Sidney. Bono. Yoda. Apples.

Sidney and Bono

Jeff and I were watching a documentary about U2.

Sidney began to mimic Bono’s posture.

We all laughed and laughed.

(All of this to ask: Do you have a favorite variety of apple? I just did a side by side comparison of SweeTango and Honeycrisp, and SweeTango was definitely the winner. I know at least three people who would slap me for saying such a thing, but look at me. I just said it.)
You are cordially invited to admire my senior photo from high school and take a chance at winning $150!

Please read about my extraordinary family, and follow the links to win all sorts of prizes! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

My lip is still quivering.

So, I’m about 16 hours out from the Memphis trip, and the only thing I’ve done to get ready is swallow a bunch of migraine pills. Because I’m a menstrual migraineur. And that’s all you need to know. Anyway, I was going to let myself get all stressed out about it, and then I went over to The BHJ and saw this. Suddenly, nothing seems more important to me than rallying behind the man who wants to run 5K after 5K to honor a little boy whose muscles are giving out. I’ve placed a widget thinger dinger in my sidebar (under the VIB head) and another one right below this post so you can donate if you feel inclined. If you can’t donate, please keep The BHJ in your thoughts on August 6th, and please keep  Tanner’s family in your thoughts today and always.

Enjoy your weekend.

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Young and loved and feel it in our bones…

It’s warm out. And while I typically enjoy Cold better than Not Cold, I’m sort of enjoying being able to throw on a skirt without the tights.

And now I have some very important questions for you.

It looks like I’ll be getting my first pedicure (of the season) tomorrow afternoon. (I know. I despise talking about feet. But again, I have pressing needs, and I love your opinions.) I’m typically drawn to my old favorite when it comes to color, but now I’m wondering if one should go brighter because spring has sprung or something. Also, my fingernails are so so so short. Does one get a manicure when one’s fingernails barely exist, or should one grow out those nails before engaging in manicurish behavior? Should the color of your hands match that of your feet, or are contrasting colors encouraged? Should I throw in something about health care just to make myself seem a bit more legit?

I have soup in the Crock Pot, I just accepted some freelance work, I can almost do the Ludacris part of the Justin Bieber song, and my book club is meeting Thursday to eat soul food and discuss The Help. All is well. Better than well, in fact. I hope you are the same.
The girls ate ice cream and Pop-Tarts, and now I’m giving away a $100 Visa gift card! Follow this link if you’re interested!

I’m drinking lots of juice and diving into the Tropicana Juicy Rewards Program. (AND giving away a $50 Visa gift card!) You can follow along right here! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Whatever happened to Buddy Hinton?

Jeff’s birthday was Monday, and although we didn’t get him exactly what he wanted, we did get him a few small useful things. (Like Skittles! And Garfield Minus Garfield!) When he returned home from work on his birthday, the girls sat him on the couch and instructed him to close his eyes and hold out his hands. Obviously, this gave Jeff the opportunity to act all deranged—with his eyes closed and his arms outstretched as far as they would go, he waited until the girls screamed, “No! That’s too big!” before he started swinging his arms around like he was swimming in a pool of monkeys. Because I’m not very graceful when it comes to giving gifts, I danced around and attempted to place an Applebee’s gift card into one of his flailing arms. (Please know that his eyes were still closed and the girls were screaming with delight. Chaos, I tell you.) As I jerked around and placed the card into his left hand, Jeff swung his right arm and punched me square in the jaw. Immediately, my eyes began to water and the scene quickly turned from knee-slapping birthday jollification to remorse for the ghastly accidental pounding.

Me: So. Is this what 39 is going to be like?

Jeff: You KNOW I don’t like APPLEBEE’S!!!

(He didn’t really say that. Jeff recognizes the importance of eating good in the neighborhood.)

Internet, may I ask a favor of you? (I always feel weird doing this, and I try not to do it often.) Two friends of mine have kids who attend the St. Louis Language Immersion School (SLLIS). The school is currently in the running to receive an equipment grant that will go toward building a playground. (I absolutely hate the idea of kids not having a playground.) I will not ask you to donate cash, but would you please consider voting for SLLIS to receive one of these grants? (It’s as easy as clicking a button, and you can vote once each day until March 31.)

I offer you my deepest thanks, along with the promise that this act of kindness will not get you punched in the jaw. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

It’s Shirt vs. Skin, Mr. Bobby Flay.

Although I probably watch entirely too much television, I don’t really have any shows that I Absolutely Cannot Miss. (My fingers are crossed behind my back right now, because I sort of can’t miss Days of Our Lives or The Secret Life of the American Teenager. I justify my viewing of these shows in the following manner: In my mind, the average age of a Days of Our Lives fan is 60. Secret Life fan? 20. At (nearly) 40, I am The MEAN!)

When I’m sitting on the couch knitting, I tend to hop through channels. More often than not, I end up on Food Network because I find that the Food Network hosts are (mostly) people I could see myself cavorting with in real life. (In a parallel universe, I am decorating cakes with Chef Duff Goldman right now. It’s an enormous cake that looks exactly like a bathtub filled with scrambled eggs, and Chef Duff is very impressed with the fluffy perfection of my marzipan eggs. Okay. Back to this universe.) Anyway. The show that consistently captures my attention is Throwdown! with Bobby Flay. (Side note: I would love to have this, but it looks like shipping would cost more than the actual DVD. I refuse to pay more in shipping than in product! I am Ridiculous that way, Food Network.)

Please know that I’ve never caught an entire episode of Throwdown! with Bobby Flay. With that said, here’s how I think it goes down: Someone considers herself to be sort of an expert on a particular food item. This person looks into the camera and goes on and on about how her blueberry pancakes are “The Greatest Blueberry Pancakes EVER, Bobby Flay, because here in South Dakota, we know our Blueberry Pancakes!” And then Bobby Flay, looking all fetching as he struts down the streets of South Dakota in his Ray-Bans, says “Hey! You think your blueberry pancakes can beat MY BLUEBERRY PANCAKES?! I’ll kick your pancakey butt right into Shrove Tuesday, Cha Cha!” He then busts into the house and embarrasses the self-proclaimed Blueberry Pancake Queen in front of her friends and family by making blueberry pancakes that put an end to every other blueberry pancake—all with one hand tied behind his back and absolutely no sweat to be seen.

At the end of the show, the townspeople vote, and more often than not, Bobby Flay is the Throwdown! Winner. And it really should make me feel a bit sad for the humiliated loser (who, in my mind, is eventually chased out of town), and sometimes it DOES, but more often than not, I simply cannot stop thinking that I wish Bobby had performed the entire Throwdown! without his shirt on.

Before I go any further, let me just say this: If a man would bounce on over to Fluid Pudding and say something about wishing Rachael Ray would do HER show without a shirt on, it would offend me. More than a little, even. And that, my friends, makes me a Hypocrite—a hypocrite who wants Bobby Flay to come over to my house and Throwdown! without his shirt on.

So. With that out of the way, it appears that I need to quickly become a locally-known expert on a particular food item.

After thinking about this for nearly ten minutes, I have chosen the Sweet Potato for two obvious reasons: 1. I bake a sweet potato almost every day for lunch. (With that said, I am not an expert on the baked sweet potato. Sometimes they’re not quite done. Sometimes they’re entirely TOO done. I do not discriminate. All are eaten—some just evoke more fond memories than others.) 2. Potatoes have skins, which opens up that whole Shirt vs. Skin thing, in which I would be Shirt. (And, most likely, Shirt with Swingy Cardigan.)

This is not going to be an easy task, which is exactly why I am here to ask for your help.

What can I do with a sweet potato that would stir Bobby Flay into a St. Louis Fluid Pudding Sweet Potato Shirtless Throwdown! (SLFPSPST)?

Quick! I need your sweet potato ideas!

(Confession: As much as I would dig seeing Mr. Flay without his shirt on, I really wrote this entire entry because I am looking for sweet potato recipes. (I tend to dance around for seven hundred words (or more) before getting down to business.))
I spent a week driving a Lincoln, and if you check out my review you could win a $500 Visa gift card! (And more!)

I’m giving away a $200 Visa gift card, and it’s all about pizza. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

The only problem: Tomatoes aren’t so good right now.

Our parent/teacher conference is on Thursday evening, and I have volunteered to bring a food item to school for the teachers to snack on during the conferences. Because my mind tends to swim around in paltry waters and I want my food item to be a Memorable and Thoughtful food item (preferably containing a protein of some sort because that’s what I tend to crave these days), I’m obsessing about what to bring.

My brain is telling me to buy a 30 pack of Taco Bell tacos.

My heart is telling me to create an out of this world vegetarian taco dip casserole thing.

My daughters are telling me to bake brownies.

My husband is telling me that he’s leaving town on Wednesday and won’t be returning until approximately two minutes before our first conference.

Any recommendations?

In completely unrelated news, if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll notice that I’ve come out of hiding (I’m not so good at Twitter, if one may be considered Good at Twitter) and am now completing nearly every one of my thoughts with #momspotting. I’ll be telling you more about that in the coming weeks, but for now, here’s a video that will surely catapult you to the edge of your seats.

Vegetarian taco dip, right? ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

I’m thinking of pulling out The House of Mirth again.

The first book my book club read was Revolutionary Road. Because I recommended the book, I read it. On book club night, we watched the movie, discussed the book while eating at Canyon Cafe, and chose our next book .

The second book my book club read was The Other Queen. I tried to read it. Really, I did. And when the book club scheduled the next gathering and I hadn’t even made it to the halfway point, I purchased the audio book. And I tried to get through it. But I failed. And when I went to the meeting to discuss the book, I spent most of my time discussing the lemon bars I had made. (They were really great lemon bars! Worth talking about! Mary, Queen of Who?!)

The third book my book club read was Three Cups of Tea. And something must be wrong with me, because I couldn’t get through that one, either. And when the book club scheduled the next gathering and I hadn’t even made it to the halfway point, I purchased the audio book. And I tried to get through it. But I failed. (Does this paragraph sound oddly familiar?!) I had a migraine the night of the bonfire/discussion session—which bums me out to this day, because come on. Bonfire. I still haven’t read the book.

The fourth book my book club read was The Shack. And get this. We chose the book sometime in April, I believe, and I’M STILL NOT FINISHED WITH IT. We’re meeting on Sunday, and I have about forty more pages to go, which means I’ll probably get through it, but what is wrong with me?! I can’t read a book in six months? And it’s a book about God! I should totally be done with it by now!

I’m still working on Infinite Jest. I had a brief e-mail exchange last week with a woman who summed up my feelings perfectly. The more I read this book, the more I fall in love with it, and the more I don’t want it to end. So I’m reading it very slowly. Too slowly. I don’t even believe I’ve reached page 300 yet.

I am not getting any smarter, Internet, and I believe it’s because I’m not reading as much as I should.

I blame silk and wool.

What are you reading these days? ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

I put the meat-free thing on hold when it comes to chili.

My father and I have a problem.

We’re chili fans, you see, and it seems that RB Rice has stopped producing their chili block, which was a vital ingredient in our Perfect Chili recipe. Without the RB Rice chili block, we’re left shaking our heads and throwing beans and spices around all willy nilly.

Dad has found that the recipe on the back of the Brooks Chili Seasoning bag is good, and adding a can of drained kidney beans makes it even better.

I have been known to melt Hershey bars in my chili. Once again, I have no idea what I’m doing.

Are you sitting on The Perfect Chili Recipe? Cough it up, my friend.

My father and I are starting to feel desperate.

And ’tis the season. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

As long as there’s Sea Silk, the world is a happy place. Right?

Our annual neighborhood street party took place two weeks ago. While the girls were off playing with the other kids, Jeff reached over from his lawn chair and touched my hair. Naturally, I thought he was feeling amorous, but I covered.

Me: Did I have a bug?

Jeff: No. I was just noticing the gray.

Oh, Internet. It’s been happening for a long time, but it never really became Real until that moment. I Am Getting Old. I am no longer able to change the shape of my body. (I’ve been trying unsuccessfully for over a year now, and sure: I have been known to eat handfuls of chocolate chips, but for the most part? I am a healthy eater. AND, I’ve once again been working out every day. Still, the pants are too tight and the scale never changes.) I am The Shape of a Mom. And it sounds like I’m complaining. I’m not complaining. I believe I’m really just sort of sighing and realizing that I can’t get out of bed and look fresh anymore. (The sad thing? When I was in my twenties, I could get out of bed and look good. AND, I looked better as the day dragged on. By 11:00 at night when it was time to go out? A little bit of eyeliner and some shoes of questionable height would often score free beverages for me! It’s not like that anymore. It’s not  like that At All.)

But that’s not really what I wanted to talk about. What I WANTED to do was share my Friday with you. This morning I dropped Meredith off at school, I’m currently drinking coffee while Harper plays a game, and in about two hours I’m going to The Loopy Ewe to pick up a skein of Hand Maiden Sea Silk 150. You see, the Sea Silk normally comes in 437 yard skeins. HOWEVER, every once in awhile things go happy crazy, and some skeins are created that contain 656 yards! And because Sea Silk is my all time favorite yarn, this happy crazy event often feels like the smiliest part of Christmas morning. For me, at least. (Side note: If you order a skein of Sea Silk 150, let me know. I can provide a list of possible patterns for you! I’ve been doing some research! I think I’ll be making one of these!)

After my yarn pick-up, Harper and I are going to the mall with my mom to grab a bite of lunch before she gets her monthly B12 shot, and then we will be returning home so I can get my bag packed for an evening of Houlihan’s and scrapbooking. And that’s funny, because I don’t really scrapbook as a verb. However, I *do* enjoy Houlihan’s with friends (although the apostrophe S is really bothering me today for some reason), and I haven’t carried my goofy scissors into a mall in over a year, so there you go. (I’ve been putting a note in Meredith’s lunch box every day for the past three weeks. I believe my evening will be spent stockpiling a bunch of those notes. Right now, I tend to simply draw a backward cat out of a Q and then write something ridiculous like “This cat wishes he could wear your candy corn shirt!!!” Yeah. I’m struggling.)

So, what’s your plan for today?

(I offer my apologies for being so bland. What do you want to know?)

Edited to Add: Aaaaahhhhhhhh.
Salt Spray ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Blitzkrieg Bop

I have an idea. Let’s make that whole “Attack Site” thing The Thing of Which We Shall Not Speak (TToWWSNS), okay? Onward!

I have a question. Should I be eating polenta? My grocery store is starting to carry “exciting” flavors, and I really don’t know what polenta is, but if the packaging looks sort of artsy and the words Mushroom Onion are right there in front of me, well, let’s just say I’m feeling a bit of temptation. The only thing that makes me put the polenta back on the shelf is the fact that holding it reminds me of holding pork sausage. I hold pork sausage only once each year. On Christmas morning. When I make this.

I have another question. Does anyone else detest the  mornings as much as I do? It seems that our mornings are filled with kids yelling and screaming and pushing one another, and I let all of these things slowly fill me up until steam pours out of my ears and I feel as if I might sneak off into the bedroom and put my fist through a wall. This morning on the way to school, I (loudly) taught the girls about The Golden Rule. And I know how ridiculous I sounded, but I decided to NOT yell and scream about their behaviors and ugh! something about the importance of Teaching Moments, and gheez. I came home from drop off and made the biggest, most unstable pinto bean burrito you can imagine, and then I went to the vet clinic and picked up Ramona, who had a bit of a peeing issue on Monday, and now here I sit with a cat on my lap and a banana in my hand.

Me: Meredith, do you want Harper to push YOU down?

Meredith: No.

Me: Then you shouldn’t push Harper down.

Meredith: Mommy, I really don’t think Harper is strong enough to push me down.

Me: Burritoburritoburritoburritoburrito…

I’m wearing handknit socks today, and they go a little something like this:

Embossed Leaves Socks

Also, don’t forget the Febreze Giveaway! (It occurred during TToWWSNS, and I don’t want you to miss it!)

Finally, I’m doing NaBloPoMo in November. Are you?

Oh! Have you visited Offbeat Mama? Because I love it. So much. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>