Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Snow!

We were so very excited to have a white Christmas this year!  You'd think with us living in Colorado that we'd have a ton, but this year has been extremely dry.  I think that the entire state was excited that we had some snow on Christmas-the girls didn't go out and play until the day after, and then today the 27th it snowed off and on all day!  It didn't amount to much today, maybe an inch, but it's still snow and it's beautiful!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Late Christmas!

This holiday season just flew-I can't even put my mind around it.  We had a lot going on at school, a lot going on at home (I hosted two cookie parties/sleepovers for each child), and illness on top of it.  But I think overall we had a really nice time.  There was lots that we didn't get to do, but hopefullly everyone is happy with what we had!

Off the top of my head, I know that we:

- Had a sleepover/Cookie decoration party for my oldest

-"    " for my youngest

- Attended a Gingerbread social at Lu's school

- Had a fabulous orchestra concert that the oldest played at,

- as well as the school of choice night for soon-to-be 6th graders like Lu, and an early morning concert at the coffee shop!

- planned the party for Lu's last elementary school Christmas party

- baked cookies for middle school teachers

- baked cookies for husband's work party

- looked at lights on Christmas Eve Eve :)

- had two girls with strep (one still on antibiotics)

I'm sure there is a lot more that I am missing, but all in all it has been very busy and at times stressful.

I haven't been feeling 100%-dry sinuses and headaches!  But I am looking forward to another great year in 2013.  Just hope I can remember to blog more often so that I can remember things!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Playing Catch Up

Trying to make the most of the time we have left in this month.  Luckily I did some decorating before I got sick!  But tonight, it is snowing.  We had to bring in all of the potted plants, the pumpkins....what a pain!  Unfortunately, it's not enough to amount to anything, you know like missing school!  So that means that tomorrow morning around 6:30, I will be out there cleaning off my car in the snow.  Pie has to be at school at 7 and we will need to leave a little early to be safe.  She also has an orchestra concert tomorrow night-it should still be snowing after that, so my Mom won't be able to drive and go with us. :(  Too early for this!  The good news is that I have seen the forecast for Halloween and it isn't bad - 62 is the high for the day so hopefully they won't freeze when they are out trick-or-treating.  This year my oldest (12) is going in our old neighborhood with a big group of friends, and at our insistence, a parent.  Our 10 year old is going in our current neighborhood with some friends and my husband.  Very weird that I will be staying home this year!  We spent about $20 on candy-we have a pretty big neighborhood and so many kids!  Hopefully we won't run out. 

I'm meeting with some friends tomorrow to figure out how we are going to plan the 5th grade Halloween party.  I hope that it will be fun with this being Lu's last year of elementary school. 

Also hoping that we get around to doing our pumpkins Sunday night.  Pie is going to a dance at jr high Friday night, Saturday they have 4 hours of dance, then off to be with family, and Sunday 2 hrs of dance, 2 hrs travel time.  It's just not enough time!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I don't even know what to do with myself!  Here my "favorite" month of the year, has been just AWFUL.  I've been sick off and on throughout, and now my girls are sick too.  I had my flu shot last Tuesday with my oldest, and both of us promptly fell ill the next day.  Most likely a coincidence since Lu was home sick from school the day before.  But how horrible-it's the 21st, the month is nearly over.....and I feel like I missed out. :(

I did get my girls' Halloween pic taken Friday, thanks to my precious Mom coming over to help.  We don't have the pictures in yet, but here's a preview.  Pie is Cleopatra and Lu is a bat, goth, ? not sure.  But she looks cool.

I got all reminisce-y, not really sad, but kind of amazed at how big my kids are and how fast they are growing up.  So I had to throw together this little Pic Monkey collage.

I really have enjoyed the beautiful fall colors this month, when I'm actually awake.  I did go in to have blood work done on Friday because in addition to being sick, I've also slept through October so I had my thyroid tested to see if it's screwing up again as well.  But this week, it's supposed to be in the 70s and pushing 80!  Only to come crashing at the end of the week with a chance of snow.  Oh, how you keep us on our toes Colorado!

I just want to feel better, have my kids get better and actually enjoy the last few days of this glorious month!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Welcome October!

was sick and it wasn't fun! It was one of those really awful sinus headachey colds or viruses. Not sure which. Snotty, coughy, but pretty much gone now, so yay! (Also involved naps daily for several days, but that's not a bad thing!)

So it is my favorite month of all. I love October! The leaves are turning bright yellow, the morning and evenings are crisp, the days are getting shorter--all good! My birthday and my anniversary are in this month, along with one of my favorite, if not my favorite holiday. <3 October (wait that doesn't work in non facebook, does it?)

My small one is taking off in a few days for a mountain getaway with her grade. When Pie did this 2 years ago, Lu had to sit through the parent night/side show with me. She has been ready since then! But now, her BFF went home sick today (probably with what I had, she had a headache), and Lu is really sad. I really hope that her buddy feels better in time-Lu would be devastated.

I picked up Pie today with a panicky weird look on her face. She broke a string on her violin! She has been playing for over a year, so I don't know if that's impressive or not that it has been this long. Her teacher said that she needed to replace all the strings because otherwise, they would sound weird, and my daughter said that 2 other strings were worn down. So $44! for strings! My daughter is very much like her engineer father, and wanted to restring it herself. She had watched her teacher do it and I figure if she's going to play the instrument, that is a skill she should have. So I let her. In my jeep while we were waiting for Lu to get out of school. SHE DID IT! There were a few scary moments, and when we got home she said she was shaking...but she was successful. We tuned it with the piano when we got home and all is well. She has chamber in the morning and a playing test, so hopefully all will continue to be well when she gets to school! :/ It was hard for me to let her do it, I kept thinking more $ if she breaks it, and I'll have to rent one until hers is fixed, but I'm glad I allowed her to do it. So proud!

We had a crazy non-weekend weekend. Thankfully we made it over to my parents' house Friday night because I knew it was going to be wild. Saturday morning we were downtown selling water and salsa (one of the girls in dance has parents who make salsa) at an irish festival. Sounds funny, I know. The girls had a blast-unfortunately in terms of fund raising it was a failure. I'm glad the girls were so into it. They were dancing in the street, getting lots of enthusiastic older irish folks to stand around and clap. Very sweet. They performed at 5 and my Mom was there with us to watch-they did fabulous. The second they were done the skies opened and it POURED. Sunday they were carpooled away with their local teammates as we do every Sunday to their team class. This time it was my turn to drive. I suspect I wasn't completely over my illness because I had a splitting headache and the carload of 4 girls were not very sensitive! Long day, we got home, ate dinner and it was time to get ready for the week. Next weekend is going to be WORSE. Our team had to fly the choreographer back in from England for a workshop next weekend. She starts Thursday evening, and since Lu won't be here Pie may or may not ride up with a friend. Friday both girls will be home, but Lu will be toast. They have the first evening workshop until 8 I think. Hour ride home, then back at the studio (hour ride again) by 9 the next morning. Double workshop for Pie, night time competition for Lu. Back home, back to the studio (hour drive one way again) for the last day of workshop, 9-2 I think. LONG EXHAUSTING WEEKEND. My poor children will need a day off after this. Our regional championship is coming up fast, third weekend in November. I will be very happy when we are done with this for a while at least.

The video is my girls dancing the weekend before last. Surprised you don't hear me snorting or coughing!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


It is WAY too early in the school year for this....but I am sick. :(  I'm pretty sure that my oldest had this the week before (although seemingly much milder!), but I could have picked it up from the elementary school the Friday before when I was there for a meeting.  It has not been fun!  In addition to snot and congestion, this little gem of a virus KICKS YOUR BUTT.  I spent a few days sleeping through the entire day, only to sleep all night (surprisingly!).  I have had aches off and on, as well as a low grade fever.  It's been a blast!  Today I felt stronger than I have since Thursday so I'm hoping it is on the mend.  !!!!!  Not fair to be spending some of the last few days of my 30 decade feeling like crap!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

We have been spoiled here the last few days with a taste of fall!  We even had a day of rain-I can't even remember the last time it rained here.  Seriously, I think it did around the 4th of July when we were in Chicago, but prior to that it had to be last fall.  No real rain in the spring, and one day in the summer???  It's been rough!  But we had a few days below 80, and I am so ready!  I even started to get my Halloween things out today!  I love Halloween. :)

We had a good weekend at the Irish dance competition; both my girls placed in the trophy special for their group.  It's fun-they got a piece of crystal and got to stand on the podium, but it doesn't count.  Miss Lu placed 3rd in her championship-she got her first sash!  I was soooooo happy for her.  Miss Pie got several placings, but nothing that put her into championship with her sister. :(  I'm not sure she really cares; at this point I think she's enjoying collecting trophies (she's won the last two at the last two competitions), and when she does move up it will be a while before she places.

So unfortunately tomorrow is supposed to be pushing 80, and my oldest child's middle school is having a fund raiser than involves running!  :(  Poor Pie!

I just remembered that for whatever reason, we have a 3 day weekend this weekend!  Woot!  I would really like to make some progress with my Halloween bins-I got out about 4 and some are lights and costumes that I can't do anything with at this point.  It looks like Halloween exploded in my living room!

We made Angie's (from Echoes of Laughter) Caramel Apple Dip tonight (Decandent Apple Dip).  Wow!  It was really good-although I did not use Skor toffee bits because I don't like toffee!  I crushed up some peanuts and we used that instead.  Yummy for sure!  I think we ate about 6 apples! :-O

Looking forward to the weekend!

Friday, September 7, 2012

It was soooooo nice to have that 3 day weekend!  I know for a lot of peeps, this is the first week of school.  But for us it was week 3-and man did I love that 3 day weekend.  No dance, nada!  And guess what we did? Nada.  Unfortunately-it was so hot and we were really tired and exhausted.  Today we had our first "fall-like" weather.  It briefly got up to 74, but most of the day was around 70.  Heavenly!

Tomorrow morning we have to go up to the mountains for another irish dance competition.  Tomorrow is day 1, and my champion, the small one dances.  I worked on her dress last week adding more bling and I'm really thrilled with how it turned out.  First of all, my mother recreated the dress in July.  The skirt that was made with the dress never really made me happy.  It was floppy and never looked quite right.  When I read that the ultimate placing in championship includes things like how your dress looks (totally wrong and unfair BTW),  I knew it was holding her back.  (Her teacher had made a comment that lead me to believe that anyway)  My Mom made a modernized pleated skirt bottom and it looks so awesome!  But then that called attention to the boring top!  So I blinged it up for the last competition but knew it needed more.  I know the picture of the "finished" is out of focus, but it helps to show more the affect you get from the stage.

Anyway.  Little one is on tomorrow and I hope that she has a really good day.  I will try to get some good pictures, particularly if she has a good dancing day.

This week started a huge new change for my oldest-she made it in her middle schools' Chamber Orchestra.  It's a small group of kids, 10 maybe?  And they do advanced music at a fast pace.  The kicker is that she has to be at school at *7* to practice two days a week.  She is not a morning person, and getting her out the door at 7 is bad enough for regular school!  But she did it twice and loved it.  She even said that she wished they had Chamber on Friday too.  Very sweet.  It's nice to see her passionate about something!

My little one had her 10 year check up today (she has asthma and we have to keep her physical current so that she can take her inhaler to school).  Anyway-they had to prick her finger and check her cholesterol!  :(  She is very brave, hardly even flinches at shots (since she was little), but she said this hurt!  She didn't cry or anything, but was not happy.

Well tomorrow is a long day, over an hour drive up and back, then a repeat on Sunday afternoon for my oldest!  We found out that they were supposed to do some dancing at 9 (teams), but then we'd be stuck there for at least 4 hrs before oldest danced so we are blowing off team stuff.  Her teacher won't be there and kind of said, "do if it you want to".  We're out $20 for that but I think it will be worth it!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Week 2 of school

This week has seriously been a butt kicker!  For starters, we didn't have much of a weekend last weekend.  We went up to Wyoming for the first ever Cowboy Feis; during the summer it seemed like an ok choice, but coming off the first week of school I had to seriously reconsider my sanity!  We picked the girls up from school and hit the road for a 3 1/2 hr drive.  Stayed in a hotel (I barely slept), then had a full day of dance.  Lu (my younger child, but champion) was supposed to start at 8, so we got to the place right after 7 and got the girls ready.  She didn't go on until close 9, and of course, my oldest was dancing across the school at the same time.  Husband and I had to split up-I went with Lu because she was wearing her long hair wig for the first time and I had to be ready if there were to be a wardrobe disaster!  Lu's dancing was over in about an hour, but we had no idea when the awards were going to be announced, or where for that matter, so we stuck around.  I missed all of Pie's soft shoe dancing-she needed to move up in 1 of 2 dances to get to champion but did not.  So she was bummed.  They finally announced results for the champs and Lu placed 4th in overall for the first time ever! (She became a champ last November, but did not dance again until this June in competition)  We watched the rest of the day for Pie in  hard shoes, then watched the girls do their trophy special dance.  (This doesn't count, it's usually for charity or something and they get a trophy).  Pie tied for first-she got a rhinestone cowboy hat, a beautiful celtic belt buckle and a trophy.  We had to wait until after lunch for Lu's results, and I really wasn't expecting anything great.  She was in an under 14 group (she is 10!), and there were 20 something kids.  She got 2nd place!  We were so excited for her-so both my kids got the coveted hats (they only gave them to 1st and 2nd place), and the day ended very nicely.  Only I hadn't eaten the ENTIRE day.  My urine was turning orange (how's that for TMI?)  We got something to eat before our drive home and I tried to rehydrate.  It was a long 3 1/2 hr drive home to say the least!  Sunday was not a rest day as my kids had to go to a city 45 min away for their weekly team practice.  They were gone from 11:45 o almost 6. 

Pie is facing some new challenges this year; she is in 7th grade taking Algebra (super nerd!), and all of her classes are pre-AP with the exception of her two electives, orchestra and german.  She had homework last week like nothing we have ever experienced!  8 hrs+ one night!  She was up past 10 two of those nights; I am very concerned that she is in over her head.  In addition, she tried out (and made it!) into chamber orchestra, a small group that does advanced work.  She was after school practicing with the teacher leading up to try-outs and really just kicked her own butt last week.  AND to top it off, her school has a new policy which they claim filters down from the district, not their own policy, that if a child completes the work as was assigned, the most they can get is a 3/4.  To get a 4/4 they have to go above and beyond-do more than was assigned.  ??????  I am not pleased about this at all.  This seems like an unrealistic goal for a 7th grader already in very advanced classes.

So it has been a rough week.  Not too bad for Lu-she is learning her states and capitals, but she has a very good memory and memorization isn't too hard for her at all.  She was moved up to a champ level weekly class last week that has her getting home on Tuesday nights at 8:45.  That is an adjustment for sure.  Luckily she doesn't have to get up until 8.

So we have no plans for the long weekend-and even dance! (Short lived-the following weekend we have a competition both days) :(  Hope the kids can get into the school thing soon!  We are all struggling to keep up unfortunately.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I am having a hard time adjusting to this school business!  My girls started Tuesday (? why?), and I got an email during the day that my poor Lu would have to attend dance class that night.  They are not used to getting up early, so they were toast, and then to add a championship class onto the day?  Best part, my daughter is 10, and the other kids are high school and college, with the exception of a 13 1/2 year old.  Class runs 7:00 - 8:45, 15 min before she normally goes to bed.   But she did it, and she did not stick out.  I watched the end of class and she was confident and looking good!  I was so glad!  Today went a little smoother, but the evening was a disaster!  My husband is in the middle of his first batch of home brew, and he needed the girls to help him bottle and pour.  It went way too late-my oldest showered in time for bed, but my youngest did not.  My oldest was also working on homework way past her bedtime, and little one was watching TV with Dad at 9:40.  Not a fun night-I don't like being the mean one yelling at everyone.  But COME ON PEOPLE! 

I spent a lot of today laying down.  I took my male cats to the vet this morning then found myself completely exhausted.  Hope I'm not getting sick-I think it's just the transition to having to wake early!

We have to go out of state this weekend for an irish dance competition.  I hope it is worthwhile, because at this point I'm wondering what in the heck I was thinking signing them up-first weekend after school starting?????  Oh well!  I'm still lamenting the end of summer. :(

Monday, August 20, 2012

Another not crafty post!

My girls start school tomorrow!  I can't even believe it!!!!  It is my oldest's first day of 7th grade (which around here is 2nd year of middle school), and my baby's first day of 5th grade, which is the last year of elementary school!  :-O  How is that possible???  We have a super screwy schedule out here.  Oldest has to leave the house by 7:10, be at school at 7:25ish (my driving, we are out of the school bus area), school starts at 7:40.  I drive home, get Lu up and ready around 7:50, she and I leave around 8:35ish (again my driving), she's at school by 8:50, school starts at 9.  Afternoon, I get oldest at 2:30-sometimes we drive home and I leave her here to practice her violin or we run errands.  We pick up the small one at 3:40.  It's a crazy day-I really don't have much time (5 1/2 hrs) in between drop off and pick up.  THAT is the hardest part of the school year for me.  I spend a lot of time in my car driving and waiting. :(

I'm going to miss them so much!  This summer has literally just disappeared.  But when I think of the the things that we got to do, it was quite a bit.

1.  Chicago - the girls danced at Nationals and we loved Navy Pier.  It was a mini vacation.

2.  Cousin time - we got our beloved J. this summer more than any summer in the past

3.  Grammy and Grandaddy time - getting to see them on a regular basis is such a blessing.  They have been CO resisdents for a year now.

4.  County Fair - lots of fun!

5.  So much dance-summer intensive, performances....

6.  The Pool! 

7.  Our quick mountain getaway

8.  Elitch Garden - this park used to be affiliated with Six Flags but they separated in 2007.  The girls, their cousin J and I all went last Monday.  So much fun!

We have so many beautiful photos from all of the fun stuff that we did this summer.  It makes me really sad for it to be over and have them away from me all day again.  But I know it's what kids are supposed to do, and I know they enjoy their friends.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sweet Escape

This past weekend we made a rare getaway up to the mountains.  Although we live very near the Rocky Mountain National Park, getting away is a challenge in itself.  Because our kids are involved in competitive dance that competes at the national level, every weekend is full of practice; Saturday mornings, Sunday afternoons in a town an hour away.  Other weekends are competitions, sometimes several hours away.  Although I am very proud of their accomplishments, it can be a real drag!

My parents were out of town and we had a free Saturday, so we took off the RMNP.  We didn't get out of town until around 2, so we didn't make it up there until close to 4.  It was a beautiful day, and the "falls" that we found right away delighted our children.  They scared us a little a lot climbing on slippery rocks, but they really had a lot of fun.  We mistakingly took the only one way road in the park, and then attempted to drive it back THE WRONG WAY.  That was fun-there was barely room for one car, no guard rail, and a scary steep fall down.  Luckily we made it safely out of there (by having to drive 9 miles straight up to the top on an unpaved road!), then safely down.  Before we exited the park we made a wonderful discovery! We saw cars pulled over and flashing lights that we assumed belonged to police cars, but instead we saw baby elk talking to their mother!  I was so thrilled to record the unique sound that they made.

The kids really wanted to see something big before we left, and this was an entire herd.  The mother had already crossed the road and gone below, and her babies were calling to her.  The park rangers had everyone get in their car so that the babies could safely cross.  VERY COOL.

My kids start school on Tuesday. :(  Our summer really just flew by! :(  I am so thankful that we got to do so many fun things....just not ready to get back into the old swing of things.  Blah.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I was inpsired by Angie over at Echoes of Laughter to make a Clafouti.  We had some fresh strawberries in the house, and husband had made some fresh vanilla ice cream.  So I had to!  There was an interruption issue involving sugar and the telephone, so I can't be completely sure that I followed the directions carefully.  I don't think that I put enough sugar in, and I put way too much lemon zest!  This was my first time ever zesting (I did not enjoy it!  My niece was supposed to be here to do it show me how, but she had to go home.) :(  The Caflouti turned out beautiful, and was snarfed down quickly.

I would definitely like to make it again, this time with less zest and the right amount of sugar!  The family enjoyed it, so thank you Angie!

We also went to the County Fair here locally.  The weather was actually BELOW 90! (woot, woot) and we had a good time.  Saw lots of animals, rode a few rides, had some treats....good stuff!  My niece rode a scary ride for the first time--that was really cool! She loved it and now I want to take her to an amusement park where she can ride some even better rides!

School starts early here, and we only have 2 weeks left. :(  It has gone by so fast!  I'm not ready for early morning, homework, projects and packing lunches.  Ugh.  I generally enjoy my kids being around, so there's that too. :(   I am however, ready for the HOT non-stop days to GO AWAY.  I'm already looking forward to bringing out my pumkins and fall decorations.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

We are having a really good time around here!  We have had my niece for several days-she doesn't live very far away, but we don't get to see her too much due to school, activities and conflicting schedules.  But we have her (!), and we are having fun.  We got their portrait made today, and we have been swimming a few times.  Niece had never gone off the diving board before, so we convinced her to do that yesterday.  I was so proud of her!  We celebrated my husband's bday before that, and have really been enjoying doing family things.  Summer is slipping away; as much as I *HATE* the actual season of summer, I so love my kids being home.  I think we only have 3 weeks left.  My oldest has already gone 1 week into her summer instrument program--it's coming!
I wanted to talk about a not-so-awesome baking incident that the small one and I had.  She loves all things cotton-candy.  Obviously, cotton candy itself, but also gum, candy, icecream....all cotton candy flavored.  So I saw this package of cotton candy cupcakes and I had to buy it for her!

So we started putting together the mix-it was a very bright pink color!  Nearly pepto-bismulish.  But it smelled and tasted fine, maybe a little chemical-ish.  Then, I apparently made a big screw up; I poured the batter into six cupcakes, not eight.  Not only did the cupcakes overflow, but they got reeeally big, then plopped! (The recipe only had an egg white, probably because it didn't want the bright pink color to be messed up, but I can't help bu think that was part of the problem).  My first thought was to toss those suckers out!  But my daughter was super excited and didn't want me to. :(  So I scraped as much as I could off, and tried to get the hard and very gross textured (spongey!) cupcakes out.  We then mixed together the frosting, which again, was a very putrid pink.  I only used about 1/4 of the flavored mix, and it still smelled really icky-I tried it and nearly gagged.  So did my daughter.  We tossed the frosting out and revereted to the fake stuff in can!  Trying to frost these things was beyond impossible, so I blobbed some on (again, trying to make the small one happy), and allowed her to dust them with the pink sprinkles.  The result?  UGLY!  And the taste?  INEDIBLE IMO.  I took one bite and sailed mine into the trash. 

Want one?  Yeah, me neither.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Too Close To Home

I haven't felt like blogging much lately.  We live less than an hour from Denver-Aurora is right outside Denver, and only about 15 min from my brother's house.  He and my other brother frequently attend midnight screenings of movies when they are big the whole Movie Theater Murders is just killing me.  Hearing the tributes, seeing the stories about the lives affected and's too close to home (literally).  So sad, so pointless and so wrong.

I have a post planned for tomorrow about a really bad cupcake mix that I bought.  How can a mix go wrong?  Wait and see.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Too Much SUN

Today I spent about 10 hours out in the hot-a$$ sun.  In the summer.  It was about 97 degrees and just hottttttttttttttttttt.  I really hate summer.  The only reason I agreed to this was because it's a once a year competition that my girls do for irish dance, and they always do good at it.  So I hated to miss out on a good opportunity.  And I am soooo glad that we went!  First off, yesterday I found (to my horror) that I had not registered Lulu properly.  She is 10 and my higher up of the two dancers-she is already in preliminary championship, and has competed in 3 competitions and not placed once.  This coming from the kid who swept when she was a non-champ.  It's been a hard road for her.  So my poor Mom has been slaving over redoing the skirt on Lu's dress for the past week, and here I had probably screwed it up and she wouldn't be able to dance.  I was so upset I actually cried.  But their teacher reassured me via email that all would be fine-and thankfully-it was.  Although she still didn't place in the overall championship, she did better than she ever has before.  AND, I begged her to change her trophy special step to one that she and her sister did together for a show that looked fabulous--and she got a 3rd place and a trophy.  I've been nagging the heck out of her telling her to keep her head up, shoulders back, hands straight--I know she's wanted to punch me.  But she is doing so much better and I'm so glad. She was in a rut where she acted like she could never place again-I hope she has more confidence and is over all that!  Her skirt doesn't show the sparkles and pretties in the material, but you can see that my Mom did a fabulous job.  Thanks Grammy!

Her sister had a great day too-since she is a non-champ still, she has to do the required 4 soft shoe dances, and 3 hard shoe dances.  Although she didn't get either of the 2 that she needs to move up to Lu's level, she still got (3) First places, a third and a 4th.  She also placed 2nd in the trophy special for her age.  she was really happy about that!  She had a really long day-had to be there at 9 for us to set up our tent, then Lu danced at 10, then Pie wasn't scheduled to dance until about 12:30.  It was so long, but she looked confident and did well.

But it was soooo hot.  And so long.  We all got a little sunburned (not the dancers, husband, Mom and me), but I'm so glad that they went and did well.  I'm going to try to get some rest now because I barely slept last night worrying that Lu wouldn't get to dance or would have another bad day.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

More Chicago Pics

 Here are a few more pics while I am thinking about it.  The girls and I have to make a run to the city (about 1 hour+) to get my oldest some hard shoes.  She is growing like crazy, and her soft shoes, which fit, are an entire size smaller than her hard shoes!  She hasn't been wearing them for a few months because I was making her wear tennis shoes in class due to her tendonitis.  Hopefully her foot is well enough to start wearing shoes since she has a summer intensive next week! :/

We went on a sunset cruise out on Lake Michigan while we were in Chicago.  It was very touristy but still fun.  I'm not sure the kids enjoyed it that much, but I found it relaxing and a great opportunity to get some really awesome pictures. 

The other is a cute shot from the steps of our hotel on the 4th.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chicago......and 12

We are home from Chicago.  Chicago.......oooooh Chicago.  How I both love and hate you so much!  The girls came in a very disappointing 5th place. :(    I think they had fun-it was several long exhausting days.

We made the best of it and tried to turn in into a mini vacation!  The city is very cool and full of fun things.  But HOT HOT HOT HOTTTTT.  They experienced record breaking triple digit highs when we were there.  With humidity so heavy that I had trouble catching my breath at first.  And we walked so much-to the pier and back more times than I care to recall.  We did a lot of waiting too-waiting for husband to retrieve the car from a garage that we couldn't quite find or get into....walking 45 min to get to "the beach" much walking.  I think this place would be beyond wonderful in the fall, but in the summer heat, it is pretty much brutal!

My baby celebrated her 12th bday the day we got back.  Thank GOD for my Mom.  We were brain dead toast after driving 16+ hrs straight back through a scary monsoonal hell storm.  She had dinner, cake and amazing presents.  Thanks Grammy-she really did save the day.  We are now no longer seeing my child.  They gave her a kindle and she is checked out!

Sunday, July 1, 2012


We took a lesson from a friend and decided to decorate our car for our road trip!  It was nearly 100 degrees outside so we had to wait until it cooled down to the low 90s!  The girls got really carried away with it.    I hope we won't be regreatting this all day tomorrow when we are driving!  Lu was sick (well had a cold) earlier in the week.  We were afraid that her sister would get it too, but so far she has not.  Lu is feeling better too thank God!  My parents will be coming over daily and taking care of our animals.  Tomorrow is going to be such a long day-15 1/2 hrs.  We have to stay at a certain hotel for the competitions, or we incur $100/dancer/day facility fee.  The place we booked at under the rate was I think $159.  We hotwired the area for the 2 days prior and guess what-got the same place for about $90/night.  :/  We will have Tuesday and most of Wednesday to be tourists.  Not sure what exactly we will do-we are right near the Navy Pier so we hope to do that, and maybe make it to the "beach".  The girls have practice Weds evening, then dance Thursday.  They are doing team dances only and I will be thrilled if they place PERIOD.  They placed 3rd at their Regional Championship, but have had 6 more months to practice.  It would be really nice to place.  I won't have access to update, so I will be gone until Saturday, which BTW is the day my oldest BABY turns 12!  I just can't even believe that.  In some ways she is already such an old soul.  And in other ways, well you have to know her to get that.  She still gets food all over her face when she eats.  She still is very young at heart and hilarious.  I love that kid so much!

Friday, June 29, 2012

We have finally been up to so craftiness around here!  My girls are attending the North American Irish Dance Championships next week.  One of the Moms had the idea of each girl creating "spirit" stuff for a team mate-my kids each made a poster and a banner.  My youngest wanted to do a pennant, so I helped her create the basic shape, and let her use my Slice for the letters.  My oldest wanted to go all out Irish, so she picked the shamrock shape for her banner.  They both turned out great!  I love it that they are old enough to do these things (mostly) on their own, and I love it that they enjoy doing crafty things.  Maybe their crafty endeavors will turn out more successful than their Mother when they are adults!

My youngest is actually not feeling very well.  She's better today than yesterday, but still kind of coughy and ick.  When they had their regional Championships back in November, she was actually running a fever the day of their solos.  She still qualified, but has declined to dance her solos or Nationals.  She will only be dancing team stuff with her sister.

There is a Mom of one of the girls on the team who had reallllllly cute shirts made.  They turned out wonderful!  But I wanted to make them shirts too, and I did that tonight (with a little help from my Mom, the Crafty Queen).

She had the computer paper where you print out the shirt (IN REVERSE.  Didn't get that the first time), then iron on the image.  I bought cheapo white shirts from Tar-jay and followed the directions religiously.  They turned out really well.  I will make sure to get a picture of the girls before practice tomorrow morning.  I kind of feel bad that I didn't make a few more for their favorite friends on the team, but I really didn't want to make 12!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

We are literally living in an Inferno.  My state has something like 13 fires going?  One is less than 15 miles from my house.  The air quality is pretty good most of the times, but some days it's bad enough to keep us inside.  The temperature itself is downright hellish.  103 degrees????  I moved here to escape that kind of heat in AZ!  I sure hope something changes soon.  There was some rain here in our town tonight, but it didn't reach our house.  I sure hope it hit the fire!

We have been doing a lot of this:

Because really what else can you do in this unbearable heat? 
And we have been doing a TON of this:

My girls are the two in their school uniforms.  I love it when they dance together-I think they look like book ends.  We are all about dance right now.  They will be dancing at the North American Championship Nationals next week, so they are dancing a million hours a week.  CRAZY STUFF.

In other news, I have to share my wonderful Find of the Week-this is again from Home Goods.  I was in with a friend while our kids were at the movies (with her Grandmother!), and I found this.  We had to leave in a hurry, but not before I snagged this baby!  I love it!  What is it exactly?  Mmmmm, not sure.  But I love stars, and it fits so well with the 4th of July theme.
I think that's it for around here for now.  Except that we have a new catfish addition to our tank.  Pie has named him Lamar.  Not sure if I can get a picture of Lamar any time soon, but he's really cute and little.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Today was really really hot again!  99 I think.  And I haven't been able to much of anything crafty lately which makes me sad.  I did cook some non-bake cookies (which were good but so loaded with bad stuff!), and they didn't form quite right.

Mostly I've been doing not fun stuff.  Yesterday the girls and I were loaded up in the car, pulling out of the driveway, when I immediately noticed that somthing wasn't right.  Flat tire.  Husband was at work, it was 98, and I can barely lift the tires for my jeep, let alone change one. :/  My husband has a pickup from 1992 that he only uses for hauling stuff; I generally avoid driving it because it is not automatic (!!!), and I have terrible trouble putting it into reverse.  But I decided that since it was miserably hot, the girls and I were dressed and sunscreened for the the pool we would go!  It was a little freaky-the truck immediately went into reverse, but I think it died at the end of our driveway about 4 times.  The girls then declared me "brave" (which I loved), and off we went!  The car did fine until we got to a very busy intersection where I have to make a left turn.  I stalled out on my very fast arrow, but was fine after that.  I weenied out and parked at the end of the street so I wouldn't have to put it in reverse to get home, and had a smooth ride home until I stalled out yet again at the entrance to our driveway!

Here is the truck that got us to and from the pool.  My girls lovingly refer to it as "Clunky Junky" because it rattles and sounds, well, old and junky! (Sorry husband!)  They also said that we were Redneck Women when we were driving it. 

The last wonderful fun, not so pleasant thing that has been taking up lots of time, was what I woke up to this morning (have pictures but will totally spare the blog).  Skid marks on my carpet, right around my bed.  I have 3 cats with long hair, and from time to time, a "hanger on-er" getst stuck in my cats' britches.  I am not certain who the culprit was, although it's usually my girls' cat Puff.  Puff is a very easy going, lazy Himalayan/Ragdoll cross breed.  He really is a sweet cat, and they can do most anything with him.  Exhibit A: 

I steam cleaned for about 1/2 hour to remove these unpleasantries, but now that the carpet has dried, I'm not sure they are fully gone. :(  That is not something that you want partially there, so I may get husband and his full industrial strength steam cleaner to attack tomorrow.  The girls and I are going to the state north of us for a show.  Outside.  In the heat.  Supposed to be 101.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Today was hot.  Really hot.  As in broke a record-so-damn hot.  We took the girls to the pool today, my oldest brought a friend, and the littlest met a friend.  We were there for 3 hours with my friend who won't get in the water (boooo!) and it was HOT.  I-hate-summer hot.  It is so draining to just be outside in this-luckily we found shade, and it wasn't so bad if you didn't move.  But if you did-HOT.  Reminded me of the seven years that we spent in Arizona!  We arrived home to find our house 83 degrees on the lower floor, and much hotter upstairs.  Husband came home and checked out the unit, only to find it frozen.  So we had to turn that off for a while, and let it thaw out.  We will have to bring someone in to check things out for sure!  Husband felt really bad that the house was warm, so he decided around 9:00 to take the kids out for ice cream.  Oldest's friend was not hungry, and couldn't understand how anyone could be at this hour!  While out I found out that she normally goes to bed at 9, which  isn't too surprising since she has to be at swim team at 7.  I felt really bad.  This child (and her family) will probably put us on the crazy list after this. :(

Tomorrow is my Daddy's bday!  So nice that we are all close by and can celebrate together.  I got him a funny sign that says, "I'm retired.  Stop asking me to do things!"  HA!

I have some things more related to the blog that I am looking forward to writing about, but I wanted to just do a regular update too.  I have to go to court on Weds. :(  Not looking forward to that at all!  I had a fender bender in early May that was my fault-the other driver had no damage at all to their car, and my damage was $1,500, but he called the police and I got a ticket.

Oh well!  Is it officially summer yet?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Find of the Week

Today's Find of the Week:

I am a frequent shopper of many places-Home Goods, Michael's, Hobby Lobby, JoAnnes, etc.  I have decided to feature a Find of the Week since these places never disappoint.

This week I am happy to show my find from Home Goods-this wonderful happy colander!   Did I need a colander? (Heck no)  But how can I resist this lovely item in such a happy shade of turquoise/blue?  My kitchen is very nicely decorated in neutrals, and little pops of color like this make for nice surprises.  I would love to find a way to show this off, but I wouldn't want to keep it on my counter tops.  I do have some space above the cabinets, but that would likely make this a permanent decoration since it's up so high.  I also have an antique colander that was my Grandmother's that I would love to display, but not sure how to display it.  Hmmmmm.  By the way, this beauty cost $9.99-maybe not the best deal per se, but what a nice find for my kitchen.

And (BONUS), I found this little sink scrubber chicken for my Mom for less than $5!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Failed attempt at Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Banana Bread

Today I was in the mood to cook! The fires are really bad outside, and I didn't feel right taking two girls with mild asthma swimming. So we stayed home all day, they played, and I cooked! I had no interruptions-dance class was cancelled due to the air quality, and I didn't have to pick up anyone from school. One of the things that I have been dying to make is Reese's peanut butter cups banana bread (from I have a standby recipe for banana bread that I absolutely love, and this recipe closely resembles it. However, I have had a few problems in the past with over cooking it. I found that I have to just take it out at exactly one hour regardless of how the bread looks. Otherwise, it is overcooked and dry. :( So I applied the same logic to this recipe. The result? Maybe not a total failure! It did taste really good! I took it out after an hour and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then, I attempted to do what I normally do with banana bread. I dump it out onto a plate, then flip it over to cool. When I did this, it fell apart into 3 big pieces. I attempted to get a spatula and try to piece it back together-then it really fell apart! I ended up taking a clean cooled loaf pan and throwing it back in. Aside from my family laughing at my ugly dessert, they did enjoy it. If I were planning to attend a party or having my relatives over like last weekend, I would have been devastated. No way I could have served it. (Kind of reminds me of my attempt at making brownie pops-similar issues!) But since we were just hanging out at home, we'll call it a save.