Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick, Treat, or Sinus Infection?


This Halloween is especially happy because Elizabeth finally woke fever free and held down half of a carnation instant breakfast milkshake. She has been battling a nasty sinus infection and spent the past few days with fever and a look on her face that says "I will barf on you." It's also ribbon week so she came home from school on Monday with a drug-free message bracelet. For the rest of the week she was supposed to do wacky things like wear her clothes inside out to show school solidarity on saying no to drugs. Instead, she spent the rest of the week on a sofa being force fed Cefprozil, C-Phen DM, Tylenol and Motrin. I think the magic bracelet (she was asked to wear it all week) increased Elizabeth's gag reflex which made medicine taking an all day duck and cover kind of event. The "good" medicine (try telling that to a 5 year old in fetal position hugging a pillow) finally seems to be working and Elizabeth is more Elizabeth-like today.

Jay is waiting for us at the beach, and I must admit that I used this fact constantly to force the kids to cooperate. I sent the Halloween costumes down with him so I would have less to pack, so it's a good thing Elizabeth's fever is gone. I'm not sure how I would have explained to the kids that we had to stay home and they had no costumes.

Amanda and Jack provided some much needed comic relief this week. Like when Jack hid the car keys (dropped them over the baby gate in the playroom) and then watched me search frantically so that we could get Amanda to school. Okay, that one wasn't funny. Jack clapping when I finally found the keys was a little bit funny. Also funny: when the dryer broke and Amanda told me it just needed new batteries; when the phone rang last night and Amanda came downstairs to tell me that someone was calling my bed; how Amanda still doesn't understand why we won't have Gaga's pumpkin pie when we get to the hotel, because Gaga told her that she would make pumpkin pie the next time we go to the beach.

So tonight, at the "family-friendly" Halloween banquet, if the question is trick or treat, my official answer is: treat, on the rocks, make it strong and keep it coming. Oh, and do I get a bracelet with that?

(Spider is by Katie Pertiet for Designer Digitals)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Crouching Fairies, Hidden R2D2

The whole gang at Boo at the Zoo

Doesn't this looks like a still shot from a real Indiana Jones movie set? Also proof that Grant's gun was lost somewhere between the magician and the front gate...

From front to back, Elizabeth eating a glow stick, Blythe as Freddie Krueger fairy, Jennifer as you betcha Palin, and me as myself holding R2D2. Seriously, would it have killed someone to tell me I was wearing highwaters? At first glance I thought maybe I was just wearing high tops with my jeans tucked in.

Elizabeth and beard Daddy. I made Jay grow a beard so that when Halloween rolled around we could turn it into a perfect Teddy Roosevelt moustache. We were supposed to dress up as Sacagawea and Teddy Roosevelt from Night at the Museum. But I forgot about the costume part. Good idea though, huh?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mom's Night

Amanda and I went to "Mom's Night" tonight at her preschool. It was the first time Elizabeth didn't get to go, now that she is a big kid kindergartner. Elizabeth was very sad to see us go, so we took this picture of the three of us dressed in our best Hawaiian clothes and accessories.

Amanda had a wonderful time; she fished, she dug for treasure, she learned the hula, and of course she did the standard ring and bean bag tosses. Most of all she "ate snacks" which was her favorite part. It was so nice to spend some one on one time with her. It did feel strange to be there without Elizabeth. And strange to think that soon it will be Jack taking over those halls!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday Funnies

I love laughter. I love to laugh, I love it when others laugh, and I especially love it when my kids laugh. It really doesn't take much to make me laugh. I'm definitely the dork who can't watch America's Funniest Home Videos without laughing myself into tears. I don't even watch that show because I seriously think I scare my children.

So, in hopes of sharing the laughs, I've been saving links to blog articles that make me laugh. Here are a few, and I hope they at least force a smile. Just a heads up, the third link does contain some language to describe a fat cat that some may find offensive. I also found it to be the funniest. Go figure.

1. An email that you should NEVER have to send to your guitar teacher (Whoorl)

2. Advice from my Mom, part I and II (Mighty Girl)

3. I am not at all afraid of my cat (Finslippy)

4. An Open Letter To Yankees Regarding Use of the Word "Y'all" (Rocks In My Dryer)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Whole Freaky Face Family

I wonder if the neighbors are thinking "now that's one good looking pumpkin head family!" Yeah, probably not. My guess is that they're thinking "why is she sitting outside in sweatpants and bright red lipstick, taking pictures of herself making kissy faces?" Valid question, so I'll answer it. They're yoga pants, I thought red lipstick would look good on a pumpkin, the light is better out here, my 16 month old takes blurry pictures, and I'm not making kissy faces, I'm saying "prune."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pumpkin Heads

Just my cute and not at all freaky little pumpkin heads. From left to right: Elizabeth, Amanda, Jack and Moose. I saw the idea in a Family Fun magazine, but decided to use actual pictures and let the kids re-assemble their own faces. The cutting out my kid's eyes part was way creepier than I had anticipated. I plan to make Jay and Nikki pumpkin heads when I get more pumpkins. I'd love to call Jay right now and ask him to stop on his way home and pick out a couple of pumpkins that look like our heads. But he would be afraid it was a trap, and he would probably be right. Better for both of us that I pick out my own head.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Punk'd by a Doll?

The other day I read a story on WISTV about how some people were complaining about a talking doll. The doll giggles, coos, and says "Mama" but people were hearing the doll actually say "Islam is the light." It didn't show a picture of the doll, but I knew the girls both had talking dolls somewhere in the black hole we call a playroom. I didn't think much of it, and just figured it was crazy talk.

Today I came across one of the talking dolls and turned it on just for kicks. I must be crazy because it really does sound like it's saying "Islam is the light." In my excitement I woke Jay who is trying to reboot for a long night of work, but the doll clammed up and refused to speak. So I took this video. Listen to the last few seconds and decide for yourself.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gueth What?

Thath What!

The first tooth came out at school, just as she had hoped. When it happens at school, you get a special necklace that holds your tooth. Plus you get that special moment when the whole class goes "cooooooool, Elizabeth lost her tooth!" and you're the center of attention.

It all went down in music class while everyone was singing and dancing. Elizabeth's good buddy "Joe" somehow spun and hit her mouth with his hand, causing her tooth to fly out. There was blood, they had to stop the music and look for the tooth. Apparently Joe's hand was also cut in the collision, and I certainly look forward to seeing his artistic rendering of the event.

Bring it on, tooth fairy!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Mike!

Nikki: Hold still.
Mike: Some day I'm gonna be 6'4" and be able to kick your butt.
Nikki: Yeah right. Just keep that bowling ball head of yours still so I can get a good bounce.

Happy Birthday little brother. Thanks for not throwing me off Mount Haleakala when you had the chance.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Just a Friendly Note

Elizabeth has been speaking with increasing frequency about a boy in her class. Let's pretend his name is Joe. When she speaks of him, her eyes get wide and she starts giggling hysterically. She usually ends her Joe story du jour with a loud sigh.

It's obvious that Joe is the class clown and that to Elizabeth, he is as good as Chris Rock. She had similar admiration for the class clown in last year's preschool class. By admiration, I mean she laughs uncontrollably, ensuring that the funny kid has both a purpose and an audience. But last year the funny kid was the teacher's son, so he didn't have much of a leash. This year, the funny kid is telling the class that he and Elizabeth are married and he's writing her love letters.

Elizabeth's class is learning all about correspondence, so each day the students practice writing letters, cards and addressing envelopes. Yesterday she showed me an empty envelope bestowed upon her by Joe. It was just a warm up. Today she came home with a sealed envelope, signed by Joe himself. He apparently gave it to her after saying "I love ya, baby" in a crazy voice. This is what was inside...

Huh. First impression: okay, kind of cute, a boy and a girl holding hands, maybe a cupcake on his shirt, perhaps they are holding a heart together, being supervised by the teacher. Nope. Per Elizabeth, Joe told her what she would find in the envelope: a picture of someone handing their own head to Joe while Elizabeth is watching.

Be still my heart.

I'm all kinds of confused. Who is the headless person and why are they red? Did the head just fall off or was force used? Perhaps this is a doll and Joe is showing what a good helper he is by replacing it's head? Is that a cupcake or a skull on his shirt? Is decapitation just your typical five year old boy kind of stuff? And why did Joe draw himself with a mouth and Elizabeth without?

Anyway, the letter was well received by Elizabeth with a giggly disgust. I grabbed the crayons and we all did some coloring with extra rainbows, unicorns and butterflies just for good measure. When Jay came home, Elizabeth gave him the letter and told him all about her husband, Joe. I wish I had taken a picture of Jay's face. Something tells me he won't be sleeping very well tonight.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Mike

The Friendly's Reese's Pieces Sundae Cupcake

The Mike Cupcake. I'm obviously not a food photographer but if you tasted this thing I think we would agree that I can bake a cupcake. Not bragging, just saying. It's good.

This cupcake is for my brother. Happy Birthday Mike! It is the best I could come with to represent the Friendly's Reese's Pieces Sundae in cupcake form. We grew up with Friendly's restaurants all around and this was the best dessert.

For these cupcakes I used a basic chocolate cake, spread a thin layer of peanut butter frosting on top (a little goes a long way, it is very rich), piped on some whipped cream, garnished with some candy pieces (should be actual Reese's Pieces but a mini Fast Break was all I could find) and topped them with a maraschino cherry.

The cupcakes and frosting could all be done ahead of time, but the whipped cream has to be done right before serving. And Mike, since you don't actually live here, I'm considering this the test batch. I will serve your official batch the next time I see you! Amanda's class will have a go at this batch tomorrow.

Hershey's "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans. 2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Line muffin cups and fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

Peanut Butter Frosting

1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Whipped Cream Topping

1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar

In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Add sugar and beat until peaks form.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It's Fall, Y'all!

Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
Emily Bronte