Monday, March 23, 2015

Quick Quips


Me: Little X, you need to do your jobs.
X: Hey, Mom?
Me: Yeah?
X: Zip it, lock it, put it in your pocket.
Me: (surprised) What is that supposed to mean?
X: Dat's what peoples say when you need to stop talking. Like about jobs.

I often tell Little X that he needs to get ready to go run errands. One day he came up from his room dressed like this:
And told me, "Dis is my SPY GUY clothes. I will be super sneaky and look at peoples wif the binawkillers."

And another time he was sporting this lion costume:
He said he needed to wear it so he could eat the bad guys at the store. A man at the bank said, "Cool lion costume!" and he responded, "I am not a lion. I am a boy wearing lion clothes. So please don't take me to the zoo."

Hubba: Mom, do you happen to have any dry ice?
Me: Not normally. Why?
Hubba: I have an idea that involves dry ice. That's all I'm saying.

One morning Little O noticed a gorgeous sunrise and got everyone to come look at it. Then, realizing that some of the family were already gone to school (or not living at home) he said, "I wish our whole family could be here to share this beautiful moment! Doesn't this sunrise just make your heart feel happy?"

Hubba: Mom, do you happen to have any liquid nitrogen?
Me: No. I never have liquid nitrogen.
Hubba: Well, that's boring.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Truth to Live By

Some of the best memories Allen and I share are of the time when we were poor, recently married college students. Out of necessity we discovered creative ways to make our finances work for us. We learned so many things together this way! Was it always easy? Heck no. But so much of what we do now is a result of what we learned from the times we had to scrimp and save.

I taught myself how to sew on a sewing machine that was gifted to me by Allen's grandparents. I made my own maternity clothes when I was pregnant. I made quilts from inexpensive fabrics I found in clearance bins for baby and wedding gifts. Allen fixed our cars and kept our home in repair thanks to things his father taught him in their home. I learned to shop and plan menus according to what was on sale at the store each week. I learned to be creative with what I made for dinner based on what we had in the refrigerator and pantry. Allen built some of our furniture and fixed up our little apartments to make them more comfortable. We bought our clothes and other things we needed at thrift stores and yard sales. I sold things we no longer needed at yard sales and consignment stores. We drove used cars that made so much noise we could barely hear each other as we traveled from place to place. Instead of spending money on dates we would invite friends over for potluck dinners and game nights. These are all memories that I would never change and experiences I would not trade for anything. As we worked and learned and struggled together it helped to shape us into the people we are now.

Allen has been working at a wonderful job with the best company, ever (!) for almost 15 years now but our habits have not changed. We still do most of these things that we learned when times were hard. Not out of necessity, but because they make sense and bring us happiness.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

More Flavor!


Every once in a while I am lucky enough to get a phone call from my brother Chip, announcing that he is in town and what are we doing for lunch? Most of the time we hang out at my house and eat and laugh and visit, but today we met up somewhere. We couldn't decide on where we were going to eat, but we knew that there needed to be donuts involved. Maple frosted ones, to be exact. So Chip stopped by our one of our favorite local bakeries and acquired not one, not two, but a WHOLE DOZEN of their amazing donuts along with some baklava to supplement our lunch.

Don't worry, we shared a salad and some sweet potato fries, too. But... DONUTS! They're what's for lunch!

I had Little X with me and was kind of worried about keeping him occupied in a dining establishment, but it was worth the gamble to spend some time with my baby brother. It turned out that I had no reason to worry because Little X found the perfect pastime: adding flavor to his root beer. 

At first he was just dipping the sweet potato fries in his drink before eating them. Then he was submerging them. No biggie, I thought. It's no worse than my mom putting peanuts in her Pepsi back in the day.

And then, well...

It got to the point where there were more fries than liquid. And when I told him that was probably enough he loudly stated, "IT NEEDS MORE FLAVOR!" and shoved a couple more fries into the glass.
I kind of thought the whole thing was just a game to occupy his time until he actually STARTED TO DRINK IT!

After which he proclaimed, "Ahhhhh! Perfect flavor."

Salty sweet potato root beer? Maybe it's going to be the next big thing. (But probably not.)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Cub Scout Cupcakes

Every year that we've had one of our boys in cub scouts we've had to decorate a cake for the Blue and Gold banquet. Way back when Allen the Younger was 8 years old we had our first Blue and Gold experience and were told that every scout needed to bring a cake for the Cake Contest. At first I took this "contest" seriously because I am a competitive person. The theme was Scouting and I asked Allen the Younger what he'd like to make. He wanted an Eagle cake. So I spent the better part of the day baking, cutting, shaping, frosting and decorating a cake that would make professionals proud. The main thing I remember about this Eagle Cake was that it had feathers crafted from carefully laid out sliced almonds, which took us hours to do. Then we went to the banquet, ready to take home the prize for best cake, and found out there was really no contest. Everyone got a pre-written certificate and we took our entire cake home because even though it looked fancy no kid wants to eat a bunch of sliced almonds.

Since then I have learned that SIMPLE is the key. I ask what they want, and I always figure out a way to incorporate it into cupcakes (because kids LIKE cupcakes and we don't bring any home!). Hubba initially wanted a Plants versus Zombies theme, which we reminded him had nothing to do with cub scouts. So after searching the internet for pictures of zombies in scout uniforms and finding none he decided that pictures of scouts doing "camping stuff" like archery and building fires would be cool.

So we printed out pictures of "scout stuff" and he glued them onto toothpicks, stuck them in the cupcakes and VOILA! He got the "Best Blue and Gold Themed Award".

The story is actually even a little better than that. I was asked to bake a frozen lasagna for the banquet but forgot to put it in the oven until it was time to bake the cupcakes. As in, one hour before the festivities were starting. So I called all of my neighbors to see if I could come bake cupcakes in their oven, but no one answers their phones anymore, so I loaded my cupcake pans filled with batter on to a cookie sheet and went knocking door to door, trying to find someone at home. Our favorite across-the-street neighbors were home and had me leave the cupcakes there to bake. But I let them go a little too long and so the tops ended up kind of crispy. No problem. I advertised them as "cookie cupcakes: cookie on the top, cupcake on the bottom" and they were a hit.

Take that, Pinterest.