"Anyone that doesn't agree with leggings as pants can physically fight me.
And I'm going to win because I have a full range of motion due to the fact that I am wearing leggings as pants."

Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Few Random Things About Me- 36 thru 40

So, I thought I'd wrap up my month by adding another installment of 8,452 Things About Me.

40- I have never watched the following things on TV (or at least not for more than 30 seconds)… American Idol, Everybody Loves Raymond and The OJ Simpson trial (I did watch about 10 minutes of the bronco chase, but none of the trial). This is, by no means, a complete list of things I've never watched on TV.

39- Usually, when I smile, my eyes squinch up and disappear.

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(photo credit- Jenny Gay)

38- I can do the bridge thing when shuffling cards. I learned to do this *without* the help of the internet (I know, wow), while procrastinating during my freshman year in college. Though, I don't usually do it with dance music in the background.

37- I've been to several mountain man rendezvous when I was younger. (I'm not sure what the plural of this is.)

36- When I go under water while swimming, I can plug my nose using only my lips. My bottom lip pushes up on my top lip, which covers my nose. (I hope you can picture this, because I am not going to be posting a picture of it.) I don't actually *need* to do it to swim, but that's how I learned to put my head under water as a kid.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend.

Peace out.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Weird Kid Wednesday- Check Out the Big Brain on Kam!

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Added Note- You can see the jell-o that this mold makes here. And we bought it online from Educational Innovations Inc.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Monster Cake

Last weekend, we all managed to put together the most funnest birthday cake ever (so far).

Aurora's daughter Jaden wanted a monster party and found this picture on Flickr. We gave it our best shot, adapting it to our skill level. I think it turned out pretty great considering that we've never really worked with fondant or gumpaste before and had no idea what we were doing (well, Jeff and I did a fondant cake for Joey, but it didn't involve rolling it or anything).

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This was a huge collaborative effort.

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This second picture shows the stitches and brain a bit better.

My suggestion about learning to work with fondant is to start with a monster or halloween type cake. That way, when you screw up, it looks like you meant to. Or at least it's easier to hide and/or incorporate into your working theme. Like deciding to make the unfortunate seam in the fondant into a stitched up scar. I think that turned out pretty cool.

And here's a summary of the various components...
Who Did It and What It Was Made From
(aka Too Many Links to Pictures)
-Homemade Marshmallow Fondant (Joey and I made it from this recipe which is so much less nasty than the store bought fondant)
-Cake (Aurora and I made it from a red velvet box mix)
-Buttercream (Jeff made it from a recipe in Baking Illustrated.)
-Assembled and frosted (by me)
-Covered in homemade, purple fondant (by Allison and me)
-Lips (unprofessionally piped by me using buttercream)
-Teeth (formed out of gumpaste by Allison and the girls)
-Ears (formed out of gumpaste by Allison)
-Bow (formed out of store bought fondant by Kenzie and Joey)
-Horns (marbled and formed out of gumpaste by Allison)
-Stitches (piped with buttercream by Allison)
-Brain (formed out of store bought fondant and attached by me- This addition was Jeff's idea. My execution of his idea can be seen here and here and here and here and here- in case you're curious about how to make and attach a brain. Oh, and that mold I used, we bought it online from Educational Innovations Inc. which has some really great stuff. It also makes awesome Jell-O.)
-Eyeballs (made out of homemade fondant by Jenny, Aurora and Joey)
-Joey and Kenzie made the snails and worms.
-And Jenny helped put everything in just the right place.
-Aurora took lots of pictures and gave advice.

Notes
-If you attempt anything like this, use long, wooden skewers for attaching each and every piece (the brain was the only thing without toothpicks or skewers). Put the skewers into the pieces before you set them aside to dry. After they're completely dry, you can add them to the cake.
-The homemade fondant seems a bit softer than the store bought stuff so it doesn't work as well for things that need to stand up and have much form. (This also could have been because I added too much Crisco when making it, though.)
-For anything that really needs structure, use gumpaste. Apparently, it's inedible (according to a couple of sources on the internet), but it really sets up much sturdier than fondant.

Now whose birthday is next and what kind of cake do they want?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Our Daily Awesome

I just couldn't help myself. I had to post this.



Found on Boing Boing, which had this to say about it, " Thank you Jesus for this, our daily awesome."

I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Message from Kam

When I turned 22, I baked several dozen cupcakes, brought them to work and passed them out, saying to each and every person, "Happy Birthday to me!"

Yah, I'm still like that.

Well, Happy Birthday to me!


Note- these are just still pictures put over top of the audio we recorded. It's taken me over a week to get these put together. I was running out of steam when Jenny stepped in and made the audio into movies today.

Happy Birthday, Uncle Doug!


Happy Birthday, Linda!


Also, Happy Birthday Raven and Jaden and Teri (I can't believe I forgot you!!!) and Jeff's grandpa Herb and my cousin Ryan and Brittany (from elementary school, who has the same birthday as me) and apparently Angry Chicken as well. See I told you May was full of other peoples' birthdays.

I also happen to have two ex-boyfriends who have birthdays in May, and I guess Happy Birthday to them too, but Christ, I really hope they aren't reading.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Weird Kid Wednesday

I wonder if this was inspired by Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky (which she's been reading lately).

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We recently discovered Terry Pratchett and are really enjoying him.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Seed Sprouting

We celebrated 2 different birthdays this weekend (neither of them mine). And for each of the birthday girls, I made up a little sprout growing kit.

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I used untreated seeds from my gardening stash along with seeds from my pantry. SproutPeople was a huge resource in deciding what to use.

If you're interested, you can click the picture above and mouse over it to see which seeds are which.

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How To
-Basically, I repurposed a cleaned, plastic egg container by filling it with very wet coconut fiber.
-Then I sprinkled it with the seeds, one type per section.
-After I'd gotten all the seeds where I wanted them, I covered them with plastic wrap. (I'd already cut off the top part of the egg container for a different project. But, if you have an intact egg carton it would work brilliantly to just close the entire thing back up.)
-I told the birthday girls to take off the plastic as soon as they start to grow stems and their first leaves pop out.
-In order to spell out the names, I was unable to get them where I wanted them on the first go, so I scooched them into place with a toothpick, which was way easier than obsessing about getting them there initially.

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The Seeds I Used (after narrowing it down)
-Dill
-Mustard
-Fenugreek*
-Quinoa*
-Black Lentils*
-Amaranth*
-Broccoli
-Sugar Snap Peas
-Oat Grass
-Mung Beans*
-Sesame Seeds* (these didn't actually sprout, but I just had to give them a shot, if only because of Mitch.)
-Buckwheat
(*Seeds directly from our pantry)

Tips
-If you live in a very humid environment and are worried about mold, it helps to mix up a solution of 1 tsp citric acid (they actually sell this in the pharmacy area if you can't find it with canning supplies) and 1 quart of water to wet the coconut fiber and seeds with.
-If you use bigger seeds (peas, mung beans, fenugreek or buckwheat for me) it helps the process if you soak them in warm water for half an hour or so before putting them on the coconut fiber.

If you want to see what they looked like after they just started to sprout, take a look here or here or here. The amaranth looks particularly cool. I think.

I know at least one of the girls is very very picky and I'm hoping that she may be inspired to try eating something new.

I'm thinking that a blindfolded, tasting game would be just the thing.

Note-Here's what it looks like about a week after planting. Some of them have obviously made it past the 'sprout' stage without being devoured. Oh well, at least they look pretty.

Egg carton sprouts
(Thanks for the picture, Aurora.)

Oh yah, watch out for the mustard... it's hot.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Marble Suncatchers

Recently, I realized that it's been quite awhile since I've posted anything remotely crafty around here. This is mainly because my craft room is STILL a disaster and the sewing machine requires a trip to the repair shop. The thought of even walking into that room makes me cringe.

Sigh.

So, I thought I'd show a project that I did years ago. Happily, this thing has mostly withstood the elements. I think only about 2 or 3 pairs of marbles have fallen off in 4 years... and it's been outside the entire time.

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I've got 6 of these strings hanging from one end of our clothes line. It looks great when the sun shines through it in the evenings and also looks fantastic in the winter when everything else is covered in snow.

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List of supplies...
-Fishing Line
-Flat-backed marbles
-Masking tape
-Glass Adhesive (I used Aleene's Platinum Bond for Glass & Bead)

Instructions...
-Measure and cut fishing line to required length(s) being sure to leave enough at the end for attaching to whatever you're going to attach it to (as well as an extra inch or so at the other end for anchoring into the ground).
-For each pair of marbles, first apply a 2 inch length of masking tape, centered, across the rounded side of one marble (we'll call this marble A).
-Apply the adhesive (slightly bigger than the size of a pea) to the flat side of marble A.
-Push the marble A and the second one, marble B, together gently, flat side to flat side. Don't squish so hard that glue comes out the side.
-Pull marbles apart. At this point the glue should have spread to cover most of the flat surfaces; if not, apply a bit more.
-Let sit (adhesive side up) for a minute or two.
-Lay the fishing line over the flat side of marble A where you want the marbles attached.
-Put marble B, flat side down, on top of marble A, sandwiching the line between the two.
-Wrap the tape up and over marble B to hold in place while drying, being careful not to let it touch any excess glue.
-Do this about 50 more times, with the remaining pairs of marbles.
-Let sit for 24 hours and remove tape.

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Notes...
-You may be tempted to use the hot glue gun for this project. Don't. They will pop off at changes in temperature. My first attempt at this was for our bathroom. I hung them from the ceiling around the glass shower enclosure. It looked pretty cool until one of us took a shower. At which point it rained marbles on our heads.
-You can tie the end of the fishing line around one of those little, white circle things that get sewn on the back of drapes (I believe that is the technical name for those) and then run a dowel through each of the circles to hang.
-If you want to hang these outside, like I've done, tie the lower part of the string to something that you can push into the ground (I used plant markers). This keeps them from swinging and getting tangled up.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

BNL- Snacktime

A week before Joey was born, we went to see a Barenaked Ladies concert. At one point, I thought she was kicking in rhythm to the music, but eventually I realized that it was just the bass pounding through the amniotic fluid. Let me tell you, that's a crazy feeling.

Not sure if this had any effect on her, but, man oh man, does she love these guys. Actually, we all do. They're honest and talented and clever and deep and environmentally responsible oh yah, and hilarious.

Last week they put out a kid's album called Snacktime. It's not dumbed down. In fact, it's really intelligent. These are people who respect kids. I love this album. I actually think Joey may get tired of it before I do.

This is one of the songs, called 7 8 9 and based on the joke that all of us told as kids.


(And I also love the potty humor at the end.)

Here are some of my favorite lyrics from the song Raisins...

"Raisins come from grapes.
People come from apes.
I come from Canada.
...

I've got orange pants.
I wear them when I dance.
But, I don't get out that much.
...

But I can parle Francais.
I parled a bit today.
It seemed like the thing to do."

Joey's favorite song is Pollywog in a Bog.

I rarely say this, but go and buy this album. It's great. Especially is you have a skewed sense of humor and would like to encourage that in your kids.

I mean, how could you not love an album that has the lyrics "crank it up loud on the ghetto-blaster."

Personally, we're ordering the CD that comes with book.

Added Note- Joey and I've spent the last hour or so watching various BNL videos on You Tube. There's lots of good stuff there, but I wouldn't necessarily let your kids roam free, if you know what I mean.

Monday, May 12, 2008

How to Kill Fire Ants

Last week I picked up a copy of the Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn at the library. There are a ton of good tips, some goofey stuff and some ideas that just don't seem worth the effort. Basically, I agree with The Simple Dollar's opinion... it's a decent book; take what you need and leave the rest.

What I like about the book is the fact that cheap solutions to problems, using regular household stuff, tend to be less toxic.

One idea that I found particularly interesting is how to kill fire ants. And I'm including it especially for my Aunt Linda who wrote such a heartfelt response to my last post (and also has a huge problem with fire ants).

You're supposed to wait until the ground is dry and rain is not expected for a day or two. Then you sprinkle grits around the ant nest. What happens is that they bring the grits in to feed the queen, she eats it and it expands in her stomach, killing her and eventually the whole nest. I would think that if the ground isn't dry, you could put the grits on a plastic lid or something.

Since we don't have fire ants here (and Joey would freak out if I did this with our harmless ants that she has been attempting to condition to see her as some kind of food sharing queen) somebody else is going to have to try this.

Linda, if you give this a shot, I'd love to know how it turns out, -K?

Note- The version of the book I have is from 1995 and the index is pretty much crap, which is unacceptable because the book is arranged so randomly. I just tried to check to see if they mentioned what kind of grits would work and was unable to find the page again. They didn't list 'ants', 'fire ants' or 'pest control'. I did find 'fleas' because I remembered those being on the same page as the ants, but it took me to a page that didn't actually mention fleas. Wow. Also, the pricing that she mentions is WAY outdated, for obvious reasons. I've got the updated version on hold at the library and will let you know if it's any better.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day, Grandma Sandy

This is a letter from the lady who thought I could handle this whole parenting thing. (And who I miss very much every single Mother's Day.)

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Isn't this what mothers are for, to remind us of the best in ourselves, so that we are encouraged to carry that goodness out into the world and share it?

Thanks for everything you've given me, Mom. I miss you.

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(This is me, our mom and Jenny in Kentucky. She liked to put us in matching outfits. She might actually have been a bigger dork than I am.)

Explanatory Notes-
-When I was born, I had meconium aspiration (yep, I breathed my own poo) and had to be in an incubator for awhile.
-Because I was in distress when I was born, they sort of forgot about my mom, who had some issues with the placenta and a tipped uterus and consequently had trouble walking for awhile.
-My parents were divorced.
-My dad and I have always had a... difficult relationship. And my mom was always explaining his side of things to me, trying to get us to work it out. Her comment about him is not a backhanded insult. She really meant it and hoped that we could have a good relationship.
-I do love my dad, we just don't exactly function on the same plane of existence.
-I found this note laying on my pillow after one weekend that my mom had come to visit. It wasn't for any special occasion; it wasn't even May. I was probably 21 at the time.
-I spent all morning looking for the original of this note that my mom wrote on pink paper. I could only find the scrapbooked version that I'd photocopied years and years ago.

Oh yah, Happy Mother's Day to all my fellow moms out there! Remember, it's up to us to make the world better, one kid at a time.

Namaste.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Month of May

During the month of May, I usually wear this ring. I don't normally wear jewelry (I take it off and lose it whenever I garden, craft, cook) but for the last 11 years or so, I wear this one… but only in May.

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Here's the story behind it. The mother's day one year before my mom died, we all went hiking in the mountains. On the trip, my mom gave me this ring. It had been her engagement ring when she and my dad got married. Also, the stone is an emerald, which is my birth stone (May). Sensing, I think, that she may not survive the breast cancer long enough to see her grandchildren, she gave it to me, telling me that she was sure that I would be a good mother.

Sometimes, when I'm feeling like an especially crappy mom, I'll pull it out and wear it for the day. I'd always wondered why she didn't give it to Jenny, but now that I've seen Jenny parent, I feel sure that our mom knew she wouldn't need it. She parents with such intelligence, grace and patience that I am constantly inspired (or irritated, depending on my mood). I, on the other hand, am often in need of something to focus my thoughts and remind me that my mom, who knew me since before I was born, was sure I could do this. And who am I to doubt her wisdom?

So, that's the main reason I started wearing this ring in May. Another, less sentimental reason is to remind myself and others that I am queen for the month. Because, as I think I mentioned, my birthday is in May.

And then there's also mother's day. I went from being completely single and autonomous to a mother of 4 in less than a year (yes, you read that right, Jeff and I didn't waste time creating his 4th child). So, when May rolls around, I expect extra attention, mainly because I feel I'm still recovering from the shock of it all.

I would like to give you a picture of the ridiculousness that May brings to my psyche… last night Jeff was being a smart ass and I told him "You can't talk to me that way in May". He got this smile as if he knew I'd been thinking that sort of thing for the last 10 years, but I hadn't had the nerve to say it. He should know by now that there's very little I don't have the nerve to say.

Anyway, the reason he was being a smart ass (and since most of you don't know him, let me tell you, he's never a mean smart ass, but more of a funny smart ass that points out in a humorous way your own ridiculousness) um, where was I going with that, oh yah, the reason he was being a smart ass was because I was complaining that May has suddenly and completely filled up with activities for, get this... Other People. It is not, as I expect year after year, a month-long celebration of me, but weekend after weekend of parties for other people.

Geesh.

Oh yah, and my one year blog anniversary was yesterday, so now I expect three parties in May. Ya hear that, Jeff?

PS- In case I forgot to mention it, my birthday is in May.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Guest Blogger- Jeff- One and a Half

Well, the title says that Jeff's the guest blogger, but he isn't actually aware that he is. I just thought it would be a good way to give him credit for the poem that I'm about to copy in and that he has no idea I'm posting. He wrote it in August of '98, about an experience that had happened in '94.

The relevant background is... in '94 he was married to his first wife (Dani) and was on a business trip in Utah when he experienced an, um, torsion. Well, you'll get the rest in his words. Oh yah, Matt is his brother who happened to live in Salt Lake City at the time.

Note- any exceptionally squeamish readers may want to skip this one. But, for those with a somewhat skewed sense of humor, it's pretty amusing.

“One and a half”
By

Jeff

Now come hear my tale
Please try not to wail
As I tell you of something quite gory
And please try to stay
And don’t run away
As I recount my horrible story

It started one morn
In a place quite forlorn
That I like to call Salt Lake City
Though the day started fair
It went downhill from there
And ended up being quite shitty

I had finished that day
In that store, far away
At the mall they call ZCMI
So I sat down to wait
For Matt (who was late)
When I started to sense something awry

While I wandered the halls
It felt like my balls
Had been kicked till they turned black & blue
In the restroom that day
Much to my dismay
I had three nuts, where once there were two

Not three nuts, per se
But still on that day
My nut had been steadily swelling
So I limped to the store
Where I’d seen before
Some Advil that they had been selling

As I took two pills
To take care of my ills
(And maybe to lighten my mood)
My brother appeared
And looked at me weird
And said, “What’s wrong with you, dude?”

There was no time for that
No idle chit chat
As my face turned increasingly white
So I limped to the car
(Which was not parked that far)
And we headed to go catch my flight

To the airport we fly
My good brother and I
While puking my guts out the door
On the floor I did lie
Praying God I would die
Then jump up to go puke some more

So I got up to go
As they called out my row
And I nearly passed out from the pain
And I cried just a little
As I sat in the middle
Of that seriously overbooked plane

What a flight, I recall
As it felt like my ball
Was seriously going to erupt
But I tried not to shout
As I dozed in and out
And kept my cajones well cupped

We finally touched down
In dear Denvertown
And as Dani drove home from that flight
You might want to laugh
But I thought a hot bath
Would put an end to my horrible night

The bath didn’t work
So I thought, “You jerk!
You might as well go see a nurse”
So we got in the car
And drove (not that far)
Before my balls got any worse

So I got on the table
While I was still able
And for some painkillers I yearned
The doctor, he told me,
“It looks like your nut, see
Has gotten all twisted and turned”

“It’s not any good
If it’s not getting blood
And we might not be able to save it”
“But if not all of its dead”
The urologist said,
“We might just be able to shave it”

“Whatever,” I said
As I lay on the bed
“Just do what you think is best”
And he said, “Don’t worry
I’ll be done in a hurry
And the nurse will take care of the rest”

So they wheeled me away
And I started to say,
“Will I still be able to tinkle”
Then I counted to one
And before I was done
I was out like old Rip Van Winkle

I awoke in my bed
To the male nurse, who said,
“You know that your testy was saved”
So I felt down below
And what do you know
It wasn’t just inside they shaved!

Now my story is done
I hope you had fun
And maybe enjoyed a small laugh
But the rest of you crew
As you fondle your two
Think of me, and my one and a half

Monday, May 5, 2008

Guest Blogger- Joey

Can you guess what this is? I took this picture this weekend.

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After you've made your guess, click here to find the answer.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Campaign for Burma

Something to think about...



A list of sponsors of the Beijing Olympics can be found here.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Farming in the Suburbs

Recently, Jeff found a farm for sale that is perfect. It has everything that I could want. Goats, chickens, greenhouses (swoon!), a stream, a pond, a professional kitchen (I can only assume for canning and making cheese from all the goat milk). Just thinking about it makes me sigh and feel very very content. The only problem is that it's 70 acres and just a teensy, tinsey bit out of our price range (heh). As I spent the following days dreaming about being there and how I would live my life if we did, I realized that maybe I should pull my attentions back to the here and now and start where I am.

It was a grounding thought.

So, I've decided to dedicate some time and space on this site to talk about farming. Not farming with 30 sheep and dozens of chickens on acres of land, but farming here, in the suburbs. Right where I am.

It's sort of a crazy ambition considering that the only edible things I've grown here so far are tomatoes, pumpkins, mustard (as a cover crop) and herbs.

Oh yah, and dandelions. Those are edible. They are! I've seen them for sale at the health food store. Except, yah, we didn't actually eat ours, just composted them. But hey, maybe now that I've decided that we're a farm (and an organic one to boot) we will.

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(This is a picture of me creating the vegetable garden with the sheet composting method.)

And then with thoughts of local food swirling through my head this morning, I followed a link from Soule Mama and discovered the coolest CSA. It seems to fit right in with this idea. They are called Sense of Colorado and they don't actually have a farm either. They do all their 'farming' in suburban yards, most of them are right here in town. One is even a little plot in Denver.

Well, I guess I'd better get planning. This is Farmer Wendy signing out.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Kid Fears

Joey has a huge fear, almost a phobia really, of throwing up. She freaks out when she does it and she freaks out when others do it. She just cannot handle the idea of it. Really, she’ll actually run out of the room if there is any indication that barfing might occur on TV.

A few days ago, as we started Clash of the Titans, the parental warning came up.

Joey- What’s N stand for?

Jeff- What do you think it stands for?

Joey- Ummm… nausea?

If only. We could save ourselves a lot of drama if we knew that ahead of time. She just doesn’t understand why movies aren’t rated on whether they depict throwing up. Nudity, she couldn’t care less about, but please oh please, no puking.

And no, Honey, V does not stand for Vomiting.