Crown & Church

Whew.

I'm glad my birthday is over. For real.

It wasn't a horrible day - meaning I didn't get in a wreck or find out I have a life-threatening disease or lose my home or get a divorce or accidentally wax off an entire eyebrow.

But it was a trying day. Meaning I had to dig something from the dog's butt, clean up yarf from said dog who decided to eat her entire bowl of food and drink her entire bowl of water (twice - ugh!), cope with my husband forgetting it was even my birthday, and all sorts of other mundane yet irritating crap.

Curtis finally did remember ... after our friend Luke read my blog and gave him a "courtesy call" (thanks, Luke!). So we went out to dinner. But not like a romantic one-on-one dinner ... it was a dinner at a barbecue place with the kids. Where Cameron (our two-year-old) was, for some reason, so horrible that I didn't even want to stay for dessert. And that's like Paris Hilton not wanting to stay for a photo-op, y'all. That ought to tell you just how naughty he was being. He wouldn't stay seated, we kept having to constantly shush him, and he was grabbing all over my pale pink shirt the whole time with his little barbecue-y fingers.

Then I went to Wal-Mart. I thought I was giving myself a break by taking only the baby. But I was wrong, as the baby cried for a solid ten minutes until I took him out of the cart and carried him. While pushing the cart. And getting groceries.

And when I got home, I made myself a birthday dessert. Which I burned.

BUT.

This coming weekend I will have the chance to really celebrate, with my best friends and extended family, when we pack up and head to our home state for a few days. My sister in law Arunporn is whipping me up a big Thai feast, my brother Steve is making my birthday cake (so if I never come back, you'll know what happened), and my best girls will have drinks at the ready. So. I like to look at yesterday as a faux-birthday. A test run, if you will.

To close this post I'd like to share something with you that I found hi-LARIOUS. This is an actual excerpt that I took from my Facebook feed, posted by an actual friend of mine (his identifying details have been anonymized, natch). It was so priceless that I had to take a screenshot:


Love it. You know who you are. :)

 




The Big Three-Oh


So. Today's my birthday. And do you wanna know how I ushered in my 30s?

Probably not, but I'm going to tell you anyway.

I used a folded leaf to extract something sticking out of my dog's butt.

Now if that's not a celebration, I don't know what is.

In other news, my husband appears to have forgotten my birthday. I mean, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt for now. But this morning has been ... well, average (aside from the dog-ass debacle). We got up, fixed the kids breakfast, got Colin ready for school, Curtis got ready for work. And so far ... so far ... I've not gotten so much as a "happy birthday" from him. No acknowledgement whatsoever.

I'm pretty sure that isn't because he's planning some huge surprise later. He typically isn't that kind of dude. It's most likely because he actually forgot, and will try to play it off later. Like on our third wedding anniversary, when he told me my present was "in the car" ... after which I heard the car start up and drive away. To the store. To buy me a present.

I got some sweet earrings out of the deal, but still.

I can't complain too much though. I woke up this morning, which is a definite plus. I didn't morph into a total wrinkled hag in the wee hours between 29 and 30, so that's cool. I did wake up with a pimple, but maybe that's just my body's way of being like, "Hey, you're still young. Because only youngsters get pimples."

Right?

RIGHT?

*cricket, cricket*

To add a little bit of awesomeness to the day, I get to give away the Eden Fantasys gift certificate!

And the winner, per random.org, is ... drum roll please ...

Commenter #5 ... amy rae!

Congratulations! And if your name isn't Amy, don't worry ... I've got at least three more giveaways up my sleeve, y'all.

Anyway, I'm off to change a diaper that I have neglected for the past fifteen minutes while writing this blog. Which means it'll be nice and squishy. Oh, yay!

Have a great Monday, everyone. :)




Things I Wasn't Ready For


Colin has been in school for three weeks now. This is the first time I've ever had a Kindergartener of my own, and it's been a few years (coughcoughtwentyfivecoughcough) since I was a Kindergartener - so when it comes to knowing what to expect out of this first year of school, I'm a little (okay, a lot) rusty. Even in three short weeks, there have been a lot of things that have come as kind of a surprise for me. Among them ...

He has a girlfriend. Up until this point, his only "girlfriend" was me, until I explained to him that it's just not possible. Oh, and Kiki from the Fresh Beat Band:

a él le gusta Latinas

So y'all can imagine my surprise when he mentioned his new girlfriend, G., who wears a Dora backpack and knows about Venus fly traps and has a loose tooth. They sit together at snack time and play together at recess. He beams with joy when you even mention her name. Yesterday he told me G. wasn't his girlfriend any more because she "talks too much about silly things" (at which point Curtis piped up and was all, "You'll have to get used to that, son, it's a universal trait"). Today, though? He held her hand on the way into the school. Held her hand. So my guess is, they're back on. But when did my baby get so grown up that he thought he needed to get himself a girlfriend? Wah!

He's clamming up. I've heard countless parents complain that their "What did you do in school today?" is met with an unsatisfying "Nothing." But I imagine this answer coming from, like, a surly teenager who slumps into the house without making eye contact and goes straight to his bedroom - not an energetic and bubbly little Kindergartener. Yet that's exactly what I get. It's like pulling teeth to get him to tell me anything about his day, which sucks, 'cause I'm dying for a play-by-play. I don't understand it: this is the kid that will tell the worker at the ice cream shop that he likes the rainbow-colored ice cream because it's not only tasty but it also makes his poop turn green and that's so cool and did you know that food coloring could do that?

But when I ask him what he did at school? I get a shrug. Or a "Nothing." Or an, "I'm busy, Mommy."

He has homework. Every Tuesday night is homework night. Granted, it's not much, but I didn't expect it this early. What's worse, he already hates doing it. If writing an easy spelling word a few times (which he could do with his eyes closed) hacks him off this much in Kindergarten, what am I gonna have to resort to when he's a high school kid with algebra homework?

He has a ... fundraiser?! When I pulled a large white envelope out of his backpack after school yesterday, I wasn't sure what it was. Information on school pictures, maybe? Then when I opened it I saw ... what's this ... an order form of some sort? And ... oh look, is that ... a catalog? Yes. A catalog of wrapping paper and candy and random gadgets: the school fundraiser. Already? In the first month of Kindergarten? Apparently so. 

And apparently, from what I hear, it's just the first of many. *sigh*


So yeah. All this has blindsided me, and we haven't even completed a full month of school yet. Is everybody so clueless this first time around, or am I just "special?"



DON'T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THE GIVEAWAY PAGE! WIN A $25 GIFT CERTIFICATE TO EDEN FANTASYS ... ALL YOU'VE GOTTA DO IS COMMENT, YO!

Brotherly Love Gone Bad


It started out so sweetly - the kind of Kodak moment that makes any mother's heart melt. We were on the couch, getting shoes on before school, when ...

Cameron: "Colin, I love you."

Colin: "I love you more, Cameron."

Cameron: "No, I love you more."

Colin: "Noooo, I love you more!"

Cameron: "I love you more, more, more!"

Colin: "I love you more, more, more, more!"

And then it began to get heated. Smiles turned to frowns.

Cameron (getting agitated): "I love you more, more, more, more, MORE."

Colin: "I love you MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE!!!"

Cameron (all-out shrieking): "NO! I LOVE YOU MORE, COLIN!"

At which point I was forced to separate them, because their argument came to blows. All over who loves who more.

Ironic, isn't it?






DON'T FORGET TO CHECK THE GIVEAWAY PAGE, Y'ALL! AND YES ... I'M SHOUTING!

The Phantom Pooper Strikes Again!

*In honor of my countdown to the big 3-0, I'll be having a couple of giveaways this week! Click the "Giveaways and Reviews" tab to see the first: but only if you're over 18, teehee ...

Now, back to your regularly scheduled post.

My 11-month-old, Coby, puts a lot of stuff in his mouth. I mean, I do vacuum once in a while but thanks to the two older boys, there's always something all over my carpet. Because if there's one thing my dudes are, it's messy (and, all too often, disgusting):






... Okay, Cameron is messy and disgusting.

Seriously though, thanks to their shenanigans, my carpet can be filthy literally moments after I've cleaned it. So I spend approximately 30% of my day fishing around in Coby's mouth to remove whatever little tidbit he's vacuumed up off the floor. Stale crumbs, pieces of cereal, random toy parts, dirt, bugs, it doesn't matter - he's an equal-opportunity eater.

Which is why I wasn't at all surprised this morning to see him munching on a small brownish nugget he'd picked up off the kitchen floor.

But when I pried it from his fingers ...

... it squished.

OMG.

I froze, as I tend to do in these situations. "Why is there poop in here?" I asked, out loud, to no one in particular. Then repeated, a little more frantically, as if it would get me a divine answer: "Why is there poop in here?!" 

But Coby wasn't talking because his mouth was full of crap. He just looked up at me with this look on his face like, Man, the stuff I usually eat off the floor tastes MUCH better than this.

I figured the little piece of poop was just a teaser ... a clue that a much larger mess was going on somewhere. So after cleaning the baby up, I (grudgingly) set out to investigate. I looked in diapers, toilets, toys, beds, on the bottoms of the dog's feet, you name it ... and found nothing. Absolutely nothing except for that little piece that mysteriously showed up on the kitchen floor. WTF?

Remember the Phantom Pooper?

Looks like he's struck again.


Frumpy Favorites


Sometimes for giggles, I like to read through my old blog posts and marvel at the sheer volume of messes I've had to clean see how far I've come since I wrote my first post in March of last year. And in doing so, I come across posts that really do make me laugh. So I thought I'd share a few of my favorites today because I'm too lazy to write a real post.  Like ...

... the one where I washed my kid with hemmorhoid pads.

... the one where I was asked the definition of "whore."

... the one where we lied to save a few bucks.

... the one where my son drew me a questionable picture.

... the one where I share my favorite beauty tip.

... the one where Coby was born.

... the one where I got sprayed with feces.

... the one where I had a baby with a celebrity.

... the one where I taught my son a dirty word.

... the one where I found Jesus in my mailbox.

... the one where I found poop in a really disturbing place.

... the one where my husband compared me to a gorilla.

... the one where I accidentally called my husband a fat-ass.

And finally ...

... Ten Truths About Motherhood

Enjoy, y'all!






The Countdown Begins ...

Ten.
Nine.
Eight.
Seven ...

Do you hear that? The countdown, the horrible deafening tick of the clock? Because I do. Loud and clear. Day and night.

I have officially entered the last ten days of my twenties. *sob*

Thirty is breathing down my neck, y'all. THIRTY. Three-oh.

Yep ... ten more days. I'll be turning 30 on the 30th: that's what they call a "golden birthday." It's supposed to be a good thing, but the way I'm feeling about it ain't so frickin' golden. I will no longer be able to call myself twentysomething.*

*Although I reserve the right to do so on special occasions.

I know what you're doing. Those of you who are over thirty are all, "What are you bitching about? Thirty is still young!" and those of you who are under thirty are like, "God rest your soul. Hope you're not too unhappy in the nursing home."

It's not so much the age that bothers me. It's the fact that I'm nowhere near where I - or anyone else - thought I'd be at thirty years old. See, let me give you a little background. I was super-smart as a kid (although I am living proof that dumb-assness is a disease which can totally progress with age). When I entered Kindergarten, I was already reading on an eighth grade level. I took my ACT (a college entrance exam) in the seventh grade - and scored higher on it than I did when I took it a second time in high school (Doogie Howser, y'all). And though I never applied for a single scholarship, I ended up with $17,000 a year toward my college education and a spot in an honors dorm. It's because my entire life, I was labeled The Smart One. The Golden Child. The Girl Who Was Going To DO SOMETHING PROFOUND With Her Life. It became my identity, these high hopes that everyone had for me.

But I dropped out of college to get married at 19, a year short of a Psychology degree. And now I'm an under-employed freelance writer and professional butt wiper/floor vacuumer/laundry do-er.

Wow.

I think of Colin, my oldest son. How smart he is. (Not that my other two aren't smart, but they're still so little that their academic aptitude hasn't shown up all that much yet.) And I think of how secretly disappointed I'd be if his amazing, brilliant, smartypants brainpower isn't put to good use when he's an adult. I can't help but wonder if my mom is disappointed in me, just a little, maybe way down deep. She swears she isn't, but wouldn't any good mom tell her child that?

Point is, I thought I'd be either a.) a published author - like, with a book - or b.) a doctor of psychology by the time I was thirty. And I'm neither. And unless somebody from some publishing house is reading this and offers me a book deal (please please please?), I'm no closer to being either one than I was when I was 19. So yeah, it's a little depressing.

Don't get me wrong. I'm proud of my relationship (twelve and a half years and counting), my family (three beautiful, awesome sons), and my home (but call before you come over). Those are things I always wanted on my life's to-do list. I just didn't think they'd be the only things I had going for me at this age.

Anyway, maybe I'm just being melodramatic. But for those of you who are thirty or over, I'd like to ask you a few questions. Somebody help a sistah out and answer any or all of them:

Did turning 30, like, seriously freak you out?

Do your 30s suck or are they better than your 20s?

Anything I MUST do during these last ten days of my 20s?

Anything I MUST do as I enter my 30s?

Do tell! Maybe you can give me something to look forward to other than crows' feet and a crushing sense of failure ...

 
   



Press-On Face

It's the second week of my life as the mom of a school-aged child, and I'm beginning to get used to it. I gotta tell you, though ... it's a complete hassle. We live within two miles of the elementary, so the bus won't stop at our house. Which means each and every morning I have to get myself and three kids up, dressed, and ready, buckle them into their respective car-and-booster-seats, and schlep them all to school (and then haul them all back to pick Colin up in the afternoon).

Yeah ... blah.

That being said, I'm looking for convenience in every possible area of my morning routine. Laying clothes out the night before: check. Having the backpack ready and hanging by the door: check. But there's one thing I have to do each morning that I can't do the night before ... and that's put on a face.

I can't help the need to slap on a little eyeliner and mascara and lip gloss before I take my kid to school. I think it's genetic: my mom won't even walk to the mailbox sans makeup, and has reapplied lipstick in every lot she's ever parked in. And no - I'm not exaggerating one iota. I'm not quite that crazy anal particular about it. I just don't want the Other Moms to look scornfully at me through their mascara-ed lashes as my washed-out self slumps through the school with my brood of kids.

Anyway, I was thinking about how I could simplify my morning makeup, and short of sleeping in it - which I won't do - there's really nothing to make it easier. So I'm putting an idea out there, and I want one of you smart smart people to invent it, okay?

What we need is a Press-On Face.

Remember press-on nails, the plastic-manicure-in-a-box that you can just slap on over your existing nails? Yeah. That's what I need for my face. A towel-like contraption, maybe, pre-loaded with cosmetic goodness?

And for whoever invents it, I'll even go a step further and offer to do the marketing - for free. I mean, I've given you the idea, and now I'm giving you the perfect spokesmodel. Check out these before-and-after pictures*:




*Actual appearance may vary slightly ... but not much.

So get on it, people! And while you're inventing, anyone wanna share some tips on how you streamline your morning off-to-school routine?


Right Place, Right Time

I'm one of those moms who always - always - has a camera within quick reach. If it's not in my pocket or purse, it's stashed in my bra (among other things) or out on the kitchen counter so I can capture that perfect shot. I mean, how else am I going to compile a stash of bare-butt photos of my kids to use as blackmail later on?

So last night I'm cleaning up the kitchen while Curtis is putting the boys to bed. From the bedroom, I hear Colin's sweet little voice reading The Cat in the Hat in such a cute, animated way that I decide I MUST preserve the moment on video. I grab my trusty camera, turn on the video function, and hide outside the boys' bedroom door. Nobody knows I'm filming.

Now make sure your sound is way up for this one, because it's priceless. And at about seven or eight seconds in, listen really carefully ... and watch Curtis's leg ... and then hear me snickering my ASS off in the background:




Yeah. And we didn't even have beans for dinner. Impressive, huh?

Disclaimer: even though I may appear to be the meanest wife ever, I have Curtis's full permission to post this little tidbit. And y'all don't even want to know what I'm gonna have to do to repay him for that.

Children: the Best Form of Birth Control


I know, it seems contradictory. But it's true: the best way to prevent pregnancy is, well, children.

I say this because I have personal experience. Like, lots. Because right now it's Saturday night and I'm sitting here at the computer, blogging, instead of snuggling up to my husband. He's here, and I'm here, and the kids are in bed, and for once my legs don't resemble a coniferous forest - but any chance for intimacy was rudely thwarted by three little words (and no, they weren't "Not tonight, dear"):

Daddy, please stay.

I knew he was done for. Tucking the boys in and leaving the room is one thing - but when they ask him to stay and lay down with them, which he can never resist, I know I won't see him again until I wake him up and tell him to go to bed. He'll be sawing logs faster than a lumberjack on speed, and I'll be falling asleep in front of "Chelsea Lately" with the remote in one hand and some kind of unnecessary and fattening snack in the other.

Or, you know, blogging.

Either way: ABSTINENCE. No nookie. Which, obviously, is the most failproof method of pregnancy prevention.

I'd like to say this is a rare occurrence, but I think there are spiders setting up cobwebs "down there," y'all. And I've got my children to thank. They're absolutely fantastic - uncanny, really - at barring any and all chances for bow-chicka-wow-wowwww up in here.

I wrote a little poem:

Hubby won't be needing a vasectomy;
No packets of birth-control pills for me.
Just put a kid to sleep in our bed,
A guaranteed method to kill the mood dead.

No need for fancy lingerie -
Don't even own a negligee.
No desire for all that sexy getup
When most of the time I'm covered in spit-up.

A daytime quickie sure sounds nice,
Five minutes ain't great, but it'll suffice.
Until little people are pounding the door
Yelling, "Mommy, what are you locked in there for?"

Even if there are no kids in the room,
It seems like our efforts are automatically doomed
'Cause just as soon as I'm building up steam,
Comes a call of "Mommy, I had a bad dream!"

So keep your condoms and diaphragms,
Your spermicides, your rhythm plans.
Because I've tried 'em all - and on the whole,
KIDS are the best form of birth control.



Cereal Killer

At like ten o'clock last night, Curtis and I were sitting on the couch watching TV, and I was thinking how tired I was. And how I had to get up at the crack of dawn. And how if I didn't get to bed, I was gonna be dragging ass in the morning.

But then I swear I heard a little voice calling me from the kitchen cabinet. I'm pretty sure it was the Cocoa Puffs.

The sweet, crunchy, chocolatey Cocoa Puffs.

"I think I'm going to have a bowl of cereal," I said to Curtis, as if it were a novel idea. He laughed.

"I was waiting for it," he said. "You have a bowl of cereal every night."

I was insulted. "I do not," I huffed. How dare he imply that my self-control was so poor that I couldn't resist the siren call of cereal EVER?

He just looked at me. And that's when I realized ... it's true, y'all. I do have a bowl of cereal every night. Right before bed.

Anybody who's ever worried about being fat knows that you shouldn't eat right before bed. Especially not carbs.

But you know those "rules" you make up in your own head about calories - like, when they count and when they don't? Like, if we eat something standing up it's somehow not as fattening. Or the baked goods we inhale snacks we eat during that time of the month ... we can't help our hormonally-induced cravings. Or those scraps we clean off our kids' plates? TOTAL freebies. Anyway, I do that with cereal, too. It doesn't weigh anything. It's not the kind of food you stop eating because it's too rich or because you're full. I mean, who ever gets full of cereal? So I think nothing of eating it as a bedtime snack.






Ten Two minutes later ...




And so on.

I can really put away some cereal, y'all. In fact, now that I think about it, I'm fairly convinced that the lumpy appearance of the backs of my thighs isn't due to cellulite, but to an excess cereal stash. So, that does it. This love affair with the pre-bedtime cereal is gonna have to stop.

... Right after I finish this bowl of Cap'n Crunch.


I Put the "Ugh" in "Doughnut"

I don't get it.

Maybe it's because I come from a long line of writers, teachers, and grammar-nerds. Maybe it's because I'm getting ready to turn thirty (in a mere twenty days, y'all ... eep!). Maybe I'm, like, becoming this crotchety old stick-in-the-mud. Maybe this is just the first step toward the inevitable transformation into an ancient, grumpy relic with an apartment full of cats and doilies.

But I don't get the appeal of textspeak. And seeing it used really, really, reeeeeeally gets on my (old, crotchety) nerves. I don't mind Internet acronyms like "WTF" (which is, in fact, one of my favorites) because they were created to be abbreviations. But when someone abbreviates a word unnecessarily, well ... I feel all stabby, like someone pissed in my Cheerios.

Seriously (srsly?), I think textspeak (txtspk?) just makes people look dumb. Barely literate. When kids use it, on Facebook statuses and such, I wonder if they're trying to be cool or if they really (rlly?) don't know that there are vowels in words. I mean, how much harder can it be to spend two extra seconds typing "that" instead of "tht" or "and" instead of "n" - especially when it makes you look ever so much more intelligent?

It's just ridiculous. And what's worse, these same kids - the ones who write "dnt" instead of "don't" because it's just sooooo much shorter and more convenient - think nothing of adding unnecessary double letters,  random Xs and weird HTML symbols to their sentences. Like when they post aforementioned Facebook statuses like this:
xx chillin at the mall with the ♥ BesstFriennd ♥ xx  

Really? You can clutter up a perfectly good sentence with all that gobbledygook, but can't be bothered with vowels?

While we're on the subject of grammatical laziness, let's talk about what goes in the middle of doughnuts. I'm not talking about cream filling; I'm talking about the letters U-G-H. A while ago I was typing away when my word processing program told me that "doughnut" was misspelled. I double-checked, thinking I'd missed the g or the h or something - but no. The word was all there, D-O-U-G-H-N-U-T, in its entirety. When I clicked on the spelling suggestions, it wanted me to break up the word: dough nut. Irritated, I typed "donut" - and what do you know? That poor excuse for a word was correct. DONUT. WITH NO u-g-h.

O rlly? What next? Is it going to tell me that "drive-thru" is right, and "drive-through" isn't? I mean, come on. Are we really so pathetically lazy that we think dropping a letter or two makes a profound difference?

Okay, I'm stepping off my spbx. Dismounting from my hgh hrse. And freely admitting that if my deep-rooted scorn for this crap makes me uncool, well then, so be it. At least people (ppl?) know I can spell.

Dear Husband: a Toilet-torial

This is an open letter to my dear, dear husband regarding an issue that's - well - rather sensitive. Ladies, most of you can probably relate (and if you can't, I'm jealous!).

Dear Curtis,

I'm aware that you've been blessed with a more convenient anatomy that doesn't have to be wiped after every pee. But some of us aren't so lucky. Some of us (i.e., me) require toilet paper each and every time we go to the bathroom. Which is why I'm writing you this letter.

Sweetheart, when you use the last of the toilet paper, the roll doesn't magically replenish itself (shocking, I know). It just sits there empty until the next person - again, me - sees it and replaces it with a new roll. But sometimes I don't notice the empty until it's too late, which is a terrible and irritating inconvenience.

I realize it's just an oversight. Or perhaps you're confused since the dog chewed up the holder.


In any case, THIS is what we're trying to avoid:


For future reference, my dear, the ideal bathroom setup should appear as follows:


Achieving said bathroom perfection is easy; the magazines are already in place. All you have to do is ensure a fresh supply of toilet paper. To further clarify, I've drawn you this helpful diagram:


See? Simple.
Just a few easy steps, and you're guaranteed less of this ...


 ... and more of this:


Hope this helps. Anything to make your life easier. :)


Love,

Some Saturday Sweetness

Photo credit: JadeGordon

I don't usually post on Saturdays, but today I feel like giving a shoutout to the room in my house where all the magic happens. This room sees a lot of action, and it's hot. My husband can't get enough, but who can blame him? I'm FANTASTIC. When I break out my mad skillz in this particular room, it almost always elicits an ecstatic moan, or at the very least, a sigh of satisfaction. And I love to share said "skillz" with all the guys my husband works with - particularly his boss. And some of the ladies, too.

What? I'm talking about my kitchen, you pervs ... and the deeeelicious baked goods that spring forth from its magical oven.*

*Not really, it's just a Frigidaire.

That's right. I love to bake. But I love it a little too much - as in, I will singlehandedly polish off an entire batch of whatever eat a few too many and gain twenty pounds in one sitting not fit into my jeans properly. So I'm always sending goodies to work with Curtis. And one of the universal favorites - among both my family AND the work crowd - is the recipe I'm going to share with you today: moist carrot cake cupcakes with whipped buttercream frosting.

So without further ado, let's whip up some cupcakes, shall we? (See below recipe for some of my personal tried-and-true tips.)

CARROT CAKE CUPCAKES: (Oven 350 degrees F)

-2 cups sugar
-1 & 1/3 cups vegetable oil
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-3 large eggs
-2 cups flour
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-2 teaspoons cinnamon
-1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
-3 cups grated carrot
-1 cup raisins
-1 cup walnuts

Beat sugar, oil, and vanilla; add eggs one at a time. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add half to the wet ingredients; mix carrots, raisins, and walnuts into the other half of the dry ingredients, then mix all together. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes; frost when cool.

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING (recipe courtesy of my across-the-hall neighbor from years ago, Cory, who made awesome cakes as a hobby):

1 c. butter flavored Crisco
1 c. salted butter, softened
2 boxes powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons meringue powder

Cream Crisco and butter. Add sugar and meringue powder and mix. Gradually add water a teaspoon or so at a time until desired consistency is reached. Then whip the crap out of it.

*******************

Okay, so here are some pointers:

FOR THE CUPCAKES ...
-You could make this much healthier by substituting an equal amount of applesauce for the vegetable oil. But since I never met a calorie I didn't like, I've never tried it.
-When you do the first step (combining the sugar, oil & vanilla), let it sit for a few minutes for the sugar to dissolve a little bit.
-I recommend using cupcake papers - you know, the liner thingies - because these really stick to the pan.
-The raisins and walnuts are optional if you don't like them, of course, but OMG. Why wouldn't you want them in there? They add soooo much.

FOR THE FROSTING ...
-If you're like me, you're probably like, "WTF is meringue powder?" Well, I'll tell you: you can find it anywhere there are cake decorating supplies (like in the craft section at Wal-Mart). Mine is Wilton brand and it looks like this:

It's not too expensive, if I recall, and the stuff lasts forever. I'm still using the can I bought in ... (lowers voice in embarrassment) ... 2004. *shrug*
-You can make the frosting any consistency you want depending on how much water you put in. Add a teeny bit at a time though - because you can always add more, but you can't take any out. For these, I like a lighter frosting, so I use a bit more water and use my mixer to whip it. ... Whip it good. (End obscure Devo reference.) 

And that's it. My surefire recipe for happiness. Don't forget to spread it around. ;) Happy Saturday, everyone!




Boo to the Hoo!

So it's official. My son is in school. I have a Kindergartener. It feels so weird to just have the two little ones at home, y'all! Like I imagine it would feel if I accidentally left someone at the grocery store or something. (I hope to never do that for real, but hey, you never know.)

Colin was excited all morning, but then as we neared the school, his hand in mine, he started to worry a little.
"Do you have to leave?" he asked, his little voice wavering. It broke my heart, but I put on my most chipper attitude.

"Yes," I said. "But I will be right here the minute you get out of school. And you'll have so much fun today that you'll hardly even notice I'm gone."

Once we got inside, he sat bravely in the gym with the rest of his class, and even smiled - though I could tell he was a little nervous.
Just looking at this picture makes me bawl, you guys. For real.

When it was time to go to his classroom, he wasn't quite sure how to walk in a single-file line; he kept trying to walk beside the other kids, and it dawned on me that I should have sent him to preschool. Or day care. Or something. This is a child who - no joke - asked me for some ammonium dichromate so he could build a volcano (I had to look it up, people) ... but he can't stay in a line with other kids? His social skills are definitely lacking, to a degree I didn't realize until this morning. Which of course opened up a whole new vein of worry for Mommy: will he play well with the other kids? Wait his turn? Follow directions?

(Add that to Will he know what to do at lunch? and Will the other kids be nice to him? and Will he even talk to the other kids? and Will the teacher "get" him? and Will he be miserable all day? and Will he do what he's supposed to? and What if he doesn't? and a whole plethora of other worries too numerous to list.)

Anyway, I watched him go until I couldn't see him any more. He didn't cry or protest. He simply glanced back at me a couple of times, and each time I gave him the hugest, most confident grin I could muster and the "I love you" sign. And then ...

I sobbed across the school parking lot.
I sobbed in the car on the way home.
I sobbed while talking to my neighbor outside.
I sobbed to my mom on the phone.

Curtis took a really lovely picture of me to commemorate the big event:

I'm so gangsta.

POST-SCRIPT: Shortly after I finished this post, there was a knock at the door. And I was all, damn, maybe I should pretend I'm not home. You see, the dog had just pooped on the basement floor and this heinous smell was wafting up the stairs. And there's dried grass all over my entryway from where I mowed last night. I didn't want to answer the door and have whoever was there be like, "OMG! Skanks live here!"

But I'm glad I decided to answer, because it was a floral delivery lady carrying this:


A balloon, all KINDS of yummy chocolate, and a card that read:
Good luck today Colin! Mom - have a good day!

It was from my sweet sweet SWEET across-the-street neighbors, Lee and Kelly. Just one more reason why I don't ever ever want to move, E-V-E-R. :)




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