An Adventure with a Taterbug!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

School Days

Hello, world!  Yesterday was a really fun night.  I had the honor of having dinner with some of my most favorite moms (and grandmom) from the Bug's school.  These ladies are funny, smart, beautiful and a hoot!  After much laughing, smiling and complaining, we all found out that we aren't that much different.  We have kids that don't pick-up after themselves, we have kids that either won't stop eating or won't eat anyting at all, our kids are getting too big for their britches and we love them unconditional!

A few tidbits that was uncovered last night:

  • Kids have an uncanny ability to remove all their clothes in one fell swoop that results in the underwear and pants/shorts being merged into one unrecognizable twist;
  • When you have multiple children it is strange how vastly different the personalities and  mannerisms are from each other even though they have the exact same DNA makeup and have the same upbringing;
  • If our kids don't hurry up and read their summer reading books and do their book reports, someone is going to die; and
  • If you hear your mischievous kid snicker, she most likely locked the bathroom door locked all of you either outside of it or inside it in which case you have to call your mother who lives 30 minutes away to come and release you from inside the bathroom. (Note to self: if you turn the locks around to teach said child not to lock the door you can't get in, make sure she doesn't lock it before you all get stuck inside...oh, and have a cell phone handy -- thanks, NS for the helpful hint.)
I think the best part about Taterbug's school is that, while it is kind of small (only one class per grade up to 8th grade), we have been together, for the most par, since kindergarten.  Her class is made up of mostly girls and I always said that the guys will grow up to be very well adjusted husbands and be great dads to their daughters because they all know how to play dress-up and house and are very used to being bossed around by girls.  I fell for those poor guys!

Since they have been together for so long, it is so cute to see how they protect each other and are so caring of each other almost like a family.  For example, it is perfectly fine for them to pick on each other but don't let someone from outside of the class dare to pick on one of their own.  They will close ranks and circle around the "outsider" to make sure that they leave their bud alone.  Got to love playground politics!

I had a very unique school experience.  I went to public school and we were co-ed until 4th grade and then once we hit middle school, we were separated by sex.  We were the only public school system in the US that was set up like that and it lasted until my junior year when in 1988 someone finally sued the school board to force them to go co-ed.  The reason behind that suit was that they claimed that it was unfair because the girl schools had home economics and the guys had shop class.


I had mixed views on this change.  I was a typical teenage girl and would love to be exposed to guys day in and day out at school rather than just weekends.  On the other hand, we had a good thing going at school.  Because we didn't have those stinky boys next to us, girls didn't worry about their hair and make-up all the time.  Granted, we did do our share of primping but not nearly as much if we would have had a hunky guys sitting next to us in class.


Also, because we were all girls, it help instill leadership skills because we were the presidents of the organizations, we were the ones that made the decisions on class projects and events, we were the ones providing feedback to school leadership on service projects and such.  We didn't have a boyfriend influencing our decisions on things at school.

So the time came to decide if I would stay at my existing high school my junior year.  This school was being turned from an all-girl high school to a parish-wide magnet high school and the boys would be outnumbered 30 to 1.  This school was less than two miles from my house and in walking distance.  My other choice was to go to the boys' high school where I would have to take a school buss (cringe) to and from school and where the girls were outnumbered 15 to 1.

What did I decide to do?  Me, who was very active in school.  Me, who was into playing sports.  Me, who wasn't going to let some guy make the decisions for me.  Well, I did what every 15 year old girl would do who was fiercely independent...I went to the boys school because, let's face it, boys are cute and who didn't want to sneak a kiss in the halls between classes?  Screw making a difference and leading the next generation to greatness!

My High School Love!

You know what the funny part in all this ended up being?  Low and behold, the boys were even more wowed and intimidated by us girls then we were of them and they were more than willing to move out of the way and let us rule the school.  We continued to be the leaders.  We continued to make the decisions on where we saw our class headed.  We continued to wrap the guys around our little fingers!


Lessons learned:
  • School buses suck so make friends with someone who drives in your neighborhood so you can give them gas money to avoid the stigma of riding on the bus.
  • Being outnumbered is a good thing when it comes to a boy/girl ratios.
  • Leaders are born, not made.
  • Change is not always a bad thing.
  • Girls learn early on how to get their way around a guy.
I loved my last two years at the boys' high school.  To this day, I feel closer to that school than I did at the other high school, event though I spent an equal number of years at each.  There was something cool about being at the same school that my dad and uncles went.  There was something special about being a part of history by being the second co-ed class.

Fighting Owls!
The school is still there but it has changed a lot since Hurricane Katrina wiped it out.  Some of it was rebuilt better and more modern then it could have been back in 1954 when it opened.  Heck, when I graduated back in 1990, we didn't event have air conditioning and only had just gotten ceiling fans.  No matter what, I will always bleed maroon and white...go, Owls!

Love ya,
Kristen

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Times Have Changed

“You need a little bit of insanity to do great things.”

&

“My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud.”

- Henry Rollins


Can I Call You Hank?
Hi, ya world!  I felt like today was a good day for another quote but couldn't find one that fit my mood.  When I ran across these two, I knew they were meant to be shared.  They are by musician, writer, jouralist, publisher, actor, radio host, comedian and acitivist Henry Rollins.  If you are a fan of the TV show, Sons of Anacrary, you may recognize him.

You might remember him from his first stab at mainstream music back in the 80’s when he was the front man for the punk rock band, Black Flag.  After they broke up, he started Rollins Band and they got pretty popular in the mid-90’s.  Though neither band were my cup of tea, I lean more toward top 40, classic country or whatever the Bug lets me listen to, I knew him by site but not by name. 
Henry with the Rollins Band

After picking these two quotes, I wanted to see who the heck Henry Rollins was before I link his name with mine.  I mean, what if he was some Nazi General that was found hording millions of stolen artifacts from the war.  Not an association I would want, I tell ya!

So, what is a girl to do?  Go to Wikipedia of course!  I just love Wiki, but who doesn’t, right?  I am that girl that used to love reading the encyclopedia that my mother bought one volume at a time at Winn-Dixie.  These puppies would site on a treasured spot high above it all in my sister’s room.  I would have to climb on her bed to get the volume I wanted to read.  Keep in mind, I don’t think we ever got an entire set because we missed a week’s because we went on vacation or shopped at another grocery store.  I think it was V that we were missing and who wants to know anything about volcanos, Vermont or vasectomies anyway.
Who Didn't Have a Set of These?

I never considered myself a nerd but I did love to read the encyclopedia.  I also loved to read the new phonebook when it came out.  Now that I think about, I might have been a slight nerd after all.  It was always fun to look of the names of people you knew or boys you liked in addition to see if there were any new people in the book with your same last name.  Maybe my fascination with the phonebook is because we never had our number published so we were never in the book.

I can’t tell you the last time I used a printed copy of an encyclopedia or phonebook.  Wonder what libraries did with all their old tomes?

Love ya,
Kristen

Monday, July 22, 2013

Long, Lazy Weekend

Hello, world!  I am so lazy!  Typically, I am running non-stop all the time with little to no down time.  It is a running joke around the office that when I am asked how my weekend was, I typically can list about a dozen things that were done or accomplished in two short days. 

A Little Blue

Not this weekend!  The Taterbug is spending the week with her dad and left Saturday morning.  Let’s just say that I was not a happy camper to be without her for any extended period of time so you could say I was a little blue.  What did I do?  Well, I stayed in my jammies from Friday night until 2pm Sunday.  Yep, you read that right…me, stayed home and just vegged in front of the TV watching the Hallmark channel.  You know what that is, right?  That is the single woman’s worst enemy.  Plot: Every leading lady faces some tragedy or adversity, loses the guy, meets a (long-lost boyfriend/new guy in town/well to do business man) and lives happily ever after.  Yeah, right!

I didn’t feel like running out to get groceries until Sunday afternoon so I didn’t eat much on Saturday.  I decided I wanted some comfort food but didn’t want to make anything too exciting.  I had some leftover hot dog buns, milk and eggs so I decided to make bread pudding.  I typically like to have raisins in it but didn’t have any so I improvised.  Here is what I used to make the bread pudding:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 6 hot dog buns
  • Course sugar
  • Butter

Preheat oven to 350°, spray baking dish with Pam and set aside.  Beat milk, eggs, cinnamon and sugar together well.  Add torn up buns to the mixture, stirring often.  Add in almonds then pour into prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle a generous coating of course sugar then add a couple dabs of butter to the top of the dish.  Place in pre-heated oven for 45 minutes and that’s about it.  It should be very soupy when you put it in the oven.  If not, add more milk and make sure all the bread has absorbed the egg mixture.
Colored Sugar

I had this for lunch and dinner on Saturday and again for breakfast Sunday.  I’m not proud.  It was good, though.  It looked good too because the only course sugar I could find was rainbow colored and it added a happy color to an otherwise drab dessert.  I promise to do a much better job of taking photos of my adventures.  I didn't even think of snapping any of this...sorry! 

What types of goodies do you like to eat when you are feeling a little blue?  I guess bread pudding always reminds me of my grandmother because when she wasn’t bringing a pie to Sunday dinner, you could bet she would have either bread pudding or fig squares in the back of her van.  I would love to have her recipe for fig squares.  They were so good and she would get the fresh figs when she went to visit her in-laws in the country.  They would melt in your mouth they were so good!


Kitty had a lazy weekend, too 
 Love ya,
Kristen

Friday, July 19, 2013

Where Does it Go?

Hi, ya, world!  Happy Friday!  Know what makes it event better...today is payday!  I have to ask myself, though, where does all the money go?  I got paid via direct deposit this morning and logged into my checking account to pay some bills and after it was all done, I spent 72% of my salary?!?!?  The sad part is that I just paid stuff two weeks ago when I got paid.

Throwin' It Away!
I don't consider myself a spendthrift or even an extravagant person.  In fact, I am down right cheap at times.  I just amazes me how fast money can go out the window.  Talking about windows, about a year ago I had to get a new A/C unit shortly after I bought the house.  Good news is that when I bought the house it came with a home warranty as an inclusion and was paid by the seller.  So very happy about that because the unit only cost me $75 and the old one was over 18 years old.

Shortly after that, I heard a radio spot for a local company that said they would do a free home energy audit for your house.  Now I know there is no such thing as a free lunch.  Heck, I work in marketing for pity sake!  But I figured I would have them come out and check things out and then I would just say no to everything they tried to sell me. 

Sample of Paper Backed Insulation

This company was really different in that the guy was willing to come over at night after I got off work so it was very convenient to my schedule.  He was also the owner of the company who just happened to be over my way because he was leaving on vacation the next morning and needed to do a Sam's run to fill up on food before leaving for the beach.  He also was not really trying to sell me anything.  He said that my windows were great (newly installed when I bought the house), my A/C was great, my doors and sills were tight (sounds kind of kinky, doesn't it?!?!) and for the most part everything was in great shape.  Unfortunately, my insulation in the attic was kind of deflated, which I knew from the home inspection.

Sample of Pumped Insulation
So, I asked for him to give it to me straight...how much was he going to try to milk me to fix it.  Surprising, he said that he would recommend doing the spray insulation and not the foam spray because it is cheaper, quicker and for the size of my house and all the other good points he found, would make more sense.  After some measuring and some counting, he came back to me with a figure of less then $500 and he would throw in some other things like boxes over my lights, etc. that would run about $200 more.  I asked when they could do it and how long it would take before I signed on the dotted line.

Now before you accuse me of jumping the gun, I had already gotten a price from someone else to do paper insulation and it would have run about $750 and spray foam would have run about $1,800.  This was sounding too good to be true and I was cautiously optimistic.  He asked how did Saturday sound and I said, "Book it, Dan-O!"

Two guys showed up on Saturday on-time and were very clean and professional.  They got down to work right away and were done in less then two hours.  Additionally, they swept up after themselves and even asked if they should take their shoes off before entering the house.  Who does that? 

Round and Round, the Dials Spin!
The guys said that I should see a noticeable difference in my electric bill and it should be reduced by at least 25%.  That would a nice since I was running close to $200 a month in electric in the summer months and about $120 in the winter.  Low and behold, it was a big difference between the combination of a new A/C unit and the insulation.  This month's bill was the highest it has been since last June.  Ready for this....$60.21!  Yep, you read that right!  I have A/C set on 72 when we are home and 75 when we are gone, all last month I had the pool pump running 24/7 and the Bug has a terrible habit of leaving every light on in the house. 

Let's face it, it is hotter then you know what in Louisiana in June-August.  Heck, it can be pretty darn hot in December!  I have been super pleased with my $500 investment because it has saved me 300%.  I know that the improvement is not entirely from the insulation and that the A/C had a lot to do with that but I have to think that even if I only did the insulation it would have been a major improvement.

Why do I tell you all this?  1) I needed something to write about, 2) you must hear the same ads on your radio because everyone is going green and 3) don't come in with a preconceived notion that you aren't going to buy and then feel guilty because you do "cave."

Love ya,
Kristen


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Humping Day

Hello, world!  Happy humping day!  What?!?!?  Did she just type that?  Yep!  A few years back, on a Wednesday morning, the Taterbug told me happy humping day.  When I explained that it is "hump" day and not "humping" she proceeded to tell me that it makes more sense to say humping since you are jumping to the next day.  Can't argue with that I guess.

My Leah

As I mentioned before, I have have a second daughter, Leah.  She joined our family back in May of this year and I don't know how we lived without her.  Anyone that knows me knows that I'm not much of an animal person.  Well, I am, but not one that thinks they are human and should wear stupid outfits or go to the store with you.  I mean, really folks, get a friend if you need that kind of relationship.  Anyway, I digress.

The Bug likes to go to the poor people zoo AKA Petco and look at the animals.  We usually spend about 20 minutes there and leave knowing that we can always come back tomorrow to visit.  This one Monday we went into the store and stopped at the cats to say hi and make meowing sounds to them.  There had to be about 5 cats in various colors and ages including a little kitten that had obviously hit the catnip a little too much.  Leah was the cutest and nicest one there.  She just wanted us to love on her through the cage and her fur was soooooo soft!  She was a little over a year old and the paper said that she doesn't like to be with other animals.  Me neither!

Her Favorite Thing To Do - Sleep!
Anyhow, the Bug started her typical pleading for us to get an animal and I said no as usual.  You see, Taterbug is scared of dust bunnies so I knew she would freak out and die if we brought an animal into the house.  Fish are a big step for her!  After telling her no, no, no a thousand times, I told her that we couldn't have an animal anyway because of the motion detectors on our home security system.  She said I needed to call "the man" to find out if there was a way to turn them off.  I said fine, I will tomorrow.

Next day, she was still harping on getting Leah and demanded once again that I call "the man" to find out about the alarms.  I did the typical scare tactics by saying that if we got Leah she would be responsible for cleaning the litter box and feeding her each day.  Of course the answer was a big, "YES!"

So that kitty really was so cute and I really was starting to wiggle once I got to the office.  I forgot all about calling "the man" about the alarm but I did call Petco to see if Leah was still available.  I spoke to a really nice lady and she said that she was available but that she had been there for awhile and she was afraid that the LASPCA would take her back.  You see she was a rescue that Petco houses for the humane society.  I didn't know that and that helped make my decision a little easier.  I didn't want to just buy a pet from the pet store.  I figured that if we were going to get one, I wanted it to be a rescue.  Come to find out, that is all their dogs and cats.  Cool.  Best part was she was all fixed and had a microchip.  Needless to say I asked the lady if it was possible to hold her until I could come that evening to pick her up.  She said most definitely.

First Night Home
So after a quick run to Walmart at lunch to buy a carrier, I go and get the Bug from her dad and the first thing she asks me is if I call "the man."  First, who the heck is "the man" she keeps talking about?!?!?  I was honest and told her that no, I forgot and needless to say, she starts a major meltdown.  I'm talking snot bubbles, tears streaming, face red meltdown.  I told her that we would have to wait a few days and she starts crying that Leah will go to another family if we don't get her.  I ask her if she would like to go visit her, all the while knowing that the carrier is in the back of the SUV and she hasn't seen it.  She said yes so we drive up to Petco and I ask her if she could carry something for me.  I open up the back of the SUV and hand her the carrier.  She looks at it funny, trying to figure out what it is when all of a sudden I see the light bulb go off and I go from being the worst mother on earth to the rock star that I am!
Stinky Kitty

Skip forward a few months and Leah has become my other daughter.  Not sure how we lived without her but glad to have her.  It took a couple of weeks before Taterbug worked up the courage to hold her and now they are best buds.

Couple problem we had at first was that the food they said to give her gave her some serious gas and she smelled awful!  I switched her food and it is much better now.  She is finally getting over her urge to wake me at 3a.m. by meowing into my face.  She does, however, love to invade your personal space and sit directly on your chest if you are laying down.  And those little paws can grind into your chest so hard that it makes you wonder how on earth something so small can hurt so much. 

Her favorite thing to do is sleep and her favorite toy is my slipper.  I swear that girl has a foot fetish because she loves sticking her face into shoes.  My girls are best friends and I love them dearly.  Glad to have my second daughter to keep me company when the Bug is away.

Love ya,
Kristen

PS: Can't wait to come up with a great costume for Halloween!  NOT!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Life's a Bench and then You Sit On It!

Hi, ya, world!  Hope you all survived Monday and are rearing to go for a terrific Tuesday.  Yeah, doing much better today then this time yesterday.  Actually woke up on time and even managed to shave my legs for the first time since the beach trip, where they got scorched and blistered.  Looking good and the redness is disappearing.

So, as promised yesterday, I will share with you a craft or home improvement addition I recently completed for the Taterbug's birthday luau.  As I mentioned previously, I always do a luau theme and try to add something new each year.  Last year it was the house, pool and trampoline.  This year was a much smaller addition, a cinder block bench with cushions.

The (Almost) Finished Product
 What you will need to make the bench:
  • 24 - 8" x 16" Cinder Blocks
  • 4 - 1" x 6' Boards
  • 3 Tubes of Liquid Nails for Tile, Cement and Wood Applications
  • 2 - 24" x 16" Tiles
  • Measuring Tape
  • 3 - 12" x 12" Slate Tiles cut into 2-up rows (Optional)
  • 2 Quarts of Paint (Optional)
  • Paint Brushes (Optional)

It was really easy and an inexpensive piece of furniture to add under the carport.  I even drew some plans to help figure out what all I needed to get started.  Here you go with step by step instructions:

Step 1: Paint your cinder blocks and boards and let dry completely.  I didn't do this first and learned it is a heck of a lot easier to paint them before assembling unless you are a contortionist and enjoy sweating and bending.  I used a good semi-gloss paint and put on 3 coats because it really sucked up the paint into the grooves of the blocks.

Step 2: Measure the space where you want the bench to go.  The finished bench is approximately 8'8" in length so you need a good open spot to build this bench.  I centered mine under two windows that look out onto my carport from my kitchen.  If you are planning to put this on grass or dirt, make sure your location is as level as possible so that your structure is stable.  Because we are not putting mortar between the blocks, they could technically move as the ground shifts.  Keep this in mind when scoping out your area.

Step 3:  Think Lego's only heavier and not as easy to move!  That's right, start stacking your blocks starting with the base set of 4 blocks on the bottom.  These are represented above in row 1 of the diagram.  Once they are in place, put a second set of 4 blocks on top but make sure that your seams don't match up.  We want to do a criss-cross pattern, just like you do when building a wall with Lego's.  Once these look right, take off the top layer and squirt a generous helping of liquid nails onto all the tops of the bottom row of blocks being careful not to get any on the outside.  We want this to be hidden.  Now, re-add in your second layer.

Sorry, No Progress Pics

Step 4:  Next you will use only 3 blocks as represented in row 2 above.  Once you have your pattern right, remove the 3 blocks and add your liquid nails and replace the 3 blocks on both ends.  Almost done!

Step 5:  To help support the boards, place 2 blocks in the center between your to bases.  They won't entirely hold all the boards but will have a portion of each one.  Hope that make sense.

Step 6:  Add your 4 wooden boards to your base. I made sure that the first and the last board were all the way on the end and then added the middle boards, leaving a slight gap so that dirt and water could run off. Once these were in the correct place, I took them off, one at a time, and added liquid nails to attached them to the block bases and support.  Make sure you glue the one in the back first and work your way out or else you will get glue all over you.  (Voice of experience speaking!).  When this is all done, put something heavy evenly across on top of the boards so that they can dry overnight and not popup.  I put a bunch of umbrella chairs on them to hold them down.  If you have some leftover blocks, that would work great.

See the Lego pattern?
Step 7:  Now is the time to get creative.  I added two cap tiles to the two bases using liquid nails to give it a more finished touch.  I lucked up and found these on-line at Lowe's and had them shipped to the store for pick-up.  They also come in all kinds of colors.  I originally planned to use individual tiles but then I would have had to worry about grouting it and that was just a heck of a lot more work then I planned to do!  These babies were less then $2 each and in one solid piece of tile.  I also wanted a way to tie in the green bases with the pink boards and red brick of the house.  I found these slate tiles at Lowe's as well and cut them into 2" strips.  Add a little liquid nails and stick to the bottoms and you have a great accent piece.  It took 3 - 12" square tiles at about $2.50 each to do the accents.
Lessons Learned:
  1. Paint the blocks first
  2. Wear gloves when handling unpainted blocks or else you will get a blister on your thumb
  3. Bench will safely hold 4 adults and won't break or cause any issues
  4. You can make a shorter bench by using only 4' boards instead of 6'.  This puppy is really big but not overwhelming.
  5. Ask around, someone may have some cinder blocks they are willing to give to you or sell to you for less then you can buy at Lowe's or Home Depot
TOTAL COST:  $56!

So you may have noticed my very colorful cushions on the bench.  After building it I realized that it was pretty deep and the brick wall was not comfortable.  I also wanted something that could get wet and not disintegrate the moment it did.  I started pricing 6' chaise lounge cushions and they were either too small (56"), too thin (1") or too expensive ($50+).  What is a girl to do?  Improvise!


What you will need to make the cushions:
  • 2 Large Beach Towels or Bath Towels
  • 3 Standard Pillows or 2 King Pillows
  • 4 Hand Towels
  • 2 Travel Pillows
  • Ribbons
  • Scissors
Step 1: Take your ribbon and cut it into 6" strips that will be used to bind the towels together.  You need quite a lot of these so recruit your helper(s) to do the cutting while you do step 2.  I was lucky enough to have the ribbon left over from another project so it cost me nothing.

Step 2:  Take 2 hand towels and fold them in half and then in half again and then in half again.  This will give you equal points to cut slits 1" from the ends.  Once they are both cut, match up the corners and start tying the two together.  When 3 sides are bonded to together, add your travel pillow and close up the remaining holes of the opening.  Kmart had a great sale on pillows and towels around this time so I was able to get them pretty cheap.
Hand Towel Showing Where to Cut

Step 3:  Do the same thing you did for the hand towels but now do for beach towel.  You will need to adjust where the holes are based on your pillows and towel size.  Again, Kmart had a sale and these guys were only $8.  Because I bought such a big towel, it was too large for the pillows.  I went ahead and rolled the towel before I tied it.  This gave it a really nice look and I was so glad I did it!  After you have added in the first pillow, cut 2 holes in the center near the end of the pillow so that you can keep it from shifting.  Add the next pillow and then holes again.  Finally, add in the last pillow and finish off the opening.
Here is the Finished Products After Surviving the Party
Lessons Learned:
  1. Sharp scissors are a must
  2. When you think you have enough ribbon cut, cut more
  3. Leave the plastic on the pillows so that you won't have to worry if they get wet since they are outdoors
  4. By using ribbon and not sewing the towels together, you can remove the towels and throw them into the washer if cleaning is needed.
TOTAL COST:  $30!

Okay, not as cheap as it could have been.  I did have some pillows in the house I could have used but I wanted the plastic over them to protect them.  I also could have used some towels I already had but these were so darn cute and they tied all the colors together.

I hope this gives your some ideas to noodle around and maybe modify for your own use.  Please drop me a line or send me pictures of what you came up with.

Love ya,
Kristen

Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy Monday (NOT!)

Hello, world!  Happy Monday or as I like to call it, Happy "got to get up and go to work but I don't want to but have to so I don't live in a cardboard box under the interstate" day!  

Office Space is a great movie, See it if you haven't already!

Plus, in typical Monday fashion, my alarm went off at 6:30am as usual and I hit the snooze button and seven minutes later, I apparently hit the off button and didn't wake up until 7:15am.  Needless to say the Bug and I had to put it in high gear in order to get to work and camp by 8am.
 
We had a good weekend that started with bowling with my co-workers Friday night at a local icon, Rockin' Bowl 

The Master Bowler!

Then on Saturday, we did absolutely nothing until we went to church then the Taterbug had her first sleep away at a non-relative's house.  She said it was fun but she likes it better when everyone stays at her house.  I like it best when she is with me, too!  I was kind of lonely without her hanging around watching the Disney channel.

Sunday brought the Taterbug home and with her the family she stayed with on Saturday.  They swam in and out of the rain, ate popsicles and then we crashed after they left.  Shortly afterwards, my other child, Leah, began sneezing and sneezing and sneezing.  She is not very dainty when she does it and it sound so funny.  I tried to offer her a tissue but she just looked at me kind of funny.  Anyone know how to stop her from sneezing?

My Girls: Taterbug and Leah
I looked it up on-line to see why a cat would sneeze and it really freaked me out.  Now I'm worried that she has some crazy disease!  I had this one friend when I worked in Cherokee, NC that swore by what webMD told her.  This one time she would plugged in all her symptoms and then come to work hysterical because webMD told her she had testicular cancer.  After explaining that she didn't have testicals, she finally agreed that she would live but she didn't seem very convinced.

I know the title of this blog is "To Craft is to Live" and I haven't put too many crafting ideas on this site yet but I promise, I will do it tomorrow.  I will do my best to not bore you with all my random posts and actually make it a productive site.  Until then, keep on counting the minutes until Monday is over and I hope your week is good!  Also, feel free to leave a comment or just say hey.  We are, afterall, friends by now!

Love ya,
Kristen

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sad Day To Lose an Angel

Hi, ya, world!  What's new with you on this pretty Friday?  I am back to work after my short but sweet vacation and it feels like the day is dragging by one minute at a time.
Sweet Miss Ann

Unfortunately, yesterday was kind of sad for me.  Background: I am the middle child of three with a 5 year older sister and a 9 year younger brother.  I call him "Baby Jesus" because my mother thinks he can walk on water!  Our dad is the oldest of three boys and his middle brother died prematurely in 2003.  His wife had an older sister that we buried yesterday.  Her name was Miss Ann and I have so many fond memories from childhood that involve her.

Throw Me Somethin' Mista!
She never married and had tons of medical problems from birth but she never let that stop her.  She mothered all us kids and then when we had kids, she did the same to them.  Miss Ann was the one to show us the best way to catch beads at Mardi Gras parades and how not to get run over by the floats.  As we got older, we had to watch out for her to make sure she wasn't the one to get run over!  She loved her some Mardi Gras!

My Aunt's parents had a big above ground pool and from Memorial Day to Labor Day, we would be over there almost every weekend.  Miss Ann lived in the apartment in the backyard that they built for her.  After we would go swimming we had to line up to have her pour rubbing alcohol into our ears but she always said that you had to prime the ear first so the alcohol can get in there well.  To this day, I do the same thing to the Bug after she goes swimming!
Prime the Ear First!

Miss Ann never learned to drive and worked for over 30years for the Department of Health and Human Resources downtown.  She couldn't hear well and had hearing aids from birth but if you said something that you shouldn't have like a cuss word or something, she could always hear just fine.

She was one of those angels on earth in my opinion and I know I am better for having had her in my life.  I know she is up in heaven right now mothering all of our loved ones that have gone on before her and making sure that they are lined up just right to catch the best beads and doubloons that are thrown from the big parade in the sky.

Love ya and miss ya, Miss Ann.  Give my love to Uncle Ronnie, Nana, Pawpaw, Miss Lorraine and Mr. Frank.  Save some beads for us!

Love ya,
Kristen

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Life's a Beach!

Hello, world!  Hope you are doing well.  I am happy to say that we had a marvelous trip to Pensacola Beach, Florida and I am ready to face life newly refreshed and rejuvenated.
Island Princess

Putt-Putt Queen
Our drive to the beach was full of rain but as soon as we hit the Florida line, the sun came out and dried off the roads.  Luckily, we made good time and still had some daylight left when we arrived.  The first order of business was to change clothes and hit the mini-golf next door.  Let's just say that neither of us will give Tiger a run for his money but we had a blast and met some people from Ohio that were staying in Gulf Shores.

After a quick 18 holes, we decided to hit the arcade where the Bug won her first toy in a claw game EVER!  How pumped were we?  Very!  She is now the proud owner of a pretty pink bear.

Next we headed over to Crab's for dinner on the beach.  The food was delish and the photo ops were plentiful.  There is nothing better than sticking your toes in the sane as you eat fresh seafood on the beach.

Extra Temples, please!
Taterbug found her new favorite drink, the Shirley Temple with extra Temples, please.  By far, Crab's had the best one on the trip and their presentation was awesome!

Highlights from the trip were as follows:

1.  Ate every meal with our toes in the sand and on the beach
2.  Met some new friends from Missouri
3.  Snuggled each night with the Taterbug at my side
4.  Laughed and smiled all the time
5.  Made some new memories that we will cherish for a long time to come!

I hope each of you has the opportunity to get away this summer and recharge your batteries like we did this past week.  It wasn't long, just 3 days and 2 nights but it made a world of difference to both of us.  So get out there, even if it is just for the night.  Plan a stay-cation in your hometown if nothing else.  Be a tourist in the next town over.  Go to the movies.  Camp out in your backyard.  Visit a relative you haven't seen in a long time.  Call a friend over for dinner.  Unplug or turn off your phone.  Just do something to make you relax and forget about reality.  Believe me, it is so worth it!

Chillaxin' at the pool!

Love ya,
Kristen

Monday, July 8, 2013

Golden Birthday!

Hello, world!  Miss me?  Can you believe that it has been 5 days since last we spoke?  I know, I know.  I have been a cleaning fool these last few days in preparation of the Taterbug’s birthday party yesterday.  Plus, the 4th of July fell in there as well so we had to get our firecracker on.

First off I wanted to say a happy 8th birthday to my Taterbug.  I can’t believe she is 8 already.  She was so excited that today was here golden birthday.  What is a golden birthday?  That is when you turn the age of the numeral you were born.  For example, she turned 8 today on July 8th.  My birthday is November 15th so I had my golden birthday when I turned 15.  My friend has a little boy who just turned 1 in October and he has to wait until his 31st birthday to celebrate his golden birthday.

Want to know a little about the party yesterday?  Great, cause I planned to tell you one way or another.  I mailed out the invites 2½ weeks ago and asked that the attendees RSVP just like always.  Since her birthday is so close to the 4th of July, a lot of people are usually out of town and can’t make it.  I received 4 RSVP’s so figured I would have about 12 kids show up.  Was I wrong!  She had 24 kids come to the party and their parents.  Needless to say, there were quite a few people roaming around my yard, carport, house, driveway, pool and trampoline.  I swear, it looked like one of those clown cars with the people piling out.

The word has gotten out about my world-famous rum punch and all the parents that were first time attenders kept saying that they heard about how good the punch was.  Guess I know a few things about rum punch!  Here is the recipe and feel free to modify as needed and make it your own:

            2 cups Malibu Coconut rum or your favorite coconut flavored rum
            1 cup Bacardi Select or your favorite dark rum
            1 cup of Meyer’s Dark Rum or another of your favorite dark rums
            1 gallon of Orange Juice
            1 large can of Pineapple Juice
            1 quart of Cranberry Juice
            1 quart of Cranberry Juice poured into Solo cups and frozen
            ½ bottle of Grenadine Syrup

Freeze cranberry juice into 5 cups and use to keep punch cold during party. By freezing the juice you don’t dilute the good stuff by using ice.  You can also freeze it in a Jell-O mold and add fresh fruits or berries to the mold to make it pretty!  Next pour all the other ingredients together and enjoy.  I use a large lemonade dispenser with a spout to serve this out of but I have use a champagne fountain before and it worked well.  The only suggestion I would give if using the fountain is use OJ with little to no pulp or else it will be a bear to clean up when it is empty.  Also, if going this route, no need to freeze the cranberry juice, just add it into the mix.  Serves quite a few drinkers especially on a hot July day!

I think everyone had a good time and I know the Bug did because she kept saying thank you over and over to me.  Once everyone left and we were able to just relax in our jammies, she took the time to go through her loot and did she score!  She got some great outfits, PJs, toys, art supplies, jewelry and a Jerky Gun. 

“A jerky gun?” you ask.  Yep, my girl loves her some jerky!  One day when we were eating breakfast at our favorite neighborhood joint, a guy sitting next to us was bragging about his new jerky gun.  This piped the Bug’s interest because she LOVES jerky!  The thought of making her own jerky at home was more than she could imagine.  So much so she started having a conversation with this guy about the type of jerky he makes and how long it takes and how good it tastes, etc.  You get the picture.

Skip ahead about 3 months and surprise! She is now the proud owner of her own Jerky Gun!  The problem is that when she opened it, she didn’t remember the whole jerky discussion with the guy and didn’t react as excitedly as I figured she would.  Later, after everyone left, I asked her why she didn’t like it and she said that she was afraid of people thinking it was a boy thing and not a girl thing.

Huh?  What in the world is she talking about?  I guess when you are turning 8; it is all about being a pre-teen girl and not being associated with anything babyish or boyish.  In fact, when we went to Baton Rouge last weekend, she was totally embarrassed to be seen with her Disney Princess suitcase and made me carry it because she was too old for it.  She even said that she was old enough to have an adult suitcase and would like to have purple poka-dots on it if at all possible.  Needless to say, I was scurrying around looking for a suitcase for her birthday and I found this Gloria Vanderbilt set at Kmart.  She loved it, THANK GOD!

To finish off her birthday extravaganza, we are heading out to Pensacola, Florida for a few days in the sun.  Hopefully the rain will stay away and we will get to enjoy the pool and beach.  If not, as long as I am with my Bug, we will have a good time.

I will write about our adventures when I get back on Thursday.  Until then, be good and each time you sip a fruity drink….think of me!

Love ya,
Kristen

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Why Not Pie?

Hello, world!  How are you this Wednesday morning?  I am just peachy because it is my Friday and we are getting off of work at 3pm today in honor of the 4th of July holiday tomorrow.

I love holidays like the 4th of July because there is no expectation of gifts, both given and received, no mandatory dressing up nor any expectations of doing anything but relaxing and eating.  My ultimate favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because it is the epitome of eating and lazyness!  Plus, it is the kick-off to pie season.  Yes, you read that right...pie season!

I am a lover of all things sweet but especially pie.  My grandmother didn't cook much because my grandfather was king of the kitchen.  He was a little Cajun man from the small town of Moreauville, LA and loved to cook.  He won my heart the first time he made me stuffed mushrooms.  He had me at mushrooms.  Anyway, I digress.

My grandmother could make pies of any persuasion and her crust was extra flaky.  I found out that I was allergic to lemons my freshmen year of collage and I was devastated because I loved her lemon meringue pie and knew the days of eating it were over.  What did she do?  She made me a meringue pie cause that was the part I loved the best.  Ever had one?  DELISH!  Bake a pie crust, fill it with egg whites and bake again.  Heaven I tell ya!

Me and Nana in RI 1973

I always said that I should petition congress to make a pie appreciation holiday where everyone was required to eat pie in non-pie months.  Why is it that people only eat pie in November and December?  Why not in April or July?  Why is the poor pie neglected and pushed to the side so that other sweets can have their day on the table?  I think if we could get all the scientists to back us then we would have it made.  You know, a kind of Pi loves Pie kind of a holiday!  Let's do it, folks...who's with me?


Okay, I have calmed down a little and will eat a pie for dinner tonight but unfortunately it won't taste as good as the ones my Nana used to make.  I can't make the crusts as good as her so I have to use store bought.  My decorations are not as cool or the rims are not as pinched but I can't not think of her each time I have a slice of pie.

Unfortunately, I lost her when I was pregnant with the Taterbug back in 2005 and I lost my grandfather in 1998.  I think of them often and wish they were here to see how big and smart the Bug is but I also would love some stuffed mushrooms with a side of meringue pie.

Love ya, Nana and Paw-Paw!

Love ya,
Kristen