the kids are alright (we’re ok too) and why it’s important to have girl time…

IMG_2128 every once in a while a few of my friends get together for some much-needed girl time.  we are all moms and sometimes we need to take a  few hours to cut loose without the kids.  once, we made what could have been an ill-fated trip to ikea in portland, but instead it turned into a wonderful day-long road trip with a stop in hood river, great food, beer, conversation and company.  even though things didn’t go as planned, the day turned out better than we could’ve imagined!IMG_2213this weekend we got together at my house on one of the hottest days of the year and we just hung out in my kitchen drinking cucumber freshies, talking about life, sex, kids and having a great time unwinding from life.  we actually all had our kids with us this time and, even though they ranged from 17 months to 15 years, everyone got along splendidly and had a blast playing and watching movies downstairs while we hung out.

the afternoon turned into an impormptu dinner of salmon, rice and corn that my husband cooked for all of us and the kids.  a significant other or two joined us and we had a most lovely evening.IMG_2183when i think about the bond i have with this particular group of women, i realize that the most common factor is that we are all moms.  we are all strong women and our mom-ness doesn’t define us but it is definitely something very important to each of us. it joins us in a kind of unspoken understanding.  it doesn’t phase us that, more often than not, we don’t finish a sentence because someone little interrupts us, or that the conversation can bounce from subject to subject in the blink of an eye with no cohesion.  i love the bond that i have with these women.  we are all so different, but so much the same too.

cheers, girls.  i love you.


p.s. i’m working on getting the cucumber freshies recipe posted along with the apricot goat cheese bites.

merry christmas…

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merry christmas and happy holidays from everyone over here at the house of mayhem and chaos.  i hope your day is filled with joy and love and everything on your plates and in your glasses is absolutely delicious.  may you find peace, calm, serenity and love during this crazy-making time of year.

much love,


from the top: super buddies | the best damn bloody mary | jamie oliver’s comfort food – best. gift. ever. | mid-afternoon snack

harvest and halloween…

halloween is over and i always feel a little sad when it’s done.  i leave our decorations up until almost thanksgiving, and the skulls stay out year round, but i’m a little sad that the spooky season is done for the year.

this year, the boys wanted to be a pumpkin and a skeleton, so i was thrilled that i could make their costumes.  this is the first year since their very first halloween that i made their costumes.  i got a black shirt and leggings from target for the skeleton and just painted some bones with white fabric paint.  the mask is a paper-mache skeleton face that i found at craft warehouse.  i painted it  white, used a sharpie to define the teeth and eye sockets and punched holes in the side for an elastic strap.

for the pumpkin, i got a large orange t-shirt and painted a jack-o-lantern face on the front.  i sewed some elastic to the bottom so we could stuff it with a pillow to make a fat pumpkin.  we layered a green shirt and some striped leggings underneath.  i used felt to make the pumpkin top hat and threaded a headband through the bottom.

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harry was “scary harry” the skeleton and jack was “jack-o-lantern” the pumpkin king.  he wouldn’t let me stuff his shirt because he wanted to be a skinny pumpkin like jack skellington.  the boys said that daddy needed to be a ghost, so we made a very traditional ghost costume for christopher.  we went to downtown kennewick and walked down “treat street” where all the businesses hand out candy.  we had to pit stop at home before trick-or-treating our neighborhood because the boys already had full buckets!  then, we stopped by our neighbor’s house for a little halloween gathering and had a wonderful time before i had to go to work.

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my costume was kind of chosen for me.  at work, the theme was that the men would be hunters and the ladies would be the animals.  i wasn’t too keen on that thought (but since this is not a post about the rampant sexism inherent in society, i’ll skip the diatribe) so i decided to go as a raven.  i couldn’t pull off a jungle cat costume in my 20’s, let alone my late 30’s, and i figured “gothic raven” was more my style anyway.  plus, i found these wicked-cool feather false eyelashes, so i was pretty happy with the way it turned out.


we harvested the pumpkins from our garden and the boys went to a pumpkin patch on a field trip at preschool.  they love picking the pumpkins.  they drew faces on their pumpkins and christopher and i carved them into very happy jack-o-lanterns and we put them on the font porch to ward off the evil spirits.

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this has been a really fun halloween season.  i’m looking forward to thanksgiving.  i think we are going to host at our house this year and i just love the idea of having all our family here to share the meal.  christopher’s mom is living in washington now, and it will be the first thanksgiving, since we’ve been together, that she will be with us.  it’s time to get planning!

how was your halloween?  i would love to hear what you and the kids were dressed as!



cake of the mondays: st. patrick’s edition…


i know it’s thursday and i am behind on my posting.  but, i did make a “cake of the mondays.”  i just didn’t get to post it until now.  we had another round of ickiness on tuesday after preschool and the boys having the flu for the first time took most of my attention away.

they are better now and i’ve had a chance to get my pics together from making our cake.  i chose to make nigella lawson’s guinness cake which is a favorite in our house and it works out especially well for st. patrick’s day.  i usually make it as-is, but i changed it up a bit, this time.  i love guinness, but i wanted a beer that had a little more punch.  so, i chose the elysian split shot espresso milk stout.  and, man, am i glad i did!  it was perfect!  the cake turned out so moist and you could really taste the creamy, coffee notes from the beer!  plus, the pint left over after using the cup for the cake was all mine and it was truly divine!


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i also change the frosting a bit.  i like the cream cheese frosting she does as it is, but for st. paddy’s day, i like to add some baileys irish cream to the mix.

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i think it turned out smashing. have you ever made this cake?  what did you think?  do you have a favorite “holiday” cake or recipe?



vacation: crazy or crazy-good?

we took a road trip last week.  1200 miles each way to arizona and back. in the car. with the boys.  it seemed like a good idea because i have really fond memories of taking road trips on vacation, and because we haven’t had a proper vacation in over two years, and because i have horrible memories of flying with the boys when they were 9 months old.


so, i did a lot of pinterest research on road trips with littles and prepared as best as we could.  things that worked: cookie sheet trays covered in chalkboard paint with velcro straps to fix onto their carseats; movies on the iPad; snack bucket between their seats and hotels with swimming pools.  Things that didn’t work: magnets for their trays–jack started eating them; toy bucket between the seats–everything wound up on the floor of the car; window jellies–also tossed on the floor after being torn to shreds; coloring books and stickers–jack ate those too; headphones for the iPad–the ones we got didn’t work at all (apparently, “noise reducing” means you can’t hear any movie dialogue. but we got new ones in phoenix.)

but, we got there safely and the boys were troopers.  i mean, real superstars!  they didn’t have any real meltdowns and chris and i didn’t fight either!  we saw some beautiful scenery as we traveled through 6 states.

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our visit was relaxing and full of time with family that we haven’t seen in several years.  my grandma just turned 90 and it was wonderful to see her with the boys.  i also was able to reconnect with some friends i hadn’t seen since jr. high and high school!  it was really wonderful. the boys played in the sun outside every day, got to see my dad and uncle’s motorcycle shop and we all went to the zoo.  harry said his favorite part was  petting the sting rays and jack said his favorite part was the car ride!  they crack me up.

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we got home a little earlier than expected on sunday, so we unloaded quickly and sat down with a nice pint on the front porch.




i’m back…sort of…

so, i’ve been out of the loop for a couple weeks and i have really been horrible at posting.  like, not posting at all.  i absolutely love blogging, but my family is my first priority and blogging takes a back seat–even the cake of the mondays.


we are currently on a 1200 mile road trip with the boys to see my family in arizona and are getting ready to return home tomorrow.  two days in the car each way has been crazy interesting.  they were little troopers for the first half of the trip and i’m sure they’re going to do great on the way home.  i will post lots of pictures and my sanity-saving tips as soon as we get back into our home routine.

before we left on vacation, we all got the plague.  super horrible flu/colds.  that kept the cake of the mondays on the back burner for a couple weeks.  that too will make it’s return to the blogosphere when we get home.


the best part of our family road trip vacation has been seeing my family and friends that we don’t see except every few years.  visiting with grandma, who just turned 90, was a special treat.  the boys got to ride on papa’s motorcycles and we all went to the zoo.  the weather in arizona is glorious!  harry has been a little blue since it’s been so cold and dreary at home, so he has been especially excited to bask in the warm sunshine.  we needed this decompression time since we haven’t taken a real vacation in two years.


anyhoo, i will be back at it in full in about a week or so.



snowy day…

every sunday my girlfriends and i get together and have coffee.  well, it started out as coffee and now it’s just “morning champagne drinking.”  my friend felicia graciously hosts and we gather at her cozy house for bubbles and gossip.  i love this time.  it’s nice to take a regular break and recharge with the girls.  flea lives in my neighborhood and i usually walk to her house.  this was my walk today…


several inches of snow blanket our neighborhood and, thought i hate the winter, it really is glorious.

stay warm, lovies.