Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Comparisons

Name:  Zeena Warrior Princess
Likes: Jalapenos, People (especially AK), Jumping out of the car during school dropoff to chase children, Any and all food.
Favorite Food:  Whatever falls on the ground
Dislikes:  Stupid Rules; such as don't sit on the couch, sleep on the bed, or steal off people's plates
Claim to Fame:  When I dropped and broke a jar of Jalapenos, Zeena ran over and began chowing it down, broken glass and all while I frantically tried to clean it up.   I fretted over the next week about her getting sick, she didn't even flinch. 
Name:   Zoey
Likes:  Sniffing People Inappropriately, Snoring really loud,  Baseboards and trim moldings.
Dislikes:  Most People, Loud Noises, Pool Fences,
Favorite Food:  Hypoallergenic Dog Food.  This dog can't even look at food without breaking into hives, because she is allergic to everything, except the pool fence, she could eat that all day long. 
Claim to Fame:  Being the only dog I've ever met that is allergic to grass and trees.  I've never had a vet tell me "You should really keep your dog inside."

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler #DisneySide

I was thrilled when I was asked if I would host a "Show Your Disney Side"  party.   I consulted my resident Disney fanatic and she said, "Oooo Frozen!"  but then said, "No, Wait!  Princess Tiana!" AK and I worked to turn our house into "Tiana's Place"  restaurant. 
Would you believe it?  Princess Tiana actually helped me cook!  She makes the best biscuits using her great Aunt Verna Pillsbury's recipe.
 
Princess Tiana makes the Best Gumbo using this recipe.  The secret is in the roux, you gotta stir, stir, stir until you turn into an old woman.  
This girl couldn't wait for her friends to come and Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler.  Let the good times roll!
These guys had a blast watching The Princess and The Frog and coming up with their own restaurant names and menus. We love Princess Tiana, who isn't afraid to work hard to make her dreams come true.
  
As for the adults, we swapped stories, shared our favorite Disney tips, and ate great food.
 
 Happy Fat Tuesday Y'all! 

Disclosure: I have received free products courtesy of Disney Parks, MomSelect, American Tourister and HP in order to host the Disney Side@Home Celebration. The opinions expressed here are my own. (You can always count on that!)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Up all night

Last night around 1 am,  I was making the nightly rounds, "buttoning up the house" as we call it.   I locked the doors, turned out the lights, and peeked in on my sleeping children.  It's a habit I've had since their first night at home, ten years later I still check to see if they are breathing.   Imagine my surprise when I opened the door to find AK reading by flashlight.  A stack of books next to her bed, she excitedly announced, "Mom, I just can't stop reading! These books are so good."   I kissed her forehead, set the books off to the side, and encouraged her to go to sleep.    

As I shut the door, I smiled and then cried happy tears.  Sure, there is joy in her new found ability in reading, a skill that has been hard earned.   It's that two months ago, if I found her up at 1am reading, it would have sent the house in a panic, because AK without sleep was a time bomb waiting to go off.

Mr. Boy has asthma as his kryptonite and AK has her own kryptonite.  She has a rare form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, that over the years has become crippling.   Over the past few months, AK had been trying to overthrow her demons.   In a regular day, her anxiety would overwhelm her, but on a day when she had not had a good nights sleep, she would become a wreck.  She would be inconsolable, violent,  and the whole family would walk on eggshells, just trying to get through the day.   It wasn't healthy, and it wasn't for a lack of trying.   Mr. Man and I had spent hours meeting with different therapists and doctors, all of them after a few sessions would tell us, "I am so sorry, I just can't help you."   AK's condition has biological roots, which makes it tough to treat.
 All of that changed in November and December.  While everyone was celebrating the holidays, my family was spending hours in psychiatrist and psychologist offices.   We did family sessions, individual sessions, and worked with a team of doctors who were determined to help us. It was the answer to many prayers and many sleepless nights.  Things got worse before they got better, but progress was being made. AK was learning some coping skills, we were learning coping skills, and we tried a treatment that was a long shot.  To everyone's suprise, it was helping, my daughter was starting to have the inner peace that she deserved.
On Christmas Eve, I couldn't help but post the above photo on Instagram of my family with the caption, "Dear Santa, Thanks for asking, but I already have everything I want."  And I truly meant it, I was watching my daughter thrive.  My whole family had finally exhaled the breath, I didn't even know we had been collectively holding for years. 

I had been putting on a brave face and have been chronically trying to downplay the struggle to the outside world. Growing up, mental illness was kept hush hush.   My father's mental illness was a family secret and somehow I thought keeping quiet about AK's struggles was the right thing to do. I can not describe in words the feeling of desperation when a psychiatrist would say, "I'm sorry, I just don't think I can help you."  When I finally wised up and started asking everyone I knew if they had any mental health professionals they could recommend, I found the crackerjack team my daughter needed. I'm putting this out there to the world via the internet, there is no shame in asking for help, no shame in mental illness.      

While I don't love the idea of AK staying up way past her bedtime reading,  I am no longer filled with anxiety of what the next day will bring and how to help AK cope.  I know that AK might be a bit cranky, but she will be okay and that makes me cry big fat happy tears.  Can you blame me?  

Friday, February 14, 2014

St. Valentine's Day - Junior High School Edition

Happy Valentine's Day!  This is not my favorite holiday, but I have learned to embrace it by sharing my Valentine's Day humiliating stories.  You can read my other Valentines failures here.

In Jr. High, I was in love with a boy named Jamie.   My best friend and I spent hours walking in front of his house in hopes to catch a glimpse of him.  I dreamed about him and knew that if things didn't work out with Bret Michaels from the hair band Poison, that I would marry Jamie and live happily ever after.
For a school fundraiser you could send a rose and a special valentine to anyone for a couple of bucks.   I decided that it was time to make my move and let Jamie know I was interested in him. Even better my BFF had class with Jamie at the same time that the roses would be delivered.  She could be my eyes and ears and let me know his reaction, this was perfect, no... it was destiny!

I carefully wrote out my Valentine and anxiously anticipated what Valentine's Day would bring me.  According to my BFF,  Jamie received  26 roses from admirers, apparently I wasn't the only one in love with him.   As fate would have it, my card was the first that he opened.  He read my card out loud to his friend, "Happy Valentine's Day!  I like you, as more than just friends. Love, Wendy Larter" 

He looked at his friend with a puzzled look on his face and said, "Wendy Larter?  Who's that?"

Then his friend chuckled, "Wendy Larter?  Larter Farter!"  Jamie and his friend burst out in laughter and made spontaneous fart noises while high fiving each other for their poetic brillance.

At that moment I vowed to hate my parents forever for having a last name that rhymes with Farter.  Tell me I'm not the only one who had a hopeless crush who never knew you existed, until they figured out that your last name rhymes with a bodily function.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cougartown

A peek into the relationship between Mr. Man and I, here is a recent conversation we had.  

Moi:   Have you heard that there have been multiple sightings of a mountain lion behind our house?
Mr. Man:  I read about it in the newspaper, fun stuff.
Moi: It's kind of exciting, I keep peering out the window hoping to catch a glimpse of her. We have a cougar practically in our backyard!
Mr. Man:  How do you know it's a "she"? 
Moi:  I can just sense it, it's like a woman's intuition type of universal connection. I really hope she sticks around. 
Mr. Man:  You know Mountain Lions eat deer, pets, and even children, right?
Moi:  I know, but I sense she will do no harm.   In fact, do you want to know a secret? 
Mr. Man:  Always.
Moi:  I've already picked out what kind of collar I'm going to put on her when we domesticate her and make her our newest pet.
Mr. Man:  Domesticate?  A Mountain Lion?
Moi: I kind of like the idea of black leather, but can't decide if I want studs or diamonds on it.  Diamonds would be pretty glam, but a studded collar kind of sends a message to intruders to stay away.
Mr. Man: Let the record show, I am not in favor of a pet mountain lion.
Moi:  Fine then, you won't mind if I let the deer start sleeping in the house...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Mum Project

**A post that I forgot about in my drafts folder from the fall, but it still applies today**
Over the last few months I have been thinking about an experience I had during the summer.  I stopped into "Tony's Deli" for some last minute dinner ingredients and he slipped a note in my bag that said, "You are a good mom."   It was a sweet gesture and I keep thinking back to that experience and how good it made me feel.  I want my friends and family to know that I am one of their biggest cheerleaders.

One day while perusing the nursery for "deer resistant" plants, I came upon these gorgeous fall mums.  Inspiration struck and I knew this would be a great thing to give to some of the great moms I know. 
We put stickers on each plant that said, "Just wanted to let you know that we think you are a great "mum" to your family."  My kids and I came up with the list of moms we wanted to surprise with the mums.  The best part of this project was doing this with my kids, they love nothing more than ding dong ditching and we have perfected our technique over the past year.  At one house, Mr. Boy was startled by a noise and pretty much threw the mum at the front door, it went splat as he jumped into the car.   

This was so easy and so simple, even better it was a great service project for my family.   Motherhood is such a hard job and there isn't a lot of people handing you a ribbon for navigating the latest tantrum.   Who knows maybe you'll get a mum thrown at your door, telling you that you are doing a good job. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My new BFF

I'm super excited about my new BFF, we talk everyday and she always wants to see me "right away!"  I'm of course referring to the school nurse who has been in touch with me daily for the last week. At first it was asthma for Mr. Boy, then AK had the stomach flu, Mr. Boy had a headache, AK fell and hit her head, and it goes on an on.  The school nurse is lovely, but the guilty mom voice in my head feels like she is calling to tell me, "Mademoiselle, you are not winning the Mother of the Year contest. Didn't you hear that whisper of a wheeze in his chest this morning?" 
This bout of  illness is riding on the coattails of one of those ill fated weeks when everything that can go wrong will.   On the way home from the dentist (two cavities!), a rock shattered my car windshield.   I got a flat tire on the way home from a doctor's appointment.  The water heater quit working, the washing machine started to leak and I sneezed so hard I split my head open on the corner of a chair. 

I've had terrible judgement over the last week in deciding who is sick and who is well. In the mornings, I have about 45 minutes to assess if they are well.  Most of the time, they are groggy and grumpy, so who knows how they are feeling. After AK had been able to keep food down for 48 hours I thought she was more than safe to go to school.  I was wrong as she had an unfortunate incident that "surprised her pants" during afternoon recess.  Poor girl, that is a very BAD day.  

Then yesterday, Mr. Boy was complaining of a stomachache, but I was pretty sure he was faking it. He has faked a lot of stomachaches and asthma attacks over the last few years.   I sent him to school and told him he would be fine. On my way home from taking AK to the doc for a spider bite on her eyelid, I got a phone call that Mr. Boy threw up just outside of the classroom. When I got there, they had set up cones around Mr. Boy and the mess.  Since school had let out, the yard supervisors were directing traffic around him.   Mr. Boy was mortified and was furious that I hadn't believed him and I don't blame him one bit.  He is going to hold that over my head for a long time.   After I got everyone situated in their own "sick bed" on the couch, I sat down and noticed my button down shirt was on inside out and had been the entire day.   Some days, you just can't win, and you can't do anything but laugh.  Mr. Boy isn't going to be nominating me for Mother of the Year this year, and I won't be in any magazine talking about my incredibly edgy style wearing shirts inside out. 
The only good thing that has come out of this week is this.   I'm still not entirely sure what this  picture is, but it's in a cartoon the kids were watching and it makes me laugh every time I see it.  I'm not sure why the tiger always has a rainbow coming out of his bum. I'm totally sticking this picture on my phone as the picture that comes up every time my new BFF, the school nurse, calls me.  At least I'll be smiling when she tells me that I once again I am not going to win the title of Mother of the Year.  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Modern Day Survival

Somewhere just after Christmas we got hit with "The New Cold."  Apparently, this "new cold" doesn't ever end and we spent 10 days feeling somewhere between mediocre and terrible.  On Day 11, I hauled my family to the doctors office to see if there was something "New" to treat "The New Cold."  The doc prescribed a small arsenal of meds and gave us a healthy dose of "I promise you won't feel like this forever."

We headed over to worship at the altar of Target to get our prescriptions filled.  While we waited, we stocked up on supplies, replenishing the cough medicine and the pantry.  We may have even bought some socks and underwear because the laundry wasn't exactly doing itself.  We sauntered over to the food court and ate junky food and called it dinner. While my kids drank their Slushies, I reveled in the wonder that is Target.  Within an hour, I had gotten everything I needed and I thought back to what moms did prior to Target.  They went to the pharmacy and paced the aisles like cavemen with whiny sick children in tow while they waited for medicine.

I thought back to my own mom and remembered one Christmas Vacation where everyone had come down with the flu.  The refrigerator was empty and the task of heading to the grocery store seemed daunting.   My mom in a stroke of genius called the milkman and told him along with our regular milk delivery to bring one of everything he stocked.  The next morning, we opened the front door to find a bounty of groceries along with our milk.   

While I sat there and gave thanks for the one stop shopping mega store, I couldn't help but wonder if it wasn't some flu-ridden mother's idea to make a store where you could get everything.  I love shopping small and local, but when my team is down for the count,  I'm a Big Box believer.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Third Annual "Fauxprah's Favorite Things Giveaway" hosted by Qwendykay.com

 It's here!  The Third Annual "Fauxprah's Favorite Things Giveaway!"
Oh my goodness!  It's Fauxprah's Favorite Things!
There are several things I equate with the Holiday Season, one is flipping through the Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalog and lusting after the lavish "His and Hers" gifts, such as owning your very own set of camels. Another one is that  for most of my adult life I watched Oprah's Favorite Things show.

My absolute favorite part of Oprah's Favorite Thing show was watching the ladies get whipped into a frenzy about everything they were getting.  Then I would call my friend who absolutely hated the show but watched anyway and we would go over the details.  I would tell her all the things I just HAD to have and she would tell me how many ladies fainted clutching their free loot. It was tradition and I loved it.

Now that Oprah is off the air, I am trying to position myself as the next media mogul, building my "Faux-prah" empire.  Which, lucky for you, includes my annual "Faux-prah's Favorite Things" giveaway.  I pick a handful of my favorite things and you get to win them! Hooray! You can see what was on last years list here, and details on how Faux-Prah got started plus the first years list.

My favorite things of 2013:  
 Chalkboard Labels - I put these everywhere and love them!  I might be addicted to labels. (Is there a 12 step program for that?)  I put these on my Crockpot and now my family knows what sort of meal they have to look forward to or dread.  Also, these are handy to label dishes when I entertain.
Sharpie Ultra Fine Point - I don't know if this is because I had to label everything to send my son off to camp, but this pen has become my go to pen for everything.  I buy these in bulk and love the fine tip that gives me the precision I need to label everything that comes in and out of our house.


Starbucks Reusable Cups - My kids are little media moguls in the making and love to walk into school with their Starbucks cups and chat about who just signed a big movie deal.  Or maybe they are just hooked on having Hot Chocolate in the morning.  I love these Starbucks Reusable Cups because unlike other reusable tumblers, they stack neatly in my cabinet. If you win, you'll get two of these reusable cups to stack in your cabinet.

A Kindle! Here is a dirty little secret of mine: I'm terrible at using the library.  Terrible!  I am not good with remembering to return the books on time and with two different library systems in our area, I've returned the books to the wrong library.  We have spent a fortune on buying books and library fines.  Enter the Kindle!  This has been one of my very favorite things ever!  I have an iPad that I started using the Kindle App, but it was bulky to take everywhere with me, yet my phone was too small to read on.  The Kindle is the perfect size and since I'm a huge fan of Amazon Prime, with a Kindle, you can download thousands of books for free from the Kindle Lending Library.  There are no late fees with the Lending Library!  Also, many of the Kindle Books are cheaper than the paperback versions.  Two of my favorite books this year were Half Broke Horses and The Glass Castle.  (Both by Jeanette Wells) 

To enter the contest:  All you have to do is leave a comment in this post.  You can tell me your favorite thing, something you are addicted to, or just say, "I love winning."  To receive an additional entry, you can share this giveaway on Facebook, just leave me a comment below that says you shared it on Facebook.  Also, if you don't have a Blogger account, leave your email address!

The contest runs until Sunday, December 22nd, 2013 at 11:59pm. The winner will receive all four of the items listed above.   Winner will be picked via Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond. The winner will be announced Monday, December 23rd, 2013.

*Disclaimer: I received zero compensation for this post or any of the items in the giveaway.  All opinions are my own, and this giveaway is not affiliated with any of the companies listed above or Oprah herself.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Nutty Family Week: Kicked to the curb

It's Nutty Family Week here on my blog where I encourage everyone to share your nutty family story.  As we gather around the table with our families this season, I hope we can all embrace the nuttiness of our families and realize we aren't alone in having to sit next to "Aunt Cray Cray".


I am totally biased, but I'm pretty sure I live in the best neighborhood. We have the best neighbors and we have deer, what more could you want in a community? 

My sweet neighbors, The Neighbor-steins, told me about their best/worst Thanksgiving involving Cousin Betty.   Prior to Thanksgiving Cousin Betty called to ask what she could bring to Thanksgiving dinner and appeared to be a gracious guest.  It was suggested that she bring a corn dish, and it should have been a warning that things were about to go south when she showed up with a snack size can of Corn Niblets as her dish to share.

Over the course of dinner, Cousin Betty succeeded in offending nearly everyone at the table with one of her stories or remarks.  Finally, Mr. Neighbor-stein had enough of her antics  and stood up and boomed, "OUT!"  while pointing to the door.  Cousin Betty made her way out the door with a huff, muttering "Well... I Never!" sprinkled with obscenities under her breath the whole way.   After an awkward silence dinner resumed and without Aunt Betty stirring the pot, everyone relaxed and enjoyed themselves.

Fifteen minutes later there was a meek knock at the door and when the Neighbor-stein's opened up the door, they found Cousin Betty standing there.  She whispered in a small voice, "Can you move your car? You're blocking me in."  

I love this story because I love that big grand gestures were made and yet the wind was taken out of Cousin Betty's sails when she was humbled to find that she couldn't drive off in a huff. 

Nutty Family Week: Top Ten Signs you grew up in a dysfunctional home

Today my very favorite faux sister Mary will be posting today's nutty family tidbit.  Mary and I met years ago and quickly realized we had freakish similar experiences and would think the exact same thing.  We joke that we share the same brain, so if I ever appear to be a bit unintelligent, it's because Mary is using the brain that day.

TOP TEN SIGNS YOU GREW UP IN A DYSFUNCTIONAL HOME
1. When you mention your mother in passing one day, your five year old laughs in astonishment and says, “You don’t have a mom!”.

2. Your happiest childhood memories are from sibling Pig Out Parties (everyone pools their cash, goes to the store and buys $50 of ice cream, donuts, chips, and  candy.  Then sits in a bedroom and eats until they yearn for death.  Literally, we would it eat ALL in one sitting.).

3. Your mom tells you that God thinks pants that zipper in the front are evil and you are forbidden to wear them.   Only elastic waisted polyester slacks are worthy of the Celestial Kingdom.  You are saddened that your high school-aged sisters will probably go to hell because they wear Levi’s shrink-to-fit jeans.

4. You have one entire wall in your family room filled with nothing but pictures of Jesus.  Probably at least 50 pictures, arranged in chronological order from Bethlehem to the resurrection. Some are trimmed with lace, for some reason.

5. Your favorite memory of your father is when he  rage-crushed a plastic water gun under his bare foot and then limped away while pretending that his foot didn’t hurt real, real bad.

To read the rest of the list visit Mary at Quite Contrary

Monday, November 25, 2013

Nutty Family Week: The Worst Thanksgiving

It's Nutty Family Week here on my blog where I encourage everyone to share your nutty family story.  As we gather around the table with our families this season, I hope we can all embrace the nuttiness of our families and realize we aren't alone in having to sit next to "Aunt Cray Cray".

Today,. it's my turn to tell "The Worst Thanksgiving".

In 2011, my father had been widowed for nine months, and in that short span engaged three times.  He was a man on the prowl with one goal in site, "Find a wife." I was still heavily grieving the loss of my mom and did not welcome the idea that my Dad was dating.
On Thanksgiving of that year we had invited a few friends and family over to join us for Thanksgiving Dinner.  My Dad, age 78, showed up just in time for dinner and was disappointed by the lack of activity on the online dating site that morning.  He was in a bit of a foul mood until we sat down for dinner.   From across the table he spied my long time bestie, LJP who was telling everyone about how she had just completed the local Turkey Trot.

I could see the wheels spinning in my Dad's head as he was asking LJP questions.  He was mentally checking off the things he required in a new spouse.   "She's fit, she's personable, she is already friends with my daughter, no need to worry about her getting along with my kids."

I sat there mortified, how did I get here?  How does this happen?  My father, age 78 was hitting on my friend who was 30 plus years his younger during Thanksgiving! I was mortified.  My father was beaming and piling on the charm.  In between the meal and dessert my dad pulled me into the kitchen, "Wendy, tell me all about your friend LJP." he said with a twinkle in his eye.   I just looked at him and said, "No, gross!!  She is off limits, you can date everyone but my friends."  He looked disappointed and muttered that I was being unreasonable. 

I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to keep my Dad away from LJP with no luck.My friend LJP is no fool, she could tell what was happening.  LJP loves me, but she also loves to watch me squirm.  As she turned to leave she whispered in my ear, "Oh darling daughter, you can call me Mom or Mommy, either one is just fine by me." Then she cackled heartily as she walked out the door.

The good news is that my Dad remarried and it wasn't to one of my best friends.  Now I can invite him to Thanksgiving without worrying who he will hit on next.  

 I want to hear your nutty family stories!  Post in the comments,  those moments when you realized you were related to nutters.  Tell me that I'm not the only one with a nutty family!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013

Gone are the days of the sweet costumes, the ones with fake muscles, or the adorable matching hats.  We have entered the dark and gory days of Halloween Costumes.  

Currently, we have a Zombie Football Player...
And a vampire haunting our home.   
For weeks, I've heard them perfecting their zombie walk or their vampire accent.
As for me... I chose something a little more ironic. Wendy from Wendy's Hamburgers.   I have endured YEARS of Wendy's Hamburger jokes, so this costume seemed perfect.  I've always believed that people named Wendy should get free Frosty's for life for enduring the endless jokes about... "You must get free hamburgers... heh heh."
I enjoyed this Halloween Season, it was the first year the kids carved pumpkins without a ton of help.
 I love this picture of my mom and brother and set it out every Halloween.   It's weird to look at a picture of your parents and think, "Wow, they were just kids once."  
 Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Witches Tea

I love my family, I love Mr. Man, but I need some girl time every once in a while with my lady friends.   My life is just too busy to have meaningful conversations with my friends.  We might have a quick chat at school pick up or carpool, but it's not the same.
My friend Hillary told me about an idea she saw on Pinterest for a "Witches Tea" which sounded like a perfect girls night in. I rounded up all my Witches and had them over for a ladies night.  I had the best time prepping for the party.
I really am beginning to wonder how people planned for parties before the internet and specifically Pinterest.  I stole borrowed so many ideas from Pinterest, such as these floating witches hats which hung above my table.
I made Cranberry Spritzers which were Sprite with a syringe of Cranberry Juice.   They looked spooky and kind of like drugs, which meant it was a hit for my wild witchy friends.
I was running a little bit behind because AK's ballet rehearsal went long, but that's okay, my friends joined in with some of the prep.
In fact they enjoyed my demonstration of how easy it is to make caramel using Werthers Baking Caramels. #gotitfree  They also enjoyed watching me overcook the caramel and learned the proper technique to get it splattered all over the microwave.  Just a tip, melt it slow, a little bit at a time. 
I asked everyone to wear black and don your best witches hat and they all did.  Everyone looked great.
All these ladies are my "witches", they totally have my back.
I'm pretty sure this is going to be an annual event.  It was a lot of fun, and I needed this time to cast spells with my friends.
Of course, Pinterest provided me with the perfect party favor, "Witches Warts" and "Ghost Poop" which made me look like a rock star and gave my kids a project to help with while I prepped for the party.  

It's events like these that make me so grateful for the life I have.  We only moved here three years ago and it is humbling to look around my full house and kitchen and see that we have such an amazing circle of friends.  I am one lucky witch.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Post for October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month)

It's Breast Cancer Awareness month and there are pink ribbons everywhere. However, I don't need a pink ribbon to remind me of the toll Breast Cancer takes.  I am reminded of this everyday as my thoughts drift to my mom who died from breast cancer.   The reality is that after two years, I still miss my mom like crazy.  I miss her everyday and am still surprised how much her death has impacted my life.  I think of it like a stone dropped into a pond.  After the splash, there are still these ripples of water, that eventually become waves that lap the shoreline.  Those waves are still washing up on the shoreline in my life

My father is completely consumed in what he constantly refers to as his "new life" and doesn't want to be reminded that today was his wedding anniversary to my mom.   He lives almost 2,000 miles away and his interest in our lives has waned over the passing year. There are many times I feel orphaned, knowing he isn't someone I can call for comfort or advice.  As the holidays roll around, I feel that pang of grief knowing that I don't have to take my family into account when planning events.  It hurts, it makes me sad, and I miss my mom.

A few weeks ago my daughter was baptized and while I was trying to decide what to do for the lunch after the baptism, I actually reached for the phone to call my mom.  I haven't done that in a long time, but the instinct was there to ask for her opinion on this event.  I think I can best sum it up that is "lonely" without my mom, even though I'm surrounded by a great support group of friends.

This month to honor my mom for Breast Cancer Awareness month, I am doing a couple of things.  First off, I am getting a mammogram, my very first of what will be an annual event.   Second, each day I have sought out a random act of kindness to honor my mom who was kind.  Third, I have set a goal to drive my kids crazy... just a little bit less.  My mom drove me nuts sometimes, because that is what mothers do.  So, I'm obsessing a little bit less on whether their hair is combed before we leave the house, and getting the backpacks put away.   I'm trying to nag less, and compliment more often.  Encourage more than discourage.   And the last thing, instead of wallowing in my feelings of being without my parents, I'm going to embrace the holidays, because my mom loved Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I might even put on one of my mom's ugly Christmas sweaters and wear it with pride, because that is just the type of thing she would do.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Had some work done...

So I had some work done, just a little maintenance.  I bet you could instantly tell there was something different. Don't they look so awesome? 
I think they look pretty sweet.  For those of you who couldn't quite put your finger on it, yes, it's true... I got new tires.  Yeah, a whole new set and it cost a small fortune.

The thing that bugs me is that, I am going about my day after unloading some serious cash, and I really don't have a whole lot to show for it.  No one walks up to you and says, "Wow, look at the treads on those tires." 

If I were President of the United States, I would make it so that every time you spent a fortune on something annoying they would hand you a button you could wear that says,  "I spent a small fortune on...(fill in the blank) today!"  Then we could all slap each other on the back and say, "Wow, love the tires."  or "Those brakes really look good on you."  Whose with me? 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Chalet Kitchen: Tips and Tricks

My brother who I love dearly is about to remodel his kitchen. (yes the same brother, I also love to hate because he hogged all the good genes and I got the mutant leftover genes). 

I am thrilled for him and wish him the best of luck. When I think back to our kitchen renovation, I think Dickens said it best, " It was the best of times and the worst of times."  Granted when I did my kitchen we were living in two rooms of our house and had zero privacy.  But man, I loved the my crew, The Juan's!  They were the perfect complement to my husband.  Mr. Man went to work and brought home the bacon. At night, Mr. Man and I would pick out appliances at Home Depot.  During the day the Juan's helped me with all my little house projects.  Installing moulding here, hanging a picture or even assembling furniture.  Everyday we had lunch together and when I drove through our gates they would greet me and help unload the groceries  I love them and miss them.  Anyway, enough of my whining about how much I miss my crew, who all happened to be named Juan.  (For my new readers, really, that's not a joke nor embellishment. All of them were named Juan.)
If I had to do my kitchen over again....  there are some things I would do differently.   The first being that I would make sure to have a mirror handy so that I don't get mistaken for being homeless again.
Also, I would make sure to run water pipes to any place I could think of. I had thought that at some point, I might want a sink on an island, but I thought to save cost I would do a solid surface.  I didn't run water over to the island, but man I wish I did, because after using my kitchen for a few months, I realized the island is the perfect place for an ice maker. If you have a plumber already on site, it isn't doesn't cost much more to run an extra pipe or two.  Also, same with outlets, I have outlets everywhere in my kitchen, including in a cabinet or two, so I can charge things, out of sight. 
Drawers everywhere!  Big Drawers, narrow drawers, I am so glad my friend encouraged me to put my dishes in drawers.  My kids can reach all the dishes to serve themselves, set the table, and even better, they can empty the dishwasher!
I saved a lot of cash by using this Ikea sink and having my cabinetmaker turn it into an undermount sink. I wanted a farmhouse style sink, and Mr. Man wanted a double basin. I was a little worried that I when I bought the sink from Ikea, it was going to be just a lump of clay and some stick figures showing me how to mold and fire the sink. Turns out I didn't have to fire up the kiln and it came all assembled.  
I found all my cabinet hardware at Cabinet Hardware Designs on eBay of all places.   We ended up buying all our hardware for the house from them because the stuff was great quality and super affordable.

If I had to do it again, I would still splurge on my lighting, my pendants came from Pottery Barn and I love them. I also bought some lighting from the Habitat for Humanity Restore that were perfect, because I wanted a chandelier I could customize.  My current house project is replacing all the lighting in the old part of the house, and currently I am in love with ATG Stores.  I just bought this Chandelier for my dining room, they are reasonably priced and have a huge selection. I love that they have some really cool reproduction pieces that help me blend the old with the new.  I still want my house to maintain it's original vibe. 
Best of Luck to my brother on his remodel, since he has such amazing luck, it wouldn't surprise me if his kitchen were finished in one afternoon.  He will probably go out for groceries and come back to a whole new kitchen and come in under budget.  Did you know my brother has never even had a cavity?
 As for me, I swear I spend more time in the dentist chair than I do at my job.  It's annoying, but I love him anyway.
*This is not a sponsored post, although that would be genius.   Man, I wish I would have been able to get sponsors for my kitchen, in fact, I'm still game.  I'm dying to bring back the crew.*

Friday, September 13, 2013

The set of the Queen Latifah Show

A long time ago, just after Al Gore invented the Internet, I had to come up with a username. (Back in those days we actually called it a "handle") My fingers stumbled across the keyboard and I accidentally typed QWendyKay and hit enter, next thing you know that became my permanent user name.   I've embraced the Q, and find that just like the W, it's underutilized in today's society.
Even the Cameras have a Q
So, when I wandered around the Queen Latifah set, I was thrilled to see Q's everywhere. It was a feast for my eyes, and totally made me think that I need to add a "Golden Wall of Q's" or maybe W's, in my house.  The whole set is a house, there is a kitchen, and multiple sitting areas.   I was too chicken to get a picture of the kitchen, but the next time I go back to the show, I'm totally peeking the fridge. 
See that big marble wall, yep there is a Q in that!  I love that Lenny Kravitz designed the set.  Is there anything that he can't do? I had read that he opened a design firm and it's obvious, that he is crazy talented.
 Don't forget to watch the show on Monday, September 16th on CBS and look for me in the audience. 
 I think I may have found my secret talent, I'm really good at being in the audience.   Although, watching Queen Latifah work her magic doing a talk show, I wouldn't mind having my own show one day.  She made it look like so much fun!