Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Dip Into This Dough!

"Wait, what?! Is that a...dip?!"

Yes, yes it is. And it's without raw egg, just how some of the particulars like it.

Whipped up for a birthday tailgate, this was a hit of the party. With 10 ingredients and 10 minutes, this too can become a show-stopper for you. Serve it with apples, pretzels or graham crackers and wa-la, you're set!

Did I mention it's not too shabby right off the spoon? Particularly for the emotional eaters and the hormonal. Or just people with great taste.

It is DVR season after all.

Happy dipping little monsters!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fall's Here

"Mom, mom - there's a skeleton, let's get it!"

Perusing the aisles of Target (where else?), I felt a bit lost. I mean, where were the pool toys that were just lining the end caps? The swimsuits? Sun hats? What is happening?

Lately it feels as if we're always chasing time, a feeling I like a lot less than being in the moment. Regardless, fall is here and we're going to make the best of it. After all, there's nothing quite like the smell of fireplaces back in action, colored leaves lining the walks and the crispness of early morning over a warm drink.

Someone else is also ready for fall, apparently, given I found this little gem on his desk the other day:

To this we'll sprinkle in a few date nights, some of our favorite KC events, dance parties and maybe even some hibernating. We've already started with our Friday night, catching "The Great Pumpkin," lining our front door with webs and mums and securing our Halloween costumes.

What's on your fall bucket list?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Swooning for Swift

"Um, I'm starting to get concerned. Red lips, her perfume, fewer jewels and more sparkle, and the looping album?! I mean, you went to Walmart at approximately 7:07 a.m. the other day just to score 'Wonderstruck. Are you going to get an awkward cat next?!"

Since my husband had started his sentence with "red lips," I just went and ahead and broke into song as a response to his question. I also was curious as to how he knew so much about the pop diva as I did...

His concern's legit: I want to be her. Be her best friend. Have her as my daughter. Whatever it takes. Taylor Swift is the bomb diggity dawg.

Since losing our voices with lust last week at her concert, "1989" has been a constant in our house, the boys learning the words and moves as if they had been in all of her rehearsals. As I battle the commute each 8 or 5, I recall the concert fondly, noting it brought that feeling of being in high school all over again. The sparkly signs, sense of freedom and empowerment, adrenaline and fun. Guys who still had six-pack abs, lyrics that told of precious heartbreak that you feel so deeply but don't tear apart a family and late nights gabbing with girlfriends talking about nothing at all. It felt like being chauferred by my friend's super cool mom all over again, a mini van full of toilet paper and joy. Pure innocence, fun and bliss. It was one of the best concert's I've ever been to.
At one point I was surprised to be almost moved to tears, Taylor's words so genuine and heartfelt as she used them to inspire the crowd that was 99% 15 and under. She spoke of belonging, authenticity, love and all that seems to matter in the world in a gentle, human way. To see the look on these girls' faces was so moving. It was a nice break from all the headlines, posts and stories you hear that seem to be representative of young women today. Ok, the spell was a bit broken when the gal dressed as a cheerleader behind me shouted "SHE'S SO WISE!,"but I was glad to hear her using this for Taylor versus a Cyrus or something...

Awkwardly, I could go on for hours about all I adore, but let's just condense it into a short list, shall we:

1. Girls' gear: these females came out with a PLAN. Girls dressed as Taylor's cats, or perfectly crafted ensems to match her style, sporting her Keds, etc. Best of all were the littles in her souvenir tees with unique cuts and tied at the waist with shoes cuter than mine and pleather leggings.
2. Boomin' bracelets: attached to each chair was a clear bracelet that looked like a FitBit. Start up the music and find that multitudes of colors match the beat of the music the whole concert long, plus work with motion when you get home. Taylor said she likes to see everyone - even at the tippy top.
3. Flawless style: just the right of sparkle, black, white, heels -every.single.bit.of.it. I will never forget those "Shake It Off" pink sparkly heels. It was like Peaches and Cream Barbie got a current makeover and won and grammy.
4. Minimal sheek: the girl didn't have on a single accessory. All she needed was her badass self, some red lips and a killer outfit. To be that much with so little...awesome. But I guess if you look similar to a runway model you don't need to use accessories to cover all the wobbly bits like the rest of us.
5. Seeing stars: she literally spreads light. She was aglow with all of her sparkles and ignited the same in everyone else. Plus the sighs, oh the signs. So much fun!
6. All-inclusive stage: the thing rotated high, low, left, right and everything in between. Everyone had a good seat in the house
7. Chippendalesque dancers: gyrating, ab flaunting and straight up stage talent. Better than Vegas.
8. Real media: video vignettes played between sets illustrating how real TSwift and her friends can be. They asked her real-life, silly questions you always want to and she answered. Plus some killer B roll. Super fun.
9. Goofy faces: she has a series of facial expressions that would be nerdy but from her seems cool: the sexy chic, awkward 90-degree lean in and bait face. Classic.
10. Taking it in: even after all this success, she pauses to take it in and it seems legit. That doe-eyed-pause seems to truly be of appreciation and wonder, my friends.

A girl-powered, living' in the past while desiring the future is one I'll never forget. Thank you, Taylor: I'm a Swiftie for life!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Monday Momfessions: The WWE Version?!

Let's just start with this truth, shall we?: my kid's obsessed with WWE. That's right, the World Wrestling Entertainment industry. You know, the scantily clad, spray-tanned, faux-fighting situation that now has its own network?

Yeah, that one. Le sigh.

Don't even ask me how we got here (yes this is the same compliant, always reading, budding artist kid), but here are some of my mom truths related to the shenanigans of it all that run through my head when I'm forced to hear it from other parts of the house. Not even the "mom cave" (aka the laundry room?!) is safe.

1. The hair: listen, under all *that,* you're kind of a good-lookin' dude. Was the blonde streak, length, dripping in oil situation part of the contract or something? Can we have coffee sometime when you rock the new man bun or go short for the summer just so I can check it out? Intrigued. PS: good job on the rest of the manscaping though.

2. What are their sick day policies? Do you still have to go out there and do horrible acting and throw themselves around the ring like a crazy people? I imagine that things like bodily fluids will only add to the drama that is the WWE, so maybe it's just incentivized or something. They straight up played John Cena's broken nose for a good three weeks. Imagine the FLU.

3. Speaking of John Cena: I.just.can't. After seeing the movie "Train Wreck," that boy gets in the ring and I immediately turn red and want to tell my son to look away. But then I'd have to explain why and I think that's a convo for, like, age 15.

4. Why just reigning champion for a year and how is that interesting? I'm half tempted to get one of those "shut up" shirts for Roman but now my kid can read, so that's out. I mean, our children are getting trophies for just showing up. Does the belt really need to be just one man's?

5. How OLD are some of these dudes and HOW did they get started in this career?! Enough said.

6. The girlfriends on the show: lowering all that females have fought for one tanned leg, short skirt and ridiculous comment at a time.

7. Dolph: what are you on man? If it's just 5-hour energy or something, let's talk. If I had 1/25 of that spring in your step, a lot more sh*t would get done around this house.

8. Who lets their young kids watch this stuf....oh wait.

9. Are their "uniforms" the equivalent of "Pink" ensems and do they wash them in between? How many do they HAVE?

10. Because I'm in marketing: cameraman....good angles, dude. You got this. Except on the days you don't and it's all fists 6 inches from faces and falls that happen 4 seconds too late. But hey, taping gymnastics has to at least be as difficult as getting your toddler to smile for one photo.

Don't even get me started on the "Total Divas" (wwwwhhhhaaaaa?!), who even as I'm switching the channel (boys not allowed to watch the hair pulling), have already flabbergasted me on their way out. Or why the announcers are seemingly decent, hot athletes. The crowds. Monologues. And so much more.

I don't get it. But I can name any mainstream wrestler you set in front of me, either in person, Mattel or Lego. And I happen to be hosting a WWE party this weekend, plus attending the live event at the Sprint Center in November. I should probably wear my "Boymom: blood, sweat, tears" shirt and bring a flask, yes?!

WWE: "women wondering everything." Check it out.

In Stitches Over Fix 6!

"Seriously?! You're going to go home and try on enems at 12:30 a.m. and bounce out of bed four hours later?" my girlfriend remarked, our desserts half-eaten in front of us as we began winding down our fourth bottle in her beautiful new home. This monthly event was my very favorite: an evening with the bests, elbows up, hearts out over delectable food sharing laughter, tears and everything between. A second monthly favorite: the box.

Here's what was in it this month:
The Freeway Roseanne Poncho Cardigan - so cute and comfy that can be
worn a million ways and trimmed in leather. Fun! But for this woman of
substance, it wasn't all that flattering and didn't fit the bill of nearly $100. Returned.
Liverpool Denise Bootcut Jean: I didn't think even my spot-on stylist could pull
this one out, but she did! My hips, booty and quads are nearly impossible to fit, yet
this denim that truly doesn't stretch all day did its job. Plus it's a great wash and has
some flare (thank goodness it's coming back) to even out the form. Kept.

Market & Spruce Bernadette Lace Overlay Raglan Top - kept! I found this gem after requesting
some fun and casual weekend tops to run around in with the kiddos. It's long enough, soft with a
touch of character and dark teal at a decent price.

Also included was a Greenich Striped Knit Top by Pixley, which was a navy and white striped basic tee with fun black faux leather elbow patches. This was close to a keeper thrown together with a cute colored scarf, but me and horizontal stripes don't play too well together and it was a bit snug. Finally was the Skies are Blue Genevieve Cross Back Knit Top in a pale silver/gray which was a huge miss. Not long enough, washed me out and felt kind of matronly.

Overall I was pretty pleased as usual. Keeping everything in the box is hardly ever doable for the budget and heartbreaking to have to return, and sending it all back yanks at the heartstrings a bit too. Keeping a piece or two and enjoying most of them is for me a win, and this time was no different. So thank you T!

The only thing getting tricky is that Stitch Fix is becoming a bit mainstream. Not that LOFT or Macy's wasn't, but I'm talking I showed up at a six-year old's birthday party Saturday with a handful of moms and me and one other had the same tank on. And at daycare drop, shopping and lunch I've been called out for being a wearer and that the item was next on their list. But hey, this is Shawnee, not the Grammy's, right?!

Let me know what's in your next little doorstep surprise and don't forget to refer me - mwah!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Monday Momfessions: The "Temporary Single Parent" Version

When I first learned my husband was setting out on a journey to better our family by studying for a tough exam and earning his promotion, I had visions of pre-prepped meals ready for his 10 minutes of daily freedom, smiling children who left him notes of encouragement, and kindness and understanding from our many one-sided conversations during these seven weeks. Here's how it really went:

1. Chicken nugget dinner count: approximately 3 times weekly. With fries or tots and no vegetables. Likely dessert as bribery. Also, Lunchables. So many Lunchables.

2. Weeping. Them. Me. In corners. On highways. Over the phone. With strangers. So much weeping.

3. Speaking of weeping: if you were driving SMP on a Sunday and saw a Mom slumped over her wheel in a Fritz's cardboard hat, that was me.  I may have been trying to put my foot down on the calypso/Kindermusik obsession in the car 24/7. This was on day 41. You know who won...

4. Lots of leaning on the village, especially in the form of two grandparents. For venting and relief pitching.

5. Plans with friends - so we could all stay sane and love one another.

6. Key phrases: "Pull your pants up." "Put it away." "Wait until I share that report with Daddy." "Daddy is studying." "Yes Daddy will still be grumpy. Mommy too." "Mommy's doing the best she can." "We'll have to wait for Daddy to fix that." "Where do we keep the pans?" "One shoes seems good enough." "When is the last time you brushed your teeth?"Why are you doing that?" "Why are you doing that?" "WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT?! YOU WOULDN'T DO THAT FOR DADDY!" And so on.

7. Surprisingly, significant anger from our gentle one at bedtime. A boy gains so much benefit from the warmth, love and wrestling of his father.

8. Letting strangers tie shoes, hold your items in the checkout line, give you a knowing glance, wipe sweat from your brow, push your child in a swing, etc. Ah, the kindness of strangers.

9. Injuries. Broken toe, bruises and aching ego. Now on the Kindle: "Raising a Spirited Child." (To be clear, these were mommy injuries after a certain toddler couldn't quite find his words so used other objects to show how he felt). Related: illnesses that required hospitalization for the wee ones. Of course. Grateful everyone is on the mend!

10. Bitterness: like stare in the dark of the poor man who had just studied until 2 a.m. and consider placing a poopy diaper under his pillow kind of death stare.

Isn't that shameful?!

Don't get me wrong: the past two months have been wrought with awesome moments, watching our toddler's vocabulary blossom, the way he dances down to breakfast in the morning and the warmest hugs at the end of the day. And the oldest? So incredibly helpful without being asked, remarkable art skills and such deep conversations you think you're chatting with a 20-something.

I still haven't quite digested or let myself sit silently to let the disappointment of who I was as a mother and spouse these last several weeks. I do remember nearly daily feeling like I wasn't competent, didn't have the tools and was failing miserably as a parent. After all, my pals with traveling spouses, actually doing it as a single parent or with traditional roles make it look like a piece of cake. Meanwhile, I was crumbling each evening...and that's working full-time, having only been with my kids about 3-5 hours a day. Ashamed. I feel totally ashamed.

At the end of each day, water welled behind my eyes, the need to apologize to each child feeling like a heavy weight on my chest. Then they'd look at me and tell a joke, ask for another book, snack or water and in that moment I'd know: they felt loved. They still felt loved.

And that, my friends, is all I could ask for.

To all the parents out there who have or are doing it singly - whether it's always, sometimes or somewhere in between: you're amazing. I will never know how you do it all with such grace and confidence, but I can only hope to grow and learn from such a gracious human being as you. And may you always know that at the end of your days, it's love that counts. And you are loved.

And to Daddy: we wouldn't change a thing. We are so proud of you have always been incredibly grateful for you. Now having walked even more miles in your shoes, it's tenfold. We love you.

It's Our Anniversary

Nine years! Maybe more...um, like 12?!

Before you go judging me about my marriage, please note I'm referring to what should be a national holiday, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Now you can judge me...

This year was shiny and bright like all the rest. A bit anxious about arriving early enough to snatch a much-desired MK bag and slightly thrown off by the 10 a.m. start time (scoff - used to be 8 a.m.), I parked my hiney in handbags and took an hour-long conference call. A girls' gotta do what a girls' gotta do for her leathers you know. After purchasing this delicious item, there were several others:
Michael Kors Essex hobo in Dark Dune: perfect for tucking away diapers
while still looking like a classy, working lady. Make it over the shoulder
or across the body and buttery soft! Don't forget the matching wallet.

Haolson leath pale pink flats - so comfortable with some character!
BP multi snake print flats - they go with everything and are flats -
need I say more?!

Kicks for back to school - swoon!
I also scored a darling tunic that looked *just* like a certain birthday girl we were celebrating too for less than $30. And let's face it, if that money tree hadn't blown over in the early summer storms, the list would've been longer and the trunk a lot fuller.

You've done it again Nordy's, just as you do day after day. Thank you for feeding all of we shoppers' superficial indulgences with your delectable style.

Grab these and more (now in full price) as you prepare for fall. You deserve it!