Thursday, December 27, 2012

When do you take your tree down?

I've always heard that you should take your tree down before New Year's Day or it is bad luck. After searching the internet to see what the general rule is on the topic. Not once did that reason come up. I'm starting to think this was just something my mom made up so we wouldn't complain about her taking the tree down. "Mom, don't take the tree down we really enjoy the lights." She would respond, "I have to take it down or it's bad luck." Us, "Ok, you need any help?" Not that I'm superstitious but I do continue to take our tree down before New Year's. I think I do it because after Christmas, my house looks like a small explosion may have taken place and I'm just ready to get things back in order.

Here is what I found Catholics do: following Christian tradition, the Christmas tree should be put up and decorated Christmas Eve and stay up until Jan. 6th, the day of Epiphany. Epiphany is a feast day that celebrates God the son, as the human Jesus Christ.

Epiphany, the 12th day after Christmas, celebrates the visit of the three king or wise men to the Christ Child, signifying the extension of salvation to the Gentiles.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree comes down on Jan. 7th.

I certainly don't put my tree up on Christmas Eve. Does anyone do this?

So, I'm just wondering, when do you take down your tree? I have set up a poll. You should see it in the top left of the post. Let me know what you usually do.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Baking

If you're like me, hearing your kids bicker all day can make you as crazy as a soup sandwich. So before I started my holiday baking I thought it to be in everyone's interest to start off with a spot of wine. Let me set the scene. I had just finished clearing and cleaning the kitchen island and Ryan brings his paperwork in to pay bills or go through mail or whatever. To me, he might as well have plopped down kindling right there on my island to start a fire! Yeah, it was that kind of day. Ryan had some Christmas carols playing in the living room that sounded more like Thrash Metal to me. I have to confess, I don't really love Christmas music. I can handle Frosty or Rudolph but when you get into that Jazzy or Country stuff I feel like I'm gonna snap. So I think you get it. I was grouchy but it was not going to prohibit my Christmas baking. I just didn't want you to get the wrong idea from all my pretty pictures. I like to keep things real. 


3 Cans of chow mein noodles

2 Bags of Butterscotch chips

Put your morsels in a large microwave safe bowl for 1 minute and stir.

Put back in the microwave for 1 more minute and stir. You want it to be a smooth creamy consistency. 

Sir in your chow mien noodles a little at a time until well coated. 

Some people like to add peanuts or peanut butter but this is the way I like them best.

Then just spoon them out onto wax or parchment paper.
There you have your cute little haystacks. This recipe will yield about 36 dependent on how big are small you make your stacks.
Some call them bird's nest. That means a little more shaping and just drop some M & M's for your "eggs."

Oreo Balls

1 package plus 6 extra. You have to buy 2 packages because you need to account for all the Oreos that will be eaten while you try to make this recipe.

We crush them by hand because the kids like getting their hands dirty but you could also just give them a quick spin in a food processor.

1 Box of  softened cream cheese 

Mix together to form a well blended dough.

Roll into balls.

You'll need about 1 pound of vanilla flavored candy coating. I use almond bark. 

Melt it in the microwave for about two minutes stirring after one minute.

Dependent upon your mood, you may find it necessary to add more alcohol. 

I went with a little Vodka, Cran-Raspberry.
Dip your balls rolled Oreos in the melted candy coating and sprinkle (before coating dries)  with colored sugar if you would like to add a little color.
By the time I finished these I was in a much better mood. I'm sure it was the Christmas cheer and not the alcohol.

Forty and Flabulous

My 40th birthday was on a Sunday. Once a month my Sunday school class goes to a local assisted living home to do their service and the Sunday of my birthday was the Sunday we visited. I don't know why your fortieth birthday is such a reflective birthday, if you will but it was for me. I'm standing in the back of the room while some of the young girls sing Christmas carols. I'm looking around and I realize: 1. There is not a man in sight. Their husbands have all passed away. 2. These women are in their seventies, some older some younger. I'm forty, and time has really flow by, I don't feel like I should be forty! I am only thirty years away from the possibility of picking out a nursing home! I've heard people say life begins at forty but I have to admit I'm more than skeptical. Although I did take a look at nursing homes monthly schedule and they have a more active social life than I. They have bingo nights, trivia night, which I would just LOVE to be there on that night.  Walmart night, Jello week, something called Groundhog Day, which I imagine would be every day. If you've seen the movie you know what I mean. If you haven't seen the movie, you should. Wii Sports, OMGosh could you just imagine how the ski jump would look? I can. Muffin Mania week, China Lantern Festival, Humpback Whale Awareness as I'm typing this I realize the activity director has quite a sense of humor! You can't make this stuff up!

I had a low key birthday. Ryan wanted to have a party but I still don't have any chairs for my table. You simply cannot have a party if you don't have chairs. I just hung around the house with my family and my husband, while I still can. We usually go out to eat on our birthday but Ryan makes the best steaks so I chose that instead of going out. Ryan cooked and cleaned for me all day and that is just what I needed! Oh that, and the new laptop he got me.

My friend, Rachele sent me a certificate for wine which I promptly ordered. My other friend and neighbor, Anita brought over some homemade hot chocolate mix (looks like someone has been on Pinterest) and some butterscotch schnapps. That is my absolute favorite wintertime nightcap. If you have never tried it, I highly recommend it. If it's been an extremely stressful day throw in some vodka.

Well that sums up my fortieth. Not too exciting but just what I needed.

Apparently at forty, you can't open your eyes for pictures.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Save the TaTas

Yep, it's that time again. Time for my boobs to be flattened like a pancake. Yikes! I will be forty, there I said it. I will be FORTY in just a few days. It is recommended that women get a yearly mammogram starting at age forty.

Here is what you can expect if you have never had one. After you get called back you will be asked to disrobe from the waist up. I recommend wearing some sweatpants. If you're like me, your jeans give you an unsightly muffin top. Honestly, nobody wants to see that. I wish I would have preplanned a little better and I would have had my sweats on. You are asked to remove any lotions, powder or deodorant on your underarms. They provide you with a half shirt style robe. It made me feel sort of nostalgic. Like it should have had Panama Jack on it or something. Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. Then the tech will take you to the room to do the mammogram. The machine looks like this:

She had me sit and answer a few questions, how many pregnancies and if I had ever breastfed. That sort of thing.

Then I just took one arm out of my mini robe and she perched my hooters, one at a time up on the black part and then she brought the top part down onto my breast and smushed it into a sad, flat breast.  The ladies of the old National Geographic had nothing on me. She took a couple of shots of each breast. It is uncomfortable but it really isn't all that bad.

The lady who did my mammogram was a cute little white-haired woman. I commented to her that I could never do her job. She replied that usually it's not that bad that most people clean up for their appointment. However, she said she could write a book about some of the things she had seen over the years.

She told me of a time she had gone to get an older lady to do her mammogram. The lady had tears in her eyes and that she seemed really nervous and uneasy. She asked her what was wrong and the older lady responded that when she was sent back to the waiting room they told her "Tex" would be right in to do her mammogram. She was so relieved to find out they said tech, not "Tex."

After the mammogram was finished I was able to get dressed and was on my way. They even provided a spray deodorant in the dressing room. I think I was in and out within an hour.

So for your own birthday I say give yourself the gift of a mammogram. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

'Tis the Season

I remember when I was a kid it seemed like time just stopped when the calendar hit Dec. 1st. Now it seems to pass you by in the blink of an eye. There is so much going on this time of year. I love it but quite honestly it stresses me out! Shopping, dragging out the Christmas tree and decorations. Remembering which kid has a party to attend and trying to remember if we're swapping cookies or ornaments. Trying to logistically plan being at both school Christmas parties because they are always on the same day! My kids go to schools across town from each other so this is especially challenging for me. Even finding the time to take the Christmas card picture causes me to stress. This year Ansley was being more difficult than usual about "dressing up" for the picture. The kid hates to shop, wonder where she gets that? She wears a uniform to school so her clothing selection is very limited. After one trip to Target looking for something for her to wear I decided it wasn't worth the drama. I couldn't even get her to embrace wearing a red long sleeved T. So here is what our card looks like. You'd never guess it was 70 degrees when I took the picture or that ChaChi was complaining the whole time! He hated the card idea and still hates the card. He says it doesn't even look like him! And yes, I washed the pole...three times.

Friday was our Sunday school Christmas party. I won the tacky sweater award for the women and the Ole Miss sweatshirt was the winner for the men.

I took twenty baked potatoes to the party and it seemed to be a good idea. It was very easy to throw together. I rubbed them down with olive oil, dashed them with kosher salt and baked them for 1.5 hours on 350. Took them out wrapped them in foil and threw them in a cooler. I took a plastic vegetable tray and filled it with butter, sour cream, cheese and bacon bits. I will be doing this again!

Saturday we were invited to another Christmas party. I suspect that we were on the "if enough people cancel we can invite them list." We didn't get invited until Friday. I can't say that I blame them, the last party we were invited to at their house we showed up on our four wheeler. We were asked to bring an appetizer so I just thought I'd take deviled eggs because I had everything on hand to make them. This is  a recipe I've been making for years. I believe I originally found it on

Deviled Eggs
  1. Hard boil your eggs. I put the desired amount of eggs in a pot and let them set for about 15 minutes before I turn them on.
  2. Bring to a super slow boil in salted water for about 25 minutes. 
  3. Turn them off and let them cool.
  4. Drain the hot water off.
  5. Add cold water and ice. I think the shock of the change in temp helps the shell come off.

You will need mayo, bacon bits and shredded cheddar cheese.

I got creative and took and put on a rubber glove and rubbed a little food color on the outside of the egg. I let it set on the egg for a couple of minutes and then rinsed them off.

Cut the eggs in half. Put the yolks in a mixing bow and smush them up (that's official terminology). Then add the other ingredients. I never measure, I mean it's deviled eggs not rocket science, so just add ingredients to your taste.

Then just spoon the mixture back inside the egg.

And there you have the most delicious deviled egg. Way better than the original version. 

Well, we had a good time at both parties. I just hope they liked my eggs enough that we make the first party list of invitees next year. 

I doubt it though, I was obnoxious as usual. Speaking of, don't you agree it should be called George Washington Balls, not Martha?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Career Options

I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I don't have a lot of options as I don't have a lot of skills, education or training. To be honest, I'm kind of an A-hole and I have a lot of issues. I haven't worked a "real" job since I was seven months pregnant with Ansley. Not counting my little jaunt as  waitress at Colton's Steak house for about six weeks. I was the world's worst waitress. I had never waited tables and had always thought it would be fun. I've never been more wrong. If I ever waited on you, I would like to go ahead and apologize now. Sorry. I put my notice in on a Memorial Day. It went like this, "I'm not going to make it in today...or any other." I think they were probably happy to be shed of me.

For years,  I have been thinking of something I could do for a job.  I'm not really qualified to do much.

If I were younger, thinner and prettier I could be a Sprint Cup Girl. I can smile and pretend to be interested in what you're saying like nobody's business.

I could totally show up at our local news and draw the nightly lottery numbers. Heck, who am I kidding I think I could even nail being one of the reporters that show up at a restaurant and be appalled at their health score. Better yet, I could walk out from behind a tree with mic in hand and report a story that is happening in the background.

I could host Talk Soup or be a person on TMZ. I'm really good at watching TV.

After watching all the presidential debates, it makes me wonder if it is a person's job to pick out power ties for the debate. I could totally do that.

I'm positive with the right training I could be a sommelier. Getting the training would be the best part. I'd be all like, "I'm not sure I understand, can we try that one again."

I do like to work. It was really hard for me to stop working. I got my first job when I was fourteen at Blondie's. It was a pizza and sub shop. The "donor" worked there and got me the job. I've worked ever since then.  I really miss having a check with my name on it. At first, it was hard to spend money I didn't feel like I "earned." I've settled into the idea now and do a superb job of spending the check with Ryan's name on it.

I really do believe staying home with the kids is a super stressful job. To be cheesy, it really is the most rewarding. All of my kids are very smart and I take the credit for all of that. Haha.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Just a little flashback

 I don't know I doubt this is normal but we kept our bikes inside the house so they wouldn't get stolen. Keep in mind the size of our house. I grew up in Riverdale, GA just south of Atlanta. I didn't think it was a bad area to grow up my husband thinks differently. Waka Flocka Flame sings raps about it "But that happen often off in Riverdale, Georgia. You gone pay the life you live off in Riverdale,  Georgia. as does TI "whether in Miami, Cincinnati, or the  Riverdale" and "Riverdale to Center Hill all day" So people be singing about it. How bad can it be?

We had hardwood floors and when my mom would dust she would get Pledge overspray onto the floor. Once, my brother was chasing me down the hall (all five feet of it) and I ran into his bedroom. I slipped on the floors, stepped on a Sit-n-Spin and fell onto the bicycle pedals. Not just regular bicycle pedals, these had little metal thingys sticking up on them. I got a nice little gash on the forehead that required some stitches. I don't remember getting the stitches but can imagine being in the ER telling the story... yeah I slipped inside the house and landed on a bicycle. I'm sure this story pales in comparison to the time I got shot. Don't worry it was just a pump up pellet gun. The kid did shoot me on purpose though...

I love the life I lived as a kid. We had a lot of fun and looking back, some of the stories are really funny. I remember  sneaking beer out of a plastic pool after a neighbors party, I may have been six at the time. We would have gotten away with it but I believe my brother squealed and we all got in trouble. I remember the neighbors fighting and seeing my friends dad getting handcuffed to the decorative metalwork around their carport. Another neighbor's dad would rent limos and drink up the bar and get the driver to pull over. Then he would take off running to avoid paying the bill...I wonder if that ever really worked. Sounds like a solid plan. Oh and I could never forget the mom at the end of the street that would get drunk and cut the grass in her "high" heels (pun intended) and a bikini. We also had some hoarders in the neighborhood. They were hoarders before hoarding was cool. They had a nice little path that went through the house. I just remember that their dad would come in from work and fall asleep on the couch with his eyes open, snuggled up with their dog. It's weird the random things your mind holds onto. We also had some lesbians in the neighborhood. I just remember seeing the "butch" one cutting the grass. I'm not sure If I knew they were lesbians at the time...I just knew something wasn't quite right. I also remember an older man attempted suicide in his shed in the back yard, he was the nicest man. That part wasn't so fun. OMGosh,  I almost forgot! We also had a motorcycle gang in the neighborhood. They even parked their motorcycles in their living room! You can't make this stuff up. I guess if you're going to live in a shady neighborhood you need a bigger house because you need room inside to park all your bikes.

I know I'm leaving out some stuff, so if you're from the old hood feel free to add you own stories.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Old School Party

When I was a kid, birthday parties weren't strategically planned events. I just remember the neighborhood kids showing up after dinner in their mustard colored, reinforced knee Garanimals. If you were lucky someone would show up with a card with a dollar for every year you were old. Most just showed up, told you happy birthday, shared some cake, ice cream and some laughs. Never an outrageous amount of kids showed up. The kitchen was crowded when our family of four was at the table. Haha as I typed that I remembered the chair that I sat was up against the window. If I wanted to get up I had to crawl under the table because there wasn't enough room to slide behind my mom's chair and the cabinets in the kitchen. Things were simple and nobody seemed to mind. It was our birthday and it felt special to us.

Sunday was ChaChi's eighth birthday. I usually go a little overboard on the kid's birthdays. I know I'm not the only one. Ansley went to a party a few weeks ago that was in a limo! I've never even been in a limo. The girls met after school and ate at Zaxby's then were driven across town to a yogurt shop. They had all kind of little party favors. She had an absolute blast.  Anyway,  I told myself that I wasn't going to do that this year. I did have a company come out that does lazer tag(I know the correct spelling is with an S but I prefer the Z) in your back yard. I didn't put up the first decoration. I didn't even buy matching plates and cups! In fact a kid asked me for a napkin and I told him to use his sleeve. I didn't buy chips to throw in a bowl, which quite honestly all those hands getting chips freak me out! I bought little bottles of water and juice boxes and had them in a cooler. I bought a cupcake cake and individual ice creams. We sang happy birthday and I threw everything on a plate, a regular dixie plate. I didn't put together treat bags either. I mean really, who thought of this little tradition? Probably the same mom that thought of the snack rotation after athletic activities. I loathe the treat bags! Halloween was just a week ago and I figured the last thing kids needed was more candy. Sure, I could have gotten little trinkety stuff for treat bags but does anyone really like getting that stuff? ChaChi is a junior hoarder and weeks after parties I am forced to sneak around hiding that crap in the garbage. I felt like I was doing everyone a favor. 

The cake
 Getting the lazer tag instructions. All listening very intently.

 Even the dad's had fun...maybe a little too much fun.
 Best part of the day.

 Even Bret showed up for the party. I bet he wishes I gave out treat bags.

 See my non themed plates?
 Nana and ChaChi
 They even brought gifts for Ansley. Go Dawgs!

I think it was a great party even without decorations and treat bags! If you agree and wish mom's would get back to keeping things simple please share my post. If treat bags can catch on surely anything can. Oh, and if anyone knows where I can find a zebra painted, stretch limo let me know. Ansley has a birthday in April and I should probably get to planning. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I have always loved Halloween. I don't think I ever skipped a year of trick or treating. You can do that when you get pregnant at seventeen. You trick or treat way beyond the age you should. Then you have a baby and take him trick or treating in a stroller. Magical really. Last night was no exception. One of Ansley's friends invited us to join them on their hayride. They had a little get together at her house before and then we all piled on the  trailer to go trick or treating. Ok, here's where it was a little uncomfortable for me. We showed up at the party with adult beverages. It's not like we showed up with 24oz  Lime-A-Ritas in brown bags. We are not heathens! I had my red wine in a black Georgia Bulldog Tervis tumbler, complete with a matching lid and a straw. Those straws are so nice and extra big, if they were only tinted instead of clear. I'm not sure but it may have been frowned upon. It never occurred to me to ask if it were a dry party. I mean I've never gone to a dry Halloween party. Awwwwwkward. Has this ever happened to you? What do you do?

Some new people moved into the neighborhood about two weeks ago. Which by the way, their garage looks way better than ours. We still can't park a car inside ours. This pressured inspired me to empty out ten or so more boxes Tuesday. The lady that just moved in already has a decoration hanging on her door and some decorative pots sitting out. I had already decided that we couldn't be friends because she is obviously way more awesome than I. She even works! We actually had lunch earlier today on a field trip with our sons who are in the same grade.

What do you know? She is also friends with the folks having the party so she and her family were there too. We actually shared a hay bale in the back of the truck all night. It was great fun. She admitted to me that she has a fear of boxes which I found totally weird and I loved it! I have a lot of fears and it was nice to meet someone with a fear stranger than mine.

Pre Halloween pumpkin carving.

 ChaChi was Tom Cruise in Risky Business.
 Ansley was running with scissors.

I was the Sun Drop girl. I was surprised that a lot of people didn't know who I was! If you don't know, you should google it! Or go to www. It cracks me up!
 The loot!

 I really wish I would have taken my camera on the hayride. People do Halloween right around here! Lots of hayrides, people sitting at the end of their driveways with fires going to pass out candy and of course tons of kids! Another successful Halloween. Now if we only get invited back next year...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

High Maintenance

I walked Ansley in school this morning. I was wearing a dress that I got from Target and maybe paid twenty bucks for it.

It is looks a lot like ^ and quite honestly it has always reminded me of a swimsuit coverup. It's super comfortable and you can just throw it in the washer. I have two of them. Anyway, I got several compliments. The other moms were asking if I had plans for the day. Truth is I'm having cramps and the thought of wrapping anything around my bloated midsection is more than I can handle.  I, by no means looked nice. I had gone to bed with a wet head the night before and wasn't wearing any makeup. Don't get me wrong, that is norm for me. It just made me realize how crappy I must really look every other day.  Then, this afternoon I had a lady come out to measure my closet for shelving and she asks, "How many pair of shoes should I allot for, 50?" I was like, "No, I  have ten pair or so." She asked, "Well, how many handbags?" I replied, "I don't carry a purse at all." Duh, that's why I wear a bra. My debit card tucks nicely in there and it easy to find.  

I'm really starting to think I should do more with myself but I've never really been all that into "girly" stuff. I mean I was the girl that took wood shop for four years! I spent my weekends as a teen hanging out in a garage modifying lowrider trucks and going to car shows. In my twenties I worked at Consolidated Freight and Ford Motor Company on the assembly line. I'm pretty sure my "inner fashonista" is a wallet carrying lesbian. (No offense if you are a wallet carrying lesbian)

I feel that I'm getting older it's time to fix my hair, wear makeup and maybe even put on clothes that don't look like I'm still in my pajamas. But lets not get crazy. Oh jewelry let's not forget about jewelry. I should probably wear jewelry. For what reason, though? I mostly spend my day cleaning or running errands. So should I get up early to be more presentable so I can come back to clean toilets. Yes, I probably should.

Anyone want to volunteer to do a fashion makeover on me? Well, my hair is almost dry. I'm going to bed.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Petit Jean State Park

We left Little Rock and drove about an hour and a half west to Petit Jean State Park. As you are coming into the park there are signs that point to Petit Jean's grave, this is where the following pictures were taken.

 Note: To preserve the scenic beauty and ecology, fences and warning signs have not been installed in some park locations. Caution and supervision of your children and husbands are required while visiting these areas.
 Ansley and ChaChi weren't taking any chances.
 I always make sure his life insurance is current.

 This is the beginning of the Cedar Falls Trail. It is a two mile hike. 

The difficulty of this hike is said to be moderate to hard. However, we passed these guys on our way into the waterfall. All I could think was, I put on a sports bra for this hike and these two are in their business casual.

 The falls were really beautiful but after you've been to Amicalola Falls it's like comparing a female rugby player to a super model. 
 What does this rock formation look like? I know, I'm so mature.
 We also hiked the Bear Cave Trail that is 1/4 mile and is said to be easy.
 Can you see the fear it their eyes from here? It was all fun and games until they had to climb down. Then they panicked a little.

Bear Cave

The view from our cabin. It over looked Cedar Creek Canyon.

 The inside of our cabin reminded both of us of a horror movie. I would definitely go back to Petite Jean but I'm not sure I'd want to stay in a cabin. The beds were hard as a rock and seemed to aggravate everyone's allergies. Our cabin was a duplex and the walls were so thin I could hear the neighbors spoon hitting their cereal bowl in the morning. So if you go be sure to take some Tylenol PM or something to help you sleep. I think I'd just spend the day at the park and get a hotel in Conway. It's about an hour from Petit Jean. It seemed to have a lot of hotels and restaurants.
The pool at Mather Lodge.
 The view from the top of the falls.

After no sleep, I wasn't feeling especially photogenic. 

Here is the what we spent at Petit Jean. We stopped at WalMart because I forgot to pack socks. There were not a lot of options for food in Morrilton so we got some snacks and stuff to make sandwiches. Our total was $31.64.
We had dinner at the onsite restaurant, Mather Lodge. Though, the views were beautiful the food was a bit lacking. We ordered two chicken fingers and two BLT's and our total was $46.33. Our cabin rental was $115.24. Grand total is $193.22