Sunday, April 30, 2006

Happies and Crappies

Happy- we bought a piano yesterday!! UNLV does a sale every year where they sell the pianos from the previous year from the music department so they can get new ones. They also have other used pianos for sale. The sale is sponsored by a music store here in town so if you decide (within the next 10 years) that you want to 'upgrade' they will take your full purchase price with your piano on trade towards another piano. Anyway, the piano is being delivered on Tuesday! YAY! I'll post pictures then.

Crappy- I was supposed to take dinner to someone in the ward on Friday and completely forgot. I feel so bad. I'm taking her dinner tonight.

Happy- Our yard will be started soon- then the girls can play in the back!

Crappy- we've all had the stomach flu. Well, all the girls. Steve started throwing up this morning about 2 am. I'm next- I know it.

Happy- I took all four girls to church by myself today. I survived, they survived. I don't know how single parents or parents who have spouses that travel a lot do it.

Crappy- Annika bit a kid at church today. I'm the mom of 'that kid'.

Happy- I spent an hour and deep cleaned the girls bathroom yesterday. It sparkles, it doesn't stink. YAY!

Happy- (I'm committing out loud) I'm starting to count Weight Watcher points again tomorrow. I'm going to do it. Remind me of that.

Crappy- I'm starting to count Weight Watcher points again tomorrow. It's so much work- but it's worth it right?

Happy- After taking dinner to this random person in the ward (church congregation) I'm struck with just how completely blessed my life is. Not just averagely blessed- but completely and totally in awe of the blessings that flow to my family.

Crappy- I can't believe the poverty that some people live in. It makes me sad to think about it.

Happy and crappy- This story

Happy- Ashley and I went on a mommy daughter date on Friday night. We went to a musical put on at the high school and then got a banana split.

Crappy- the only way to describe this rendition of Grease. Seriously- the.worst.production.ever. Sound system sucked, actors were eh, scenery ect was pathetic. I remember our musicals being a huge deal. Here? Not so much.

Happy- It was probably a good thing that we couldn't understand them. I'd forgotten how many drug references and sexual inuendos there are in that show. Probably not appropriate for a 7 year old.

Happy/crappy- my Grandma had triple bypass surgery, she's doing well though.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

YAY!! I'm wireless!!

Whew! So I've had a laptop for a couple of weeks now. We waited for KB (our sucky builder) to come and set up the structural wiring network for our computers. They came- handed me a router and told me to call the Geek Squad to do it. Well, I'm cheap- and ticked- they told me that as part of the service that they'd set it up! But I'm also so frustrated with KB that I gave up. I finally just decided to try and set up our wireless router and get our network working that way. After spending hours on the phone today with Linksys they told me to try calling Sprint- my ISP. Ten minutes with Sprint and the problem was fixed. That got the Desktop going through the router to connect with the internet- but then the laptop would connect (according to the system) but IE wouldn't work. Sigh...

BUT- I'm not sure what I've done- but now it's working!! Finally! So now I can be wireless! YAY!

I broke my blog

Anyone know how to fix it?? I added the map thing on the bottom and now my sidebar is all screwed up. I tried taking the map thing off and it doesn't make a difference!! Acckk!

Works for me Wednesday!

Once again it's Works for Me Wednesday over at Rocks in my Dryer.

Today's 'works for me' are a few cake making tips... yes, I'm sharing deep, dark, secrets....

When using a cake mix to bake a cake there are some tricks to getting a dense, moist cake with very little effort on your part.

1. Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of pudding mix powder to the dry mix before adding wet ingredients. I have bulk cans of chocolate and vanilla pudding to use just for this purpose.

2. Replace the water with milk- same amount, just milk not water.

3. Add about 1/3-1/2 cup of sour cream to the mix.

4. Add an extra egg

5. Bake on 325 for about 10-20 minutes longer then you normally would if you were baking at 350. You have to watch it closer but the results are phenomenal.

These are some of my 'tricks' to making a cake mix taste 'homemade' (but better.) Hope it works for you!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Look what happened at my house today!!

We have a patio!!

Notice the flower garden spots on the side?

Also notice Corinne riding with Ashley? She seems to like it. But YAY!! Now we need a swing and patio furniture.... Grass and gardens should be coming in the next week. I'm so happy!!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

You've reached your peak.... 30 isn't that old is it?

I hear that 30 is the new 20... of course I wouldn't know since I'm not there yet. Of course if 30 is the new 20 then I'm 17....

Here is the cake I made for a surprise 30th birthday party last night:

The cake was so much fun to make. The little man, rocks and tombstone were made from fondant (LOVE that stuff!)

Here is the veiw from the end- 'THE END'

Here is the tombstone:

Here is my baby eating cake peices off the floor:

and here is how my kitchen looks after making a cake...

Notice how every surface is covered and every cupboard door is open? That's how I cook. Drives steve nuts. Also notice the cleanliness and organization of the pantry... makes me feel good. If only I could get motivated to do that to the whole house....

Pictures galore... if blogger cooperates... My mom's house

Front door of my mom's new house (kids are mine though)

Kitchen living area (beautiful cabinets and granite countertops)and once again the kid is mine.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Things I need to do today

Bake and decorate 'over the hill' cake by 6:00- Cake is baked and cooling, filling (whipped chocolate ganache) is cooling in freezer, currently making frosting. Update, cake filled, torted, crumb coated, frosted- now I’m doing my favorite part- the details. FUN cake! I hope the birthday boy is a good sport. Cake done! Woo! Took me longer then I thought (usually does though) pictures soon.

11:00 take pictures of my mom's new house to post for family- pictures taken, will post tonight

Clean house that is a pig sty- which includes:
-clean out and organize kitchen cupboards so I can find stuff while baking- in progress, mostly done
-pick up toys in study and vacuum
-vacuum rug in living room
-FINALLY put away winter clothes for summer clothes
-take inventory of 3T clothes since annika's hips are too big for 2T shorts and Megan's hips are too small for 4T shorts
-clean all bathrooms
-fold and put away all laundry (mostly clean, just needs to be put away!
-keep children happy while I'm trying to ignore them- currently riding bikes together in the garage (and not beating each other- YAY!) They napped (yay! Regular occurrence though) and are now watching PBS kids and supposedly cleaning up the toy room.
-send out sticker club chain letter that my kids received. Any volunteers to get one??
-Blog about my first Bunco night.

If I can do these things today I'll be thrilled.... ready? GO! I'll be back to update!

I'm not sure why I try to do everything at once. But if I have nothing that I HAVE to do in a day I have a hard time accomplishing anything. But if I have several big things to do then I find it easier to do lots of other little projects that I've been putting off. Does anyone else have this problem??

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

In other news...

My mom sold her house in Utah. She's moving to Las Vegas. She put an offer (that was accepted) on a house that is a seven minute walk from mine. YAY! This will add a new dynamic to our relationship- we've never lived in the same town since I graduated from High School. I'm excited that she'll be close though- and she's excited too. It'll be great in so many ways.

The house is a year old and has never been lived in. It was bought as an investment from a couple that lived in CA. They recently moved to Arkansas and didn't leave a forwarding phone number- a situation that the realtor had never come across before. So the offer was put on the house on Friday and she just found out today that they accepted it.

It's 1888 sqft, 4 bedroom, 2 bath, tiny backyard (that will be easy to maintain) huge living area, beautiful kitchen with granite countertops... it's a nice house- in a nice neighborhood (mine). YAY! (Can I say that enough??)

Recent came from...

So I have stat counter. Lets me know how many hits my blog has gotten (currently 6868) and where people come from (links from other places) and which blog they came from. I've gotten some interesting google searches: contruction workers (note to self, fix spelling), bee hive cupcakes, graveyard cupcakes ect

The most recent links perplex me though. Most of the time I can see where people came from (email, message boards, links from blogs I know) other times I get links from blogs like this, and this and wonder where they came from.

Other times I get hits from random countries, Iraq, Israel, Switzerland.

All very interesting.

In other news, I just got a call from the concrete man. They're pouring my patio tomorrow!!

Tagged! I'm weird

Apparently I'm supposed to be weird- or at least have six weird things about me... Of course everything about me is completely normal! I got tagged by Bon a couple of days ago. I've been lax in my blog reading and commenting and writing lately- so today I'm playing catch-up.

1. I don't like cake... which wouldn't be weird except that I'm a baker. I LOVE to make cakes and decorate them (and sell them to other people)- but they aren't my favorite dessert. They're okay if I make them (and usually I don't like store bought or other people's cake) but still I'd rather have cookies or pie or brownies or ice cream or... yeah.

2. I can't eat turkey. At all. Makes me sore and gives me migraines. Most other meats do as well- but I can eat some, occasionally. Turkey not at all.

3. I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure (early menopause) at age 22- then went on to have three kids with no reproductive assitance.

4. I've met a lot of my closest friends on the internet- and then met them IRL. To me (and probably a lot of you) this is completely normal. To a lot of the world it's very scary and the worst thing you can do. So far, so good.

5. I don't drink alcohol, coffee or tea. One of those things that's not weird to me- but really to a lot of the world it is very strange. (Part of the Mormon thing)

6. I'm a lazy perfectionist. I'm stealing that term from my friend Sheri. I'd love to have things perfect but I'm too lazy to do it.

Tagging some of my good friends who are new to blogging:

Works for me Wednesday!

A fellow mommy blogger Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer has started 'works for me Wednesday'. We post something on Wednesday that 'works for me' (hence the name... catchy huh?) So today I'm playing along. My tip is for traveling with kids as well (to go with the theme). I frequently travle 5+ hours to my mom's house with 4 kids by myself. In order to make car snacking easier I divide up goodies into sandwich bags and then give each kid a brown paper sack full of snacks. Then they can choose what they want when they want and I'm not tossing things to the back seat- and getting distracted while driving.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Funny from Ashley

Last night at dinner we were commenting on how mean Annika has gotten and how she learned it from Megan. Ashley said, 'yeah, Megan did it to Annika and that's how she learned.' So I asked Ashley how Megan learned then (thinking from Ashley). Ashley immediately responded, 'the hard way.' I'm still giggling.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Ways to get me to not consider your bid for our home improvement project

We're pricing patios. We need cement poured and a cover built. I hate the way I'm treated by contruction workers. I'm the one doing the research, I'm the one that'll be home when it's being done and I'm the one who knows what I want. Just because I'm a woman doesn't mean that I'm incapable of making a decision about 'manly things' like concrete...

#1 Refusing to come over unless my husband is home will almost automatically kick you out of the running.
#2 Coming over and telling me stuff- then the moment Steve walks in the door saying, 'oh good, the boss is home!' (To which Steve replied, 'um, she's the boss' - he knows the right answer!)
#3 Insisting that your product is different then Alumawood (made from aluminum). When we ask what it's made of you reply, 'aluminum'. So when I try to clarify that it's the same material just thicker you insist that it's not made from the same stuff... Apparently we're not communicating.
#4 Ask me repeatedly if my husband is going to pour the concrete. When I inform you that it's not something he is planning on ever doing you ask again. Like by virtue of his testosterone he has innate knowledge about all things construction??
#5 Quote me double the price of every other estimate- then talk trash about the competition.
#6 Be creepy
#7 Be way to interested in my kids and keep asking them, 'do you want to come home with me?'
#8 Try to 'close the deal' by saying you'd take us out to the buffet at the Rio when the project was completed. Yeah, not really a selling point.
#9 Ignore me and my opinions/questions once Steve is present. Thank you for valuing me as a human being.

So yeah- we didn't choose him. BUT we did choose someone else and construction will start in a week or so. THEN we'll get our grass in! The lawn guy is already figuring up and estimate for us. YAY!!!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The pushy piano guy

So as part of our hot date last night we decided (Steve suggested- I willingly complied) that we would go visit the grand opening of a new music store in town that was having a HUGE SALE on pianos. 15-45% off! <-- Exact font of ad. So we walked in and I was immediately giddy, the endorphins were pumping and I was a wonderful musician!! Nevermind that I've hardly touched a piano in recent years. Just being in the same room with all of those beautiful instruments made me happy. Sigh...

The Sales Guy (Craig) asked what we were looking for (um, a piano- duh) and asked who played. (Me- sort of, a long time ago). He showed us piano #1- which was their 'best deal' (translation- not the one that is the lowest price- or even the highest price- but one that they have the most of that they need to get rid...) He played a little song- then invited me to play. Um- I think he missed the "sort of, a long time ago" memo. I declined. Even when I was in my piano playing prime I couldn't just whip out a song, I'm not very good at music memorization.

So he played a couple of little ditty's- then showed us their music school with 15 soundproof practice rooms for lessons. Then he showed us a baby grand (sigh...).

Salesguy: Do you have room for a baby grand?
Me: Yes (We really do- even if we didn't if one was gifted to us I'd make room- I'd sell a child to clear out space even)
Steve: Um, no
Me: for sure yes- I promise
Steve: where would we eat?
Me: doesn't matter- who needs to eat??
Salesguy (a little annoyed but sure that it was me he should be talking to now): So Amber, have you seen the new player options??
Me: um no
Salesdude: Something something something, expensive computer, something, free if you buy this $15,000 piano, play a song, something something
Me: um, cool
Salesdude(piano playing itself and there are drums and horns as well): now that makes a statement...
me: giggle- sure
Salesdude: Do you celebrate Christmas??
Me: Sure (chortle)
Salesdude: This (white high gloss grand piano) looks beautiful next to the Christmas tree
Me: did I mention my four small children with sticky fingers?? Pretty sure whatever piano we buy will not be white or high gloss.
Salesdude: You know we finance
me: for pianos starting at $7,000 you'd better or you'd never sell any
Salesdude: these pianos will not be here by this weekend... at least not at these prices.
Steve: whew
Salesdude (sensing he was not closing a deal tonight): well, you remember my name right? You won't need a card.
(Guess he sensed that he shouldn't even waste a business card on us.)

It was fun and there is something about being around all those beautiful instruments that just gets me- really. Steve didn't understand and unless you're a musician you probably don't understand either. But really, it's a beautiful thing. Now I need to start checking the classifieds...

Eight years ago...

Yesterday was our eighth wedding anniversary. The seven year itch is finally over! We decided we'd 'strengthen our marriage' for FHE and go out to dinner alone and leave the kids with a friend. We had a lovely dinner at Chili's and then decided to go look at pianos.

In a lot of ways I can't believe that it's only been eight years. That doesn't seem long enough to do all that we've done. But in other ways it seems like it was just yesterday that we were dating and young and carefree.

Happy Anniversary Steve! Thanks for being the great husband, father, friend, provider and all around good guy that you are. You're a keeper!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

musings with megan

I went out into the kitchen and found Megan with a box of wheat thins. I took them away from her and she said,
"I only want two"
so I gave her two. She got upset and said,
"no! I want two!"
I told her that she had two and she said,
"No! See? one, two"
she paused to think about it and said,
"okay, I want three"

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Really Quick...

Monday is my eighth wedding anniversary married to Prince Charming .. any great ideas for where/what we should do? We're debating a get away weekend later in the month but we're not sure. We're in Vegas (duh) and don't want to spend a ton/be gone for more then the weekend. (Well, we'd love to do both but aren't). So- ideas??