Archives for December 2009

Southern Babies

You may or may not remember the last Georgia blizzard we had.

Winter in the South is a different kind of animal.

This is what happens when you grow up in the cold, cold Midwest but you birth babies in the South.

You take them to downtown Atlanta to beautiful Centennial Park for a little after Christmas ice skating.

They start whining like babies as soon as you start walking to the park.

Shivering and fussing.

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Then, they see a line wrapping around the rink and they stop dead in their tracks and say “Okay, that was fun. Now let’s go home.”

Side note: The only person who didn’t whine and fuss was their friend Jordan who joined us.

Next, you try to calmly explain to your 10 year-old that her big sisters AND her father are total cold weather WEENIES and would she like to go roller skating later in the week even though she really, really wanted to try ice skating for the first time in her life.

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And you snap a picture of her after she looks at the ice rink.

But you insist that everyone is going to walk through the park and enjoy the lights and walk to that giant Christmas tree that must be 1 or 2 city blocks away.

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You force photographs while the 18 year-old Soldier girl WEENIES complain and try to make their teeth chatter from the bone chilling 40 degree weather.

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Finally you get back in the car and head to Zesto for chili dogs and…

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ICE CREAM.


The Next Day

Dad has weenie guilt and asks the darling twin who is always most agreeable (thank you Wizzy) to take her baby sister ice skating at an indoor rink just a short drive from our house.

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She, along with her darling twin and four college friends, take Scary Baby ice skating in the indoor “much warmer” rink.

Ahhh, precious holiday memories.

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and you are enjoying time with family and friends!

I’m taking a little blog break and will be back next week with more fun and frolic for 2010.

Thanks to each and everyone of you who leaves a comment or sends me an email. It’s what makes blogging fun.

Be safe and have fun as you ring in the New Year!!

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Wiener Dog Wednesday

Imagine my surprise when I got a package last week and inside was a present with a tag that said…

To: The Wieners

From: Tucker

Before I tell you what was in the box, I think it is necessary to give you a little of the back story…

Tucker didn’t really send the box – his “mom” did.

Hip and Cool Friends

Hip and cool seems to be a recurring theme. With my sister. With my cousin.

And this is a tiny preview of how long I’ve known Tucker’s hip and cool mom.

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Take in all that is hip and cool in that picture.

Kerri is my oldest friend. Even though she is a year younger than me. 😉

We met in the 4th/5th grade combo class we were in together way back when.

Kerri and I spent a lot of time together and we were quite the fashion plates.

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Exhibit #1

Okay, so really Kerri’s mom was hip and cool because I think these were all her clothes. I don’t remember having white go-go boots but Scary Baby would really like those if I had saved them!

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Exhibit #2

We were in charge of the record player while my hip and even cooler sister and her friend sang to The Carpenters at a festival in town. Karaoke before karaoke was cool.

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Our dads played golf together.

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As you can see, Kerri’s dad was ultra hip and cool.

Side note: I hear he still grills a mean chicken. He did blackened before blackened was cool. Except it wasn’t hot and spicy it was just black as in burned. And then made us eat it. Always a fond memory. Hi Dean!

I lived in Rockford, Michigan from 3rd grade through 7th grade and have some of my best growing up memories there.

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I went back and visited Kerri a few years ago and Rockford is just as charming as I remembered.

One of my most favorite places is this one…

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The Corner Bar was a totally appropriate hangout for kids and adults. See the order window? That’s so kids could order without having to go in the smoky bar. Not that we didn’t spend hours in there with our dads.

Plaques line the walls with wiener hot dog eating records.

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Chili dogs aren’t the most photogenic food but I’m telling you right now if you are ever near Rockford, Michigan you MUST have a Corner Bar hot dog.

Okay, thanks for indulging my trip down memory lane – it was related to wieners in a very roundabout way.

Back to the gift box Kerri sent which really was for our wiener dogs.

It contained these adorable homemade dog treats.

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Crazy cute little dog crackers/biscuits/treats made with earthy crunchy ingredients fit for human consumption. I encouraged Roger Leroy to try one but she wouldn’t.

Look at the cute names with all the healthy ingredients listed.

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Even better, Kerri and her niece do it all for the American Cancer Society.

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I’m helping her launch a dog blog and I’m encouraging her to turn this into a profitable business with a portion of her dog treat empire going to charity.

I’ll keep you posted and maybe in the next few months you can all order adorable and delicious dog treats too!

Sabu and Dudley give them 5 stars and love them.

Thank you Kerri for sending the wiener dogs the fun treats! Thanks too, for continuing to be my oldest friend.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

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The Christmas List

You have to appreciate an organized kid.

One like our precious Scary Baby who gives you their Christmas list in OCTOBER.

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The “Flip Over” is the best part…

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Knowing full well we have already done the guinea pig thing x 3 including one that was pregnant. And we are never, I repeat, never doing it again.

Then we get a revised list at the end of November.

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I especially appreciate the ease with which she includes items like…

cell phone, ipod touch, camcorder and laptop

…blended in with the reasonable items like board games, blendy pens, earrings and an art kit.

This kid is nothing if not smooth.

She is also TEN and will not be getting any of the aforementioned high ticket electronic items.

PhilBillPaul and I have investigated the cupcake maker since it made both lists and we have learned that it’s not the cupcakes she wants. She just wants the fondant.

Michael’s has fondant. I’m working on it.

Two more shopping days. Do they have blendy pens?

What’s on your kids’ lists?

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Baking Frenzy

It was in full swing last week. Our annual baking frenzy where we make teacher gifts and various other goodies so we can contribute in our small way to the annual sugar consumption in America.

First we needed to edit Scary Baby’s list of gift giving. 27 teachers, administrators and school staff was a bit excessive since we never gave that many when the 3 big kids were in school. The kid has a heart for giving which is lovely. But hello…not happening.

This year I started with 4 batches of Cajun Chex Mix.

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Followed by holiday bark inspired by Leigh Anne who featured this lemon bark. I know it is a popular holiday treat but I’ve never made it. We have so many other favorites that I never get around to this easy goodie. I made also made a two-layer peppermint which was so good!

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PhilBillPaul is in charge of pretzels, fudge and sugared pee-cans.

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Scary Baby helped design cute little bag toppers for 25 pretzel bags for the holiday party. That’s 25 bags before we even started on the teacher gifts.

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They really didn’t say from “Scary B” on the tags.

The next day “we” got busy with the teacher and staff gifts. We got it down to a more reasonable 13 bags as opposed to her original list of 27.

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Her teacher and 2 principals + school nurse got the “big” bags. Everyone else got chex mix and fudge. Remind me to tell you why the school nurse totally qualified for the mother lode…on another day.

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More cute little tags with Scary Baby’s input on colors and fonts.

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Mini loaves of poppy seed bread are always a big hit. It was all about easy stuff this year.

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Then I broke out the sewing machine and whipped up these cute felt gift bags. Okay, that is a BIG lie. I don’t even own a sewing machine.

Scary Baby was so excited when she saw the Tar-jay wiener dog gift bag she earmarked especially for her teacher. I was excited it was one dollar.

I used to be more organized and start earlier and freeze in batches. Apparently I’m getting old and forgetful. Is Christmas on the 25th this year?

For the first time in 15 years, I did not make cookies for the teacher gift bags.

I was actually fine with that. She is at a new school and I didn’t really have any reputation to adhere to from past gift giving. It was kind of a relief. And that mini loaf of poppy seed bread takes up a good amount of room. 😉

But we cannot have Christmas at our house without cookies.

So Saturday night I got busy and started mixing up cookie dough.

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I had asked each family member what was their one favorite cookie they needed me to make.

Scary Baby – Lemon Drops
Wizzy – Chocolate Mint Cookies
Roger Leroy – Fudgie Bon Bons
The Grunter – Illinois Soft Sugar Cookies
PhilBillPaul – Berry Shortbread Dreams

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I always try to add at least one new recipe each year so I finally got around to making these Chocolate Turtle Cookies that I had intentions of making last year. Roger Leroy gave them a nine and says they are keepers.

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This is what I did all day Sunday. The oven was on for about 8 hours.

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Just so you know, we don’t eat all the cookies ourselves. We make several platters to take to friends.

Side note: Scary Baby picked the green icing color. Also suitable for shamrock cookies at St. Patrick’s Day.

And we mail a few boxes to family and friends.

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Anyone else going to the post office today? I’m scared to see how long the line is.

What are your most favorite holiday treats you must have at this time of year? Share the recipe too!

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Secondhand Smoke

Here’s the new cool way to smoke but keep your kid safe from your secondhand smoke.

I wish I had a better picture but this is the best I could pull off without being *like* super obvious.

This high quality picture was taken last month with my cell phone.

Just to get this one picture, I made PhilBillPaul act like he was checking the tire and front end of the car but leave the door wide open so I could snap this for my blog readers.

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After you go to the grocery with your toddler, load your groceries in your car and snap the toddler safely in her car seat…

Shut your car doors and stand outside of your car because…

It’s time for a smoke before the long car ride home.

Be sure to crack the window so your baby knows you are still right there.

But blow your smoke away from the car out into the open air.

Towards the lady snapping your picture.

The new generation of parents take their children’s safety very seriously. It’s all about setting a good example for your children when mom and dad smoke.

There you have it – it’s the best health and wellness tip I’ve learned in 2009.

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Tell Santa What You Want

Special note: Email subscribers…if you got strange or duplicate emails from me via this site yesterday, my apologies. Our iLashGirls site was hacked on Monday so we had to rebuild a few things from a backup and this affected my site as well. If you left a comment on any recent post and you don’t see it now, please leave another one! I really do want to know what your favorite dream pizza is! Hacking websites…add that to the list of stupid hobbies of people with too much free time. 🙁

Sixteen years later and we still don’t have any idea what The Grunter told Santa he wanted that made Santa look like this…

But it always makes us laugh. 🙂

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May I Take Your Order Please?

Special note: Our iLashGirls site was hacked yesterday so we had to rebuild a few things from a backup so this post disappeared for a while. If you left a comment and you don’t see it now, please leave another one! Hacking websites…add that to the list of stupid hobbies of people with too much free time. 🙁

This is how pizza ordering at the Humpfreeze house goes when all SIX Humpfreeze family members are home.

Side note: Small miracle in itself. All of us being together in the house on a SATURDAY NIGHT. Not just passing each other as someone walks out the door. Or passing each other in the driveway.

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

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Photo courtesy of callme_crochet

I’d like to tell you that this picture is of the hot, delicious pizza we get here in the South but that would be a lie. Pizza like that is rarely found here but this picture made me think of how much I miss the perfection of Illinois pizza…Chicago style or otherwise. My family lives near the Wisconsin border and it is that awesome Wisconsin cheese that I long for and have every time I go back to visit!

Now let’s get back to ordering pizza for dinner at our house…

I conducted this serious, formal interview with each family member to show you why I am crazy.

Dream Pizza

The Grunter
Crust: Thin
Toppings: Pepperoni
Sauce: Yes

Roger Leroy
Crust: Stuffed crust
Toppings: Extra cheese, 1/2 pepperoni
Sauce: Light

Wizzy
Crust: Regular
Toppings: 3 cheese preferably mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta
Sauce: Alfredo

Scary Baby
Crust: Stuffed crust or nothing
Toppings: Cheese and more cheese
Sauce: Barely

PhilBillPaul
Crust: Thin
Toppings: Pepperoni and sausage
Sauce: Extra

Sherra
Crust: Thin
Toppings: Light sausage, mushrooms and extra cheese
Sauce: Light

Saturday night pizza = Quality family time.

We can’t even agree on THE CRUST.

Would someone create a chart so I can order a freakin’ pizza please?

What’s your favorite dream pizza? I mean the non-compromising kind where you don’t have to share or accommodate other people’s tastes?

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Wiener Dog Wednesday

Before Scary Baby even started decking the halls and trimming the tree she was very busy with a special holiday assignment.

She was getting two of Santa’s new reindeer ready…

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I think this one might get fired…

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But I’m sure there’s still time for Santa to find a replacement.

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The Pioneer Woman’s Air

I am a huge Pioneer Woman fan! She’s been on my tiny blogroll since the first day of my blog.

I’ve yet to make one of her recipes that we don’t love.

I bought her cookbook and read the entire thing over the Thanksgiving holiday.

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I tell everyone to check out her site. (because she depends on PR from me for her little tiny blog venture that hardly anyone knows about.)

Okay, so maybe she doesn’t really need my help.

Seriously, her *little* blog has become what I refer to now as her blog EMPIRE. She has a Midas touch and a seemingly endless stream of brilliant ideas, gorgeous pictures, delicious recipes plus she homeschools 4 kids.

Imagine my excitement when I saw that she was coming to Atlanta on her book tour.

I marked my calendar and realized this weekend that she would be here on Monday and as if she was going to be my personal houseguest, I thought I should bring her a little taste of Georgia.

PhilBillPaul and I braved THE mall on Sunday so I could get a few goodies at River Street Sweets. I always love to give guests a little snack food because when you are traveling it seems like your regular meal time gets a little off schedule.

What better than a praline, a bear claw and some glazed pee-cans?

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So at 5:00 pm I double-checked the Borders in Buckhead website that listed her appearance…

Ree Drummond
The Pioneer Woman Cooks is a homespun collection of lush photography, lively rural stories, and scrumptious recipes.

Discussion and Signing December 07, 2009 7:30 PM

I have been following her visits in other cities. I read her last blog post about visiting Dallas and visited all the bloggers who wrote about their amazing time getting to meet her after they were assigned their colored wrist band and place in line. I also discovered that she was there until 2:30 am and signed the cookbook of every person who came.

WOW

That is amazing and authentic and gracious.

This is also when I decided I needed a new plan.

I have an aversion to crowds. And while I am a huge fan, I think there is a fine line between huge fan and hardcore groupie. I could not imagine sitting on the floor at Borders for 4+ hours so I could say hi and get her autograph and a picture.

New plan at 5:30 p.m.

Write a little note to include with River Street Sweets about how much I admire her and thank her for being such an inspiration.

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Apologize in the note for not having the fortitude to stay for the personal autograph session.

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Have my chauffeur drive me Borders.

Hear her talk.

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Um, never mind. Website not updated. Discussion canceled. 🙁

Take pictures of the crowd.

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Really low quality pictures because I am not a photographer.

Take a picture of her autographing someone else’s cookbook.

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Take bonus picture of husband getting in on photo op. Do not fix red eye in any pictures because this is not a photography blog.

Do not even attempt to get a wrist band.

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You know I’m not good at math but if just 20 people were in each group…um, my calculator tells me that would be 1,020 people.

Find someone helping her to give my gift bag to her later.

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I bet if I sneak around to the back of their table I can give them the goodies.

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Have dinner in one of our special favorite, fine restaurants.

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Oh yes, we dined IN.

Come home and blog about how I breathed Pioneer Woman’s air. 🙂

Go to bed.

A few bonus things I did not expect:

Bonus #1 ~ Meeting a fellow mother of fraternal twins who braved the crowds with her adorable 10 month old babies, Emaline & Benjamin.

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Did you know that people actually ask if boy/girl twins are identical? It’s a timeless joke among mothers of twins and really scary if you think about it.

Bonus #2 ~ Talking to Pioneer Woman’s sister Betsy and her friend Hyacinth and having them pose for a quick picture.

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They were adorable and so friendly and excited when I told them there were snacks in the bag, they said they hadn’t had dinner and were starving and would guard the bag. I told them to go ahead and bust out the glazed pee-cans – she would never know they were missing!

I would have gladly brought them all Zesto chili dogs but I think that might have created a riot at Borders.

Bonus #3 ~ Betsy so kindly gave me an awesome and exclusive Pioneer Woman t-shirt.

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Thank you Emaline for modeling the t-shirt.

All in all, it was a super fun night and I am as impressed as ever with all that Pioneer Woman has accomplished as a mom blogger sharing her life with the internet universe!!

Put her cookbook on your Christmas list if you haven’t already bought one! Did anyone else go out and meet her during her book tour?

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Holiday Decorating Fun

Oh I wish I could be more like my friend Leigh Anne.

Okay, not really but I do truly admire the special people who transform their house into a magical holiday home with festive decorations by the box full. (But seriously, 25 boxes?)

This weekend was a little different for us than past years. First, we usually decorate our house on Thanksgiving weekend but since PhilBillPaul and Scary Baby were in Texas, we waited.

Second, we were minus 3 kids so the 10 year-old darling daughter had the honor of unboxing all our decorations that PhilBillPaul brought down from the attic after they brought home a Christmas tree she picked out.

I really wish I had taken pictures of the 3 red and green plastic bins filled with all our holiday treasures. Because I can’t do justice to what we found inside with mere words.

The surprises we found are a direct result of the fact that we have put the *big* kids in charge of decorating for the past several years.

I will be the first to point a finger at Roger Leroy because she has always been the most eager to get everything out and decorate the tree, the house, lights on the porch and in her room, etc.

She keeps it well-hidden but she’s a super festive kid.

But we all know that decorating is WAY more fun than UN-decorating.

She had put things away in a most unorganized fashion. Like items were not together. Tangled lights and broken ornaments. There were some tears as Scary Baby unwrapped special ornaments stuck to melted candles.

Side note to my mother: “Yes Mom, you are absolutely right. It would be way, way easier to do it myself…but then I would miss all the glory of a teachable moment…and have nothing to blog about.”

And I really let them do it because I am always looking for opportunities to relinquish some of my control-freak tendencies and be more “fun.”

Picture a warm, fuzzy Hallmark or Taster’s Choice holiday commercial.

Minus the warm, fuzzy part.

Yeah, that’s our house.

Anyway, we cleaned out the boxes, salvaged the ornaments and threw away the melted candles.

I turned on my iPod holiday music playlist.

And then we let Scary Baby trim the tree all by herself.

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She did an excellent job and I’m sure the big kids will enjoy the fruits of her labor and lavish praise upon her.

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In the midst of all our fun, I did make little treat bags for the college kids who stopped by and are back at school taking their last final exams this week. I made Leigh Anne’s Reindeer Cookie Bark. (As always, cute pictures and detailed instructions are on her blog.)

Since Christmas is no time to cut out sugar, PhilBillPaul even whipped up two batches of Buttermilk Fudge for us to test. The recipe is a keeper with or without pecans. YUM!

Is your house all decorated for the holidays? How many boxes of decorations do you have? Not being nosey, just interested…

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