Currently {december eighteenth}

This week's themes:
loving, reading, choosing, designing, wondering

Loving:  I am loving that Christmas break is just around the corner!  Instead of getting up at 6:15am, I'll get to sleep until 7am instead.

Reading:  Still reading Interview with the Vampire because I've been knitting and not reading.  And while I've been knitting, I've been watching Call the Midwife on Netflix.  I LOVE THIS SHOW.  How have I not been watching before now?!?!  It's addictive from the very first episode.

Choosing: Choosing to ignore the husband's television choices this week. Apparently the WWE decided to have a big all week long to-do. So that's what has been on my tv. I'm so lucky.

Designing:  I'm always designing something in my head for the house.  Mostly it's things I can't afford to do, but dream a little dream.

Wondering:  ... if we'll get a white Christmas.  We usually don't have much in the way of snow, but it's always nice to see a little dusting on Christmas.

No themes for next week because... duh Christmas!!

Currently link up is hosted by Harvesting Kale and OT & ET.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

I have been on a big cookie baking kick lately.  I made the good ol' stand by peanut butter.  I tried my hand at shortbread for the first time.  I did not like them.  Others said they were fine.

Finally I decided to make some yummy oatmeal cookies.  I opened up my cabinets to grab the ingredients and something caught my eye.  Hmmm...  I wondered if I could change some of the basic ingredients and still get a yummy cookie.  

I could.  And I did.  Now this may have been done before, but I've not seen it anywhere so I present to you...


My secret ingredient?  Instant oatmeal.  Apples & cinnamon flavor.

Ingredients:
Preheat oven to 375F degrees.  Prepare your favorite cookie sheet.  I like to line mine with parchment paper.  Non-stick and easy clean up.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together butter with granulated and brown sugars until combined.  Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to to beat well.  Side note:  I like to make sure my eggs are room temperature when I bake with them.


In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.


Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture.


Mix together the apple & cinnamon packets and the sliced almonds.  


Gradually add to mixture in mixer/bowl.  Side note:  At this point I change to a dough hook, but I could have just used a spoon to mix them in.


Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons about 2 inches apart.  


Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to cooling rack. 


I got about 60-ish cookies from this batch, but of course the amount you get will depend on the size you start with.  I didn't do specific measurements, just winged it.  They are so delicious right out of the oven.  There is almost nothing better than a fresh out of the oven cookie!

Printer friendly version can be found here!

Currently {december eleventh}

Duuuuuudde... how is it already the middle of December?!? Does not compute.

Since I used this week's prompts last week when everyone was down with the sickness, I'm just using some random prompts this week and I'll get back into the regular swing next week!

Listening: Still jamming every chance I get to Christmas music on Pandora. We bought a soundbar last year to go in front of our TV and I can hook my tablet right up to it! It's great.

Eating: Cookies!! I've been making cookies galore the past few days. I even came up with a recipe that I'll be sharing in a couple of days. They're so yummy!!  I'm sure someone else has probably already done this cookie, but I've not seen it so I'm totes gonna say it's mine all mine.

Wearing: Sweats, tshirts, yoga pants, etc. Gotta make room for all those cookies I'm baking (and then eating....).

Feeling: Quite a bit worried actually. Since my husband lost his very good job almost two years ago, we have struggled at Christmas time. Luckily, two of our three kids are old enough to understand. The other is still young and is happy no matter what. It still bothers me though.

Hoping: Is it bad that I am hoping for a bit of a white Christmas? Chances are only around 30%, I think. But still... just a little snow on Christmas then bring on warmer weather!!

Reading: I've started the first book in the Vampire Chronicles, Interview with the Vampire.

Watching: Chibs didn't die. Amen. Do you know how hard it was for me to delete Sons of Anarchy from my DVR schedule?  Even though I watch several other shows, I feel so empty right now.

Next week's themes:
loving, reading, choosing, designing, wondering

Currently link up is hosted by Harvesting Kale and OT & ET.

Currently {december fifth}

The ladies and babes that host the link up for this weekly get together are down with the sickness this week!  Sending them healthy healing vibes!

This week's theme's:
dancing, cooking, losing, clearing, sharing

Dancing:  I've been wearing out the Christmas station Pandora.  I have serious issues about my Christmas music.  Burl Ives, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, etc.  None of that modern crap.  I will knock people out of my way if Mariah Carey shows up on my Pandora Christmas station just so I can push that dislike/thumbs down button.  Get that shit out of my station.

Cooking:  Grilled cheese in our iron skillet.  It's ah-maze-balls.  We usually cook them in a sandwich maker, but really buttering them up in that cast iron skillet makes them soooo much better.

Losing:  Rowan has been losing socks.  Not whole pairs.  Just one of each.  Yesterday she lost two socks.  And she wasn't bothered by her lack of a missing sock.  She just continued on her way as if it was completely normal to only have on one sock.

Clearing:  Slowly I've been clearing off knitting projects.  It's hard to get things done when the person eventually receiving it is at the house.  I have a few hours during the day to work on them.  Today I finished some wrist warmers for Kaia.  I can post it here because she doesn't read, but I was so excited and proud of them and couldn't share on my Instagram or Facebook!


Sharing:  I can tell you what I am NOT sharing... my eggnog.  I love eggnog.  Not the alcoholic kind either.  Purity brand eggnog or no eggnog at all.  It's the bees knees.

Reading:  I've decided I'm not going to make it to my goal of 25 books for the year.  I nearly made it and I'm satisfied with what I did accomplish.  With the release of the new Lestat book, I'm going to reread the first few book in the Vampire Chronicles series and then read the others for the first time.  This will probably end up taking up most of the next year of book reading for me.

Watching:  The last season of Sons of Anarchy.  I can't believe it's going to be over after next week and I'm terrified of this last episode.  All I want to say is please for the love of all things holy do not let Chibs die.

Turkey Day Vittles

I hope everyone has survived the food coma that is Thanksgiving or the hell that is Black Friday shopping.  I forego that most hated of all shopping days.  I worked in retail for five years.  I saw first hand the ridiculous things people will do for a $10 Care Bear.  So instead of all that craziness, let's talk about food!

My mom made all the potatoes {sweet potatoes covered with marshmallows and cheesy potatoes} and the green beans.  It always helps to outsource a few dishes!  I did more pre-planning that I have in the past, which is great and I think I'll try to remember to do more earlier next year too!

On Monday, I made the herb butter for the turkey. I love basil.  I love garlic.  Goes without saying that I love pesto.  Waiting for that butter to soften enough to mix together just about killed me.  I kept walking in the kitchen and poking the sticks of butter.
Basil Herb Butter

-2 teaspoons of dried basil (I would rather have used fresh, but it's expensive and NO ONE in our little town carries fresh)
-2 sticks of buttah, softened
-6 cloves of garlic (chopped and then chopped again, really chop it)
-2 tablespoons of lemon juice

-Mix together the dried basil, garlic, and lemon juice.  Realize that the butter is still not softened enough, fix a cup of coffee and stare at the unsoftening butter.  Come back after the second cup and throw that butter in the stand mixer, dump in the basil mix, turn the mixer on low, low, low speed.  Tada!  Herb butter!  Put it in a small dish, refrigerate until you need it!  

I also decided to make my own ice cream.  I don't have an ice cream maker so it took a little looking to find a recipe that was as simple as I could find.  Thank goodness for Pinterest!

{Cinnamon Bun version}

-2 cups of heavy cream
-1 (14oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk
-3 tablespoons butter, melted
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

-Pour heavy cream into mixer.  Whip.  Whip it good.  (You knew I was going to go there, right?)  While that is mixing, pour sweetened condensed milk into a separate bowl, mix in butter, cinnamon, and vanilla.  Once the cream is whipped to stiff peaks, fold in the condensed milk until it's all blended and delicious and m'mmmm..... cinnamon bun...  
Pour all into a 2 quart dish (I used one of my glass bread pans) and freeze for at least 6 hours.

Definitely check out the other recipes on the Kevin and Amanda blog.  There is one that uses Krispy Kreme donuts!

On Tuesday, I premade the bacon wrapped cheese stuffed mushrooms. I honestly just saw this picture on Facebook. I couldn't find an exact recipe, but come on. It's real simple.

Bacon Wrapped Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

-fresh mushrooms, as many packages as you think y'all will eat, we used two
-string cheese
-bacon

Wash or wipe dirt from mushrooms, remove stems.  If you wash them make sure that you pat the excess moisture away.  Slice string cheese into 1/2 inch pieces.  No need to be too precise with that because some mushrooms are larger than others.  I just winged it.  I cut the slab of bacon in half and wrapped each mushroom with half a piece of bacon.  Cook in a preheated 350F degree oven for 20-ish minutes.

Then I sat all day on Wednesday wondering if I should be cooking something else.

The big day arrived.  I took my turkey out of the fridge, removed the bits, rinsed her thoroughly, and patted dry.  I took my herb butter that I'd let sit out and get to room temperature and spread it under the skin along the breast side of the turkey, then spread it all over the skin on the breast, legs, wings, errreywhere.  Put that bird in the oven and away we go!  I took a walk on the wild side and cooked my turkey a little differently from the way I usually do.  I left it uncovered and basted it (every thirty minutes after the first hour) with 2 sticks of melted butter.  Then covered it for the last 45 minutes or so.  It was awesome.  See this unattractive yet falling off the bone photo!?

I made cornbread in my iron skillet and then this amazingly easy pear cobbler!  Most people make pumpkin pie or apple pie for Thanksgiving dinners and I wanted to make something a little different.

Pear Cobbler 

- 1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter
-3/4 cup milk
-1 cup sugar
- (2) 15 oz. cans of pear halves in heavy syrup, cut into bite size pieces
-3/4 cup of self-rising flour

Put the butter in the baking dish and place it in a pre-heated 350F degree oven until the butter melts.  While the butter is melting, stir together the sugar and flour.  Slowly stir in the milk and mix well.  Remove the dish from the oven, pour the batter over the melted butter and DO NOT STIR.  Place pears on top of the batter and slowly pour the syrup over the pears and DO NOT STIR.  Bake the cobbler for about 30 mins.

I'm only including the chess pie debacle because this could happen to anyone.  I used the chess pie recipe in one of Paula Deen's cookbooks.  It's not the recipe that I used last year, but since I couldn't find it and a chess pie is so easy to make I figured, what could go wrong?!  Not cooking it long enough.  That's what could go wrong.  Her recipe says to cook for only 35-45 minutes or until the top is browned nicely.  On hindsight, and after looking at several other recipes after the fact, you should really cook these pies for about 55 minutes.  My pie never set up and it was because that shit didn't cook long enough.

And I made the crust from scratch!!  *stomps foot*  Can I just scoop out all that chess-ness and eat the crust?!?!

Currently {Thanksgiving Edition}

Are y'all stuffed?  I'm completely stuffed.  We've had three Thanksgiving dinners in a week.  Not "we" as in {at our house}, but "we" as in we've eaten three different times in three different places.  Could have been four places, but we were double booked on Thanksgiving Day.

Here are all the things we were picking, reading, watching, rushing, and planning this week!

Picking:  I starting picking the foods that I was cooking for our dinner earlier this year than I have in the past.  (I'm writing a post to share later...)  Everything went surprisingly well except for the chess pie.  Paula Deen doesn't know how long to cook a chess pie.  Because of this fact, my pie was DIS-GUST-ING.

Reading:  Cookbooks.  Recipes.  Just trying to find the easiest, but yummiest food ideas.

Watching:  Football.  Tons and tons of football.  Listen... I love me some football, but I'm 4th and Done with all the football right now.  Bring on the college basketball!  C-A-T-S!  BBN!

Rushing:  I'm trying to not feel rushed with Christmas so close.  I am so damn behind in gift shopping.  I only have a couple of items.  I'm seeing people that are already done.  I hate them.

Planning:  I'm hoping to do a little remodeling here on the blog.  I've been planning and tweaking and I think it's close to being ready!

Next week's theme's:
dancing, cooking, losing, clearing, sharing

Currently link up is hosted by Harvesting Kale and OT & ET.

Currently {november twenty first}

this weeks themes:
finding, writing, dressing, thinking, beginning

Finding:  Glasses!  I've worn glasses since I was in the 2nd grade.  I've tried contacts, but every time my finger comes close to my eyeball?  Nope.  I found a couple of places online where I can order glasses, but...

I'm not sure about my parents, but as an adult I have never once been offered my prescription after an exam.  I didn't even know I could ask for it.  At my last exam, my prescription hadn't changed, but my insurance had.  Under my current plan, the exam is covered, but the actual glasses are not.  Because that makes SO MUCH SENSE.  Anyway...  I needed new glasses because my current pair are prone to just drop off my face occasionally, but I couldn't afford to fork over $200 for frames and another $200-300 for the lenses.  Then my friend let me know that she'd never bought her glasses from her doctor and had never left after an exam without her prescription.  I probably sound like a real dunce, but I had no idea.  I promise I'm getting to the point here....  Kaia had an appointment this week and when I asked them for a copy of my prescription, they nearly fell out of their chairs.  It got worse when I asked for a copy of Kaia's before we left.

The assistant came to the window and said, "Uh... you are aware that she's already picked out a pair of glasses, right?"  I tried not to rip her head off and instead said, "Yes, she told me which ones she picked out.  I'd still like a copy of her prescription please."

They made me feel like I was stealing and I didn't like it.  Because she is under 18, her frames and lenses are covered, but when I go back for my next appointment, they are probably all going to have a heart attack when I leave with nothing but a slip of paper in my hand.

Writing:  I don't do too much writing.  As evidenced in the lack of posts on this here blog...

Dressing:  When I read this all I think about is dressing/stuffing because it's Thanksgiving time!  I have a confession to make...  I hate dressing/stuffing.  It feels like a rock in the pit of my stomach every time I eat it.  I'm not very pilgrim-y apparently.

Thinking:  I've been doing a lot of thinking about homeschool.  It's no secret that my oldest daughter has been struggling with finding herself.  Not to mention the relentless bullying of a few girls.  Because of the shoplifting, she was assigned a court designated worker to defer her case and keep it out of the court system.  As part of the deferral program, she was required to begin counseling.  Her counselor asked her to begin keeping a journal.  A place for her to write down her frustrations, thoughts, feelings.  She accidentally left it at school when she went to the eye doctor and one of her "friends" found it.  Instead of realizing what it was and keeping it safe for her until she returned (like a REAL friend would have done), the girl read it then turned it in to a teacher.  Who read it himself before turning it over to the vice principal telling him that he needed to read it as well because there were things he should see.  The vice principal DID NOT read it, but instead returned it to Kaia.  But the damage was already done.  Her trust was broken by the girl, by the teacher.  Now I fear that she will think she can trust no one.  

Beginning:  I started on the beginning of three different scarves this week.  I ended up getting very frustrated because I just couldn't seem to find the pattern that felt right for who the gift is for.  Finally on the fourth pattern, I think I've got the one.

Reading:  Uh... er.... yeah, still on The Ruins.  However!  I see that Anne Rice has come out with a new Lestat book!!  I guess I need to re-read the Vampire Chronicles series.

Watching:  Peaky Blinders, season 2 came out right before I finished season 1!

next weeks themes:
picking, reading, watching, rushing, planning

Currently link up is hosted by Harvesting Kale and OT & ET.

Snow Day!

It's officially SNOW DAY #1 here in western Kentucky.  We have basically a half inch of snow on the ground.  I know for you Northerners this sounds crazy, but we take our tiny snowfall amounts VERY seriously.  I made my required trip to the grocery to purchase supplies for the forthcoming blizzard.

Bread?  Check.
Milk?  Check.
Most important item?  TOILET PAPER!  Check!!

Then I sat in my yoga pants and a hoodie for the whole weekend!  I'm a rebel.  A lazy, lazy rebel.  I was able to finish up a couple of knitting projects that I had going though!

I bought the Milo vest pattern from Tikki Knits waaaay back in 2013 and have kept putting it off because it's knit completely in the round.  I hope that after I have been knitting for a few years, my fear and difficulty with the beginning of rounds will go away.  Of course, I had a little bit of trouble at first, had to frog and start over.  Now that it is done, I absolutely love it!  I've never knit anything with a cable and it was easier than expected (I did chose what I thought was the easiest one though) and love the way it turned out!

Funny girl with her crazy faces!

The second finished project is the Margot & Iris Tunic by Fawn Pea.  I actually started this project back in September.  I got bored with it and it sat in a bag for a month.  I used a 100% acrylic yarn for it and I should have used something with a little (or A LOT) of cotton instead.

I've never blocked a project before, but this one really needs it.  Except everything I've read says to not block acrylic yarn because it will mess up the garment.  AHHH!  I haz the confusion.  As you can see from the above photo the bottom garter stitch edge is rolling up pretty badly.  To the point where you can't see the pretty decorative stitching!  And the arms....  I would definitely do them differently next time by adding more rows between the body and the decorative rows and them make them a bit longer as well.

Next project, a scarf!

Currently {november thirteenth}

Thirteenth.  Is that a word?  It doesn't really look right.  Sort of like follow.  If you stare at that word for too long, it just starts to look all wrong.

I pretty much neglected my "Currently" posts for the month of October.  Going right along with the theme of pretty much neglecting the whole blog.  Am I the only person who has these bursts of "Oooo!  I want to blog about this and this and can't forget that!"  mixed in with "Oh for fucks sake... I have nothing to talk about!"?!?  I think I'm blog-polar.

See what I did there?  I'm also very clever.

Occasionally.

So...  Here I am jumping back on that horse.

this week's prompts:
laughing, crying, cooking, looking, planning

Laughing:  All day, errr-day I am laughing at this crazy three year old.  She comes up with some of the funniest things.  Monday night she told me that my hands smelled delicious. Like milk and chocolate.  Except they didn't and we were laying in the bed.  In the dark.  Wednesday she told me that her jammies were riding up into her penis.  Yep.  Penis.  The child is an endless supply of Rowan-isms.  I should write a book.

Crying:  Nobody has been doing too much crying lately, but I will tell you something that does bring a tear to my eye.  Christmas decorations/music/junk everywhere before Thanksgiving.  Not a fan.

Cooking:  Hot ham and cheese.  Croissants.  I've had them for lunch three times this week.  European style croissants from the deli at Walmart, Kentucky Legend ham (seriously the best ham EVER), and good ol' processed American cheese.  Open faced on a cookie sheet for about 20 minutes in the oven set at 250 degrees.  M'mmmm.... haammmm... cheeessse.

Looking and Planning:  These two go together!  I have been planning what I'm going to cook for our Thanksgiving meal and looking all over Pinterest for recipes.  I'm going to brine our turkey this year. Never done this so here's hoping that I don't make the turkey so salty we can't can't eat it.  Also, homemade ice cream and pear crisp.

Reading:  I am SO BEHIND on my reading challenge!  I am still reading The Ruins.

Watching:  Finished catching up on Arrow last week.  This week I've started Peaky Blinders.

next weeks themes:
finding, writing, dressing, thinking, beginning

Currently link up is hosted by Harvesting Kale and OT & ET.

Blue Bow Tie Baby

Saturday evening Neil comes in the living room.

Neil:  "Mom, I need black dress pants, a white button up shirt, and a tie."

Me:  "Err, ok.  When do you need these by?"

Neil:  "Tueday."

Gee, son.  Thanks so much for the short notice.  You're swell.

Sunday, my husband takes him when he goes to buy a few groceries.  Comes home with a nice pair of black dress pants that they found at St. Vincent de Paul for only $3 (!!!) and a nice, white button up shirt with ugly brown tortoise shell buttons. No tie.  Husband says that the ties were just too expensive.  Seriously?!?  Blarg.

I did the only thing I could think of to do.  I made one instead.

I used the pattern and instructions found here, pulled out some satin-y, silky, royal blue fabric, and started sewing!

I was really surprised how easy it was to make one after I got into it.

Just cut out the pattern pieces (fabric and interfacing).

Sew them together and cut off the excess fabric around the edges so they are all nice and pretty.

Turn those suckers inside out with a nifty little knitting needle!  Press 'em flat.

Fold the ends inside 1/4 of an inch and place one inside the other.  Sew the seam.  Mine was a little wonky, but no one is going to see it so SHHHH!  Don't tell.

Press it nice and flat.  Behold the awesomeness that is your first bow tie.  Patiently wait for your son to get home from school.  

*insert Jeopardy music*

Get bored and decide to remove the ghastly brown buttons and replace them with white ones.  Smile.  Realize you have no idea how to tie a bow tie.  Panic.  Watch this video by Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Laugh and learn how to tie a bow tie!

BAM!  Bow tie!!

Then...  I'm told it's supposed to be black.  *facepalm*  Well it's blue damn it so deal with it.

Productivity

A gloriously lazy weekend was had by me.  Saturday I stayed in my pajamas and didn't even put on a bra all day long.  It was AWESOME.  I think I am still trying to recover from the band competition debacle from last weekend. *shudders*

Good news though.  I did manage to get another knitting project finished!  An earflap hat for Neil.  Luckily he pays no attention whatsoever to what I am knitting.  I actually started on Friday, but it just did not feel or look right to me.  I cast-on three times and frogged three times.  Finally just ended up sort of making up the earflap part of the pattern I was using.  I have not been knitting anywhere near long enough to be making it up as I go along, but you know what?  It worked.

This was the best picture I could get to show the color of this yarn.  It's a neon green, but so hard to get right on camera.  He loves that color for some strange reason, but I didn't want his head to look like a big neon green beacon so I mixed it up with some black.  Haven't really ever done a project with stripes before I am thrilled with the way it turned out!

Yay for lazy weekends in pajamas!

Remixed

It's almost Friday!!!  Three day school week as my kids were out on both Monday (professional development) and Tuesday (Election day).  Bless it.  We won't even start in on the politics, but let's just say I am disappointed in my state.

Monday I drove my son to Elizabethtown for his orthodontist appointment.  He wasn't looking forward to it because this visit meant they were putting on his bottom brackets and a pretty strong upper wire.  One that was bad enough that the doc called it "The Monster".  And it is.  He hasn't been able to eat anything that requires chewing since then.  Brings him to tears.  He and Aleve have become BFF's.

I made it one slipper into Kaia's Leethal Mary Janes.  I DO NOT like this yarn.  Maybe it's the particular pattern that I am trying to use it with, but it's hard for me to work with.  So I moved on to doing Rowan's Be Loving, Remixed hat.  Easy, quick knit.  I could have finished it in one day, but I stretched it out over two.  It turned out awesome and she loves it.

I thought it was going to be too big as I was knitting it, but nope, it's a perfect fit.  This was supposed to be a Christmas stocking stuffer, but as soon as she caught a glimpse of the pom-pom, she was all *grabby hands*.  Definitely could make many more of these!

On to the next project!

And So It Begins...

I got the yarn for Christmas presents today!!  

Promptly realized I don't have size 13 circular needles.

Second guessed the super thin sport weight yarn.

Started on the Leethal Mary Janes.

Ooo!  Ooo!  And I voted!

Whaat whaaat?!

*crickets*

Yes, yes... I know.  I am the single WORST blogger in the history of bloggers.  It's been almost a month since I even logged on to my dashboard.  Blogging is serious business apparently and I am much too scatterbrained and busy to remember to post daily.  I am envious of the ladies who find the time to post on the regular.  I always have the best intentions, but life ALWAYS comes first.

As you know, lately we've been dealing with a whole Mack truckload of life.  Every weekend it's been a football game and/or a marching band competition.  Last weekend saw us getting up at 1:45am to have our son to the high school by 2:45am for dress and head out for state semifinals and finals.

Getting up at 1:45am wasn't even the worst of what we had to go through.  We were the first band to perform.  It was 32F degrees (wind chill of 22F degrees), snowing, the field was slippery and wet, and the wind was blowing about 20mph for the entire day.  Some students instruments had to be unfrozen from their hands.  Skin was lost.  The poor color guard girls were wearing what amounted to tissue paper.  It was the most ridiculous conditions I have ever seen and I am still dumbfounded that the officials of the KMEA allowed the contest to continue.

I've been reading trying to make sure I hit my goal of 25 books for the year.  I attempted a book that I read some great reviews about, but seriously....  all the nopes.  I only managed to get about 100 pages in.  It was just a difficult read and couldn't hold my interest.

When I wasn't reading, I was (and still am) working on a Margot & Iris Tunic for Ro.  It is almost complete.  I only have 4 rows on one arm and the other arm to finish.  I'll need to get on this quick as I have some yarn coming in the mail for six projects I want to get done for Christmas.  Yes, I know this is rather ambitious.  Do not rain on my parade.

Did I also mention that we ripped up all the carpet from our living room?  Yes, we did that.  No, it doesn't look good.  The beautiful hardwood is under there, but the previous carpet before the one we ripped up ...  *sigh* ... well, it was GLUED DOWN.  So we have a bunch of funky old glue and glued down padding just chillin'.

Oh and also... my son was baptized yesterday.  So there was that.

No Rain, No Rainbows

Coming off of the worst September in recent memory, we roll right into October where Mercury goes retrograde four days in.  Oy vey.

I feel like I may have Vaguebooked my blog.  I can't help to think that I am not alone in the struggles with my teenage daughter.  To be honest, I was vague because I was embarrassed.

Embarrassed that I had let her become someone that I didn't even recognize, but even more by her behavior.  Her backtalking, eyerolling, dressing like some emo kid who was being treated horribly by her parents and peers.  In reality, she shouldn't be complaining because we do everything we can to make sure our kids are allowed to be themselves, participate in their lives on as many fronts as we can.

Here is what happened.

The last Saturday of September the band had two band competitions.  One in the morning, the other in the evening across town from each other.  In between, the kids were taken to the mall to hang out and eat for about an hour and a half.  We took a big cooler and another family and ours fixed all our kids sandwiches in the parking lot.  My daughter and her friend decided they had their own money and would eat inside.

We ate, sent our other kids on their way, and did a little window shopping while we were in the area.  We never left the mall.  We checked in with both our daughter and our son.  I had to use the bathroom.  Upon leaving the bathroom, I phoned my husband to make sure he was still in the store that I had left him in.

He wasn't.  Then he spoke the words I pray I never hear ever again.

"I am standing outside (the store we were previously in) with Kaia.  And a security officer."

She had shoplifted.

At first, I was livid.  I could not believe she would make such a choice.  As we made our way to the security office, I phoned the band director as she was technically on a band field trip.  He was just as livid.  Turned out that my daughter and her friend had taken a $10 ring.  I was even more disappointed to find out that in addition to the ring, my daughter had also peddled some gloves.

You know that saying you hear on TV, "I'm not mad, just disappointed."?  That is EXACTLY what I felt.  I felt disappointment, anger, embarrassment.  Making matters even worse was the store employee who just couldn't stop fucking SMILING the whole time.  Like she was the cat who had finally caught a mouse.  It was disgusting.  She looks at my husband and I and tells us that her store prosecutes no matter how old the person is.  Flashing her inappropriate smile the whole time.

Then... the entire band walks past the office because that's the way to get back on the buses.   Thank goodness the police officer hadn't arrived yet.

He wasn't very lenient with the girls.  He shouldn't have been.  They are only 13 years old and instilling some fear in them was needed.  He explained that if they were 18 they would be going to jail.  Even if all they had taken was a pack of gum.  He talked to each girl separately, spoke to both sets of parents (her's had to be called because they weren't there), and spoke to everyone together.  We didn't say anything to her.  The other mother had plenty of belittling things to say to her daughter.  Very loudly.

I kept it together for the most part.  However, when the officer began reading the girls their Miranda rights, I had to seriously think about my body language.  When he turned them around and handcuffed them, I had to look away.  I didn't want her to see me cry.

He told us he was going to cuff them, put them in the back of his car, while he filled out their paperwork.  After about 45 minutes, the other girl was released to her parents custody.  Where her mother began berating her again about how she would never see another band competition and so on and so forth.  Another 45-ish minutes later, after explaining when her court day is, what she is being charged with, and who the judge will be, he released our daughter to our custody.

I did the only thing I knew to do.  I wrapped my arms around her and told her I loved her.

After it happened, my husband took her home, I attended the second competition because our son is also in band, and then I caught a ride home with another parent.  It was the next day before I spoke with her about what happened.  It was a lengthy discussion in which I told her that everyone makes mistakes in life, it is what we do with ourselves after those mistakes that define who we are, who we will become.

She has been banned from the high school marching band for the rest of the year.  Removed from the middle school band for the next nine weeks and put in in-school suspension for four days.  We have no idea what the judge will decide, how much that shoplifted $37 worth of stuff will end up costing us.

I have seen a change in her attitude.  However slight it may be, it is still a positive.  At first she was reluctant to let go of the bad influences, but once she finally did, I saw her begin to climb out of the valley.

So that's where we are now...

InstaWeek

Here I go again
attempting a challenging
feat of memory.

The photo-a-day challenge.  One day I hope to complete a full month.  Possibly it will be this month.  Some of these are from the challenge, some are not.

1// A is for...  Autumn.  (Prompts from the Fat Mum Slim Photo A Day challenge for October.)  I completely copped out on this one.  Didn't really try to find anything else with an A.

2//  Ro loves to read.  This day she chose to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to the dog.

3// Sunset.  Beautiful.  Kentucky love.

4//  B is for... beer.  Not my beer.  I don't drink beer.  But what I took away from this is that in the background, my kitchen looks very retro.

5//  C is for... cloudy and cold.  The weather yesterday turned gloomy and icky.  

This doesn't cover the whole week because I didn't post for a few days.  Hoping I can maintain with these awesome super simple prompts for the month!!

Currently {october second}

this weeks themes:
throwing, drinking, looking, loving, sharing

THROWING - I'm still throwing a fit about the marching band that uses microphones.  Except at the last competition their band director sat on the steps near us with his iPad and the equalizer app all queued up.  Proceeded to sit there and adjust the sound for their entire performance.  And apparently this is "legal".  TOTAL F'ING CHEATING.  Maybe I'm a bad sport, but I refuse to clap for them.  *insert 3 year old raspberry here*

DRINKING - Mostly anything alcoholic.  This has been the single worst month of my life.  Let's just say that the previous post I made about my daughter and her struggles was eclipsed by a single bad decision that just disappointed me to my core.  I don't even know where to begin with it so I'm just going to leave it at it's bad, but not an irreparable situation.  Only time will tell...

LOOKING -  I'm looking for things to do next week when the kids are on Fall Break from school.  Hubby can't really take time off work so it's an interesting process so far.

LOVING - Love, love, love this weather!!  I'm still not sure what a "basic white girl" is, but apparently I meet that protocol.  I mean... what is a non-basic white girl?  Like a super unbasic white girl?  I haz the confusion.  However, October is definitely my favorite season and I love things like football (Go Packers!) and bonfires.

SHARING - We've been sharing our bed with our toddler.  Every. Single. Night.  She seems to be experiencing a bout of extreme clingy-ness.  Particularly to her mother.  Thank you Daniel Tiger for teaching my 3 year old that she "needs" me.  For all things.  All day.  All night.

Reading: Nothing right now because Netflix sucked me right in...

Watching:  GILMORE GIRLS!!!!

next weeks themes:
reading, thinking, feeling, eating, dreaming

Currently link up is hosted by Harvesting Kale and OT & ET.

Currently {september twenty sixth}


this weeks themes:
watching, learning, considering, needing, changing

I've been absent for a couple of weeks, just too much going on, too much ... everything.  I always try to find time to myself, but ...  too much getting crammed into too little time.  I'm ready for the upcoming Fall break from school.  I'm calling it the Fall Recharge break!

WATCHING - ... ... ... Dawson's Creek.  I never watched when it originally aired.  A bit cheesy, definitely 90's, and they are all soooooo young!!

LEARNING - I am slowly learning that I can't always control all the outcomes.  As much as I want for everything to go right for my children, sometimes I just have to let the Universe take over.

CONSIDERING - I'm seriously considering how/when we can get away.  If only for a day...

NEEDING - Always needing more hours in a day.

CHANGING - I'm changing my views/opinions of those around me.  Sometimes you realize that you were seeing others as they want to be seen, not as they really are.  It's disheartening and disappointing.

Reading:  The Fault in Our Stars.  I haven't watched the movie.  Daughter begged for the book for her b-day.  My book challenge is catching up with me so I better get to reading it faster.

next weeks themes:
throwing, drinking, looking, loving, sharing

Currently link up is hosted by Harvesting Kale and OT & ET.

Total Meltdown in 3... 2...

September is not being kind.  There is a laundry list of issues.  Some I can't talk about because well... they just aren't worth that much of my time and I'm trying to let it go, but one thing has been bothering me for a while and  I'd like to focus on that today.

We've always been open to letting our children do their own thing.  Crazy hair colors, clothes choices (within reason), musical tastes, etc.  I'm aware that raising boys verses raising girls requires separate skill sets.  That's become obvious over the years.  As my son has gotten older, he's mellowed out and become more level headed.  My daughter... *insert huge sigh here*

When she first started middle school two years ago, she was a happy, bubbly girl.  In our location, the middle school is where two different elementary schools come together.  So she made new friends.  Slowly, the older friends weren't friends anymore.  As time has gone on, she's become more introverted.  Less happy.  More "emo".  If I never hear another "whate-v-e-r" or see another black t-shirt, it'll be too soon.  I've made many suggestions, tried buying clothes for her.  To no avail...

Last year, I had teachers, parents, other students warn me that my daughter was "hanging" with the wrong crowd.  That these kids were not the best choices for her.  I listened, but I didn't act.  Oh, I've had the conversation many times about branching out and making new friends, changing up the wardrobe.  Nada.  I get tuned out.

Now it's come down to this... my husband got a phone call from the assistant principal that lasted for more than 30 minutes and nearly got him in trouble with his boss yesterday.  She had her phone taken away because she was using it when she wasn't supposed to be, but then that led to the phone call.  Where the AP then tells my husband the same thing we've already heard, get her away from this group of kids.

We sat her down last night and had an at length conversation about how this behavior has steadily gotten worse and now it has become a detriment to her life, her education, her future.  Of course, her phone was confiscated since my husband had to go retrieve it from the school, but I did the only thing I could think to do...

I forbid her from associating with these kids anymore.

I know it's not realistic, but I'm completely lost.  I told her that I know I can't follow her around school all day or make sure she isn't talking to them, but that I trusted her enough to make the right choices.  That this was going to have to be a choice that she makes.

Throughout this whole ordeal I've tried to reassure her that we love her and care about her future.  I told her that I was being so hard on her because I do care.

I seriously need for September to move on out and for the planets to align is some other formation because I'm about to stroke out.

Keep Calm and ... Oh Who Am I Kidding

No time to keep calm about anything around here!  Totally missed the "Currently" post last week.  Forgot all about it.  I'm just going to do a quick little post so y'all know I haven't skipped the country.

A mod podge of everything...

+ Finally finished the first four seasons of Lost Girl!  I promptly realized that the next season doesn't start until NEXT YEAR! WHAT?!

+ Tried Jamberry Nail Wraps for the first time.  See here, here, and here.  It didn't go as well as I would have liked.  I took them off after just a week.  First time application combined with user error and it wasn't working.  Currently I'm on the next wraps, used one of their application kits, process was much easier.  Practice makes perfect with these things.

+ Football game Friday night.  The daughter was MIA for the band halftime show.  Thirteen year old drama ensued.  Cell phone confiscated.

+ Saturday there were two band competitions.
     - See last point. Late night followed by a full day of competitions.  Zombie mom.
     -The first competition was the home hosted show.  I was slung into a volunteer position. Thankfully it didn't involve too much interaction with people.  Except I was to ensure that no one was run over by the exiting PIT equipment.  Apparently no one understands the concept of NOT CROSSING the bright yellow "DO NOT CROSS" POLICE LINE tape.  People kept just going under it until I looked like the psycho band mom who was all...  STOP CROSSING OVER MY "DO NOT CROSS" POLICE TAPE!!!!
     - My lips got sun and wind burned.

     - Second competition.  We arrived and the stadium was full.  They had roped off a section for visiting bands.  Except it wasn't big enough.  So they opened up half of it for spectators instead.
     - Forgot my throw blanket.  Promptly froze while sitting in the stands.  Because... HELLO FALL WEATHER!
     - Concession stand had no hot cocoa.  Or coffee.

+ Recipes I used this week that I didn't have time to photograph or write a post about.
     - Oven Tacos from Mommy? I'm Hungry!
     - Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta from Annie's Eats

Plugged In

I'm not exactly a new band mom.  Both of my kids have been playing in the school band since they were in the 5th grade.  However, I am a new MARCHING band mom.  A couple of weeks ago, we experienced a little taste of band competition when we attended a non-scored preview show.  Sort of like a little kick off to the competition season.

It was exciting and new.  I've always loved music, was in band myself, but marching band is like... whoa.  I quickly realized that these bands are super competitive.  I had no idea.

The first band to perform were amazing!  They had trampolines and stages and everyone was moving around.  The drummers were even playing while jumping on the trampolines once!  They were great.  The next bands performed.  Everyone was very good.  Minimal mistakes.

All the bands needed the use of electricity for their "pit" section.  That's the section that gets wheeled in by ATV's on small carts.  The keyboards, large timpani drums, xylophones, etc.  I understand the need to plug those in.

HOWEVER...

One band started hooking all their equipment up like everyone else.  Then they began placing microphones across the edge of the field.  NOT like everyone else.  These were to enhance the instruments.  Apparently this is an accepted practice and not against any rules.

I felt duped.  Our band is ginormous, but most other bands were around the same size.  The other bands didn't need the use of artificial enhancements to project their sound.

Like I just found out their boobs were, indeed, fake.  I clearly have a lot to learn.

Currently {september fourth}

this weeks themes:
loving, craving, demanding, questioning, worrying

a) I am loving that we are T-minus 17 days until Autumn!  It's muh favorite.  It's that magical three months until Winter kicks in.  It's glorious.

b) Craving more time with nature.  My calf muscles still hate me, but I really want to get back out there.  It was just so beautiful and I live here y'all!

c) I have come to the point that demanding the kids do their chores is the norm.  I made them their own pretty little chore charts.  Talked and explained each day to them.  They have like four things each day.  Clean the litter box, feed/water cats, empty or load dishwasher.  That's it and they can't even get those done without being asked.  I know some teenagers who are about to be totes pissed because they are going to lose all connection to the outside world.

d) We are questioning marching band.  Right off the top there is a fee.  That is fine.  I understand that uniforms need to be cleaned, instruments need to be stored/cleaned/fixed, etc.  However, I had no idea there would be demands for handmade, individually wrapped desserts once a month for a fundraising lunch sale (pork loin sandwich, chips, drink, that homemade dessert = $5) or that I would be expected to provide cases of water, individually wrapped sandwiches and Little Debbie cakes every Saturday before competitions.  In addition, it costs $5 a person to enter said competitions.  I am tapped out.  As my friend, Cam, would say... I'm 100% white girl done.  I can't even.

With that said...

e) I've been doing my fair share of worrying about the crisis in Iraq/Syria/Middle East.  I have a hard time reconciling my every day stresses that, in comparison, are hardly worth a second glance.  There are people who live every single day in a war zone.  Walking to the grocery store with rockets flying overhead.  And here I am sitting in my air conditioned house complaining that my internet isn't fast enough or that my kids picked the expensive elective in school.  When I should be grateful that they are allowed to attend school at all.  *sigh*  I've been doing a lot of knitting.  It's my meditation. I'm still on the verge of a full blown, make me stay at home in my pajamas for weeks, anxiety attack.  I have to take these thoughts, these feelings, and tuck them away.  Not forgotten, but not on the surface.

Watching:  Nope.  See explanation for "Reading"...

Reading:  ... ... Still reading Book of Life. *facepalm*  I usually read before bed, but lately the Little has been laying down in bed with me until she falls asleep.  Trying to read with a toddler rooting in the bed next to you, asking you every five minutes if you are reading a bedtime story, is not productive to good book reading time.  So yeah...

next weeks themes:
falling, wearing, making, smiling, learning

Currently link up is hosted by Harvesting Kale and OT & ET.

Spur of the Moment | Natural Bridge State Park | Kentucky

Or more aptly titled... What the Hell Was I Thinking.  Also TONS of photos...

Friday afternoon both my girls went to spend the weekend with their grandparents.  The house was strangely quiet with only one child in it.  We rented Oculus.  We were confused.  We give it a "meh" rating.

Saturday morning I sat drinking my coffee and I said to myself...

"Self, we don't get out of the house enough.  We should do something today because we have only one child to forcibly remove from his cozy bed and make spend time with us.  Let's explore Kentucky on a little road trip."

No one else was really on board with this idea.  My son didn't want to get out of bed and told me that instead of pretending we were a family with one kid, "go pretend you are a family with no kids."  Got to love teenagers, right?  The husband was very serious about not driving 3 or 4 hours, but I convinced him.  And by "convince" I mean, I didn't tell him.  Away we went to view the beauty of Kentucky via the Appalachian region and the Natural Bridge State Park.

Small panorama while sitting under the Natural Bridge.

The shortest (supposedly easiest) route to the bridge was stated as being only a half mile long on the sign at the trailhead, but several other places said it was 3/4 of a mile.  Longest half mile hike I have ever taken (probably closer to that 3/4 mile mark).  Thank goodness there are several small little huts with benches along the way.  I would never have made it to the top without several breaks.

Yes, I totally selfie'd when I got there.  But not before I was like... I claim this rock for my old, tired ass.  Get outta my way!  You can't tell from this picture, but I was completely drenched in sweat and my face was as red at a beet.

There was a tiny staircase carved out of the rock (just out of the shot in the panorama photo).  The husband and son decided they were going to continue climbing.  I decided to let them do that all by themselves.  The prospect of climbing up anything else was not on the menu.  Then this...

My view.  My husband leaning over the edge telling me that I needed to get up there.  I was terrified.  But not terrified enough that I didn't tell him to hold on, let me take a picture!

His view.  That's a wee little me.  So up the tiny little staircase I went.  The tiny little staircase that turns into the scary, equally as tiny, squeeze between huge, millions of years old, walls of rock.

When I got to the top... it was breathtaking.

Suddenly, that exhausting hike was forgotten.

He graced me with a photo op.  How gracious of him.

Yep.  Did it again.

I wish I would have made a photo sphere while I was there, but new phone.  I haven't downloaded the Google Camera yet.  *kicks self in ass*  Instead I did a full 360 degree panorama.  It looks a bit strange so I cropped it a couple of times to split it up.


Not far from the bridge was the skylift.  We had nearly convinced ourselves that we were going to take the skylift down because... exhausted.  But then we saw the skylift and my heart fell into my stomach.

It really was humid and hazy though the distant hills didn't look quite so blue in reality.  Whatcha gonna do?  It was my husband's cell phone.  I was too busy rocking in a corner while crying.  NO WAY in hell was I getting on that thing.  I'm scared of heights as it is, but DO YOU SEE THAT?!  Nope.  So I sucked it up, took a little breather, and began the journey back down the trail.  Going down wasn't as hard as going up, but it sure wasn't easy either.

After a quick stop for gas and snacks, the Nada Tunnel, a one-lane, 900 ft. long tunnel that is 12 ft. wide and 13 ft. high.

Not ominous at all, right?

They built this tunnel for the logging trains to move timber.  They drove TRAINS THROUGH HERE!  There must have been no room on any sides of the locomotives.

I feel like we barely scratched the surface.  For a spur of the moment idea, I think it actually went well.  My husband and I both agreed that we need to return.  With more planning and a hotel room.

Currently {august twenty ninth}

this weeks themes:
needing, missing, reading, hoping, playing

First, I'd like to apologize for my absence.  I feel like my days are pretty full and I don't have too much time to myself.  What time I do find, I'm walking on my treadmill while watching Netflix. I really do intend to be more present.  As soon as I find a few more hours in the day...  Also, no graphic this week... I haz the lazy.

a) Needing some good recipes.  Every week I scour through Pinterest and my cookbooks preparing the weekly meal plan.  I always need simple.  And with the price of beef being so insanely ridonkulous, the choices are somewhat limited.

b) My son has decided that he is going to forego playing basketball this year.  I am already missing games.  I'm not missing the money spent getting into the games or the money spent on gas going to all the games/practices though.  I had asked him to give it one year, but ultimately it's his decision and I'll respect that.

c) Reading:  I'm still reading Book of Life by Deborah Harkness.  In fact, I have to renew it at the library because it's due back tomorrow.  Good news though.  I'm ahead on my goal for the year so yay!

d) I am hoping to somehow squeeze in some sewing time.  It's going to be a three day weekend so possibly I could get my crafting on.  I've also been working on some knitting for my best girl's sister who is having a baby!  Yay babies!

e) The youngest has been asking to go to the beach.  She even packed up a bag the other day.  I think one day next week I'm going to pack up the cooler and take her an hour north to the lake.  She'll enjoy playing and I'll enjoy watching her.

Watching:  Still watching Lost Girl.  I did catch up on the last few episodes of True Blood.  I was not impressed with this season.  It was just lacking something.

next weeks themes:
loving, craving, demanding, questioning, worrying

Currently link up is hosted by Harvesting Kale and OT & ET.

One & Two & Ready... Go

This weekend we got to experience our kids in their first marching band competition.  It was actually just an exhibition.  A preview show of what to expect from the bands this season.  Each band ran through their show while marching then they played just the music while standing still.  The Butler County Marching Band is the second largest band in the state of Kentucky with 155 marching members.  My son plays the snare drum, and while my daughter normally plays the flute, she is only in 8th grade so can't formally march on the field.  She is in the "pit" and plays the keyboard.

Preparations for the show began many hours before the actual show.  It's a huge undertaking.  Practice run through the show, eating, dressing, hair/make up, and motivational speaking.  I was awed.

A few other bands played before them, but to be honest, it was mostly a blur.  I was just excited to see them hit the field.  The band director not only does high school band (marching, pep, concert, etc.), he also teaches middle school band (6th, 7th, and 8th grades) and beginning band to 5th graders.  He deserves to be knighted and probably needs a huge pay raise.  These bands are good and I'm not just saying that because my kids are in them.

Their show is entitled "Stained Glass" this year.  Moments before they walked onto the field, the sky began to change colors.  Pinks, purples, blues.  We'd been watching the radar for an hour.  A nasty storm cell was moving our way and I thought for sure they would not get to perform.  Instead Mother Nature gave them an amazing backdrop.

About 15 minutes after they were done, amid chaos of packing equipment, gathering kids, changing from uniforms to regular clothes... the bottom dropped out of it.  We nearly died because my husband is an asshat who kept refusing to pull over even though I knew (and he knew too!) damn good and well, he couldn't see a thing in front of him.  He finally relented and pulled over at a little gas station in the middle of nowhere.  We got snacks and let the heavier rain pass by.

It was chaotic.  It was a mess.  It was their first performance of the year.  It can only get better from here.