The Cake That Wasn’t

Today is a big day for somebody! It’s my dad’s birthday!


We celebrated with a barbecue yesterday at my youngest brother’s house. I was in charge of the dessert and had plans for a traditional round, 2-layer cake. Unfortunately, the cake was too moist and crumbled coming out of the pans. No problem! With a few additions, I re-purposed the cake into a scrumptious trifle.

We also had party hats. It’s not a party in this family with out party hats.

Oh my, Myo. She wears it well, don’t you think?

Friday night, I met up with a few co-workers for pedicures and dinner. For the first time ever, I got a little design on my big toe. Verdict? I don’t like it and it’s driving me nuts. And now I know better.

Saturday was the usual half day of work at my parent’s office. Then I had to drop Sassy off at my oldest brother’s house to spend the night. We were surprised to see a boat out on his lake.

boat on lake

It was not the warmest of days.

And then the girls and I started this week out with a hike tonight. Stella insisted on rolling in the leaves often.

And OMG Becky insisted on brushing her off every single time.

Those two are a lot of fun to hike with. If you don’t mind stopping every few yards…

This little scene below freaked non-bird-loving OMG Becky out.

Birds, birds everywhere! Ha!

Tell me about your weekend!


Helpful Competitors

Last night we went to my youngest brother’s house to celebrate his wife’s birthday. And I discovered how helpful my family members are!

There was cake and candles. So many candles, my sister-in-law needed help blowing them out!  ;)

blow out candles

My niece was happy to help her.

There was assistance cleaning the dishes.

lick the spoon

Thanks, Dad!

I spent some time snuggling with my youngest niece and taking pictures of her. Look how good she is at posing for the camera! So helpful!

OMG Becky helped me out and took this picture.

And then things got ugly. We tried to play a little, friendly game of Apples to Apples.

apples to apples

Some of us are much too competitive even at this. And loud. Good night, I am never sitting next to my brother during a game again. I think I lose partial hearing last night!

What’s your favorite board game? 

Bon-fire Birthday

Friday night we celebrated OMG Becky’s 16th Birthday.  Her birthday isn’t actually for another month (December 23), but we usually have to celebrate it a couple of weeks early due to the busy holiday/travel season.  This year she and my mom came up with the idea of a bonfire and hayride at my uncle’s ranch.

We gathered at my parent’s house at the start of the party to carpool the 30 minutes to the ranch.


The past three Fridays have been just fantastic weather.  We were hoping this Friday would follow that trend.  It did not.  It was freezing.  Actually below freezing.  As we headed to the ranch it was only 28 degrees!  Most of them came prepared for the temps and even brought blankets.  Some of them?  Not so much.  :-/

Once we reached the ranch, we parked at the house and had to walk down the road a bit to one of the barns.  The tractor and trailer were all set up and ready to roll!  We received our instructions, such as if you fall off the trailer, roll away from it so you don’t get run over.  Good to know!


Our original plan was to ride into town and get hot chocolate at Sonic.  The problem with that plan?  It was a 40-minute ride one way.  Brrrr!  We thought it would be best to cut the ride a bit shorter.  Instead, we did and out and back to my cousin’s house.  It was maybe 45 minutes total.  Overall, it wasn’t as cold on the ride as I thought it would be.  The only time I really felt too cold was at the end when the tractor sped up for some reason.  Then the wind hurt my face a bit.

Once back at the ranch, it was bon-fire time!  It took awhile to get the fire going, but once we did it was awesome.  The heat felt so good!



There was a lot of pairing up trying to keep warm.


My girls and I had put together s’more packets two graham crackers, one marshmallow & a piece of chocolate in a baggie) to make it a bit easier.  And then Sassy and my dad made some awesome marshmallows roasting sticks!  They took paint roller extensions poles and used duct tape to attach parts of metal clothes hangers on the end.  Brilliant!



Our bon-fire was in the middle of a pasture.  A pasture with yearlings in it.  At one point I heard someone walking behind me.  I knew all the kids were accounting for (my goal at a kid party is to never lose a kid!), so I had a brief moment of terror.  I turned around to find several sets of eyes looking at me!



Seven calves had somehow snuck up on us!  My uncle said they were pretty tame and we could pet them.  A few of the kids tried, but the cows wouldn’t let them get any closer than two feet.  It was fun to watch!  Ha!

Sassy also made a new friend.


This barn cat fell in love with her.  Who could blame him?

After the bon-fire, we went back home for cupcakes, hot chocolate and presents.

birthday party

I wish I had gotten a better picture of the cupcakes!  They were hombre fall colors with a sugar paste leaf on each one.

OMG Becky wasn’t sure what to tell people she wanted for her birthday.  She had told two friends she wanted scarfs.  That turned into four scarves gifted!  I cannot wait to wear them all.  Not even joking one bit!  :-)


Her little friend had fun trying them all on.  Ha!

Such a fun night!  I hope it lived up to all of OMG Becky’s expectations and made her 16th birthday extra special.

What did you do for your 16th birthday?

Do you like hayrides and bonfires?

Cheesy Birthday

Sunday was my birthday.  My parents had us over for dinner to celebrate.  Since my niece thinks a party is not a party without party hats, we had to improvise.

birthday hats

birthday hats

birthday hats

My mom made spinach, cheese and onion enchiladas.  So good!  She also made creamy, cheesy, green chili rice.  Because more cheese was needed!  Always more cheese.


There was also guacamole and chips that Sassy and my dad had pretty much demolished before OMG Becky and I even arrived.

I had asked for some sort of chocolaty cheesecake for dessert.  My mom did not disappoint!



She bought a plain Cheesecake Factory cheesecake and then melted chocolate to pour on top.  Scrumptious!

The cake was just perfect, except for maybe that birthday candle.  “I’ve lost count!”  Mean, mean candle.  I don’t think 29 is so many one would lose count.  Do you?  ;-)

It’s your birthday!  What dessert are you having?

My Birthday Wish List

My birthday is less than two weeks away!  My mom has requested a birthday wish list.  I thought it would be fun to share it here as well.  This list is subject to change as my mood does.  ;-)

  • Running capris and tights.  Must have a drawstring waist.  Am I the only one that has to have a drawstring?  Other pants just do not stay up on me when running.  They tend to slide right off my hips.  Maybe I’m build oddly.  Couple of examples of capris:

C9 by Champion Women’s Fashion Run Knee Tight Capri

C9 by Champion Women's Fashion Run Knee Tight Capri


Women’s Active by Old Navy Cropped Compression Pants (16″).

Women's Active by Old Navy Cropped Compression Pants (16")


  • Ultimate Sherpa Throw by Life Comfort at Costco.  I heard these are a must and I need a new throw to match my living room.  It’s required here in the Midwest to avoid freezing to death in the winter while not going broke trying to heat the house.
  • Gift card to my favorite pedicure spa.  My toes would be forever thankful.
  • Running shoes!  Must be Asics Gel-Cumulus and the brighter, the better!

asics cumulus 15


  • I would also love a lightweight, moisture-wicking, water-resistant, windproof jacket.  No pastels.  Pastels are blah.
  • Jillian Michael’s workout videos.

jillian michaels(source)

  • I may have to add flat dress shoes and boots to this list.  I only have one pair of closed-toe flats and I don’t even really like them.  If I can’t wear heels this winter due to my ankle, I am going to need more shoes options.  I will have to try  my heels again later today to see if I need to ask for the flats.  If you see this post updated to include pictures of flats, you will know the heel test did not go so well.

Any lightweight, moisture-wicking, water-resistant, windproof jacket suggestions?

 What else should I consider adding to my wish list?

What is on your current wish list?

Life Beyond the Game

Besides all of the softball games happening Thursday-Sunday, we did enjoy a few other things.

Coming back from the gym on Wednesday, I noticed a roadside vegetable stand had popped up.  I circled back to check it out!  (I miss having friends in Oregon give me free veggies from their plentiful, backyard gardens!)

roadside vegetable stand

I left with zucchini and squash.  (Can’t believe I just spelled zucchini right on the first try!  It’s the small things, people.)

zucchini, squash

Thursday, after our evening softball game, we were all starving.  We had to be at the fields at 6:00 PM.  The fields were 45 minutes away with no traffic, but we were going during rush hour traffic.  That meant a departure time of 4:30 PM.  We couldn’t convince the kids to eat dinner at 3:30 PM.  Well, mostly because my girls hadn’t even eaten lunch until almost 2:30 PM that day.  Anyway, by the time the game was over and we were leaving the park, it was almost 9:00 PM.  Food was needed!  And lucky for us, right across the street was Red Robin!

red robin restaurant

My dad, nephew (Guy), and Sassy had gone to the game with us.  Guy was enthralled with the Red Robin statue.

Red Robin bird

Maybe because they were dressed alike?  That’s embarrassing.  Just like wearing a red shirt and khakis to Target.  You will not get out of there without someone asking you where something is!

My Bleu Ribbon Burger, sub Boca patty never tasted so good!

red robin bleu ribbon boca burger

I always take half of it home for another meal the next day.  This burger tastes just as good cold as it does hot!

Saturday, after our games, we headed straight to my niece, Hoppy’s, birthday party.

hello kitty birthday cake

Can you guess the theme?…

She was so cute on her new scooter!

girl on scooter

She kept asking OMG Becky if she liked her scooter,  Becky watch me!  Becky did you see that?  Becky!  Becky!


Did you know all parties have to include party hats and balloons?

It’s required according to Hoppy.

Sunday after lunch, OMG Becky found a cool bug.

Proud mommy/blogger moment when she whipped out her camera to take a picture of it!

Sunday it was cold.  As in record lows, cold.  We had a three-hour break between games.  It involved lots of blankets and sweatshirts.

Hard to believe it was late July in the Midwest.

Yesterday, we did a little back to school shopping.  Best place to do that?  Crayola Store!

crayola store

OMG Becky found a croc purse she loved!  I had never seen one before.  Are they new?

croc purse

Just kidding, she didn’t like it.  Apparently, they are not what all the kids will be wearing this fall.  But she’s a good kid who models for you when I request it.  :-)

We also stopped in the fudge store for a sample.


Did you notice the extreme difference in sample sizes?  Did you guess it was a boy OMG Becky’s age passing them out?  Um, yeah.  Not fair!  He totally hooked her up.

That’s okay though because last night, karma took care of her for me.  She went into the kitchen and let out a screech for me to come here.  I went into the kitchen to find her at the window.  Two of our hawks were enjoying our patio, with two more on our back fence.


I thought it was super cool, but she thought they were way too close for comfort.  Ha!

What do you order at Red Robin?

Are your kids ready to go back to school?

Birthday on Fire

Friday night was girls night out to celebrate a friend’s birthday with dinner, drinks and dancing.  We headed my favorite dining/retail/entertainment district.

retail dining entertainment district

It reminds me so much of the downtown area where we lived on the West coast!

There were even a few street perfomers out.  Love!

street entertainment

First up was a sushi dinner.  We even found a table outside!

patio dining

Have I ever told you about this girl?

One of my besties.  We have been friends since fourth grade!  She may have a thing for firemen.  Imagine her amuzement went a firetruck pulled up right in front of our table!  She started taking photos of them.  And I started taking photos of her taking photos of them.

take picture of firetruck

The best part of it was when she was trying to show me the photo of a particular fireman she had photographed.  I was telling her to turn around…

Because more were behind here!

She was in heaven!

After dinner, we went to another location for a drink.  When it was time to leave there, look who we saw again!  Hi Firemen!


Next up was a dive bar several blocks away.  This required the moving of the cars.  And another firemen spotting!

I think they were following us…

Moving the cars, also meant dropping the convertible top.

And a very blurry photo.  My new phone camera and I are still getting to know each other.

Dive bar meant shots!

lemon drop shot

That’s my hand, but I didn’t do the shot.  I’m just not a shot girl.  I gave mine to the birthday girl.

Bottoms up!  And that lead to this…

girls dancing

We gonna party like it’s your birthday!  And we did!

Twelve is Sassy!

Sassy is 12 today!  Of course, 12 in kid years = 3 in mom years.  (Mom years are the number of years I feel I have aged since she was born.  Basically, it’s kids age divided by 4.  This totally makes sense.  Right?…)

Sassy got to pick where we were went for dinner.  She picked a bar-b-q place that is a local, nationally recognized favorite. We got there to find they were closed for remodeling!  Talk about a buzz kill.  We passed the word on to the rest of the family and picked another restaurant close by.  Unfortunately, our options were very limited and time wasn’t on our side.  We ended up at a Firehouse Subs.  Fine by me!  Their veggie sub is really tasty.

Firehouse Subs

Then our small group headed to my great aunt and uncle’s house for cake, ice cream and presents.

cookie cake

She paired her choice of cake (cookie cake!) with rainbow sherbet.  Um, okay.  Whatever you want, Sassy.  It’s your birthday.

Then it was presents time!  She was very excited anticipating a cell phone.  She was hoping, wishing, thinking she might get one since OMG Becky had gotten one for her twelfth birthday…

She was not disappointed!

cell phone gift

Hoppy wanted to check it out, too.  She is thinking she might want one…

OMG Becky got Sassy a case for her new phone.

cell phone case

How cute is that little owl?  I want one!  Though I doubt Sassy wants us to be twinsies.

If tomorrow was your birthday, what would you wish for?

Happy Birthday OMG Becky!

It’s official.  I am now the mother of a child old enough to legally drive.  Midwest neighbors beware!

One tradition we have always had, is my daughters get to pick where we eat on their birthday.  Anywhere they want!  They have picked everything from Red Robin to a casino buffet.  Whatever they want, on their birthday their wish is my command.  And today OMG Becky picked Olive Garden for lunch.  Guy’s parents were meeting us there to pick him up.  He and Sassy passed the time by playing on the iPad he received for his birthday.  Lucky little man, right?!  We brought it in with us because leaving it in the car seemed like a bad idea.  Can you guess what the game was?…

Football!  Duh.  Told you, he is all sports all the time.

She got to open one gift at lunch.

Vera Bradley lanyard

It was one of the most wanted items on her list.  A Vera Bradley lanyard in Island Blooms!

At the end of lunch, the waitress asked us if she could bring us anything else.  OMG Becky whispered to me, “More mints!” The waitress overheard and said she would be happy to bring her more.  She came back with almost an entire cup full!

andes mints

OMG Becky was ecstatic!  And lucky for the rest of us, she shared!

Later in the afternoon, there was a discussion as to why we were sitting in the dark at the table.  My mom said it was because we were enjoying the Christmas tree ambiance.  And she pointed out to Sassy, if we saved money on electric now, we would have more funds for the summer electric bill = swimming pool.  Sassy agreed that would be better money spent.  My dad on the other hand thought we could shop less for Christmas gifts so he could have light when and where he wanted it.  OMG Becky told him she would just buy him a headlamp.  He then came out with this on…


Some sort of safety glasses with a lamp on each side!  Not sure where he got them or what he does with them, but so funny!  My girls were tickled.

Tonight we went to my aunt and uncle’s house for a little birthday party with them, my parents and my youngest brother and his family.  I brought the cake I had made.  It was soooo good!

chocolate cavity maker cake

OMG Becky got to open the rest of her gifts.  Her final gift from me was another most wanted item!

Vera Bradley zip id case

A Vera Bradley Zip ID Case in Island Blooms.

Then it was time to put our local fire department on standby and sing Happy Birthday!

blow out birthday candles

I was scared her hair was going to go up in flames so I made her hold it back.  Safety first!

On the way home, we drove through another lights display.  This one is in a neighborhood  shorter and tells the story of the life of Jesus from birth to Resurrection.

Christmas story lights

Christmas story lights

I need to get to bed soon.  I have to work a couple of hours tomorrow and then I am off for a week!  It was a good day and I think OMG Becky enjoyed it, too.  She just came to my room wearing her lanyard and ID case.  She had one question for me…

Vera Bradley

“Do I look like I am ready to drive?”

No, no and NO.

Do you have a teen driver?  Please tell me how to survive this exciting scary chapter!

Where would you pick to eat on your birthday?

Do you have to work on Christmas Eve?

Month Long Celebration

So we are still in the midst of my mom’s month-long birthday celebration.  It’s really never-ending or at least it feels that way.  I suppose that is one thing about getting older to look forward to… longer birthday celebrations.  Maybe it’s something like you get a half day per year?…  So if it’s your 50th birthday, you get to celebrate it for 25 days?  I think that sounds about right.  Or at least that seems to be what she thinks.  And it does seem to be working in her favor.  She may very well be onto something!

I needed coffee to start this day.  I tried a new-to-me place, Caribou Coffee.

caribou coffee

I had their Salted Caramel Budino because that drink was 50% off that day.  It was yummy!  A little salty at first sip but then mellowed out.  I would buy it again.  And for those, like me, who don’t know what Budino is:


any of various soft sweet desserts thickened usually with flour and baked or boiled or steamed


Good to know!

Then it was party time.  This party was at their house with her aunt and uncle, an older brother, his family and myself over for lunch.  They brought a Mexican chili and I made dessert.  My youngest nephew helped with blowing out the candle.

birthday candle

He cracks me up.  Before lunch the two of us were playing, arguing over whose birthday it was.  His birthday and mine are just a couple of weeks apart, followed by my mom’s a few weeks later.  I like to try to mix him up.  Such a good aunt!

<Mom stop reading!>

He decided to hide from me behind the entertainment system.  I’m pretty sure he is not supposed to be back there.  And as luck would have it, he got stuck.  Or as he said, his butt was stuck.

boy stuck

I decided for the good of the blog, I had to take a picture of the situation before helping him out.  I’m a good blogger like that.  I sacrificed my nephew’s comfort for you.  You are most welcome. 

<Mom, you can resume reading now.>

After that, my mom and I took her aunt and uncle home and I forced her to stop at the mall.  I was on a mission to find tall, brown boots.  I think we hit just about every store in the mall because my mom found a great parking spot.  Unfortunately, it was at the other end of the mall from the store I really wanted to visit.  So we were forced to do more shopping.  I hate when that happens.  Yeah, right.

I found the perfect boots.  And a sweater.  And…  nothing.  I only bought what I went for.  The boots were on sale for 50% off and the sweater was 75% off.  Love bargains like that!

My mom found something else…

letter to santa, macy's christmas

A place to write a letter to Santa, complete with a mailbox and believe meter!  Macy’s is all decked out for the holiday and this has to be my favorite part of their decor.  Can you tell how excited I was?  So excited I couldn’t hold the camera still enough to take a decent photo.  That is excited!

Have you tried Caribou Coffee?  What is your favorite drink there?

Any good shopping deals you want to brag about?

How long is your birthday celebration?