December 31, 2011

say goodbye to yester-year

Happy New Year's Eve, my friends!

We'll have a houseful of teenagers tonight, so my hubby and I are going to ring in the New Year by eating pizza, (hopefully there will be some left after the youngsters have at it), watching The Help, and desperately trying to stay awake until midnight so we (my hubby, actually) can chauffeur the gang home. Most of them have their driver's licenses, but the last thing I feel comfortable doing is sending them out on the crazy, drunken New Year's Eve roads.

The girls want to make a wish on the dock at midnight, and I can't wait to see how many boys end up participating in that. Apparently, there's also been talk of sprinkling glitter as they make their wishes.

I love it!

My son is not as enthused, but the sooner the better to learn that when your girlfriend wants to sprinkle'd best sprinkle you some glitter.

So, how about you all?

Champagne and fancy dresses?

Or maybe p.j.s and hot chocolate are more your style.

I'd love to hear what you're doing to welcome 2012.

Cheers to the year ahead!

December 29, 2011

girls only

A while back I mentioned that I was going to be taking senior pictures for some of the girls from our local high school.

I ended up photographing a total of eleven girls, and it was truly one of the most enjoyable things I've ever done.

Almost all of the girls go to school with my youngest, so I've watched some of them grow up since their grade school days.

It's so hard to believe that they are all going to be heading out into the big world in just a matter of months!

I happened to know that D'Aarion had a pretty pink prom dress in her closet, so a few days after we did her senior pictures, I texted her to see if she wanted to help me make my balloon dream come true.

We found the perfect field, and fought off a bit of frostbite, but I love, love, love how the pictures turned out.

I've been wanting to do a dreamy summer afternoon shoot on my porch for quite a while, and Rhayn was nice enough to help me make it happen!

This is truly an amazing group of young ladies. They are beautiful inside and out, and I wish them the very best that life has to offer.

The world is waiting, girls!

I can't wait to see what your futures hold!

December 27, 2011

outside my window-winter edition

Outside my window.....everything is brown and dead.

I'm not a huge fan of dead. Or brown, for that matter.

I'm anxiously waiting for some snow to cover up the ugly, but in the meantime, sunsets like this one will have to hold me over until the white stuff makes an appearance.

I am thinking.....that sometimes, modern technology can be pretty darn amazing. On Christmas day, my three boys spent a couple hours playing a game together on their X-boxes. The amazing part is that one of the boys was in Montana, one was in New York, and one was in the Middle East. They were able to talk to each other like they were sitting side by side, and it almost made me want to grab my very own sniper rifle (the virtual kind) and join in the fun. Unfortunately, my video game skills haven't progressed past the old school Mario Kart level, so I've got some work to do before I'm allowed to play with the big kids.

From the kitchen.....these enchiladas on Christmas Eve, egg nog French toast Christmas morning, and prime rib for Christmas dinner.

I'm still full.

I am reading.....nothing. I just finished The Hunger Games yesterday. It was my first read on my Kindle, and I think I am officially a Kindle fan. I would like to make one tiny improvement though.

The Kindle needs a remote control.

Stick with me here.

Our upstairs is arctic in the winter. Think Siberia on a cold day. The furnace kicks on in the morning, but the rest of the day we heat the downstairs only, so by bedtime things are a bit icy up yonder. We all have fleece sheets and approximately forty pounds of blankets on our beds, but my exposed book/Kindle holding hand gets very cold during the bedtime story hour.

I'm thinking that if I could prop the Kindle up on a pillow, and then have the remote control page turner under the covers, I'd have the perfect, cozy wintertime reading scenario. Ideally, when I fall asleep, the remote would automatically turn off my light as well.

Dear Amazon,
Please make a remote control page turner for Kindle.
Thank you,

I'm now going to stray from the designated Outside My Window format, because I have a couple other things to tell you.

First, my middle son, our desert soldier, got his package on Christmas Eve. I can't even believe it. I take back every bad word I've ever said about the U.S. Post Office, the military mail system, and the customs department of any country, anywhere.

Major guilt trip averted.

He shared that his roommates mocked him on Christmas Day as he put together the miniature Lego set that Santa had us send to him.

Obviously, Lego jealousy knows no age limit.

Additionally, he told me that he has absolutely no memories whatsoever of the Christmas card picture taking fiasco of 1995, which is good because he was by far the one that was the most traumatized by the incident at the time.

One more thing. It just happens to be his birthday today.

He's been gone since April, and I think that's long enough, don't you?

Happy Birthday, buddy!

We miss you!

Come home soon!

December 24, 2011

December 23, 2011

it's a wrap

My house is an explosion of tissue paper and bows.

Happy wrapping, everyone!

December 22, 2011

misty watercolor memories

Perhaps a better title for this post would be, "How to torture your children and make them cry right before they get on the bus.....two days in a row."

But my blog design doesn't allow for lengthy titles, so we'll go the Streisand route.

Back in the day, I went through a brief black and white photograph hand tinting phase.

Which naturally led to a brief let's make our own Christmas card featuring our precious boys phase.

Before school one morning, we staged the perfect warm and loving scene, where-in we pretend that our grade school aged children are decorating our front entry with the help of our adorable toddler.

Totally believable scenario, yes?

We were in a rush, we only had a few minutes before the school bus came, and as a result, the first photo shoot involved both crying and threatening.

I cried, they threatened.

With high hopes that my children possessed the ability to repress traumatic memories, I ran with them to the school bus, glowing with the knowledge that my mission was accomplished.

"Have a wonderful day, boys! Mama loves you! And if your teacher asks you why you're crying, just tell her you fell down while you were getting off the bus! Mama loves you!"

This was going to be the best Christmas card in the history of the world. I just knew it.

I took the film to a one hour photo, and in the following one hour, they lost the negatives.


Never one to give up on a dream, the next morning we lovingly awakened our adorable children with the news that we would be repeating yesterday's fun-filled photo shoot.


Having learned from the previous day's disaster, we bribed with ice cream and candy this time, (hence the gleeful look on my baby's face), and while some eyes may have been a little on the misty side, I don't think tears actually fell.

Awwwww. Doesn't that picture just warm your heart?

"Meeeeeem-ries, light the corners of my mind........
....misty water color meeeeem-ries, of the way we were."

"Scattered pictures, of the smiles we left behind.....
....smiles we gave to one an-uuuuuh-ther, for the way we were."

Have yourselves a Merry Pretend Happy Family Christmas Card day!

December 19, 2011

twas the week before christmas

* I am now officially a Christmas package mailer.

A stand in long lines, I really should have planned ahead, Christmas package mailer.

I've always been able to avoid the Christmas Post Office Experience until now.

I just shipped my overseas son's package to him last week. I have no hope that it will get there on time. If at all. He's had packages that never show up, and packages held up in customs for more than three weeks. Contrary to popular belief, chocolate chip cookies that have spent three weeks in customs don't taste all that great.

Notice that by slipping in disparaging comments about the customs office of a foreign country, and casting doubt on the reliability of the military mail system, you and I can just pretend that my late shipping date is in no way responsible if/when my boy's Christmas gifts don't make it there on time.

Oh, who am I kidding. I have officially flunked Military Mom 101. There's no getting around it.

* I still have a list of approximately forty five projects that I would like to make before Christmas. Right now, I'm smack in the middle of a glitter, scrapbook paper and pom pom fringe frenzy.

I love pom pom fringe more than I love life itself.

I also love glitter, but a teeny tiny bit less than I used to after I had to get out of bed last night to remove a piece of glitter from my eye.

* I also have plans to make salted caramels. I've never even tasted a salted caramel, but I've been obsessed with them forever. Years ago, when they became all the rage, I knew I'd love them. I'm a big fan of any salty/sweet combination, but I have yet to cross paths with a real, live salted caramel. I finally acquired some fleur de sel, so now the only thing standing in my way are the bad memories of pretty much every other candy making experience I've ever had. I blame my candy thermometer for the previous candy disasters.

I could buy a new one, but I kind of like having a scapegoat handy, and as you've seen from paragraph one of this post, blame casting is kind of a way of life for me.

So, how about you all?

Are you on top of things?

Or, like me, are you in a project, shopping, wrapping, baking frenzy?

Happy week before Christmas!

December 13, 2011

dream on

Sadly, the blob ends today, but I have wonderful news. Tyler's mama said he can come to live at my house!

I'm so excited.

Or wait. Did I dream that?

Okay. I just checked and Tyler's mama assures me that she most definitely said no such thing.


Dear Baby Tyler,
Please stay little forever.
I love you!
Auntie Teresa

December 9, 2011

leading by example

Today is day five of my self-imposed house arrest. My goal was to not leave the house for any reason this week, and with the exception of one trip to the mailbox, I achieved that goal.

No hair-dos, no make-up, no denim. Sweats only.

It's been a beautiful thing.

My hubby made it all possible by going to the grocery store three times, and Costco twice. He even made a special stop to pick up more glue sticks for me, so I could continue my crafting uninterrupted.

The man is a keeper, that's for sure.

The ankle bracelet is coming off tomorrow though. For good reason.

I'm going to the airport to pick up one of my sweet friends, and shortly after we get home, three more friends will pull into the driveway and that will be the official beginning of what has long been known as a blob.

It started out years ago as a blob day. When my kids were little, my girlfriends and I started weekly get togethers as a survival tactic. The pc term is probably something along the lines of a mental health day. The kids all played outside, and weren't allowed in unless they could show us blood. (Sounds heartless, I know, but our kids all turned out just fine and pretty tough as a result.) We rotated houses and all brought snacks and our current magazines and catalogs and did nothing but sit around and blob.

I can't remember who coined the name blob, but it's stuck for all these years.

On rare occasions, we were able to pull off blob weekend getaways and to this day, they are some of my best girlfriend memories of all time.

Now, of course, all our kids are grown and we can blob pretty much any time we want. But there is a whole new generation of up and coming blobbers in need of training.

Back in those glory blob days, I worked with my church youth group. My bff was the youth pastor's wife and a group of those high school girls became a huge part of our lives. Tomorrow's airport pick-up is one of those girls. She is now a mother of two....a rambunctious toddler and a two month old baby boy.

Girlfriend needs a blob weekend.

She's bringing the baby and I can't wait to get my hands on him when he wakes up each morning. As soon as he's fed, I will snatch him away and his mama can take her sweet time emerging from the guest room.

There will be five of us this weekend....three seasoned blobbing veterans, and two of the younger generation.

We'll teach them the rules.

Sweats or pajamas only.
Shower if you must, but don't even think about doing your hair or make-up.
Eat often, and nothing too healthy.
Watch at least three chick flicks a day.
Bribe teenage boys to go to the grocery store for you. (That option wasn't available to us back in the old days.)

I just realized the blob rules perfectly describe my everyday life.

My life is one big blob.

I have truly arrived.

And lo, the older women shall teach the younger in the ways that they shall go.


December 6, 2011

the great cookie bake-off


It's responsible for so much of my behavior these days.

The good. The bad.

The highly caloric.

Pinboard claims of the "best chocolate chip cookie on the planet", and "you'll never make another cookie recipe....ever!" got my attention.

I've got several go-to cookie recipes in my arsenal, but the fam always seems to like good old chocolate chip the best.

What if I've been making sub-par chocolate chip cookies all these years?

Perish the thought.

So I gathered the ingredients for the recipe that kept catching my eye on Pinterest, and started about the twenty four hour plus process required to produce what I'd been led to believe could quite possibly be chocolate chip cookie perfection.

I followed the recipe step by step, word by word, with the exception of the bittersweet chocolate fèves, because I don't know what a fève is and I'm going to guess that whatever they are, they're not readily available in Montucky. I stuck with semi-sweet morsels, because that's just how we roll here on the farm.

I also made a batch of my tried and true and ever reliable Nestle Toll House cookies.

I felt a side-by-side comparison was in order.

It wasn't even a contest. By a wide margin, (after much sampling and milk sipping to cleanse our palates between cookies) we discovered that we are not a New York Times cookie kind of people.

We are Toll House people, through and through.

But I think, deep down, I knew that already.

I also knew that even if I was a New York Times cookie kind of person, the twenty four hour chill time required would probably be a deal breaker. We are instant cookie gratification people above all else.

So, still on the subject of cookies, I have to share my most recent and currently most favorite way to eat a cookie.

I visited my sister last month, and she introduced me to this fantastic creation - hot from the oven, baked cookie cups. With ice cream, no less.

I love ice cream.

The process is simple. The results are divine.

Grab some ramekins and some cookie dough, and have at it.

I had a surplus of cookie dough from the bake-off, so I froze it in cookie scoop sized balls. Each ramekin had two balls of thawed and then crumbled cookie dough.

Cookie cups will change your cookie world forever.

Since I had an obvious aqua color thing going on here, I called my aqua eyed neighbor Ceili to see if she felt like sitting in an aqua chair and eating cookies and ice cream out of a pretty aqua cup.

With an aqua spoon.

She did, so we had a cookies and ice cream party on my front porch.

That's a perfectly normal thing to do on a cold winter's day, isn't it?

It was windy and our eyes were watering, but we had a date with a cute striped straw and some fun convertible mittens, so we powered through.

Thank you, Ceili! You are fun! It's not just any girl who can smile and sip milk through a straw at the same time. You've got talent.

p.s. My sister and I spent a ridiculous amount of time coming up with cookie/ice cream combinations. Here are a few that are on my list to try.

Oatmeal Cookies and Cinnamon Ice Cream.
Peanut Butter Cookies and Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream. (That one might kill me.)
Brownies and Peppermint Ice Cream. My niece came up with this and said it's a winner.
Brownies and Coconut Ice Cream - my favorite sweet combination of all time.
Molasses Cookies and Pumpkin Ice Cream. Have you tried Dreyer's Pumpkin Ice Cream? Yum.
Cowboy Cookies and any kind of ice cream.

I'm sure there are many more combos that we haven't thought of....feel free to toss your ideas into the ring.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

December 2, 2011

pretty in pink

Our little town has a once a month, anything goes sale at the local senior center.

The sale is organized by one of my favorite vintage dealers, and while her space is always fabulous, more often than not, the rest of the vendors are slightly less than fabulous.

You know what I mean. Don't make me spell it out.

But the November and December sales are usually a bit different. More spaces are filled, the vintage vendors come out of hiding, and I usually go home with a recycled plastic grocery sack or two of fun Christmas goodies.

This year was no exception, and my favorite find was a stash of reasonably priced, perfectly pink, vintage Christmas ornaments.

My shrieks of delight drew a crowd, - I've never had much of a poker face - so I then had to give the stink eye to anyone who even thought about being interested in my pink ornaments as I was hurriedly handing them over to the seller.

Back off, people. I saw them first.

Since I was taking them all, she ended up giving them to me for half price.

Deal of the day, for sure.

Have yourself a wonderful, slightly tarnished, vintage pink bauble kind of weekend!