Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ho Ho Ho!

We took the kids to our annual Santa Brunch at the Royal Park Hotel. They always look forward to this and have been asking me for weeks if we were going again this year. As usual, they made some crafts, decorated some cookies, ate too much food, walked around the gigantic gingerbread house, and got to visit with Santa.

You can see more photos HERE.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


My ladies have very different ways of looking at the world. Different motivations. Different attitudes. This should not surprise anyone ... it's just a fact.

If they have to draw a picture, Sarah is all rainbows and unicorns. She draws happy people in happy places. Paige? Not exactly. She has been known to draw fiery airplanes falling from the sky and zombies and dead things. Not always but ... more than your average 1st grade girl.

Sarah's favorite color is baby blue. Paige? Black.

Sarah is competitive to the point that she'll cheat to win. She cries when she looses. She rarely displays any efforts of good sportsmanship. Paige will tank a game just to let me win. She loses, laughs, and tries again. I love playing games with Paige. Sarah ... let's just say that she is eight years old and we only recently agreed to start playing board games with her again.

Sarah desperately wants to be the queen bee and she tries very hard to accomplish this goal -- without as much success as she'd like. Paige could care less but, still, has a whole gang of friends who follow her around and do just about everything she says.

My whole story is leading up to this.......

The kids' school recently had a competition called "Refelections". For the Reflections program the kids had the opportunity to complete a project with the theme of "Beauty is...". They could draw a picture, write a song or poem, take a picture, or do a dance.

Sarah thought long and hard. She wrote a poem and eventually scraped it. Then she drew a picture (filled with rainbows and butterflies) and used it as her entry. Paige listened to me tell her the instructions, found a pile of old artwork, picked out something she drew weeks ago (a picture of a giant banana with a bunch of smiley faces all around it), handed it to me, and told me to enter it. She said that bananas are beautiful.

In the end, neither girl won for her entry but both received a ribbon for entering the contest. On the back of the ribbon there was space to fill in their names, the date, and the place they won. Standard ribbon stuff.

Paige read the back and asked me which place she won. I told her that I didn't know. I told her that they only gave out medals to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. I told her that everyone got a ribbon like hers.

Both girls asked for a pen.

On Paige's ribbon it now reads: Paige, 12/9/2009, LAST PLACE.
Sarah's ribbon? It reads: Sarah, 12/9/2009, FIRST PLACE

Friday, December 11, 2009

Paige's 7th ... and a Long Story About a Cake

Last night we had a sleepover birthday party to celebrate my little Love Nugget turning SEVEN YEARS OLD.

When I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday she wasted no time in telling me that she wanted to ONLY invite her two favorite people: Holly and Caroline.

I have always thrown big crazy parties for the kids' birthdays. Now, both girls have had their most recent parties with only a few kids and I've decided that it is the way to go. Fo Sho, Baby! It's so very easy ... so little effort ... such happy kids. It's perfect.

Last night was lots of fun. The girls got along ... they included Nate and Sarah ... the sounds of happiness rang through the house (mostly).

You can see pictures HERE.

Also, I baked a $50 cake.

It looked like this:

My heart hurts just thinking about it. Basically, Williams-Sonoma hoodwinked me. In a rush -- an I-have-five-minutes-to get-back-to-the-school-to-pick-up-the-kids-but-first-I-have-to-pick-up-this-cake-pan-before-the-party kind of a rush -- I ran into my local WS to buy the $29.99 cake pan while it was 20% off. I ran in, grabbed the pan, got to the counter only to be told that the 20% was only if I bought the pan and the cake mix together. Without thinking I say 'fine give me a cake mix', handed the chick my credit card, signed that bugger and boogied out of the store while patting myself on the back for being so speedy.

As I'm speed-walking to my car I start to do the math and think to myself something along the line of ... "Pan was $30 ... bill was ... wait ... what was that final number?? How much was that cake mix?" I got in the car, pulled out the cake mix and read $9.99 and had a mild heart attack. That, to me, is outrageous. I was just in Kroger and saw a box of cake mix on sale for $0.75!

In my rushy rushy brain I start to rationalize. Well (I say to myself) it was $10 ... but I got 20% off ... so it was $8 ... still not a great price ... I start to feel foolish. Why didn't I look closer while I was still in the store? What was I thinking? Also, I'm thinking that I NEED to get to school on time and I wish I could catch more green lights and I wish that the dude in front of me would close the gap a little. So -- in that instant -- I decide that I'm going to return the whole thing. I'm taking it back. Paige can learn to love a different cake. I'm sure she will. I put the pan, mix, and receipt on the backseat and continue driving.

Flash forward two days. There are still two pricey boxes and a receipt frozen in my backseat, only one day until the party, no other cake ordered, and one daughter walking around telling me how much she wants a giant cookie cake for her birthday. I'm sure you see where this is going. You are right. I decided to swallow my pride and keep the stinkin' stuff.

Now, if you are anything short of a math flunkie you will be asking yourself another question. "Becky, if the pan costs $30 and the mix is $10 ... how can you call it a $50 cake?" Well, my clever little friend, I can call it that because I CAN'T READ. When I finally decided to save the hassle and keep the cake I had to go out to my freezing car and bring it all in the house. I had to face the box. And ... when I finally started reading the box ... can you guess what I saw? I saw a '1'. One little '1' squeezed in between the '$' and the '9' on the box of cake mix. Seriously. I threw up a little.

That stinkin' cake mix did not cost me a dreaded Ten Dollars as I thought. That stinkin' cake mix was TWENTY DOLLARS! Twenty. 20. 1-2-3-4-5-6-...TWENTY! (I'm sorry, Frank.)

At this point I was just over it. I rationalized like this: I'm having an itsy bitsy party. Tiny, really. I spent next to nothing to throw it. I'm keeping the damned cake for the simple fact of saving myself the time and effort of trying to take it back. Period. AND ... it better be the best cake I've ever tasted. The kids better be licking their fingers and begging for more. It better be good, Williams-Sonoma, you hear me??

(Also, my math-minded friends, let's not forget that I actually paid 20% less -- only $40 -- for my sins. It's all much more dramatic when I make it a flat $50. That's the way I roll. Live with it.)

So, in the end, I baked the cake with little problem. The raw batter was delicious (and I was secretly pleased that I made it while the kids were at school so that I could lick the spoon myself). It turned out to be a heavy cake -- kind of like a huge brownie. The icing was tasty. The whole thing was SWEET. One piece is enough. The batter was better than the final product. The kids barely ate it and I found myself suppressing the urge to somehow salvage the remaining bits of $50 (I know, $40) cake from their plates. It was like throwing away tiny piles of gold dust.

My recommendation to you: If you ever get the desire to bake a humongous Oreo cookie cake, please call me. You can use my pan. Buy your cake mix on sale at Kroger. But, please please, use my pan. Make me feel like I'm getting my money's worth out of it.

That's it. Enjoy the photos. Thanks for reading........

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

One of These Things Does Not Belong......

Can you spot the impostor in our tree?????

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ding Dong ...Welcome to Munchkinland

Sarah auditioned today for a spot in The Wizard of Oz.

It was her first time auditioning for anything. She was part of a group of 12 kids who competed against four other groups of 12. They were all trying to be the best munchkins ever.

They did a fantastic job singing and learning the choreography. Unfortunately, her group did not win ... but they certainly had fun trying!

Here's a group photo that I took at the theater......