Stunt Man Training Camp

Little A has declared that he plans to be an animal rescuer "Just like Diego!" when he grows up. For those of you not up to date on your Nickelodeon (will there be a day when I'm not?), "Go, Diego, Go!" is an animated program about a little boy who travels to a variety of exotic locations with his sidekick, Little Jaguar, and rescues an animal in trouble. He has a very exciting life for an 8 year old but I do wonder how his mother feels about his best friend being a baby jaguar.
Anyway, I tend to think that Little A's line of work will more likely fall under the title of "crazy stunt man" or "dangerous adventure seeker". I guess that's not too far off from animal rescuer. Diego does hang out with big cats. These pics don't do full justice to all his antics, but let me just say that he has perfected his form in throwing himself down the stairs with the greatest That Looks Real and Very Dangerous effect you can imagine. Today he conquered a giant leap between the two sofas in the living room WHILE holding an umbrella. The umbrella was a very important prop (wouldn't the fact that it's a Hello Kitty umbrella just make the compound fracture seem so much more adorable?) and reminded me of the horrible movie, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life
and the scene where Lara and her kinda love/sidekick Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler) fly through the air onto a barge in their flying squirrel suits. Or maybe he could grow up to be a James Bond who does his own stunts. The Name's A, Little A. Oh, I'd be so proud.

Hoppy Birthday, Little M

I'm a little late in wishing my little niece Happy Birthday on this blog, although we did make a special trip to Oklahoma in order to give her personal well-wishes. I don't really have much to comment on the party except that my sister put on a beautiful party with every little detail, from the froggy crafts down to the little fly on the end of the licorice frog tongue on the cupcakes. I just wanted to share these cute pictures...

L'il Brunch

A few weeks ago a friend who doesn't do much cooking gave me a recipe for some scones and asked me to make a batch for her. Being in the midst of cleansing my organs of evil spirits/toxins and therefore being unable to consume even one single ingredient in said recipe (except the salt, which was Celtic sea salt, OF COURSE! but that still doesn't count), I had to politely decline the request and said I'd catch her later. So with that and a quiche recipe I'd been eyeing I had a few friends over for a last minute brunch. I felt very Junior League-ish although we didn't talk about our gardeners, house servants, or personal masseuses. Not much anyway. This picture is the aftermath since I forgot to snap a photo beforehand.

As much fun as it was I don't think it's something I could (or should) do very often. There WAS fruit to be had, but between the Fat Roll (spicy sausage, cream cheese, and pastry dough, thank you very much, Mrs. C), the eggs, cheese, biscuits (no southern brunch is complete without Monkeybread in my opinion) and butter, butter and more butter, we'd need to chip in to hire a paramedic to be sitting at the ready with defibrillator charged and ready to go. When you go to a brunch you want to hear about the latest gossip at the area schools, what crazy thing Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump are sparring over, summer plans, various plans to participate in or stories of participating in area sporting events, but most definitely not "Charged....and....CLEAR!".


I'm seeing green

Last night I hosted Bunco for a new group I joined last summer. I was attracted at once to this group for all the regular reasons like welcoming, funny people. But there was another thing that made this group such an easy one to fall into. I never had to bring anything. Every month, I'd just get in my car, drive wherever I needed to go and eat, drink and be merry. What bliss! There are some really great cooks in the group who can always be counted on for great food and a wonderful bottle of wine.

My mooching days came to an abrupt end this week and it was my turn. No more free rides for me and the pressure was on. I couldn't exactly feel good about slapping together some bologna and Velveeta sandwiches (Mmmmm) or chicken nuggets with mac-n-cheese. Fresh off my cleanse I had big dreams of wonderful things and pored through cookbooks and magazines searching for a theme that would fit in with my schedule. I came up with a pistachio / lime (green) theme and went for tropical spinach salad, chicken salad, lime custard tart, and mojitos. All went well 'til it came time to make the tart. The Tart. THE TART! Oh Lord. I cursed Martha Stewart so don't be surprised if she shows up with blight on her tomatoes and a second cockroach head growing out of her neck. Insider trading will be the least of her worries. This tart represents 3+ hours of my life that I'll never see again. I realize for some people that might not seem excessive or maybe it's worth it. It WAS delicious. But C'MON! 3 hours is A LOT to this mom. I was able to fit in some so-called quality time by letting Little A help with the chopping, the zesting, the squeezing and stirring, but still. Really, there should be a disclaimer at the top of any recipe that takes longer than 2 hours in prep time. Something that might read, "THIS RECIPE IS SUITABLE ONLY FOR LONELY, SOCIALLY-CHALLENGED PEOPLE WHO HAVE NOTHING BETTER IN LIFE TO DO THAN SLAVE OVER THEIR COUNTER FOR NEARLY 4 HOURS FOR A STINKING (albeit delicious) TART".

A few months ago, when my original Bunco group was re-forming after a brief hiatus, I was able to rally a small contingent to support a switch from our traditional potluck style monthly gatherings to the easier, more convenient once-a-year-do-it-all-and-get-it-over-with method. I touted how convenient it was to be unburdened from the monthly duty of cooking up a side dish, salad or dessert. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Funny how opinions can change overnight.


Spring cleaning done!

...of the internal variety, anyway. 21 days, 46 protein shakes, 462 smelly capsules, 5 lbs, countless salads, sweet potatoes, vegetables and fruits later, I'm sparkling clean, inside and out. The first week was the hardest, but once I figured out that I could actually cook more than one sweet potato at a time or could make one big salad that would last a couple of days, it got a little easier. I also decided that the protein shake was actually delicious (gritty? what was I thinking?) and am sticking with it.

Best things about The Cleanse: the kids ate more vegetables than ever, getting out of my broccoli and carrots rut, deep sleep, not getting tired mid-afternoon, not having to drag myself out of bed feeling like I've been run over by a tractor, not craving bread/crackers every 30 minutes, calling my fellow cleansing friend to comiserate and fantasize over sandwiches, actually enjoying spicy food, making my first Thai soup with awful smelling fish sauce (and awful is a gross understatement), red peppers and artichokes are fabulous on just about anything. I'm sure there are many more, but moving on...

Worst things about The Cleanse: having to pack a day's worth of food whenever I was going to be out, no Chick-Fil-A french fries (maybe that's a Good Thing?), missing out on even the healthy things I enjoy like hummus and oatmeal with granola.

When it's all said and done the Good far outweighs the Bad so I'll be doing it again in August.

Who's with me?

Gumdrop City

Bubble Boy had the pleasure of teaching 4 mixed age classes of kindergarteners, 1st and 2nd graders for Science Day at our elementary school a week or two back. We sat up 'til late in the night stuffing 150 zip top snack bags with precisely 11 gumdrops and 25 toothpicks, which is not surprisingly, rather tedious. The kids had fun playing Buckminster Fuller and seeing just how strong a triangle can be. Seems we went overboard on the bags though and had a few leftover so Big E decided to make a sort of Polly Pocket Epcot Center village-thing. It kept her busy for a while and Little A sure did like wearing his Gumdrop City Hall Hat.


Run faster, grow bigger

Sweet little family driving down the road.....

Little A: Hey, do you know why I like to eat my boogers?
Me: No, why?
Little A: Because they make me be able to grow big and run faster.
Me: Ahhhh, I see. And why is that?
Little A: Because they're food [read "Like Duh Mom!"] and they're slimy. [Big grin here]

It's not bedroom furniture, but....

...it's a great hiding spot. This weekend while Bubble Boy did the Fun Dad thing and took the kids to Austin's annual Kite Festival, I did the Mom-Needs-Some-Alone-Time thing and went shopping. Four Hands had their annual (semi-annual?) warehouse sale and I put my shopping shoes on and braved the crowd. We scored really big a couple of years ago with a boatload of furniture at deep discounts but hadn't been able to make it since then due to this or that. I found this cabinet that I've been desperately looking everywhere for. I'm downright drunk with giddiness thinking about all the things I plan store in it, including my 4 year old. He fits perfectly, don't you think?

Unfortunately, they didn't have any acceptable bedroom furniture so the hunt for that continues. We WILL get our mattress off the floor in 2007. I swear it. Hopefully it will happen before something important inside me snaps. For those who don't know my deepest darkest secret, we've been without bedroom furniture for going on 2 years. We put new carpet upstairs and painted back in 2005 and thought we'd redecorate while we were at it, so no need to haul everything back up there. And that's why we've been sleeping on what my daughter's friend confusingly refers to as a "mat" for what seems a very long time. I guess it's a step up from a pallet.