Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday Afternoon

The first time I made this recipe the children exclaimed "Pumpkin bread?!   EWWWW, gross!"    accompanied by gagging noises and melodramatic displays of swooning and expiring.  Yesterday, I made it again, salivating at the notion that those loaves (yes, loaves) would be mine, all mine and wouldn't a slice be fine with a cup of coffee.  Yeah, right.  My beloved children, the very same that had previously eschewed those wonderful loaves, now hovered over them like a flock of circling vultures eyeing their next meal.

What started out as this:

Is now this...

in less than 24 hours.  Mere crumbs and the scent of pumpkin and cinnamon are all that remain.  Thank goodness there's still one loaf  left which the mean mom in me wants to squirrel away for herself.  But they're already eyeing it like it's prime rib and I've a feeling loaf #2 isn't long for this world either.  Thanks, Susan in Jerusalem, for the recipe and for 2 new pumpkin bread converts!

Friday, March 25, 2011


Despite my best intentions, the junk food top isn't quite ready for quilting.  Last evening, for the first time in months, I attended bee and socialized FACE TO FACE!  Shocking, I know.  So, this seriously cut into the sewing marathon I'd planned since I got home late and at age 37 I can no longer "hoot with the owls" as my mother likes to put.  Today, between grocery shopping and laundry (does underwear REALLY need to be folded?) I managed to get the back pieced.  I'm planning at least one extra-wide border and then, voila!, I shall be ready to cross another project off my list!

 Happy quilting, ya'll!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Junk Food Quilt

I really should stop cleaning up my sewing area as I keep finding projects that need to be finished!  This is the latest one I'm working on.
This baby is loaded with junk food of all kinds...sweet, salty, gummy, crunchy.  You name it, it's there!  It started out a lap-sized quilt, but as my stash of junky goodness grew, so did the quilt.  And I love, love, love yellow!!  As far as I'm concerned, folks just don't use enough yellow.

Right now, I'm working on the back and what better balance to all that snack food bounty than....
an abundance of fruits and veggies!  Again, for me, the more the merrier: cucumbers, peppers, berries, leafy green stuff, watermelon, pineapple.  So much good-for-you goodness, I couldn't get it all in one shot (nor am I going to try).  I'm thinking sashing strips between each row, but then again, I just want this baby done!! Anyway, if I can get my act together (and the back together) I hope to load this on my Mom's machine by the end of the week.  Wish me luck and happy quilting!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Principal Has Me on Speed-dial

Nothing heralds impending doom for me quite like hearing the voice on the other end of the line tentatively say "Mrs. Bowen?"  No one, not even the ever-pesky telemarketer, addresses me as Mrs. Bowen..except the school principal.  Mrs. Bowen is never followed by news of projectile vomiting or fever high enough to fry an egg on the forehead.  No, no.  It's code for "your kid's in deep poopy-doo Sister and you better get down here pronto".

I ask you this:  Am I a bad mother if my first response to the principal's question "How are you today" is either "That depends.  How AM I today?" or "What did (he, she, they) do now?" and that I'm always dismayed when they follow up that little exchange with a chuckle and assurances that the little darlings aren't ill?  What, it's not Ebola?  Damn the luck!!

And where is it written that academic atomic blowups mean you call the mother first?  Pardon me, but if my being born female automatically endows me with the title of CCUO (Chief Clean Up Officer) of inadvertant personal protein spills, why can't Daddy-o handle school shenanigans?  The last I heard, it took an egg AND a sperm.  I am not in this alone, folks!  I'm one of two parents in a two-parent household.  Ask my husband about this; he'll tell you it's ALL HIS FAULT!  Then ask my mother...she'll tell I was the good child!! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's todayit's todayit's today! Now what?

It's finally here..the day I've been waiting for; the day my son starts to GROW UP (why don't you just grow up?); the day when I can turn him loose and say "Fly, kiddo" and not be held accountable for the consequences.

My, how those words now haunt me.

He's always been a child that requires way more help and supervision, especially when it comes to school related stuff.  I've spent countless afternoon hours hovering over him with papers and textbooks, walking him through metric conversions, diagramming sentences and explaining everything REPEATEDLY.  And to think I used to love school.  Gack!

Next month is the FWCS Science Fair and, as with any major-grade project, I'm freaking out.  He, on the other hand, is all fired up and brimming with ideas about how his display should look.  Great, you may be saying to yourself.  No, not great.  I've viewed him for 12 years as my baby, watched him achieve so much in spite of ADHD, been in the trenches day in and day out with classwork and teachers who either didn't get it or didn't care and have been on the frontlines of constantly defending his right to be the way he is to ignorant fools who have no understanding of him or ADHD and NOW he says "I can handle it, Mom"?  What, all by yourself?  Don't you need me?  Don't I get a vote here?  Apparently, not.

This afternoon, the two of us spent 45 minutes working together on the science fair project-him firing off ideas and me furiously typing away.  By the way, 45 minutes is HUGE in Seth-time.  I spent the remainder of the hour apologizing for treating him like a baby and explaining that Mom knows he doesn't need her as much (say it ain't so, but I guess this means I am doing my job) and how hard it is for Mom to start letting go.  He put his arms around me for a big hug and said "It's okay, Mom I'll always be your baby".  My heart melted, the tears flowed (my nose ran) and then he said "Now move over so I  can do the typing".

Friday, March 18, 2011

National Quilting Day

March 19, 2011 is National Quilting Day!  So, what are you going to get quilted this weekend?  I've got a backlog of quilts that need threads tied off and binding put on...NOT my most favorite part of the process.  I'm itching to start on something new, but....

THIS is what I have waiting to be done.  Do I have any volunteers in the crowd?  You know, this is something I could teach my kids to do...knot-tying I mean.  Now, there's a thought!

This is a sweet quilt my equally sweet spouse brought back to me on his return home from a car show.  And he's done it on more than one you think he feels guilty for leaving me alone with the wild ones?

I love quilting although I find it to be equal parts joy and frustration...hmmm, sounds alot like motherhood.  It's also put me in touch with all sorts of folks from all over the U.S. and the world and I love seeing how different folks make for different quilts.

So, here's wishing you a happy, productive National Quilting Day and for my international friends, International Quilting Day (hey, if there's no such thing, there should be!)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Good things from bad

When bad things happen to good people, I'm always seized by the desire to "do something".  Generally, I never know what that something is but it usually involves thoughts of retribution.  The events of last Friday in Itamar is one of those evil things.  What kind of animal sneaks into a home and slaughters the occupants, three of whom are children without a thought of their humanity and then slinks back to wherever they came from to celebrate?  That family's been on my mind and the "what to do" thought is always there. 

Yesterday, I went to a local park to walk before going to pick up my children from school.  I'd managed three laps (yes, I'm desperately out of shape) and just wanted to quit when, I believe, the Lord spoke to me. I'm fairly sure He does this quite often, but as I am a "child" of God I don't always listen.  I firmly believe He suggested walking 5 laps, just 5 laps, one for each of those people killed.  So, I did.  As I made the 5th lap, I thought why not do what Joshua and the Israelites did at Jericho?  Please don't ask me to remember how many times, how many days they walked around that walled city, but it was alot...way more than I managed on Monday.  But you know what, they believed in God and in what He'd told them to do and they did it.  In the end, the walls of Jericho came down.  So that's what I did.  I walked my 5 measly laps in one direction, then did another 5 in the opposite direction...and I sang the whole time I did it.  I'll confess here that they weren't religious songs, but I sang anyway. 

In the end, I did something.  I listened to God when He spoke to me; I lifted up that family to Him in my thoughts; I finished my walk.  It's nothing compared to the great, wondrous things He does, but I did what I could.  And then I picked up my children and hugged them.

Blast from the Past

I pass this cuddly childhood friend every day, getting
in and out of bed.  Sitting in my Grandmother's antique baby-doll carriage, he seems quite content even though I've forgotten where he came from and even what his name is (eek!)  Yesterday, I noticed he needed a bit of a cleanup and discovered the forgotten miniature quilt that he rests on.

I'm assuming my Grandmother made this since I recall it being in the toybox at her house, but don't know when she made it.  Makes me wish she were still here for me to ask...and is another good reason why all quilters, regardless of skill level, should put label on their quilts to let future generations know about its maker.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Texas Springtime

I can feel it's springtime and it's coming to Texas!  Paige is so excited about the blooms on the ornamental pear in our backyard...
loaded with blooms....and bees!

And here's a few more pictures from our morning outing to the zoo...
Redbud blooms

Although the temperatures aren't very springlike (it's supposed to reach the low 80s today), it's been typically windy for our area.  The remainder of our week is supposed to be in the mid to low 70s...let's just hope the wind dies down a bit!  Hope you're enjoying Spring wherever you may be.

Monday, March 7, 2011 (aka Spring Break week)

It's Spring Break week for my kids and, in an effort to preserve the peace (and my sanity, at least what's left of it) I sat down and made a list of all the stuff we're going to do.  Mind you, I've NEVER taken off to be with them, just me, for an ENTIRE week...I may not make it folks!  My Mom gets my quilting stash if things don't turn out well!!

Monday, we organized both kids' rooms (I do so love a label maker) and....

we're going to CAMP OUT IN THE BACKYARD!

Now, Texas weather can be a thing of beauty, but generally speaking you never know what you're gonna get.  The saying goes "If you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes and it'll change".  My kids are, oh, so ecstatic.   Me, I'm no nature lover.  Here's hoping for the best.

Fast-forward to TUESDAY morning:

We made it!  The wind HOWLED all night and for a while there I didn't think my daughter would stick it out.  It started raining sometime early, thankfully NOT a downpour; we stayed dry and cozy.  

Tuesday's been humid here in Central Texas, but the weather cleared up enough for us to head to Cameron Park Zoo this morning.
At the new Asian Forest exhibit
I won't bore you with animal photos...I can hear you cheering :)  although there's tons of new stuff to see.  The kids really enjoyed the expanded Asian exhibit with orangutans and a komodo dragon and the meerkat exhibit is always a favorite.  Tomorrow is movie day...Rango, here we come!

It's Wednesday, and we just got back from seeing the movie Rango.  The kids loved it!  I discovered a few things during the movie that I thought I'd share:
                                          1) This is NOT a kids movie.
                                          2) Children under age 4 should be muzzled while at the movies.
                                          3) Rango sucked and had me wishing for an
                                               arsenic cocktail.           
                                          4) My son does not wash under his armpits.
Post-movie, we made a detour to our local WalMart for heavy duty deoderant and "manly" shower gel.  He passed the sniff test...I consider this proof of God's sense of humor that I would HAVE to smell his pits and His infinite mercy because I didn't die while doing it.        

Thursday and my patience is wearing a little thin...not to mention that Mommy forgot to give kid #1 their morning medicine so "hyper" is the story of the day.  After a quick trip to town, we spent the remainder of the day at home doing art projects and making cookies for the local police department.

Rolling the dough in sprinkles
2 dozen each:  sugar cookies with sprinkles and chocolate chip

I've nothing witty to write today as I am utterly exhausted...not even my nap seemed to do much good.  Giving up soda and coffee for Lent may not have been such a hot idea.  Who knew 24/7 with these too was such hard work? 

Well, this is it...Friday morning, the last day of Spring Break.  It's 10:30am and us girls are still in our pjs while Seth snoozes the day away in bed.  So much for wrapping up vacation with a BANG!!  I'm not sure I'm excited it's over or sad I don't have more time off with them.  Yesterday, I was ready to pull my hair out; they were driving me crazy.  Today, I think "Just one more day" fast they're growing up.  On the positive side, that means I've succeeded so far...I haven't killed 'em yet!  Which is good, because frankly I wouldn't look good in an orange jumpsuit!! 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Retreat Recovery

I am absolutely exhausted, but had the best time this weekend as my Mom hosted her first-ever quilt retreat at her home.  My Aunt Doris came down from the Dallas area and my good friend Linda joined us in Mom's converted 2-car garage for quilting, food, more quilting and very little sleep.  And also a smidgen of knitting!

Friday night...and they started the party without me!

My mom completed 18 fleece blankets and 2 baby quilts.

She and my Aunt were still sewing away when I left Sunday afternoon.

Here's our group:

My Mom, Janet

My Aunt Doris

My friend, Linda

My Aunt worked on an awesome circular, paper-pieced project (which I didn't get a picture of) and this project, made from homespun fabrics...

I stood at the short-arm machine Friday night and all day Saturday and managed to get seven tops quilted with another five to go. 

We also had a retreat Mom's beagle mix, Chloe

We had so much fun this muscles are sore, my eyes feel like they're full of sand and I could probably load the quilting machine in my sleep, but it was a blast!  And I don't know who was more excited to see me when I got home: my husband, the kids or the dog....which means I should do this more often!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Perfect Mother

I've had it!  Can I get a show of hands of all those other mothers who're fed up with the myth of the "perfect" mom?  For Pete's sake, I'm constantly reminded of how I fall short in the mothering department!  Their little ones wear only the finest designer duds, eat only organic produce and hormone-free milk and, perish the thought of allowing a vaccine to enter their little systems.   These women never yell, volunteer for all sorts of community and school endeavors, have home-cooked meals on the table every night and I'm fairly certain  they never tell their husband "No". 

My kids are the ones that will find the 6 month old grape, shriveled to its raisin-y perfection under the sofa and proceed to eat the dog-hair encrusted thing.  Yes, the occasional donut passes their lips, not to mention chicken nuggets, hamburgers and those detestable boxed lunches you find in the cold cuts section of the grocery.  You could eat off my floor...some people have the "5 second rule".  Ours is more like 20 seconds and it'll probably boost your immunity and render you dog-allergy free.  I don't insist on nightly baths.  I gingerly sniff their hair and proclaim them "clean enough".  Don't ask about the time I actually sniffed an armpit...oh, Lord!  And at my son's age (11), it doesn't matter how much or how often he scrubbs, he still smells like the hind-end of a water buffalo.  Their clothes come from that great capitalist evil, Wal-Mart and I'm sure are loaded with all sorts of gawd awful chemicals.  No unbleached organic cottons for us!  No, sirree!!  And yes, we vaccinate.  Religiously.  The worst we've encountered is fever and "soreness at the injection site".  Well, duh, of course it hurts at the injection site.  Someone jabbed a needle into them.  I'll take that over polio any day.

Today is the start of their Spring Break.  Lucky devils, since they go to private school they're getting 2 extra days off for the teacher's to attend a conference.  We spent our morning running errands.  Paige's hair is know, she really does have a face under all that!  We visited the bank and loaded up on lollipops (thanks Miss Candy...that's really her name), the grocery where I purchased pesticide sprayed fruit and veggies, the bookstore and topped it off with a stop at Sonic.  They were real troopers, no complaints, no fighting.  I occasionally checked each one for a pulse.  And when we got home, do you know what they said to me?  "We love you Mom.  You're the best".

No, I'm not perfect.  But I am "me".  My children love me, my husband loves me; and I love them with everything my imperfect little heart can hold.  They're mine and I'm theirs.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


It's almost that time again...time for QUILT RETREAT!!  My Mom's hosting her first retreat at her home and we are so excited...I know you can't tell.  I've spent most of the day trying to get everything organized.
Goody bags for everyone!
I've also been cutting up fabric like crazy.  I've unearthed more quilt tops that need to be sandwiched and quilted...not my favorite part, which is weird since I call myself a quilter. 
Here I am auditioning backing fabrics.  Does anyone really care about the backing?  Personally, I like flannel but in Texas it's really not practical.

At the end of my cutting extravaganza, this is what I've wound up with...8 quilt tops with backing ready for the short-arm.  Just don't ask me about the binding!

Happy quilting!