Buttons I wish I had on the GPS

FEATURE #1. This route ain’t gonna fly, cowboy. Give it up.

gps1You know how sometimes a certain route has been blocked by a traffic jam, or a closed road, or maybe your ex on a rampage, but your GPS won’t accept that you can’t go that way? It just keeps saying “Recalculating. Make a U-turn when appropriate.”

Or “Recalculating. Make a right. Make a right. Make a right.” ACK! I just went in a circle! Stop trying to force me to take that road, electronic voice!!

I want to press a button that says, “Recalculate THAT!! We CAN’T GO THIS WAY!!!”

FEATURE #2. This road is dead to me.gps2

Sometimes there are roads I hate permanently. I don’t want to go on them if I can help it. EVER.

Like 280 in Birmingham. (Sorry to everyone not from Alabama who doesn’t understand what I mean. That road sucks.)

So if I could enable this feature, the GPS would always take me another way. Or, if it was unavoidable, it could say, “Sorry, but you must disable the Dead To You Road in order to reach this destination.”

So at least I’d know it TRIED to avoid the hated route. You know?

FEATURE #3. Can I get a little sympathy here?

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I really hate it when I keep missing turns or whatever and the electronic lady starts to sound both annoyed and patronizing.

I mean, I know that all she really says is, “Recalculating,” but she has a TONE.

I’d like for her to start to sympathize with me. Maybe she could say, “I’m sorry; you seem to be having trouble. Don’t worry. I’ll help you.”

Or she could dispense a little emergency square of chocolate and say, “It’s all right. You’ll get there eventually. No one will mind if you’re a little late. Have some candy; you’ll feel better.”

I definitely think these buttons would enhance my experience with the GPS. Don’t you agree?

Man-Catcher Brownies

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I got this recipe from Ladies’ Home Journal. It was accompanied by a “story behind the recipe” that was really cute.

Short version: The brownies got their name when they caused the girl’s dad to propose to her mom.

Now, I don’t know if they will actually catch you a man, but let me tell you:These are some GOOD brownies.

The picture above shows a slice right out of the oven with a scoop of ice cream. HEAVENLY!!!

(If you wait until later to slice them, they will hold together into squares properly; however, who wants to WAIT for brownies? Not me!)

Anyways, here’s the recipe, and YOU’RE WELCOME.

  • 30-40 Kraft caramels, unwrapped (or a bag of caramel bits)
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk 
  • 1 pkg chocolate cake mix (German chocolate recommended; I used Devil’s food)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Heat oven to 350 and line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. (I didn’t have parchment, so I used cooking spray on my Pyrex dish and it was fine.)

Melt the caramels with 1/3 of the canned milk in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally, and set aside.

Stir together the cake mix, melted butter, and the rest of the canned milk to form a dough. Press about 1 1/3 cups of the dough into the bottom of the baking dish in an even layer. Bake it until it’s puffed but not cooked through, about 7 minutes.

Remove bottom layer from the oven and pour the caramel sauce evenly on top. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.

Top with the remaining dough, crumbled into bits and scattered. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired. Return it to the oven and bake until puffy and set, about 10-12 more minutes.

Cool completely and cut into squares.

Enjoy!!!

Detangling Doll Hair

I saw this on pinterest about detangling your dolls’ hair with fabric softener, so I thought I’d try it.

How to untangle doll hair....Izzy's Rapunzel is in need of a DO :)!

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After all, with four daughters in the house, ranging in age from 17 to 5, we have some nasty-haired dollies around here.

<< I chose these two dolls to receive the honors.

There were a few different methods mentioned of using the fabric softener, all requiring a solution of half Downy/half water. I could dunk the doll’s head, spray the doll’s hair, or dip a comb in the solution.

The problem was, there was not ONE of these ideas that didn’t require me to spend a bunch of time working tangles out of a doll’s hair with a plastic comb.

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Not exactly something I want to spend a TON of time on, you know?

I got started with the easier doll, the brunette Barbie. I think she’s “Teresa”?

I dipped the comb in the Downy water and combed her hair. It was boring. I lost interest halfway through and the extremely FRESH!!! scent of the fabric softener started to make me feel sick. Still, she didn’t come out looking too bad.

Then I pulled Jasmine out of her Downy dunk.

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Does she look like she’s enjoying a spa day, or being drowned? I’m not sure…

Her hair still looked AWFUL. I mean, this doll has one giant dreadlock on the back of her head. The only difference now was that her hair was dripping blue FRESHNESS!!! all over the place. Ugh.

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I halfheartedly combed the edges of Jasmine’s hair.

She stared at me drunkenly. Or maybe it was the Downy FRESH!!! fumes.

Then I gave up. I have better things to do here.

Like, I don’t know…ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING ELSE!

Doing a School Project with Kindergartners Part 2

If you remember, I recently wrote about the twins’ 100th Day project.

Here’s an inside look at the making of that project:

  • Me: Okay, so first you choose your paper to cut out.
  • Little Girl: I want this one!
  • Me: Oh that’s pretty. I like the blue flowers
  • Little Boy: I like this one!
  • Boo: You can’t choose that one. It’s pink!
  • Little Boy: (stubbornly) I like this one.
  • Boo: Everyone’s going to call you girly boy.
  • Me: He can choose what he wants, Boo.
  • Boo: (incredulous) But it’s PINK!
  • Little Boy: I like it.
  • Boo: Fine. I guess you want to be called girly boy then.
  • Me: (warningly) Boo.
  • Boo: Even Little Girl’s paper is less girly than THAT.
  • Me: That’s enough, Boo.
  • Boo: Whatever.
  • Little Boy: My flowers are going to be pretty!

donnyproject2

Boo could not hide her contempt for her brother’s creation. Let’s hope it goes over all right with the kids at school….

Doing a School Project with Kindergartners

The twins have the hundredth day of kindergarten coming up, so they have to make a display of 100 objects to present to the class.

This means of course, TWO HUNDRED things for us.

maryproject

I thought it would be fun to make paper flowers. The twins got excited about the idea and we ended up spending fifty bucks at the craft store.

This was in direct violation of the explicit and slightly patronizing page-long directions given to me by Little Boy’s teacher: “Please feel free to let your child be creative with their idea as long as the items are free or low cost and will not be a problem if lost.”

She also said, “This project should be done gradually between now and the due date. Gluing one hundred objects in one sitting at the last minute will be overwhelming for your child, so please help them begin to learn about working on a project gradually in manageable parts until it is done. Please plan ahead so glue has time to dry completely before sending the project to school.”

Um… Didn’t she know we always wait until the last minute for EVERYTHING? It’s part of our CULTURE in this family.

Funny Encouragement Ecard: Nothing makes me more productive than the last minute.

In any case, we have the project more than half-done now since they were so gung-ho about it last night.

So we’ll just wait until the night before it’s due to do the OTHER half…

Things I tried to do over Christmas break

If you are familiar with Star Wars quotes, you know what Yoda says about “trying.”

starwarsbloggers.wordpress.com

Well Yoda, I beg to differ. Sometimes, especially as  a mom, all you CAN do is try.

Here are some things I tried to do recently, with varying degrees of success:

I tried to have a telephone conversation while all the kids were home on break.

phone

I tried to fix my hair nicely on Sunday morning.

hair

I tried to find my teenage daughter’s orthodontic retainer in the outside dumpster.

trashpickin

Here’s the score, out of 3 things tried:

  • Almost succeeds: 1
  • Mostly fails: 1
  • Complete Fails: 1

The Doll No One Wants

My neighbor’s little girl got a Bratz doll for Christmas.

Unfortunately, her daughter is not allowed to play with Bratz dolls. You can look at the dolls and see why.

http://lygsbtd.wordpress.com/

I mean, if you thought Barbies were sexist, check these girls out!  Ewwwww….

Anyways, my neighbor knows I’m more liberal in the toy department than she is (see my previous post about letting my son play with guns), so she asked me if she could pass the Bratz doll on to Little Girl.

Actually, what she said was, “You’re the only mom I know  in the neighborhood who actually lets her daughter play with Bratz, so do you guys want this doll?”

Hmm. That’s a dubious distinction. What do my neighbors really think of me?

Maybe Bratz aren’t the greatest toy on earth, but I really can’t get that worked up about it. I mean, seriously. Play is play. I just don’t think a plastic doll is going to corrupt my daughter’s morals. She’s FIVE.

But I digress.

Pretending I was perfectly comfortable with my label as Neighborhood Evil Mom, and in keeping with my motto to Never Turn Down Free Stuff,  I said, “Sure. we’ll take it.”

We called Little Girl over to show her the doll. “Here. Do you want this?” my neighbor asked her.

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Little Girl took one look at it. “No,” she said.

Bratz. Apparently you can’t even GIVE ’em away.

Hair Tutorials

Some of the “hair tutorials” on pinterest are pretty complicated.

Classic Updo Hair Tutorial
longhairstleshowto.com

I tried this one Sunday morning.

One thing I noticed right away: There’s a reason I’m not a model.

That blonde above manages to look pretty good even with hair in her face.

hair2

Me…not so much.

Still, although the instructions were complicated, I was able to follow them. Mostly.

hair3

Here I am at the halfway point.

Here is the final result.

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My husband took this is the Japanese garden at our church. He was very proud of his composition, so I am respectfully not cropping the image. 

Even though I was thinking, Didn’t you realize the photo was supposed to be of my HAIR, not the BUSHES?!

He did say this was my best side, though. Should I be flattered?