Thursday, May 31, 2012

Crazy Dude In a Flannel Shirt

It went like this. 

By the way, excuse the stream of consciousness writing of today . . . . 

I was driving down the hill near our house.  I was in the Suburban.  All the kids were with me.  And for reasons I can't explain, I was driving and MOTH was in the passenger seat.  We were driving in the right hand lane and pulled up next to a stop light.  In the lane next to me was a man who was driving an invisible car.  He was white with a scruffy beard, kind-of thin and wearing a lumberjack red checked flannel shirt.  At the stop light, we made eye contact, exchanged a pleasant smile and when the light turned green, we were both on our way. 

Except, he was driving an invisible car and he could really run fast . . . so when he pulled forward, he was on superhero-slash-comic wheels that just go in a circle, like on Tom & Jerry or Looney Tunes when the Roadrunner goes really fast.  Then suddenly, we was in the right lane and we were in the left lane and he was shooting at us and tipping his head back with a very evil cackle.  Meanwhile, MOTH was sitting in the passenger seat with his gun safe in his lap yelling, "I can't remember the combination!!"  Crazy flannel checked superhero wheels guy was continuing to shoot at us and I was driving like an action movie star, speeding up to avoid a bullet then slamming on the brakes to avoid another.  Little was shouting from the back how awesome everything was, and the girls were laying on the floorboards to dodge bullets.  Big was soothing Mimi.  And then Crazy pulled his action wheels in front of us and I ran over him with the car.  

There was a thump. 

And then we went on but I turned back to see if he was alive.  The turn around happened just as MOTH finally got the gun safe open and shot him in the knee.  Why knee?  I don't know.  But in that moment, he looked like John Reese from Person of Interest and he was even wearing a suit.  Curious.  

Crazy was laying in the street and people were gathering around him.  And as we looped back around to see, he stood up and started chasing us AGAIN!  Despite being plowed over by the Suburban and shot in the leg, he started chasing us again .  . . . 

And I woke up yelling, "Do you think he got our license plates?" 

Aren't dreams crazy? 


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

For the love of Iris . . .

I thought I might be able to make it through the early summer iris bloom without taking and posting pictures.  Turns out, I can't.  I just love them too much.  Too. Darn. Much.  

I know, I know . . . .

Iris only bloom once.  They are the ultimate one-shot-Sally flower.  It's sad.  They are at the height of their delicious beauty around here right about the same time that the quarter size hail pelts us every afternoon.  They get shredded and it is devastating.  But, while they are blooming, hope springs free in my heart.  I always, always, always think about my dad.   These particular iris are from the side of my dad's house.  He had the most gorgeous iris bed that ran the entire length of the house.   Years before we moved him into the nursing home, I dug up a chunk of that iris.  It lived in pots and I gave some to a gardener friend for safe keeping.  It was the first thing that went into the tiny house that MOTH and I rented as newlyweds.  They were the last thing that moved into the first house we purchased together . . .  and when we bought this . . . our "forever-or-at-least-right-now-home", they came along for the ride.  We call them Grandpa's Iris . . .



Over the years, I've traded varieties with several gardener friends . . . Marilyn and I swapped purples, Janie dug up some gold, Dudley gave me some Superstition.  I've got my eye on some sweet varieties in the neighborhood that live at other houses, too . . . so I'll surely go work a swap with a few neighbors this year, too.  At any rate, all of this is happening in my yard right now and I love, love, love it . . .









Lanterns

I've been hunting for lanterns.  I'm not sure what my obsession is with lanterns, but it goes way back.  And, despite my window shopping for lanterns, I've never actually purchased or owned one.

Until . . . . .

Pinterest.  I love lanterns in the backyard in summer.  Love, love, love.  But, I don't love real candles in them, because we are rough outside and I don't want to lose my yard & house to fire.  The wind can be tricky here too, so no real fire.  I wanted solar.  And I wanted cute.  And I wanted hanging.  So, I morphed a bunch of Pinterest ideas and made these guys . . .

Materials:

Mason Jars
Solar yard stakes
Glue gun
Fish tank rocks
Medium gauge wire

I bought one bag of white fish tank gravel.  You put a handful into the bottom of the clean jar.  One bag, incidentally, made 9 lanterns.  I'm sure I could have stretched it to 10 or 12 . .  I just had 9 jars, so I made that work. 

Cheap-O solar yard stake.  On sale now at your local King Soopers. 

Be-headed solar yard stake.  These just twist right off. 

Run a bead of hot glue around the rim of the jar . . . 

. . . and add the solar light head.  Voila. 

My jars are a mish-mash.  I like them that way.  I also took one apart, so these are not permanent, in case you are commitment phoebic.  You can disassemble them really easily!   I don't have one with the wire, but in a nutshell, I ran a loop of wire around the lip, twisted it in the back while leaving a length on each side, then I pulled it snug and twisted to make a loop on each side.  With a second length of wire, I fashioned a handle and twisted that to the loop.
I love them.  They are beautiful at night and the lights stay on through the night.  I was up at 5:20 this morning and they were still on . . . .

Monday, May 28, 2012

They'll be beggin' for more . . .

I made these and my kids LOVED them.  They are pretty stinkin' healthy little creation & they were super tasty.  I put a bunch of notes in, too, because, as usual, I made some adjustments.  So, the original recipe is noted & my notes are in parenthesis . . .

Granola Bars

1 cup coconut oil (yea, this comes in a 14 oz jar so I doubled just about everything from here forward & used the whole jar so I didn't have to measure and didn't have half a jar of gooey oil in the cabinet . . . so the original recipe calls for 1 cup . . . I used just short of 2 cups for a doubled recipe)

3/4 cup sucanat (yea, I subbed 1/2 cup for original recipe or full cup for my version of organic sugar)

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 medium eggs, at room temp

Beat the above stuff together until smooth & fluffy . .  .

Combine . . . .

1 1/2 cups of flour with 1/2 cup of ground flax seed


Add that combination to the fluffy stuff from above & blend well . . . .

Stir in 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats . . . .

Add . . .

1 cup of shredded coconut
1/2 cup of walnuts (I used pecans because walnuts make my tongue itch)
2 cups of chocolate chips (I used 1 cup)

The original recipe says to let this sit for 30 minutes & then make cookies from the dough -- dropping by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes or until the edges begin to brown . . .

Well, I'm not much of a recipe follower . . . so I did not let this set  . . . I pressed in into a baking dish/bar pan and baked it at 350 for about 30 minutes (I think).   They were brown around the edges and sprung back to the touch . . . .

Cool . . .

Cut into bars . . .

Voila . . . super heathy granola bar alternative that my kids LOVED.  I had LOTS of dough on this so I also make bites in a mini muffin pan .  . also a huge hit :)



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Playlists . . . And My New Play List . . .

So I was dabbling in iTunes today with my children.  It's amazing how techy and smart and intuitive we are building our younger generation.  Even Mimi leans over my shoulder and says (borderline smart-ass things), like "just drag it into your playlist, momma."   We made a new playlist today that we are loving.  Yes, I will share.

I launched into a schpeel about the good old days to my kids today.

Yes, it did age me.  But I actually remember these 8-track editions:



We used to have one of these giant consoles with red fabric behind the carved wooden panels.  It had a turntable and an eight track player.  My mom would turn up the volume and blast Johnny Cash or Anne Murray.  Or Charlie Pride.  Or The Carpenters.  Those are the sounds I grew up listening to . . . .


I told the kids today about my first boom box.  Something like this . . . no, much smaller . . .


It took some explaining to even get them to understand that boom boxes had dials to tune in a radio station.  And antennae.  And you couldn't move them around in your room too much.  They are so used to the digital 'seek' function, they can hardly handle the impatient feeling of tuning a radio or putting it my your window to get better reception.  I tried to tell them what hot shit I was when I graduated to a dual cassette deck and could sit in my room for hours jumping up at the perfect moment to catch a song off of the radio . . . or to make an old-fashioned MIX TAPE!  They about died laughing at the notion of having to hit play and record on one side while the other side was playing . . . all the while remaining completely silent.  How many times did my brother walk in on purpose, just as a song was ending and say something embarrassing about my boobs, bra or butt?  They were amazed at the effort that used to go into making a mix.  No small wonder why we cherished a good mix so much, huh?  "What?! They gaped at me, "You couldn't just buy ONE song?!"  I love to baffle them with bullshit . . . especially when it's the truth.

Anyhoo . . . . that brought on the discussion about walkmans.  Remember those?  Or discmans.  Gosh, that was cutting edge technology.  And that was the ULTIMATE gift from Santa.  We talked about my family going to K-Mart after dinner on warm summer nights, when the smell of chicken shit wafted through the valley . . . and how my brother and I would peruse the music section.  I told them how long I saved up to buy my first cassette.  Eddie Rabbit.


I think I paid $7.99 for that cassette . . . oh, how times have changed.  We talked about that white hard packaging that cassettes used to come in . . . . and how many injuries happened whilst making attempts to remove it . . .

Yes, it was quite a walk down memory lane today.  Holy cow, I feel ancient.

And, as promised, my new playlist:

Clocks . . . Coldplay
Out of Goodbyes . . . Maroon 5
Heartbreak Warfare . . . John Mayer
Must Get Out . . Maroon 5
How To Save a Life . . . The Fray
Chasing Cars . . . Snow Patrol
Slow Dancing in a Burning Room . . . John Mayer
Hey, Soul Sister . . . Train
Bad Day . . . Daniel Powter
Stop and Stare . . . One Republic
Breathe In Breathe Out . . . Mat Kearney
Unwell . . . Matchbox Twenty
Breakeven .  . . The Script
I'm Yours  . . Jason Mraz
Better In Time . . . Leona Lewis
Bubbly . . Colbie Caillat
Say . . John Mayer
Bottle it up . . Sare Bareilles




Monday, May 21, 2012

Play-Doh

Attention all moms, mommy-figures, stay at home folks or anyone with a need to fill a couple of hours with homemade fun.  Make this play-doh.  This is my FAVORITE recipe.  It's easy, smells great, keeps for months in a ziploc bag & you probably have all of the ingredients.  As an added bonus, your kids can eat it.  Not just a nibble, but they won't die if they eat a whole chunk.  Bonus, right?


In a bowl, put 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup salt & 2 teaspoons of cream of tarter . . . 
In a second bowl THAT IS MICROWAVE SAFE, put 1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil & one package of kool-aid mix.  If you have no kool-aid, use food coloring, but I like kool-aid.  It smells pretty.  Microwave this concoction until it boils.  About 2 to 2 1/2 minutes . . . 

Make a little divot in the dry stuff.  Add the wet stuff.  
Stir, stir, stir . . . make sure to incorporate all of the dry ingredients. 
Play, play, play.  Be careful . . . this new playdoh will be pretty warm for young handlers . . . . 


Sunday, May 20, 2012

2012 Un-bummer summer list . . .

Here it is, in final version.  Yesterday, we rolled out several feet of paper and used half-a-drawer full of markers to complete this summer's official . . .

Mighty-mighty, H's, fantastic, super-duper, exciting, awesome, radical, incredible, adventurous, un-bummer summer list:

Big's Picks
- see Aunt K
- Chick-fil-A
- Fargo's
- pool
- Orlando
- Garden
- Watch The Sound of Music
- Have nachos with Julia

Middle's Picks
- Aunt K
- Florida
- Breck
- have a birthday party
- water park
- Rockies
- Sky Sox
- water war in the backyard
- mini golf
- see Brookie
- explore Cottonwood Trail

Little's Picks
- swim
- bike
- hike
- go to the park
- get a Hawkeye bow & arrow
- go to the Lego store
- play in the creek
- birthday party

Mimi's Picks 
- see Grandma Donna
- Breck
- Florida
- feed the ducks
- ride the lightrail
- play kickball
- pool

Daddy Picks
- Breck
- Rockies
- Orlando
- fishing
- Star Wars Sky Sox game

Mommy picks 
- Aunt K
- fire pit
- play hide the monkey
- zoo
- Rockies & Sky Sox
- Sand Dunes
- hike
- flea market
- farmer's market
- grill
- finish the lanterns
- run a 5K
- sleep in the tent
- see Belle
- flashlight tour
- summer dates
- make the table
- Aunt K
- bowling
- fireworks

The elementary kids have two days of school left.  Middle school girl has five.  Pre-school girl has three.  Summer, in our house, officially begins on Tuesday the 29th.  Is that too much to cram in?  I don't think so!  We'll cross things off each of their lists . . maybe a couple at a time.  I'm amazed at how simple their requests are.  A water war in the back yard?  Really?  If today were next Tuesday, I'd give them the hose and say, "have at it."  

It's been a tradition in our house to make the un-bummer summer list and post it for several years now.  I also get a blank calendar or a poster board & let the kids figure out the calendar.  That's today's task.  Scheduling sports, sports camps and true OFF time . . they get a taste of coordinating a calendar.  I think I'm still missing MOTH's call schedule . . . . crud.  Must get that.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Marinated Grilled Flank Steak

Here's that recipe I promised about a gazillion years ago . . . .
See, I'm cleaning my desk off and have the book sitting right here.  I want to put it back today, but need to do this first.

From Colorado Cache Cookbook, page 151 . . .

* special note:  I jack with this recipe ALL the time.  It says lemon, I use lime.  I've used lemons, limes, clementines, grapefruit & pummelo for the citrus portion of this recipe.  I've also used onion, garlic, shallots for that part.  I've subbed the dry red wine for leftover plain old wine, cooking wine, part of a beer and cooking sherry.   The bottom line is that this recipe is fail-safe.  It ALWAYS works and produces the best flank steak EVER.   Also, I buy flank steak in twin packs @ Costco.  I generally do them at the same time, in ziploc bags,  and put one in the freezer, with the marinate.  Marinated the other at least overnight . . .

Serves 3-4

juice of 1 lemon (chuckle, chuckle)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup (or more) of dry red wine
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 large clove of garlic; sliced
pepper to taste
chopped green onion, or chives (optional)
chopped dill weed (optional)
celery seed (optional)
1-1 1/2 pound flank steak, trimmed

Mix all ingredients in the pan in which meat is to be marinated.  Marinate flank steak, turning occasionally for 2 to 12 hours.  Or, in my house, squish the baggie really well.  And I've left it in marinate for 2 days.  Broil meat over hot coals for 5-7 minutes per side.  Five minutes is RARE, especially if the cut is thick.  Slice meat on the diagonal across the grain & serve.  Enjoy.

Day 19

Day 19:  A photo (or photos) of something you find beautiful . . . . . 

Comfort . . . . 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 18

Only 12 days to go . . . .

Day 18:  The last thing that made you blush. 

Oh, my!  This happens to be a really easy one for me right now.

Because of all of the controversy, I'm reading this:


And I am absolutely, positively certain that I have blushed more than once turning the pages of this book. Wowie, wow, wow.  Make sure there are no kids reading over your shoulder, that's for darn sure!


Mother's Day . . .

I love Mother's Day.  I love Mother's Day.  I love Mother's Day.

I slept in this year.  Well, until 6:50.  That's a pretty good sleep-in for this old gal.  I awoke to the ornery grin and tousled blonde hair of Little.  He hardly could contain his excitement . . . hardly would wait for me to pee before he drug me downstairs to present his homemade Mother's Day breakfast to me.  It was divine.  As far as soggy waffles and boiling syrup goes, it was, without a doubt THE best breakfast in town.  Little also presented me with the most dazzling home-made book, (complete with comb binding) on hand drawn weapons.  He is something of an expert on weapons and thinking of him making this fine compilation of reference information does make me feel warm inside.  


Middle made me coffee:  Perfect Mixture of Creamer.


Big made me a hair tie.  Incidentally, we call these "doggers".  Always have, always will.  I don't know who the heck came up with "scrunchie", but I'm taking a stand.  This is a dogger.


Big also made THE most beautiful card with lots of drawn pictures of super-mommies wearing colorful capes, flying across buildings and through city skyscapes, rescuing babies and stamping out all of the horrors of pre-teen years.  It came with a set of coupons that I will definitely cash in on.  Free babysitting?  Uh, HELL Yea!!

Middle made a slew of presents.  She's a crafty one.  Clay, beads, adhesives.  She's pathologically addicted to glitter glue.  Has anyone out there seen the latest Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked?  There is this ADORABLE line in that movie where Theodore makes Dave this gawdy necklace that Dave wears to a formal dinner.  Theodore bats his little chippy eyes and says in his squeaky chipmunk voice, "it's soft so you can sleep in it and it's every color . . . so it matches everything" (or something to that effect.)  THAT'S my Middle.  I can count on some home-made goodness with a huge helping of thoughtful behind everything she gives me.  There's a reason for the color, the tilt, the light, the depth of whatever she has scratched into the surface with bent paperclips.  And she loves, loves, loves to give a gift.

This year, I towed a ton of loot home from Little Ms. Thoughtful . . . an "every-color-so-it-matches-everthing-necklace", a braided thingy and a couple of clay gizmos.  I love them all.  She carved daisies into the clay.  If that doesn't say "me", I don't know what could.


She put a little apron on Mimi and they baked.  And decorated. Delish.



MOTH made dinner and cleaned it all up.  The children were fabulous.  The house got picked up.  And I scored a brand new Kindle Fire.  Go me.

I love Mother's Day.
I love Mother's Day.
I love Mother's Day!