Saturday, April 30, 2011

Prepping the New House

Today after work I’m picking up the kiddos and I think we might just have to go to the new house to patch some holes. Not an ideal way to spend time with the boys.

We still haven’t painted. Or cleaned the floors or cabinets or anything yet. This week has been far more hectic than originally planned, starting with my sister’s water breaking on Tuesday morning and a subsequent fifty-two hour labor until she finally gave birth Thursday, my normal day off, which I had to work as well. On top of that, the play my husband was assistant directing also debuted Wednesday. Busy, busy, busy.

I mean, I figure that if I can at least take out the massive amount of nails on the kitchen cabinets, for which I haven’t the slightest idea why they were there, and patch up the smaller holes, we’ll be ready to start painting possibly Sunday. Of course, we still need to choose a paint color. After reading a Better Homes & Gardens about paint colors and their suggestions for neutrals, I realized that the word neutral doesn’t just mean beige anymore. They had yellows, blues, grays, greens and tans in their mix. But they were all subtle colors that looked like they would go with anything. It makes me have hope that we can still have color without being overpowering. That, and I’m partial to greens and yellows. However, part of me thinks it’d be fun to do a pale steely blue in the office and boys’s room. Oh, the choices!

As much fun as I think the boys would have putting pink putty on the walls to fill in the holes, perhaps I should bring along some toys for them to play with as well. And with a big open house with nothing in it, I’m sure they’ll have fun running around being kids.

Friday, April 29, 2011


After almost fifty-two hours from the time her water broke, my sister finally gave birth to her first child. Welcome to the world, baby Kansas!

Okay, so perhaps I was not all that thrilled about the name, but alas, not my child. And really, the name Kansas has been floating around since my little brother was named K.C., the initials for Kansas City, which his name was almost legally changed to at one point so the spelling of his first name would make sense to people. Never happened. The more I think about it however, the more I realize that her name just might be a perfect fit for her.

And so last night after work I stopped by the hospital to visit my niece, the first girl born to my immediate family out of a sea of nephews produced (and still being produced) by my brother and other sister. My other three brothers have yet to produce any children, which is by no means a bad thing as my family seems to be part of our planet’s overpopulation problem. But seeing this newest member of the family sleep in my arms, I can see why they do keep making more.

The new mom and dad were both exhausted not only from the lack of sleep, but also from the revolving door of visitors. Fortunately by the time I walked in there was only one other person in the room. I only stayed for less than an hour, most of which my sister and brother-in-law slept while I held little Kansas. Well wishes and blessings to the new family! I can’t wait to watch her grow!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


At 6:33 this morning I received the following text (left intact, mind you, so bear with the grammatical errors eating away at my heart as I type this): “update I’m finally at 10 centimeters!!! at 48 hrs of labor I got the epidural n its wonderful just getting ready to push!” Push her out already!

Here’s the thing, people like to bet on who will be the closest to guessing when the baby is due and this baby was no exception. I hate this because my answer usually upsets the mother-to-be. Why, might you ask? Because while most of the people in the room are saying a matter of hours, I quietly said Thursday. Her water broke before 5 am Tuesday. Everyone thought I was evil, but alas, I’m just correct.

So perhaps, just perhaps tomorrow there will finally be pictures to post of the baby. But until then, Push, Kassidie, push!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Still No Baby

I overslept this morning. Alas, my sister still hasn’t had her baby.

Something tells me that I should go to the hospital now and find out what’s going on. I mean, it’s been over twenty-four hours since her water broke so if she hasn’t given birth yet, she at least should’ve had a C-section performed. I guess I will find out when I get there.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


My sister texted me a couple hours ago to inform us that her water broke and they were on their way to the hospital. I suppose instead of blogging and drinking coffee I should be there, huh?

Today was a busy day already. Work, Board of Advisors meeting at Clark College, and Communications meeting at church after that. Looks like some of those will have to be removed from the agenda. My plan is to head to the hospital until I have to work, work, then go back to the hospital. I know the drill as my family is notorious for making babies.

So that’s it for today. Keeping it short and sweet. Now I’m off to go watch my sister bring a new life into the world.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Planning Room Layouts

With the move getting closer and closer I’ve been planning where to put what. I’m running into walls… literally.

The two bedrooms are the same size as the craft room is here, but for some reason they look so much smaller. Perhaps it is the dark blue walls or the fact that the windows are smaller. Or maybe it is because empty spaces can sometimes appear smaller than they are. Then again, it is possible my mind is simply playing tricks because the ceilings are about six inches lower than our current ceiling, creating a more closed-in look. Whatever the reason, I’m having a hard time imagining our stuff in that house.

I guess the only way I’m going to figure out if it will work is to actually have the stuff in the house and play with it. Oh, sure, I could create a grid paper diagram of the house and cut out grid paper furniture to scale and fiddle with layout that way, but that doesn’t necessarily work well for aesthetic reasons, just a general idea. My brain can do that. Alas, there are still items I’m not sure what we’re going to do with. However, with more time to decide, I’m sure that we’ll either figure out whether or not something will work in the new place or have to be set aside for a garage sale.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


While the Easters of my past are no longer available for the next generation, the traditions still live on. Albeit, on a much smaller scale.

Yesterday we celebrated Easter Eve. Something tells me this is bound to become like our infamous Christmas Eves. Okay, so maybe not anything that extreme, but at least where we have our celebration on the day before the holiday so families aren’t having to choose which holiday to spend with which parent or in-law… for the most part. With the exception of watching the Blazer’s game, it was a relaxed day catching up with family and enjoying delicious food and an Easter Egg Hunt. Of course, the hunt was a miniature version of ones we’ve had in the past, but was still fun for the kids and adults alike. Especially those of us with cameras in hand waiting for kiddos to find the obvious eggs in front of us as they search in every location but where we’re giving them clues.

Another tradition is the inclusion of money in the eggs. Nickels, dimes, quarters, dollar bills and fives. Yes, we’re teaching the next generation that money comes from a magical place. Okay, so maybe not that extreme, but still, the kids all seem to enjoy getting both and sometimes even a special coupon for a piggy back ride or some other unexpected prize much to the surprise of the person whose name is written on the coupon as the donor of said prize. Fortunately none of those made it into the eggs this year.

So Happy Easter to everyone! I hope your day is filled with laughter and love and your egg basket overflows with confectional goodness.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


We’ve really got to move into the new house, but first we have to paint. I don’t think there is a single wall that doesn’t need it in the entire house.

I suppose the task of painting wouldn’t seem so daunting if that was all we had to do, but alas, there is an assload of prep-work that needs to be done first. Holes patched, some the size of a fist curiously, and texture reapplied to the walls that won’t be covered by, say, a bookcase, picture or art. I can’t imagine this part to be too difficult, but coming from a house where there is so much paint on the walls the texture is practically nonexistent I don’t have much experience in the matter.

Initially we were thinking of getting various paints and painting each room differently, but now we’re thinking a 5-gallon bucket of a neutral color will make it easiest. Hell, I’d live with the colors that are up on the walls now if I could, but trust me when I take pictures and show ya’ll it will be plainly obvious why pea green, baby-shit orange and battleship grey do not complement each other. I’m sure the previous tenants thought that peas and carrots would go together, but I find it difficult to trust their judgment when there was a wall of Dale Earnhardt memorabilia (okay, so ripped and taped pages from magazines and newspapers) in the living room covering up the vaulted wall of the green, and the impractical ability to walk into the kitchen without nearly impaling yourself because it was so jam-packed (and not at all packed for moving) with crap that the nasty orange was only visible in patches. This is saying a lot about the orange because I love orange. My phone is orange, my stainless steel water bottle is orange, my favorite market bag our friend Sarah made me is orange, our office is orange (burnt mandarin), and a lot of my fabric stash has orange in it. I don’t love the orange kitchen, which is sad because it would require minimal touch ups only if we were to keep it. They did, after all, leave the extra paint in the garage.

We could even use up some of the paint we have from painting here, but there isn’t enough to paint an entire room. That and we bought bolder, darker colors that would work for this house because it has so much natural light but would be unusable in the new house because of its lack of light. As much as I despise white walls, I’d rather have that than the cave of navy blue that is the master bathroom. At the same time, the only color I do like, even though it makes the hallway look dark, is that battleship grey, so perhaps bold doesn’t need to be shied away from, just carefully planned. Ugh, I just really want this move to be over with already!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting

Every once in a while I make a filling or frosting for somebody and think that I would never utilize it again and be completely won over. This one definitely falls into that category.

Back before my boss was my boss, he ordered a batch of German Chocolate cupcakes with Coconut-Pecan Frosting for his wife’s birthday which they would be celebrating at a homeless shelter they volunteer at frequently. Yes, she celebrated her birthday by volunteering. Must be why they just got the Volunteers of the Year Award last weekend. Anyway, there were a couple leftover and so I sampled them. Now, the thing is I like chocolate. A lot. And so the thought of making anything but chocolate ganache to go with a chocolate cake seemed like blasphemy. However, I went online, referenced a cookbook, tweaked everything to match my tastes and came up with an excellent frosting even coconut haters have delighted in.

Cory’s Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting
4 egg yolks
1 can evaporated milk (12 ounce)
½ cup heavy cream
1½ cups dark brown sugar
2 sticks butter, cut into small pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 package (12-14 ounce) sweetened coconut
2 cups pecans, toasted and roughly chopped

Have all ingredients at room temperature. If using salted butter, omit the salt. In a saucepan whisk together the yolks and sugar until completely combined to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Turn the heat on medium and add the evaporated milk, heavy cream and butter. Stir constantly until thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Or, if you get impatient rather easily, bring mixture to a boil, lower it to a simmer for a minute or two then check for lumpies. If lumps are present, strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Otherwise, add the vanilla, coconut and pecans and stir to combine. Allow the mixture to cool completely, about an hour or two, stirring occasionally. Stir before using.

To frost a German Chocolate Cake, you can either fill and top your cake layers or fill, top and completely frost the sides. If you opt not to frost the sides, be generous in your filling layers. This recipe makes a lot of frosting, so don’t skimp. Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 3 days.

Don’t have evaporated milk? Use all heavy cream (2 cups.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

German Chocolate Cake

Last night after work I had a craving for German Chocolate Cake. Of course, this could’ve been attributed to the fact that I had leftover Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting from the wedding cake I did last weekend.

German Chocolate has nothing to do with Germany. It’s true. In fact, the German comes from the last name of the guy who invented the chocolate used to make the cake. Basically it has the sweetness of milk chocolate with the cacao content of semisweet, and also goes simply as sweet chocolate. If you decide to use sweet chocolate instead, you might want to omit a bit of sugar but the end result will just be a sweeter cake so there isn’t much harm in leaving the extra sugar in unless you’re diabetic, in which case you probably shouldn’t be indulging in such heavenly delights, I mean sinful decadence.

Cory’s German Chocolate Cake

1½ sticks butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together the flour, salt and baking soda and set aside. Beat the butter and sugars on medium to medium-high until pale and mixture looks fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time until completely incorporated before beating in the vanilla. With the mixer still on low, alternate the flour mixture with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour and beating until combined. Finally, beat in the melted chocolate.

Spray 2 to 3 8-inch or 9-inch pans generously with nonstick cooking spray (Pam) or coat the pans with butter and parchment and more butter over the parchment paper. Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake for 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. Or if you just want to be lazy, you can bake it in a 13x9 pan for 30 minutes and leave it in.

Don’t have buttermilk? Try using a mixture of half milk and half sour cream whisked together.

Don’t have semisweet chocolate chips? Use 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate bars chopped and melted and add an extra 1/3 cup sugar to the batter or use 8 ounces milk chocolate chips and decrease the sugar by 1/3 cup.

What? No frosting recipe? Come back tomorrow for my Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rubber Stamps

Yesterday after work I started packing up my rubber stamps and scrapbooking supplies. Please note I only started this process.

Holy crap! I realize that when I was a Stampin’ Up! representative that I bought a lot of rubber stamps, but until I took them all out of their extremely organized and efficiently stored cabinet to pack them for the move I had no idea just how much I actually had. Not only a lot, but about half have never been used or even put together. I smell either a project or a prospect on the horizon. Either I can put them all together and use them or leave them as is and sell them. As much as the money sounds appealing right now, I’m leaning towards the former.

More than likely they will all stay in this particular cabinet after we move. I mean, there really would be no reason to not keep them in there even though we’ll be using the desk as a computer desk, the monitor and keyboard will only take up space on one side. However, even if that doesn’t end up the case, I can always find space somewhere to store them until needed.

Funnily, I got into scrapbooking because friends and family were really getting into it and when their interest in the craft waned, well, so did mine. This isn’t to say that I don’t want to still create scrapbooks or memory albums, because I have a multitude of magazine boxes filled with memorabilia from various events waiting to be placed in a more permanent home, just that right now at this time in my life I’m just not in the mood to create something that harkens back to better times. Then again, that might just be the distraction I need after we move.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Keys to Change

Yesterday we did the walk through with the landlord and got the keys. To say I have mixed emotions would be an understatement.

It was apparent from the moment I arrived that he wasn’t too pleased with the previous tenants who, by the way, are friends of his. My husband was already on the scene and they were talking in what was a very empty garage, missing a few components he said would be staying because they were his. Mainly I’m talking about the two workbenches that were in the garage. Funnily, they didn’t take the shed or their garden boxes, but he was going to find out why later that day and figured they could stay if we’d use them. Part of me is hoping that this is the case. The shed may not be much to look at, but outside storage for the lawn tools, mower and chicken feed and supplies would definitely be a plus.

Trust me when I say there WILL be Before and After pictures of this place. The people who lived there before had put so many holes in the walls both big and small there might be some integrity issues to worry about. And there is a missing door and hole in another door, light fixtures that had been cut with tape covering the switches and smoke detectors ripped from the ceiling, all of which he said he would take care of. He seemed especially worried about the cut light fixture and said he’d get an electrician out right away to take a look at it because of the fire hazard it would pose. I mean, the guy has a vested interest in the house because he does plan on moving back in after his mom passes away, so I believe him when he says he’ll fix the stuff he says he will.

Fortunately a majority of the work is cosmetic, like painting over the Pea Green living room and Carrot Orange kitchen/dining room. The carpets are nasty, but we did walk through while they were covered in dirt and grime from not being vacuumed and cleaned. I hope that they clean up somewhat, but part of me thinks it’ll be a lost cause. Fortunately the vinyl flooring in the kitchen, entry and bathrooms are all in extremely good condition and even remind of the slate tiles we put in the half bathroom last year. However, there is enough Pergo flooring to redo the entry and the landlord gave us complete permission to install it there if we chose to do so! I wish it was enough to do the entire living room.

Alas, while I was a little nervous just a few short minutes ago when I started writing all this down, that has changed to excitement. Excitement over the possibilities. Excitement over the challenges. Excitement over the chance to have a fresh start. Now if only we could get our good friend Sarah or my cousin Amanda, who actually has a degree in Interior Design, to help us out in exchange for cakes, that’d be great.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Massive Wedding Cake

It seems, every once in a while, that people tend to get a little carried away. This would definitely be the case with the last wedding cake I did.

 Months ago when we met and did our little decision making session of sizes and cakes and fillings and such, we had figured on making sure there was plenty of cake. After all, there should be one-hundred and twenty guests and an after party where cake would be needed. It was also decided that wedding slices were not an option and opted instead for the larger party slices. Based on these factors, the initial plan worked out to be enough cake for about two hundred people, give or take. Two days before the wedding I got a call frantically saying we needed more cake and I suggested making the base bigger to accommodate and it was agreed upon.

Here’s the funny part, or the sad part, or whichever part you think it should be: There were only about forty people at the wedding. Which meant that not only would there be enough cake for the wedding reception and the after party, but also enough to feed the entire church after service the following day with the remainder of the base cake alone, which, by the way, is what they opted to do. However, even though they had so much cake, the impression everyone had of such a huge and lavish wedding cake was priceless. Best of all, the cakes tasted amazing, especially the German Chocolate cake with coconut pecan filling. This was meant to only be used for the topper, but I thought that since I had to go through all the work of making the filling that I’d also make the groom’s cake the same since it is his favorite. Sadly only people at the after party were able to indulge in this cake, but as one of those guests I got a slice too. It was delicious.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Aunt Drama Continues

“Never make a promise you can’t keep” is said throughout the Bible. I guess some people who claim to be Christians didn’t get the memo.

Apparently the aunt went to pick up the older boy the other day to stay the night and go to his cousin’s soccer practice. When their mother asked why she wasn’t also taking the younger boy, the aunt said that she’ll pick him up after practice and take them all to a movie. Needless to say she called right before she was supposed to pick him up and said she wouldn’t have time to get him before the movie started. The younger boy was obviously distraught over the matter and asked his mother to call his daddies to talk to us. As luck would have it, my phone was away from me because I was at the church setting up a wedding cake when this all went down. However, we picked him up after the wedding.

Honestly, I don’t understand why the aunt, who claims we are causing psychological damage to the kids by helping parent them, doesn’t see she is the cause of quite a bit of his emotional distress. I was hoping that she would at least have the integrity to keep her word, but apparently breaking promises made to people she says she loves come relatively easy, as evident by her actions over the course of this last year. I wonder if she ever intended on picking him up or if it was just a lie she told in order to get a playmate for her daughter so she wouldn’t have to entertain her. I don’t think she got the memo about never making promises you can’t keep… or have no intention of keeping.

Alas, I know that blogging about this is petty, but as an emotionally stunted person, I find the best way to get out my frustrations is to write about them. And when the actions of one person affect the lives of so many people I care about, I can’t just stand by idly either. Until she will actually talk to me face to face, I suppose my only choices of recourse are to ignore the shenanigans or write about it. Obviously I’ve chosen the latter.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Auction Day Postponed

Just when plans are in place and everything is going according to plan, something crazy happens. Sometimes crazy can be a good thing.

Yesterday my husband, out of morbid curiosity, decided to call the bank to find out who the new owner of the house was. They informed him that the auction has been postponed until May 20th and not to be surprise if in May the bank decides to postpone it yet again. With this news the stress of trying to move over this and the following two weekends is out, especially since they are all incredibly busy. Still, I want to start getting stuff moved over as soon as humanly possibly, or at the very least make sure we have every room painted before moving in.

We’re still waiting to hear back from the landlord on whether or not the tenants that were supposed to be out yesterday are in fact out. If not, we told him that we’d hold off until May 1st if that worked for him. May as well try and save half a month’s rent if we can, right? However, part of me just wants to start getting everything ready now even though the timing isn’t particularly the greatest because I’m tired of waiting in this limbo known as foreclosure. I’m tired of coming home expecting an eviction notice to be up on the door. I’m tired of the uncertainty.

In the meantime, I’m going to rest a little easier knowing that we’ve got at least another month and a half to get everything out and moved. And that we won’t have to pack all of the garage sale stuff with us.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Auction Day

Today our house goes up for auction at the county courthouse. Honestly, I feel sorry for the poor bastard who actually bids on the house.

With all the rain we’ve had lately, the evidence that we are leaving this house at the right time couldn’t be more apparent. There are so many leaks in the roof it is ridiculous. Just walk into our garage while it is raining and you’ll be hard pressed not to get hit by the Drip Drip Drop of Little April Showers. Not to mention what it is doing under the house where all that rain water, and I’m sure the busted sewer pipe from the kitchen sink is helping in this matter too, has manifested into huge pools of standing water. It is no wonder the house always feels damp and why it has such horrendous mold issues.

I’m pretty sure any part of me that was sentimental about the house left after the busted sewer pipe in the kitchen where, thank God, my husband utilized the magical powers of duct tape to “fix.” It also helps that we’ve started packing away a lot of our stuff turning what once we called home into the empty shell of a house. The exciting part comes when we get to do the final walk through with the landlord either tonight or tomorrow morning, which if it is in the morning I’ll be unable to attend due to the cake order I’m working on. However, I trust my husband’s judgment, so I will only be slightly saddened by not going.

Alas, I must attend to making the fillings and icings for the wedding cake now. I suppose in a way, this will mark the end of an era for us. After all, we moved in on the day Princess Di passed away and we’ll be moving out when her eldest son William gets married. Not that the royal family is anything to get your knickers all in a bunch over. Just another one of life’s silly coincidences.

On a last note, I hope the house doesn’t get bid on and the bank ends up having to keep it in their stockpile for years to come until it has to be condemned for not being kept up. Evil? Yes. But that would make me a little bit happy about the whole thing.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Our Dog Lucy

Today our baby turns five. It’s hard to believe our puppy is a senior now.

Okay, before I start getting hate mail for calling our five year old dog a senior, let me clear a few things up. First of all, she is a Great Dane, so life expectancy is only between seven to nine years. However, due to the horrific health problems from allergies and the medications to keep her comfortable, she’ll probably be on the shorter end of that average. So while she still acts like a puppy most of the time, she is starting to show signs of aging in her face and when we wake her from her slumber.

Anyway, Lucy is five years old today, and we have no plans with her. Does that make us bad puppy parents? I mean, I could always use the excuse that I have twenty batches of cake to mix and bake and cool today, or that we are in the middle of packing and moving to not celebrate this milestone. I could, but should I? Methinks not. Besides, I have to run back to the store anyway because last night I got a call from one of the grooms for the wedding cake I’m making and we need to change the bottom tier of the cake from a 12” square to a 16” square to accommodate the last minute people who decided not to RSVP in a timely manner. I knew I should’ve picked up enough supplies for more than just a little bit of overage but was thinking I didn’t want to pack and move anything extra if I didn’t have to. Curses.

So perhaps while at the store I’ll pick up some stuff for a nice dinner for Lucy. Nothing fancy, just some smoked salmon to which I will add some peas, potatoes, carrots and apples and just enough for a meal. Besides, last year I made her a meat cake with mashed potato frosting and while that was fun, I also didn’t have a huge cake order to contend with and could take the time to make it.

Our Lucy may not have any manners and may get in the way a lot and may have a super-jealous streak and may have chronic yeast infections and allergies to practically everything, but we love her and wouldn’t trade any of that for another dog. I just wish we were financially able to give her a little brother to play with, but at the same time I think she is perfectly content having us all to herself… with the cats, of course.

Happy Birthday, Woman (Little House on the Prairie reference, so please don’t get all up in my grill if you are highly offended by the tone.) I hope you adjust better to the move than I think I will, and I hope that your goofiness, clumsiness and complete lack of grace continue to shine for many years to come.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

To Pack or Quilt

I should be packing but I want to quilt. Something tells me there is about to be a tug-of-war.

Under times of immense stress I find that I usually need to take a little time out. For me that means crafting of some sort. With the move so close and the house so not ready to begin transferring items from here to there, I’m beginning to get to the point that I shutdown from being overwhelmed. Sadly we’ve hardly even scratched the surface and I feel this way so I can’t imagine what it’ll be like when we are in full gotta-move-now mode!

Alas, I’m also afraid that the three baby quilts and my brother’s new baby blanket I’m in the middle of making will end up being lost in the abyss if I don’t finish them and get them to their proper homes. But then again, maybe it’ll be better to have something to take my mind away from all the unpacking in the new place. Of course, I suppose that it would be best if I finish up the three baby quilts for our church’s auction next month after we move since the auction isn’t until May 21st, and who knows when I can finish my brother’s new baby’s blanket since I’m still waiting on them to figure out a name.

Focus, focus, focus.

That’s it. Today I am packing up the bookcase and all of my rubber stamps and scrapbooking supplies. Perhaps I need to make a list so that I can simply cross off what I’ve done and organize what needs to be done still. I’m not much of a list maker, but I must say that having one sure makes for a more focused and productive day. Assuming, of course, I don’t get all nostalgic and start reading another R.L. Stine book instead of putting them into a box.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wedding Cake Planning

I’m beginning to freak out a bit about a wedding cake I’ve got to start making Thursday. However, it isn’t about the cake, it’s being surrounded by boxes while baking.

Life is funny. Six months ago when I took this cake order I had no idea that our house would be foreclosed on and we’d have to move during the week of this particular wedding cake. Of course, it isn’t really at all surprising. I mean, this is, after all, the way life works most of the time. Obstacles seem meticulously placed at what seems inopportune times. Whoever said that God doesn’t have a sense of humor obviously hasn’t been paying attention.

So Thursday I’m baking, Friday decorating, and Saturday setting up and putting on the final touches to the cake. This should all go rather smoothly, in theory. The main issue I’m worried about is that this will also be the first weekend we have the house and the limited amount of time we’ll have to paint and clean before moving in over Easter weekend. Ugh. Again, funny. I’m just glad we don’t have those big Easters like we did when I was growing up because that would mean I’d be obligated to make ten dozen deviled eggs and possibly a few cakes. Part of me thinks we’ll be skipping church Palm Sunday to paint. Actually, a really big part of me.

I guess the main thing I should worry about is making sure I’ve got everything for the cake in place so I’m not freaking out any more than usual. With a four-tier wedding cake that has three satellites, that’s a lot of cake to bake, ice and decorate. And while I did plan out as much as I could last week as far as breakdowns for supplies and costs, I still haven’t actually purchased some of the stuff required. I suppose that is what I should be doing right now before I go to work this afternoon, huh?

Monday, April 11, 2011


With all this packing, parts of the house are beginning to feel empty. I say parts, because that is all we’ve got packed so far.

There is an echo in the office and a nakedness in the living room. Bookshelves normally lined with an array of books, DVDs and knick knacks lie empty. Well, empty except for the books we’re planning on getting rid of. A few of the newest listings we’ve posted on Amazon to sell have sold quite quickly, so I’m anxious to see if some of these coffee table books I’ve had since high school are worth anything or if they should just be saved for a garage sale. I am not, however, anxious to start packing up my bookcase and shelving unit in the craft room. With so many rubber stamps and scrapbooking supplies in the shelving unit I might get distracted and (gasp!) actually start scrapbooking! Okay, so I don’t really see that happening.

Looking at empty bookshelves and bare walls can be quite refreshing, too. It’s as if the clutter known as life has taken a step back to catch its breath before filling back up again in a new place. While painting this weekend, after the wedding cake and wedding of course, seems like a daunting task to attend to, creating that blank slate will be an exciting adventure to tackle before the exhale.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Sister Ashley

Do you have a sibling who every once in a while makes you go, “Huh?” That’s my sister Ashley.

Ashley is the unpredictable one. Seriously, you never know where her mind will take her next. Even as a child she’d make decisions that seemed completely silly and then surprise you with an intelligent comeback. It’s these extreme polar opposites that make her fun to keep track of and watch. And on top of that, she’s funny, wild, and beautiful. What can I say? All of our parents are beautiful and they made beautiful children.

The other thing about Ashley is that, well, when it was just us boys and her, basically when we’d go over to our dad and stepmom’s house, we’d all gang up on her, as she was the only girl. Of course, that meant she didn’t share a room with anyone, so you can imagine that is where the lion’s share of the jealousy stemmed from. Alas, I hope that this upbringing helped form her into a more resilient person, because God knows I was picked on enough in school for being fat and wearing hearing aids and still see myself as that sometimes, I couldn’t imagine having a brother in the same grade and school as I to torment my middle school years!

However, going back to unpredictable, I remember when we all were getting our hair cut (keep in mind this was the 80s) and all four of us boys got the traditional mullet cut (super short top, shoulder length back) and she wanted the same thing and so we all matched. My mother was not well pleased, but looking back, I think this is just the type of person my sister is… fearless. Well, fearless except for her best friend’s cousin beating the crap out of her so frequently she had to change schools. That cousin is now married to my husband’s brother, so crazy never really left the building!

No matter what life throws at her, she makes the most out of it. Her house is always meticulously decorated and clean, well, with the exception of her boys’s room, but to be fair, they are slobs, and she is a gracious host. I also understand her frustration when she takes the time to plan something nice for her kids and nobody shows up. Instead of letting it show, she takes the opportunity to make it special time with them. Sometimes I feel bad for her because all she wants for her kids is the same big Christmases and birthdays we had growing up, and sadly I don’t think those will ever be again.

I guess the thing I am most proud of her is that when she makes up her mind to do something, she does it. I don’t always agree with her decisions, but I have to admire the fact that she isn’t like me and stalls or tries to find an excuse not to do something. Wants a baby? She has one. Wants a house? She buys one. Wants a new car for her birthday even though she might not be able to afford it? She gets it anyway. She very much lives in the now while at the same time keeps the future close at hand. Because behind those seemingly erratic decisions, lies a very intelligent and resourceful mind.

Happy birthday, Ashley! May life continue to surprise you and may you always continue to surprise us!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Packing and Packing

Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous but I was working most of it. Today is supposed to be somewhat the same, albeit with a few more clouds, but I’ll be spending it packing stuff up.

While I started packing up the craft room last week, pulling everything out of the closet and going through it and packing what I could, there is still quite a bit of stuff in there I need to go through. An assload of rubber stamps and scrapbooking stuff, a third of which has never even been used, and the bookcase full of books, photo albums and magazines are what I’m not looking forward to. Ugh. Perhaps I just need to go in without thinking and just start boxing it all.

Sadly I am having a hard time realizing that we only have a week until we start moving into the house we’ll be renting. Of course, my brain is focused on other things as well, such as the wedding cake order I took months ago before we found out when we were going to move, which, funnily, is also in a week. Which reminds me that I still need to go to a cake decorating store to find the plates and pillars I don’t already have and figure out a base for the cake too. Something tells me reality better set in quickly or I’m going to be screwed and end up tossing important documents or packing up garbage.

And in other news, it is also my stepmom's birthday. Happy Birthday Ruth! I apologize there will be no banana cake with white chocolate ganache this year with your name on it.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Today is our fifteenth anniversary. I’ve got nothing.

Since we had the kids since Sunday night until last night, it was practically impossible to plan or figure out anything for my husband and I for our anniversary. Albeit, I’m working all day too, so that puts a damper on plans until this evening anyway. And with no rain in sight he’s thinking today and tomorrow would be a good time for a garage sale. Alas, I’d agree, assuming we had anything ready for such a sale, which we don’t. We’ve barely got a pile in place. I have no clue if we should even bother doing anything other than packing and maybe getting stuff ready for a garage sale tomorrow at least. Oh well. Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

You Can't Reason with Crazy

As a good friend once told us, “You can’t reason with crazy.” This most definitely applies to someone we know.

Yet again we are dealing with more drama from the boys’s aunt, and yet again she is using her nephews in ways that are not only abusive but can have psychological implications as well. I’m not sure if it is because she is possibly addicted to the pain killers she’s taking due to her major hip problems, which she needs hip replacement surgery to remedy, or if she really is like our dog’s yeast infection, taking one last stand and going all out to make life miserable for everyone involved before realizing resistance is futile, but I’m getting tired of reading the excessive text messages she keeps sending to my husband. Of course, she has yet to contact me, and I’m clueless as to why, considering I am part of the equation. Must be because I’m perfect.

What pains me is not a lost friendship but the fact that she refuses to be a grown up about the situation around the kids and instead uses them as pawns in her little scheme to control those around her. I often wonder how many times she’s used her own kids as bargaining tools in her relationship with her partner. I often wonder what she would do if she did find out about the time we went out to dinner with her partner late one night after she got off work and she called her in the middle of dinner and after the phone call ended asked us in a panicky voice not to say anything to her because she’d be angry about going out to eat. I often wonder what makes a person decide to be so vindictive.

But at the same time, kids are smart. They have a funny way of knowing who is really on their side and who is using them. Any adult who thinks otherwise is delusional. It makes me wonder what her ultimate goal in the matter is. I mean, does she really think the kids are going to listen to her when she tells them stuff that makes them sad and they cry because they don’t like what she is saying about people they obviously love? Okay, so just one of them since she rarely sees the younger one, who just the other day asked why his brother always gets to go to his cousin’s house to play and he doesn’t. I told him I don’t know, he should ask his aunt why, and then told him that he was welcome to come over to our house any time he wanted, which made him smile and somewhat forget his original question.

Part of me is hopeful that one day she will realize we don’t have some evil plan to kidnap the boys, but the realist in me is quite pessimistic about that. I can scream it at the top of my lungs for the whole world to hear and it wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference. This is the same person who, after my husband said (years ago while reminiscing over high school) he’d wished he’d gone to prom with her partner (before they were together, mind you) instead of his cousin’s cousin (long story), assumed that meant that he wanted to have sex with her. No matter what we tell her or what the boys’s mother tells her, she is going to believe whatever she’s already concocted in her brain to be true. Ultimately it is the boys’s mother’s call, and as long as she wants us to be involved in their lives, we will be. So I suppose I should stop taking these attacks so personally. After all, you can’t reason with crazy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Our dining room is currently filled with boxes. Most of them are still empty.

After going through the craft room and sorting between Keeps and Sells, I started packing up my fabric I’m keeping, about the only things not currently in boxes. Let me just say that while packing a large box filled with fleece is manageable, a large box filled with quilting fabric is not so much. But at least it is boxed and ready to move, right?

With one of the kiddos here for the last few days and other one since last night, and working, packing hasn’t been much of a priority. And with our fifteen year anniversary quickly approaching, as in two days, and the next day my stepmom’s birthday, the day after my sister’s birthday and the day after that my grandpa’s birthday, I’m uncertain when I’ll be able to start packing again. However, a room full of empty boxes are begging to be filled, so perhaps after the munchkins go to bed tonight we’ll start packing up some books or other stuff we won’t need to use in the immediate future. Who knows, maybe we’ll find a few “treasures” along the way to get rid of.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Etsy Shop

I haven’t talked much about my Etsy Shop lately. Must be because I haven’t been adding anything new to my shop.

In a perfect world you’d create something people will want to buy. In the case of my shop, I’ve found that people really want to buy patterns to make stuff themselves. I get that. While I like to scour the internet for as many free patterns as I can find to create stuff, sometimes it is better to have the pattern and a clear, concise, step-by-step explanation of the process complete with pictures to help guide you along the way. Hence, the reason I made my Puppet Oddity PDF Instruction eBook and Patterns. Twenty-four pages and over one-hundred-twenty color pictures with tips and hints to either Challenge you or make it Simple.

When I set out to make the patterns and instructions, I didn’t intend for it to become so involved, I just decided to make it in a way that was accessible to the beginner and the novice alike. Beginning crafters or people new to making puppets may appreciate the Simple Tips, sometimes shortcuts and sometimes just easier ways to create, while people who’ve been crafting for quite some time would like the Challenge Tips added along the way for ways to add more character and depth to their puppets. Otherwise, the eBook was written for the inbetween crafter with some sewing, cutting and gluing experience.

Why am I writing about this particular pattern? Because it has been a year since I put the pattern up for sale in my shop and has proven to be the most popular item by far. Actually, of the physical items in my shop I’ve only sold a few old thread spools I was getting rid of while the rest of my sales have been this pattern. So for the next week I am offering a special to the readers of this blog… 25% off your purchase in my Etsy Shop! Just enter the Coupon Code PATTERNS during Checkout to take advantage of this sale.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Just when we thought our dog was finally getting over her latest bout from her yeast infection caused by severe allergies to, well, practically everything, it seems to be coming back. Great.

Hopefully this little scratching kick she’s been on is just because of the excess of pollen in the air from Springtime. Although part of me still wonders how much of her behavior is environmental and how much is caused mentally. I’m still not convinced she doesn’t scratch herself raw just to get attention, especially when she’s perfectly fine until told to stay on her bed instead of getting up on the couch with us. Then again, it could be both.

I really am hoping that we don’t completely undo the progress she’s made over the last month in a matter of days. I am also really hoping, as is my husband, that this latest experiment of using a product called Allerderm Spot On, recommended by both her allergist and veterinarian, works. It works like topical flea treatments in that you part the hair on the pet’s back and squeeze out the tubes contents, albeit slightly different in that you do this in various places along the spine. What it does is replace the skin lipids that most allergy sufferers are missing or have a shortened supply, thus, helping to make pores smaller and harder for allergens to seep their way in. We are tired of seeing our baby miserable and are willing to just about try anything at this point to make her not be. Here’s hoping the latest therapy is a winner.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Reality Setting In

With the paperwork all signed and the date set to start moving in, it’s finally time to get serious about packing and planning. That means it is time to open up my craft room closet and start going through stuff to keep and pack or put into a toss or garage sale pile. Just the thought is daunting.

April 15th is creeping up quite quickly. Not only is that the day our house goes up for auction at the courthouse, but also our prospective move-in date to the house we’ll be renting. What can I say, we like to cut it close. Rebels, we are. Okay, so really our plan was to move this weekend but that wasn’t going to happen since the current tenants won’t be out until mid-month. Yesterday while signing paperwork, he had our original move-in date set for May 1st but we opted to pay a half month’s rent to get the house ready for our arrival; painting, cleaning, fumigating the garage and the likes.

With so much to do, I’m really trying to think about this in increments so as to not overwhelm myself. But honestly, after being nervous all day I felt excited after signing the paperwork. I guess some part of me was thinking he’d change his mind and decide not to let us rent his house and we’d be back to square one and screwed. So I suppose now the best thing to do is take this opportunity to start over.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Today we sign papers for the new house we’ll be renting. It’ll be bittersweet.

Part of me wants to jump for joy we were even able to get a house without a credit check and the other part of me is angry for the situation that got us to this point in the first place. Ultimately, however, I know it’ll be for the best. The house has too many problems and we are in no way financially able to tackle those costs and the mortgage, especially for a house that we owe so much more than it is worth.

But I have to say, taking this next step means we are getting that much closer to moving, and we aren’t even close to ready for that. I just hope that my husband vacuums and does the dishes while I’m at work and before the guy comes over so he doesn’t think we are complete slobs. Yes, he’s coming here to have us sign the papers. Good thing we haven’t let the place completely go to shit, huh?

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools

I’m not one for April Fools jokes. But that isn’t to say that I’m above them.

After the alarm angrily woke me this morning, my husband said we should change our Facebook statuses to single. I grunted and made coffee. I guess he took this as a sign I wasn’t into the suggestion, but that isn’t so, I just needed coffee. Because, for some odd reason, I woke up at 2:30 this morning and think I fell back asleep sometime around 6 am. The alarm went off at 6:20. Something tells me I’ll be taking a nap during my lunch break today.

Anyway, I personally like jokes, but wonder just how often people appreciate the notion. I guess this will be the day to test that.