Monday, January 31, 2011


It. Has. Begun.

Snow and sleet. Snowcropolis 2011. Here in Oklahoma we have every type of weird weather. We had a picnic in my Grandma's driveway Saturday. I was sweating while digging through treasures in her storage units. Right now I hear the sleet hitting the windows.

Only in Oklahoma.

If you are somewhere that has weather like mine, be careful and stay home!

Hope you have plenty of groceries:c) One of my neighbors went to four stores for milk and couldn't find any. There's Facebook talk about getting a neighborhood cow.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

PW's Contests

I sure hope all of you know who the Pioneer Woman is. If not, please clear your calendar for the next two weeks, send your husband and children out of town, click on that link, and spend some quality time reading everything she's ever written. That's what I did about three years ago one Spring Break. Except that I didn't have anywhere to send Shawn and the girls. So the next best thing? I took the girls to my in-laws house and let Mom take care of us so I could read.

Love you Mom!

Everything she writes about is good, even the burping. But I'm partial to burping since I was the female champ in high school.

She has a photo tab and because of what I've learned there I bought Photoshop and then a dslr. Well, why Shawn bought them for me:c) I have learned so much about Photoshop by using her free actions and following her step by step instructions. She talks to me like I'm six when explaining something. That's the only way I learn.

She started doing photo contests a while ago. She gives a subject (flowers, children, pets) and you enter pictures in her Flickr group. I've entered a few of contests and was overjoyed when I had a picture chosen for the Funny category. I was yelling and screaming and the girls came running in to see what was wrong. I told them I'd had a photo chosen and then showed it to them on her website. About a minute later McKinley said, "I took that picture." Uh, yep. I didn't take it. How could I? It's underwater and the strap from the camera is shown around her neck. And the kicker?? It's not even my camera! It's Carrie's! I'd like to get an underwater case for my camera so we can get shots at other times then the 4th of July when they visit:c) When I saw the most recent category, I knew I'd have plenty of choices.

Here are all the pictures I entered. And not a single one was chosen! Dangflabit. Apparently I need someone else to take it, with someone elses camera, and have it appear on my computer.

Oh well, I'll be ready and waiting for the next contest. Maybe....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Twitter Love

With all my traveling, eating, packing, and catching up, I have neglected Twitter. It happens. I didn't think anyone had noticed until I got a notification last night that I'd been @'d.

I was intrigued and hurried to find out what had been said.

I found this.

OKIHomeStager- I miss @stefunk

dontcallmemom- @OKIHome Stager @stefunk me too!

OKIHomeStager- @dontcallmemom @stefunk We should start a movement! Wait! We need a hashtag: #MissDaFunk

dontcallmemom- @dontcallmemom @stefunk love it!! #missdafunk

So this morning I had to reply. I mean, hello, they'd given me my own hashtag!!

stefunk- Obviously my Twitter absence was noticed. @dontcallmemom @OKIHomeStager, thanks for noticing and for the hashtag #MissDaFunk Love you 2!

dontcallmemom @stefunk yay, you are back!! #missdafunk

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go update my Twitter status. Apparently I have fans:c)

Okay, 2 of them. But still, they're fans!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Garlic Noodles

For the last four years we've gone to eat at P.F. Chang's for the after All State concert meal. Sing it with me. Tradition! Last year Mom asked if we could go somewhere else since she really doesn't like that type of food. Unfortunately when I mentioned it to McKinley she broke down in tears and said it was her last year and we had to go there. This year before we left I talked to Kennedy about other choices and she said, "But we have to go there. It's tradition." Sorry Mom:c)

I of course got what I always get, because I'm not going to waste money by getting something I might not like. But McKinley went for something new, Garlic Noodles. She was served enough for the restaurant to share. Luckily she only shared with us. I. Fell. In. Love. They were delicious. Garlicy with a slight spice. Perfection.

I came home and started searching for the recipe. I found three and they all seemed to be the same so I stuck with the one that let me adjust the serving size. I upped it to 8 because we love leftovers and started writing it down. When I noticed I needed four pounds of vermicelli I got a wee bit concerned. I bumped it down to six servings and Shawn went to the store to get me everything I needed. (Love him!)

Monday night I started making Garlic Noodles. My mouth was watering the whole time. I made some stir-fry vegetables to go with it and considered it a full meal. I couldn't wait until 6 pm. Let me just say, the wok was full. Completely. When everything was ready we sat down to eat and the girls raved about them before I could even take a bite. But when I finally did it was such a let down.

Let me say now that the recipe wasn't exactly thorough. It never told me when to add the Cantonese Stir Fry Sauce so I guessed. But really, it wasn't that hard of a recipe. So now I had almost 3 pounds of not really flavorful Garlic Noodles.

Shawn came home around 11 that night and went to bed Garlic Noodleless. I got a text today from him while he was eating lunch saying they weren't very garlicy. (You'd think 12 cloves of garlic would be more evident.) I agreed and told him I was trying again with the leftovers for dinner tonight.

So tonight I made my amazing Baked Almond Chicken, put it in the oven, and set to work on chopping more garlic. I did a few things differently and was excited for dinner. When the oven timer went off I got the oven mitts and pulled the chicken out of a very cold oven. How did I not notice that the oven hadn't ever heated up?? How did I not notice there were no delicious smells coming out of it? I think I was bit too over focused on the Garlic Noodles. So we had noodles and stir fry vegetables again. And the chicken went to spend some quality time on the outdoor grill. When Shawn got home an hour later he had the full meal. The girls and I had chicken for dessert.

And the noodles?? Still not right.

And I don't want to alarm anyone...but it doesn't look like we've eaten a single noodle.

I think they're multiplying when we're not looking.

Guess what's for breakfast. Scrambled Eggs...with Garlic Noodles!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Missed My Kitchen!

After traveling and recovering from those travels for nearly two weeks I was sick and tired of eating out. I'm not a big fan of eating out and having no other choice but to do so it a bit much. So this morning I got reacquainted with my kitchen.

I noticed there were some over ripe bananas so I made Banana Split Bread. Then I decided we needed a dessert so I got everything out for a Cherry Coffee Cake that is so rich we don't eat it for breakfast anymore. When I opened the cherries though I realized I'd opened cherries when I needed Cherry Pie Filling. So I made a layered Jell-O salad that McKinley just loves. Oh, and I started a great new recipe that you'll hear more about later.

My kitchen and I were having so much fun together:c)

When I put on Facebook that I was spending the day cooking a couple of people commented and said I should start a blog with my recipes and it got me thinking. Is that something you all think I should do? Would you all like to see what I cook? I don't want to invest my time and effort (although I think we all know by now that I love sitting) if no one is interested.

So let me know what you think. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Children's All State

After the Junior High All State concert on Saturday I came home and collapsed for two days. Living in a hotel for two nights and eating at wonderful restaurants can really take it out of you.

No really, late nights and early mornings and worrying about the people I left at home does stress me a bit.

After my two days I unpacked, washed everything, repacked, cleaned my house, and left again.

It was time for Children's All State!

This one was farther out of town so it took a bit more planning.

It was my 5th year so I knew everything that would be happening.

I knew what exit we took to stop for lunch.

I knew that we'd check in and get warm chocolate chip cookies.

I knew our rooms wouldn't be ready when we were.

What I didn't know was that we wouldn't get connecting rooms like we'd asked for. That was a problem since I try not to speak to the mom that was sharing my room and coming the second night. It's a long long story. The other two moms told me they'd make sure we spent lots of time in their room and left me to go to the car to get their luggage. (Kennedy's and mine had been delivered by the two guys from our school who'd made High School All State. They said they got some weird looks pulling pink polka dot and zebra suitcases:) I sat down and texted Shawn, prayed, worried, and couldn't bring myself to unpack. Luckily for me the other two moms are amazing and campaigned for me at the front desk and got us connecting rooms on the 18th floor! That's the top baby!

By the time we'd gotten moved it was time for the dinner break. Unlike Junior High where Bricktown is blocks away, downtown Tulsa doesn't have a lot to offer. Tradition means we race to Spaghetti Warehouse. It's close enough and we've figured out that if we tell them we're in a huge hurry and order our food and drinks at the same time, we can make it. We've had years when the students ate in a car racing back to the hotel. Not only did everyone have time to eat, we also had a few minutes to take our traditional shoe shine picture.

Those are some amazingly talented students and their fabulous teachers! I stole a second or two to take this picture. Makes me miss my clowning days when I was pretty good at balloon animals. That night while everyone was cuddled into bed I was up late reading a really weird book that I insisted on finishing. Around 1 am I looked out the window and found this. Our view was beautiful when we woke up! Soon enough the sun was shining and the snow and ice were melting. Thankfully. Shawn and the girls were driving up the next day for the concert. Walking two blocks to dinner that night was a bit hazardous though since we were hurrying and it was still a bit icy in the parking lots. Tennis shoes really didn't go with my whole ensemble.

Way too quickly the two straight days of practicing were over and it was dress rehearsal and concert time. And I'd been reunited with Shawn, McKinley, and little Reagan:c) Oh, and Mom and Dad! I love that they live close enough to come to the concert.

Our little Chickadee got her 3 year medal. We were so proud! Since it was my fifth year I have seen quite a wide assortment of guest clinicians. McKinley's first year was a very driven lady who covered everything from exact timing on the final bow to hunting down an alto that was off pitch every time they sang a certain spot in a song. The next year was an incredible man named Greg Gilpin who engaged them, entertained them, and excited them. He. Is. Amazing. The next years lady wasn't strict...but wasn't exactly as fun as Greg Gilpin. (Seriously. Go look the man up. He's pretty cool.) Last year they had a man who had a very unfortunate name who everyone loved. And this year....this was an older lady. I'm sure she was encouraging and engaging in her time, but I think her time has passed. I know why she was chosen (by our music teacher no less) and she was an excellent teacher, but they need someone fun. A little comic relief goes a long way, you know?

Plus, when she talked, it sounded like Pop Rocks were going off in her mouth.

Weirdest thing. After an amazing concert it was time for the pictures. Not the best set up, not the best background, but it's tradition. (Who's singing the Fiddle on the Roof song right now??) But incredible students and great teachers. We are so blessed at our school! This is Kennedy's last year with her sweet teacher. We have one for Kindergarten-6th and another for 7th-12th. Hopefully Reagan will follow in her sisters footsteps and I'll continue my yearly trip with Mrs. Adams. I would have withdrawals without it:c) And it frightens me how good this girl looks in mascara. Seriously? Could we just freeze time here?So proud of you Chickadee!

And a HUGE thanks to Alisa and Lori for making it a wonderful trip and saving the day!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dating. Do You Still Do It?

When school started again this year Shawn and I decided to do something.

Start dating again.

Each other. Don't worry.

It had been almost 16 years and we'd settled into a routine. So now we have a weekly lunch date. He works within walking distance of two hospital cafeterias and driving distance of several wonderful and unique restaurants. We don't have a specific day, but always make one work. Then we discovered that with the girls going to piano every Thursday night for an hour and a half total, we could have a date night as well!

We've met for dinner, we've gone to Starbucks, we've run errands, and we've gone to the lake and watched the sunset. It doesn't matter at all what we do or where we go, we just like spending time with each other outside of the house.

And you know what? I've always loved him, but I'm falling in love with him all over again.

How could you not love this face?Do you all still date? If not I challenge you to. You never know what you'll discover!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Where Have You Been All My Life?

About two years ago I asked Shawn for something.

A piece of plywood.

Oh, and also a hinge.

And a latch.

You see, I had a vision. A vision for my 40+ year old laundry room. That would make my life easier in just the smallest way.

He didn't see my vision.

Fast forward to a month ago when the ugly, hideous, atrocious wall desk that has been in our bedroom for way too many years finally came down. It was like the Berlin Wall here people. I have hated that thing since the day it came in the door. But you know what? He finally saw my vision. And a big plus, I didn't need the hinge and the latch.

I give you...the folding shelf.

And please excuse the rest of my laundry room. I could have cleaned it all up to take the pictures, but that would be a lie. The laundry room in our house is where the dog lives, eats, drinks, and uses her litter box, where I do laundry, and where everything that doesn't have a home goes to live.

Please tell me you all have an area in your house like this. I need to know it's not just me. If it is just me, I might start humming, braiding my hair, and drinking vanilla extract straight from the bottle.


Moving on.

See how it just folds up out of the way so my children can stuff clothes down in the sorter?

Think it's time to do the warm load??

It's perfect for folding Shawn's shirts.

Know what we did when we got home from our honeymoon?? Oh get your minds out of the gutters, this is a family blog. Shawn taught me how he wanted his t-shirts folded. That would be the Navy way. Not the Army, the Navy. He was currently serving in the Army. We had a lesson time. I had to show I could do it before we could continue with our lives. But if we're going to be honest here, it's also a good place to put things that are waiting to be folded. I did clean these off tonight. By folding them. Because now there is a sweater air drying there.

It's sad that my life can be made so much better by a piece of wood and a vision....isn't it??

Don't answer that.

Goodbye forever.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Junior High All State

In July I went to our local music store and spent $6 on three pieces of sheet music and a cd.

It was time.

Time to start practicing for the first Junior High All State audition that was the last Saturday in September.

McKinley started practicing on her own and with Juju at voice lessons each week. With one song in a foreign language it took a lot of work.

At the first audition she was accepted into the COCDA Mixed Choir. The top choir of our region of Oklahoma. We were thrilled:c)

But there was something better. Junior High All State. That meant two more auditions.

She isn't a fan of the auditions since they're live. And of the three auditions, two different songs and different 16 bar cuts are made. So each time you show up it's something new. But this year was different than the last two...this year she had several friends auditioning with her.

And she made it! Over 1600 7th, 8th, and 9th graders audition for the 365 spots. We are quite proud.

This was her second year in Junior High All State. Her second year to check into her favorite hotel in the world. (Please understand her limited travel up to this point in her life.)

The Renaissance in downtown Oklahoma City.

I of course go to chaperone. It's the least I can do:c) I have stayed in a few more hotels than her, and this is a really nice one. I love the geometricness of it. And the granite in the bathroom.

Love. I don't know how it happened, but the three moms and the three girls got handicapped rooms. If only the moms had gotten it, I wouldn't have questioned it. I did feel luxurious walking into the shower instead of stepping in I must say. But when I got out, I'd flooded the entire bathroom. Water was standing about a half inch on the floor. No one else had that problem. I know, I'm special. Thankfully later that night McKinley did the same thing. We can't figure it out. Must run in the family. When you stay in a downtown hotel the restaurant choices are endless. There are tons to choose from within a short driving distance. Tradition (from last year) had to be followed. So dinner the first night was at Earls Rib Palace, lunch at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill, and dinner at Zio's. Hello high calories. But I was on vacation.

When we were at Toby Keith's two tables full of men and women in uniform were seated next to us. I have this weird glitch in me. I don't cry at movies, books, or life in general. But anything having to do with the military, and I get all verklempt. I had an idea after I'd gained control. In elementary all the students learn a song called "You Are My Hero". It's a tear jerker that's sung at the Veteran's Day Round Up. Last year the high school and middle school choir students learned it so the four singers I was with all knew it. I pitched my idea. One agreed. Not mine. I pitched again with guilt involved. I won two over. I pitched again to the teacher and suggested it was an assignment. All agreed:c) We picked just the first verse and chorus and I went to the tables and told them we were going to do something for them.
Oh boy was I verklempt. Several of us were.
Trust me, they were more impressed than this picture shows. The picture with the other table of soldiers looks much the same. They must have their game faces on.

And to prove we're in Oklahoma... Boomer Sooner baby!

Our hotel is prime location because the 13 hours of practicing happens across the street at the Cox Convention Center. Our hotel has a walking bridge. As I was late leaving practice one day I saw this. That's my daughters arm emptying the water out of their ice bucket bag.

I can't make this stuff up.

I stopped by their room to show her the picture and found this. Since there were three of them in their room she volunteered to sleep on the floor so no one would have to share. The house keeper had fixed her bed for her! Pillow, bedspread, folded blanket, and phone charger all set up. How cute is that? One of the other moms had found out the hotel had a complimentary limo that would take guests to Bricktown. We decided to surprise them on our last night.

She looks really surprised, doesn't she? She's ridden in limos before so I guess we just really surprised her. The other three hadn't been in one. Paige in particular fell in love with the driver Cliff out of sheer excitement. Which led she and McKinley to decorate the dinner table. Keeping with tradition we took pictures by the Zio's sign. I have a posed picture but the jumping captures just cracked me up.

This is what I got when they jumped on two instead of three. I don't know if McKinley is concentrating or surprised that they can't count. Either way I crack up every time I see her face in this picture. There I got them all. They are such a fun group! Bricktown is beautiful no matter what time of year. Too soon we were checking out of the hotel. They loved every minute they spent there. Especially when George Strait was spotted in an elevator:c) McKinley came screaming into my room that George Strait was in the hotel! After she calmed down she said, "Wait, who is George Strait?" I guess she knew enough to be excited. The dress rehearsal was at our church where the concert is held. I wanted to practice with my camera so I'd know what settings would be best for the concert. I'm guessing McKinley figured out when I was focused on her. I just love my church. It's so beautiful.After the final rehearsal we had lunch and headed to the school so they could get dressed.

McKinley borrowed my heels. And apparently my pastie white legs.

Don't ask me why I took this picture here. In the choir room. In front of the trophies. In front of the blue monster type animal thing. I should have taken them outside. But we were out of time and patience and this is what I got.The concert was amazing and bittersweet. McKinley finished with Children's All State last year. This year she finished Junior High. (They overlap for two years.) Next year she will audition for High School which is quite a bit harder.

I wonder when the music and cd will be for sale at the music store....