Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pickle Portraits

It was finally a little bit warmer outside yesterday and Pickle was wearing this cute litte gray flannel number, so I took her outside for a quick photo shoot.

Here are the outside ones:
And a couple from inside--hugging her kitty:
And holding her favorite new book "Four Little Kittens":

Please join Candid Carrie for her superphun Phriday Foto Phiesta and have a phabulous phriday!!

Little Mother *Edited*

Remember playing "house?" I certainly did that all the time when I was little and it sure is interesting for me to watch Pickle play--she obviously has a strong mothering instinct and an awful lot of her playtime is devoted to taking care of her animals and /or dolls and tucking them into little "beds" she makes all over the house. She could literally do this for hours! She arranges them with blankets and pillows, then rearranges them and never seems to get sick of it.

Today I videotaped her for a few minutes during one of her play sessions. I didn't mean to include the first minute or so--she has a little meltdown because she can't get the animals quite right on the pillow--but at least you can see her drama queen tendencies! Then she has a mild freakout because Patrick is hiding under a blanket and she can't see him--then she tries to pry his eyes open--LOL!

I apologize that it's a little longish--but if you want to see Pickle in action, take a look.

I am editing this post to add on this fun thing from Ellie's blog:

"The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you. This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!

2. What I create will be just for you.

3. It'll be done this year. {might be a little while}

4. You have no clue what it's going to be. It may be a story. It may be poetry or maybe even some creation I haven't even invented yet. I may draw or paint something. I may bake you something and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!

5. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.The catch?**Oh, the catch is that you must repost this on your blog and offer the same to the first 5 people who do the same on your blog. The first 5 people to do so and leave a comment telling me they did win a FAB-U-LOUS homemade gift by me!

* * *Oh, and be sure to post a picture of what you win when you get it!* * *"

**I am amending this a little to say that you don't have to repost this on your blog if you don't want to! If you're in the Top 5 I will still make you something!


Wednesday, February 25, 2009


It seems that we've been doing a lot of coloring and drawing around here lately. I think it's nice that in this world of video games and computers, so much fun can be had by just breaking out some paper and a box of cheapo crayons.

Here's Gooser doing some Batman-themed drawings:

I think that's the "Bat signal."

Here's Batman doing a self-portrait!

I like this one of Pickle concentrating on her picture:
And here she is coloring in her moon goggles!

I have been doing a lot of drawing too. I have always loved drawing animals so I'm filling up one of my sketchbooks with pencils drawings of all different kinds of animals--it's great practice!

The cool thing is that Teddy saw the drawings and he wanted to do some too--so he is doing his own sketchbook of animals. And he's really good!! I told him that if he keeps practicing, he's going to be an amazing artist. Plus it makes me so happy that he's doing that instead of playing "Runescape"!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


My post is all pink today! Starting with the PINK cupcakes I made yesterday:They are "Double Chocolate Malt Cupcakes with Cherry Vanilla Frosting" OMG! Malt and cherry--I couldn't resist! I will post the recipe below if you want to give them a go.

Next: Pink popcorn!

This was a concoction the kids and I made for our Oscar party--it's popcorn mixed with cut-up Twizzlers. "Redhots" and pink sugar. This mixture is pretty brilliant because the popcorn/Twizzler combo is one of my favorite food combos ever (that is my standard order at the movie theater) so why not just cut to the chase and mix the two up? It's the perfect balance of sweet and salty--and the Redhots add a little zing.

And I know you've all been waiting for my PINK hair!

I've shielded my face since this pic was taken early in the morning pre-makeup (and still basically half-asleep) but you can clearly see my eyeball ring. I'll have to get a better pic up--but the pink is kind of underneath and it looks really cool. I love my new hair!

And finally, PINK Pickle:

I''m throwing that in just because!

Now here's that recipe:

Double Chocolate Malt Cupcakes with Cherry-Vanilla Buttercream

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 teas. baking soda

1 teas. baking powder

1/2 teas. salt

2/3 cup milk

2/3 cup malted milk powder (like Carnation)

1/2 teas. espresso powder

2/3 cup canola oil

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sour cream

1 teas. vanilla extract

1/2 mini chocolate chips


4 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
3 sticks (yikes!) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2/3 cup tart cherry preserves

Malt balls and/or cherries for garnish

1. Oven to 350. Line 2 12-cup cupcake pans w/ paper liners

2. Cupcakes: Whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and powder, salt.

3. Beat milk, malt powder and espresso powder--medium speed. Add oil and eggs--blend.

4. Add flour mixture--beat until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla--beat. Stir in chocolate chips.

5. Fill muffin cups a little more than halfway. Bake 15-17 minutes. Cool completely.


Beat sugar and butter until well-blended. Add vanilla, cream--beat 2 minutes. Beat in cherry preserves.

When cupcakes are cool--frost and garnish.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar Fatigue

Between the Oscars and Don being out of town, I am exhausted! I think I'm going to have to crawl off to bed soon. I hope those Dr. Peppers I drank (the kids and I were having a wild party!) don't come back to haunt me in the middle of the night in the form of a caffiene rush.

So, who watched the Oscars and how did you like them? I like Hugh Jackman a lot and I was happy with his job as host. That guy is so talented! If you haven't seen his performance as Curly in Oklahoma (London production) I highly recommend you get the dvd--it's great!

Anyway--I was doing really well with my picks--but I blew it on best Actor and Actress. I'm really disappointed Mickey Rourke didn't win--I screamed "NOOOOOO!" when they announced Sean Penn. I love that gold-toothed freak! Oh well...

I thought Penelope Cruz's dress was gorgeous--I think that was my favorite dress of the night.

And I felt really uncomfortable when Jennifer Aniston was presenting with Brangelina right there in the front row. Ugh!!

Must crawl to bed--I'll be back with more energy tomorrow and all ready to tell you about my new and improved pink hair!! Maybe some pics!!


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscar Time!

I'm excited about the Oscars tonight!! Who else is going to be watching? I'm a little bummed because Don is going to be out of town and we always watch them together--I guess I'll watch with the kids, though I don't know how into them they'll be?

Anyway, I want to hear everyone's Oscar picks. Have you seen all or some of the movies? Which was your favorite?

I'm going to write out the main categories for your convenience--please let me know who you are choosing and why.

Best Actor

Richard Jenkins (The Visitor)
Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon)
Sean Penn (Milk)
Brad Pitt (Benjamin Button)
**Mickey Rourke (Wrestler)

**Mickey Rourke is my pick here. I LOVED the Wrestler--it was my favorite movie of the year and I wish it had been nominated--it certainly deserved to be! Anyway--I have everything crossed that Rourke will win, though I'm a little worried about Sean Penn.

Best Actress

Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)
Angelina Jolie (Changeling)
Melissa Leo (Frozen River)
**Meryl Streep (Doubt)
Kate Winslet (The Reader)

**I'm going with Streep on this one. I know that Winslet is the favorite here but I was turned off by her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes--I don't think anyone wants a repeat of that!

Supporting Actor

Josh Brolin (Milk)
Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt)
**Heath Ledger (Dark Knight)
Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road)

**I'm following the crowd and going with Heath Ledger on this one--he really was amazing as the Joker! But I would also sort of like RDJ to get it--he was SO good in Tropic Thunder!

Supporting Actress

Amy Adams (Doubt)
**Penelope Cruz (Vicky Christina Barcelona)
Viola Davis (Doubt)
Taraj P. Henson (Benjamin Button)
Marisa Tomei (Wrestler)

I keep going back between Penelope Cruz and Marissa Tomei--in the end, I'm going with Cruz because Tomei already has one--but I'd be totally happy with her winning it again!

Best Picture

Benjamin Button (Haven't seen it yet--seems very long!)
Frost/Nixon (well-acted snoozefest--I actually dozed off).
Milk (went to see this last night but ended up seeing He's Just Not That Into You instead...).
The Reader (I HATED this book so I refuse to see the movie).
**Slumdog Millionaire (Didn't think it was "all that").

**I'm following the crowd and going with Slumdog, though I really didn't think it was that great--I think I'm the only person on the planet that feels that way though. I really wish Wrestler was nominated...

Alright, those are the main ones--best director will be the Slumdog guy.

I think I'll be Twittering during the Oscars so if anyone wants to join in--that would be fun!!


Saturday, February 21, 2009

"Best Of" Hits

My pal Auds at Barking Mad is having a supercool contest and she's giving away a $250 Target gift card! How awesome is that!? In order to enter, she asks that we post our five favorite posts. I have gone through my archives and settled on these:

1. In honor of the Target prize--Dear Disgruntled Target Employee.

2. This one about our Vermin infestation amused me when I reread it!

3. No shopping experience will ever top this one!

4. I like this one because it was so much fun planning Don's Birthday Surprise and I enjoyed reliving it through this post!

5. And finally, one of my favorite restaurant adventures--Korean food!

Thanks you for the contest Auds--I'm looking forward to my gift card (wink, wink)!!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Me vs. Robot

So we headed off yesterday for the big state spelling bee that Patrick was in. It was in some suburb I had never heard of, but I looked the directions up online and they looked pretty straightforward. We have a navigation system in the car that we call "the robot" but it has become more and more unreliable to the point where sometimes it just never kicks in to give the directions, so lately I've had to bring back-up directions.

So I looked at one of those map sites--MapQuest? ("Google Maps is the best! True dat. Double true!") and jotted down the directions (my printer is still living in the car as part of the decluttering). I also programmed the address into the robot in case it decided to stop being a lazy worthless robot and actually tell me where to go.

Are you starting to guess that I hate the robot? You guessed right! I have a very rocky relationship with the robot--complicated by the fact that Don always defends the robot no matter what crazy shenanigans it causes and he always trusts the robot even when I know the robot is giving bogus directions. I would say that eight out of ten fights Don and I get in are over the robot.

Anyway, the robot decided to kick in and give me directions to the bee and I (stupidly) decided to go along with it. Now, the directions from MapQuest seemed simple--expressway to exit, go straight, turn right--something like that. The robot immediately threw me off by telling me to take an altogether different expressway. At this point, there was no turning back and I was completely at its mercy.

Unlike the straightforward MapQuest instructions, the robot's were like "take this expressway, then exit in the middle of nowhere, then drive on surface streets for way too long, then get on another expressway..."

Are you getting the picture? And did I mention that it was dark out and I was driving in an icy rain? So on the second expressway that had me driving through the airport (at least the kids were temporarily distracted from my rant against the robot as the planes took off and landed in what seemed like inches from our car) the robot made a major blunder and told me to exit where there was no exit. Long story short--I had to drive over five miles out of the way just to get to any exit.

Once I got off the expressway. the robot went completely haywire--beeping and stuttering--and the route that was mapped out in red on the screen looked something like this (I have illustrated it myself):
Then we were like driving in alleys and deserted dark streets, but the piece de resistance came when I reached a dead end and it told me to turn left down a one way street going the wrong way! As soon as I realized what was happening and saw the three lanes of traffic coming toward me, I started honking non-stop and did a crazy-time U-turn. I think I permanently traumatized Patrick's friend who was going to the bee with us. I think at one point I was driving on the sidewalk--I say this because Patrick said "Mommy! You're driving on the sidewalk!"

Somehow, somehow we made it to the bee.

On an upbeat note, the coordinators of the bee had done a really nice job setting things up. There were these adorable bee cookies:
And bee balloons:
Here's the spellerboy himself with a bee cookie!
Unfortunately, Patrick didn't win. He did REALLY well and spelled all sorts of tough words: foggara, Holi, schneke, graffiti--really hard words. But the word he got out on was freaking McCoy. As soon as I heard that I knew he was in trouble--I knew he wouldn't be familiar with that word and that the double "c" would screw him up. I hate that word now! Is it even a word? It's a name! But he was a great sport and said he was happy with the guy that won because he liked him.

Here's Patrick receiving his medal:

He also got an Amazon gift certificate and was on the news last night!!

So, of course, on the way back I was once again at the robot's mercy because it had brought me on such a circuitous route I had absolutely NO CLUE where we were. And, of course, the robot decided to pull one of its stunts and not kick in at all. The screen just said "locating satellites."

So I started driving in what I thought was the right direction as I waited for it to locate its freaking satellites. By now, the icy rain was an icy snow--and I mean icy! The roads were so slippery and the car was sliding around.
Curse you robot!!

I was instructing Andy to try and find some kind of map thing on our cell phones, but he wasn't having any luck. Not to mention I didn't even know what suburb we were in at that point. I also told Andy to text Don (who was home with the little ones) and say that A.) He needed to have my limoncello ready and waiting for me and B.) He better not dare defend the robot!

Finally, I pulled into the parking lot of some kind of community center, just as my car started making this weird unexplained beeping noise. I rolled down the window and flagged down a man and asked him "What suburb are we in?" He looked scared to death and when I told him where we were trying to go he looked really scared. "Wow, you're way off course," he said.

He directed me to the nearest expressway and as I drove away--the window wouldn't go back up!! I think it had instantly iced over from the freak storm.

So, with no help whatsoever no help from the robot, we made it home. And you know what I've named the robot now? McCoy!!

Please stop over and visit my phriend Candid Carrie for the phabulous Phriday Foto Phiesta!!

Eye Believe In Miracles!

In order to properly tell this miraculous story, I'm going to give you some background information first.

1. If you didn't know already, I have a "thing" for eyeballs and I have had this for most of my life. Maybe it stems from the fact that my eyes have been screwed up since birth and that I had to wear glasses starting at the age three months and I had an eye surgery when I was three years? Whatever the reason, this has been an obsession of mine, and I have always been attracted to the eyeball as a symbol--so much so that I have always worn jewelry, etc. adorned with eyeballs. Oh, and I am planning on getting an eyeball tattoo in March at the "L.A. Ink" place--stay tuned for more details on that!

2. I am not what you'd call a religious person. I have my own skewed set of beliefs that doesn't fall into any particular category--basically I try to be nice to people and be a positive thinker. Having said that, I went to Catholic school for twelve years of my life so a lot of the symbolism and stories of that religion are deeply embedded in me.

3. I was having a conversation on the phone with my friend yesterday (she is, by the way, the one that told me to bury the St. Joseph statue in the backyard to improve the chances of selling the house quickly) and she was telling me how she was out and about with all her kids the day before and realized when she got home that her son's "best blanket" (they had taken it with them) was missing.

I totally understand how panicked she must have felt--both Gooser and Pickle have blankets that they need to function. I don't even want to think about what would go down here if one of them went missing.

Anyway, her son's blanket was missing and she went to search--trying to retrace all the steps of the day--restaurant, bookstore, department store--she searched everywhere but couldn't find it.

Then she went back again later that night to search some more, but still came up empty-handed.
Somehow, she got her son to sleep without the blanket and headed out again the next morning to do more searching. She said she remembered hearing that if you ask St. Anthony for help, he will assist in finding missing things. So she offered up some kind of prayer and continued to look.

She decided to stop into stores she hadn't even been in the day before, but that were at points in between where she had gone. Oddly enough, she went into the Birkenstock shop and they had the blanket!!

Okay--now with all that confusing information I have given you, I can get on with my story!!

So I had this eyeball ring that I loved--I loved it as much as you can love an inanimate object. It was such a special ring that I bought in New York City while I was in college at this weird hole-in-the-wall store that I couldn't find now if I tried--though I'm sure it's long gone. Anyway, I have worn this ring on and off for years, but it went missing several years ago.

I have searched high and low-in obvious and not so obvious places for it. I have tried unsuccessfully to find a replacement ring on eBay or whatever--nothing even close has ever turned up.

One place I have searched extensively is a little closet in my bathroom where I keep all my lotions and potions (notions? What are notions? You always see that sign in the drugstore. And, by the way, what are sundries?). Anyway, I have been through this little closet many times, checking and rechecking every shelf in there. Additionally, since I have been on a cleaning and organizing spree lately, I went up there with one of those giant black garbage bags a few months ago and totally cleaned the whole closet out--throwing away everything I could and organizing the rest.

So last night I had my eyeball ring on my mind and was even searching around on the Internet once again to find something similar--no luck. I went up to take a bath and, while the tub was filling, decided to look through that dumb closet for the ten millionth time.

I carefully opened any kind of box or receptacle I could find, I groped in the corners...After checking a couple of shelves, I remembered what my friend had said on the phone that morning about St. Anthony and missing things and I said something makeshift like "St. Anthony--I'd really like to find my eyeball ring!"

So on the next shelf, there was a fluffy towel that my mom had given me for Christmas that I keep folded there with my hairdryer on top of it. I reached in with one hand to lift the towel and when I put my other hand underneath--the eyeball ring fell into my freaking hand!!!!!

Let me say that again--I was lifting up a towel that I have only owned for a month or so--after I have searched through and cleaned this closet multiple times for a span of years--and the ring FELL into my hand!

I was so freaked out I thought I was dreaming or something. Totally, totally surreal.

Now I love my ring more than ever--I consider it a lucky, magic ring and I'm wearing it 24/7 from now on! My precious.

So that's my miracle. And you can bet I am all over the idea of the St. Joseph statue helping me sell the house!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pickle's New Obsession... these weird spaceman sun goggles!
I don't know where she found them--they're probably some remnant of Spy Gear or laser tag from her older brothers. But in any case--she won't stop wearing them!
Even in the bathtub!
She looks so sweet and innocent here with her space goggles and tigers--but I had just caught her ripping up my new flowers! She has a handful of shredded blossoms from my hyacinth! You can see her victim in the background.
She even tried to wear the glasses to bed--but that was where I put my foot down!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Someone was coming to see our house today so we spent a good part of the day cleaning, decluttering and baking cookies. One good thing about this new superclean lifestyle is that I like to have lots of fresh flowers around to promote good chi and all that jazz. Today I think I might have gone overboard in the flower department!!

Here we have flowers on the kitchen table:

And the kitchen counter:
The dining room table (by the way--that purple thing is a blown glass piece I made):
And side table in the dining room (these are the flowers Don gave me for V-Day):
Living room:
More living room:
And more living room:
More living room:
And, yes, even more!
Pass-through to family room:
Family room:
Dr. Hoppy!
More family room flowers:

Gooser and Pickle!
My bedroom:
I'll spare you the flowers I put in the bathrooms! Let's hope all the people looking at my house like flowers...a lot!!