Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Personal Trainer

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Really, it's so nice to have our own live-in personal trainer. And he specializes in such a wide variety of disciplines, from strength training...

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to pilates...
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to spinning...
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and yoga.
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You would think I would be in much better shape than I am.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Compost Cantaloupes

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Yeah, we haven't been super religious about turning the compost pile. Several weeks ago, DH noticed something sprouting out there and asked if I wanted to let it go or if he should turn it. I suggested he turn it. Not surprisingly it never happened. Fast-forward a month later and we have some pretty impressive cantaloupe vines going on.

I'm actually kind of excited. I have read article upon article about growing your own garden and we always had one when I was growing up. But I had convinced myself that I just don't have time to fight off the gazillion bunnies that inhabit our backyard AND tend a garden. But hey! If I can just pitch my gloppy cantaloupe seeds out the back door and have a full-blown cantaloupe patch in a couple of months, maybe I AM cut out to grow a tomato plant or sprout a bean in a Styrofoam cup.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Budget campaign

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So we were driving to my inlaws' place last weekend. We exited off the highway and I happened to glance out my window as we were waiting for the light to change and saw a garage sale sign. No wait. That's a CAMPAIGN sign! And being the good little blogger that I am, I whipped out my point-and-shoot and got a picture.

The blogger in me thought, "Oh, boy. This is just too easy." Then the artiste in me thought, "Come on. If you are going to have your 6th-grader make your campaign signs, at least get them some stencils." But that might have been a bit uncharitable of me. You know, hard economic times and all. In this day and age I suppose campaigning on a shoe-string could be endearing.

I'm not sure what statement Suzette is trying to make with that sign, but bless her little pea-pickin' heart, I hope to goodness she wins whatever she's running for.

And don't even bother emailing me to ask where this was. In case you weren't around for the last major elections we had, politics can get kinda nasty and I don't want to be accused of being a plumber (which I'm not) or having a temper (which I don’t for three weeks out of the month) or being too elite (OK, you caught me. I'm totally elite). I'm not one to throw mud. I’ll just stick to specializing in snarky blog posts.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memoriam

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Peanut (1974 ~ May 2009)

Peanut was a special horse. He was as gentle as a breeze and loved kids. He never snatched a carrot from a child's hand. He always took it gently and with such great care so as not to accidentally nip them or scare them. He was a gentle old soul and we will miss him dearly.

Munchkin's last ride with Peanut on April 20th of this year.
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Irony

irony

So back a year and half ago Munchkin was driving me BANANAS with his inability to entertain himself for even 13 seconds. On someone else's advice (sorry, can't remember who you were, but Cruise bless you) I stalked Craigslist for a few weeks looking for the obligatory train table with some track and trains. Most of the entries looked something like this:

Train table with Thomas the Tank Engine trains. Trains include regular Thomas, Birthday Thomas, 2 Percys, Toby, Edward and coal tender, 2 Jameses with coal tenders, Emily and coal tender, Molly, Rosey, Sodor Chicken Cars, Sodor dairy cars, Cranky the Crane, the Breakdown Train, Aquarium Cars, Giggling Troublesome Trucks, Musical Caboose, Annie & Clarabelle, Express coaches, Hector, Diesel 10, Hank and coal tender, Might Mack, Tidmouth Sheds roundhouse, Quarry Mine Tunnel.....and on and on and on.


I remember reading all that thinking, "Good GRIEF, people!"

So a listing for the perfect train table appeared one day for $100 and included about 80 miles of track and a handful of trains. I called the woman, told her I would Paypal her the $100 and kiss her on the mouth if she would promise not to sell it to anyone until I got there. She agreed.

We got it home that night and Munchkin went into a train-induced trance that he has yet to come out of it. Best damn $100 I've EVER spent, hands down.

Here is where the irony comes in. That night while DH and I were settling in, I announced, "We are NOT going to go crazy and buy every Thomas train available. That is just RIDICULOUS. I mean, NO child needs all those trains. We can get him Thomas and MAYBE Percy for his birthday, but we are NOT getting any more than that. He will be perfectly fine with a couple of trains and he can pretend he has the rest. I mean it's SOOOO much better for his imagination and will teach him to appreciate what he has and blah blah blah blah." I think I also said something about national security and the downfall of society, etc. Oh, I wish you could have HEARD the sanctimonious tone with which I proclaimed all of that.

May 13, 2009 - 53 trains and counting.

So much for single-handedly halting the downfall of society.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Morning person

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For reasons which DH and I have not yet figured out, Munchkin is a morning person. He wakes up, not just raring to go, but in full hockey gear. Yeah, there's nothing like a hockey game first thing in the morning. Luckily, DH usually gets up with him and is playing hockey all bleary-eyed, in his boxers with a cup of coffee in his hand when I come out to make breakfast. Better him than me. At 7am, I'd much rather be making breakfast than playing hockey.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Anticipation

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He's standing there waiting for the first time he gets to go on the ice. He knows that if he is going to be a "big hockey pwayer just wike Daddy" that he must first learn how to ice skate...and he can hardly wait--to be just like Daddy, that is.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Smart Alec

smart alec

This smart alec is my 3 year old showing his best impression of Mommy doing yoga. Thing is, it's much easier for him to do "three legged dog" than it is for me. In fact, it's easier for him to do pretty much any yoga posture.

Case in point, I was struggling one day practicing "half moon pose" after having trouble with it in class. For those who don't know what "half moon pose" is, here is a nice little picture...



He just went from "down dog" and threw his leg and hand up in the air and said, "Is this how you do it, Mommy? Wook, Mommy. Is THIS how you do it?" About that time I got a violent cramp in my ass and fell down on the mat. DH, being the loving husband that he is, stood there and laughed at me. I picked up my mat and went away.

And for anyone who is curious as to where the term "Smart Alec" came from, you can check Wikipedia for the answer. It's a rather interesting story. In fact, I'm thinking it would make a great opera.

Oh, and in other news, there is currently a Flashcard Zoo Give-Away and review being hosted over at Mama Snow's. Head on over to enter and read the review!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Self Portrait ~ I Heart Faces



This week's theme at I Heart Faces is "Self Portrait" and the rule is that you have to be holding the camera. So last weekend when I was at my IL's I went for a walk in their woods. It was lovely. Not hard at all to smile and be creative. I decided that I didn't want to just look into the camera and smile. In fact, I tried to find all the different ways I could be interesting while NOT looking into the camera. I think this was my favorite. I was really trying to get my face AND some of the lovely background. I think I succeeded in doing both.

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Be sure and head over to I Heart Faces and check out all the other entries!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nemesis

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The only time we have candy in this house is at Valentines, Easter and Halloween. Sure, we're healthy eaters. We do the natural and organic thing. I'm all about low and no sugar consumption, blah, blah, blah. But the REAL reason we don't have candy in the house is because I am not satisfied until every last bit of it is gone.

So Munchkin brings home his Easter bucket (because they have buckets nowadays and not baskets) and it's full of jelly beans and chocolate. OK? And we're not talking about the drugstore jelly beans where the green jelly beans are lime and the orange ones are orange. These were the creme-de-le-creme of jelly beans. The green ones are sour apple...and the orange ones are PEACH! PEACH, I tell you. And Hershey's chocolate bars? Why couldn't they at least be Nestle? I can't walk past a Hershey's chocolate bar without breaking into a sweat. And who ever the evil person is that invented the chocolate covered marshmallow Easter egg is going to burn in about 7 different Hells if I have anything to say about it.

I almost wish Munchkin were the kind of child to just sit down and eat it all in one sitting. At least it would be gone. No, he wants to have 2 jelly beans after dinner or one square of his Hershey's chocolate bar a day. Did you SEE how many jelly beans are in that bucket? He'll still be nibbling them in a month of Sundays.

Well, actually he won't because everytime I walk past that damn bucket I grab two jelly beans of the same color. So I predict it will be just like his Halloween candy. At the end of next week he'll ask for his two jelly beans after dinner and I'll have to report that the jelly beans are all gone. "What?" he'll say. "Where did they all go?"....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Annoying

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This is a picture of where my husband was standing when he finished his beer last night. Sometimes it's on the kitchen counter. Sometimes it's on the carpet next to the ottoman chair. Last night he happened to be standing next to the bar. Oddly enough, he never seems to be standing next to the recycling bin when he finishes his beer.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Impracticle

impracticle

I bought my first pair of completely impracticle shoes on Saturday. Well, I ASSUME that most people would consider a pair of bubblegum pink patent leather sandals impracticle.

It makes me kind of not sleep well. It just goes against fiber of my being. I mean, here I am purchasing a pair of shoes that I only have ONE article of clothing to match.

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That's total insanity for me. But damn do those shoes ever look cute with that sweater. I don't know, maybe I can justify it by the fact that I still have not purchased a new bra.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

love

love

Last week I was at my inlaw's and they had an old box with a ribbon wrapped around it sitting on the table. It was a box of Grandmother's love letters from Pop. Grandmother and Pop are my DH's grandparents. Grandmother passed away last April 10th and left her old trunk to my FIL.

In that trunk, she had saved every single letter Pop wrote her while he was serving during WWII. She didn't just have the one box of letters. I was told there were many more where that box came from. I read a couple of letters and felt a bit like a voyeur, but I also know Grandmother was proud of those letters and loved for people to read them. Pop doted on her unmercifully and I think she loved that people knew it.

I never got to meet Pop. He passed away a few years before I met DH. Dh speaks of him as if he were bigger than life. I wish like anything I could have known him.

His penmanship was exquisite and his words dripped with admiration for her and with anguish at being away from her. They wrote and recieved letters from eachother almost on a daily basis. There was no email. He was about to be deployed and was very heavy hearted. He mentioned in each letter that he hoped he had many more to write and that he was living for the day he could see her again. That was June 6, 1941.

October 5, 2002 doting on DH at our wedding
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August 10, 2005, her first visit with Munchkin.
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We miss her.

Monday, April 6, 2009

My Friend & I!



For those who are regulars on this blog, I am breaking "flashcard protocal" today. I am entering a picture in the weekly I Heart Faces photo competition. If you love photography or just like looking at pretty pictures of people, click on the button above for a lovely feast for the eyes.

The category this week is "My Friend & I". When I heard about this week's category I immediately had a picture in mind. It's one of my all-time faves. It's part of a triptych that I call "First Kiss". That is my handsome little munchkin and his girlfriend after a romantic morning of face painting, pumpkins and the petting zoo. Does it get any more romantic than that?

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And it just so happens that the little darling kissing my boy is the daughter of my dear friend and fantastic photographer, Karen Schneider. And if you think my son is pretty and are certain that his parents must be too, you would be RIGHT! You can click over to Karen's blog and view her entry in the adult category to confirm it! She has entered a photo that she took of my best friend and me. It's yummy! I promise!

The First Kiss triptych

Because I couldn't resist.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bee

bee

I have to say I'm pretty damn proud of this photo. I have been needing a "B is for Bee" flashcard for The Flashcard Zoo and have been waiting with bated breath for my shrubs to bloom so I could attempt one. Let me just say, bees are NOT easy to take pictures of. They are NEVER still....darting and crawling all over the place. It took me about 20 shots to get this one good one. Not to mention that I was shooting this with wasps and bees swarming all around my head. I tell ya...the things we will do for money.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spring

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I was in the bathroom with the clippers de-sasquatching when DH walked in. He stopped dead in his tracks and asked, "Wow. What's the occasion?" It's spring, honey. That means I have to start mowing again. He offered to bring in the self-propelled Snapper. I offered to insert my electric razor in his....

And I tried my best to come up with some witty April Fool's post, but I'm hopped up on Aleve and Mucinex right now and suffering from the perpetual virus that seems to come with preschool. I guess I could have told you I painted my toenails after I shaved my legs. That would have been a riot. Oh, well. Maybe someone else will rock your world today with some hideously funny April Fool's post. Me? I'm just gonna go have some of left-over chicken and dumplings and fall into the bed.

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And since you're here, check out my shiney new product pics at The Flashcard Zoo Store!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sickies

Sickies

Yep, we have sickies in the house AGAIN. Poor Munchkin has a fever and runny, stopped up nose AGAIN! He's so miserable and the only thing he will eat when he is miserable is my special sickie recipe for Chicken and Dumplings. So that's what we're a havin' tonight.

EASY PEASY SNEEZY CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS

INGREDIENTS:
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tbsp butter (optional)
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth.
2 (10.75 ounce) cans reduced fat, low sodium condensed cream of chicken soup
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large can refridgerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces.

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place the chicken, butter, soup, chicken broth and onion in a large pot on the stove-top or in a slowcooker. Add enough water to cover chicken.

2. For crockpot cooking, cover and cook for 5 to 6 hours on high. For stove-top cooking, cover and cook for 5 to 6 hours on med-low.

3. 30 minutes before serving, open your canned biscuit dough, tear into small pieces and drop in the pot. Cover and cook WITHOUT STIRRING until the dough is no longer raw in the center (about 30 minutes).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Low-class litter

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So Munchkin and I were out in the front yard a couple of days ago. We were doing our usual...him drawing on the sidewalk with chalk and me pulling weeds....when I came across this lovely contribution.

I just have to say a couple of things. OK first, it's not so much that you chose to throw your empty beer can on my lawn, but.....KEYSTONE LIGHT?!?!? I mean come ON. This is Texas. I wouldn't have been near as irritated had it been Shiner Bock. At least it would have been litter and not "low-class litter". And a can. You're drinking Keystone Light from A CAN! What, let me guess. Your name is "Bubba" or "Boyd"?

And one last suggestion. If you're gonna be so rude as to throw something on my lawn, could you AT LEAST make sure it's something that will kill that damn dandelion? Actually, Keystone Light might actually kill dandelions so next time why don't you just pop the tab (I can't believe I even said that) and pour the nastiness out on the dandelions and go GITCHER SELF A FRICKIN' SHINER!!! IN A BOTTLE!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Swiveling and Sweeping

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This is the latest post in my "Child Labor Series".

So I got a Swivel Sweeper for Christmas and can I just say that I love this thing. It swivels on a dime. It sweeps my kitchen tile and even gets right up to the baseboards. No more running around with a seperate broom and dustpan sweeping up crumbs. But the BEST selling feature of this little jewel is that it is light enough for a preschooler to use.

It rotates and rolls with virtually no effort whatsoever and it weighs next to nothing. So there you go. The perfect "toy", if I should say so myself. Of course, he's afraid of the noise so we are working on actually turning it on while he's "playing" with it. But I have my hopes up.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Welcome Ultimate Blog Partiers!!

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Welcome to those of you stopping by for the Ultimate Blog Party hosted by 5Minutes for Mom. If you don't know what that is and you want to join in on the fun, click the button on the right side bar to be taken to the festivities.

For those visiting, poke around and have fun reading. Some of my favorite posts are Grasshopper, Cheap, Holding Hands, Sasquatch, Sanity, Y Chromosome, and potty Break.

Have fun blog-hopping! And if you have time, please visit The Flashcard Zoo Store. I am sponsoring an Ultimate Blog Party give-away for a free set of flashcards, so head over to the UBP page and enter!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Potty Break

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Yep, that's a babboon taking a piss on another babboon's head. But they kissed and made up right afterwards so it was all cool.

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Today Munchkin and I went to the Fort Worth Zoo with some dear friends. It must have been "Gitcher Rear In Here" day at the zoo because virtually every animal we approached promptly turned around and showed his back side.

We saw striped butts,
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purple butts,
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and "OMG-is-the-train-coming-yet-is-it-is-it-is-it?!?!?!?" butts.
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And this handsome guy was showing his stuff too. Can you spot it? Are you impressed? I know I was.
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But I actually did get some fantastic shots of some animals that will likely show up on some flashcards in the near future.

Look at this gorgeous cat. They are cubs if you can believe it.
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And I thought this guy was just amazing.
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And these little monkeys were at the "Snack Exhibit" diplaying mouths-full of my (now) famous homemade granola bars.
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In fact, they were such a big hit that I am going to share the recipe with you. (Actually, I know Munchkin #2's mommy reads this blog and was dying for the recipe, so here it is, hon.)

SHANNAH'S FAMOUS SUPER SECRET RECIPE GRANOLA BARS (or something like that)

INGREDIENTS
3 cups rolled oats
¼ cup flaxseed meal
¾ cup whole wheat flour (you can use a full cup of whole wheat flour and omit the flaxseed meal if you don’t have any.)
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup apple sauce
2/3 cup salted butter, melted
¾ cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup mixed seeds and/or nuts of your choice (I used chopped pecans, pumpkin seed kernels and sunflower seed kernels)
1 cup chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch pan with wax paper.
2. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. (Mixing thoroughly is key to making them stick together.)
3. Press mixture in prepared pan. Lay another piece of wax paper on top of the mixture and press it down evenly and firmly with your hand. Remove wax paper from top and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are just golden brown.
4. Remove from oven and pack down firmly and evenly with a spatula. Let cool COMPLETELY before cutting. Cut into desired size bars with a pizza cutter.

Note: The last two cups of ingredients (nuts and chocolate chips) can include all kinds of fun stuff. You can try any combination of raisins, other dried fruits, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, nuts and seeds. Anything goes.

These also freeze well and can be saved for lunch box snacks and quick breakfasts. They are SUPER filling and stay with you a long time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Oops

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Yeah, that was 49 in a 35 right there. They have a new speed trap on my main drag...and it's a total drag. Dude had the nerve to pull me over on my way to yoga, and he took his sweet time about it too. I mean, come ON. "Ma'am, did you know your were speeding?" Um, YEAH. I was speeding because I'm in a hurry so could you light a fire under it already.

He just killed my "ohm" and my Karma and my feng shui and kunf fu and all that stuff. It's so pointless to have to rush to get to yoga. And it's even more fun when you have a 3 year old in the back seat telling you you're going too fast all the way there.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cheesey

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As I have been flitting around the internet and blogosphere lately, I am constantly reminded of the infinite varieties of "cheese" that exist as far as "opera for the masses" goes. Please excuse me while I don my over-educated, music-snob, snarky-opera-singer, big powdered wig for this post.

I was just on kirtsy and for reasons that I do not know, I knowingly clicked on a link of Il Divo singing Amazing Grace (and no, there is no hyperlink. I'm not giving them the free publicity). I can't say that it was amazing or graceful. In fact, it made me kinda wish I was chewing broken glass instead of listening.

It wasn't surprising. I know it's out there. I have had to smile countless times when people find out I'm an opera singer and start in with, "OMGosh, I just love Sarah Brightman. And have you seen Phantom of the Opera? And I just got Paul Potts' new CD yesterday. Isn't he amazing?" Oh, totally! In a very not-even- mediocre kinda way. I imagine myself as a calculus professor standing around at cocktail parties listening to people blurt out incorrect equations, all the while nodding politely.

So yeah, I guess I'm a snob. Or maybe not. It's just annoying when something is presented to the masses as "opera" and it couldn't be further from the truth. If I have to hear one more hack sing Nessun dorma, I think I might throw myself off a water tower.

Paul Potts does NOT sing Nessun dorma. Il Divo does NOT sing Nessun dorma. Andrea Bocelli does NOT sing Nessun dorma. And Russel Wats-his-name does NOT sing Nessun dorma. Luciano Pavarotti sings Nessun dorma.

Observe that when he sings, veins do not pop out of his neck, nor does his face does turn blood red, nor is he standing on his tip toes clawing at the air in front of him and his vocal cords are not flying out of his mouth. No, the sound pours out of him effortlessly as if the gods were willing it out of his mouth. That, my friends is opera...not to be confused with "popera".



And lest anyone think Sarah Brightman has any business singing Rusalka's "Song to the Moon", feast your ears on Renee Fleming--an ACTUAL diva singing it in the original Czech...and she does so WITHOUT a mermaid outfit or glittery eyeshadow or a gawd-aweful headdress that looks like it's attacking her. Just pure class, fantastic vocal technique and a sound that is gorgeous without being run through the spin cycle.



And with that, I am stepping off my soap box. Your music lesson is over and you may now return to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Back-breaking, butt-kicking blisters

Blisters

That's a half a cubic yard of soil in the back of that truck. About 20 more loads of that and we'll have some decent top-soil in our back yard. That's our foreman there with the bright yellow plastic shovel. He's a real workhorse.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Y Chromosome

Y Chromosome

So here it is. I caught Munchkin on the toilet with his View Master.

It truly MUST be something in the Y chromosome that produces the insatiable need for entertainment while one is sitting on the pot. There were men in my family (I'm not mentioning names) who used to sit and read the Sears catalogue on the pot. I worked at a hedge fund in NYC where I witnessed many a men coming out of the bathroom with their thumbs flying across their Blackberry...because we know absolutely NOTHING can wait until you get back to your desk from your potty break.

I don't know women who do this. I don't take reading material or my phone to the bathroom with me. Who knows, maybe that's just because I don't have time. I rarely (if ever) get to even go in there by myself anymore, much less take 30 minutes to answer emails or pick out my spring wardrobe. Although, maybe if I had a View Master with some picture wheels of George Clooney or Hugh Jackman I could find the time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Endurance

Endurance

Tonight we hit the all-you-can-eat buffet at Mama's Pizza. Mama would be proud of my boys. The OVERWHELMING majority of that carnage was inflicted by my husband and Munchkin. They both put their hollow legs to good use. Is it unusual that my 3 year old eats me under the table?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Potential

potential

Spring has sprung here in Dallas. Our neighborhood is covered in blooming Bradford Pear Trees right now and it's just lovely. Bradford pears are actually pretty useless trees, IMO. They provide no shade, which is really why you have trees in Texas. But they DO look lovely for the one week that they are in bloom.

I found this one little mast that had a few blooms holding out...such potential. I don't know what they're waiting for but I'm in no hurry for them to pop. No sooner has the tree completely popped then the blooms will begin to fall off. In fact, I took Munchkin to preschool this morning and as I was driving down the ally I noticed it was speckled with little white confetti. It's almost over.

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And of course while I was shooting the trees, I had to take a picture of this gorgeous child.
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