Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Dress Updress up

My brother said Meezie got home from school and went and changed her clothes for Nana’s birthday dinner. She had jeans on with the dress, but is still all dressed up. I think I am going to use one of the pictures of her like this as my Little Princess prompt too, the server called her princess all night.

Candycandy

I just love this little jar with the fake little handles on the side. I meant to paint it like a pumpkin, but never got around to it. I’ll do it for next year. Can you tell me backdrop is fake wood?

Fall Colorsfall colors

I couldn’t decide between the two, so I used both. The top picture is from my parents’ backyard on Friday night, before the party started. The bottom picture was from when we walked out of Outback on Wednesday. I love our sunsets.

Trick or Treattrick treating

There were lots of tricks going on in the backyard before we went out Trick or Treating, but I talked about that already. This little girl was so cute, walking with her dad. But my camera wouldn’t focus until they had passed us. There with her little bucket of treats.

Photographer’s Choicejosh and moe

I also took this picture at dinner on Wednesday. I just love how my brother and Moe look together.

Day 31: The Final Frontier

LOL. I am hilarious. I saw where all these people had their posts written beforehand and ready to post on that day. I don’t know if I was the only one that waited to write the post the day of, but to me that is what Write 31 Days meant. Yet, I got behind the last 2 days due to very business around here. I don’t think I will post every day like before, but I will try harder to write a little more in my posts when I do.

What a weekend already. I posted yesterday about the cake I made for the Halloween party. A party that included 10 soccer boys. A baby. And some parents that stayed. My brother’s family came this way trick or treating and stopped to eat dinner. There was so much food left over. Pot lucks are the way to go. I have always wanted to have a Halloween party and decorate, we didn’t go all out but it was fun. Then a few of us took the boys trick or treating around the neighborhood. Mr B was a hot mess. I couldn’t get him to slow down for anything. The coach’s son was Godzilla. A little blow up, full piece costume. He’s a small 10 year old and it was hilarious when he would start to run across the street, his long tail trailing behind. It didn’t stay on long. comets dress up

Mr B is very uncreative and I have decided not to buy him store made costumes any more. The price for one wearing it once is crazy. I so wanted him to be a Box Troll, but he wanted to be an assassin. I tried to make him look like Arrow but it didn’t turn out that way. After heavy dart blowing play, he ended up in just jeans and his sweatshirt that zips over the face. Sheesh. I thought the minion was the cutest.

minion

A few years ago, my parents ran into this man at the park that made blow dart shooters for his grandkids. He let Mr B take one. It’s just PVC pipe, cut a certain length and the size to fit Nerf bullets (pea shooters). Then you cover the pipe with Duct tape. We had the kids all make their own for Mr B’s birthday last year and then they played with them. They had the most fun. But I have never seen any of the kids have as much fun with them as the 10 boys did on Friday. Papa made up these cubes with the mats they put under the pool and they were set up on both sides of the yard. Talk about cheap, easy fun. You can create games with them too. Like shooting at targets.

After staying up later than usual on Friday, with all that fun, I then had a full day planned yesterday. Of course I am still up before 6, but since no one else is, I play around on the computer until everyone else is awake. It was 11 before I got going, oops. I made another cake for my nephew’s birthday, went to my son’s first indoor soccer game (it was a different experience for them), frosted the cake and went to my nephew’s birthday party. I am a tired chicken today.

My nephew wanted an elaborate cake. I didn’t have that kind of time. So he got a ninja-ish cake instead. All he really needed for the success of his party was his obstacle course anyway (think American Ninja Warrior). My brother built him this

obstacle course

Luckily both mom and aunt are coaches so they brought home the mats and the balls. The course is for sale. My brother even will help take apart and go help put it back together.

Here’s the rundown on yesterday’s cake.

Ninja Brownie Cakeninja cake

Ingredients for cakes: (makes one round cake)

 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk

I made two batches, separately. Recipe from Cooking Classy.

Instructions for baking:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease two round cake pans. (I used Pam and it worked great. Last week when I tried out a half batch, I used Crisco and flour and it stuck in the pan.)
3. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
4. In a separate, bigger mixing bowl, whisk together granulated sugar, light-brown sugar and cocoa powder. Pour in melted butter and use a wood spoon to stir until combine.
5. (I just kept using the wooden spoon) Mix in eggs and vanilla extract.
6. Stir in milk.
7. Slowly add dry ingredients and stir until just combined (batter will be thick).
8. Pour batter into one cake pan.
9. Repeat with second batch.
10. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. I baked them on the top rack for 15, then the bottom rack for 15. Then I left them in the turned off oven for a few more minutes. Toothpick came out a little wet, but they set when they cooled. When I cooked them until toothpick was clean, they ended up too done.
11. Allow to cool in pans for about 45 minutes and then transfer onto a wire rack to cool. (With the Pam, nothing stayed behind in the pans.)brownie cake
12. Let cool completely before frosting.

For the marshmallow buttercream:

I made up a batch and a half of Cookies and Cups (but I don’t use as much powdered sugar and I don’t sift it) buttercream on Friday and saved part of it in the fridge. I had also made up marshmallow fluff last month and saved it in the freezer. So I just left the two out to get room temp before I mixed together until I got the flavor I wanted. More marshmallowy than buttery. I then put in some green food coloring.

Assembly of cake:

I don’t have a pretty cake platter or stand so we just used a Tupperware, upside down, with some paper plates for height. I think I need to make a stand now. So I put one cake, bottom side up, and slathered it with the plain marshmallow fluff.brownie cake2

Then I put the second cake on top of that, also bottom side up (it made for a smoother surface).

brownie cake3

After wiping away the marshmallow fluff that was coming out the side, I plopped on the green Marshmallow Buttercream and smoothed it all over the top and sides. I then roughed up the top a little before I added the decorations. I had my nephew make me some Lego people so he would be happier about not getting the elaborateness he wanted. I ran those under really hot water to sanitize them.

ninja cake2

I used straws to make the “poles” but didn’t like the colors so I covered them in Washi tape (I love that stuff). I couldn’t figure out how I was going to do the medallions, but suddenly thought that Yo-Yos would be perfect. The only ones I had made up already that weren’t girly were these red ones. But that worked. I glued on the “stars” and then cut and glued the ribbon to the back, then covered that up with a star-burst sticker. I printed out the bunting flags after adding You Are #1 in PSE. I wasn’t sure how to make that work until I had the poles in the cake so I had to tape them. Mr B positioned the Legos for me, and I think my nephew liked it. He was pretty hyped up by then. It was a popular cake, everyone that ate some, which was almost everyone, said it was really good. This one is a keeper. It was rich, but with the marshmallow flavoring, it wasn’t overpowering.

After all of this, I realized I haven’t posted my 64 Shades of Color: Blue Violet, so that will have to come later today with my Scavenger Hunt Sunday post. I also started my Gratitude November project yesterday. I already am loving this random acts of kindness thing. I will be posting all of that as I go on Instagram. My button is in my sidebar.

Day 30: Almost a Fail

There was this cake I had saved in Halloween ideas on Pinterest. When my parents decided to host the end of season soccer party on Halloween I knew I was going to make that cake. Well, at least decorate like that cake. Check out the inspiration cake here.

So on Thursday I got to making a vanilla cake (I used Cookies and Cups recipe, doubled). I shouldn’t have made it double together, just done two batches, but I messed up with the butter and had to combine both batches. It was ok, though. Just really hard to mix it all up well with a hand mixer (my lovely Kitchenaid is in storage).

I also put in some food coloring to make the cakes orange. I had my mom grease the pans for me. Not one of the three cakes came out of their pans without leaving some behind. I was bummed.

I had to work Friday and didn’t know what I was going to do. I wanted this cake to look great (I don’t know all of these people that well, I like to be somewhat impressive somewhere). So I came home and got to making my buttercream (also from Cookies and Cups, I just don’t use as much powdered sugar and I didn’t put in vanilla because I was leaving it white). I made a batch and a half because I knew I would need more on Saturday for my nephew’s cake.

I took out part of the buttercream and added chopped up Oreos to it and used this to put between the two cakes. My mom and I used a knife to go around the cake and make it more round.  Then I slathered on the white buttercream. All over the cake, filling in the bumps where cake was left in the pans. And had a pretty round cake when all was said and done. Phewww. I felt better.

I added on the eyes and came back with this creepiness. (The Double-Stuffed came apart cleaner.)

monster eye cake

I realize now that even when it isn’t completely done, don’t cook much longer because it will set. It was a little too done, but the frosting helped with that. The flavor was great, as always. Cookies and Cups‘ recipes never disappoint. Here’s looking at you.

monster eye cake2

I shared here today:30 Handmade Days Link Party Palooza and Friday Finds

Mama

 

sc_hooray_happybirthday
mama

Today we celebrated my mom’s birthday. Friday we are throwing a Halloween party for Mr B’s soccer team. I have to bake a cake for that. And I have to bake a cake for my nephew’s birthday on Saturday. I might be late to posting my last two posts. But I will get it done on Sunday, if nothing else. (I might just need to call in sick on Friday, I still have to get a birthday present and find me a new pair of shoes.)

Moving On

moving on

I went to look at another house today. My mom keeps telling people that I had to move from (sale) my other house because I couldn’t afford it. She seems to forget the real reason was because it was too far away from them in case of an emergency for Mr. B. >> Mr. B would have had to change schools for 1 year >> too many teenagers that would have taken advantage of Mr. B had they found out he was getting himself to school alone in the morning, IE home alone before school. I made a point of bring up that point the last time she brought it up. And I hate that she keeps bringing that part up, it makes me miss my nice clean, newer than what we keep looking at, house.

I need to move on.

So I have been back in their house this time since the end of May. My belongings are in a POD parked all the way out at the airport. I can’t go check on them, or get anything out of them. It was only supposed to be for a few months. I didn’t leave out much winter stuff because I wasn’t planning on this taking so long. And that POD is getting pricier month by month. But it sure was convenient.

I need to move on outta this place.

I made an offer on a house the first of July. Offer was accepted. Had gotten packets from the title company with a closing date. When they did the inspection to get the utilities turned on, they found there was a gas leak. It took 6 weeks to find and fix this gas leak. In that time, it became apparent there was a leak in the kitchen ceiling. The more it rained, the worse it got. We asked for money for the roof and an allowance for flooring in the rooms where they tore it up to find the leak. In the meantime, I had found another house. And they never did accept or deny our request. Just finally told us (realtor actually) that they were cancelling the contract.

I moved on.

Early September, I made an offer on this other house. We were scheduled to close on November 5. We waited and waited for the permission letter to have the utilities turned on for the inspection. Learned that all the utilities had to be inspected in order for the house to be re-metered for the inspection and appraisal. These inspections did not pass. But because it was a HUD property, as I mentioned before, it couldn’t be repaired in any way. They wanted me to change my loan to a 203k so that money could be put into Escrow to make these repairs after close and then have my inspection done. Yea right. Buy a house with a roof leak with no inspection? Not only that, my lender said no way would he loan money without a real appraisal and wouldn’t approve one with a generator. Plus, the 203k raised my payments by $100 a month.

I have to move on. Sad as it makes me. I really liked that house. And it was going to look great when I was done with it.

I need to stay in the area where my son’s school is. In order to do that, all I can afford are short sales or foreclosures. That part really sucks. But this house I looked at today is really right for the price. I wouldn’t have to worry about money anywhere. My payments would be great. Only problem is, it’s only 2 bedroom and the storage is really minimal. And only a 1 car garage. But I decided that I can make it a home and it will be ok. Doesn’t look like I would need to worry about more room any time in the nearest future anyway.

I gotta keep reminding myself to keep moving forward. Something will eventually work out. And in the meantime, I am getting ready for my birthday month of gratitude and kindness. Like the cars and the bicyclist in the photo, I need to keep looking ahead, and keep moving on.

 

 

The Road

Definition of reflection (n)

Bing Dictionary
  • re·flec·tion
  • [ ri flékshən ]
  1. reflected image: the image of somebody or something that appears in a mirror or other reflecting surface
  2. act of reflecting something: the process or act of reflecting something, especially light, sound, or heat
  3. careful thought: careful thought, especially the process of reconsidering previous actions, events, or decisions

relection

Good and Fun. Am I looking forward, or looking back? Of course my little ham back there having to be super goofy. He was a little jerk yesterday, actually, because we weren’t doing something fun enough for his taste. After posting my dirty laundry (so to speak) and walking away from that house (officially tomorrow), I feel some weight lifted off of me. Onto the next house we go, but have to go looking first. I feel bad for my realtor. Oh well, I’ll get him a Starbuck’s card.

Random. So what to do now? I am super excited about doing a gratitude project and the 40 gifts for my 40th next month. I have been researching and compiling my list of what to do. I even started a Pinterest board. This is going to be great. I already told Mr B. that he will do it with me and he won’t complain and hopefully I realize it is something we should be doing more of. No matter what manners I try to teach and instill in him there is too much conflicting with the 3 adults in the house.

the road

This is basically what the bokeh in the above shot looks like. I am linking up here today: Monday Mellow Yellows and Good.Random.Fun

Scavenger Hunt Sunday: Day of the Tread


  Day of the Tread is an annual event in Albuquerque that supports Casa Esperanza…a home where families not from the area can live while their family member is being treated in the hospital. After not feeling ready last year, my dad decided to do the 100 mile bike ride this year. (He did 100 miles in the Hotter than Hell ride in Wichita Falls this summer, today’s weather was great other than the 15 minutes of rain compared to how hot it was in Texas for that). It’s fun to see the different costumes, even though they aren’t a requirement.

Paintpaint

Her leggings looked like paint to me. And a great smile for just coming up a massive hill.

Pumpkinpumpkin

What do you think my background is? I didn’t see any of those out today, so I got this when I got home.

Familyfamily

We always go out and cheer my dad on. This year we kept going ahead of him and cheering cheering. (He’s too serious to dress up for riding.) My brother and sister-in-law even went on to 2 others stops and got to talking to some of the other riders.

Looking Cutecute2

I had another picture planned for this, but decided to keep with the day. Her outfit was just too cute. I think it’s a horn on her helmet.

Photographer’s Choicemy choice

And it was just too great of a day. And this was after the rain storm that came on quick. Left some good water. Leaving some dirty backs from coming up off the wheels. But it was just perfect out.

I am also linking up here today:

Unknown MamiWeekly Top Shot #158

Day 25: About a Girl

I have worked on this post almost the whole month. Not sure how much of it I really wanted to put out there. But I keep feeling if I would get it off my chest, maybe I could move away from it. Yesterday I read a post on gratitude which would mean I shouldn’t post this, then I read another post that tells me I should. So, this will be my post from yesterday.

A few years ago I was in a darkish place. Nothing like wanting to hurt myself, but very unhappy. I had lost my good paying job, I couldn’t find a new one (I interviewed a lot) and we had had to move back into my parents. My self esteem plummeted. That temporary move ended up lasting 3.5 years and I am back here again, waiting on a house. Even though I am almost 40, I still have to tell my mom where I am going, when I will be home. Why, what, how. Because of this, I found it was just easier to not try and date…or go anywhere alone for that matter.

After I initially moved in here (my son has pretty much lived with them, with or without me, for 8 of his 11 years), I some how stumbled on Karen Walrond. I made a life menu. I read. I wrote. I got into crafting more and more. I try really hard to just live with this life. I work really hard and watch slackers never get in trouble because they buddy up to managers. Not only that I never get thanked for what I do and extra is always expected of me. I never complain about the fact that I am too educated, too qualified and way under paid for what I do but hear younger people complain about being underpaid all the time. I have 2 degrees and am considered over educated in most fields and under qualified where degrees are expected. I really don’t know what to do with myself and at this point even leaving my job would probably mean a pay cut (I don’t make enough as it is) or working way more hours. And I just don’t know what I would be qualified to do that would pay well. I have experience, I can tell you that. I also think that until you work for a HUGE corporation, you don’t realize the politics in it and how badly the associates are treated by the corporation and by the customers. Or until you work in a restaurant you don’t realize how your actions and attitudes really affect the person waiting on you. We are all human. NO ONE is better than the person they are next to. And no one has the right to turn their nose up at anyone else. I grew up with kids like that. And you would think that it would help in my adult life, but it still hurts. A little appreciation and less expecting me to do more more more would be nice.

It all goes back to the, it’s not what you know but who you know. I don’t have a network. That wasn’t something the college I went to promoted. I really wish that were something I had known to work on earlier on. I have also learned through some conversations with my brother, that he feels the same way. He has the same self-esteem issues. (And his wife hates being in a crowd of strangers.) But they seem to ground each other. My mom likes to think my brother can’t get a better job because he won’t chop off his “Duck Dynasty” beard (he had his way before they made money from theirs) but I think that isn’t his problem at all. He’s like me and doesn’t know how to sell himself without showing them what he can do. But most jobs don’t give you a working interview to be able to do that. That’s too bad. Anybody can lie on an application to get a job. I don’t do that. I had a good paying job (a job I interviewed for because an old family friend told me her husband was coming to town to interview for the job) interview me back when I was applying everywhere. The man I knew told me I moved around a lot. Like I said, I have good experience. I am pretty well rounded. But the interview fizzled at that point. And because of that I have stuck with the job I have now for almost 4 years. I change jobs, but haven’t left this location. I hate my job. I get walked all over. I get mistreated. I work REALLY hard for a woman (for most men too for that matter). I don’t get credit where credit is due. My current boss is a 22 year old jerk that doesn’t know one inch of how to do my job. It’s sad really.Cupcake-Flower-Sticker

I took this quiz on Facebook the other day. My results were “Need to be Loved.” I almost cried it was so true. It’s not like an affliction, or something like a drug to get me by. It is what has lacked from my life. I was raised to be able to take care of myself. To not have to rely on others. I don’t think my mom meant it to be harmful, but it hasn’t helped. Add to that my extreme shyness with new people, men especially, and I have not dated very much in my life at all. My longest relationship was when I got engaged, we moved in together then to Maryland and we were only together for 10 months. He broke up with me 3 times before he realized he wanted to marry me. I realized in Maryland that our children were not going to be able to have a life together as a family and it was best I returned home. Home being where my parents and son were. I had not lived in this part of NM before. I have now been here 8 1/2 years.

I only had 1 real boyfriend in high school and it only lasted 3 weeks. From there I have had a lot of heart break. A lot of rejection. Found the love of my life and lost him. Found my soul mate (or kindred spirit) and since he decided he didn’t feel it too, we aren’t even friends anymore. For 11 years we would tell each other everything (except when he had girlfriends). I had my son because of a stupid boy (a story I really don’t need to share online). I can’t tell you how many times I have been told “I just don’t want a girlfriend in my life” to then see him get very serious with the next girl. I can’t help but wonder what is wrong with me. I am a hopeless romantic. Would do anything for the people that get close. Am always there for anyone (within reason). Am a little naive. I don’t have friends so sometimes I text too much when I do find a new guy. But we are grownups, shouldn’t they be able to tell me what it is that they don’t like?zgl_IL_jan_21_CMYK

I turn 40 next month. I can’t even tell you when my last date was. I have decided I am going to stay 39 until someone will make a big deal about my 40th. That might be awhile. When I was younger my mom once told me I was going to be an old maid like my great aunt. The only thing stopping that so far is you can’t be a maid with a child. I have tried the dating sites, men lie worse on there than in person. I have come to the conclusion that I am ok with never getting married. That doesn’t really scare me. I just want someone to be there for me. A companion. A confidant. A friend. A lover. A giver. Someone that will accept the crazy parts of me and want to share these things with me, as well as wanting me to share his as well. I so badly wanted a dad for my son, I even made sure these men appeared to be good dads. Even men with daughters don’t think about what they want for their daughters when they don’t treat women with respect. By that, I mean, they say their daughter will never date but then they turn around and use women.

I took another one of those quizzes. My results were Extroverted-Sensing-Feeling-Judging. ESFJs are warm and energetic. They need approval from others to feel good about themselves. They are hurt by indifference and don’t understand unkindness. They are very giving people, who get a lot of their personal satisfaction from the happiness of others. They want to be appreciated for who they are, and what they give. They’re very sensitive to others, and freely give practical care. That explains a lot. My mom must be the opposite and that’s why she doesn’t understand me at all. I sometimes think that if I didn’t look so much like my mom, I could have been adopted. That’s how much she doesn’t get me.bh-cherryedition-leaves-8

And honestly, where have all the cowboys (figuratively) gone? Manners. Respect. I have lived my entire life treating people the way I would want them to treat me. At least I think I have. But it doesn’t work. I often wonder if people think I am going to be a push over and when they realize I am not a dumb blonde, is when they “break up” with me. I say it that way because even friends can break up with you by ending the friendship. Or wander off. Maybe I come off too needy. I honestly don’t know. No one has ever told me. I realized one day that I was the one that kept the friendships going. So I stopped calling anyone. I stopped emailing. Whatever the communication was, I stopped. To see what would happen. And what happened was that I haven’t barely talked to any of those friends since. I know people grow apart. I know that I move around a lot (always have). But I also know that I was putting in more than I was getting back. Once again, I just don’t know. I have learned to live with the lonely life. But it has also brought on a stronger fear of being around strangers. Uneasiness. What an endless cycle it has become.

I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me. I know there are worse situations out there. But I read these 20 somethingers posting about broken hearts and lost loves and will they ever get married and I want to cry because I have years on them and feel the same way. Except I have been around the block (world really) several more times and still can’t answer the life questions. I can give advice to others, great advice. I can listen to people talk on and on about themselves. I just can’t figure myself out. I do know that…I NEED to get out of the retail world. It sucks the life out of you. Not that I wouldn’t mind having my own shop selling refurbed “junk”. Trash to treasure. Restyle It. Recycle people. LOL. So maybe it’s Corporate America I need to get out of.heartsticker_pink_mle

I realize I was all over the place. Probably part because I typed it on different days, part the feelings I was going through on those days, and well…how bad a day at work I had. Basically, I work in the wrong industry. I will never be one of the cool kids. I need a shoulder to lean on. I live in the wrong state. But I try really hard to not let any of this bring me to far down. I gotta worry about my boy instead. And as I posted the other day, that is a whole other story.

So next month, I have decided, my son and I are doing a gratitude project. I am not moving into my own house as planned, so we will even have a little money to do little gifts on my birthday as is on my list. I am going to do my research and do this right.