14 December 2014

Just Finding Out

Last night at dinner, the youngest family members found out something "new" about themselves. Emi was talking about a group of girls in her class and after she listed them by name, Scott asked her if they were all black (based on their names). Emi repeated the names of the 3 or so girls who were not black.

Then David chimed in with "That's weird" and when we asked him what was weird, he said that there were so many blacks in Emi's class. Then we moved on to discuss the various shades of brown in Emi's group of friends, and David started pointing at Emi saying "Emi's black", sort of teasing her. 

That's when Scott said "Guess what, David, you're black too." David looked surprised and said "What?!" We explained that because his birth father is black, he is half black. He looked confused even though he's always known his Papa Dave.

We explained the term "mixed" and that his Mama Bri is white and Papa Dave is black so he is "mix". I explained that I am also "mix" because Lola is Filipino and PeePaw is white.

‎So we were reiterating that he is half black when Aubri pointed at David snickering about his also being black. David said "I'm coffee with cream!" That's when we let her know that SHE is black TOO! The look on each of their faces when the realization hit was priceless.

By the end of the discussion, we all agreed that Emi is "milk chocolate", David is "coffee with cream" and Aubri is "kid coffee".

05 December 2014

O Christmas Tree

After Thanksgiving we had big plans to visit a local tree farm to cut down our Christmas tree, Griswold style.

Christmas Tree Farm

02 December 2014

Put a Little Love in Your Life

Think of your fellow man 
lend him a helping hand 
put a little love in your heart.

23 November 2014

Day Date

In our busy lives, we've had to be very flexible when it comes to quality time for us parents.  Most days are crammed full of kid things and by the time it gets around to "date night", we are tired, broke, unmotivated, etc. So we've been working dates into the daytime these days while the kids are safely at school.

We decided to check out a place with the best view in the city for lunch and then the surrounding stores and museums. Our first stop was to the downtown library to get change to feed the meter.

Cool Giraffe Painting
Tiny cafe attached to the downtown library...

14 November 2014

Camper Pinata

Scott created the form for me and it looked very similar to the one we used last year for David's baby seal pinata.

This time, I started the messy work in the basement near and over the sink so that I would not have to scrape dried flour/glue residue from the floor afterwards like last year. It worked out much better for me for clean up. I found a roll of newspaperish paper in our craft supplies and used that as the first layer to try to make it crunchy.

Camper Pinata Stage 1
 First  layer of papier-mache dried


So I found an old can of Sweetened Condensed Milk in the cupboard and I didn't want to waste it. It was a little expired, but I live life on the edge (with regard to food, anyway) so I searched around for something that sounded good to me.

Condensed Milk Coconut Pound Cake

This hit the spot - Condensed Milk Coconut Pound Cake. Not too sweet and really good with a cup of strong coffee.

12 November 2014

What TIME is IT?


It might be a while before my mind and body have a grasp of time again. We hosted Aubri's camp themed birthday party a week and a half ago, just a few hours before setting the clocks back an hour.

And just as I was starting to get into my new groove a couple days later, I flew back two hours to the West Coast.

It was a little amusing trying to guess what time it was when trying to meet a connecting flight. It didn't help that the sky waitress for our first connect announced the time an hour ahead... We really had to hoof it (OJ style) to meet our connecting flights this trip, but it was all good. No time to blow money on airport food and gifts in Denver.

The Jet Lag caught up with me on Thursday but I limped along during the meetings and afterwards because I wanted to soak up the time (and shop and eat) while away from the family.

It was a great break away but I was so happy to be home on Friday with my family. That time was filled with picking up my sweet doggie from the vet and packing to go on an overnight camp trip with my littlest and her scout troop.

Monday was a really nice day to be off of work. It was in the 80's and the Autumn colors in my neighborhood (not necessarily in my yard though) were gorgeous.

Gorgeous Fall Color

Yesterday and today have been windy and chilly! Good weather to be back at the office...

22 October 2014


noun - assistance and support in times of hardship and distress.

synonyms aid, help, a helping hand, assistance; comfort, ease, relief, TLC

Chess Square
Chess Square

13 October 2014

Camp Life

So, we have another birthday party to host this Autumn and the theme is going to be "Camp Aubri". I am super stoked to make it happen too because pinata! She originally wanted a zombie head pinata and that morphed into a TMNT pinata until we discussed the rest of the party.... because the pinata only takes about 37 seconds to complete.

The plan now is to make a cool Airstreamer pinata. That will be a fun challenge and I think we are up to it.

I still fantasize about owning one of these things...

For the cake, Aubri has requested Chess Pie. Probably because it was my favorite treat at the ice cream store I worked at in high school, and I just recreated 2 pans of the golden goodness last week.

We found some really creatively decorated camp themed cakes online so we are loaded down with ideas.  Love the idea of putting her candle(s) in a little fire in the middle of the woods.

For takeaways/goodie bags (something I resolved to not do again and yet I am finding myself doing again!), we plan to have bandanas to hold pinata goodies and possibly camp gear.  It will be too chilly to swim, so Aubri has requested a bonfire and s'mores for her little friends.

I will try...

Not sure of any other activities yet, maybe a campy photo booth or scavenger hunt?

11 October 2014


So, a couple of weeks ago, Scott and I stepped out for a breakfast date after we dropped off the kids at their respective schools. We had a few hours in which we could luxuriate in a booth being served breakfast cooked especially for us. We ended up at The Diner for the first time in a long while.

Hello, Oathbreaker!

07 October 2014


Vanilla is my favorite go-to scent and flavor.  Sure, I love me some chocolate, but vanilla finds its way into way more recipes around here, and this year I wanted to make some good quality vanilla for Christmas gifts.

Vanilla Extract
Vanilla Extract Made with Brandy [Note: This would be nice sipped from a glass with a giant ice cube!]

24 September 2014

Post Lake Party Cleaning Tips

This past Saturday our social calendar was overstuffed. My parents had their annual lake party which meant that we made the requisite 10 gallons of sangria with the requisite wine that my friend makes. By the way, the lake is the main source of our drinking water, and it is currently "turning over".  Our tap water tastes "musty" like I imagine the water in Herschel's 3rd well tastes right about now. Even the triple-filtered tap water at Starbuck's is off.

I couldn't help but notice that the water in the lake doesn't smell bad like our tap water does after treatment. I wonder just what they are using to filter the water. Hmmmmm...  I stuck to sangria and bottled water.

Sangria, Sangria
Sangria starter - apples, limes, lemons, oranges and blueberries soaking in brandy and red wine...

18 September 2014

Skating By

This picture flashed up on the iMac earlier today and I had to hunt around on the network drive to find it later because I wasn't quite sure when it was taken. Emi's first time at Skateland! It was still Skateland back then and she wasn't obsessed with going there every Friday night. Now it's StarSkate and everything's different.

December 2005
She was 3 then, Daddy's little girl. Now she's 12 and sometimes she's daddy's little girl, and other times, she too cool for that. Our pretty little girl has turned into a pretty young lady who likes to remind me how soon she'll be driving...

Rylan's Skating Party
A month ago

10 September 2014

09 September 2014

Pub Grub

I recently read somewhere that there's no better pub grub than the Ploughman's Lunch.

A ploughman's lunch is a basic (English) cold meal typically consisting of crusty bread, cheese, pickled onions and chutney. It might also consist of deli meats, pate,slices of apple and other seasonal fruit. The cheese, bread and pickles would be traditionally home-made by the ploughman's wife - making it a cheap and substantial lunch.

How am I just hearing about this slice of wonderful? Oh yeah, because I live in Oklahoma, not England. We have something similar to a ploughman's and we call it a picnic, and we eat it in the living room. And when I was single (and also, a new mom), it was sometimes eaten over the sink.

Calling it a "Ploughman's Lunch" makes it sounds less decadent than it really is, therefore fooling oneself into not feeling guilty about said indulgence. I like that.

08 September 2014


So I mentioned before that I don't have a Pinterest account because I have a hard enough time keeping myself directed as it is. But that doesn't mean I don't want to pin interesting things for later. That's what my handy, dandy blog is for (sometimes).

The recent cooler weather makes me want to try these recipes (some of these are just in time for tailgating!) :

Music that's been in my BlackBerry (old skool) to get:
  • Urban Cowboy soundtrack. I have the cassette and but I want to be able to play Darlin' over and over again like I used to with a friend when we were leaving In Cahoots at the end of penny beer night
  • Diamond Rio. Also from boot scootin' days gone by. A few weeks ago I heard they were on tour (!!) so I went looking for my old cassette of theirs when I found another treasure that I have been listening to for days now. 
  • Sammy Kershaw. I was not a huge fan but Third Rate Romance has such a good melody for dancing (or vacuuming).
  • Paul Simon. I have a few PS cassettes that work just fine, thank you very much. But I think we only have ONE Simon and Garfunkel song in the old digital library. I must correct this deficiency soon! Side Note: Since I found my Negotiations and Love Songs tape, I am inspired to paint "St. Judy's comet" for David. It's on my list to draw/paint now and when I googled around for Paul's inspiration I found another treasure.  This one isn't another cassette, but rather an article on Paul's son, that "St. Judy's Comet" Kid.
  • More Willie Nelson - I put Just Breathe into a list on my BlackBerry ages ago and I still haven't gotten that song. I don't recall where I heard it but I knew I needed it. Probably on the road to any smaller town in Oklahoma over the holidays some year. Actually, I heard a female singing a song by the same name and when I googled it I found Willie's song.
  • Anna Nalick. Just Breathe
  • Sheepdogs.  Southern Dreaming. Learn and Burn.
  • Frazey Ford September FieldsFirecracker
  • Meghan Trainor - heard this song a few weeks ago with my daughter and think I need Like I'm Gonna Lose You
  • Bruno Mars - love my brother from another mother... 

What about you? Any good food or music that interests you? Care to share?

P.S. I think they should call it "Pinspiration".  I am more than interested, I am inspired so...

05 September 2014


A couple of days ago, we grabbed six Hatch Chiles at the store after hearing about the craze on the radio for the past week, and then I quietly forgot about them.  So tonight I decided I better get to roasting these chiles or throw them into the compost pile.

I came across thousands of recipes for Hatch Chiles but my mind was set on Mac and Cheese because it's supposed to cool down tonight with a nice rain and I am feeling like Football Weather comfort food.

So I looked to Ree to help me roast these chiles with no muss, no fuss. I found a cool recipe for mac and cheese with chiles, chicken and black beans but I decided to make this dish sauce with my basic quesadilla fillings: cream cheese, shredded cheddar (or jack), green onion, green chiles, garlic (I used a dab of mayo in the quesadillas but I omitted the mayo for this dish).

While the chiles were roasting, I prepared the basic bechamel sauce.

Ready to go into the oven...

01 September 2014


On Saturday, for the first game day of the season, the hubs and I walked up to Campus Corner in the sweltering heat with my SIL and BIL to participate in the tailgaiting fun. Normally, I opt to stay home on game days, enjoying the camping aromas of grilling out from a safe distance, but we hadn't been away from the children in a few days and we needed a teensy break.

Me and Tessa
It was fun to partake in the festivities (drink beer) and watch the girls - foolishly wearing cowboy boots in near triple digit temps -grimace with each step after clomping around the campus sidewalks all day. Not me! I wore sensible shoes!

31 August 2014

Not So Sketchy

‎Yesterday, after I published my draw-rings post, I added 'watercolor paper' to the list of things to get. Just now, while I was down in the basement switching out loads of laundry, I spotted my drawing valise. When I went to check inside for more drawings, I came across an old (and unused by the looks of it) set of watercolor pencils and an unused pad of watercolor paper. (papier-d'aquarelle). Comment fortuite!

30 August 2014

Sketchier Days

Many years ago I took a drawing class at the Firehouse Art Center (first class I'd had there since the 6th grade!!!). I was looking for a creative outlet and thought Portrait Drawing might be cool. I loved watching our instructor draw his subject. At first the pencil marks on the page were scribble and then a few seconds later, the subject was perfectly captured on paper. These were a few of my drawings back then.

24 August 2014

Weekend Roundup

We went to a friend's birthday party at the skating rink wherein I played it safe remaining skates-less, and the hubs showed that he still had what it took (in the 7th grade).

Rylan's Skating Party
Yay Daddy!

20 August 2014

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

We can exhale now. All of the children have been escorted back to their respective schools.

First Day of School
Kindergarten and First Grade

First Day of School
Too Cool for Outside Pic

No Wave Goodbye
So I Got One Anyway

Seems like just yesterday when they were so sweet and posing for their mama...

After Church Kids

We are so excited for them (and for us) starting this new chapter in their lives.

17 August 2014


* Do it my damn self.

I dream of being an Extreme Couponer but when I see the products that most of those folks purchase and stockpile, I can't even picture it. I mean, who needs 172 bags of croutons? But I TOTALLY covet the toilet paper stash so I continue to strive to make that happen. I just think I'd sleep better at night knowing I had a years' worth of loo rolls in the basement...

So anyway, the other night a friend of mine posted a thrifty DIY project to save money on dishwashing detergent. I had seen some of my hippie-ish friends making laundry soap last year and I did not partake, but the dishwasher detergent project piqued my interest because we are running low on Cascade and I had all but one ingredient listed for the project on hand. Plus, I haven't found a detergent that really does the job. That could be related to someone not rinsing the dishes well or loading the dishwasher wrong. (I'm not talking about the hubs!)

I tried to locate washing soda at Target and Sprouts to no avail, and I was not interested in hitting yet another store because I'd been at the mall with my 7th grader for way too long prior to going Target, the skating rink and then Sprouts. I was getting kinda hangry. I figured I could google how to turn baking soda into washing soda whilst eating my dinner.

Turns out I could, with the help of my oven. All I had to do was bake the soda for 45 minutes or so at around 400 degrees et voila! I did that and wondered if I should be wearing a respirator when I was stirring the partially baked baking soda around.

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

DIY Dishwasher Detergent
Fizzy Reaction

DIY Dishwasher Detergent
Looks a bit like butter pats...

So far the jury is out on the effectiveness of the home made detergent. We were having an issue with spotty dishes because we ran out of rinse agent and I decided to try plain vinegar.  I'm thinking that maybe I needed to clean the dishwasher with white vinegar to resolve.

I didn't calculate the cost for me to make this detergent, but the fact that I know how to make dishwasher detergent is inspiring me to learn to do more. I am not only interested in savings but being more MacGyver-like in taking care of the family and home.

11 August 2014

Chi Town

Ten years ago when Emi was two, we road tripped to Chicago to visit my cousin and meet her new baby, Jovi and see my mom who was there visiting a friend. We drove straight through and even though we were tired when we got to our seedy hotel, we wasted no time in getting some deep dish pizza.

Deep Dish Pizza Pie in Chicago
Deep Dish YUM!

01 August 2014

We are Family

My brother was in town from Tampa recently and we all met up for dinner at Oliveto. Four of the five of us kids were there.  Too bad our big brother, Michael, wasn't here...

Oliveto with the Family
Inside after Dinner

Outside Oliveto with the Family
Outside having our waitress take a group shot. ("Did she take it?")

30 July 2014

Words That Don't Mean What I Thought

Chicanery. I thought this meant something good, like “I’ve got your back” or rapport but it does not.

cheating or deception: deception or trickery, especially by the clever manipulation of language deception by artful subterfuge or sophistry : trickery 

Hmmm…. I would say that my kids know the art of chicanery. Of course, mom knows when her kiddos are trying to pull the wool over her eyes so hopefully they will move on to more endearing things like integrity and veracity.

Sophistry.  I had never seen this word before today (when looking up “chicanery” but it looks pretty and immediately I thought “sophisticated artistry” but “crafty” (and not like Martha Stewart) is more like it:

flawed method of argumentation: a method of argumentation that seems clever but is actually flawed or dishonest 

Again, my children think they are being clever with their sophistry but really they are being sophomoric...

Do you know any words that sound positive or pretty (or negative and ugly) but mean something very different?

*This post not brought to you by Lumosity. 

26 July 2014

Chim Chimney, Chim Chimney, Chim-Chim-i-Chur-ri

Making Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri Sauce in the Making

Chimichurri Chicken

I made this Chimichurri Chicken tonight for my family (picnic in the living room movie night) and it was a big hit. I served it with with a side of Casserole Refried Beans (straight out of the can topped with more chimichurri sauce) and leftover farro fried in olive oil with garlic and jalapeno. So yummy!

22 July 2014

Certaines Choses En Francais **

Ma liste d'épicerie (My grocery list)
beurre (butter)
pain (bread)
chou frisé (kale)
lait (milk)
origan (oregano)
levure alimentaire (nutritional yeast)
noilles (noodles)
bière (beer)
cerises (cherries)
citrons (lemons)
avocat (avocado)
ail (garlic)
pois chiches (chick peas)
tomates (tomatoes)
oignons (onions)
de jus d'orange (OJ)
sel de mer (sea salt)
gousses de vanilla (vanilla beans)
sirop de chocolat (chocolate syrup)
croustilles tortilla (tortilla chips)
radis (radishes)
germes de soja (bean sprouts)
chou (cabbage)
coriander (cilantro)
bouillon de poulet (chicken broth)
huile d'olive (olive oil)
l'huile de noix de coco (coconut oil)
serviettes en papier (paper towels)
papier de toilette (toilet paper)
savon pour les mains (hand soap)
lotion pour le corps (body lotion)
la gomme à mâcher (chewing gum)

21 July 2014

Change of Scenery

We walked the neighborhood the other day to try to catch a yard sale 3 blocks over and I was amazed at how much things have changed over the last few years. Many of the changes have been sad ones with friends dying or moving away.  One neighbor has been here her whole life.

When this owner was a little girl, she saw my house being built in 1952. 

16 July 2014

Easy Like - Summer Breeze Makes Me Feel Fine

Sunday was a little better in that we were in our own beds. We made it to church and then back to the high school for another basketball game.

At the High School

Was kinda cool to be cruisin' the hall of my old high school. Cooler than back then anyway...

Don't Ask Me
Don't Ask

15 July 2014

Si Doux*

* So Sweet (en francais). 

I took 10 hours of French in college but  I don’t use it much on a daily basis. Surprise! One of my Living List items is to read a favorite book en francais (also in tagalog) but yesterday I thought of a wonderful way to incorporate French into my life now leading up to a book -  make up my grocery lists and to-do lists in French! I already mix in a lot of French words in text messages and e-mails so it wouldn’t be a big stretch and it will exercise a part of my brain that probably needs it. I bought some cerises (cherries) off my list last night and “si doux” was right there on the package helping me to incorporate more French into my life.

So anyway, Friday we trucked it up to Tahlequah to visit Scott’s grandmother for a few hours before heading to see Emi get baptized at church camp. Visiting camp was a fun experience….also stinky….and loud. I mean those things in the nicest way possible. We showed up early so we could go through the chow line and before they go to our table, we got to see campers get mail from their parents and a few campers sing renditions of their favorite songs. I was amazed. I would NEVER had had enough chutzpah/guts/intestinal fortitude to get up in front of my fellow campers and sing!!

After dinner we toured the campground with Emi and saw copious amounts of poison ivy and bugs along the way. Then we made our way to the pool to witness the baptisms.

Side note: Back when Scott’s dad was a camper, the baptisms were performed in the lake. Of course that was before they installed the pool. Among other things that have changed in the past forty something years, swimming is now co-ed (it wasn’t when I went to camp either thirty something years ago) and now they celebrate afterwards with fireworks out in the open.  Grandaddy-o had to pull the weeds growing over the septic tank for setting off fireworks when he was a camper. My how things have changed!

So Emi told us earlier in the week that she was going to sing a solo Thursday night and we thought we might try to make the trek up to see that (although we already know the girl can blow it out the box) until she told us she was going to get baptized (be still my heart). I can’t tell you how proud we were to hear those words. Being a parent to a tweenager has never been easy but nowadays it is much harder with entitlement, instant gratification/entertainment, and so many other distractions. I think it’s harder now for the parents who are actually raising their kids whereas it WILL be harder later for those parents just phoning it in right now, or giving up/in with their kids.

It was so sweet (si doux) to see the children getting baptized by their dads, so choked with emotion that they’d have to take a break from speaking before dunking their children. I had to explain that to David and that sometimes people cry when they are not sad.)

Emi chose to have a friend baptize her.  We all looked on with wet eyes and tight chests.

Afterwards there were fireworks and swimming and we headed  back to Scott’s grandmother’s house to try to get some rest before we retrieved Emi from camp in the morning.  With a belly full of cobbler, it should have been easy to catch some z’s but the guest bed we sleep on is the lumpiest I’ve ever known, and we had the requisite amount of coffee with the wonderful cobbler Scott’s grandmother made. I should have traded with the Little Ones but their bed was being guarded by an old doll;  the type whose eyes open when she sits up… When I got up to straighten my back and use the restroom in the middle of the night, that little doll was on the floor of their bedroom (!) and when I was finally able to get back to sleep, I had fitful dreams of reconnecting with a girl I used to work with in the OU computer labs.

After breakfast, we picked Emi up from camp and made the almost 3 hour drive back to Norman with Emi sleeping much of the way. Good thing too because she went directly to a basketball tournament when we got back home. ..