Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Do You See What I See?

What sneaky kids do to find their Christmas gifts early...

Unwrap gifts early and re-wrap.

Cut tape off package, unwrap, re-wrap, and reapply new piece on top.

Search attic with friend.  
Watch friend fall through ceiling.  
Witness friends legs hanging through the ceiling into the laundry room. 
Pretend nothing happened.  
Tell yourself nobody will look up.
Play coy when confronted by angry parents.

Look for empty shopping bags.

Shake and measure wrapped gifts.

This is why I try to find the best hiding spots for our children's Christmas gifts.

Not because this sneaky child is Max, but because it was me.

I do fear that the apple might not fall far from the tree.

This year it seems Max is much more aware and curious.

He's asking questions.

He's offering to carry in shopping bags.

He's putting my things away for me.

The other day he told me to take my time while showering.


And so it has begun.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When Life Gives You Oranges...Make Pomanders.

One of the ongoing debates Leon and I have is about our citrus trees.

They are located in the front yard.

Leon says, "Fruit trees DO NOT belong in the front yard."

Followed by, "I'm cutting them down."

And because of such strong opinions, Leon's brother cut down a perfectly good apricot tree.  It gave the biggest and sweetest apricots you could ever imagine.  And then it was gone.  And so was our supply of canned apricots.  And jam.  And cobblers.  And free all-you-can-eat apricot schmorgasborg.

Okay, back to the battle on the home front...

I love our trees.  They give lemons twice a year and softball sized oranges, juicy and sweet...and practically seedless. 

As some neighbors borrow a cup of sugar or pinch of salt, ours grab a lemon.  The trees make me feel like I am doing my part for the neighborhood.

I don't take the threats seriously, but just in case I make sure every orange and lemon is used.  
Otherwise waste might just give Leon the excuse he is looking for to crank up the chainsaw.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Would you open your door to a guy looking like this?

I normally wouldn't, but I'm married to this one so, I guess I should!

Today, Leon came home in the middle of the day without his key.  

He knocked and I answered (no peep hole to sneak a peek through).

I was a little startled by his burglar like attire. 

 All black.  

The beanie.  

The dirt all over his clothes.
 (are burglars dirty?)
Anyway, he looks a little suspicious wouldn't you say?    

I still let him in, but only as far as the entry.

Lucky for me, he wasn't up to anything more than sharing his taco salad for lunch.

Oh and he give me some unexpected shopping money.

I couldn't resist with asking, "What'd ya rob a bank or somethin'?"

All he replied was, "Or somethin'."

And then after a quick kiss goodbye, he was gone.

But seriously, looks are deceiving.  Be careful out there! 

Happy holiday shopping!  

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ghost of Hairstyles Past.

The bob,

the slob,
The Dorothy Hamill.

I've teased.
and permed, 

and gone au naturale.
I've cut it myself, 
and gone REALLY short.
Had adorable bangs,

and a mushroom of sorts.

But of all my styles this one can't be beat...
It's the mullet.
Screaming 80's and 
Totally sweet!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Magic of Giving.

Waiting in long lines is never an annoyance to me, even during the holidays. You see, I always come prepared for such occasions by chatting with those around me.  This social chatter was once considered a disturbance and I often (very often) wound up in trouble because of it.  But now I see it as a gift.  I love the chance to get a glimpse into the lives of others, even if it's for a magical second.  

What I truly know is that everybody has a story!

This holiday season, HP has some magic of their own and has chosen Moosh in Indy to give away a technology package worth $6,000.  One of the rules (keeping in line with the spirit of a true giveaway) is to share the winnings!  

Because of the gigantism of this gift, I have been stewing over who I would choose to hold my hand to the winners circle.  Here's what I've come up with... 

If chosen, I will throw a dart at a map of towns within a 20 mile radius (as shown above) and then using a phone book flowing with names of town residents, randomly open it, point to a name and WHAMMO!  I will contact this unsuspecting person to tell them this amazing news (as it will truly be amazing and shocking)!  

And really is being chosen randomly really random after all?  It isn't by chance that things happen to any of us... 

Imagine what their story could be.

Imagine the element of surprise.

Imagine the magic!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mother of The Year.

And the award goes to...
Oh, you thought I was going to say my name didn't you?
Either you are too kind
You think I think that much of myself.
Maybe you thought of your name...
as you should!
Well the award seriously should go to...

My Mom!
Here is why:
I have an oozing amount of gratitude for the woman who mothers me because she does it so wonderfully!  
*I can always ask her for help and she is never annoyed or inconvenienced.  Like the time I was catering a party and got strep (perfect timing, huh?).  As quick as lightening, she was on her way!  She cleaned my kitchen from the party planning aftermath and tended to Max while tucking me in and feeding my husband.  Oh, and after she helped get things back in order, she drove four hours on her planned visit to family! 
*I never have to worry about not being good enough...she makes me feel awesome at everything I do.  I never feel inadequate around her, in fact she has a way of making me feel like I can do anything and be great at it!  She is equally enthusiastic about a good idea I think I might have...I love that.  So encouraging!
*A few weeks ago, she took my boys on her errands so Leon and I could have some time shopping together...all the while introducing Sam to Costco smoothies and buying Max some much needed syrup at WinCo.  A trip to the Costco FoodCourt will never be the same I discovered recently (major tantrum), but that's okay.  Sam thinks how awesome you are (and I'm not) every time he sees the oversized purple drink in line and Max thinks of you every morning he drowns his pancakes with "the good stuff".  You are the best!  
*The thing about my mom that I will always appreciate is how she loves my husband.  He is just as important to her as I am.  I even think she loves him she should, after all he did marry me for eternity right?  That deserves lots of love from my parents.
My mom is the best.  She came from the best and teaches me to be my best.  Thank you Mom for teaching me the tricks of the trade, called motherhood.
Now don't be expecting a comment, she doesn't do those sorts of things (and I don't take it personal).  Her reading this is good enough for me!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Gift Worth Giving...and Receiving.

What kind of holiday gift giver are you?

Are you the homemade gift giver?
A baked with love gift giver?
A personal store bought gift giver?
Last minute-that'll do-throw it in the basket-procrastinating-giver?

According to Martha Stewart (a quiz on her website), I am a...


These gingerbread snowflake cookies are my favorite treat to give during the holidays!
It all started a few years ago with the perfect cookie cutter...
Then I found the perfect cookie dough recipe...
With the perfect amount of decorating...

I can say perfect several times without sounding braggadocios because it is not my recipe.
It belongs to Martha.
(But I do have a tip...this freezes perfectly!  In fact, I usually spend one day making a variety of cookie dough, wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them to bake another day!)

So, without further ado... 
Gingerbread Snowflake Cookies

Makes 16 cookies
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon finely ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 large eggs
1 cup unsulfured molasses
Royal Icing
Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling


Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.
Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divide dough into thirds; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/4-inch thick. Cut into snowflakes with a 7- inch snowflake-shape cookie cutter. Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
Put icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip (such as Ateco #7). Pipe designs on snowflakes; immediately sprinkle with sanding sugar. Let stand 5 minutes; tap off excess sugar. Let icing set completely at room temperature, about 1 hour. Store cookies between layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.

Monday, December 1, 2008

When Leon Left Me.

Not really, but yeah he did...

When Leon and I were dating, we lived 45 miles away from each other.
This made for a lot of driving...a lot!
One night (early morning) I was driving myself home, south bound 99 when I decided to stop for some gas, powdered donuts and a smallish carton of milk. Oh, the good ol' days.
A few miles down the highway, my car sputtered and clunked its way to the inside 
of the median...then gave up and died!
Lucky for me as I looked across the flowery hedge toward north bound traffic, I found a Cal Trans worker sitting in his truck. Even luckier for me, he happened to be reading of all things his Book of Mormon (ironic, I know). Seeing as this was waaay before cell phones, he was my angel (until my "real" hero could come and rescue me).

I made the call to Leon, hopped back in the car and waited.
I waited.
And waited.
For about 30 minutes.
Then I saw him.
Pass. Me.

Yes, it was no mistaken identity. Leon passed me by and left me alone on Hwy 99. By this time, my angel was long gone and so I sat. Alone. For quite awhile, I waited and stewed over the confusion of the situation. I continued waiting, until a California Highway Patrol car turned on its lights behind me and asked me if I needed assistance.
Ummmmmmm, yeah!!!!

I was first concerned about Leon, WHERE WAS HE?!??!!
So, I called his house and spoke to Jim (a second dad to Leon).
He graciously agreed to come and get me.
Jim did not seem the slightest bit worried (he knew Leon was capable of some foolish things and probably wanted to go back to bed). Instead of worrying or searching, he drove me back to their house saying,  "He's somewhere. He'll get home or call."
All night, I waited. Daylight came, I was still waiting.
No Leon.

Then, around 8:30 am here he comes with the truck roaring into the driveway.

Even though I've heard it a million times...mostly because I keep asking why? how? I love hearing his side of the story:

Here's the condensed version...

Passed the Buick.
Took the next stop.
Got truck stuck in mud.
Truck began to sink in the mud.
Heard "Just get to HER"
Ignored it.
Walked trailer to trailer for help getting out of the mud.
Offering money. Lots of money.
Truck is still sinking.
Hitchhiked in a Trans Am.
Trans Am dropped off in Pixley.
More money.
Called my house early in the morning.
Didn't mention being 10 minutes away.
Hitchhiked back to the truck.
Paid lots of money to lots of people to get truck out of mud.
Drove home to me.

He left me on 99 and I still married him.  But the moral of this story is (this is what Leon says) just listen to that voice that says "Just go to her" and worry about everything else later.  
Lesson learned and I agree...that's why I married him!