Thursday, July 31, 2008

Game Night

We have this about once a month or so. That's just how it works out. It typically starts with me, Ronnie, Wendy, Marc & Ryan. We then make a few phone calls and add a few more to the mix. Lately Woody & JB have been coming over as well. Game night starts after Paige goes to bed at 7:45. We tuck her in, then bring out the board games. Mostly we have trivia games. OK, pretty much all we have is trivia games & Star Wars Monopoly.

Most games now we play in teams since there are so many of us. When we deal with topics from the 80's we let Woody, Ryan & JB all be on 1 team. After all, only JB was born before the 80's. Seems only fair. Depending on how long each one takes we may play more than 1. When we play Trivial Pursuit we almost always start everyone with the orange wedge. None of us are sports people.

Currently our game nights include:
Star Wars Trivial Pursuit
80's Trivial Pursuit
Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture
Scene It Marvel Comics
For The Record 80's & 90's Edition
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

We didn't like the rules for 5th grader, so we changed them to make the game more fun & competitive. Trust me, after a few drinks this one is a lot of fun.

Our evening does start in the kitchen where everyone makes the drink of their choice. We all grab a snack or 2, then head to the living room. We huddle around the coffee table on our choice of chair. I drag my rocker over. Wendy likes to sit on a big workout ball. Ronnie likes the black slingback chair, if he can get the cat out of it.

We usually play for several hours then call it a night. A fun evening overall. Not your typical go out and have a good time, but definitely fun. People are welcome to bring their games over for us to inspect and say yes or no to.

Just a tip: If we invite you over for game night, we'll kick you butt so be ready. Ronnie is always on my team. He can quote Star Wars line for line, knows more music trivia than this old DJ, and Marvel Comics? He knows the answer before you finish asking the question. He rocks!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Our Kitchen Do Over

Our kitchen is on the small side. It's very functional except for 1 thing: the fridge. It's next to the windows, so you can't open the door all the way. Basically to get the gallon of milk from the back you have to be a contortionist. Here's the before picture.

Yes, it's from Paige's birthday party this year.

As you can see, the fridge is against the wall. The space under the microwave is part of our pantry area. In front of the fridge is a steel table and next to that a white, very small pantry.

Being tired of trying to get into your fridge makes you do weird things. We moved it. It's now where the white pantry used to be. (This has been moved into the bedroom for my craft storage area). Where the fridge used to be is now a pantry. We got 4 of these steel shelves from Lowe's and put them together into 1 shelving system. Our finished product:

Add to that an extension for the water line, and we have a fully function fridge next to our door! A lot of people have their fridge next to their back door, right? It's so much easier to use now that I don't care that it looks a little funky.The white pantry that used to be there makes a great storage for my craft stuff. I had been looking for something for months. I wanted to be able to gather my supplies into 1 main area, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money to do it. I was being rather picky because it also needed to close. With all of the scissors and things I didn't want Paige to be able to get into it. This worked perfect!
This isn't all of my supplies. But, it is everything I didn't already have stored in a Rubbermaid container. For me that was close enough. Bonus? It fit perfectly between my dresser and the wall!

So, we rearranged our kitchen and I got a craft storage area all for about $200. Not bad.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Do I really look like this?

Sunday evening, after bath, Paige comes out of our bedroom wearing my black heels. She's holding her pink phone with her baby in one hand and her purse in the other. She sits down at her table and takes the baby's bottle out of her purse. She then puts the phone to her ear and talks while feeding the baby. Daddy asks her what she's doing. Her reply? "I Mommy!"

Mommy's disclaimer: Yes, I have a pink phone. No, I DO NOT have a black & white animal print purse!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Do you salt?

We all have those recipes that call for salt and pepper to taste. Some people have salt and pepper shakers and stand there over the pot trying to add just the right amount. Too much salt, add more pepper, nope, still not right. Let's try adding more of this.

We have a traditional salt and pepper shaker. One is a Corona Bottle the other is a Rolling Rock, I think. They sit by the stove and mostly collect dust. For everyday use, we have this.

It's a tub of salt and pepper. Just take off the top and throw in a pinch. After about a week you get used to just how much "to taste" is.

We mix ours with Kosher salt and a table ground pepper. Not the super fine ground pepper, but a courser pepper. Makes it easier to pinch and toss in a pot. The key is to mix your salt & pepper to a consistency that you like. Ours is heavier on pepper than you would find in most houses probably.

It's super easy to do. Just grab a Ziploc container to start. (Ours is actually from leftover egg drop soup.) Start pouring in a bit of salt and pepper. Cover the container and blend it. Take off the container and add more until you have a mix you can live with.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Paige and Grumpy

Let me start by saying I left my camera at home today. Bad Mommy. Paige and I went to an end of the season crawfish boil today. It was at my cousin Nancy's house, which is across the street from my parents house. Of course we started by going over to see Grammy and Grumpy. (Nancy is also one of Paige's Godmothers, for the record.) When it was time to head over we just all walked across the street. Grumpy was coming down the wheelchair ramp and Paige was all ready to jump in his lap for a ride. When we finally let her crawl up in his lap she got a HUGE grin on her face.

Grumpy and Paige made it across the street just fine. (A small miracle in itself. For the uninitiated, my family live out in the country, not in a subdivision. Their road is like the Indy 500 for most drivers and is very curvy.) Once we got into Nanny Ann's backyard, Paige had to be close to her Grumpy. Grumpy got his afternoon coffee, Paige had to have some too. It went on like that for most of the afternoon. She even tucked her napkin into her shirt like he does.

We got ready to leave at the same time as my parents. They wheeled on out to the front yard while we said our bye-byes to Paw Paw and Aunt Glenny. Paige almost had a melt-down. She thought her Grumpy was leaving without her. OH THE HORRORS! I had to convince her that wasn't happening. We met on the other side of the obstacle course known as the cars. (Her section is a 10 acre yard, yet all the cars are clustered in one spot by the house.) Once on the other side I sat Paige in Grumpy's lap. She was perfectly content to ride back across the street on her Grumpy. Getting her out of his lap and into the car was much easier than I expected it to be. Maybe next time I'll remember the camera since they are just so cute together.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Kitty Update

I think our cats will need therapy. Lots and lots of therapy. Paige is so rough with them. The rule is she can only hold them on the couch. No problem for Paige. She just grabs a kitty and heads to the couch. No matter how many times we explain that she has to sit on the couch first she still does the same thing. She also likes to hit and kick the cats. Not that she actually connects with the cat, but it's the principle of the thing. She has spent more time sitting in her room than ever.

All of that being said, R2 is a freak. The rougher she is with him the more he purrs! He loves all of the attention from her. She knows that purring means the cat is happy, which makes it harder to get her to stop. His eyes are weird too. When I was a kid I had a cat named Smart Oyster (I don't know, I was 3.) Smart Oyster had 1 blue eye and 1 green eye. After about 2 or 3 days of having the cats Ronnie told me that R2's eyes were blue and green. I thought he meant like Smart Oyster. Nope. R2's left eye is half blue, half green, right down the middle. Like, looking at his left eye the left side is blue, the right side is green. I've tried to get a picture but it hasn't worked. I'll keep trying.

If the kittens survive Paige, they may not survive me. They like to sleep with me. That wouldn't be a problem if they actually slept. They like to run around the bed. The more I throw them off the bed the more they think it's a game. They do finally settle down to sleep about 4 am. Usually on top of my head. Both of them, on top of my head. I haven't slept well in over a week, and I'm cranky! Last night was the worst. They woke me up about every hour playing in the bed.

After all is said and done therapy for the cats should be pretty cheap. I can get a bag of organic catnip for about $5. Apply some liberally to their favorite areas, and we should be good to go.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mommy is a big girl now

We're slowly potty training Paige. As she shows an interest, we use the potty. As she loses interest, we stop. Yesterday morning she was in rare Paige from.

From the other end of the house I hear: "Where Mommy?"

Damn, busted. "Mommy's in the bathroom."

She comes running into the bathroom at full speed and almost wipes out on the vanity.

"Mommy potty?"

"Yes, Mommy potty."

"Good Mommy! Mommy a big girl now, wear big girl panties." She says the last as she does the pee-pee in the potty dance.

It's official. At age 35 Mommy is now a big girl. And, I can wear big girl panties. Won't Grammy be so proud!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Mommy Drawer

This is a very special place that is extremely well hidden. Mommy has all kinds of neat distractions and new things in it just waiting for Paige. OK, so it's the bottom drawer in my bedside table. Still, it's all new stuff for Paige. I can't be the only one who has one of these things. I keep it full of distractions. Toys that will buy us some time when it's raining all weekend and she can't go out. Or, something to give her when she's just having a bad day. Currently it's full of finger paints, a Cars Crayola Wonder, Bob the Builder stickers, notebooks & pencils. It's also got some new foam stickers in there. Oh, and tattoos, don't forget those. Paige could play with those all day.

I buy the stuff when it's on sale. All of the Bob came from the dollar section at Target. The Crayola Wonder was buy one get one free at Toys R Us. (I already had to break out the Thomas one last week. She had a rough day at daycare.) The paints were a half price sale about a month ago. She has no idea, she just knows it's something new and fun. Once the drawer gets full, like it is now, I stop buying things until it clears out some. Unless there's a really good sale, then all bets are off.

Paige has no idea where the stuff comes from. Ronnie keeps her distracted in the living room while I get something out of my secret stash. Mommy comes out into the living room holding something new and it works. I've been told that knowing when to bribe is the sign of a good parent. I think I'm living up to it. So, please tell me I'm not the only one who has a drawer like this.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The coolest kitchen gadget EVER!

Hi, my name is Angie and I can't boil an egg. Really, I can't. It either turns out overcooked, or worse, undercooked. There is a black hole that lives around a pot of boiling water with an egg in it. I just lose track of time, and I usually think it's been boiling longer than it has. Ronnie has the same problem, so I don't feel as bad.

Wendy introduced us to this little gadget. It's the Lux Egg Timer. But it's not a normal egg timer. It's not like I have to remember to set it or anything. All I have to do is remember to toss it in the pot. We've been borrowing hers for about 4 years now. She said if she ever saw one in a store she would pick it up for us. Last Monday was our lucky day. Wendy was shopping the Linens N Things going out of business sale and found just 1 left.

I've been waiting for a chance to use it, but hadn't had one yet. So I created one. I'll be taking a tuna sandwich for lunch tomorrow. I placed the egg and egg timer in the pot and let it go. I checked back once, too early.

Second time is the charm. See?

It works based on temperature, not time. As the water boils the timer heats us and changes color. The timer actually "cooks" as if it were an egg. Cool, huh? I think so too! I like my eggs hard boiled, so I let it turn completely dark before removing.

And here's my perfectly cooked hard boiled egg. I have no idea how long it took. I checked email real quick and typed most of this post. Star Trek was coming on when I started, so it's been at least 15 minutes since I started.

I'm sure you want one for yourself. Lucky you, I found them at Amazon. Lux Egg Timer
They're pretty cheap too. You'll pay more for shipping than for the egg timer itself. Solve this problem by buying a few to give as gifts. They would be great as an extra at Christmas, or even to give to a Mommy of a toddler who has 4 cats a dog and a fish. Oh wait, I already have one. I'm sure once you start raving about it others will want one too. And trust me, they're hard to find. It took 4 years to find this one, and I had searched the internet at least twice before.

Don't be fooled by others. I've found others online before. Their customer comments were not nice. They hold up pretty well too. Wendy has had hers for about 7 or 8 years now. Apart from some slight discoloration from being boiled so much, it's in perfect shape!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It finally came!

Take a look at this.

It's the most expensive piece of paper I've ever had. Yep, I finally got my diploma. Although I graduated in May, it takes a bit longer to actually get that piece of paper. Just after graduation all students get an email saying that diplomas will be mailed once it's verified that you don't owe any more money for fees or anything. I guess that process takes about 6 weeks. Well, this came in the mail on Thursday. Look close. It really does say I graduated Cum Laude. They even sent my honors tassels! I decided not to walk, and didn't expect to get these. Lucky me Michael's is having a sale on framing this week.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Band Geek in Training

One of our goals with Paige is to, well, raise a Geeky child. Is that selfish? We're Geeks. Saying that word in our house is considered a compliment. We have 9 computers on our home network, including the server. There are only 5 of us in the house old enough to use a computer. We have game nights where friends come over after Paige goes to bed. We play trivia board games all night. Geeky? Yes.

Probably our second biggest Geeky thing is music (right after computers, of course). Want to start a band? Come on over. We have a complete drum set in the front room with the computers. We have 2 guitars in our bedroom, and another in Marc & Wendy's. We have 2 keyboards. This house also contains 1 trombone and 1 trumpet named Ella.

Ronnie has had Ella since Freshman year of high school. He played her all through high school and college. After that he loaned her out to his now ex-girlfriends niece. Ella has a dent in the side from a rifle that Monica dropped our Senior year on the field one day. (So glad it wasn't me!) He has kept her in with him every time he's moved. Ella currently resides on the top shelf of the bookcase in our bedroom.

We've been diligently working with Paige on her belly farts. She's thought it was fun. Ronnie has been building up her embouchure. She's finally gotten really good at belly farts. First, he got the mouthpiece off his computer desk. She actually got a sound! Greatly encouraged, Ronnie proceeded to bring down Ella. As he opened the case she was trying to climb in and see what it was all about. As soon as Ella was out, Paige was trying to grab her. Ronnie managed to get the mouthpiece inserted and show Paige how to blow.

Here's Paige getting her first notes from a trumpet.

She loved it so much she didn't want to let it go.

Think Daddy's happy?

Hopefully she'll love music as much as we do. We would like for her to play a brass instrument, or percussion. We're hoping she'll avoid the woodwinds. They're just no fun during marching season. Whatever she wants to play is fine with us. She does have a love of the drum set, so we'll see.

Bob the Builder

Like all kids Paige has certain things she's into. She loves to play outside, take care of her baby doll, and color. She's OK on TV, but it depends on what it is. There are a few shows she'll sit still for, but not many. Being a child of Geeky parents she tends to watch sci fi shows. The other night she sat and watched an entire 1 hour episode of Dr. Who. It was a pretty good episode! She'll also sit and watch Stargate, The Twilight Zone, and Star Trek. Moviewise she'll sit and watch Star Wars & Cars. Her all time favorite TV show for the past 4 or 5 months has been Bob the Builder. She loves her some Bob.

Our collection of Bob the Builder stuff is growing rather slowly. Almost everything out there is boy. So far we have Bob & Wendy stuffed dolls, a Scoop Tonka style truck, and a Brio railroad with Scoop and Bob figures. I have nothing against her playing with boy toys, I did myself. I just know there are certain things my little Girly Girly Princess will not touch!

When my parents came over Saturday they brought Paige something very special. Mom had made Paige a pair of Bob the Builder shorts. She even put a ruffle at the bottom to make them more girly. Paige has been begging me to wear them since she got them. I finally did laundry yesterday and they were clean. She ran into the bathroom this morning chasing the cat and found the shorts out for her to wear. She grabbed them and held on while screaming "Paige Bob the Builder" at the top of her lungs. There was no way she wasn't wearing them today!

Here's a pic of the little Princess wearing her Bob the Builder shorts and a blue tank top. Please disregard the shoes. We had a shoe crisis just after this was taken. Orange Bob the Builder shorts only look good with pink Converse hi tops.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Our new boys

We adopted 2 new kittens from the local ASPCA on Saturday. Ronnie had asked for a kitten for his birthday, which is in August. I like to shop early, and you can't really hide a kitten for 2 months. We went for 1 kitten. Just 1. We were looking for an older kitten, say 6 months or so, and we wanted a girl. Something old enough and smart enough to run from Paige. When we were looking Ronnie found a beautiful gray kitten, 12 weeks old. We worked with a very nice volunteer named Megan. She opened the door for us to get out the gray kitten.

The door opened and 2 bundles of fur came pelting out the door. The gray went straight to Ronnie. The smaller white bundle landed on my foot and started attacking my flip flop as it purred. Turns out they were brothers. How could we separate brothers? We would have to either take both, or leave both. Ronnie was in love with his little gray fluff ball. I was getting quickly attached to the white skinny kitten who was purring over me and Paige. Both cats even went to her and let her hold them!

We walked out with both kittens. Both are boys. Went in for 1 girl kitty about 6 months, walked out with 2 boy kitties who are 12 weeks. They are both very loving bundles of fur. Both are smart enough to run and hide from Paige. We have renamed both of them. The white kitten was named Honeybun, and the gray was named Honeydew. We had new names before we left. My kitty, the white one, is R2D2. He's white with a little gray making him look dirty. He also has very blue eyes, like R2's stripes in the movie. We call him R2 for short. Ronnie named his K-9. It's a Dr. Who thing. In the older version of the series K-9 is a robot dog The Doctor created.

Here's Ronnie with both boys.

Paige and K-9 on the bed.

And R2, the Incredible Flexible Kitty.

Sorry the picture is so dark. This cat is so white he absorbs the flash and turns into one giant white blob in most pictures!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th!

What a great start to a long weekend; Paige let us sleep until almost 7! Such a nice change from the usual 5am alarm. We've started the day with cookies. And a photo. Here's a picture of Mommy and Paige taken just a few minutes ago.

We have some seriously chunky cheeks going on once again. I think we're about to grow even more.

Our plans for the weekend include a cookout at our house this evening. Then, another one tomorrow afternoon at our house as well. The menu? Very simple:
Hamburgers, some plain, some meatloaf
Hot dogs, Hebrew National
Cole slaw
Potato salad, regular & mustard
Fries for the kids
Banana pudding
Corn on the cob

I know I'm missing something, but I can't remember what it is right now. That's why I forgot!

I hope everyone has some nice plans for the weekend. It should be something fun and something relaxing. Enjoy having 3 days off from work to do nothing more than spend time with family. When Ronnie gets out of the kitchen I plan on spending lots of time with him.