Tuesday, July 31, 2012

failure, with a dash of cinnamon and plastic

I need to take a break from attempting new recipes, particularly it would seem those of the baking-breakfasty-sweetness variety.

Its my Achilles heel, my kryptonite, my bucket of water on the Witch of the West.

This week anyway, next week is totally up for grabs.

So I saw these on the website that provides an endless source of failure possibilities for me (Pintercrack, of course) and I thought to myself "Self, I can do that!"  Yes, these are dangerous words.

Cinnamon roll pancakes.

Yeah, that sounds like heaven on a plate, and so the fail began ...

I followed her recipe, all of her instructions right up to the part where I was supposed to put the gooey cinnamon stuff in a baggie and clip a corner.  I thought hey, why would I do that when I can just use one of these spiffy ketchup bottle thingies I got for a buck.  I actually thought to myself that diverging from the instructions would be a good thing this time.  I was making it easier on myself with this change.  I am so clever, I thought, as I patted my back and poured the delicious concoction into the bottle.

Um, not so much.
the cinnamon goo, pre-Bottle of Doom

The neck of the bottle got clogged, and only the buttery stuff poured out making a huge mess, so I had to squeeze the bottle harder figuring it would let the one stuck piece come out.

But then it exploded out, with lots of the cinnamon goo, and that pancake was a mess.  So I figured, hey, I only lost one, no biggie ... then it happened again, but this time I squeezed the bottle so hard that the goo oozed out from under the cap.  Everywhere.

This made the bottle slippery.  Slippery bottles are hard to hold.  Slippery bottles that are hard to hold should not be held by frazzled women standing over a skillet of pancakes that are cooked on one side, but not the other.  If they are held by such a domestic goddess she might *ahem* drop the slippery bottle onto the half cooked pancakes, smearing them, melting part of her cheap ketchup bottle, burning her fingers while she tries to pick up the bottle and ultimately destroying all eight of the pancakes on the skillet aesthetically.

I know you are hoping for a huge picture bomb of this fail, but alas, I have none.  I was too covered in cinnamon, butter and pancake batter with three fingers on fire and a stunned family near by wondering what the hell we were having for dinner.

I do have a picture of one pancake, and it is seriously deceptive.

It was the only one that looked like it had swirled, but I would like you to take note that the the cinnamon swirl did not stay ON the pancake.  No, you can see it just above the pancake on the skillet, burning.  

I made the icing, and just poured a ton of it onto the pancakes to hide the mess they were.

Then we accidentally left the icing (the only part I did not screw up) out on the counter overnight, so it was ruined.

So there were three major components to this meal ...

1.) The pancakes -- which I dropped a bottle onto and smeared everywhere

2.) The swirl -- which exploded onto the pancakes and made a mess, never actually sticking to any of them

3.) The icing -- which was delicious, but left out over night so it was ruined

Three strikes ... and I am out.

No one complained about dinner, even if it wasn't pretty or anything like it was supposed to be.  In fact, the husband and the Meatball said it was yummy.

But that may have been because I was still mumbling under my breath and nursing three burned fingers while the smell of burnt cinnamon and plastic hung heavily in the air.

Friday, July 27, 2012

an ode to super glue

So when I left off with you, I had successfully made a "calming bottle" ... but it wasn't so calming for my youngest.  Go figure.  The child has defied all odds (spoken like a proud mama of a child who has faced medical adversity and a worn out mama who knows this little goofball can do anything to age me rapidly) so naturally he could handle a calming bottle un-calmly.

We were going out of town and I wanted good car toys, so I made a second one the same way I had with the first, but in blue with some different glitter so that the kids could each have one.  I figured the change in color may make interest last longer.

I was right.  Initially anyway.  

What I hadn't taken into consideration is that if your baby gets uber pissed off being in his car seat and throws one of the bottles out the door at you while at a gas station, and it falls from the ridiculous height of your husband's rather tall truck with all the pent up frustrated velocity a one year old can give it ... the cap of those pretty Norwegian bottles almost explodes.  However, in a true testimony to the sheer strength of super glue, the bottle stayed sealed.  However it now had these sharp horrible knife like pieces sticking off the lid, and was not good anymore.    

I may not be mother of the year material, but even I know that is not a good thing to hand the kiddo.

But being me, I couldn't throw it out.  I mean, really, look at all the glitter, glue and water in there man!  I can't just toss this much stuff!  So I decided to dismantle it, but again, I was thwarted by the awesomeness that is superglue.  That damn cap was not moving.  No matter, I busted out my surgical tools.

After like ten minutes of me swearing at it I had worn a small hole in a section and scored around the top.  I would have been there forever, but my husband took pity on my cheap stubborn ass and swooped in with a saw.

It still took a while, now I know why those Norwegian bottles are so expensive, suckers are dense!  We did get it torn open, and we got the contents mostly poured into a new Voss bottle.  What didn't make it in the bottle was sparkling all over my husband's hands, which he totally loved.  He was sparkly!

Then I used some Gorilla foam glue to fill the void inside the cap, making it less hallow and hopfully a bit more shatter resistant.  When it comes down to it though, really I have just learned I need to be careful about when and where the Beans plays with the bottles.  He was not unsupervised with it before, I watched the destruction take place with my eyes wide open, but he won't be holding them when the car doors are open in the very least.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

oooo so pretty

The Beans is a darling little monstrosity.  I mean it, people stop me all the time to tell me how beautiful he is -- most of them confusing his pretty long lashes rimming his startling blue eyes for those of a girl -- but he really has a true capacity for sheer evil brilliance.  I assure you.  Apart from the heinous bat shriek he has perfected to a degree I anticipate militarily contacting any day now, he can climb in or out of anything.  Nothing holds him safely, so much so that we actually made his bedroom door a Dutch door as opposed to dealing with the continual dismantling of a baby gate.  

I find that keeping him entertained is not only critical for his safety but also for my sanity.  So when I see anything on Pintercrack that appears to be entertaining and cheap/easy to do I am all over that.  Cue the adorably simple Time Out Jar or Calming Jar.  

from creative little daisy

Adorable, no?  I fell in love with the idea of a timer that was both entertaining and soothing.  As a kid I adored those goofy glitter wand things and would tip them back and forth watching the glitter swirl and fall ... heck, if I had one still I would do it.  This reminded me of those, so I wanted to make one.  For the baby, of course. *ahem*

But the thought of giving my child ... any child ... a glass jar ... uh, not a plan I was cool with.  

In my other obsessive wanderings on Pintercrack I had stumbled upon (and of course pinned) a homemade lava lamp (which I will do and post about another day).  Here they had used a Voss water bottle because of their nifty shape, so I figured that would be a totally awesome container to use.  

So I looked everywhere for those bottles, and when I finally found them I was floored that they nearly cost me $3.  FOR ONE!  Cuh-ray-zee.  Too in love with the idea to see reason, I bought the expensive Norwegian bottle of water anyway.  Side note: the water was tasty.  

supplies all ready to go

squish glitter glue into the bottle
... and this part takes a while

while sprinkling regular glitter into the bottle
do not drop the damn cap in there

lots of sparkle, and no glitter shaker cap anymore

add some water

begin mixing

and keep shaking

the glue will bubble, so I kept trying to get
the bubbles down so I could add more water

ooooo purdy

finished product
on a dirty table in my backyard

seriously, I could watch it for hours
So it was a simple craft, it was cheap all things considered even with the expensive bottle.  I will add that I super glued the cap on this bad boy.  Highly recommend that immensely critical step, or you might have a hellova mess on your hands, and floor, and furniture, and child.

In fact, it was so successful I made a second one.  It was/is blue.  It lived, then died and then lived again.

Ever so handily we have already problem solved what might happen if your monstrosity of a one year old outsmarts you and manages to make a plastic bottle a dangerous thing.  So not only can I tell you what could go wrong, but I can also tell you how to fix it.  

Tomorrow.  ;)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

sometimes I pretend I am an adult

Sometimes, just to keep people who actually know me guessing, I like to pretend I am a responsible adult.  No seriously, I do.  It can't last terribly long, its a lot like holding your breath in that it gives you that awful panicky I-might-die-here-now feeling.  Sorta like the panic you get when you are falling asleep and suddenly, just as you drift pass reason you are certain you are falling down the pit of doom?  Its like that for me.  Adulthood is soooo over rated, my friends.

Anyway, just for giggles, I fake it sometimes.  Like when I need a reason to blog.  

So somewhere ... I honestly am not sure where ... I got this totally mature idea that you could color code your home files and be all efficient and stuff.  I had done this as a teacher (math lesson plans were filed as one color, language arts plans another, for example) but like so many of my brilliant teachy ideas they did not translate to home.  Like at all.  My classroom was uber organized, and cleaned out, and I was the picture of efficiency.  Home?  Well ... are you new here?

Anyway, I saw this idea where you could use the sticky return address labels and color code files to make your life ever so much easier somewhere.  I wish I could remember to link you to the original place.  

Dreading actually doing this one, knowing that I'd love the end result, but hate the poo out of the process, I bit the bullet.

Here is one example of a before image ...

Ghastly, I know.  To be honest, the whole four drawers of our adulthood looked just as horrible.  Papers sticking out at odd angles like they were trying to escape the hell resulting from a lack of a filing cabinet system.  Important papers were all bent up and lost, hidden behind warranties for 10 year old purchases long since Goodwilled. *shudder*

So I put on my big girl panties, borrowed my parents paper shredder and dove in.  Once files were cleaned out I created my color coding categories (ie green is financial) and got labeling.

I love not having to try to coax those stupid little tabs out of the plastic holders, the stickers are about a billion times easier to cope with and can be changed easily too.

The file cabinet overhaul made it so we can actually use our files a lot easier, and we wound up getting rid of tons of stuff we didn't need and had no idea we were still holding on to.

I have also been working on a "life binder" which I also found on Pintercrack.  Its a handy idea, keeping things all in one immediately accessible place.  It is still a bit of a work in progress, but I will share it with you when I am done too.

All this organizing stuff makes me feel so mature ... but then I remember who I am, so its okay.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

so easy a monkey could do it

You know how you see those pins all the time proclaiming that this insanely delicious looking dish is sooo easy to put together?  Yeah, I pin those hoping for the best every time.

Then I prove those bitches wrong!

Unfortunately it is not an intentional bit of proof, but hey, I accept my failures with as much grace as I can muster.  Here is a fine example.

Have you seen this beauty?  All its mouth watering goodness seems not only affordably simple, but freaking delicious.  I mean the only fantasy missing here is my hot cabana boy giving me a massage and chocolate ... but I digress.  This lovely little ditty can be found at The Jones Way blog and it seemed so do-able that I just had to pin it, and when Grands Biscuits went on sale at Fry's for 10 for $10 it got my cheap side werkin' with my sweet tooth and I just hoped it would all work out for the best.

So I bought my supplies not already in stock and set out to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of a successful baking pin.

Recipe and instructions c&p'd from the link:

Sticky Bun Breakfast Ring

2 small tubes refrigerator buttermilk biscuits OR 1 tube Pillsbury Grands buttermilk biscuits 
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 C. pancake syrup (any brand you like, I used Mrs. Buttersworth)
1/3 C. packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 C. chopped pecans, optional
1/4 C. chopped almonds, optional

Spray a fluted pan with non-stick spray. Combine the melted butter and syrup in a small bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts (if desired). Place about half of the syrup mixture in the bottom of the pan. Then sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top. Lay the biscuits on the bottom of the pan, overlapping edges (closely together) to form a ring. Top with remaining syrup and sugar mixtures. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 1 minute in the pan, then invert onto a serving platter and enjoy!

So I got to work, after buying a bunt pan because I didn't actually own one.  I followed all the directions she gave with one, small exception (Well, two if you count the not adding the nuts.  We are nuts enough, don't need to add them to our baked goods.) I totally figured I could add ALL of the biscuits to the pan.  There is plenty of room in there, the more the merrier, right?

For the record, if you do this, you will probably not get all the biscuits cooked all the way through.  Then when you "dump" the sticky bun ring out you will panic and realize it is like 60% raw, and then be faced with the impossible task of shoving it all back into the pan or accepting complete failure.  

Not that I, like, know that for sure or anything ... um ... well just in case you ever need to know, you can shove all those sticky raw biscuits back into the pan for like another ten minutes or so while fervently praying over your oven and it will work.  Perhaps the top is a bit crispier than the original baker intended, but it passed muster with my crew.  

Here is Meatball adding the first set of ingredients, so easy a
ten year old can do it ...

Stuffed as many of the biscuits in there as possible ... bad idea.

Add some more good stuff to the top because, well, because.

First round of baking done! Thinking I was totally awesomesauce
I took it out ... then discovered the horrible truth ...

After I stuck it all back in the pan with as much delicacy
as I could muster, without getting caught, it cooked all the way through.

So, while not a complete failure because the end result did work, it wasn't exactly a success either I suppose.  But I won't tell if you won't.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

gather 'round children, a lesson

Maybe I am just older and see things differently.

Maybe my oldest was a little less of a death/thrill seeker.

Maybe I am just falling apart in general, but at some point I totally lost all grip on sanity when it comes to grocery shopping.

Shopping day is Wednesday, which is not so coincidentally payday as well.  I have grown to like Mondays even more than Wednesdays recently.

Perhaps it is the gripping heat combined with humidity, or the fact I sleep in non consecutive four hour increments, or that I have decided to wage a personal war on all the crap in my house while simultaneously doing a deep clean upon learning my in-laws may be visiting soon ... but I pretty much open my eyes on Wednesday and want to call in dead.

But I don't get that luxury.

The Beans could star in a sideshow for which the posters could read: "Houdini Baby can escape anything!"  Just below it in smaller print could read the tag line: "Unleashes a sonic-boom-bat-screech you just have to hear to believe!"

We'd need people to sign wavers though, as they'd never hear again and that has lawsuit written all over it.

So while I was racing through grabbing the basic stuff we needed one handed while trying to keep a hand hooked around Beans to keep him where the seat belt in the cart apparently can't and trying to stuff enough Apple Wagon Wheels in his mouth to keep it too busy to start screaming, I saw it.

It was beautiful.

A whole rack of beauty.

And I succumbed.

<3 <3 <3

Take this as a lesson in cause and effect.

I took my children grocery shopping.  
I bought sangria.  
A big bottle of it.  
End lesson.  

Friday, July 6, 2012

trauma at Wally World

Have you ever heard of the website People of Walmart?

This actually is partly what got me through the final days of my pregnancy with the Beans.  Seriously.  I had gone from having contractions at 32 weeks, been on modified bed rest at various stages, had a sciatic nerve that was trying to make me want to throw myself in front of a bus, it was hotter than hell I was bloated and I was now overdue.  It was depressing, but not as depressing as being featured on that site.  Like a bully on the playground, I took much joy from laughing at the expense of others.  Dark days, you do what you must.

So I don't go to Walmart often.  When and if I can avoid it, for both philosophical and sanitary reasons, I generally try to avoid it.

Yesterday was not one of these days.  Yesterday I needed worms.  Long story short, Meatball has a box turtle and she only eats live worms.  Like bait a hook nasty wriggly worms.  And Walmart sells those worms, cheaper than anywhere else.  Go figure.

So while at Walmart I was deeply traumatized.  Not by the lady wearing skin tight hot pink lace leggings with the physique of Nacho Libre; not by child who sat in the cart pretending to shoot everyone with what appeared to be an invisible high powered rifle with a scope he continually and very knowledgeably adjusted; not even by the old woman who was carrying a bottle of Jose and screaming -- and I do mean screaming -- at a man in his thirties using the Spanish words that I learned from my friends not my middle school Spanish teacher.  No, the trauma came from this.

Oh. My. Gawd.

I stood there stunned for a moment, trying to decide which part was the most deeply disturbing to me.  Was it the horrible blank smiley stare that Dora always has?  Was it that this felt more like a restraint than a safety device? Was it the horrible orange hands that have morphed into cup holders?  Or is it the fact that her head is wildly, disproportionately small for her body?

Coming to the conclusion that it was really not one of these things, but all of these things I snapped a picture to send to my husband with a message of "hey we should get this for Beans" just because messing with my husband is totally my favorite pass time.  Then we got out of there with a shudder, even Meatball was horrified and the Beans had stopped his amazing bat-shrieking and Spock-pinching for long enough to gawk in amazed horror at this mess.

So in case you were wondering, you too can strap your child into a car seat that has a pin-headed-Dora with oompa loompa cup holder hands and traumatize the hell out of not only them but every person who walks past your car.  Consider it an anti-theft device.  Who needs car alarms when you can have Dora?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

beer pong and nose theft

A couple thoughts to share with you today.

I was reading over at MommyShorts, one of my favoritest places on the interwebz, and she had a video that I too must share.  As she put it, this 9 year old is apparently already training for what will be "the most epic freshman year of college ever" and I do agree.  I would also like to point out that while MommyShorts has featured my child in one of her hilarious posts (she often asks for readers to volunteer children as tribute) this is not my child.  However, in slightly related news, I will begin a rigorous training program with my children today simply so I can watch this kind of awesome in person!

Second thing to share, and I am clearly running with a theme here is a picture.  My husband sent me this with the subject line of the Beans' name.  I about feel off my chair laughing.

I hope you had a safe and fun 4th, I will be back to more regular posting again shortly! ;)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

the bed, part deux

So in all the chore-stick-blog-make-over-ing that has been going on around here, we have also squeezed in another project.  I posted a little while back about how we were taking the Meatball's bed and turning it into something much cooler than the boring bed with a dresser under it thing I had been for a while.  Well, we got lots and lots done on it, and while it isn't finished fully it is pretty freaking awesome ...

My iPhone died on me, so I am pretty weak on the pictures in both quantity and quality this week.  My husband does not understand the importance of before and after images, like at all, and he works so quickly that I don't really have time to get out our real camera or he'd be done with the project already.

We will have a big reveal when all is said and done and a much better picture selection too.

Monday, July 2, 2012

now it looks purdy

I am not a big make-up person on a daily basis, but I do love to glam it up sometimes.  Junior high taught me the importance of eyeliner, high school the importance of multiple eye shadow colors, and motherhood taught me the importance of concealer.  Then Beyonce taught me about how critical lip gloss can be for a gal.  

Blog design is sorta like make up.  You don't feel like a big girl until you actually get all gussied up.  

So the blog design has been driving me nuts.  I am a very visual person and the generic color templates were making my eyeballs want to abandon ship.

I have googled "free templates for blogger" more times than I can count, and generally find very kitschy, cute ones that are not very me.  Free ones are abundant, but often free for a reason.  I needed a free one.  Yes, I think teddy bears are precious, but I don't want them on my blog. Cross stitching?  Um, not so much a "me" thing.  So I could never find one I liked, and if I did it wound up not fitting in my blog.  Parts would hang off of the design or disappear all together, and it made me twitchy.

But I found one I like now!  The Cutest Blog on the Block has lots of free designs and they come in more than one size, so I was able to not only find one that fits me and this blog thematically, but also literally fits!  Yay!

So now we have a new look.  I do feel better.  Now I am going to go put on some make up and feel like an adult with some sense of self still.  HA!

wasn't this supposed to be easy?

Keeping in mind, this multi-step project was launched in an effort to be lazier than the inspiration pin from Pintercrack, you may be wondering by now if I actually saved any energy.  Since this is actually not my final reveal on the !@#$% chore sticks I must say I am wondering that as well.

The sticks are done, but the container, well it was hideous.

I had this in my classroom back in the day, and frankly, "hunting orange" is okay in a classroom.  My house? Not so much.  So I busted out some Rustoleum spray paint that could go on plastic that is supposed to look like wood.

Sprayed it on the driveway while it was eight million degrees outside.

So now it is a nice shade of brown.  It needs pep.  So I add hemp.

Then I add a little more hemp.

And I try to melt a plate.  Twice.

Now I stick the sticks in the basket.  

It is usable, but not labeled.  Meatball knows where everything is supposed to go, but I don't remember which section is "done" and which section is "not done."  So now I need to make labels for it so that I don't mess his system up.

Also, he ever so {insert eye twitch here} kindly informed me that having four compartments is nice, but really he would like a fifth.  Huh? Why?!  He explained, I zoned out ... hey, don't lie, you do it to your kids too.  Ultimately, I needed another container or something.

That was when I heard the Mod Podge calling me and I made a honey roasted nuts container look purdy.  

Mod Podge under the paper, then over the paper
Used a scrap to cover the little gap where it wasn't long enough
And POOF, I am a little closer.  Now I need labels.  Sigh.

(Yes, I am playing with an online photo editor and using all sorts of weird frames.  Hang in there, it will be out of my system soon.)  

Sunday, July 1, 2012

dollar store excavations

Mom, I am soooooooo bored!

As a teacher, I so loved summer; as a mom, not my favorite time.

The chore sticks posts are almost done, and I will have a much briefer (is that even a word?) post for the "bored" sticks soon too.  But I had to share this ridiculously easy idea I had and subsequently made into a "bored" stick since it went so well.

Chances are I saw it on a blog or Pintercrack somewhere, but I can't remember seeing it, just thinking it.  So while I take credit for the thought, I do so tentatively.

This cost very little, but gave me peace and quiet for nearly an hour.  An HOUR.  If I could do it daily, I would, but I think it would loose some of its appeal.


  • Some dollar store toys (I had plastic army men, dinosaurs, and frogs)
  • Tupperware or other freezable container
  • Water
  • Excavation tools (we used a kids tool set and a paint brush)
  • Surface that can get wet (outside table)
I took my Tupperware, tossed in some toys and filled it with a bit of water.  Froze it over night. 

Okay fine, I admit I was impatient.  I froze it for like three hours and tried to do the next layer, but the water from the tap promptly thawed the layer that had frozen over, which collapsed and all the toys sunk to the bottom.  The point is to do this in layers so that they have to really excavate it and not be done once they hit one section.  So I did the bottom layer again.

Then the next day, added some more and more water.  Froze for another 24 hours.  It may not need that long, but I wasn't messing with it anymore.

Set up the table outside with the tools in the shade and pulled the container out of the freezer.  Set it in a sink of warm water to loosen it, and that baby popped right out.  One big ice block of cheap toys.

I told the Meatball that he was an arctic archaeologist (say that five times fast) on the verge of discovering a new race of creatures that had apparently adapted to the harsh conditions of the climate.  He needed to very carefully extract these creatures so they could be further studied.

He ate that crap right up, loved it!

And I had an hour of peace.

The "mess" of this was mostly contained in the  lid of a storage container (dubbed the specimen tray) and everything else evaporated even though we did it in the shade and in the morning.  So it was a piece of cake to clean up.