Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sneak Attack!

 clearly 34 year olds are very immature.

Goodbye 34. 

so sad, and clearly in need of a trip to get my roots done, I must love you to show you this!

We've had some good times.  Some silly times.  Some cray cray times.  Ok, we've even had a few tears.  I loved getting to know you.  You are really swell.  I hate to see you go, I really do.  I mean that.  I really, really do. (please don't go)  I don't think we'll meet again, this goodbye is for good.  Hold on a sec, that's my other line...

hold please...


Hello? in my most chipper (saved for phone answereing and drive-thrus) voice

Hold up!  What?  So soon?  I mean, I just got out of a year long thing with 34.  I'm not really ready to commit to you.  Not yet.  I don't mean to be rude.  I don't want you to think that I'm not hospitable.  Let me start over. 

Hold your horses 35!!!

Hey there 35!  Where did you come from?  You totally snuck up on me!  Are you ready to do this?  I hope you've come prepared.  I've got plans for you, big ones.  Stuff that's going to make you laugh and stuff that's probably going to give you gas.  Good times ahead. You're probably going to want to pack a First Aid kit and a sense of humor to make it through what I'm guessing is going to be about a 365 day relationship with me.  Non-stop.  Yep, I'm never going to leave your side for a whole year.  I'm going to be super clingy.  35, I hope you've got a camera, cause you're gonna want to remember this....

Crazy party face, mixed with 1a.m., mixed with webcam, mixed with insanity.  much more mature at 35.

Lights, Camera...Action!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Life's Perfect Blend

Life's Perfect Blend.

Now, from the title, you may think this post is about coffee.  But it isn't. Mainly because I don't drink coffee so it would be a really bad post.  Like the coffee I've tried to make.  Really bad.

It's actually more like blended in the blender.  When things get all crazy mushed together and a part of each other.  When you can't separate one from another again.  Well, that's how my super messy in a fun way life is. Super blended with lots of good stuff.  It's my own perfect blend.
It is interesting and fun.  Messy.  Frilly.  Funky.

Mainly due to my kids.  They make my life a mixy mix of  a life.  Perfectly blended.

Love that my girls will be playing dress up one minute and head outside to catch bugs the next.  A perfect blend.

Roo in her duck boots with her girly x 100 socks.  What a medley.  All us girls have them.  Duck boots.  For the lake, for the snow, for the mud, for when they are closest in reach.  With jeans, shorts, dresses.  New pairs as we grow, old pairs handed down.  Clearly they go with anything and are for every occasion.  People call them all sorts of different things, we call 'em duck boots. We are Texas like that.

But what I really love, is the story they tell.  They've been a lot of places and seen a lot of things.  They've made mud pies, gone sledding, climbed trees.  They are fearless.  I think they make my girls kinda fearless too.  They are also used so that they can climb on top of the playhouse, they are not content to just to play inside it.  The view is better from up there. And when I'm not up there with them, I wait below with my insurance card and copay in hand.

In quick summary, get yourself some duck boots.  Put them on with your fanciest socks.  They won't let a mess slow you down, they'll help you wade through it.  Chances are, they will get you to do things you wouldn't normally do, and have FUN and be silly along the way.  Those things are healthy and these shoes are magic like that.  They help make your life the perfect blend.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Happily Ever After

Here it is, the invader update...

Just as an FYI, I am having a party at my house tomorrow, so instead of cleaning and preparing I thought I should blog.  Forever the procrastinator.
I was SHOCKED how many messages I was sent about this happening to other people.  Kinda glad it's not just me, but freaked out that it's so common.  This whole "things living in my attic/walls."  If you don't know, you can read part one of this story titled "I Am Not Alone" HERE.

Well, I was right.  We had a momma raccoon and her 5 BABIES living with us.  See how that is in past tense?  For that I am thankful.  I am also crazy thankful that they are ALL still living!  Thank you A1 Wildlife Services! This was quite an ordeal.  It took them an hour and a half to get them all out. 

There were a lot of "ifs" involved and plans. 

If we can get to the babies...
If the mom is with them....
If she runs away....
If she hides in the attic....
If she puts up a fight....
If we can get her in the first 24 hours...

If, if, if....there were a lot more of these ifs...

Anyway, they did have to cut into my walls/ceilings to get to them.  Here's how it went down:

Wildlife Wrangler Steven and his partner Alex carried their supplies to the attic.  To include saws, poles, cages, scopes, nets, etc. Later they also asked for a coat hanger.  So they were armed.  I kept my distance. I was nervous.  I also had my little Roo home sick from school.  This meant 2 things.  1, she would be in on all the action and 2, she would be traumatized if things didn't go well.  I would be too. It was a good day to be home. 

We heard lots of pounding, sawing, ruckus in general.  We sat anxiously downstairs waiting for the results.  They would run downstairs and out to their trucks to grab something every so often.  We would get bits and pieces of information along the way.  Like 3 babies, now 4 babies, wait 5 babies! She's in the nest with them.  We have her cornered.  She's curled up in a ball.  We can't get the catch pole on her.  She's putting up quite a fight.  The babies are young, haven't opened their eyes yet. (so cute by the way.) It was like a play by play.  But it was as if we were listening to it on the radio instead of watching it on TV.  Sitting on the edge of our seats the whole time.

Then it happened.

Steven came down the stairs with a net on a pole.

In the net? 5 babies.  Squirming, eyes closed, whining babies. Cutest raccoon babies you ever did see.

They were all fine.  Thank goodness! Roo was so excited to see them.  We took lots of pictures to show her sister and her dad.

Next they took them outside to put them in a cage. 

Down came momma in another cage. 

They put the 2 doors next to each other and the momma joined her babies. HOORAY!!

He put them in a shady spot.


There was also this other little "matter" they had to tend to. 

Like, in another wall I had 4 other animals.  They were, let's call them "expired."  Not cool.  Apparently also raccoons.  Apparently also not from this year.  Probably from before we moved in, or we would have smelled them.  Awesome.  Here's the theory:  Momma raccoon really likes our house and she nests here every year.  There is the possibility that where she nests (between the ceiling and attic floor) has opportunities for the babies to crawl around and accidentally fall down the empty walls where she can't get to them and they can't get out :(  I am having Scott cover all the empty walls.  He's thrilled.  It's just in case.  I can't keep reliving this.  Anyway.  They had to cut my walls open to get the "expired" 4 out. 

What does this all equate to?  Repairs and dollars.  Sheet rock repair, paint, etc.  All over several days.  Plus the weekend was involved, so that's more time.  Did I mention that this was taking place in my work/craft/catchall/hideout room?  The one I had just painted?  Of course it was.  I was actually thankful that if it had to happen, it happened in a room we were renovating.  Would have been even worse if it was in one of the finished rooms.  I also told Wildlife Wrangler Steven that they had to at least patch my walls before they left.  Now that I knew "things" could get in my attic, I didn't want them having an interstate into my actual house!  Freaking out!  So they were very sweet and hooked me up.  Probably thought I was a total lunatic.  Which I was.  A little bit. 

During this time, my friend Lynn brought Hazelmonkey home from school.  WW Steven was nice enough to show them our roommates and a couple of baby squirrels he had wrangled from another attic earlier that day.  They were so excited.  It was like a petting zoo, only you can't pet them or even get your hands near the cages for that matter.  So, I guess it wasn't really like a petting zoo at all except for the whole animal part. 

As my new heroes prepared to leave, I started feeling a little desperate.  Desperate for them to found the entrance the momma used to get in.  He said this is the first time in his 7 years of doing this that he hadn't found the entrance.  I didn't want to be his new statistic.  I was told that it was probably the size of a grapefruit.  That shouldn't be that hard to find!  AAAAHHHHH!!!  I started to sweat, I started to pray, I was frantic. Panic set in.  I didn't want them to leave me alone with a giant hole into my attic for all the neighboring animals to come and go as they please.  Help me Wildlife Wrangler Steven!!!!

And then it happened.  They took one last stroll up on the roof.  And the stars aligned.  They found her entrance.  We cheered and rejoiced from the ground as we stared at our saviors!  They sheet metaled (pretty sure that's a verb) it right up and all was well with the world. 

And they were off

Now, while I still worry about getting new roomies up in the attic, we are all resting a little easier tonight.  They have a very special release technique that helps the momma to be able to retrieve her babies without the fear of people nearby, so I am thankful for that.  They have 400 acres of preserve where they release them.  I hope they find a happy new home in the wilderness.  Thinking about sending them a house warming gift....

Friday, April 6, 2012


I'm Linking Up!  I'm a total linking up Rookie, so fingers crossed I figure this out!

My sweet friend Jessica, who lives in Cali and I met at Meg's Craft Weekend does this super fun PinterTest Kitchen.  How stinkin cute is that?  Anyway, I decided I gotta get in on this.  I always read the other PinterTesters posts because I want to see how these things you "Pin" actually come out in real life and not just in the pretty picture in my fantasy Pinterest land.  By the way, it's really happy there.  So, here's the scoop.  You have to bake or make something you have pinned on Pinterest.  Document it, post, and share.  Simple.  Now, if I can just figure out how to "grab" a button virtually....

So, for PinterTest Kitchen, I'm giving you all my deets on.....Drum Roll.....


I've also decided that should be it's official name.  That or Jar of Crazy Happiness. Either should work fine.

Ok, here's the background.  Roo was having a birthday.  She can bring a birthday treat to school.  She picks cake in a jar, the rainbow kind, with icing and sprinkles.  Except for on Drew's.  He doesn't like icing.  But everyone else does. Thanks mom.  Can I help?

Here's the lineup:

Cake Mix, White

One box isn't going to be enough.  I needed 4 boxes.  I realized that after I made 2 boxes and it wasn't enough.  I put 2 and 2 together like that.  (so punny!) So I went to get 2 more, they were out of Betty Crocker, so I went Pillsbury.  It was totally fine.  I don't think it matters.  Still tasted yums.

 Make them according to their own directions. 

Next separate them into bowls according to how many colors you want in your rainbow.  Here is where your artistic self can get her groove on.  Go neon.  Go pastel.  Only pink & green?  Do it!  So fun.  Mine wanted as close to ROY G BIV as possible. So go for it.  Squeeze a few drops of food coloring into each bowl.  Don't forget that red and blue make purple, etc.  I read some place that you can do this naturally without food coloring, but that sounded like more work and I like less work.

You probably will need to get some extra stirrin power from Mimi & Papa. Next, layer them in the jars.  Some of our batter seemed a little thicker than others, so we made sure to layer the thickest on the bottom, thinnest on top. Get it?  Didn't want them gettin all mixy mixed up! Check out the rainbowy awesomeness!  In the words of my good friend Karen, it is "Delightful!"

Ok, so batter is in the jars.  You want to fill them about half way.  The amount you will need will depend on the size jar you use.  Filling it half way makes it puff over the top like a cup cake.  Pretty :)  Place them in a baking sheet and fill with about 1/4 inch of water.  These are going to take longer to bake.  I'm not sure of all the reasons, but they just do.  I found my long wooden skewers to come in handy while testing their doneness.  Bake according to the box instructions for cupcakes.  Then add more time, like in 5 min increments, for like, a million more minutes or so.  Not sure how long it ended up taking me, cause they seemed to vary.  Plus, I had 2 ovens going, four sheets at a time with a varied number of jars in them.  I think those are all factors.

So, just bake em, ok?

They look a little cray cray here from some of the drizzles frying.  No big, they come right off and all is well in our rainbowy world again.

We decided to slice a puffy top off one to see what it looks like, the colors rise up in the center.

So stinkin cute!  Then, if your husband is a dork, this will happen.

So, now you have all this baked rainbowy goodness!  Just when you thought it couldn't get any better....

You go and do this an make it even more awesome...

RAINBOW NONPAREILS & ICING FOR CRAZY SAKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Am I right?  This is the best jar of fun in all the land.  I mean that.  I do.

Now, this is the most important part, so please don't forget and ruin the whole darn thing!  Are you listening?  Well, maybe it's better if I show you...

Gobble you up some of that rainbowy goodness!

Ok, so I think this was a total success and my birthday girl did too.  I will say, the pin I pinned for this didn't take me to any actual instructions, only a pretty rainbow cake in a jar picture.  So, I kinda winged the whole "how to" part.  I am going to pin this post to my "bake it up" board so that I have the instructions in the future.  But, I did get the idea from Pinterest, so muchas gracias you virtual bulletin board of happy!

Thanks to my friend Jessica over at Keeping Up With The Johnsons, who is a whole lotta genius and a whole lotta fun for thinking up the PinterTest kitchen. Click on the link to her blog below and check out other fabulous trys!  Love it and her to pieces!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


You learn something new every day. Isn't that how the saying goes? Well, it's true. 

At least for me it is. 

Sometimes it's a lesson ( I tend to learn these the hard way) or a fun fact (that I stow away to bring up randomly at parties, I like to look smart people).  Today I learned about the Pretzel.  Yep.  The Pretzel.  This falls more in the smart at parties category.

Y'all may already know this schnazzy frazz, but I didn't until today so I thought I'd share. 

My Hazelmonkey's 4th grade teacher asked if I could bring pretzels for her class today.  She was going to use them in a lesson and wanted to have the large "soft" pretzels from the oven.  I said no problem but she had piqued my interest.  What are they going to learn with a pretzel?  Besides that they are yummy especially when dipped in mustard and eaten while walking around fair grounds. And with salt.  Plenty of big chunky salt.

So, make pretzels I did.

Y'all, I really slaved over these.  It took hours to make the dough just right, twist them into the perfect pretzely shape, bake them, salt them, etc.

Or, you can take the easy yet still totally tasty way out and buy these in the frozen food section of the K. Roger (that's our local talk for Kroger which makes me want to also tell you how much I miss HEB) and pop them in the oven.  This is what I actually did.  Did I fool you?  Probably not.  Plus, I like the name.  SUPER PRETZEL.  Sounds way Super!  It needs a cape. I also would like a cape but that is a  post for another day.

We are in the season of Lent. The time leading up to Easter.  Time of preparation.  Time for the resurrection of Jesus and the basis of our faith.  What does this have to do with the Pretzel?  It turns out, a lot.

Did you know that the pretzel dates back to the ancient Roman Empire?  It was the main Lenten bread of the time.  The cool part is why:

"A young monk in the early 600s in Italy was preparing a special Lenten bread of water, flour and salt. To remind his brother monks that Lent was a time of prayer, he rolled the bread dough in strips and then shaped each strip in the form of crossed arms, mimicking the then popular prayer position of folding one’s arms over each other on the chest. The bread was then baked as a soft bread, just like the big soft pretzels one can find today. (To be fair, some traditions date the story to even the 300s.)" -Fr. William Saunders (

(picture from

It also has significance with Lent in relation to fasting.  It is only made with flour, water, and salt and therefore didn't break any of the then very strict Lenten fasting traditions. 

In many places in Europe, pretzels are only served during Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.

I also loved how they got their name.  I learned that today too.

Ok.  I told you that they were shaped into the form of crossed arms, so they decided to call them bracellae, the Latin word for "little arms."  From that, the Germans derived the word bretzel which has since turned into the word we use now, pretzel.

So cool.

I also learned lots of other fun stories about pretzels, like how they were so easy to make in mass that they were often handed out to the poor and that they started making the now popular hard pretzel due to the baker falling asleep while they were in the oven and over baking them.  I love fun facts.  I'm a total dork but I'm cool with that.

I would like to add that if you write the word pretzel enough, you will soon think that there is no way that it is spelled that way.  Am I the only one who does that?  I find myself spell checking my everyday words all the time! I just know some of them are not spelled that way, even if spell check says they are.

I'm loving that I have a new/old Lenten tradition to share with my family. 

So, go get your pretzel on and you can share it too.