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Category Archives: Family


We got up early on Saturday morning and made the journey to the Big City for PBS Kids in the Park. My boy LOVES PBS shows like SuperWhy, Dinosaur Train, Daniel Tiger, and Curious George. He was beyond excited to meet the characters he watches, and he even got to have a snack and do a fun craft with Curious George. As we walked around Military Park, he would point at the different characters and yell, “HI ALPHA PIG!” and “I LOVE WORD GIRL!”

He was slightly disappointed that Word Girl didn’t bring Captain Huggy Face, though.

After we’d seen all there was to see at the PBS Kids event, we took a stroll down the canal. Indy is really a beautiful city, and in the summer I highly recommend taking a day to just walk around aimlessly.


O even got to feed some ducks after a nice boy gave him some cereal.


Our walk took us closer to the circle, and we remembered that Pride was also going on that day…So we decided to check it out. O was asleep in his stroller, so we took our time checking everything out. We even bought a bumper sticker!

Because it was so hot, and also because some big dummy (ahem, me) forgot to put sunscreen on, we headed to Circle Center mall because, air conditioning. O was still sound asleep, so we took advantage of the massage chairs that were sitting in the lobby. Two minutes for a dollar sounds like a hell of a bargain when you’ve been walking all day.


I also ended up with some cool new shoes.

Once O was awake, we grabbed dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery and stopped for ice cream in a shop on Monument Circle. By the time we started making our way back to the van, it was close to 8:00.



This also happened, and now I wish I had been holding my phone the entire time. I’m guessing we actually walked close to ten miles altogether.


On Sunday, we ventured over to our town’s Strawberry Festival for lunch. Our first stop was to visit The BF’s grandparents, who always display their pedal tractors. While O was playing with the tractors, I decided to rest my weary legs by having a seat in his stroller. I was unable to talk The BF into pushing me around. For lunch, I had a bison burger and cheese fries topped with bison chili. Delicious! The BF had some ribs, and we both shared with O. Even though I didn’t really want to.

After lunch, we stopped at our friend’s photo booth before heading home. O thought it was great fun to wear the helmet and watch himself on the screen.

I capped off the weekend by finishing a book and having a glass of wine… Well, I tried to drink a glass of wine, but I managed to nod off before I even drank half of it.

Hashtag, old people problems.

Thursday evening, I made two pies… I had planned to only make one, a coconut cream pie for The BF’s grandpa (his birthday was Saturday), but the BF wandered in and asked if he got a pie. I had everything to make a chocolate pie, so I went ahead and made it because I’m such a pushover giver.


Top: Coconut cream pie Bottom: Chocolate mousse pie

The BF was super pleased with his pie. Friday evening we took the coconut pie to Grandpa, and he said he had no plans to share it with anyone. He did offer a slice to The BF.

“No thanks, I don’t really care for coconut.”

“I know!” was Grandpa’s reply, and then he cracked up.

I was super relieved that he liked it so much, because I’d never made that kind of pie before…And I did it completely from scratch, from making the graham cracker crust, to separating five eggs for the custard, to the whipped cream, to even toasting the coconut. Also, who knew real, homemade whipped cream was so amazing? I may be addicted.


Saturday morning, MIL and I took O to the local farmer’s market. We found tons of awesome fresh produce and lots of people to chat with. I ended up with an eggplant, some cute yellow pattypan squash, Concord grape jelly, and creamed honey. MIL stopped to buy a green pepper and the nicest guy handed O a cute little pumpkin. He promptly threw it to the ground, of course, but luckily the man just laughed.


I didn't get a pic of the pattypan because it didn't last very long.

We stopped for lunch at my favorite Chinese place. I ordered cashew chicken and MIL had General’s chicken…we both got the hot and sour soup because it’s the best you’ll ever have. O was happy to eat everything we shared with him, and he wasn’t phased at all by the spice in the soup or the General’s chicken…He’s going to like it spicy like his mama, I think, and I couldn’t be more proud.

O took a nice, long nap once we got home, and when he woke up we headed to the State Fair. O had his first ever ear of Indiana State Fair roasted corn on the cob, and he loved it so much that he didn’t want to give up the empty cob. He also split a blue raspberry shaved ice with his daddy, and he loved the pieces of breaded tenderloin I shared with him.


After we filled our bellies, we wandered around checking things out. I rode an elephant ( her name was Libby), and we bought a jar of maple cream at the pioneer village.



We made sure to check out some animals, and the boy found a new friend in a nice little goat. The BF and I also found coffee mugs that I really should have bought.



He had to give the goat kisses when we left.

Once it got dark, we headed to the midway. O rode a couple of rides with Daddy (mama would barf). I think O loved the excitement, because there was a lot of pointing and clapping and waving and, “See? SEE?!”


We all had a blast and slept extremely well when we got home.

Sunday, I did some cleaning and The BF worked in his office while O ran around in an outfit he picked himself.


That afternoon,  my SIL came over with my sweet niece and the kids chased each other through the house. There was a lot of squealing and giggling and THUMPTHUMPTHUMPing. The boy had so much fun that he slept until almost 9:30 this morning.

It was my favorite kind of weekend, full of family time, good food, and a lot of laughter.

So good news, y’all! The sinus spray worked some serious magic. I woke up Saturday morning feeling way more human than I had in days.

I visited my amazing hair woman, Tiffany, and had my hair done. She was kind enough to fit my mom in for a trim, too, even though she was hosting her daughter’s birthday party later that afternoon. I love that gal.


It’s kind of hard to tell exactly what it looked like, but it was super cute! Please ignore my smudged up mirror…O likes to get his fingers all over the glass when he’s up there brushing his teeth.

My niece’s first birthday was super fun. My brother and SIL did a great job with the food and favors, and I think everyone had a great time.


She really loved the butterflies.

Besides making the cake, I crocheted an owl and an elephant, and we got her a super cute blue dress that was decorated with strawberries. The BF picked the dress, because he’s awesome like that.


After the party, O went home with my parents so The BF and I could go party it up at our 15 year class reunion.


We had a really great time catching up with our old classmates. I was a little annoyed that we didn’t get to have dinner, but after waiting 45 minutes (and I’m not exaggerating) for an appetizer we just decided to wait and hit Taco Bell on the way home.

Side note: I understand that things happen, orders get lost, whatever… but we waited that long to get our food and barely got an apology,  then paid full price for it? Just one reason that we never eat at this particular establishment.

…I just realized that we totally forgot about our plan to get Taco Bell on the way home. Lame.

Anyway, while we were waiting for our food, the waitress asked if we got to see the raccoons fall out of the ceiling. I thought I was just so delirious from hunger that I was hearing things, but everyone else was eyeing her with the same WTF?! look on their faces. Apparently, about an hour before we got there, a ceiling tile moved and a raccoon fell out of the ceiling and onto a couple’s table.

I miss all of the good stuff.

We left around 11:30 and retrieved our boy, who was sound asleep after helping Grandpa look for golf balls all afternoon. He must have really been worn out, because he slept until 9:30 Sunday morning.

Not that I’m complaining.


Yesterday the boy spent some time playing in the back yard with dad. We capped off our weekend with a family trip to Wal-Mart, dinner at Super China Buffet, and a scary movie (after O went to bed, of course).

After spending most of last week feeling like someone was punching me in the face repeatedly, I was incredibly relieved and excited that the weekend went so well.

And don’t worry, Phlegm watch 2014 isn’t necessarily over. Tonight I have a date with a neti pot. That ought to be an interesting experience.


Well I don’t know about you guys, but I can always tell when spring is here because we suddenly go from being stuck in the house to just constantly on the go. I love the craziness that comes with the warmer weather,  though, and I think the boy is just excited to finally spend time outside.

Friday evening,  The BF put a field tile core (think field drainage pipe) in the back yard and O had a ball playing on and in it while I made dinner.


Saturday morning I got up early (well, that’s every morning) and baked this lemon blueberry cake while the boy ate his peach oatmeal for breakfast. just as I was putting the cake into the oven, The BF popped in and asked if we wanted to go to Croy Creek to look for a rooster. Um, of course we did!

Croy Creek is a huge outdoor flea market…You never know what you’ll find there. It’s just a ridiculously awesome thing to see, tables and tarps covered with glorious piles of crap as far as the eye can see. People also bring small animals like rabbits, goats, chickens, and even miniature donkeys and ponies.

The BF got some cages ready and gassed up the van while the cake baked and cooled, then we piled in and headed to junk paradise.


Unfortunately,  there weren’t many chicken peddlers this weekend so we came home roosterless. I was ok with that because it just means we have to go back.

The boy was mesmerized by all of the excitement and spent a lot of time pointing and saying, “Oooooooooh, mama!” And, “See? See?!”

On our way home we stopped at this awesome little diner that has the best Greek omelet ever. I also love this place because of a slight misprint on their menu:


After eating, we took our time heading home. We checked out little towns and stopped by our little place on Raccoon Lake to see what needed to be done before we spent the night there for the first time.


O helped by sweeping the porch.

We got home in time for O to have a late dinner while I made the icing and finished the cake. He was covered in dust and dirt, so into the bath he went…where he immediately decided to poop. Thank goodness The BF was there because while I scooped up O, he took care of the rest. I guess that’s a milestone I can write on the calendar, huh?

Easter morning was pretty relaxed. I showered while O ate breakfast and played with dad, then The BF took his turn to get ready. We had lunch with my family, then played with bubbles and his new golf set before heading to an Easter Egg hunt and dinner with The BF’S family.



After hunting eggs, eating a ton of food, and playing outside with his cousins, I think O was feeling a little slap happy. After dinner wrapped up, I was chatting with a few of The BF’S family members when he lifted my shirt and started blowing raspberries on my stomach. At first I was a little embarrassed,  but there wasn’t much I could do. As soon as everyone else in the room started laughing, O got excited and had to really show off. I almost fell off of my stool because I was laughing so hard.

The boy was so worn out that he actually slept until 8:00 this morning. I think it’s safe to say he had a good weekend.


I’ve been trying to come up with new activities for O since it seems like we’re never EVER gonna get to play outside.

I actually kind of hate when people complain about the weather because, unless you just moved to Indiana, you should be used to this by now. We’ve had snow on Easter before, people…  But I think I can say I speak for a lot of people when I say…We have had enough of winter. I repeat: WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH.

I’ve managed to get the boy outside to play exactly three times. I even made some bubble solution one day, but it was way too windy. Lame.


The thing is, O is perfectly happy to play inside, I just like to give him new things to do every now and then. A friend posted some pictures on Facebook of her daughter having fun with some homemade play dough and thought it would be perfect for a fun new activity. The fact that it was edible and used stuff I already had? Even better!

My friend suggested this recipe and it worked really well. I had to use peach apple oatmeal because we didn’t have rice, but I think it was fine.


It looks green in the pictures, but I actually dyed it blue. O poked at it for a while, occasionally looking up at me and saying, “Boo?”. It didn’t take long for him to eat the whole lump (thank goodness I only gave him a little). That made for some…interesting…diapers.

Of course I got busy and forgot to put it in the refrigerator, so I ended up tossing ours out. It was fun while it lasted, and I think it was a good way to use up the baby cereal we had left. I think for my next project I’ll find something that will survive being left on the counter, though.

Do you have a great toddler – approved indoor activity? Share it in the comments!

If you’ve liked my page on Facebook (you can do it in the right-hand sidebar over there), you probably saw that I made an experimental dessert on Friday. I had been kicking the idea around ever since I made the cherry delight, and I decided the BF’s family Christmas was the perfect occasion for my mystery concoction.
Turns out, no one minded playing pie guinea pig because it was really pretty good!

Here’s what you need to make this super quick and easy holiday (or anytime) treat:

Oreo crust (I used a store-bought crust this time. Shameful, I know)

For the chocolate filling:

1 envelope Dream Whip

1/2 cup cold milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup powdered sugar

4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into cubes

For the peanut butter filling:

1envelope Dream Whip

1/2 cup cold milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar


Prepare Dream Whip according to package directions. Add cocoa and cream cheese and mix well. Once combined, add powdered sugar. Mix well. Spread about half of the chocolate filling into an even layer in the bottom of your crust. Cover and refrigerate.

Peanut butter:

Prepare Dream Whip according to package directions. Add peanut butter and powdered sugar. Mix well.

Spread a thin layer of peanut butter filling over the chocolate layer in your pie crust. I had a little peanut butter filling left (about 1/2 cup that The BF gladly ‘taste tested’)… You’ll want the middle layer to be a bit thinner than the others. Top peanut butter layer with the remaining chocolate filling, cover and refrigerate. Mine chilled overnight, and I think that is the best way to go.


I apologize for the not-so-great picture. I totally forgot to take a picture until the darn thing was almost gone. I did sneak a little piece, and I have to toot my own horn a bit on this one. Toot!

In other words, it’s tasty!

Here’s the BF and I, modeling his Dirty Santa gift of Bubba teeth, fake pink mustaches, and a spy disguise:


We’re hot.

So the boy’s first birthday was Saturday.

I think the party was a success. Good lord, I hope the party was a success. I think I have bald spots from pulling my hair out over details that, truth be told, people probably didn’t even notice.



The monster pops were a huge hit.


Part of the spread

Everyone loved the food… Ham, pork loin, roasted chicken, sandwich fixins, broccoli salad, potato salad, cole slaw, pickles and olives, cocktail weenies, party meatballs… We even made green punch with lime sherbet and ginger ale.


We made about 144 cupcakes. By the end of the day on Friday, I didn’t want to even look at another cupcake.

Ok, not true. I just ate a cupcake.


Then there was, of course, the cake. I have to say, I’m pretty proud of this cake. Not sure that I’m a fan of the garbage can lid, though.


The boy had a blast. I think he really enjoyed smashing the cake once he figured out what to do.

This party wouldn’t have happened without help, of course. The BF’s mom and my parents were kind enough to give up a Friday to help me with food and general party prep. I can be a bit of a Nazi about stuff when getting ready for something big, so they all get big props for putting up with me.

Today I was going to write about money-saving tips that I’ve discovered…Or I considered talking about a couple of (super awesome) opportunities that have come my way recently… But then I noticed today’s date.

Today, October 28th, is the two year anniversary of my dad’s quintuple bypass.

Quintuple = FIVE

So yeah, it was pretty major.

Don’t worry, I will get to the tips and you’ll definitely hear about the opportunities because, hooray!

Today, though, I want to just say that I am grateful. So, so grateful.

For the anesthesiologist that caught the weird rhythm during my dad’s back surgery.

For the cardiologist that ran tests.

For the heart surgeon, Dr. Stone with IU Health.

For his nurse, Jamie, who updated my mom and I on my dad’s condition every single hour during the surgery.

For the nurses that cared for him (and my mom and I).

For the wonderful people at the rehab facility.


I’m mostly thankful, though, that I still have my dad and that my boy gets to know his grandpa.

Happy anniversary, Dad… I know it wasn’t easy to go through, but you did it and I am so proud of you!




Friday evening the boy and I joined my parents at a high school football game. It was their homecoming, and the undefeated team of ’73 was being recognized. My dad was a member of that team, an it was fun to meet some of his high school buddies.







We’ll get to the cake in a minute, but first…A story:

I didn’t drink in high school…I think it’s safe to say I was a bit of a goodie-goodie. When I got to college, I seriously wasted no time discovering alcohol. Like, orientation night. Vodka and I became friends, and I learned that I liked Boone’s Farm (strawberry, of course) because I could get two bottles for super cheap. I liked beer because it was always in abundance at parties and, better yet, it was FREE.

One evening, my friends and I headed out to a party that we heard was going to be pretty awesome. Like most college parties, It was being held in the basement of someone’s off-campus rental house. As we descended the stairs we began to hear rumors that someone had forgotten the all important tap for the keg. Surely not! What kind of irresponsible party-thrower would forget such a thing?

It was true. There we stood with our empty red solo cups, crammed into a hot, smelly, damp basement with a shitload of other college students that were all getting more sober and grumpy by the minute. Just as we were getting ready to leave, someone materialized in front of me with a gallon of cheap tequila. In the real world, this would be a sketchy situation that should be avoided. At a college party, this was like a light shining down from Heaven.

The next thing I know, I’m drinking straight tequila out of desperation and complaining that it tastes like smelly feet. Somehow I ended up finding Tequila Man and getting refills, and when the tap FINALLY appeared I went ahead and topped my tequila off with beer. It still tasted like dirty feet but it was doing the job pretty efficiently.  So well, in fact, that I ended up drinking a few more half and half cups before I lost the ability to find the dude with the tequila.

I don’t recall much of the rest of that night. I DO remember that my friends thought I shouldn’t be left to wander home alone, and that it was decided I would crash in a buddy’s top bunk. They escorted me across campus, while I dashed (ok, stumbled) around, hiding behind potted trees and shrubs while singing the Mission: Impossible theme at the top of my lungs (DUN DUN DUN DUH DUH DUN DUN DUN DUH DUH… DOODELEEEDO…DOODELEEEDO). At one point, I decided to steal one of the potted trees that lined the campus sidewalks…”for camouflage”.

Needless to say, at some point that night the tequila left my body in a rather violent manner. The next day was spend wishing death would come relieve me from the throes of my very first real hangover. I swore to never drink tequila again. My body made sure I would keep that promise by gagging at the mere smell of the stuff.

Fast forward a couple of years (wink, wink).

Friday was my Mama’s birthday. My dad planned to take her out for dinner and a margarita, and since I make a cake every year, I offered to have everyone come to my house after dinner. I knew that I wanted to make her a margarita flavored cake so I started searching for a recipe.

I discovered lots of “recipes” that started with a white cake mix. Um, NO. Lucky for me, just as I was starting to get annoyed I discovered the darling Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe for from-scratch margarita cupcakes and frosting that looked promising.


For the Cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Zest and juice of 1½ limes
2 tablespoons tequila
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk

To Brush the Cupcakes:
1 to 2 tablespoons tequila

For the Tequila-Lime Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2¾ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila
Pinch of coarse salt

For the directions, please visit the original post here.

I followed the directions almost to the letter…I did leave the tequila out of the frosting (but I added lime zest) and I skipped the brushing. I took a teeny nibble out of one of the cakes and felt like the margarita taste was definitely there, and I didn’t want the tequila to be overpowering. I also used salted butter because I always use salted butter…and I left the extra salt out of the frosting.

I did have a teeny issue with the cakes…they did not rise at all. I ended up making two cakes and just stacking the four layers to be the size of a regular cake. Problem solved!

Everything still turned out beautifully. The margarita flavor was there, but not in an overpowering way. I was a bit disappointed that you couldn’t see the lime zest in the frosting, so next time I’ll reserve some for decoration.


cake layers   2013-09-21_19-01-26_361

cake and candles

That scarf that my mom is wearing? I totally made it. I taught myself to crochet last week after getting all of my Grandma’s stuff. Neat, huh?

Make this cake (or cupcakes!) if you enjoy margaritas. If you REALLY enjoy tequila, go ahead and douse them in it. You could probably leave the tequila out altogether if you’re not a fan (like me) but I sacrificed my own comfort for my dear sweet mother. I’m a giver.

I ate a whole piece to be a good sport and I didn’t even barf, so that’s a plus!

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