Thursday, May 30, 2013

more like this

i'm always always always comparing myself to others.


i notice when the other ladies at the "lady doctor" office have manicured toes and i don't. and when my feet slide into those god-awful stirrups, i wonder if the lady doctor notices the chipped purple nightmares my toenails are.

whether it's post-pregnancy bods or the wrinkles around my eyes spread further, i'm a "compare-a-holic."


for the past two years or so, i've been madly, totally addicted to the quarterly Artful Blogging. people submit photos of their blogs, their work, and write some words. four times a year, i fork over $15 (i know!) and read about far away places like podunk, idaho where they can walk around their sprawling wrap-around front porches in fluffy white skirts and take pictures of hydrangeas in antiqued metal milk jugs.

perfect shabby-chic worlds that couldn't be further from the houston suburbia boring world i live in, perpetually covered in baby barf and complete with matted hair back under my pony tail. (it's true. shameful, but true.)

i redesign my blog myself when the mood strikes in hopes that maybe someday, i could have some lukewarm essay about how blogging introduced me to a wide world of others (it really hasn't yet) and how my life has forever changed because of blogging and my inherent sense of interior design (it hasn't and i don't have one).

the truth is my world is so far from their world.

so as i peruse yet another perfect shabby-chic world blog on my blog list over there (doubt me? chances are any of those blogs you click on to the right will take you to some awesome tutorial of a quilt i can't sew or a flower i'll never have in a distressed paint can on my $4,000 laura ashley wood table) i figure this artsy take on life will come with time. i'll grow into it as soon as the kids stop drawing with roseart cheap markers on the walls and all four sleep through the night. i'll get to that "artful blogging" stage of life someday. i know it.

but today i sorta laughed out loud after the seventh blog i visited today waxed poetic on the virtues of fresh-cut lilacs and evening sunsets enjoyed in front of an open fire pit on sprawling farmlands. no shit, i say. but what about real life?

i lit a wal-mart lilac candle, used a babywipe to smudge some barf off the carpet, shoved my plastic kid dishes in the dishwasher in all manner of wrong angles and sat down to write about what it really is around here.

more like this.

it's about $7 cheap wine that i buy over and over again even when i have the extra jingle. it's about watching the nba playoffs and NOT some stupid french movie. and it's about kids that don't sleep through the night and dealing with the fact that at one point this week, i may or may not have worn the same t-shirt for two days in a row without realizing it.

and i'm just fine with that.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

stuff of life: buttermilk pie

I never appreciated living in Austin while I had the chance.

I mean, it didn't help that I was 11 years old and not keen on appreciating much (other than my wicked scooter and the ice cream truck), but still. I lived in Austin. Had parents who loved to eat at the original Threadgill's and I'm pretty sure I pouted every time I was there because they didn't have chicken nuggets or an ice cream truck.

But they had buttermilk pie.

And now, my family has buttermilk pie.

It's a southern thing and now that we're out of Alaska, it's a family thing.

It's delicious, despite my first attempt browning a skin on it waaaay too quickly. The trick is to cover the top of the pie with a bit of foil for the first 30 minutes...similar to tenting a chicken.

Happy eating, ya'll!

Buttermilk Pie

1 10-inch pie shell unbaked
3 Cups Sugar 1/4 C flour1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter, melted 6 eggs1 C buttermilk2 Tbs water1 Tsp lemon juice1 Tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.Whisk sugar and flour into melted butter, then add eggs one at a time.Add liquid ingredients.
Bake for at least one hour or until filling is set in the center of the pie.

Pour filling into pie shell (I always seem to have extra filling that I bake in a dish)Place shell on cookie sheeet in preheated oven.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Pretty Little Life

A year ago TODAY we got off the plane at 6:34 a.m. in Houston, Texas. 

Happy anniversary to us!

It's summertime here. I don't care if it's not officially June 21 or whatever the official first day of summer is. It's HOT and HUMID and we're all drinking lemonade. SUMMER!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, friends!

I have too many baby food jars around. So I stick stuff in them. Paintbrushes. Pencils. Toothbrushes. Stolen moss. It's pretty.

High-rise apartments in Downtown Houston. None of my kids wanted to dream about living there because none of my kids care for elevators. It's true.

These clouds turned into thunderstorms 20 minutes later. At least they started out really pretty, right?

A little mint garden on the porch.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

down in the dumps(ter)

in the midst of some moments, i wonder if anybody i know has ever experienced something like this. in a good way...

and in the midst of some OTHER moments, i wonder if anybody i know has ever experienced something like this. in a not good way...

i had an endorsed paycheck in  my hot little hands and i sprinted out the door with makenna to make it to the branch and back again so i'd have time to spare to hang out with p before he left for a saturday afternoon  mma class.

did you catch that, right there?

i was hurrying.


no good ever comes from that and it just so happens that my inability to pay attention when i'm in a hurry landed me in a dumpster.

house. truck. quick stop off at the apartment complex dumpster to dump the bags in the back and do a quick truck cab cleanup. bank.

i arrived at the bank with no check perched on the seat beside me as it had been when i pulled out of my parking spot.

i'm not sure if it was the reality of our dismal bank account numbers that spurred me to such desperate action or if it was my pride. i really didn't want to tell p that i'd lost yet another important item in my haste.

so i hoisted myself into the chute, tiptoed around coffee grounds and dusty old cat litter to perch myself on the lip of the foot on the ledge and the other on somebody's else's bag of trash while i pushed around the disgusting mess with a water bottle i PRAYED came from our house.

it was there. right THERE that i was pretty certain nobody i knew had ever found themselves in a dumpster wading through used sticky, gummy detergent bottles that left blue trails of slime on my poor yoga pants and orange peels covered in mold in search on one very specific piece of paper.

i jumped out at some point, ran home to confess my crime and to enlist my 9 year old to stand guard in case anyone we knew happened to drive by.

begrudgingly, he stood outside the 100 degree can of funk and complained, loudly, every few seconds about how it smelled like a butt.

i reminded him that i was the one INSIDE the butt can and to keep his negativity to himself.

i wish i could say i was successful. either in finding the check or pinpointing somebody i knew who had lived through a similar moment. but i wasn't...

the story ends with a really long shower, gallons of hand sanitizer, and a new check that P put directly into my wallet for me.

the end.

p.s....i still rush. a lot. it's only a matter of time before i'm back in there looking for my wedding ring or the kids' birth certificates. just wait...


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What I'm Working On: May 8, 2013

Little Mouse, Little Moo, and a Hedgie. Stupid Moo refuses to have a nice, round head and keeps squishing to one side. Which forces me to stab at him more and more with the torture implement And that expalains the bloody fingertips right now. Stupid Moo.

The new guy, Mason. He loves me. Loves all the kids. Not sure about P. Not sure if Mason will make the cut if he doesn't stop with the scaredy cat routine around Dad. I hope he makes it...he sure is a sweetheart!!

A matryoshka softie that I sketched and cut a pattern for. Too bad I forgot her adorable bear ears. And how to sew. I gave up near the finish line because her lumpy head was too distracting. I'll finish her sometime this week, I hope.

Then there's always this guy. He loves the dog's kennel more than the dog does.

...happy happy happy...

Monday, May 6, 2013


There's something so in-your-face and FUN about flamingos. That, and the fact that they owe their high profile look to their diet.

Sure wish I owed my high-profile and fabulous look to my diet. All I owe to my food intake is a muffin top and some indigestion. Blah.

I love the bright colors that usually accompany flamingo-ish art. Bright pinks and warm oranges. Soft blues and greens. It's summer and it's happy and it's cheery. Hooray, FLAMINGOS!

This week's moodboard gets us ready for warmer temps. For Florida. For trailer parks across the country as they roll out their kiddie pools and lawn decorations. FLAMINGOS!

This week's flamingos are all from Etsy.

Oh, did I mention....FLAMINGOS!

1. Flamingo Art Photo by elgoboart
2. Tiny Pink Lawn Flamingo by TinySculptor
3. Flamingo Painted Glasses by FoxTailGlass
4.  Pink Flamingos Modern Cross Stitch Kit by TinyModernist
5. Pink Flamingo Bracelet by HonkusGrogana
6. Pink Flamingo Giclee Print by trachtart

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Feeding a Family of 6 for $10 A Day: Week 1

We decided to give serious cash dieting a try this month. I'm out of work once May ends and that's terribly frightening. Add to that, we have a big family who likes to eat at regular intervals. I mean, like, often.

The rules aren't too difficult around our house when it comes to food. We eat meat, though we've cut way back. Gluten shows up more often than some would like. Sugar sneaks in. So does serious carbs. We're a work in progress is what I guess I'm trying to say...

The key to eating well on the cheap is menu planning. (Barf.) I hate planning. I hate budgeting. But when my husband and I don't do this sort of thing, we do this funny "race to outspend" each other until the last dollar has flown the coop and there's still eight days left in the month. Enter my  month-long challenge to feed my family of six on $10 a day.

I give myself a break when I already have something on hand and don't beat myself  up too much and don't add it to my total. I will let you know where the item was on hand. I also live in a part of Houston where grocers get away with charging us a lot more for our food than in other parts of town. Stinks. But I'm too lazy to drive through the traffic to save 10 cents on a gallon of milk. So the point might actually get away with spending EVEN less if the grocers in your neighborhood don't suck!

Week One Menu

Saturday 5/4/13
Breakfast: Blueberry Yogurt Spinach Smoothies (need a recipe? see HERE ) ($1.50)
Lunch: Grilled Ham and Cheese Paninis ($3.20)
Dinner: Chicken Enchiladas ($3), Re-fried Beans ($0.56), brownies (had a mix on hand)
Total: $8.26

Sunday 5/5/13
Breakfast: French Toast ($3.50)
Lunch: Tacos ($1.45)
Dinner: Barbecue chicken ($3), cornbread ($0.50), green beans ($0.76)
Total: $9.21

Monday 5/6/13
Breakfast: Blueberry Yogurt Spinach Smoothies ($1.50)
Lunch: Mixed green salad ($1.75), grilled chicken ($2.10) with avocados ($0.50)
Dinner: Zatarain's Red beans & rice ($1.79), green beans ($0.76), applesauce ($0.93)
Total: $9.33

Tuesday 5/7/13
Breakfast: Blueberry Yogurt Spinach Smoothies ($1.50)
Lunch: Mixed green salad ($1.75), grilled chicken ($2.10) with avocados ($0.50)
Dinner: Turkey Meatballs ($3), Gravy ($0.15), Egg Noodles ($1)
Total: $10

Wednesday 5/8/13
Breakfast: Blueberry Yogurt Spinach Smoothies ($1.50)
Lunch: Mixed green salad ($1.75), grilled chicken ($2.10) with avocados ($0.50)
Dinner: Pancakes! ($1.75)
Total: $7.60

Thursday 5/9/13
Breakfast: Blueberry Yogurt Spinach Smoothies ($1.50)
Lunch: Mixed green salad ($1.75), Feta Omelet ($1.75)
Dinner: Grilled Cheese ($2.25)  and Soup ($1.60)
Total: $9.35

Friday 5/10/13
Breakfast: Blueberry Yogurt Spinach Smoothies ($1.50)
Lunch: Sandwiches ($1.25), Pretzels ($0.60), Green Apples ($0.45)  and Peanut Butter
Dinner: Homemade Pizzas ($6)
Total: $9.80


Friday, May 3, 2013

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Nobody Could Possibly Ever Feel This Way. Ever.

I don't get many phone calls in the course of the day, but I imagine that if you've tried to reach me during the past few it phone, e-mail, Facebook, whatever...I might have seemed a little quiet. Maybe hard to reach both physically and mentally?

It hasn't been on purpose, that much is true.

But I haven't felt right in a whole mess of days. Stumped, in a way. Stuck. Frustrated. Useless.

The Mister and I sat down and talked until midnight last night which means it was seeeeerious, ya'll, because we start grumpin' and fussin' about what a crappy day it will be in the morning if we're not parked beneath the covers by 9:45. (We're old!)

It was a long and twisted talk about how I've never been a finisher.

Always a starter.

How I have a million projects that I want to do. A million achievements I want to achieve. But how I never get there. And how I get so loaded down with current projects, that I drive myself insane with the rate of failure and demise these passions face. I'm getting no where. With anything.

How I don't want to be this person anymore. I feel potential slipping away every day that I'm berating myself and mad at myself for having a mind like a cluttered, paper-filled desk. Covered in magazine covers I wish I looked like or Pinterest projects I could base a blog off.

Cluttered mind and broken motivation to the point where I can't write. Can't work out. Can't sleep.

I'm a dreamer of dreams with no means of making them happen.

That's how it feels, anyway.

When I dream, I don't want to just find time for jiu jitsu for the sake of jiu jitsu. I want to win Worlds and take a picture on the podium. See how this could possibly lead to me tearing hair out when the babies frizzle out after only 20 minutes of me training with P in the mornings? I set myself up for all or nothing goals on so many projects that I end up with nothing.

That's how it feels, anyway.

It was a long talk about expectations I have for myself. That awful inner critic that's been so mean and nasty my whole life that I don't know how to take it easy on myself when I can't lose the last 15 pounds of baby weight or don't write those 15 goal pages that day. Or post a blog post each day for a month. Or take a photo a day and post them all one month. Or get my purple belt. Or beat my husband rolling.

It was long, long talk. I mentioned that already, didn't I?

At the end of the night, I made a shocking decision that my husband fully supports and thinks might actually be good for me and this missing sense of clarity I'm looking for.. I'm letting go of everything (permanently or temporary, we'll see where it all ends up) that I think I want. Or that I think defines me.

Within reason, obviously.

The first thing (and the most painful) is jiu jitsu. I don't have the time. Or the heart in it. Or the burning fire. And the hope is that by not driving myself insane with not training, I'll come back around eventually and want to train jiu jitsu purely for a love of the sport and not some INSANE need to prove myself to some invisible scorekeeper in the clouds.

And my knees and back need a break while I'm still fighting off the baby weight. They're in rough shape, truth be told.

Also gone are running (I wanted to run a marathon this summer, lol) and every other competitive sport I thought about taking up when my mind wandered...which is constantly. All the other blogging visions and podcasting schemes and Etsy shops with stuff I planned to learn to make...gone. Competitive spirit? On the shelf for a while...on purpose.

But who I am without competitive sports? How boring will my life be without dreaming of the big win?

What exactly is left when  a dreamer loses the big, bulky bag of undefined and unpassionate dreams?

I have no idea. Absolutely no idea.

But what I'm hoping to find is a place inside my mind where the Critic is gone and silenced. And I can wake up and breathe in and out, enjoy the day with my babies, paint a picture, felt an animal...and not be tortured by what I wasn't able to cross off the unrealistic achiever's to-do list.

I'm nervous.

What DO you call a dreamer with no dreams?