Friday, March 29, 2013

i haz a makeover

a haircut and eyebrow thingie for the first time in 18 months.  they lady sort of sighed in defeat as the weed whacker went to work on my overprocessed, dryed out mane.

but it worked. and it was fun. and i had to take photos, ya'll. it's what i do.

happy easter weekend to you all!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

a year since march ended

last year's march was awful. i don't think i complained too much via social media or blogging because, well, i hate that sort of nonesense. but now that it's a year gone, i can say that i wasn't sure how we were going to muscle forward. the prospect of staying in alaska one more year made me nearly homicidal, truth be told!

p lost his job. and a lot more than that for reasons we never really unraveled. people are awful, awful beings at times and while he's fairly stoic about it, i still wish plagues and locusts on a few folks in the old neighborhood.

a couple weeks before that bottom dropped, we found out we were almost FIVE months along with a surprise baby. holy #%$@. we'd JUST had a baby. how could we possibly have another one with just one lousy income?

the house. the house was a piece of junk with it's haunted downstairs, uncooperative heater, and rickety front staircase...but it's where we were. so when the landlord's brother (landlord died a few months prior) told us he was selling SOON, i was sure life was about to land in a ditch.

there was no work for my company in the houston office. period. but the anchorage office offered to float me some work until i had the baby and then i was on my own.

we had to leave pepper. p rarely talks about it, but he mentioned the tears he shed driving her to our good friends' house to be fostered for a few weeks. that was tough.

so we did it. sold nearly EVERYTHING we owned. left alaska with tears in my eyes on may 27, 2012 because i was pretty certain i'd never see it again. i'm cool with that now, but at that moment, it seemed so final. never. again. no reason to, right? our families are in texas and virginia, vermont and new jersey. all far, far away from alaska.

we lived with no furniture for weeks. the kids ate off plastic storage bin 'til ricky shivers rescued a farmer's table from the parking lot and BAM all of a sudden we had a stick of furniture. things came in slow and steady from that point. and now here we are.

i never got a new job in houston. i was hired in katy to run a house full of four kids and one husband. two fish were added to the roster, though nobody offered me any more salary for it. i also got the chance to teach fourth graders creative writing for an entire year on fridays.

my life changed SO MUCH since last march. i get goosebumps when i think of the journey we traveled from there to here. but it's been a year now. a long, bumpy, fast-moving year and it all started back there.

in other news, things are looking downright unpoetic around here lately. i try to keep up, i really do. but they outnumber me and well, things look a little haphazard and UNPINTEREST like. Hahahah. Stupid Pinterest makes me hate my house somedays.

have a great week, ya'll!

I'm hiding my face with my hood because Roo moonlights as Wolverine with her claws. We've all been scratched and now I'm too savvy for it. Ha!

Smoothie time around our place. The kids are permanently stained acai-purple and I've lost more tablecloths to these smoothies than I care to count...but they love them. And they love helping dad make them. The can of raid on the windowsill? That's a product of the GINORMOUS spider P had to kill off the wall. It had fangs, ya'll. It had to go.

My boy. My boy wonder. He's studying poetry in his class and he's started copying down the ones he likes and he leaves them all over the house in his haste. I love this so much and remember doing the same thing with Shel Silverstein poems...his favorite poet, too coincidentally.

Piles of mess. They're everywhere in this place. Too bad Raid doesn't kill those, too.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

here be projects...lots of them

in my mind, i defend all the craft supplies by the fact that sometime in may, i'll be unemployed. and in my mind, between now and then, i'll spit out piles and piles of adorable felted dolls, embroidered hand towels  and etsy banner sets (graphics) to keep us afloat until the wits program picks up in the 2013 new school year. yeah, in my mind, my crafting can keep up my financial end from may through october. i'm funny, right?? at least i have that!

lately, as i mentioned earlier, i started needle felting. it's a lot of fun and really portable. i've made some mini houses, a couple fairies, a faceless cat, and a geisha doll. i have a few boxes of roving felt to keep me through the long spring (it's texas, i can't claim an endless winter like i could in alaska).

i also taught myself (and am in the middle of TEACHING myself) really basic graphic design. i love blogs and i love redesigning blogs and i'll be hammed (yes, i said hammed and not the other word...i'm improving myself, people!) if i want to keep paying people $40 a pop to do something i sorta half like but will redo in a few months anyway. the blog headers aren't as easy, though i'm getting better (this very blog header above was my first one..not TOO bad, right?)

but what i am pretty decent at is combining digital scrapbooking kits (way cheaper than their tangible counterparts) and making etsy shop banner sets. now those are super fun and super fast. i'm not the high art type...i'm pretty  much the classic cutesy, kawaii girl any day of the week, so that's what i've been working in.

this week i'm working on a new etsy shop, darjeeling's designs and as i get better at and bored with banner sets, i'll start tinkering with blog design. someday. ha!

not that i didn't love the mugs. and not that it didn't keep us afloat a couple times this winter. it's just that, well, i have a goldfish brain and i need new stimulus or i'll go crazy and chuck the plastic castle out of my bowl. oh, and shipping charges for those mugs was ba-nay-nays.

i also have MILLIONS of threads of embroidery floss and yarn. someday i'll work on my sketches for embroidery. and someday i'll teach myself to knit, but i wouldn't hold my breath on that one. my kids are WAY too interested in knitting needles and i see the way kenna eyes her brother sometimes...i'd hate to arm the violence with my bamboo knitters.

hope the week is awesome where you are!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

needle felting and my bloody fingers

let's just say it's one step below the required dexterity and timing that operating a hot glue gun requires. i'm terrible with glue guns. my husband hates it when i have one fired up when the kids are awake because i  have a talent for getting the glue strings and third degree burns everywhere. eveeeeeerywhere.

and a tool with six sharp, tiny needles that requires you to stab a ball of roving wool over and over and over again into oblivion? well, let's just say i feel for diabetics who have to poke their fingers multiple times a day. it hurts! (and i've managed to ruin some light-colored wool with blood spots. awesome, right?)

today i worked on a cat for a fairy house my mom is building for my grandmother. she said she needed a cat for nanny's fairy. i remember pop's cat bg passed away this year and i'm pretty sure, if i remember correctly, bg was white. so white it is. this is the second bg i had to make because of the afore-mentioned blood splatters. that poor prototype looks like it didn't quite make it across the road to the other side. but THIS bg is pretty darn cute, even if he doesn't have eyes. i can't quite do eyes yet. they're hard.

and beside bg, i made a fairy of sorts. i love purple. it hides blood reeeeally well.

And just for fun, here's a picture of what kenna did in the short two minutes i was shooting the photos. nilla wafers and corn chips and a floor. glorious!


Monday, March 18, 2013

crowded kitchen: super yum paleo brownies

i'm not the best at this ancestral diet thing, but i'm trying. the hard truth of the matter is that in the thick of things, i'm not above shoving a fistful of flour in my mouth when nobody is looking just to cure that carb hangover thing i have going on. but like i said, i'm trying. (pay no mind to the white flour stains all over my clothes...i'm TRYING!)

my husband is really good at sticking to things. that's probably how he never ends up with disgusting chinese food orders...he knows what he likes, decides on something, and sticks to it. straight and narrow type of guy, that one.

we're in this paleo thing together these days. me because i'm sick of eating fake food in hopes of tricking my body into losing baby weight. him because he has huge jiu jitsu goals for 2013 and he needs primo fuel for the things he's going to ask his body and mind to perform. (sure wish i had goals that lofty...i'm pretty much just sick of my jeans unzipping themselves every time me and my stomach sit down. darnit.)

he loves brownies. he also loves snacks at night. and sometimes after a long day of sticking to his diet, the man will down a bowl of chocolate ice cream drizzled in peanut butter and we can all assume that doesn't exactly help the cause. (kind of like me and the flour, right? and by flour, i hope we all know i mean corn chips, crackers, bread or whatever else flour has made in my house.)

so here's a recipe i found on nomnompaleo. it's amazing. and i had almond flour on hand for just such an occasion. it'll probably be my go-to recipe from here to eternity, honestly. it's tasty. it's complex. and it's paleo...though i'm not sure how the sugar plays into the ancestral part. just nod and smile like i did, ok??

i also found a coconut macaroon recipe that i'll try out tomorrow. you're excited, aren't you!?

super yum paleo brownies

3/4 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup chocolate chips (or use 7 oz of baking chocolate if you wanna!)

1.heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the flour, salt, cocoa, and baking powder in a large bowl and set aside while you do work, son!
3. In the microwave, melt 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips and the butter. I set it for a minute and kept my eye on it. Seemed to do the trick and I didn't burn it. Huzzah!
4. Mix sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a bowl.
5. Slowly add chocolate and butter to the egg mixture, making sure to go slowly to not cook the eggs with your hot chocolate sauce.
6. Combine wet and dry ingredients and pour into prepared 8 by 8 dish. Sprinkle remaining chips on the top and press into batter.
7. Bake for approximately 30 minutes.
8. Do your best not to eat the whole pan of brownies before your husband comes home from lunch. Especially important if your 4-year old witnessed you bake the brownies. He'll rat you out.

...happy baking!...


the end of spring break

I miss my boy wonder. I mean, sure, he'll be leaping off the bus in about four and a half hours, but still. Him being at school today means that our spring break is over. It was the first spring break we got to spend together since, umm, forever. (This is my first year staying home and every other year, I was at work when he was off school.)

We didn't make it to Austin like we'd hoped we would. Didn't make it to the beach in Galveston or Corpus Christi (probably not a bad thing...I'm still getting into shape and I don't need a bunch of drunk coeds bouncing around in bikinis to bring out the homicidal in me).

But we did...lots. We had an awesome visit from Grampa and Nana. We spent some time in the arcade shooting spiders and winning Annoying Orange thingies in the claw machine. We ate too much corned beef on St. Paddy's day (oh, barf) and the boys did a week-long campout in the living room watching television into the wee hours of the night. They love doing that.

So today he's back at school and the tinies and I miss him.

In other news, the bluebonnets are popping up around town. Have I mentioned lately how grateful I am to be back in Texas? Last year at this time we were on the brink of being homeless (rental house was being sold out from under us), sick of the snow and the mud, and generally feeling like we didn't belong in Alaska. And we pretty much didn't. God Bless Texas!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Parents Visit and I Add to the Bucket List

First, the parentals came to Katy for two days.

We tracked them from El Paso with a pritned map of Texas on our fridge. 7:30 a.m. leaving El Paso. 10:30 a.m. rolling out of Fort Stockton. Ozona by noon. San Antonio by 3:30 p.m. The kids were losing their minds with excitement. I was losing my mind, too, but mostly because I had WAY too much house to clean and the length of I-10 between their car and my house was hurtling to zero. They drove FAST. P and I cleaned FAST. Somehow it all worked out.

We had about 60 hours with them and it went by in a flashing zooooooom! (Audio not included in this post.) Boo was glued to Grampa's side for most of those 60 hours and we did the best we could to catch up in the twenty seven seconds we had at night when all the kids were quiet and I wasn't snoring.

You know the only thing better than catching up with your parents? Watching your kids develop that crazy-grandparent adoration that has absolutely nothing to do with you as a mom or a dad. It's a relationship that belongs solely to them and I can tell it's something their going to hold tight to the rest of their lives.

Here's to you Nana and Grampa...speeding across the deserts  of West Texas as I type this. Godspeed and hurry back.

A side note.

I've decided to add "Perform a short set at a comedy club open mic night" to my bucket list. I have no idea why. The thought kinda makes me want to pee my pants a bit. But, yeah. There it is.

Hope your spring break is going as awesome as ours is!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

crowded kitchen: blueberry and spinach yogurt smoothies

i love this smoothie in the mornings and find the versatility comes in handy when i'm low on produce....which is every two days, it seems. (my kids must be part fruit bat.)

the kids love this as long as they don't notice me sneaking the spinach in, and with smoothies, you have the luxury of sneaking good stuff in without all the fuss. (i liken it to hiding the dog's pill in hot dog--same idea.)

Depending on what I have around for add-ins, I toss in a bit of chia seed powder, flax powder, mean green powder, coconut oil, or even miralax when the Boo won't poo. (Was that TMI? I'm sorry...)

If I'm low on blueberries, I use frozen strawberries. Or raspberries. Or peaches. It's an endless matrix of fruit and hidden superfoods, folks.

Blueberry and Spinach Yogurt Smoothie

1 individual carton of greek yogurt (I love the coconut flavored, but will use plain, too)
1 to 1.5 cup milk, depending on preferred consistency
1 cup of frozen fruit
1/2 cup spinach leaves
Honey, to taste
Chia powder (optional)

Blend, hide the vitamins, and serve.




i've only recently started doing linkups. where have they been all my life? better yet, where have i been all this time?

link ups are fun and even more so when you're truly active within the group. that's not always the case for me, but it IS when it comes to the newly formed influence network. i heart these ladies so much.

so, without much fanfare or further ado, here's  my entry.

1. a photo of myself that i love
i love any photo of me and the mister because they're so rare. that's just the price you pay when you're kids are so darn cute and you have so many of them (four!). but this one was a magical day/night and started a magical life. love this man with all my heart. more than cheesecake and new haircuts!

2. three things about me
oh, bother. i'm not good at these, but i'll try.
one) i'm not so great at this stay at home mom thing somedays. oh, sure, every seventh day or so, i'll hit my stride and have a clean house and clean laundry. but the reality is that a lot of the time, i'm frazzled, frustrated, and plain exhausted. i wasn't expecting it to be easy to raise four kids (three under four), but i wasn't expecting the ups and downs that came with it. i'm learning, though. slowly.
two) i keep saint jude statues/pictures/items everywhere. despite not being catholic, i believe he really helped me out of a potentially heartbreaking situation when i was pregnant with my oldest son. i've never forgotten that and never will. shout out to saint jude, y'all!!
three) i'm a texan. despite eight years we just spent freezing buns in alaska, my heart longed to return to texas and we finally did last may. thank goodness!

3. one thing i've learned on the influence network
let your flag fly. seriously. love jesus, love your blog, be your funky, creative, faith-filled self. hallelujah!

happy wednesday, friends!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Easy like Sunday...around 3:45 in the afternoon...

It's a beautiful Sunday today. I know that's not a huge surprise because there's something beautiful and peaceful about ALL Sundays...but this one is pretty darn amazing.

The sun's out. The windows are open. We're wearing flipflops and shorts. We're living the life...

It's been a great week around here. P coached our friend LT to an amazing victory at the Legacy Fighting Championship 18 and we got to watch it at home on AXS tv. We screamed our heads off like maniacs whenever his image came up. Hers, too, obviously...but something about seeing your daddy in HD just makes kids go bananas.

The kids were driving us bonkers with their inside/outside dance so when they finally came in, I put them to work at the table with markers, crayons, and watercolors. They love art. And McK loves to splash the water everywhere and drive her brothers ba-nay-nays.

This week we also worked on a couple of fairy gardens. We were potting the plants anyway, so why not just welcome the nisse and leprechauns with a fancy place to hang out?

Hope Spring is fantastic wherever you are!