Brief Interruptions

The splendid life of a 10 year old boy here has been briefly interrupted for one main reason: a teenager’s attitude with a mouth that has left me speechless.

Those of you who know me know that this is no small feat.

It isn’t swearing. It is ridiculously know-it-all-especially-you-loser-mom mouthiness.

This kid has NO idea how easy he has things.

Except today, he got a little glimpse when he woke up and learned that mom was no longer going to provide assistance until his attitude changed. No cooking, no cleaning, no laundry, no assistance with ANYTHING unless life or death issues are involved.

The battle continued most of the morning, so he spent it in his room. After lunch, things turned around. He folded up the Therm-A-Rest he used over the weekend which was the object that sort of projected the trouble into the stratosphere. He made his lunch (a corn dog with a string cheese).

By 4:00 he learned that iPod downloads were done because only mom knows the password.

He learned that his baked goodie supply took a sharp turn south since he couldn’t eat mom’s food. Initially, this was a benefit until he learned it included cake batter cookies, chocolate chip cookie bars and pancakes.

He learned that making his own cookies and brownies was far more complicated than he anticipated.

He learned that you can’t just buy taco meat. (Admittedly, you probably can, but not in this house!)

He learned that trips to Target and other such places were curtailed.

I suspect that his attitude will change within days, but I don’t really believe he will have learned his lesson in fewer than seven days.

That is enough time to require him to do his laundry and to get tired of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and corn dogs.

A friend wished me luck this way: “may the force be with you.”

I am going to need it.


I heard this song on the radio today while in the car driving to work.

I sang my heart out while smiling because when Jack and his little ten year old friends hear this song, they rock out too. It is so fun to see them giving it their all including special emphasis on “a Ferrari.”

I need to remember this when he is running around with these same friends at 17 past curfew.

Room Makeover on a Budget

One day, a 9 year old boy decided he wanted a room makeover for his birthday.

His room was rather dull; a hodgepodge of collections that really had no connecting theme.

Since a typical birthday gift expenditure was $60, mother got busy looking for deals and planning.

She started by painting the boy’s room gray over Thanksgiving break. The paint cost was not counted in the budget.

The day arrived and this boy turned 10.

He got ready for school and anxiously awaited his return home to his new room. All day long he thought of what would transpire at home during the day around a fat quarter of some fabulous Michael Miller fabric.

The mother had been busy for weeks and was ready to reveal.

Mother made ladder rung covers for the boy’s bunk bed to prevent his feet from being uncomfortable while climbing up and down.

And curtains. Mom dyed the old muslin curtains gray, cut off yucky tab tops, added grommets (that were sitting in her stash for a year because she couldn’t use them for the project she purchased them for) and sewed in some of the guitar fabric.  Because of poor planning, the mother also had to switch out the curtain rods from her bedroom with the boy’s because his wouldn’t fit in the grommets.

The metal shelves on the wall came from a stash in the garage that the father got at Menards about a year ago for $1 or something because they were offered on rebate, and the father cannot pass up a rebate at his favorite store.

Lucky for the boy. Lucky for the mother.

During the weeks leading up to the boy’s December birthday, the mother scoured the clearance racks at every Target she visited in the hopes of finding useful items that were inspiring, if not cheap.

One day, the mother scored HUGE with 4 plastic tumblers in the perfect blues and greens for $0.48, four perfectly coordinating pillows for $3.74 each and a chalkboard guitar wall decal for $3.74. The mother could barely fit her baby in the cart that day, but she persevered dangling a baby and a pillow precariously on the way to the checkout.

The mother said to the father, “I have these tumblers that need a shelf. Please help me.” The father, always a willing participant in the mother’s ideas, took the mother’s uninspired idea and made it his own from scraps of wood in the garage.

The mother placed the bold striped Target pillows in the back row alternating with some square green hued pillows she dug out of the garage sale pile in the basement. She added some rectangular pillows for the middle row that came from the clearance rack at JCPenny for $5.97. She found them when she should have been watching her baby take 15 sheet sets out of the cubby nearby.

The mother desperately wanted to make a guitar pillow for the boy because it would, she felt, be the highlight of the room. She purchased two half yards of fabric ($9) and a bag of stuffing ($4.50), and being the geek that she is, she applied some mad math skills to make the 3 inch guitar on the fabric life-sized. While the boy was thrilled, the mother was more.

The gray comforter was in the closet and left on the “wrong” side. Though the “right” side has the perfect colors for the room, the mother thought it too busy.

The mother searched high and low for a new comforter for the high bunk, but it could not be eeked out of the budget. Instead, she found a fabric shower curtain on clearance at Bed, Bath and Beyond which she turned into a keyboard cover and other things ($8.47).

The mother finished the room 30 minutes before the boy arrived. She was tingly with excitement at what the boy’s reaction would be.

Precisely at 3:55 that day, the boy arrived and visited his room.

The boy was pleased.

As was the mother.

Buttercream, Dinosaurs and Rice Krispies

The 2010 Cub Scout Cake Walk is over, and I am exhausted.

Because we were were both inspired by The Bake-Off Flunkie‘s wonderful cake for her daughter and this special effect,

over the last two nights, Jack and I have:

mixed three batches of buttercream frosting into 5 colors,

formed sticky, stucky Rice Krispie Treats into a volcano,

made frosting palm leaves that looked more like fern leaves,

and brought a geriatric dinosaur back from the grave.

And despite, “very sore legs” from “all the standing”, Jack is still smiling!

Tonight, all that hard work paid off with a three-way tie in the Looks Like It Tastes The Best category (which used to be Coolest Cake and seemed more suited to this year’s entries)!

Unfortunately, I did not get pictures of the other two co-winners. One was a fabulous rendition of the hamburger cake and the other was a basic bundt cake covered in fudge frosting, sour gummy worms, and gummy bugs. Bugs are always a winner with our Pack!

We have so many creative folks, and here are some of my other favorites I saw tonight.

From the Looks Like It Tastes The Best category:

Leftover Halloween candy maybe?

From the Holiday category (new category this year with lots of fun entries):

This friendly reindeer has antlers made from the newest flavor of Cub Scout popcorn.

From the Best Scout Theme category:

I love those fish in the stream!

Love the “Bug” feel of this derby car!

Did you buy some Cub Scout popcorn this year???

And our category winner with a FAB-U-LOUS derby car track complete with cars! This boy’s number in the cake walk got picked first, and he left with his own cake!

Now, I’ve got to start cutting butter for my some pie crusts!

Listening to the Funnies

Troy and I are home alone tonight. Aaron is at a meeting, and Jack is at my mom’s house for the week.

Troy is soooo funny. He remembers practically every detail about everything that we’ve done or seen. So, tonight, he is retelling stories of Jack….of why we LOVE Jack. Troy is always very funny in the retelling because he just tells all these random thoughts that pop into his head. My brother Jay used to do this when we were kids which I think is amusing.

Remember when….

Jack FREAKED out on the small roller coaster at Mt. Olympus in Wisconsin Dells?

You had to bribe him to ride a second roller coaster at Mt. Olympus with an airbrush tattoo AND cotton candy and he said that if he survived this roller coaster he would NEVER ride another roller coaster?

We were in the car waiting for Jack and my dad started backing up really slowly and Jack came out the door and froze and was all panicked like we were going to leave him?

Oh yeah, and the other day when Rachel (our summer nanny) was here, I fell and cut my elbow, and Rachel asked where the wet cloths went and Jack grabbed it and walked into the kitchen and threw it on the floor (a specific spot on the floor which is where we put the dirty dish towels/rags/etc. prior to transport downstairs to the laundry) and Rachel said, “Uhhhh, are you sure?” and Jack said, “yeah, that’s where they go.”  (He told the story in ONE sentence just like I wrote it.) I bust out laughing and told him that that story was really embarrassing because we do keep the dirty cloths and towels in a STUPID (though convenient) spot. Troy said, “I know.” Then he laughed.

The tooth fairy strikes again

We were very busy this weekend with dodging rain, or not dodging it as the case was mostly, during soccer and baseball games. Aaron left Saturday afternoon for a work conference, so I pretty much attended all rainy events alone or with Troy. We survived and are no worse for the wear.

The high school was performing Grease for the spring musical, so the boys and I went to check it out. Jack has seen Grease at least 100 times as it was his movie of choice last summer. The high school did a good job on it, but Jack was not impressed. “They skipped three parts. I can’t take it anymore! This is just not right!” Troy and I did a lot of laughing as a result.

A couple weeks ago, Jack had his allergy tests. Troy is allergic to pretty much every nondomesticated animal in Iowa along with every grass and tree. Jack is allergic to the animals we actually have (a cat and a dog) along with dust mites, mold and some grasses. Crazy enough, he has never had any problems with allergies inside the house with the animals. His are mostly as a result of being outside then coming back inside. His allergist was pretty shocked to learn he was fine all winter inside with a cat and a dog…I didn’t tell him that we like to maintain hellish levels of dust as well. Given his test results, there is no doubt he is allergic to the animals. The white blotches are the cat and dog.


We’ve been having crazy thunderstorms and downpours today. It will downpour, then stop and look as if there is an opportunity to walk the dog or something. Then, pouf, downpour. When we were driving in the car today, I saw lightening strike a business and sparks flew.

I was also able to get moving on my quilt this weekend. I was at a major standstill mainly because I didn’t like one of the fabrics I selected. I purchased another fabric and resewed those squares. I am much happier with the end result even if it required significant seam ripping on my part.

Aaron and I are still trying to pin down a vacation for the summer. We’ve been going back and forth between D.C. (though Jack is convinced there is a resident ghost in the White House and doesn’t want to go anywhere near it), Orlando (though the heat may be repressive, I’ve heard the lines are manageable at Disney), and the San Diego area. California is by far the most expensive option. I’ve thrown in a road trip to Yellowstone National Park via Mount Rushmore. This is shaping up to be not only comparatively inexpensive, but also interesting. The cost is going to depend heavily on weather or not the camp sites are reserved or not by the time we are able to make our reservations after May 1st. If the campsites are all reserved, there is very little cost savings PLUS there is all that time in the car with one another.  Soon we’ll know.

I fit in baking two batches of cookies this weekend as well. One was a chocolate chip recipe with instant vanilla pudding in the mix that I made with m&m’s. NUMMY!

Troy lost a tooth Saturday, so the tooth fairy brought him a dollar bill origami boot to add to his origami ring.


The Rumbling Begins…

I just got this email from Aaron…

Aaron pours himself a bowl of raisin bran.

Jack: “I’m going to warn you about that cereal. It will make you fart a lot in the morning.”

Aaron: “It does huh? Is that what happened to you?”

Jack: (pouring himself a bowl of raisin bran) “yeah”.

Two hours later and the angry sounds of methane trapped in my colon are literally interrupting other conversations at the staff meeting.