Monday, February 27, 2023

Wrap-up of a Surprisingly Great Weekend

Queen B flew in at 2:00 on Friday afternoon and it was my job to keep her entertained and away from the house until 6:30 that evening so that Katie and the crew could pull off a surprise birthday party; this was not as easy as it sounds.

I took the whole day off from Not So New Job so that I could get the house tidied up and pick up the balloons that would be the only decorations at the party. Then I ran home to pull the red velvet cake out of the freezer to thaw while I was engaged in Mission: Keep the Kid Away. Queen B is pretty intuitive and I felt like I was walking a thin line all afternoon, but, I managed.

Queen B's flight landed right on time and, since she hadn't checked any luggage, we pulled out of the airport by 2:15. Our first stop was Starbucks, for vanilla bean frappuccinos and tomato and mozzarella paninis because the Queen was starving (and I will never pass up a tomato and mozzarella panini).

We then headed to Mom's to kill some time with a visit. Mom was in on the surprise, of course, and she suggested that we go out and do a little shopping, which we did.

Then, I dropped Mom off back at her house so that Oscar and Emily could pick her up for the party, while I took Queen B for pedicures that I had scheduled earlier in the week.

Luckily, the salon was running behind, so we were able to kill the exact right amount of time before heading home, where we managed to completely surprise Queen B. It was a mission accomplished!

After cake and pizza, the kids carried on with the party, traveling to Neighboring City to dance at a bar that Queen B and Katie used to frequent during college. Hugh and I crashed, because we are no spring chickens anymore.

The celebrations had just begun, however! The next day, we traveled to a town a few hours north, to attend another birthday celebration; this time for Queen B's Goddaughter, who was turning 2. The party was at the local bowling alley, followed by cake and ice cream at the guest of honor's grandparent's house. We have been acquainted with this family for several years now and consider them friends, so it was nice for all of us to get to see each other again. I love how that happens!

Sunday afternoon, Hugh, the Man-Cub, Shanti, Mom, and I went to the theater to see the new Ant Man movie (Queen B isn't a fan) before coming back to the house for cheese fondue. I love, love, love having all of my people home and around the same table, so it was a great night for me.

Today, I am off work again; I wanted to spend as much time as possible with Queen B while she is home. I do have a presentation to give at the Petticoat Junction town council meeting later tonight, but, otherwise, I plan on enjoying her and just being in the moment.

I'm so glad I have the opportunity.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Birthday Flashback

 Today is Queen B's birthday! I've written birthday tributes over the years, and today will be no different, but, before I get to how amazing she is, I thought I would re-share this post that I wrote a number of years back.

I had an incredibly vivid and life-like dream last night. Actually, I'm not certain that it was a dream, but, more a memory. In the dream, The Teenager shuffled into our bedroom, clutching her pink blanket (bobock) and favorite teddy bear. She wasn't a teenager, of course, but, a little girl of about three, and, she was wearing her favorite footie-pajamas; the pink ones with the ruffles across the butt.

Her sleeves were pushed up over her elbows and her plump little arms were clutching that teddy bear to her chest with all her might. Her hair was curling in random directions and felt damp from the light night sweat, which, was a normal occurrence for her.

In the dream/memory, she climbed into bed next to me, curling into my body, where, she sighed deeply and relaxed into sleep. Then, as often happened when she was sleeping, her leg twitched, and; that sudden twitching awoke me from the dream/memory.

The dream was so vivid, I could still smell a mixture of baby lotion, Johnson & Johnson No-Tear shampoo and toddler sweat. So vivid, in fact, that I actually had to get out of bed and look into The Teenager's room just to convince myself that she had not somehow transformed into the little girl that she used to be.

Spoiler: she hadn't.

Instead of chubby toddler legs encased in footie-pajamas, a long, lean, bare leg hung limply from the edge of the bed; definitely not the leg of a three-year-old.

I bent down to kiss her on the forehead, breathing deeply the scent of apple-scented shampoo, Hollister perfume, and teenager sweat before retreating downstairs to make coffee.

Today I am thankful for vivid memories.

I am thankful for having had nights spent with a toddler tucked into the curve of my body.

I'm thankful for the young woman whom that toddler has grown to be.

And, I suppose it goes without saying that I am grateful for coffee.

I still vividly recall both those toddler and teenager years and I still cherish the memories of each. These days, however, I am also cherishing the experience of knowing my daughter as an adult. She's funny, sassy, a little bit crazy, kind, serious on occasion, and a genuinely good person. That's really all a mother can hope for in a child and I am grateful.

Happy birthday, Queen B! We love you and are so thankful to be on this life journey with you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

What's Up Wednesday, February 2023 Edition


I just blinked and February is practically over; I have no idea how that happened. February used to be my least favorite month because, although it is technically the shortest month, it always felt like it lasted the longest. Now, I just look at it as the Hump Day of the winter season; it's all downhill to Spring at this point. As always, I'm rounding out the month with a new What's Up Wednesday; linkup courtesy of Sheaffer and Shay.

What I'm Eating

You know, they say that bread is the staff of life, and, if my recent diet is any indication; they are correct. Not only have I been eating bread, but I've actually been baking it rather than buying it. And, while I would dearly love to say that I have mastered the art of pretty sourdough; I would be lying. My bread is most definitely not pretty but it tastes amazing.

In addition to sourdough, I've added regular old farmhouse white bread to the rotation and I've been slathering it with creamed honey, which, I also made, myself. How I managed to make it to this ripe old age without knowing how easy that was to do is a complete and pathetic mystery. Anyhoodle, it's delicious.

What I'm Reminiscing About

Queen B turns another year older tomorrow and, as always around this time; I am reminiscing about when she was a baby. And, a toddler. And, a get the point. She is, hands down, the best thing about February.

What I'm Loving

I don't want to come across as some Debbie Downer or anything, but, I'm honestly not loving anything right now. I'm not hating anything, I'm just not loving anything, Perhaps you can relate.

What I've Been Up To

At the moment, I feel like all I do is work. Between Not So New Job and the hardware store, most of my time is taken up. My weekends  one day off each weekend is taken up with household chores, and the weather has not exactly encouraged outdoor pursuits. I'm hopeful that this will change with the changing of the seasons, but I'm not counting on it.

What I'm Working On

We are in the midst of the planning portion of the spring fundraiser that we do at Not So New Job. It's a virtual 5K and we are working on gathering sponsors. It's hard going and I'm getting anxious.

What I'm Dreading

Allergy season. If the itching and burning in my eyes currently is any indication; it's going to be a bad one.

What I'm Excited About

This is by far the geekiest thing that I will ever admit to on this blog, but, I recently tracked down the entire Dana Fuller Ross Wagons West series on Mercari and I cannot wait for them to arrive. When I say that this series was a staple in my adolescent library, I am not kidding. Were they a bit mature for a teenager? Probably yes. Am I looking forward to revisiting them as an adult of the proper age to enjoy them? Also, yes.

What I'm Watching

I've watched a couple of cute movies recently. They were entertaining and not heavy, which has been welcome considering what I've been watching on the news (our world, people, it's in need of prayers...lots and lots of prayers).

I've also been completely hooked on 1923. I understand that there will be a second season, which thrills me. The acting is really good (Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren are phenomenal) and the story is so compelling.

What I'm Reading/Listening To

I started this book by a well-known psychic medium. I am fascinated by people's stories of communications from lost loved ones and each story in the book brings me to tears, but in a good way.

What I'm Wearing

For the first time in a long time, I am wearing snow boots on repeat. I couldn't tell you the last time Petticoat Junction got this much snow or when it was last so cold that it actually stayed on the ground. It's been crazy. Luckily, I have several pairs of really cute boots.

What I'm Doing This Weekend

I am going to be hanging out with Queen B! She arrives on Friday and we have plans for pedicures and a Starbucks run the second she gets off the plane. On Saturday, we are driving to a town a couple of hours to the north to spend the day with her college bestie and her family, where we will celebrate the 2nd birthday of their daughter, who is Queen B's God Daughter. I believe we will be bowling, which I have not done in ages and at which I generally suck. Do I care? I do not! Bring on the tacky rented shoes and let's roll!

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month

I am looking forward to it being one month closer to planting season. I already ordered quite a few seeds from my favorite catalog and I am actively researching greenhouses. If we can manage to sell the triple kennels that currently occupy the cement pad next to my garden, I hope to have a greenhouse installed before the end of the summer. So, I may not get to use it this season, but will hopefully be fully operational by next.

Favorite Amazon Find

I recently started making my own mustard and these are the mustard seeds that I used. Why am I making my own mustard? Why am I creaming my own honey and growing my own vegetables and baking my own bread; TikTok made me do it. Anyhoodle, ten out of ten, highly recommend.

Monday, February 20, 2023

TikTok Made Me Try It: Creamed Honey

I have an obsession with honey; I'll purchase it every chance I get, especially if it's local. The problem with buying that much honey is that it does, eventually, crystallize before I use it all.

In the past, I simply re-liquefied it using a pan of hot water, but, the other day, I saw a TikTok video that demonstrated the technique for turning crystallized honey into creamed (or, spun) honey and I was intrigued. I love creamed honey and have also been known to purchase it (like, a lot). Honey is expensive and creamed honey is extra pricey, so I figured, what the hell? I have several jars of crystallized honey, why not give it a go?

So, I did.

The process is ridiculously simple. Gather your honey... 

Pour, scrape, and spoon it into your mixer bowl...

...and whip the shit out of it for 20-30 minutes. Let rest for 2-3 hours and do it again. Then, let it rest for another 2-3 hours and whip it for another 15-20 minutes. When it is done, the color will have lightened and the honey will have thickened.

Immediately transfer into jars, as the honey will continue to thicken as it cools.

That's it! It couldn't be more simple. Or, more delicious.

Say what you will about TikTok, but I have learned quite a few new skills thanks to the creators on the app. Not any new dance moves, mind you; I draw the line at dance moves.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Friday Favorites

I haven't done a favorites post yet this month, and since it looks like I'm only managing one a month, I better get to it.

I discovered this whisk attachment on either Facebook or TikTok and was immediately intrigued; if there is one thing I hate, it's cleaning frosting and other gunk off the underside of my Kitchenaid. This silicone shield keeps that from happening and makes cleaning batter, frosting, etc. off the whisk a breeze. 

Another favorite is this set of poppy vinyl decals for my large Kitchenaid mixer. They elevated my mixer from boring to snazzy in just a matter of minutes and, in hindsight, I should have ordered them way back when I originally purchased the rose pattern for my smaller mixer.

Since I've been on a bread-baking kick, I purchased a set of banneton bowls and other accessories for the perfect sourdough loaf. Have I yet acomplished a perfect sourdough loaf? I have not. But at least I have the tools needed to try.  

In other shopping news; I found several new colors in my never-ending quest for Martha Stewart faux tulips. I am still on the hunt for purple, which are Queen B's favorite.

And, lastly, I have to recommend this Birdie personal alarm. I purchased one each for myself, Queen B, and Shanti. They are small and discreet but pack a serious punch in decibels. Just pull the pin and the alarm shrieks like a banshee.

That's it for this month!

Thursday, February 16, 2023

We Got Nine Inches Last Night (That's What She Said)

That's a little humor from The Office for you today.

Not humorous? The fact that we did, indeed, get nine inches... of snow. It was actually the night before last, but that's beside the point, the point is; we are still dealing with the aftermath, today. This includes hazardous roads, which led to the second snow day in a row for the local schools. The kids are loving that, I'm sure, as for the adults who still have to traverse said hazardous roads to reach their jobs; this is no bueno.

I am one of such said adults and, while I navigated the roads just fine this morning, others weren't so fortunate; I saw two accidents on my ten mile journey. Needless to say, I won't be leaving the safe confines of my office until it is time to return home.

Instead, I am enjoying the view from my window, as one does. 


Gotta love it (that's what she said).