Tuesday, November 30, 2010

it begins tomorrow.

Scarlet Lily had a lovely post about the holidays this morning. She commented on how they seem to be fleeting. They really can be the most wonderful time of the year, but they can also be really stressful, which just makes it seem that much faster...like you just can't find the time to bake one more batch of cookies or buy stocking stuffers. You know what I'm talking about.

Well, the Christmas (Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Solstice/pick your poison) holidays are big around here. Mostly because my husband has always loved the holidays so much, and I really want to pass that on to our kids. That means making the holidays completely unlike what I grew up with, which was not joyful at all and lacking in any traditions whatsoever. I'm not implying that my holidays were bad because they weren't. We just didn't do anything as a family and there was a lot of stress about holiday shopping and getting from point-A-to-point-B. So, I try to make the holidays calm and peaceful and really about our family.

Now back to Scarlet Lily's post. She talked about using her Advent Calendar for activities, and great minds think alike. We've tried to get S into the Advent Calendar the past couple of years, but we've just put candy inside, and she'd often forget or we'd forget. It was clearly not very meaningful to any of us. This year, we're going the activities route. So, here's the list of things we're planning to do. Maybe between all of us we can share some great ideas and then figure out what will work, what won't work, and what's so stressful you might as well go to the mall.

1. Decorate the small tree in S's room.
2. Watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
3. Go to Christmas in Downtown Dickson.
4. Pick out our family Christmas tree.
5. Decorate our family tree.
6. Make Grandpa's favorite cookies (gumdrop cookies).
7. Make salt dough ornaments.
8. Make a Christmas centerpiece. (This will likely involve cutting magnolia and holly from the yard, and I see stick-painting in our future again!)
9. Build our gingerbread house.
10. Spend the night with T and Grandma.
11. Go to the theater to see Tangled.
12. Decorate Grandpa's tree.
13. Attend the Christmas concert at First Presbyterian.
14. Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
15. Take treats to share at school.
16. Take M out to lunch.
17. Buy food to donate to the local help center.
18. Have Christmas with M's sister and family!!
19. Get new pajamas for Christmas.
20. S gets to go on a date with her Daddy.
21. Watch Charlie Brown Christmas.
22. Have a Christmas play date with our friends.
23. Decorate Butter Cookies.
24. Read Twas the Night Before Christmas.

That's our list. I made it into a calendar (of course) and spread out the holiday baking on it...and added all the holiday movies that M and I watch. I don't want it to be like last year when we realized that it was Christmas Eve and we hadn't watched A Christmas Carol or It's a Wonderful Life. Somehow, we've never forgotten to watch Christmas Vacation.

So, there's our holiday, all mapped out. I'm hoping that keeping it organized will mean less stress, more downtime as a family, lots of family art nights. Just the good stuff.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

i saw the sign.

Two funny things involving S...

Firstly, last Friday we went to meet my parents at the mall to pick up some football tickets. It's about an hour away. One stretch of the highway is pretty curvy. While we were in the curvy section, S called from the backseat for me to look at the picture she had drawn on her MagnaDoodle. I told her that I couldn't turn around because the road was curvy and I needed to pay very strict attention to driving so we would be safe. Then she asked, "Mommy, what does that sign say?"

"The sign that we're about to pass?" I asked.


"It says that the speed limit is 45 miles per hour."

"No, no. It says that you should turn around and look at what your kid drew."

Seriously, I could not stop laughing. I immediately endangered our lives by calling M to tell him. It was very funny.

Secondly, yesterday was her first school program. It was awesome. Watching your kid climb onto risers and sing with a group is very, very exciting. And adorable. And possibly one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. M and I were both absolutely giddy. Anyway, the tables at the program/feast were decorated with things the kids had made in class. The centerpiece was a copy of each child's recipe for cooking a turkey. Here's S's.

"Buy a turkey at the store. Wash it off real good. Add mustard, sliced hot dogs, strawberries, a dash of cornbread. Put it in the oven for 4 minutes at 3 degrees. Follow up with pumpkin pie and enjoy."

I am pretty sure this recipe will never be Ina-approved. But I think it might result in some nasty intestinal issues as four minutes at 3 degrees probably won't result in a safe internal temperature. Maybe we should talk about meat thermometers today??

Anyway, preschoolers are hysterical. In fact, while I've been typing this, she set up a garage sale in the living room. She made a table out of a box and put a storybook, a coloring book, a ribbon, and a small pail on top. She says she's going to sell them all. I hate to point out that I don't know where she'll get customers. I also have no idea where she learned about garage sales.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

you are welcome.

Seriously. I love Jimmy Fallon. The Boss is a legend. Willow Smith's song is absurd.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

a glimmer of sentimentality.

I am not a sentimental person. I don't feel the need for lots of little reminders of things. In fact, my doctor told me something interesting yesterday. Our next appointment is the big one: the is-it-a-boy-or-a-girl-ultrasound. (Surely no one is in shock about that information.) Anyway, if you bring in a blank DVD or five bucks, they'll make a DVD of your ultrasound. I literally said, "oh, I don't care about that." He nearly fell over. Apparently, I'm the first mama-to-be to turn down the DVD. Of course, I had to change my tune when I realized that Mr. Ouiser would be the only one able to attend the ultrasound with me, and I had to deny my stepmother's request to attend. Anyway, I'm not sentimental. Get it? I figure I'll remember the stuff that's worth remembering, and the other stuff is probably fluff.

I digress.

Today I've been working on getting the addresses together for our holiday cards. Some of you probably got an email from me asking to confirm your address. You see, I've had the same address book for about a decade. I've used an entire pencil eraser trying to get rid of addresses that I know have changed. About halfway through all the erasing, I thought, "I should just get a new address book and start over." Then I realized that this address book has been around since Mr. Ouiser's parents still lived in the house he grew up in and my grandmother was still alive. If I got a new one, those little pieces of our past would go with it. M's childhood address and my grandmother's name wouldn't be something that I ever ran across. I kept erasing, and I know that I am nowhere near ready to get rid of that address book.

All of this is pretty out of character for me, but I guess it seemed vaguely important.

Enjoy the rain, peeps. I'm off to make another cup of tea.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

not relevant to anything.

So, this has nothing to do with anything other than it's something I found amusing.

I try not to go all Twilight/Harry Potter overkill on the blog, but I just read an article with a quote from Daniel Radcliffe about his supposed feud with Robert Pattinson.

"Someone was talking about this supposed rivalry between Rob Pattinson and me, and what's awesome about this is, between the pair of us, we are striking a blow for the paler man."

He continues to say, "We are white as sheets."

Very true, Harry, very true. Maybe that's why I like both franchises...I am also as white as a sheet. Hooray for being insanely pale. I suppose we now have famous people to look up to. Take that, Jennifer Aniston and all you other tanned celebrities.

Friday, November 12, 2010

there was an old lady...

...named Mellie.

Tomorrow is Mellie Mellie's birthday. We're having a little birthday dinner party for her, and S is once again wanting to go hog wild. She decided today that Mellie's favorite color is pink, so she needs a pink party. She also wants us to get balloons and party hats again, but I'm not doing it because I'm not running all over town looking for pink balloons. So...we decided to paint some sticks from the yard pink for a centerpiece. I'm hoping the excitement of the painted sticks and getting to help me make two desserts will be enough for her. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


This morning, S caught me looking at pictures of the dresses worn at last night's CMA awards. She commented on most of them, and then I got to Kimberly Williams, and she nearly plotzed. She went on and on and on about it and swore she was going to be Kimberly Williams and wear that dress when she grows up. Then she wanted to look at more dresses, so we spent the better part of an hour looking at dresses from awards shows from the past year. These three were her favorite*. Hands down.
After she finished looking at dresses online, she sat down in the corner with a notepad and a pen and drew pictures of princesses in pretty dresses.

Try and convince me she's not the girliest girl that ever lived. Go ahead, give it a shot.

Also, she wore a dance costume to get her flu shot today, and we had to take our own Barbie band-aid so she wouldn't have to have a Bugs Bunny one. Like I said, she's as girly as they come.

*These would not be my choices. Not even close. Please don't judge me. Though I will say Carey Mulligan is one of the absolute cutest actresses on the planet, and I do love the silhouette of her "sparkly dress."

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

things i've learned this fall.

I don't have a whole lot to say, but I am trying to post more. I know how you all miss me during my blogging absences. So, here are some things I've learned recently.

  1. Kids clothes from Lands End are worth the money. They're not expensive...unless you're comparing them to Target or consignment. They are, however, worth every penny. They are comfortable. They don't seem to fade at all. They never shrink. Never shrinking is important when you're the parent of the-child-who-won't-stop-growing. Last year, I didn't dry ANYTHING of hers that wasn't a hand-me-down and thus already dried within an inch of its life. This year, I can dry her clothes, which is nice.
  2. I over think my daughter's extra curricular activities. Seriously. S is in dance class. I don't think she likes it because she only participates half the time, and she told me last week that she never wanted to go back. Ever. I thought she'd love dance class, and I think she could love it but the age range in her class kind of sucks as the teacher has to cater to children who are way behind S developmentally. I think she gets a little bored. Anyway, she had a great time tumbling at L's party Saturday, so I am thinking about dropping dance in the spring and taking her to gymnastics. Then I remembered that she actually mentioned wanting to play soccer. So now I don't know what to do. Then I reminded myself that she's three, and it doesn't matter. The odds aren't great that she'll be the next Nastia Liukin or Steffi Graf or Mia Hamm, so I'm probably not doing irreparable damage if she doesn't do anything at all. I think I'll just chill out and see what happens.
  3. Sometimes letting go is the best thing you can do. This one has two parts. #3A has to do with parenting. A year ago I was all freaked out because S didn't know all her letters and some of her friends did. She refused to even talk about letters. But suddenly, she's all about letters. She talks about them all the time. She wants to write letters all the time. She drives us bananas wanting us to list words that start with different letters. She tells us every letter she sees on every sign we pass. Kids will do stuff when they're ready, and when they're ready: watch out. #3B is about the house. My condition meant that I couldn't go crazy getting the house done when we moved in, but we're getting there slowly. Amazingly, all the pictures not being hung is okay. It makes me a little crazy, but I have to pace myself, which is new. I've figured out that eating dinner as a family and reading books at bedtime and keeping our lives sane is more important than keeping our home neat...but I still like things to be neat. I'm not going crazy here.
  4. It's probably okay to love your pet but not really like him very much. Meaning, I don't think I'll go to Hell for wanting to give the dog away 5 out of 7 days a week. I really do love him. I just don't like him sometimes. It's also probably okay to feel this way about people in your life.
I guess that's all...and it's really, really boring. But it's something, right??

Thursday, November 04, 2010

dear santa.

Remember how two weeks ago I wanted to pitch all our stuff in a dumpster? Well, I'm done with that. Want to know why? I got Ina Garten's new cookbook yesterday, and I think she made a deal with the devil. Seriously. The book contains a pictorial list of 68 things she thinks she couldn't function without in her kitchen. 68 things. And this rather exhaustive list follows an explanation of why she likes to keep things simple around the kitchen. Granted, the things aren't crazy, and I have a lot of them (though mine are approximations, I can't afford a full set of All-Clad or LeCreuset). Ina's list is as follows, and I think it's okay to put it on here since I'm giving her credit, right??

Parchment paper for sheet pans, Cook's Illustrated, graduated glass bowls, baking mixes, Olio Santa Oil, spice drawer, personal recipe file, "Plan B," LeCreuset Dutch Ovens, All-Clad saute pans, Post-It Notes for seating, votive candles, Post-It Notes for platters, cake stands, extra mixing bowls for her Kitchen-Aid mixer, cake testers, chinese take out containers for picnics, flat platters, french bread baskets, gel floor mats, a large basket for trays, cast iron skillets, 2 dishwashers, sharp knives, All-Clad pots, white bakeware, an extra Cuisinart bowl, Peppermate peppermill, a large stockpot (I assume All-Clad), lots of timers, lots of sheet pans, grocery pads, parchment paper for baking pans, lots of measuring tools, thermometers, ice cream scoops, crocks for utensils, pop-up sponges, lemons and limes on the counter, salt crock, spoons and spatulas, a candy thermometer, white towels, tasting spoons, lots of white plates, dish towels for napkins, bog bowl for chilling wine, lots of white platters, pretty dessert plates, glasses for vases, placecards, unironed napkins, a chinese strainer, a box grater, a coffee grinder for spices, a salad spinner, kitchen twine, vegetable peelers, professional utensils, a rasp zester, professional plastic wrap, mise en place, a french rolling pin, cooking scale, a salad bowl, plastic storage containers, graduated stainless bowls, and pastry bags.

It's a big list, and you might've noticed that it can be repetitive. That is if you managed to read the whole list. Also, this list is for someone with a big kitchen. A kitchen with space for two dishwashers and huge baskets and loads of utensil crocks...not to mention the counterspace for a box of professional plastic wrap. (For the record, Ina's right: professional plastic wrap is vastly superior to the Saran Wrap or Cling Wrap you buy in the grocery. If you've spent enough time working in restaurants, you know this is true.)

A lot of the list is just good stuff, though. And basic stuff. And stuff I want. Like a graduated set of LeCreuset Dutch Ovens. Or the Peppermate. Or the kitchen twine, since I haven't found mine since the move. Anyway, I just thought I'd let you all know that I'm back to being a full-fledged American consumer who wants, wants, wants.

Have a great day, peeps.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

in honor of #34

So, yesterday was M's 34th birthday. S and I made him a delicious chocolate cake, which she made festive with sprinkles and a word jumble. She also insisted on party hats and balloons for her daddy, so it was a little like a birthday party for a little kid. Then again, it was like a birthday party for her because she opened all of his presents for him and then threw them at him when she realized they weren't presents she wanted...except for the musical card from my family, which she's been playing with all day. I now hate the song "We Will Rock You" if anyone is keeping track of songs I hate.

Anyway, in honor of the chocolate cake that has finger marks in it from two very mischievous little girls, I give you this poem. Whenever I read it to S, I have to read it multiple times. I hope you enjoy it as much as she does...and as much as I enjoyed the piece of cake I ate while writing this post.