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Drum Roll, Please

15 Dec

Whine: I’ve had several inquiries as to the true identity of Sophie’s boot intruder. Inquiries phrased in such a way as to imply a lack of timeliness on my part. And so I offer my apologies for making you wait, but you know at Christmas that Mommies turn into crazy-eyed elves. We can’t help it–the banana bread is not going to bake itself.

Cheese: I didn’t realize that you all cared quite so much. Sniff.

In case you missed it, last week I posted a contest to determine the obstacle that was hidden in the toe of Sophie’s boot. I wanted to share the answers I got because they made me giggle.

1) Baby Jesus, to keep him warm. (Posted by Rachelle) Because what better place for the Savior of the World to stay warm than in the bottom of a stinky, dark boot? Probably beats the manger, though. And it is right along Big Sis’ line of thinking.

2)Red Tens. (Posted by Laura via Facebook) One year on our annual Labor Day Weekend to Kansas and back trek, Sophie “borrowed” all of the red 10 game pieces from Cousin Laura’s Rummikub game. Because for her, every episode of Sesame Street should be brought to you by the Color Red and the Number Ten.

3) Mindinator. (Posted by Aunt Lisa) The Mindinator is one of Sophie’s inventions. Basically it is a basket on her head that has some sort of undefined scientific powers. I’d be careful around that thing.

4) Hardened Halloween candy, stashed away in a moment of lucidity after a mad trick-or-treating frolic. (Posted by Jeanne) Hey, we’ve run out of candy, perhaps I’ll check all the shoes next time I need a candy fix.

5) A chicken nugget, hard enough to play baseball with. (Posted by Debbie)  I don’t know what kind of house you live in, but that kind of thing does NOT happen around here. Ewwwww.

6) Little Brother. (Posted by Uncle Paul and Karen) DO NOT GIVE THEM ANY IDEAS!!!

7) A tampon. (Posted by Mandy) Well, I guess you never know when you might need one. . .

8) This is not an actual entry, but I thought it deemed repeating:  (Posted on Facebook by Karla) My district blocked your blog. Says something about bodyart. Excuse me, it says ADULT BODYART. Oh dear. I realize we do frequently discuss the fact that my children hate wearing clothes, I did not think we were quite THAT scandalous.

In my estimation, you are ALL winners. So gold stars all around. But I can’t buy Starbucks for everyone, so I’ll let Big Sis tell you herself. (Note: She dressed herself today, including the beret and western vest. What? She’s a French poet cowgirl.)

It WAS a hotdog and it WAS nasty. It was about an inch of petrified meat product. I have no explanation for it’s presence in her footwear, but suffice it to say based on my kids and their “creative abilities” I was not all that surprised.

I am going to declare Debbie the winner of our first Whine and Cheese contest!! With an honorable mention to Jeanne, seeing as how she was pretty darn close, just not quite disgusting enough. Thanks for playing, y’all.

Five for Friday

9 Jul

Whine: Polishing silver is not as glamorous as it sounds.

Cheese: Unless, of course, as my friend Carah said, you have somebody do it for you. Which is why I have Mr. Dad.

You may be wondering what I am up to since the posting around here has slipped into a cycle as irregular as an antique washing machine. Or you may not be wondering, since you are just assuming that having another kid has put me in over my head, with little time for luxuries like blogging or opening the mail. You would be right.

But there’s another reason that I am in over my head. I am insane.

Which means that I do the same thing over and over (e.g., bite off more than I can chew) and expect a different result (e.g., to not lose my marbles and/or temper in the process).  Thankfully, this also usually means that Mr. Dad (and several other pitying souls) jump in and saves my bacon. Zebra cupcakes at 2am, anyone?

Here are pictures from my our latest episode adventure. Delicious treats for my friend Jen’s birthday soiree.

Mini Caramel-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Sea Salt

Got this recipe from Martha’s new Cupcake cookbook. The caramel was not as gooey as I was expecting, but let me tell you, sea salt can cover a multitude of ills.

Raspberry Cheesecake Lollipops with Fresh Raspberry Garnish

These are basically mini-cheesecakes on sticks, covered in chocolate. Take a bite and pop in a fresh raspberry. I’m sad they are all gone.

Croquembouche

And finally, the piece de resistance, my nemesis – – the croquembouche. Essentially a tower of cream puffs glued in place with caramel. After one and a half failed batches of the pastry, a few “choice” words and a swift kick to the cabinets, I almost gave up. Reason and Mr. Dad both told me it would be fine to use (gasp) store-bought cream puffs. But insanity and my friend Tina told me to forge ahead, and so, of course I sided with the crazy angel on my shoulder and kept filling those half-flattened puffs with the pastry cream whose directions I accidentally forgot to follow. Then I overcooked the glaze, rendering it unchewable for human teeth. Good thing I never got around to making those caramel apples last fall, cause we melted down those leftover Kraft caramels and started engineering our cream puff tower.  By then Brother Bear was howling, so I turned over the engineering to Mr. Dad. The results were quite tasty. A little hard to pull off the tower, but what’s a little effort when there are cream puffs involved?

The Spread

I hosted the party with my friend Roxanne, whose culinary exploits make croqembouche seem like a grilled cheese sandwich. There are not words for her level of fancitude, which is why I just made one up. Delicious rosemary skewers, biscuits with pecan cheddar spread, tiny stuffed tomatoes and a cheese plate (you know how I feel about cheese plates. . .).  Her silver was all polished and her signature cocktails rocked the house. I’d throw a party with her any day.

The Birthday Girl

And finally, the birthday girl. My very beautiful friend Jen. Whose ridiculous good looks only serve as a vehicle for her awesomeness as a person. She once cleaned my kitchen when I was too sick to move, and let me tell you, that is a good friend, because that was before my “do the dishes every day” phase of life.

This Five for Friday would not have been possible without LOTS of help. So here are a few gold stars to my helpers.

Gold Stars

Mr. Dad: For baking tiny cupcakes, rolling lots of cheesecake lollipops without sampling too much of the goods, stacking the croquembouce you told me I didn’t have time to make and (drum roll, please) cleaning up the kitchen. You leave me speechless.

Roxanne: For letting me ride your rockstar hostess coattails.

Tina: For enabling cheering me on, then washing my dishes. (No, washing my dishes is not a requirement for friendship with me. It just keeps happening.) Also for taking those exquisite pictures of the party.

Rachelle: For making emergency flower arrangements after I dropped the stuff off at the last minute on your doorstep.

Everyone Else: For listening, ad nauseum, to the tale of the croquembouche and not looking visibly bored. Also for lots of help and suggestions and withholding judgement when you know I’m in over my head.

NOTE: Please stop by Monday for the first installment of the What I Did on Summer Vacation series. There will be multiple posts, all in one week. Insane? Impossible? You’d better believe it.

Gold Stars

7 Nov

Whine: This morning I managed the impossible: I took a shower, styled my hair and applied makeup (not in the car!) and was running on time to a birthday party. Then I found the glob of pink toothpaste in my hair.

Cheese: At least I found the toothpaste before I left the house. . . .

I’m giving out a few Gold Stars today, complete with pictures!

1. To Grandma Pam. For making the cutest Halloween costumes EVER! For handbraiding every strand of Lil’ Sis’ horsey mane (and tail). For choosing the sweetest red yarn to sew into Big Sis’ cowgirl hat, so that Big Sis could think she was Jesse from Toy Story 2. And for overnighting the costumes here so we’d have them in time for our many, many parties!!

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Soule Halloween 2009
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2. To my friend and former roomie, Heather. (This one is quite overdue!) For hosting me and my two wild, barfing, pants-peeing, trouble starters in her home for five days. Our trip to Wheaton wouldn’t have been the same without her unflagging hospitality (and her washer/dryer.) Her boys, the same age as my girls, were sweet and funny. Especially when Big Bro was kind enough to play with Big Sis’ princess dolls (don’t you know his dad loved that) and said to her during one of her melt downs “Don’t panic, just talk to me.” (He’s four.)  Big Sis kept calling him the “THAT Caleb” (in contrast with the one from school), but by the time we got home she was calling him “that NICE Caleb.” Awwwwww. (Sorry the picture is so small. I’m an idiot.)

heather and boys

My Roomie and Her Boys

 3. Mr. Dad. For giving me the night off last night for some looooonnnnggg overdue girl time. Dinner, shopping, AND a movie? I had so much fun that I felt a little guilty. For taking the girls to Chuck-E-Cheese while I was gone. For not being mad when I came home (pretty late) with a, ahem, souvenier from my shopping. For keeping his eyes open well after midnight to listen to me recount every detail of my evening, then recounting every detail of his trip to Chuck-E-Cheese. And then for getting up early with Big Sis this morning. He’s a keeper, folks.

David and Me

Look! A Picture with No Kids!

 

4. To my friends out there. For staying on the road, even when it’s bumpy. For being transparent, even when it would be easier to pretend. For walking through the sad places of life and still choosing to mix joy with the tears. For sharing with me your broken places and helping to heal mine. For hoping in the One who gives instead of in what you can get. I send out my love to and prayers for you today.  

 

P.S. Stay tuned. Look for another post on Tuesday morning!

Gold Stars

8 Jun

Whine: Big Sis and I are currently in the middle of an intense round of Potty Survivor, trying to determine who will, in fact, Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast. She’s been sitting there for 45 minutes now, not going.

Cheese: I got my laptop fixed so I no longer have to keep the power cord twisted in a perfect sailors knot in order for it to charge. Which means that I can write this from the floor of the hallway next to the bathroom while I wait for my million dollar prize (or just a filled-up potty.)

 

In case you were wondering and thought I had been devoured by wild bears, I have not. I actually was on a trip to see my family in Michigan. The trip was fun and fabulous, but also exhausting and more exhausting. We had such a great time, I wanted to give out few Gold Stars from the trip.

 

1. To my littlest Sis, Laura, who is now Dr. Laura. Although I am not surprised that you graduated from medical school, I am still incredibly awed and proud. You amaze me and I love you.

2. To my other Sisters. For sharing your clothes with me (still), for going along with my hair-brained schemes (like cake decorating and flower wrapping) and for pacing the aisles of the grocery store with me for a really loooooooong time. And for being terrific Aunties to my kiddos.

3. To my Aunt Linnaea (and Uncle Chris,too). I shouldn’t have been surprised to discover our many common bonds, but it was fun to bond over itineraries and leftover cake anyway. Thank you for sleeping in your camper so that we could have your bedroom. Now that’s what I call love.

4. To Mom and Sir. Thanks for sponsoring the party and for enjoying it. Thanks for flying up here with me, Mom, even though it almost killed us both. Thanks for heading up this crazy family.

5. To G&G. For wonderful backseat driving, perfect apple pies and lots of baby snuggling. I love having you in my life and my kids’ lives.

6. To Dad and Pam. For a lovely 48 hours. For the fun zoo trip (albeit a cold and rainy one). For picking asparagus and rhubarb from the backyard and serving it for dinner. For letting us invade your house and lives, even for just a little while.

7. To my Cousins. For hanging out. For hugs on the rug. For making sure we had what we needed, including Diet Coke. For having cute kids. For donuts and coffee and a ride home.

8. To the Nieces and Nephews. You are really cute kids. And my really cute kids happen to think that you guys are terrific. Because you are. Thanks for being sweet and fun and kind and adorable. We miss you already.

9. To the Really Nice Lady working at the Citgo in Kalamazoo at 2 in the morning. For letting me use your cell phone because mine was dead and I was lost in the middle of the night with two kids in the back seat. You were certainly an answer to a desperate, freaked-out prayer.

10. To Mr. Dad. For making the trip up, even though you could only come for less than two days. For all you do to make my life easier (I sure notice it A LOT when you’re not around) like diaper changing, kid entertaining and (yuck!) pest control. For waiting patiently when I get lost in a book (or two, or three) until I am ready to re-enter the outside world again. You are a really nice guy. Except when you force me to eat or sleep or interact with people. Then you are a big jerk. But I suppose I love you anyway.

 

Of course I could give out Gold Stars all day long, and I know this is not an exhaustive list, but the Great Potty Standoff is over (for now) and Big Sis just used a Clorox wipe instead of a Baby wipe, so I’d better go before her skin falls off. . .

Gold Stars: Thanksgiving Edition

27 Nov

Whine: No whine today. Gave my sommelier the day off.

Cheese: Sweet potatoes. Pie. Green bean casserole. Pie. Ham. Pie. Mashed potatoes. Pie. Turkey. Pie.

 

In honor of Thanksgivng, the gold stars today go to the things and people for which I am very thankful.

The gold stars today go to:

1. Clairol. For ten-dollar hair-highlighting kits. Because everyone thinks I’m a blonde. And an extra-special gold star to my sister-in-law, who punched 134 little holes in the cap and pulled my hair through each and every hole, all while two crabby babies gnawed at her ankles.

2. Toyota. For making a car that refuses to lock when the keys are in the ignition. Not that I would know anything about that.

3. My beloved family, friends, and readers. Without you there’d really be no point–to blogging or to living.  And aren’t they the same thing?

4. ABC. For bringing Scrubs back. I can’t hardly wait for January 6.

5. Campbell’s Soup. For inventing green bean casserole. Enough said.

6. Mr. Dad. For everything. For making chocolate milk for me when I could just as easily make it myself. For not being too mad when I wake him in the middle of the night because I can’t sleep. For giving me two little sweeties and loving them as much as I do.

7. Lil’ Sis. For giggles. For slobbery kisses. For “So Big!”

8. Big Sis. For being the wittiest person I know. For curiosity. For love. For teaching me how to pray.

9. Naps. For allowing me to deal with numbers 7 and 8 above.

10. God. For always giving me  his unfailing love–the only gold star I really need.

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

Gold Stars (Volume 1)

29 Oct

Whine: We had to go up to the local children’s hospital today to visit our niece Avery (heretofore referred to as “Ave the Brave”) who was undergoing a few exploratory procedures. Poor Aves.

Cheese: Two Words–Taco Tuesday 

 

This is my first installment of what I hope will become a fixture here at Whine and Cheese: Gold Stars. Being a teacher at heart, I find the gold star a perfect way to say “Way to Go!” or “Thanks!” This first edition is far from exhaustive, I’m just going with things that stood out today. So if you didn’t make the list today, be patient, there are plenty of Gold Stars to go around. 

And the gold stars go to. . . .

1) Aves the Brave. One tough seven-month-old cookie. She’s got tubes up her nose and down her throat, and little arm braces (picture the kid from A Christmas Story in his snowsuit) to keep her from ripping out important pieces of medical equipment. Yet she was still smiling, sweet and giving running commentary about most everything.

2) My pastor and my church. For praying for and caring about a little baby you’ve never met. For sending follow-up emails to see how she’s doing. Your prayers mattered a lot to God and to us. 

3) Friends who send grammatically-correct text messages. I love getting texts where you spell out words like earth-shattering or hyperventilate. Because nothing says you care like appropriate punctuation.

That’s all for tonight, folks, I’m one tired Mama.