Wednesday, April 27, 2011

leaving home...

Easter was wonderful at the Smith house, it was a welcome break from the unpacking, place finding, and sprucing up that we have been doing for the past month.  My In-Law’s came into town and we did the obligatory egg dying, egg hunting, and Easter bunnying.  It was nice to have our first overnight guest in the new house; we had plenty of room and everyone seemed to sleep comfortably. 

Even though we did some yard work and a bit of maintance on the pool, it was relaxing.  We got the hammock up and enjoyed the mild breezy weather while visiting over under ripe watermelon.  It was yummy.  It was refreshing catching up with the news on the family and having the chance to see their sweet faces.  On perfect weekends like these it makes me so lonesome for my parents, I have actually been missing living IN their house. 

My parents were the parents everyone wanted; the house was welcoming, the advice supportive, and the company was enertaining.  Maybe that's why I have been missing them so much; they did TOO good of a job in making me feel loved, supported, and safe...I want to go back.  It really is an odd rite of passage, leaving home.  From the moment you are brought into this world people spend their time caring for you, providing for you, and making you feel safe  Your childhood is spent developing life skills and it's like a second job for your parents.  As an only child I rely on my parents a good deal so you can imagine how thankful I was to recieve a flyer from Cheetah's school.  They wanted to offer some insight into what they would be expecting from him as he begins his school years.  Up until this point I felt that we were doing a great job preparing him for his future.  I never considered the skills they had listed: buckling a belt, tucking in a shirt, wiping his bottom, reciting our phone number, knowing our address, and opening a milk carton.  Our dreams of a summer day lazing by the pool now have to include pop quizes and skill tests.  Oh the life of a responsible parent.

Speaking of pools...

We have come a LONG way.  I say WE but what I really mean is Tarzan has done some hard work.

Thanks to his efforts, with some advice from the In-Laws we may be in the pool by my birthday weekend!!  Score one more for Tarzan!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

W.O.M. Part 2 - Completed

At the beginning of this year I decided that I would spend my time going places to visit my friends and family, try to make the effort to show people how much they mean to me.  Cheetah and I were so excited when we learned that we could squeeze in a visit with his Godmother AND my pledge sisters from college, not to mention the gift of a 'kid-free week' my In-Laws would be giving us the follwing week.  We began packing our bags when I came up with a cute list for Cheetah to do his own packing, he had a blast and I must admit he did a great job matching his outfits up.
Our trip up north ended up being a race, with one terrible storm on our heels.  It is being quoted as one of the largest tornado outbreaks in our history, there were 267 tornados and the death toll has reached 45.  The weather was terrible but we were safe and sound...please send prayers for all that were affected.
We had a great time visiting with our family Taunt Brandi and Uncle Carlos, Taunt Sally, Taunt Emily, and cousin Andy; I was a bit sad that Cheetah missed seeing some of the family but he was more than ready to head over to his Nana's house.  Before he left he made sure to point out how nice he was and how often he shared his toys with cousin Andy...'see I could be a big brother'...oy vay!

We had a baby shower for Sally and she got some really great gifts, the advice and conversations were helpful and giggleful for sure.  Missy made a WONDERFUL diaper cake, it was super cute and full of important tools of the trade. 

Afterwards we headed to campus to participate in our springtime college reunion.  To top off such a great day together, we ended it with doing shots of salsa from my favorite mexican restaurant.

Then off to one awesome dance party with the kids and doing some 'grown-up' shots when the kids went to bed.

It was a great weekend, I always feel so much better after our visits, even though I get a bit sad on the drive home.  I am so lucky indeed to have such a wonderful extended family of carefully selected friends.  Now I am off to enjoy my 'kid-free week' full of chores and relaxation.  I'll keep you posted.  :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

I like my drinks stout, just not my beer.

Something you should know about Tarzan is that he really enjoys talk radio, it is something that usually aggravates me but now he has won me over.  Last week as he was on his way to work he heard the dj discussing a recent event and new instantly that it would be right up my alley.  When the dj said they were giving away tickets he began speed dialing the station, he was caller #5 (crazy, huh??) and won two passes to the 2nd annual Top of the Hops Brewfest!  We were so excited, not only were we going to have a blast but it just so happens that my parents had offered to watch Cheetah this weekend so we could celebrate our 8th years of marriage.  The luck didn’t stop there, when he went to pick up the tickets, the tickets came with an awesome prize pack!!  We won an ice bucket, a 6 pack of FANTASTIC beers, concert tickets, bottle opener, and Sam Adam’s beer glasses.

To prepare for the event we had Cheetah help us construct our pretzel necklaces, we heard that they were the only food that would be allowed through the gates.  The necklaces were a hit, a lot of people asked where we bought them and several strangers decided to take part in our yummy accessories. 

We had so much fun, we tasted some rather nasty (IMHO) beers but were able to find quite a few we enjoyed.  It was a really fun way to learn which beers to steer clear of and which types to purchase.  One word I can add to my vocabulary is STOUT, and I don’t like it!  I had a great time chatting with Tarzan, deciding which one to try next, and watching people’s reactions to the beers they tasted.  We ended the day by heading over to a local bar and partaking in our favorite liquor and some super yummy burgers (thanks Rivals!).  One thing the Brewfest taught me is that I am not the ‘beer drinker’ that I thought I was…thinking I’ll stick with the Turkey! 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dear Jane:

As you are growing up you receive lots of ‘advice’ on how to make it through the world with as little scars as possible, and it’s my opinon that we heed that advice about 60% of the time…the other 40% time we choose to figure things out on our own. There are some particular pieces of advice that I will always remember, mostly because I did NOT listen and I learned my lesson the hard way.

1. “Don’t change your major after your sophomore year in college”, I changed mine DURING, my sophomore year from Speech – Language Pathology and Audiology to Psychology. It was possibly the dumbest decision I ever made.

2.       “Don’t get a degree in something that requires more school”.  There is not a job in the world for someone with a BA in Psychology, trust me.
3. “Don’t drink by the pool, you may fall asleep”: I ended up with the worse sunburn of my adulthood.

Out of not listening to people’s advice some really great things can come from the lessons you learn:

1. “Don’t pledge that club with the Skulls & Crossbones” – made some of the best friends of my life.

2. “Don’t drink too much while you are in Chicago” – a little over 8 months later I met my son.

3.       “Don’t call Tarzan for help with Physics, you WILL fail.” Twelve years later and we are still together.
When given advice you really need to consider the source and always take it with a grain of salt.  If you decide to not listen, be prepared to hear plenty “I told you so’s”.  If the advice is given by your mother, heed MY advice and listen, she is ALWAYS right!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Girl Scout in the kitchen.

Recently my cooking implements have become quite the 'gag reel' at the Smith household.  First you must know that if you could name a kitchen tool, I have it and use it, however at a moments notice I NEVER think to use it.  Maybe it has something to do with all my years as a Girl Scout, it's not a challenge if I open the drawer and use the strainer to rescue all the noodles from Cheetah's soup, I must use a silver meat fork.

Why use a spatula to get a slice of pizza from the toaster oven when a silver pie server works just as well?

When removing my fresh baked bread from the bread machine I lie it ontop of several skewers on a baking sheet (part of my toaster oven), instead of the 3 cooling racks that I have...

The cooling racks also don't get used when removing cupcakes from the oven, I use the insert to my toaster oven...

Now when I need to pour icing on my petit fors I DO use my cooling racks...

In my kitchen everything does have a purpose, it's just not what the factory designed it for.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tried and True dishes!

Every family has those 'tried and true' dishes that are comforting and full of memories, I wanted to share two of my favorites.

They both start with any of your favorite cake mixes and your favorite tub of icing.  One of my favorite cakes is a Spice Cake, it's so moist and full of flavorfull spices.  This time I used s; CAyenne Pepper, Sage, and Marjoram.  :)

Mix as directed and pour into a greased cake pan and bake as directed...and violia!  Spice cake.

The 2nd 'dish' is a favorite of children of ALL ages. 

You start with a cake mix and frosting, pour into lined cupcake pan and bake as directed.

Then be sure to add your favorite 'topping' onto the cupcakes and be sure to please your mother and SHARE!!

I sure hope you hear 'shouts' of excitement when you serve these delightful dishes to all your family and friends!