Saturday, June 30, 2007

Visitors, Vaccuums and Vacation

I love visitors!

As I type Lara and her Family are on their way to the wild west for a five day stay.

I am doing the final preparations for their arrival. Lara and Co., will be my first visitors in The New House and it has taken me a bit longer to get ready because I do not have a "system" yet in The New House. I usually have a systematic process I go through to get things ready for house guests. But with a new house comes a new I am learning.

If I may have a homemakers moment...

One of the things that is driving me crazy right now is the vacuum. I bought a new bag less vacuum two years ago. What I really wanted was a Dyson, but I got this one because it was more affordable. But it's horrible because you need fifteen different filters and the dirt ALWAYS gets stuck! IT makes me a bit crabby. And there is nothing worse than a crabby cleaner.

Now, with the new carpet, it's ten times worse. Every time I vacuum I think about that Dyson. IS it worth the money? Anyone out there have one? Is it everything they say it is? I need to know!

On a different topic, with 4 adults and 5 kiddos running around our desert dwelling this week I decided that Kona, the wonder mutt, needed a little vacation of her own. So she has been shipped off to the the house of The Alpha Dog and His Wife. I think she was happy about it but she's pretty moody so you never know.

OK...I have procrastinated long enough. I must go vacuum with that bag less beast.

Hurray Visitors! Are you here yet?

La Vida Dulce!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Conversation with The Boy

Or...How You Know You Are Raising Kids In A New Millennium

A couple nights ago, since The Mister wasn't going to be home for dinner, the kids asked if I would buy them a Happy Meal. We don't do this very often because, quite frankly, I think I would rather eat dog food before eating McDonalds. At least I know what they put in dog food.

We went through the drive-thru and brought their dinner home. While I was busy getting plates and napkins and drinks, and trying to figure out what I could eat myself, The Boy said:

-Mom, we probably don't need this receipt taped to the bag, huh?

-No, I replied, since you are eating the food, probably not.

-Yeah, says he, probably the only time you would need a receipt is if, you know...

(and I think he is going to say when they forget the fries, or when they put mayo on what is supposed to a mayo-less meal. But he says, like it happens every day) know, like if you find a finger or something.

-Yeah, son, that's right. Like if you find a finger...or something.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Easy Bake Monster

A mother has her limits. I couldn't take the prepackaged dessert mixes anymore. I. Just. Couldn't. Take. It.

I figured that there had to be some resourceful mom out there in cyber space who had come up with small batch recipes for this crazy oven. Surely, I am not the only mother who doesn't want to waste precious daily calorie intake with the likes of Easy Bake Brownies, who knows what that stuff really is? If I am going to eat cookies and cake all day I want it to taste good.

I could have taken a recipe of my own and cut it down and tried to figure out the fractions, and baking times, and all that but why reinvent the wheel if you don't have to? Plus, y'all, I have many talents, but just between you and me, math isn't really one of them.

I found several recipes online and The Girl has proceeded to bake Snow Mounds, Cinnamon cake, and Thumb Print cookies.

Now she's on a new mission. Everyday she asks me if she can take the things she bakes over to the neighbors. I am aware she has learned this from me. I have always made baked goods for my neighbors. And by the way, those Atkins Years, when all my neighbors decided carbs were evil, just about killed me. No carbs? You gotta be kidding me?

But anyway...The Girl is completely befuddled. Don't I want to know our neighbors? Yes! Yes, I want to get to know the neighbors but I'm not quite ready to make the baked goods leap yet. Bringing over baked goods is a commitment. You know?
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Monday, June 25, 2007

This Post Is Not About How Hot It Is Here

OK, I have been looking around for a few blogs to read since my sweet bloggy friends listed on the side are once-a-year bloggers. Actually, Blue Skies and Lara have been doing better lately but Mrs Ant Rancher and Hair Dresser just like to leave a girl hanging.

Actually, Mrs. Ant Rancher has other issues, like she's in her 40's and needs some Ginko to help boost the old password rememberer. I am allowed to say that, out loud, right on this blog, because she and I have a deal. We pinkie swore almost 8 years ago that she would help me get through the breastfeeding years (she's a lactation guru) and I would sneak her pizza and beer in the nursing home when the time comes. Since I am such a spring chicken and all.

Anyway, I was looking for some blogs, where people actually post, and I came across Bye Bye Buy. When you get a chance you should surf on over there and read about this how this gal and her hubby have committed the entire year to not spending money. Her writing is hilarious, thought provoking, and dare I suggest inspiring. Since she has only been blogging for 6 months it's well worth going back to the very first post to start from the very beginning. Now I will be singing that song all day.

I also found this great site for those of you who have always wanted to sleep like a princess. Maybe if we all save our pennies like Bye Bye Buy we could all sleep like royalty. Then again, maybe not.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Rant, Reveal, and Recipe of a Merry Mom

Rant: I hate Playdough. I know as a mother of school age children I should be tarred and feathered for saying those words. But it's true. I have never liked it. Before we moved I thought I had thrown all of it out. But apparently there were two unopened cans in our house when the packers packed our stuff. Yesterday The Girl found them as we unpacked the last three boxes (We're done unpacking HOORAY!!!) I n the past I have allow the kids to play with it, but only outside, and afterward they had to shake down and scrub up. These days I can't send them outside because it is blazing hot the minute the sun comes up. I don't like how it smells. I don't like how it crumbles, even when fresh, and gets all over. So I have pretty much banned it from the house. I know, I know I'm mean. That's what I get paid the big bucks for.

Reveal: I am totally loving my new kitchen counters. They are so roomy I could do just about anything on them (Lara, get your head out of the gutter! I am talking about laundry). I no longer have the luxury of an extra room to dump laundry in. Gone are the days of unloading the dryer to the guest bed, shutting the door, and not going back until the troops started to complain that they didn't know where their laundry had gone. Now I bring the clean laundry to my counter top and fold it up. This way, laundry must be dealt with immediately, which may or may not make my laundry woes easier. The good news is that for now, it is all done. (Picture below)

Recipe: Y'all I have a new online addiction, . I love the feature that allows you to type in the ingredients you have on hand and it will pull up recipes with those items in it.

Last night I found the best recipe for one of my all time favorite kitchen staples (after coffee of course): The Tortilla.

You can see the recipe here. I tweaked it a bit. I used grapes instead of kiwi, and I only added 1 Tbls. Brown sugar to the fruit, instead of all the other stuff because I didn't want it too sweet. I took flour tortillas, cut them into wedges, sprayed them generously with Pam spray and sprinkled them (before baking) with a cinnamon and sugar mixture. Wow!

And something else, because I am feeling particularly chatty today. I often look things up in a thesaurus, so when I write things on this blog that talk about the same thing, I can use new words so you think you are actually reading something different. I was trying to think of a catchy title so I looked up 'housewife' in the online thesaurus. What came up made me laugh!

La Vida Dulce!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The 5 K's

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In honor of my Carolina Girls, who called me last night right before a very fun Woman's ministry event that has always been close to my heart, I am posting a picture of:

NC Mama and her 5K's

In this picture we are not in order. From your left, is K5, K3, NC Mama, K1, K2, and me, K4.
We are the only set of quintuplets in the nation that were born in different years and different states. Yes, all our names start with a K.

I did not get the "wear pastels" memo for this photo op.

But no one cared.

Miss you gals!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Real Quick

I have to hurry because my carpool to the away Swim meet is on her way but I had to blog for just a moment...

It is 101 degrees and I am about to spend 4 hours pool side in a city an hour away.

Today has not been the best of days, but then again it isn't the worst either. I had a little mishap with the baking powder while making banana bread.

And I am feeling a little NC homesickness because my girls called while preparing for the first Summer Salad Supper of the season! Which is awesome because they are so fun, and horrible...because I AM NOT THERE!

OK, I'll fess up! The real reason why I am grumpy is that I tweezed not one. Not Two. BUt 7 whiskers from my chin today!!!

Monday, June 18, 2007


The boxes are mostly unpacked and the organizing of the home is beginning to slow down. Which means I actually might have a brain that is functioning again. Then again, I have children, which is seriously hard on the brain...but I digress.

There are several things that have happened in the past couple of weeks that I am incredibly thankful for, way too many to mention in one post.

But I wanted to tell you how very grateful I am for God's protection the first night we had the New House.

As I mentioned before our household goods had to be delivered on June the 4th, but the new carpet couldn't be installed until the 5th. So we had our movers move all our stuff into the tiled areas (and in the garage) and left everything locked up in the house where it would stay until the following afternoon, when The Mister would be done with work and some friends could come over and help us move items/boxes to their proper room. That day I was able to completely unpack the kitchen, including the pantry.

The kids had been down the street at the Cousins house all day and I went over to pick them up before we left. They took a quick look at our now very full house. While The Mister and I sat with our mouths gapping open with the enormity of work that lay before us, The Boy and The Girl saw a the potential for a really good game of Hide and Seek.

As I sat on some boxes and watched The Mister continue to do some last minute honey-do's, I vaguely remember that my body was screaming at me for two different things: Either get me some caffeine or put me to bed! I also remember hearing The Girl squeal with delight at the great potential our new pantry had for Hide and Seek. Not only was it fairly large and roomy, but it had a pocket door and it's own light! With a switch! Which is so great for when you don't want to hide in the dark and you are to short to reach a string pull!

I finally decided that what my tired self needed was dinner and a Diet Dew, 'cuz we still had 3 months of living in my parent's house to pack, clean and load up. We locked up with our brand new key and went to my parent's house.

At 9:30pm I finally laid my head down because I couldn't stand myself anymore and The Mister came to me and said that he didn't really know why but he had a funny feeling he should go back to the house. I thought he was so tired that he had become delirious and told him to just lie down, but if he was going to go anyway, could he take some of my stuff over there so that I didn't have to haul it out there in the morning?

I didn't hear him come to bed. In the morning he said that everything had been OK, but he still had an unsettled feeling.

That unsettled feeling is called:Owning Two Houses. I kissed him lovingly, and sent him off to work.

I got my coffee and headed out to the house, and here is an interesting bit of La Vida Trivia, before I had kids I had virtually no sense of smell. I couldn't smell perfumes and I would pretend that I could smell the scent of flowers. Unless it was really strong (like as in rank) I couldn't smell it. But when I became pregnant my nose went into over drive. Since then I have been able to smell a variety of different smells (both good and bad). I can differentiate between flowers and perfumes, and coffee, and I was privilege to those lovely years in diapers, but I don't have the best sniffer. I have to give the milk carton to The Boy to test the milk. He's like a Bloodhound, that Boy.

All that to say, sometimes I smell things and I am not sure what they are. Sometimes I need help.

But when I walked into the house that morning I smelled smoke. A very faint, very quick whiff of smoke. I couldn't see fire, and I didn't know what it could be, so I ignored it. I thought all was well.

I puttered while I waited for the carpet layers. I couldn't do much since all the unpacking hindered on these guys getting the carpet in. I decided I would open the pantry and look at the shelves and dream of how I would organize it's vast shelving (my last pantry was a bit small.). Plus, I thought that this would be a good time to look at my Kitchen Aide mixer, since I know that it missed me for all those months. I opened the door and there it was again. Strong. The smell of smoke.

I looked up and realized that the painters had taped a brown paper bag around the light fixture to keep it clean of paint, and the light was on. Had been all night.

I quickly turned the light off and poked my finger into the bag and a pile of black ash fell to the floor. There hadn't been flames, but that bag had smoldered and burned. It was a quiet but very potential threat to our new home. There was nothing stopping that little smoldering bag from bursting into flames and burning everything we owned. All our "stuff" was nicely packed in flammable, brown, cardboard moving boxes.

I literally fell to my knees. Right there on my kitchen floor. Surrounded by boxes and waiting for carpet people, and thanked God for staying the night. For saving my house.

Psalm 9:2 I will tell about all your amazing deeds! I will be happy and rejoice in you!

La Vida Dulce

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday Evening

It's late, but I wanted to share with you this evenings sunset. This is the amazing front row view we had tonight.

We are also anticipating our first "shared" meal in the new house. We are having Paw (my Dad) over in the morning for breakfast in celebration of Father's Day.

Tonight The Girl was very excited to get to "organize and decorate" the table for tomorrow's breakfast. She loves getting to set the table for special occasions. She practiced, with my help, setting the table this past Thanksgiving and Christmas. But this evening (with only a few little hints from me) she managed to set the entire table herself. And not only that, after she finished and took a step back to look at her work she decided it needed something more. So she looked critically and thoughtfully around my kitchen and saw the Hershey's Kisses I have sitting out and decided that each place setting needed a kiss.

Now, I have done many things incorrectly during my first decade of child rearing, and I know that I will most likely make mistakes in the future...but if my 7 year old can make the decision to decorate with chocolate, I must be doing something right!

La Vida Dulce!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Random Poll - June

Last week while I was unpacking a box labeled Master Bedroom I came across the stuff for our bedside tables. The content of my bedside table is mixed. I have one very functional and practical drawer and one for various odd things and maybe, a bit of junk.

The drawer closest to the bed is where I keep all the stuff I need for my bedtime routine. I have a tube of Chapstick, two kinds of hand lotion (depending on how how tough the day was on my hands), the current fiction book I am reading, my Owl book light, a book mark that I never use, and a guitar pick. I know that last one is a bit random but for some reason it's in there.

The other drawer has a devotional I have read through several times but is so good that I keep it in there for reference, lots of pens and pencils (of which have no ink or sharp point), a highlighter, a random Christmas ornament I keep forgetting to put in the Christmas stuff, and some loose change. It also used to house a couple of Arizona postcards, which i will be mailing out to two lucky readers. I used to keep them in the side drawer as a memento of the desert I love. But now I live here. So I can just look out the window.

But my all time favorite item in the bedside table is a Valentine I got from The Boy a couple of years ago. When he was about five years old he started to make these smiley face's with one winking eye. I am not sure where he saw it or how he came up with it, but soon after I began to receive little notes with this winking smiley guy and I love him almost as much as I love The Boy.

I especially love that he is showing that The Mister's training has not gone undone. This note shows love and concern. It shows care and The Boy's tender heart (Inside it says "Mom, you ar grate"). But most of all it shows the proper use of duct tape.

I love it. And it stays in the bedside table because it makes me happy.

Of course, all this made me wonder, What do you keep in your bedside table?

I will read comments and send two lucky people an AZ postcard for your efforts!

PS: Happy Birthday to Ms. Ant Rancher
Go to her severely neglected blog and wish her a happy day.

And while your there tell her that Kellie says to update!
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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Big Bean Bind

Recently I received an email from a Carolina Girl in dire straits.

Somehow, through a series of events she was the recipient of a barrel of beans. Pinto, to be exact. Some people have all the luck!

Knowing that I am a lover of beans (with a good tortilla) she has written and solicited my help in her personal cooking matter. Plus, I love helping out a friend who is in need.

Actually, she has been wanting my pinto bean recipe for some time now and because it wasn't exactly written down I had been a little vague in the past. So it is now with great love, for my dear friend and for lovers of the pinto everywhere, that I write out what has only been in my head.

For those of you who are scared, it's OK. Sometimes I scare myself.

Dear Kellie,

I am writing to you today as a desperate woman….I have 10 pounds of pinto beans and no idea what to do with them! I am begging for your help. If you don’t help me, I don’t know what I may end up doing. I may resort to making beanie babies stuffed with pinto beans and sending them to your kids for gifts, while my family starves. It wouldn’t be a pretty picture, I assure you. So, to save me from this awful fate, I am asking that you send me a recipe that I can use the pintos in. I have heard of one involving a crock pot, chicken broth, salsa, etc. Can you help???

Desperate in NC

Dear Desperate,

My Goodness girl! How did you acquire so many beans! I wish I was there. You know I would certainly take some off your hands.

O.K. Don't panic. Here is what I do.

Take 2 cups of beans and pour them on to a flat surface. Make the kids put them into a bowl and pick out all the rocks and stuff....otherwise you will bite into a rock and have to go the dentist, which really cramps the bean eating process and makes bad memories.

Then take 6-8 cups of water and add chicken broth cubes to it. Depending on what kind of broth you buy it will tell you how much broth/water is required. I use Knorr chicken bouillon cubes found in the Ethnic food isle. If I am making 6 cups worth I usually use two cubes...that way you can season it with salt to taste later. You can use beef broth too. I just prefer chicken.

Then find some salsa, I like the fresh stuff from Costco but that stuff they make in New York city is fine too. Just hide the ropes.

Dump 1cup (or more!) salsa in the pot.

Put a lid on that puppy and go take a siesta. Bean eating takes a lot of work.

If you are cooking in the crock pot I would put the beans on in the morning and cook for 5-6 hours or so. If you cook it on the stove top on medium heat it will take 3-4 hours but you will have to check it often and add water at times.

I like to eat mine with a bit of graded cheddar cheese and some salt!

Oh! And a good flour tortilla, but corn tortilla chips work too.

Happy eating...wish I was there to share in your first bean baking eat a bowl for me!

Love ya!

La Vida Dulce!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Muffins on Monday

This weekend we participated in what we are calling the New House Tile vs. The Girl.

Unfortunately, The Girl didn't win.

So when she woke up this morning and said that she needed muffins. It was hard to resist. It started on Saturday when she offered to help me mop the floor. AS she pushed the broom forward her feet slipped from underneath her and she fell, really hard, on her bottom.

Yesterday, she fell, even harder, on her face.

She now wears a beautiful black and blue bump the size of a half dollar, right in the middle of her forehead. So this morning when she woke up and was bruised from top to, well, bottom, The Girl needed some of her Mama's muffins.

It's my favorite recipe given to me by my dear friend in the North, meh (that's her incognito/La Vida name until I can find something catchy). It's her French Puff recipe. They are good for what ails you.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007


I have been so excited to show you the "after" pictures of The New House, but I had been waiting until everything was unpacked to do it. But I just can't wait. So here are the two most lived in rooms. The kitchen and family room.

I was so nervous about having to pick carpet, tile, and paint in 3 short days. So much so that I seriously contemplated flying in my personal interior decorator ( and dearest friend!), Jen with one N. But I pulled myself up by my boot straps and, if I don't say so myself, I think it turned out all right.

You can look at the before pics here. I will post more "afters" as the days roll by.

Happy Saturday!

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Oh No She Didn't!

Oh Yes. I did.

I an attempt to save myself a trip to the Costco (which seemed like a big deal with moving in this week and all) I decided to see what kind of stuff I could get at the local grocery that would be comparable to Costco.

Years ago, like when The Mister and I first got married and we working within a very small budget, I learned the hard way that there are things in life you can buy the generic product and not suffer the consequences. And there are some products that you cannot.

Toilet Paper is one of them.

I thought that perhaps the generic T.P. had made improvements over time, but I am writing that you might learn from my mistakes. It's cheap, it's thin, and it's very rough. Oh! But we have a lot of it.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Letting Go

As I unpack it becomes more and more clear that we have a lot of stuff! I threw out bags and bags of garbage and hauled give-aways to the Salvation Army on a weekly basis when we were preparing to move. Apparently I was still very attached to that sweater I bought at The Limited in 1989, but it's time to let go. That and the fact that it is too hot for sweaters.

There are things that I have moved 6 times since the Mister and I married 12 years ago. One of the more nostalgic items are my dance shoes. Pictured above are three (and 1/2?) pair that have taken up permanent residence in my closets across the country. I had several other pairs that were pitched as the years went on, but this is what was left. Three and a half too many. Especially since these ole tender feet aren't much for dancing en pointe these days. Plus, the only time I ever look at these things is when I move!

Today, they are being pitched. Well, except one pair that I might use for wall decoration in The Girl's room.

But then again, maybe not. Letting go feels really good.
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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

First Blog From New House

Hurray! As I type the carpet guys are installing carpet. While they were hauling off old carpet I got the old computer set up and ready to use in the new house...

This is the first blog from the new house.

I am a bit antsy because there is so much to do that cannot be done until the "workers' (as the kids say) are out of the house. In order to kill some time, and also be productive, I thought I would blog a bit and tell you how this day started.

First I couldn't sleep last night. I kept tossing and turning anticipating all the work that has to be done. And then worrying because I need sleep to be productive! Oye vey!

Then when I did finally sleep I had a crazy dream that I got on line to check my blog and there were 20 Comments on yesterdays post! I got so excited that I woke myself up and looked at the empty desk space that once housed my computer. The Mister had packed up the computer late last night and hauled it away. So then it was 4:20am and not only was disappointed that I couldn't check if the dream was, in fact, reality, but then I became aware that I was once again wide awake. I decided to make myself just lay in bed for about 45 minutes because the automatic coffee timer on the coffee pot doesn't make coffee until 5:15 anyway. And getting up to actually manually turn it on would be too much then I would be fully awake and have to wait for coffee. It's better to just lay in the warm bed and try to rest.

After my coffee (and checking the blog in my Mom's office; a couple comments, but no where near 20. Bummer) I decided I should go for a run and try to run off some of the nervous energy keeping me awake at night.

Running in the desert feels good at 6:00am. But by 6:45 it is TOO DARN HOT!

I ran into a loose Siberian Husky dog with mis-match eyes. That was a bit scary. I immediately stopped running and put my hand out for him to sniff out the fact that I am a nice lady who hates seeing big unsupervised dogs while running. He decided that I wasn't quite the breakfast he had in mind...but he thought about it. I just know he did.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Moving Day

The movers have dropped everything off and we officially have our stuff in the new house. It made us miss The-House-That-Has-Not-Sold, but we are so excited to get settled in and make this house our home.

I only got to unpack the kitchen today because carpet is being laid in all the bedrooms bright and early tomorrow. You might be asking yourself why we didn't get that done BEFORE we moved in? But since I try to keep this blog funny and family friendly I am just going to say we tried. We really, really tried. I worked very hard to make the timing go my way, and it just didn't work. The good news is that I am mostly a "glass-half-full" girl, so in this way it makes moving across the country, and owning two houses on each side of the nation, just a bit more interesting! Cuz our lives aren't nearly crazy enough.

So, as I was saying, while The Mister did the paper work of checking off each box that was brought into the house (Our stuff filled 9 gigantic crates) I unpacked the entire kitchen.

I can't tell you how happy it made me to open those boxes and unwrap the goods. I had to literally bite my lip to keep from exclaiming, "OH! Kitchen Aide Mixer! How I've missed you!" or "Big, Giant, cobalt coffee cup! I'm finally home!"

You would have been proud of me. Not once did I act melodramatic, or crazy, or embarrass The Mister, or the kids, in any way. (Actually the kids were having fun at their cousins house...but I tried to behave anyway).

Except... (click this link)

Well, I video taped a little something for you. I didn't want you to miss all the fun of opening up the most important item in the La Vida Dulce Kitchen. If you really listen you can hear the angels singing.

Until tomorrow....La Vida Dulce!