake on her birthday, and this year I was inspired to dig through her recipes and make her famous lemon cake. I'm sure the last time I had it was whenever she made it last, so it's been a while!

It's not a pretty cake. Just a cake baked in a pan. It usually turns out a little brown on top and just doesn't say, "Look out, I'm gonna knock your socks off". You don't even frost it. Yes, it's just plain and unassuming. And then you taste it. Wow. So good. I whipped some cream to dollop on top. Oh yeah...

When I told Sis I was making lemon cake she remembered this disaster, but once she tasted it, she declared that this was the cake she wanted served on her 18th birthday this year. Now there's a compliment!
So here it is, if you care to make it.
Carol's Lemon Cake
1 box of lemon cake mix
4 eggs
1 pkg lemon Jell-o (I used the big one)
3/4 cup water
Mix 2 minutes on med. speed
Add 3/4 cup oil
Bake at 350 in a greased 9x13 pan, 40 min.
Take from oven, put fork holes in cake. Pour icing over cake.
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 cup powdered sugar

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ever Wonder About Those Princess Cakes?

Today at church I was teaching the younger class of 4-8 year olds (the Primary presidency rotates through teaching that class at the moment, and today was my turn). I had only Nat and another little girl who's 4 in attendance.

Our lesson was on baptism, and at the end they had a coloring page with a cake on it and the words "I can't wait until I'm 8" at the top (8 being baptism age). They were to draw 8 candles and then color their cake.

To pass the time, I asked them what kind of cake they would like. Nat wanted strawberry, and the other little girl said, "Princess". To clarify, I said, "Well, what flavor would you like?" Again she responded "Princess".

Nat and I laughed and I quipped, "I wonder what that would taste like?!"

Nat says, "Probably meat."

Ewwwww! (but funny!)


Way back when Nat was just a toddler she and I would play a funny game. I would pull off one of her shoes and sniff her foot and make a big deal about how "stinky" it was. This was always good for giggles (for her and me).

Well, our little game backfired one Sunday in church, as the sacrament was being passed and the congregation was silent. Little precocious Nat pulled off one of her shoes, held up her foot and said loud and clear, "Smell my stinky feet!"

I was so embarrassed, and when I looked up to see if anyone had heard, I saw everyone in the three rows in front of us with shoulders shaking trying to hold back the laughter.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Case of The Missing Tweezers

I've been missing my best tweezers for over a week. I had already accused the girls and Mike and searched my make-up drawer to no avail. Where could they have disappeared to?

I, like most women, get the occasional unfortunately placed dark hair on my face and I like to keep those things under control, to say nothing of my eyebrows, so I was really starting to need those tweezers.

I had two other pairs of tweezers in my make-up drawer so I decided to try them (because by now I have three hairs that are taunting me). These stupid tweezers would not even touch my hairs! What's with that? Why does a company make tweezers that are so poorly designed that they cannot grasp a hair? What exactly are they intended for? Well, I promptly (and huffily) dumped them both in the waste basket.

I then went out to do laundry, and among the wet clothes I noticed my nice hoodie and put it in the dryer. I then heard a distictive "clink" in the bottom of the washer. I looked and, oh joy! My tweezers! NOW I remember what happened: I had taken the tweezers from my room to the girls' bathroom where the light is better, used them and instead of putting them back in my drawer, I put them in the pocket of my hoodie to do later, and the rest is history!

Yay, I found my tweezers! Wild hairs, here I come! But first to finish the laundry, so I put the tweezers in the pocket of yet a different hoodie I was wearing at the time (hmmm...I'm noticing a pattern here...), and then of course I forgot about my crazy, taunting hairs and my fantastic hair-pulling tweezers and took the dog for a walk instead.

To the best of my knowledge, my tweezers probably fell out of my pocket during our walk, and a search did not turn up anything. And yes, those hairs are pretty happy, and getting sassier by the day!

Procrastinating will get you in the end every time!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Post-Anesthesia Ramblings of My Teenage Daughter

So I'm sitting here with a sleeping daughter, propped up with ice packs on either side of her face, who just a couple of hours ago was crying in pain until the Vicadin finally kicked in. She is minus 4 wisdom teeth, plus she had an eye tooth exposed that never came in (they hooked a chain to it so it can get tied into her braces and dropped into position). Poor Sis.

She went in at 8:45 this morning, sullen and cranky, and 2 hours later I walked her to the car animated and chatty (with a full mouth of gauze no less). It was a pretty entertaining drive home as the drugs they gave her made her a little goofy (and kind of like a 5 year old).

Here are some highlights of what she said on our 30 minute drive home:

Am I done?

Where are we going?

That lady (the nurse) pet my head.

Am I all done?

Do I have gold in my mouth?

You can't go to Walmart. People are going to get shot at Walmart, but it's just a rumor. Texas, Indiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia...

Are my cheeks fat? Do I look like a chipmunk? I like chipmunks, they're cute.

I talked to Cam and he arm wrestled some lady in a bar on St Patty's day. (me: Did he win?) No, they tied.

How long was I in there? (me: About 2 hours) Holy smokes!

My cheeks feel fat like I swallowed an elephant. That would hurt to swallow an elephant.

Where's my nostril? I can't feel it. My nose is stuffy. Can I pick it?

Watch for deer! There's a lot of deer around here!

My tongue feels funny. (I tell her it's coming back alive after being numbed.) You mean it was dead?! I didn't even get to say goodbye. Did they have a funeral?

Do I have gold in my mouth?

Remember when I got that thing on the roof of my mouth and my tongue couldn't touch the roof? Well he can touch it now. He's happy now.

I'm hungry. My tummy's angry cause it got cheated this morning.

They tore out one of my arm hairs! They took the tape off and one of my arm hairs came out. (Just one? What, does she inventory them?)

That lady was nice. She pet my head and held my hand when I asked her.

I still can't feel my nostril.

I didn't get to count. (I told her they would probably have her count backwards from 100 as she went to sleep.) I had it memorized and everything but they didn't let me count.

I liked that blanket. How come they didn't let me take it? I could use a new blanket.

They kept asking me what my name was. They asked me 5 times! (I tell her they were trying to see if her brain was waking up yet.) Well why didn't they ask me what the square root of 25 was?

I feel like I swallowed a balloon.

When did I go to sleep? (me: Probably about 9.) Nine at night?! (No, nine this morning.) Oh. Well that makes more sense.

The doctor flicked my arm and said he was giving me something to wake up and I told him no, I want to sleep.

Did I dream? (Not sure how I'm supposed to know.) I think I should have dreamed. Maybe I dreamed but don't remember.

He asked me if I was afraid of the IV and I said 'No, let's get this show on the road!'

...and then the nostril thing, the story of Cam arm wrestling, 'they didn't let me count' and "do I have gold in my mouth" repeated a few more times.

I'm hoping her recovery goes smoothly. It's terrible to see her hurting and not be able to help. I hope she'll look back on these notes from her drive home and chuckle about how silly those drugs made her.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Horse Craziness

Last weekend I made room in my little bedroom for a bookshelf from the garage with the intent to get my books and videos organized and located somewhere where I could access them, and I also wanted to get my old Breyer horses out of their box and display them where I hoped my girls might enjoy looking at them.

I was very horse crazy as a girl and I enjoyed Breyer horses, or "horse statues" as I called them, more than any doll or other toy I had in my childhood. I played with them much like little girls play with Barbies. Each one had a name, some were teenagers, some were mothers, some were the wild little kids. They had conversations and adventures and I made bridles for them out of rubber bands and string. Sometimes a Barbie joined the play and was allowed to ride one, but mostly it was just me and the horses.

Well, today we found my box of horses. They have spent many years stored away during our numerous moves. It was bedtime for the girls, but I just wanted to peek into the box to remember what I had. Well, as soon as Nat got a look they all came out, were organized into what she percieved as families and were dusted. I was then quizzed on my favorites, and then she promptly carted them all off and put them on display in her room on HER bookshelf.

I have successfully passed on the horse-crazy gene. My work here is done.


Last night I went to Sis' Friday Night Live Mentoring program to recieve an award. I had no idea what for or why. I was just told to show up by the coordinator. There were lots of other confused adults there as well.
It turns out they were giving out H.O.L.L.A. (Honoring Our Local Leaders and Administrators) awards. They kids each nominated several people they wanted to honor. Those who nominated (sometimes a group, sometimes and individual) would get up and talk about the person they were giving the award to and describe that person without giving the name away (well, usually!), then they would name the person, and said person would come up and recieve their award with much applause and hugging. Cool.

Sis got up and told the crowd she was honoring her best friend, her comic relief, the person that's always there for her, who clothes and feeds her and gives her rides when she needs them. And that this was a mother of four and an awesome bellydancer (most of what she said she wrote on the back of my award, that's why I remember it so well). Then I got to come up and accept my award with tears in my eyes. Awwwww. I was so honored to be recognized by my teen!

It was such a sweet and touching award ceremony. Many teachers and parents were honored and the things the kids said about those people were so sweet. They really seem to get the sacrifices that parents make and the extra effort teachers put in to make their lives better.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Various Recent Occurences In My World

Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post. Your responses were really helpful and inspiring. Yes, I (finally) paid my tithing. I know Jesus is not going to pay my car payment, but I really do have faith that we'll be blessed somehow.

I met a "soul sister" (her words) recently through blogland. Imagine coming across another bellydancing LDS mother of 4, with a house full of critters who likes to blog? I was so excited! Check out Shimmy Mom, my new bloggy dance sister!

Oh, and a couple days ago, I was shocked to observe Callie exhibiting some very unladylike behavior towards mama pig (I won't go into details, just use your imagination). I then had the girls bring me both baby guineas and I "compared and contrasted" their nether regions, and concluded that Callie must be male. Ooops! Hopefully we got him out of the cage in time to avoid another batch of babies! Right now Callie and Moe are residing in the old cage, and the girls are in the piggy palace. We need to do some serious thinking about re-homing Callie at this point and we have a nice friend from church who may be interested.

And last night my 2 dance sisters and I traveled to Vallejo to dance at Rakkasah again. We were a lot more confident than last year, and felt we did a good job. Because getting a spot to dance at this festival is a crap shoot at best, we danced at 10pm. It actually was a good time as far as having an actual audience (as opposed to last year), but made for a late night (I arrived home at 1:30am). We had a great girls night out, and really bellydancing is kind of like playing dress-up for big girls, so what's not to love? (I'll hopefully have photos to post soon.)

Well, that's the update!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What To Do?

I decided to pay my tithing this year. I had discussed this with a friend of mine who has a strong testimony of tithing, and it really helped me to decide I needed to do this and it was the right thing to do.

The thing my friend said that stuck with me was that if Jesus Christ has the power to meet your spiritual needs, he most certainly has the power to also meet your physical needs, so that if you tithe and need something, it will be taken care of.

Now, a dilemma. I have my tithing check sitting on my desk. All I have to do is walk it across the street to the bishop. That's it. So easy. But not.

Mike was overdrawn in his account, so I bailed him out, and what with me quitting my job and everything, I'm now stressing out about coming up with my car payment in about a week and a half if I do walk that money across the street and give it to the church like I should.

I really wish I had a strong testimony of tithing right now, and knew that somehow I'd be able to make that payment and pay tithing too. I just don't. What to do, what to do?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This Is A Really Long, Drawn Out Story About Cookies And Old Friends With Many Parantheses and Run On Sentences

Girl Scout cookies are wonderful things. They even bring friends you haven't seen in (doing the math...wait for it...gasp!...30 years?...are you kidding me?!) ok, 30, yes count them, 30 years back into your life. Wow. Amazing cookies indeed!
It all started when someone I knew through elementary and junior high looked me up of Classmates. On my Classmates profile I listed being a Girl Scout leader among my activities (even though I'm not right now--I need to go update that profile!) and my friend, in the quest for cookies and wanting to buy from someone she knew so their troop would get the money, contacted me for cookies.
Luckily Shelby is active and selling cookies so I responded, "sure...we have cookies, but do you have any idea where we live? You may want to look elsewhere." I figured like most folks she would have never even heard of any of the towns up here in our rural county let alone volunteer to drive 2 hours into what most people consider the middle of nowhere.
Surprisingly my friend's grandfather used to own property in this county and actually lived just around the block from us, so she was familiar with the area and even more than happy to drive up to visit.
Monday she drove out (in her really cute Mini Cooper) and we had a nice walk around town. She showed me her grandpa's old house and we had lunch and a nice visit. It was really cool. She's even a fan of guinea pigs (of course!). It was great getting to know her again after all these years, and like so many old friends both my sister and I have run into, my friend had very fond memories of my mom (hers involved my mom giving her a hand-me-down "maxi" dress that was my sister's) and how nice she was. (I always love to hear how much my mom's sweet spirit touched people and that she's still remembered).

Funny thing, when my friend met Shelby, she said, "She looks like your sister!" Among family we have always thought this, but then to have it confirmed by someone who hasn't seen my sister since she was a teen was very interesting.
At any rate, I'm so glad to have this old friend back in my life. We have plans to keep in touch and get together again soon (I promised to take her on a hike when the dogwoods bloom). And I have Girl Scouts cookies to thank for it!

Totally off topic, but my computer never did spring forward when it was supposed to on Sunday, and then it apparently just realized it's mistake, but instead of springing forward 1 hour, it went 2 hours so that when I glanced at the clock in the corner of my screen it showed I was late to pick up the girls from school and it gave me a minor heart attack! Stupid computer, sheesh!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Week of Reflection

Well, it's been a full week since I've quit my job at the casino. And guess what? No regrets.

After what seemed like weeks of rain and snow, the weather finally broke, and this was what we saw right out our front door:

(If you want to know why rainbows are so special to me read this.)
Of course we had one more storm which gave the girls a snow day of sorts on Wednesday. The school called a 2 hour late start due to snow, but when Mike drove up the hill to drop them off (they still go to their old school in snow country) they had closed the school because of a power outage (meaning no heat...brrrr).

Since Nat had just taught herself to ride a 2-wheeler (when you're the 4th child you have figure out how to do things for yourself!), she was excited to take a bike ride on this surprise day off. We went to the park and saw how much water was in the creek and the girls rode through puddles. Too fun!

I worked Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evening at my old restaurant job bussing tables, and it was great. Low pressure, fun people to work with and good tips. Totally opposite of the casino.
Sis didn't even know I had quit the casino. That's how much I was seeing of her! She said, "I guess I have to read your blog to know what's going on!" Well not anymore, because I'm HOME! Yay!
Two of my dance friends and I are gearing up for a big performance on the 14th, but one of the gal's husband fell off a roof and fractured some vertebrae this past week. I thought for sure she would want to cancel with all that stress going on right now, but she was insisting that we still plan to do it. After rehearsal today I got a little insight into why, and now understand that she needs her dance outlet more than ever.
After doing the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life for 4 years, and then taking last year off, I decided I needed another cause to put my efforts into. I am now going to do the walk for MS (multiple sclerosis) for my sister who suffers from this disease. I have been really overwhelmed by the generous donations and am so looking forward to the walk at the end of April. (Want to sponsor me? Click here.)

And even though today was "spring forward" one hour, surprisingly I didn't have any trouble getting up on time for church. Of course it helped that shortly after 8am I was awoken by the screams of Nat after she discovered her hamster's cage had been left open and the hamster was MIA.

We haven't seen any sign of Otis as of yet. He apparently survived the plummet from the top of the dresser where his cage is kept, and we think he may have even survived sneaking past the cats and dogs to an unknown hiding place because we haven't seen any signs (if you know what I mean) that he met with an untimely death by one of his predators. Hopefully we'll find him tonight when he starts getting active.
All in all, a good week and I am SO thankful to be home sharing all these little day to day things with my family.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

This Post is Absolutely NOT About Guinea Pigs

Ok, so I lied.

At risk of losing ALL my readership, and becoming the Guinea Pig Blog, I am going to post yet again about our critters. But wait, before you quit reading, just hang in there and check this out, 'cause at the end I think you'll admit that it's pretty cool.
One sheet of coroplast from the local sign shop (free)
Two sets of storage cubes from Walmart ($42)

A patient husband with good measuring and cutting skills

Two "really helpful" little girls

And 4 hours later, you have a new piggy palace!
And a happy pig family! (Their new place is about 3x the size of their old one, and cost less than half the price!)
(Thanks to this website)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Feeling Like a Weenie

Well, yesterday was my last day at my casino job...I know, I know, I just started that job and was pretty excited about it. To be honest though, I couldn't handle the hours especially with my commute time added (making my days 10-11 hours long). I need to be with my family. I need to be raising my girls. I decided that was my priority. (And really, at minimum wage it certainly wasn't worth it.)

I'm glad I did it though, because at this point last year I was gearing up for a corrrectional officer position at the county jail, and if the budget hadn't gone south, and the hiring would've moved forward, I might have found myself in a much higher stakes job, deciding I couldn't do it.
I was really feeling that I needed to take on the job of family bread winner, but now I see that it just doesn't work that well for me or my family. I've decided instead to keep working at my little tried and true restaruant job that I love on Friday and Saturday evenings, and to find a part time job during the day to supplement. Add to that some serious budgeting and meal planning and couponing and just plain being frugal, and we should be ok. That's the plan as of now. I feel like a weenie, but at least I'm a much happier weenie who gets to spend time with her family!

In other news, here's updated piggy pictures:

Ice Cream at 1 week old

Ice Cream and Callie at one week old. They started nibbling food at 3 days old!
The happy family.
I'm getting supplies ready to build a new piggy palace. There's a great site about building guinea pig cages out of corrugated plastic and metal grid storage cubes, so that will be this week's project. As fast as those babies are growing we are desperately in need of a bigger space for them.
And guinea pigs aren't the only ones who need a little face time on the old blog... here's a recent photo of Suey I found on my camera...
She's just too cool!