Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow Day

In case you live under a rock, or do not watch the weather channel as fervently as Caroline does, OR live Hawaii (and in that case, I hate you) OR in another country (?), snow has blanketed much of the US this weekend.
We welcomed the white stuff yesterday, and it is still at the pretty, sparkling, unblemished stage. We're still in the snow coma, if you will. But as you know, beauty is fleeting; mounds of dirty, icy snow are bound to be shoved up against the curbs sooner, rather than later.

I did not take any pictures to document the snow fall yesterday. Honestly, I was in sort of a mood and not particularly eager to whip out my camera. If you're curious, our snowy day was a lot like this day, with a few exceptions. It didn't snow nearly as much, thankfully, and we had soup for dinner instead of chicken and dumplings. Oh, and there wasn't any biscotti or coffee. In fact, I think I actually drank a diet Coke yesterday. By the space heater, of course.

Honestly, it was a long and boring day. I suppose it is safe to say that my overall disposition yesterday had something to do with that fact.

I did watch an episode of the Gilmore Girls (on Soap Net?!), which I found delightful. Sometimes I have to remind myself that Stars Hollow isn't a real place. Although, it's a nice thought, isn't it?
Our cookie cutter townhouse subdivision isn't nearly as charming, but it'll have to do, I suppose.
Sure, Rory slept with her married ex-boyfriend, but it's Stars Hollow. It's quaint. And charming. And there's Luke.

What more could you possibly want?

I suspect today will be a lot like yesterday in the excitement category. I haven't any desire to try and navigate through the icy, unplowed roads. I sure hope the roads are passable tomorrow, because I don't want to miss gym time.

As you can see, I'm as chipper as ever.
Frigid temperatures and an icy front porch will do that to you.

Friday, January 29, 2010

How Roasted Carrots and a Storm Door Made Alison Lose It

I saw this towel in an Amish shop, in Intercourse, PA, while on vacation this summer.
I took a picture because it struck me as both funny and (sad but) true. The sentiment on the towel pretty much sums up motherhood, if you ask me.

If you follow me on Twitter, you would have noticed a series of tweets yesterday that pointed toward the fact that I was having a less than enjoyable afternoon.

It went something like this:

Words no mom wants to hear: "Hey mom, we're going to carve sticks; can I have a butter knife?" Um, no.

and then

Uh oh, I'm starting to get cranky.

This parenting thing wouldn't be so bad, except for the part where you have to deal with kids.

I stopped with this tweet:

My kid is alright; it's her group of wild cohorts that get me all bunched up.

If I had not been summoned to respond to a wild group of raucous children, I probably would have continued to tweet about my bad mood, but, I was torn away from the computer.

Did I mention the raucous children?

You see, Caroline and her girl friends are a relatively tame bunch. Sure they wrestle every now and then, and fight over trivial things, but for the most part, they're pretty tame. They're loud, but not physically detrimental to themselves or our home. Usually.
We have a boy neighbor, Jason, who plays with the girls; he's a nice kid, polite and friendly, but when we comes in the house the girls get riled up and chaos ensues.

Yesterday was no different.

I heard a loud noise near the front door and rushed up to see what happened. Evidently, my child was racing out the door at warped speed and gave the storm door more of a generous shove than she should have. The bottom part that attaches to the door frame has come loose. The wood was split already, but now it's REALLY split and the screw is stripped.
Guess a call to our local handyman is now in order.

My response to the door situation will not go down in history as one of my finest moments. I got mad, Caroline cried, blame was thrown around and I got mad some more. I'm pretty sure the words "why don't you go ruin someone else's house" slipped through my lips.

The kids apologized for being rowdy and we went on.

I sort of got over the door thing, but my bad mood continued over roasted carrots.
Yep, roasted carrots.
Usually roasted carrots bring delight to our house in the form of taste, aroma and overall general satisfaction. All three of us enjoy roasted carrots.

So does Caroline's friend, Sarah.

After the door being ripped from the frame incident, the girls (and Jason) redirected their attention to the kitchen and saw through the oven door that carrots were roasting away. Giddy with excitement, they asked when the carrots would be done and talked about how excited they were that they would be able to eat roasted carrots hot from the oven.

Normally, I don't mind sharing our food with Caroline's friends. Especially carrots. However, I wasn't in a good mood yesterday AND I was running low on carrots, so the amount in the oven was just enough for the three of us.
I was non-committal towards Sarah on the roasted carrot subject, because I didn't want to get her hopes up.

I really wanted them to get off the kitchen floor where they had perched themselves in front of the oven. I really wanted them to move on to other things, preferably of the non-house-destroying kind, but they were just way too excited about carrots.
Finally, I shooed them away because I needed to finish my dinner preparations and it's hard to move around three bodies glued to the floor, licking their lips in roasted carrot anticipation.

At this time, Craig came home from work. We talked about the door and I grumbled a bit about the carrots, the kids (who were now back in the kitchen) and my overall displeasure with how the day was going.

I felt stupid for being angry and overly possessive of my roasted carrots, but for some reason, I just did not want Sarah to have any of our carrots. I mean, really, how childish is that?
It wasn't because I didn't want her to eat veggies. Any other day of the week, I would have been more than happy to share. I think I was just really, really annoyed with the door incident and not in the mood to be broken from it. Also, as happy as I am that the kids feel welcome and comfortable here, sometimes I think they get TOO comfortable and perhaps that was what was really bugging me.

I'm glad they feel welcome, comfortable and safe here; I honestly, really and truly do not want that to change.
I suppose I just don't want them so comfortable that they feel as if it's okay to open my oven while I have things cooking, stir the stuff in the pots on the stove, grab candy from the candy jar without asking, etc....

This post really doesn't have much of a point, other than to allow me to vent for a few minutes.
It's a teacher work day today (and Monday) so we're geared up for a long weekend. Snow is expected to come our way tomorrow, which is a welcomed distraction for the kids. Hopefully that will keep them out of my hair and away from my carrots!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Apologies in Advance

because this post is going to be utterly ridiculous.

It's been a pleasant day so far; I woke up a bit earlier than usual to get goodies together for Craig to bring to work. Yesterday I planned on baking butterscotch cream cheese swirl bars (ha, I typed butters crotch!) and my favorite double chocolate chunk cookies (with pb and milk chocolate chips instead of the chunks). After I had the goodies prepared (for the most part), Craig called, informing me that it was "birthday celebration day" at their work Thursday; that's when they celebrate all the birthdays throughout the month. Apparently someone was going to bring bakery cupcakes in, but Craig told them that I had planned on baking some goodies. He called to see if I could make extra. Why should his fine co workers be subjected to inferior bakery products when they have ME to prepare fresh, home baked goodies.
At the time of Craig's call, my goodies were in various stages of preparation and my baking pantry supplies are quite limited, so I said I couldn't make more of what I was planning, but I could scrounge through my ingredients and make an extra item. Enter double chocolate chess bars.

I've been trying to whittle down my baking items stash, which at one time took up an awful lot of pantry shelf space, since I won't be baking much for the next six months or so. Besides the flour and sugar staples, I'm down to half a bag of white chocolate chips, a bag of caramels, a couple ounces of unsweetened chocolate and a brownie mix.
Oh and a random can of cherry pie filling, which puzzles me. I have NO idea why I bought it.
I don't even like cherry pie filling.

This is where it gets ridiculous.

I took a picture of my oatmeal this morning.

I read a lot of food/healthy living blogs and many of the blog authors eat oatmeal for breakfast quite regularly. Since they operate food blogs, they take pictures of these epic oatmeal creations they concoct and post them on their blogs. I guess I felt like being a food blogger this morning because, for no apparent reason, I took a picture of my bowl.

It's oatmeal, mixed with chia seeds (because I want a green grass-like substance to grow in my belly) topped with a sliced banana, some granola and a drizzle of maple syrup. It was really very tasty.
In retrospect, I should have used a prettier bowl, but I didn't think about snapping a picture until after it was made.

Thursday is hooky-from-the-gym-day. Instead, I spend three hours at Caroline's school performing a variety of tasks: stuffing the Thursday folders, helping in the classroom with reading and writing, doing busy work for the teacher and last, but not least, eating lunch with Caroline.

I like that I'm available to help and I really do enjoy it. Especially since it really does mean a lot to Caroline and you're only a cool mom for so long before you suddenly become a major embarrassment to your child. I honestly prefer to do busy work, like making copies, cutting things, taping work to the wall. I excel at busy work. However, I have trouble with the paper cutter; I think it's made for lefties.

I must admit that on some Thursday mornings, my attitude isn't as sunny as it should be.

I dislike helping with "guiding reading" time because the kids don't listen to me and are generally interested in everything else BUT doing what the teacher asked of us.

Sometimes the kids leave me feeling like pounding my head.

Sometimes they leave me crying "whhhyyy!?!" As in, "why won't you sit still and read?!?"

And other times they are complete angels and cooperate fully, leaving me feeling guilty for not wanting to go in the first place.

Um, don't have to say anything. I already know what you're thinking.




Wednesday, January 27, 2010

There's a Lot of Empty Space Between My Ears

Just the other day, after reading a thoughtful and challenging blog post, written by someone with mondo skills and a way with words that I'll never have, I began to feel like even more of a space cadet than normal.

Vapid. Flat. One dimensional.

Deep down, I know I'm a reasonably intelligent person; I get LOTS of questions on Jeopardy right, and not just the categories about entertainment and food. I watch the news, I'm well informed on political issues and am a decent conversationalist. I think a lot, but I fear that I haven't quite mastered the art of convincingly articulating my thoughts.

Maybe I need a speech writer and a Teleprompter.

I know that as I've matured, I've learned much. Particularly life lessons, which are far more valuable than knowing what a dangling participle is or how to splice an atom.

It just seems that when I read other blogs and am enamored, challenged and inspired by what the author has written, especially those authors that are up to 10 years younger than me, I start feeling vapid. I shouldn't compare, I know.
Perhaps I should swap out my culinary mystery books and hours spent reading snarky reality tv commentary in favor of learnin' books.

I know our self worth shouldn't be wrapped up in our jobs, degrees or money, or the lack thereof, but it's hard not to feel like a lump when, sort of are a lump.

Eh, maybe I'm just hitting a dry spell; sometime soon I hope to have something profound to say. Although, I highly doubt that any one expects the "Neurotic Housewife" to be all that profound. Which, is a huge relief because I'm doubtful that I'll ever be anything more than a neurotic, gym loving, compulsive handwashing, baking, control freak.

So, now that I've reiterated my tendencies toward spaciness and other various neurosis, let me tell you what an air head I've been lately.

Because I'm sure you're all waiting with baited breath.

Yesterday I confessed to my kitchen mishaps, often due to the fact that I'm sort of, um, spacey. It's safe to say that my spaciness is not limited to the kitchen.

Most unfortunately.

A few weeks ago, Craig and I had a conversation about his TSP account, which is like the governments version of a 401k. He lost his password and has been waiting for a letter in the mail so that he could reset the password. Evidently he had ordered this piece of paper many times, but I mistook it for junk mail and threw it away. After this conversation, he said he was going to order the paper one more time and I firmly committed myself to retrieving that envelope from the mailbox once it arrived.
Last Wednesday, the envelope arrived. I said to myself, "hold on to this and give it to Craig this evening."
I held on to it while I walked in the house and then set the envelope and the pile of accompanying junk mail on the floor and tended to what ever Caroline was squawking about at the time. Later, I returned to the junk mail pile (the one with the TSP envelope hidden in the mix) and THREW IT ALL AWAY! AGAIN!
Clearly, I disdain clutter and excess paper in the form of junk mail. It took me two days to figure my error out. On Friday I gasped in horror, realizing the error of my ways. I'll dig it out of the garbage, I thought to myself. Only, Friday is trash day and by then, the envelope was long gone.
I called Craig, told him the said tale of my air headedness. He laughed. And agreed to order another envelope.
This time I promise not to throw it away.

No. Really. I won't.

And then there is my gas bill snafu and the first late fee I've ever accrued.

A word to the wise: when the numbers in your checkbook register check out, especially after triple checking with a calculator, but the bank says you have more money than your records say you do, check to see if your gas bill payment went through.

Trust me.

I know of what I speak.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Here's a Tip

You know those lights on your oven range, the ones with the word "HOT" right next to them, the ones that light up when your cook top is hot?

They might look something like this:

You really should pay attention to those lights. If you don't, you might find yourself in the unlucky situation I found myself in last night. In case you were wondering, plastic grocery bags are not impervious to the heat of a flat cook top.

Here's a close up.

Yep. Melted plastic.

I TOTALLY forgot that I had just removed a hot pot from the stove when I placed the bag on the cook top. You might be wondering why I had a plastic bag on the cook top in the first place. Well, I'll get to that; it's a long winding story, filled with many a detail, as most of my stories are.

First, I'd like to say that thanks to this yellow rubber scraper thingie

Some of this stuff

and some elbow grease, mixed with a few unsavory words muttered under my breath, once shiny and now sticky, yucky black cook top was restored to its natural luster.

Yesterday turned out to be one of those days in which I would have been better off staying out of the kitchen and ordering a pizza instead.

I'm a good cook; I'm an excellent baker. However, I'm also prone to some major ditzy kitchen moments. Not everything I do in that kitchen of mine comes out picture perfect and smelling like roses. You don't believe me, well, here's a list of some of my (documented) bone headed kitchen oopsies.

1. I burned the counter tops when I picked up a smoking pan, bare handed, and plopped it down on the counter. It was one of those moments where you're presented with a choice: save your hand or save your counter top. I chose my hand and now have a large cutting board strategically placed to cover the little bubbles in the counter top laminate.

Note to self: when you own your own home, get granite.

2. I set the smoke alarm off. Frequently.

3. I break blenders. Frequently.

4. Sometimes my cakes are ugly.

5. I forgot the laws of science and broke a hot dish by pouring cold water in it.

6. Oven spills and gnarled up spatulas

Obviously I'm not immune to kitchen disasters.

I set out yesterday to fix three things: dark chocolate truffle cheesecake with brownie base, cake mix biscotti and some 15 bean soup.

I started out okay; my afternoon of kitchen adventures seemed to be heading in the right direction.

And then my cheesecake cracked. No, it didn't just crack, it rose up and sunk deeply, leaving quite a crater.

It doesn't take a culinary genius to realize that something went terribly awry. Thankfully, this recipe calls for a chocolate drizzle. Drizzle, in my opinion, along with gravy, glaze and powdered sugar can cover a multitude of kitchen errors.

I eventually added a second drizzle of white chocolate for contrast, and to hide some of the gloppiness (see, it really wasn't my day!) but I failed to take a picture.


So, while the brownie base was baking, before the cheesecake layer was added, some of the brownie batter seeped out of the spring form pan, because I forgot to wrap it in foil. Consequently, there was some sort of goo on the oven floor, but I ignored it until I saw a little flicker from the heating element. Something wet came in contact with the heating element, causing some little embers in the oven. I feared a call to the fire department was in my future, but that was a solitary event.

Goopy oven. Cracked cheesecake. Melted plastic.

Oh, yes...the plastic.

So, I made some 15 bean soup for dinner. You buy the bag in the dried beans section, add the seasoning packet and some other ingredients and have a cheap, filling and healthy(ish) dinner. This particular bean mix called for some smoked sausage and chicken to be added. I nixed the chicken and bought some turkey smoked sausage this past Saturday to add to our soup. I cooked the beans until they were almost done, added the seasoning packet as the recipe suggested and added the sliced turkey sausage. AFTER I added the sausage, NOT BEFORE, which would have proven to be quite helpful, I checked the expiration date on the sausage. This was done on a complete whim because I had only bought the sausage two days prior. What was the likelihood that the sausage would already be past it's expiration date. Well, kudos to this date checking whim I had, because the sausage expired on December 21, 2009. Um, I have a sneaking suspicion that the person in charge of the smoked sausage area at the commissary hasn't been doing his or her job to his or her fullest potential.

It expired over a month ago! A month!

Normally I check expiration dates faithfully. I must have been in a hurry on Saturday to have over looked such an important step. Once I figured out the horror of potentially poisonous meat, I extracted it all from the soup. The logical part of my brain told me that the soup was fine to eat, since the possibly infected sausage had been removed. But, you see, the neurotic side of my brain overrules logic. I couldn't get over the fact that meat, 30 days past it's expiration date, had infiltrated my soup, leaving it's toxic by products to mingle with the 15 varieties of beans simmering in my soup pot.

Even if it were fine to eat, I'd more than likely make myself feel sick from worry which would lead to one heck of a case of psychosomatic food poisoning.

Before I threw it all away in a fit of neurotic, food poison-o-phobe craziness, I called Craig. I figured he'd laugh at me and tell me that it was fine. Instead, HE AGREED WITH ME. Hallelujah, I'm rubbing off on him.

Or, perhaps my soup trepidation was warranted?

Craig, my wise and well trained husband, suggested that since we were clearly in doubt, we should indeed throw it out.

We both did not want to subject ourselves to the possibility of food poisoning, real or psychosomatic.

I didn't know how to dispose of the BIG pot of soup because our garbage disposal is um, indisposed, right now. That's another funny story involving Craig's lunch cooler and some loose change. Ha. I'm two faced in the kitchen, like Jerry's girlfriend in the Festivus episode. I either get it absolutely right or horribly wrong. There is no middle ground with me.

The idea to dump the soup into a triple layer of plastic grocery bags seemed like a logical solution. It would have been a great idea, had the cook top I rested the bags on, been cool.

Oh well.

I guess sometimes you really do have to learn the hard way.

Monday, January 25, 2010

So, What Are You Supposed to Say

When you have nothing to say?

Actually, that's not true, I can usually dig deep to find something. The words "pithy" and "succinct" have never been used to describe me. In fact, I wrote an email to a friend regarding her upcoming move to a military post we once called home and it would be fair to say that my email could qualify as a book. I just have so much to say.

That is, however, when I have a topic to talk about.
It's the topic well that runs dry so often.

As it stands, not much is happening around here. I did not accidentally purchase fake (or maybe not) Uggs nor did I have Nyquil induced dreams of George Clooney. I'm actually sitting at my kitchen island, dangling my feet from the chair, wondering what the heck I should say.

I could do a weekend update. However, what happened this weekend isn't exactly update worthy. Unless you like to hear about the trials and tribulations of my forage through the commiscary on a Saturday morning. How they rearranged (dismantled is more like it) the bread aisle and I couldn't find my favorite La Tortilla wraps. Oh,and then there is the captivating account of me and my quivering thighs of steel jelly trudging up and down 150 (or 16 depending on your penchant for accuracy) stairs, dozens of times, to unload all the stuff I bought.
It's hardly captivating. Trust me.

Like I said: uneventful. I did curse in the closet Saturday afternoon because my beloved husband is a slob like no other and I didn't find his pile of sweatpants on the closet floor to be as amusing as another less tightly wound person would. Especially since I lovingly cleared out a dresser drawer for him to stuff his pants in, to, you know, make things easier for him.

I also wasn't that crazy to discover York peppermint patty wrappers on the living room floor, left by my precious offspring and her little accomplice friend. And, while I'm on the gripe train, I should add that the Legos all over the coffee table didn't perk my mood up either. Or the crumbs under the couch.

Craig took Caroline to see "The Tooth Fairy" movie Saturday around noon and evidently they left in hurry, which is the only explanation for the harried state of my beloved homestead.

Throw in a trip to Toys R Us for a gift for a party Caroline attended Sunday afternoon and you have our weekend recap in a nutshell.

I shouldn't feel *too* bad about our lack of excitement because this morning in Body Pump class, the instructor asked if anyone had a fun weekend, one worthy detail sharing, and no one responded. She then said, that we had 4 minutes and 32 seconds (the length of the squat track) to think of something interesting to share. After the torture that is a Body Pump squat track, I still had nothing to share. I was too busy trying to stand up straight and stretch out the knots in my quads. One girl talked about a night club she visited in the Adams Morgan district of DC, but I was born 62, so this didn't exactly pique my interest. Nightclub? Drinks? Going out at dark time? Does. Not. Compute.
Another class participant shared her new found addiction to Facebook. She resisted the pull of social networking for too long and bit the bullet this weekend. Only to find herself glued to the computer for two hours reconnecting with long lost friends.

I use Facebook, but not like many others. I only have 16 friends, which is mildly pathetic, but I would feel so awkward asking people to be my friend when the likeliness that they remember me is pretty low. Honestly, I prefer Twitter. It's faster paced and the 140 character limit is quite a challenge for one so verbose as me.

It's a beautiful day today. Warm, sunny and breezy. Sure I prefer cold and dreary, but sun is good sometimes. I have a few recipes to bake up this afternoon, a dark chocolate truffle cheesecake with a brownie bottom (!) and some more of my favorite cake mix biscotti. Since I'm losing my favorite taste testers pretty soon, I'm cramming in all I can. Craig has a better idea of when he'll be leaving on his "vacation" but it's STILL not official. I can't really blab about it anyway; it would be prudent for us to maintain OPSEC standards. For the uninitiated, OPSEC pretty much means "keep your trap shut and don't blab any details."

That's hard to do on a blog, when you're used to unashamedly airing your dirty laundry for all of the Internet to read.

And with that, I shall conclude this weekend non-update, although, I suppose it did turn itself into a recap of sorts.

And now I'm off to bake a cheesecake.

Life suddenly just got a little better.

Friday, January 22, 2010

One Last Birthday Post

Just one more post, I promise!

Over the years, I've gotten into the habit of taking a bunch of pictures as Caroline devours her birthday cake/cupcake. The tradition didn't really take off until she was 3, but we have fun with it. The pictures have gotten progressively more goofy over the years, and sadly Caroline isn't as cooperative as she used to be, so who knows how long the tradition will continue. I'm not thrilled with this years batch of cake pictures; hopefully next years will turn out better.

We didn't go digital until Caroline was two, so I dug out some prints and scanned the first two, which would explain the poor quality.
You'll also notice that Caroline's first birthday was the only birthday in which she was not very enthusiastic about her cake. Let's face it, the girl loves cake.

Wonder where she got that from?

WARNING: Reader will be subjected to some VERY messy faces. Oh, who am I kidding, my kid always has a messy face. EVEN when I tell her to wash it. Even AFTER she washes it; it's still dirty!!! Obviously, we're having some sort of communication disconnect.









Mmmmm, cake.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Caroline!

Two dozen Funfetti cupcakes (w/extra sprinkles) in the refrigerator, waiting to be shared with classmates tomorrow.

A new bike, hiding in the laundry room, waiting to be ridden by it's new owner.

I know it's cliche, but I still am amazed that this 7 lb 1 oz peanut

is now a Smarty McMathPants

energetic (except when sitting down!)

Lego playing

Webkinz loving

weirdo girl.

Who would have thought that the owner of these hunka chunka legs

would now have these LONG legs,

perfect for a round of hotel bed jumping.

The party is over, but Caroline's actual birthday is today. I was teasing her earlier, saying that she won't officially be 8 until 7:32 pm. She was born at 4:32 pm on the west coast, but since we're on the east coast (and have been since she was 18 months old), we have to factor in the time difference. Caroline is a big fan of numbers, but for some reason, she wasn't as amused by this factoid. ;)
To celebrate Caroline's actual birthday, she is bringing in cupcakes to share with her classmates at lunch and we're going out to dinner this evening.
And we can't forget the presents!

I'm not a particularly sentimental person, but it's hard to not feel at least a little nostalgic when you're celebrating the birthday of your first (and only) child. On the one hand, having a big kid is easy (logistically) and I am finally able to sleep through the night (major plus), but sometimes I'd trade all the sleep in the world to see this little person again.

Happy Birthday Caroline!
We love you!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Boxes Be Gone

I've been holding on to some extra packing boxes from our last move. I am not a pack rat by any stretch of the imagination, but I held on to them because I feared that, being renters, we might find ourselves in a situation which would require us to move on our own, sometime during our three year stay in Virginia. We've been absolutely spoiled by the professional movers the Army supplies us when it's time to change duty stations. Sure they throw your breakables around, break things, leave dents in your walls and dump all of your belongings in a big pile, BUT they deal with all that packing tape, they do all the heavy lifting. The idea of moving on our own is nerve wracking, to say the least.

That first year here, I worried the whole time that we might not be able to continue living here. What if the landlords want to sell this place? What if they want to move back into their house and won't renew our lease? What if they lose this house to foreclosure? The last one is a horrible thought, I know, but these days, you just never know.

After we signed our first 12 month lease, I held on to the boxes, in anticipation (dread is more like it) of a potential move, once the lease was up. Thankfully we signed another lease this summer. And yet I held on to the boxes. I hated looking at them, knowing how much space they were occupying in our garage. But, I kept them, knowing that moving boxes are expensive or hard to secure at a decent (or free) price. As I mentioned last week, it appears that our landlords are more than willing to allow us to rent this house until the end of our stay in Virginia. This is good news all around; we don't have to move and I can finally get rid of the boxes.

Most people aren't burdened by clutter and unnecessary items clogging their space, but I'm not like most people.
As proactive as I am at taming the clutter, I'm far from perfect; I keep more than I should and do allow piles to accumulate, but I really do actively strive to keep it all under control.

I think better when clutter is at bay.

Yes, I'm a nutcase. You don't have to remind me.
It's my mom's fault. No, really. It is.

Just ask her.

In other unrelated news, I went to Wal Mart for vitamins and stumbled upon this shirt for Caroline.

It was only $3!

The material is really soft, which I wouldn't necessarily expect from a three dollar Wal Mart shirt. Hopefully it won't fall apart in the wash!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Great Eight

The cake didn't turn out as neatly as my obsessive self would have liked. The cake, which was very moist (a good thing!) didn't feel like staying together during the icing process, which resulted in lots of crumbs mixed in with the frosting. I guess that's why they call the first layer of frosting the "crumb coat." I got frustrated a few times and contemplated chucking the whole thing, but thanks to some set up time in the refrigerator, I was able to finish. Frosting marshmallows is a messy job and I'm afraid my patience level wasn't high enough yesterday to complete the task as impeccably as I would have liked. The girls liked it; I guess that is all that really matters.

Can't have a party without cheese puffs! The girls also had (unpictured) goldfish crackers, cheese cubes and strawberries. We also did make-your-own pizzas. I cheated and bought the pre made dough because it doesn't require extra flour to roll out like my homemade dough does. No extra flour = no extra mess.

Craft time!


A pillow pet, courtesy of grandma and grandpa.

One of three Webkinz, "Rio" the Portuguese Water Dog. Our neighbor has a real Portuguese Water Dog named Rio and I knew that Caroline would name her Webkinz that, as well. At least she didn't name it "Bo" like the Obama's dog!

She can light her own candle....

but still needs dad to help wipe the schmutz of her face!

A reenacted blow out scene. I missed the first one!

Fun with balloons.

Guarding them tightly.

Crazy girl wielding a push pin.

Grainy picture. Pouty face.
Evidently, it's okay to threaten to pop other people's balloons, but when yours actually pops, it's not so funny anymore. Better to be a popper than a popee.


Goody bags.

The breakfast of champions? Or an honored request of the birthday girl.

America Alison runs on Dunkin. It's undeniable; it's in the Kennedy genes. Although, much to my dad's dismay, I like Starbucks, too. Sorry dad!

The morning after wreckage.




**I'm sorry about the quality of some of the photos, particularly those taken at night. They're so grainy. I read that flash is bad, so I didn't use it. Perhaps I should have?**