Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Adventures of Super Disaster Lady: The Beginnings

Once upon a time there was a little girl. She was a total mess. You could often find her playing in the sandbox with a ring of sand around her mouth. One day, for no apparent reason, she decided to pull out all of her eyelashes and eyebrows.

On the other end of town lived a little boy. He did things like ride his big wheel down the basement steps and make hats out of bubble gum.

One day the two met. They fell in love and got married. A son was born. He was a normal boy. THEN they had a daughter. She was the culmination of all of their powers. She was...SUPER DISASTER LADY! :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cooking Party

My daughter loves to cook, so when her birthday was coming up I decided to check out a store at the mall that offers cooking class birthday parties for kids. It was $35 a kid!! After finding that out I decided I was capable of hosting my own cooking party. Afterall, I spent 5 years at Penn State learning how to become an art teacher. How different could it be?

We started by decorating chef hats that I purchased at Oriental Trading. They were $5 for 12 hats. I bought foam sticky letters, stickers and markers for them to use for decorating. I had the table all set up before the kids arrived. Each chair got a chef hat and apron, then I dumped the letters and markers in the center of the table, so there would be minimal fighting over the supplies.

After everyone had decorated their hats, we got our aprons on and started making our pizzas. Before the party I had prepared little cups of pizza sauce and bowls of cheese for each child. It was as simple as passing out a crust, cup and bowl to each child. I also had pepperoni if they chose to add it to their pizzas. When they were done with their pizzas, I collected them and put them on a foil lined cookie sheet. This way I could write their names on the foil near their pizzas.

While their pizzas cooked I gave each child a piece of store bought biscuit dough. I wrote about how to make doughnuts using biscuit dough in a previous blog, in case you missed it. They enjoyed squishing the dough in their hands and it curbed their curiosity when it was time to actually make our doughnuts.

After they had fun playing with the dough for a bit, I gave each child 2 pieces of biscuit dough and a little cookie cutter to cut out the center of the doughnuts. As they finished I picked up their dough. I had to fry the dough since there was no way I was letting the kids near hot oil. I did this as they ate their pizzas. Each batch of doughnuts only takes a couple of minutes to cook, so I had plenty of time.

When they finished with their pizzas, I had them throw away their mess. Then each child got a fried doughnut and a bowl of cinnamon sugar with a spoon. They mixed the cinnamon sugar mixture together, then "bathed" their doughnuts in the mixture. Then it was time to eat them! They really liked them. Once they finished eating their doughnuts, they were given the option to make the second. Most did.

We opened presents next, since I was reluctant to give them cake after everyone had just eaten 2 doughnuts. After their stomachs had settled a bit, THEN we cut the cake.

The party was lots of fun. If not for her jealous brother, running around and rough housing with the other boys at the party, everything would have gone extremely well. The neighbor even said she might steal my idea for her daughter's birthday.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Princess for a day

My daughter's birthday is coming up and, since we were in Disney World, my sister- and mother-in-law decided to go together on a special package that would make her a princess for the day. First we picked out a dress. My daughter wanted an Ariel dress and she was very specific about it being one that showed her tummy. Daddy was not crazy about this idea, but we got it anyway.

After picking out a dress, we headed to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique so she could get her hair, nails and makeup done. She glowed as she sat in the chair getting her special treatment.

It made me kind of emotional seeing my messy red-haired baby looking so grown up, but it was just for one night. Still...I was kinda glad when we got back to the hotel, that she freaked out and made me take out her hair. But she looked beautiful. Like the winner of the Junior Miss Mermaid competition.

After the makeover we went to the castle for dinner. She got to meet Belle, Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora and Ariel.

At the end of dinner, the waitress brought her a cupcake and we sang "Happy Birthday" to her.

It was a very exciting day, and by the end she was totally pooped.

Friday, October 29, 2010

New House

Wow! It has been a long time since I've written a blog post. If you follow me on Twitter (@EverRose), you know that we moved from KY to Northern VA. It was move I was anxious to make, since I never really had a connection with KY. In July we moved into our temporary housing. It was a 4th floor apartment. After about 2 wks. of walking the dogs up and down the steps 100 times a day, we had had enough of that. We thought we would never find a house we could afford here. Apparently the county we were looking in is the richest in America. Just when we thought we would have to give up and rent, I looked at a little townhouse in a neighborhood that had what seemed like a nice little elementary school within walking distance. We put in our offer and, after a little haggling, we signed a contract.
Our house was not in terrible condition when we moved in, but after all of the previous owner's belongings were removed it was clear we had some work to do. In the wondows hung horrible flowered curtains, the light fixtures were out-of-date and the walls were practically all painted some shade of pinkish-purple. And don't even get me started on the wallpaper borders and painted over wallpaper.
I removed wallpaper, patched holes and painted 9 rooms total, plus hallways. It was very exhausting, but well worth it. The other problem we had was going from a house that had a garage and spacious attic, to a townhouse with no garage and no attic. That means I had to fit everything into a utility room and some storage closets. I'm down to just a couple of boxes, thanks to the help of some wire shelving and some Space Bags.
Here are a couple of pictures of our new house:

Here's just a sample of what we were dealing with:

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Garden Update

The good news is we are leaving KY, the bad news...I have to find another way to get my gardening fix. With the higher cost of living in the Northern VA area, even with a nice raise, we'll probably have to downgrade to a townhouse. The thought of this gives me a twitch. Perhaps I'll be able to find another elementary school in need of some landscaping TLC. For now I'm going to enjoy my garden. I've been doing some work getting it ready for when people come to look at our house. Hard to believe that a little less than 2 years ago it looked like this:

Oh, how I hated those holly bushes! Today it looks like this:

There is still a little bit that I would do to it (a couple of bare spots), that I probably won't get a chance to do, but I like it. DD can pick the flowers, it gives the house some nice curb appeal and it just makes me happy. Who wants to bet that the person who buys our house doesn't give 2 shits about gardening? Here are some of my other gardening areas:
I bought this white salvia at the end of last year for $0.33/plant. DH told me it was dead.

My rain barrel mecca:

I got this little oak sapling on Earth Day last year. It was the first tree we planted.

And finally...What garden would be complete without a vegetable garden? I hope my neighbors take me up on my offer to take the veggies when we leave. I'll cry if I think about them just rotting on the ground.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pittsburgh trip

This weekend we packed the kids and the Schnauzers into the car and headed to Pittsburgh to visit family. We left at 8:00 pm on Thursday, hoping everyone would sleep in the car.
Our first obstacle was in regards to our GPS. Let me just say that if our GPS had nuts, I would have ground and pound them like Chuck Liddell. That stupid thing directed us through the countryside of Shelbyville for 20 minutes, only to bring us out the next town over. I almost threw it out the window! Luckily we were able to pull over and clean out the crate we had Coco in cuz she had already thrown up the first of 5 times!
The rest of the trip went pretty well except, earlier in the day, Rocky had eaten one of DD's multivitamins and farted noxious gas every 15 minutes or so. Did I mention that he slept on my lap for 7 hours?
When we got to my parents' house, I had to bathe Coco because she was, literally, soaked in vomit and stomach acid. It was awesome. I then had to clean up Rocky's poop, cuz he was so excited to be out of the car that he dumped on my parents' carpet. Oh yeah...and there was also the cat vomit that had crusted to the floor from my parents' cats. My parents were in CA all week, so there was no one to clean it up. After all that I jumped in the shower and scrubbed my skin off.
Friday we chilled with the inlaws and met Hubby's coworkers for drinks at a place called Mad Mex. I got a Kristy's Big Sister's Red Velvet Burrito.
On Saturday we went to my nephew's birthday party. It was at one of those inflatable bouncy house places. After about 20 minutes of watching the kids bounce Hubby and I decided to leave and get some lunch. We went to this awesome Italian pizza shop called Mama Lucia's. It was great to have real pizza again, not the ketchup and cheese on bread that they have around here. I also got an Italian hoagie. It was so good I would have married Mama Lucia if I could have.
After the party we went to a dog park. It was the first time the dogs have been off of their leashes outside. They loved it! We thought Rocky would get kicked out after 5 minutes, but he was really well-behaved. Look how happy they are:

On Sunday we had DS's First Reconciliation at church. When we lived in Pittsburgh we attended a Ukrainian Catholic Church. In KY there is not even a Byzantine Catholic Church, so our priest invited DS to participate in their ceremony. It was really nice to be back in church. Everyone remembered us. One of the old Ukrainian ladies commented on how big DS had gotten. It was a beautiful ceremony. Here is a picture of DS with the priest:

After the ceremony we went to my parents' house and had a BBQ, then we headed to the local amusement park called Kennywood.

DD loves roller coasters. It was really fun. DS won a stuffed animal and they both got light up toys. We ate french fries with cheese at the Potato Patch and even met up with Hubby's childhood friend that he reunited with on Facebook. It was a good time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stuffed shells

I hate wasting food, so I'm always looking for ways to use up leftovers. On Mother's Day I grilled some yummy pizzas. One was shrimp, sweet corn and roasted red pepper, and the other was mushroom, spinach and red onion. They were very good, the problem was that I had veggies leftover because I had to buy a big bag of spinach and a whole package of mushrooms, but I only needed a handful of each for my pizza. I started thinking how I could use the leftovers and decided to incorporate them into the stuffed shells I was making for dinner last night. Here's my "recipe":

1/4 large onion
1 clove garlic
handful of spinach
handful of mushrooms
1/2 roasted red pepper
palmful of Parmesan cheese
handful of mozzarella cheese, plus more for topping
pinch of black pepper
1/2 lb ricotta cheese
salt to taste
1 egg
12 large shells, cooked al dente
marinara sauce

Throw veggies in food processor and chop until small. Mix in cheeses and beaten egg. Spoon filling into shells. Spoon marinara into the bottom of a baking dish. Place shells in dish. Spoon more marinara on top of shells. Top with mozzarella. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until sauce bubbles.

DISCLAIMER: If you are thrown off by my obscure measurements or undetailed recipe, then you probably shouldn't try making this dish and should just order a pizza.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Souvenir Stands

My son is addicted to souvenirs. It is really bad because the kid is a total hoarder. He collects Bakugan, Lego sets, bookmarks, etc. The more things he can collect, the better. Needless to say, souvenirs stands and shops are like crack to the kid. Any time we go anywhere that has a souvenir shop he spends the entire time bugging us to let him pick something out. Last week Louisville had their Kentucky Derby kickoff party called Thunder Over Louisville. They are food stands and *sigh* souvenir stands set up all along the river as people await the biggest fireworks show in America. We went to Thunder for the first time and all my son did the entire time was bug us for a plastic ninja sword. I was so completely agitated and was not about to spend $10 on a piece of crap toy after dropping $20 on parking and $30 on food, so I was the meanest Mom in the world and we left swordless.
This weekend we went to an Art and Garden fair and, don't you know, the kid finds a little cross stitch picture that he was dying to buy? I like to support local art, but I was not about to buy it because I know it would end up in a pile on his dresser. After he asked a zillion times, I finally got mad and said, "You know, I swear we could go on a tour of a shit factory and you would find a turd at the gift shop that you just had to have." He stopped whining after that. I must have made my point, which is good because we all know that summertime is primetime shopping season for souvenir collectors.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Gardening at the school

I live right in front of my son's elementary school. It was one of the selling points of our house. I love being able to walk him to school everyday.
Our house has a pretty small yard. I grew up with a pretty large yard and our last house had 1/3 acre, but our new house has a really small yard. I like to garden a lot. As a teenager, my dad would give me a plot in the garden to plant flowers and some vegetables. When we lived on my Grandma's farm I would help her tend to her gardens. The yard at our last house was really neglected so I spent numerous hours working to control it...trimming bushes, pulling weeds, planting flowers. Our new house was a clean slate. I pretty much ran out of things to do very early on. The school, however, was a mess. The gardens they did have were full of weeds, so I expanded my endeavors.
The garden at the school last year:

I pulled all of the weeds, then when that was done I decided to split some of the perennials they had (daylilies, liriope, blackeyed susans) because they were overgrown and there were a lot of bare spaces they could fill. Late last summer I got the idea to collect perennials from parents and start a perennial garden. My goal is to completely cover the space with plants so that weeding will be minimal and teachers could also use it as a means to teach about plant life. It looks pretty good so far. Everything I planted came back up, and it's filling in pretty well. I'd say by July it should be pretty impressive. I would even like to make placards for the plants. I really want it to be kind of a mini botanical gardens. I want people to not only notice its beauty, but take the time to stop and really look at it.
The garden early this spring. You can see some of the new plants coming up:

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Super Disaster Lady

Let me start out by saying I love my daughter so much. She is so full of life. She's a little tomboy, but loves girly stuff too. Actually she is a lot like me, except she is a total disaster! She breaks toys, eats crayons, and rips paper. Her clothes are full of stains, her hair looks like a rat's nest, her face is always dirty and she pees her pants. If something can be destroyed, she will do it. Yesterday I sat down at the kitchen table and found a pen in 12 pieces, perfectly disassembled and scattered across the table. Who could even guess this pen even HAD 12 parts? But there they were. I asked her why she did it, but of course she had not clue. It's just the nature of her being. I think someday she will be a wrecking ball driver. I told her if she had a superhero name it would be Super Disaster Lady. Her response? "I'm not a lady." Notice she didn't argue the disaster part. Unfortunately this penchant for disaster was genetically predetermined because her father made himself a hat out of bubblegum when he was her age and also rode his big wheel down the basement steps ON PURPOSE. He thinks she's cute as heck, which she is, but she is still a total disaster. *sigh*

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Diary of a Crazy Gardener

So I think I have made it perfectly clear that I really hate living in KY. The one thing that keeps me sane is gardening. Last year was the first year I could really garden because we moved into our house in July of the year before and in KY everything is sealed in a bed of clay concrete by then. It took a lot of experimentation before I found out what worked here. In Cleveland we lived near the lake. The soil was extremely fertile and loose because, basically, it had been part of the lake years and years ago. Everything grew, and everything grew really large without basically any work. In KY the soil is like clay. Especially around our house, since the builders obviously dug a hole for our crawlspace, then dumped all the crap soil around our house. We had a row of holly bushes in the front, so I bought some annuals and planted them in front of them. In a week they were dead. I was really frustrated with the bushes, because they hardly left room to plant anything else. So out they came. Here is a picture of me after I conquered the beasts:

I decided to plant a perennial garden there, but the unfortunate part was that we had drained our budget putting an extra room above our garage. I managed to get together $50 and headed to Lowe's to buy some budget plants. I bought a good bit of plants, but the front still remained rather bare. Here's a picture after the initial replanting:

During the spring and summer I went to Lowe's and other garden centers every week looking for deals. $3 here and there. I also begged and pleaded for cuttings from my parents and neighbors. By the end of the summer I had a pretty good setup. Here's a picture:

I even took some of my divisions to the school I live by and planted them in their garden. I'm really excited to see how everything comes back this year. Hopefully I'll be able to divide some of the perennials even further and extend my garden. I would really like to plant a rain garden also. Last year I added a rain barrel to my garden and was really happy with it.

I also want to get a rain chain to water the pot that sits beside my front door.
I think I'll request that for Mother's Day

Monday, January 25, 2010

Old-Fashioned Art

There used to be a time when the world was not dominated by computers. That time fell around the same time I went to college. Sure, I used a computer in college, but it was not the only option. Mostly I just really wasted a lot of my time trying to figure out how to do crap on it. So, I developed a process for creating my art that did not involve computers. I still kind of use that process today. I'll share it with you just in case you are interested.

I mostly work from photographs to create my art. I'm not extrememly creative and I like painting scenes of nature (flowers, barns, etc.) better than a bunch of crap with crazy "meanings" anyway. Monet might have had all day to sit there and paint the effects sunlight had on waterlilies, but then again, Monet did not have 2 kids. So I take a picture, then I go home and paint it.

In the "olden days" I would take a picture with my point and click camera, then ride the bus to Walmart where I would drop off the film, then pick it up a week later when it was ready. Then I would take it to a photocopier, figure out how to get the picture blown up to the size I wanted, and a million dimes later I would have a picture to work from. Nowadays I take a digital picture, then print it the size I want on the computer.

Here's my picture:

Now I have to get my picture onto my watercolor paper. I suppose I could freehand draw it, but that puts too much pressure on my brain and forces me to use my artistic skills, so I just trace it. Yup...I coat the back of my copy with charcoal, then tape it to my paper and trace away.

After I take away the paper, I trace over the charcoal with pencil, because the charcoal will eventually wear away, then I'm left with nothing. Here's what it looks like:

Scary, right?

Well...that's it. I start my painting by filling in large areas of color. I tweak it and work with it for a few days, and eventually end up with a finished picture that, hopefully, doesn't suck.

I guess you'll have to tune in to see the finished result. If the suspense is just killing you (I'm so sure it is), here's a picture that I finished last year, along with the original picture:

By the way, I painted this picture of my sister-in-law's cousin after she died in a car accident.