life, craft, kids, crap…

Category Archives: my hub

Eleven years.

In the moving chaos I neglected to brag on Raylo for finishing up his second masters degree. This was a lot tougher this go-round. Last time I was his wealthy teacher sugar-mama. This time he managed to get uh-ma-zing grades while taking a full load (and sometimes more) plus working about 15 hours a week as a counseling intern & another 20 – 25 hours a week as a hospice chaplain. But, he never neglected the family. Neglected sleep? You bet. But never us. You can tell in the picture above how much Beanie loves loves loves her Daddy. Peanut is pretty fond of him, too. Me? I’m proud enough to bust my buttons.

When he got back from the graduation ceremony, he was still in his robes. A neighbor kid saw him and looked up in wonder. Raylo bent down and said “Look! I’m a wizard!”

Gosh, I love that guy.

We’ve now hit 11 years of marriage. I’ll be keeping him.

Happy anniversary, Raylo!

I’ve been spending a tremendous amount of time on the computer since the beginning of the year. Since it’s obviously not time spent on my poor, neglected little bloggy, then what have I been up to?

I’m looking for a house.

This lovely and utilitarian 950 square foot campus housing has been, well, utilitarian for the 4 of us and my massive quantities of fabric + crafty crap. There are some features about this home that I have truly enjoyed — I have a laundry room for the first time in years (previously my washer was in my bathroom or kitchen). I have two bathrooms. My last one was so small you could sit on the pot, turn on the shower, turn on the sink, put a load in the washer, and reorganize the cabinet — at the same time. While it allowed for maximum efficiency during bathroom business, it was most obviously designed by a very small drunken man. Any human of normal size and normal sobriety would never design the bathroom that way. So…. I’ve been grateful for two not-terribly-tiny bathrooms. But, the biggest blessing about this place has most definitely been the neighbors. The school puts families with young kids (mostly) in our complex, so we don’t have very far to go to visit my friends and my girls’ friends. We constantly eat in each others’ homes, visit, drop by, hang out, and then head out back to the field to play all together.

But, my local neighbor lovelies, as much as I’ve enjoyed your company, my toes need to stretch out! So, with my hubby’s impending graduation in May (can I get a hallelujah!) we are moving to more spacious digs.

In Arkansas.

Now, I’m one of those arrogant, proud Texans who believes that no where on earth is fit to live besides Texas. However, the job my hubs has is not in The Promised Land. And, after getting over my initial shock that we will raise our girls in a place where the Lone Star flag does not wave, I’ve gotten pretty excited about this chance. He has a great new job. He’ll be doing family counseling & also working with an emergency children’s shelter. If a kid is removed from their home because of abuse or other family issues, they are first taken to this shelter. While there, the state figures out if they can be returned to the family, placed in foster care, or taken to the state children’s home. He’s excited about the job and we’re excited about the town.

And I can always put a big, honkin’, arrogant, proud Texan flags on our roof.

In true mabBlab giving-everything-a-silly-nickname-and-not-using-the-real-name-because-it’s-the-closest-I’ll-ever-get-to-being-a-spy fashion, I hereby dub my future town as Jaybro. It’s a smallish city of about 65,000. They’ve actually got really great schools, lots of family activities, and a Hobby Lobby. There are 3 fabric stores. (yay!) But one is Hancocks (okay!), and the two private quilt shops sell stuff that your Great Aunt Ethel would buy if she was on acid or had completely lost her vision (boo!). So, I will definitely continue buying most of my fabric stash online!

(Latest crush: Ruby Star Rising by Melody Miller….)

So, this is the news with us. I have a camera card full of pictures, but it’s late and that card is sitting on the microwave across the room. (Did I ever mention that my kitchen here is so small that our portable dishwasher & microwave are actually in the living room?) I’m too lazy to get up and get it. But, I know y’all love me in my laziness. Or, you’ve quit reading this post by now.

Anyway, seriously stick with me. This is post #598 (whaaaa..?) and I am planning a giveaway for post #600. I’ll try to get that written before July. Hah!

We’ll head up to Jaybro next Saturday to look at all of the houses. I am a stinkin’ nervous wreck. When we bought our first house as young newlyweds, it took me 3 months to find the right one. This time, we’ll have 3 days. My realtor will need a vacation after we leave because I have a list of a billion houses to see!

Here’s my favorite:

The listing says: “This Greek Revival home makes a stunning impression on the 11th green of Big Fancy Pants Country Club Golf Course. This symmetrical designed home features five levels, lighted columns and two tiers of wrap-around verandas. Orderly interior plans feature central hallways flanked by formal rooms flooded with sunlight. Too many amenities to list, but some outstanding include game room w/full kitchen, media room, storage room, fitness room, hearth room, hobby room and office on the 5th level with spectacular views.”

Here’s that 5th level spectacular view:

THAT would be my sewing/craft room.

But….. since the monthly payments on this house are more than we’ll bring home in a month, I either need to get crackin’ on my Etsy shop or I need to see if we can buy only 1 floor of this home….

Overheard tonight as RayRay was telling Beanie the Christmas story at bedtime:

RR: And then the baby was born and they named him Jesus.

Beanie: NO! Pookie! They named him Pookie!

Ahem. I don’t know about you guys, but we will be spending tomorrow explaining the real meaning of Christmas! We’ll be telling our kids and reminding one another that we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ — and with His birth we celebrate the amazing love, grace, and redemption that came from His life and then His death and resurrection.

I’ll be listening to my all time favorite Christmas CD, Behold the Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson. I wrote about my love for this CD back in 2006 and my high opinion still has not wavered. It’s the entire Christmas story — all the way from Genesis. God never intended the advent to be the whole story — it’s a fabulous piece in the middle. Just when people think it can’t get worse and God has been silent for 400 years while the Romans take over and bring oppression — BAM! — enter the protagonist! But, he’s not a mighty warrior. He’s a baby. Born to a teenager. In a barn. Rather than taking care of the temporal suppressor and tyrant that was Rome, His life/death/resurrection here on earth took care of the eternal suppressor and tyrant that is sin, injustice, hatred, and loneliness.

And His name was not Pookie.

May your day be full of blessings and peace!

The night of the kek-kek cafeteria incident, we had a Meet-and-Greet social for my hubby’s department here on campus. I decided to bring cookies.

As I pulled the bag of cookie mix out of the pantry, I noticed an alternate recipe:

Yummy! And, bars are always easy to transport right in my pan that has a transporty lid.

Now, to insure the success of any recipe, you must:

1) Follow the directions (at least mostly). If it says to let the cookies cool before spreading the chocolate, please do that. If it says to make sure the chocolate is really melty before you spread it, please make sure it’s hot and melty. Don’t assume that the heat of the uncooled cookies will melt the un-melty chocolate.

2) Try not to have a toddler throwing a fit and refusing to take her nap although she’s clearly so tired she’s out of her mind. Also, try not to do this right after the cafeteria kek-kek lunch episode where her younger sister made you crazy.


I have decided to call this recipe Le Puup aux les Dirts. That’s my fake french way of saying “Poop on Dirt.” You could alternately call them Dog Poo Delights or CaCa Cookies. (Thanks to Spider Woman for that last one.)

Let’s do a side-by-side analysis of this recipe:

Needless to say, I sent Ray Ray a text and insisted that he pick up cookies on the way home.

The good news: My hub is so grossed out by the appearance that he won’t eat them. While they may look disgusting, they taste great. Viva Le Puup!

Here’s my only question: Should I turn in this recipe to The Pioneer Woman, Martha Stewart, or Rachael Ray?

Tomorrow is the hub’s birthday. Bean said he needed to go to Chuck E. Cheese for his party. (She was very serious about this.) RayRay said “Yeah, that’s how I want to spend my birthday — chasing kids around a crazy room full of loud, unsupervised kids.” Somehow I think Bean had more fun at her birthday celebration than her Daddy did.

Instead, RayRay has asked me to make a whole mess of homeade ice cream. He likes small and simple celebrations. I’m fine with that since it includes ice cream. Personally, I’d go to the Creole Creamery and eat a Tchopitoulas — that’s 8 scoops of ice cream and 8 toppings. Yum.

In preparation, I bought a mess of eggs and dairy products. In fact, we’ve been making sure all severely depressed lactose-intolerant friends stay away. Otherwise they could really do themselves harm. See…

That’s 4 gallons of milk, 1 quart of whipping cream, 1 quart of half and half (in the back). We also have yogurt for the girls and some whipped cream to put on top of this mess.

So, here’s the three ice creams I’ve mixed and made today. We’ll start freezing them tonight.

Butterfinger Ice Cream

(From — Pam West’s recipe)

  • 2 quarts half-and-half cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 Butterfinger candy bars (2.1 ounces each), chopped
  1. In a large heavy saucepan, heat the cream and milk to 175 degrees F; stir in sugar and salt until dissolved. Whisk a small amount of hot mixture into eggs.
  2. Return all to the pan, whisking constantly. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches at least 160 degrees F and coats the back of a metal spoon.
  3. Remove from the heat. Cool quickly by placing pan in a bowl of ice water; stir for 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Press plastic wrap onto surface of custard. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  4. Stir in candy bars. Fill cylinder of ice cream freezer two-thirds full; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Refrigerate remaining mixture until ready to freeze. Allow to ripen in ice cream freezer or firm up in the refrigerator freezer for 2-4 hours before serving.

Chocolate Ice Cream

(from Tasty Kitchen — LivsMama’s recipe)

  • ½ cups Cocoa Powder
  • 2-½ cups Half-and-half
  • 1-½ cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 5 whole Egg Yolks
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ¾ teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Whisk together the cocoa powder and half and half in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the whipping cream and bring up to a simmer. Stir every so often.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks and then slowly add the sugar. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and creamy. Add the vanilla to the egg mixture.

Add 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture to the yolks and continue to whisk in order to temper the eggs.

Continue to add small amounts of the hot cream mixture to the egg yolks until half of the cream mixture has been mixed into the eggs.

Pour the entire egg/cream mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat until it reaches 170-175 degrees. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cool (at least 4 hours).

Once the mixture is completely cool, pour into the ice cream maker and follow it’s directions. I normally mix mine in the ice cream maker for 25-30 minutes. It will be the consistency of soft serve right out of the maker. If you prefer your ice cream harder, put it in the freezer for an additional 3-4 hours.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts.

(I love how this says it makes 1 1/2 quarts, but the recipe online says it will make only 4 servings. Now that’s my kind of serving!)

My Grannie’s Ice Cream (the best in the whole entire world — ever)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can Carnation milk
  • 1 can Eagle Brand milk
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1 3/4 – 2 cups sugar
  • vanilla to taste ( I like to taste a lot… at least 1 Tablespoon)
  • 1/2 gallon whole milk

Beat eggs well with a whisk. Add sugar, flour, & vanilla. Continually stir. Add the canned milk. Then, add part of the 1/2 gallon of milk and heat. Keep mixing to prevent lumping. Don’t let it boil, just heat until warm to cook the eggs. Have the freezer ready & in the fridge. After the mix has cooled (or better yet, ripened in the fridge for a few hours), pour it in the freezer. Add the rest of the milk and turn the paddle to mix. Freeze and enjoy. Even better the second day if any happens to be left.

It’s a very, very good thing that calories and fat don’t count when you’re celebrating anyone’s birthday.

After breakfast this morning the only food left in the house was pickle relish, ranch dressing, 2 eggs, and some out of date summer sausage.

Diapers were reaching a critically low level.

Something had to be done.

My wonderful hubby stayed home this morning with the kids and I took off for Wally World. There was NO WAY I’d be attempting this trip with any children. And it’s a good thing they didn’t come….

There wouldn’t have been room for them in the basket.

Let’s put it this way: When I left I was pushing one basket and pulling another one. I was being laughed at by the people in Wal-Mart.

And when the people who populate Wal-Mart at 9 a.m. on a Wednesday morning laugh at you, it’s pretty bad. The only thing worse is when the people who shop at Wal-Mart at 3 a.m. laugh at you…. (And yes, I know about the hilarious website People of Walmart. But I didn’t link there because the picture today isn’t family-friendly. Dangit! Now at least 85% of you just left my blog and Googled People of Walmart!)

Now we have enough food to survive an apocalypse, feed an army, or keep two toddlers fed for approximately 2 weeks. At least I don’t have teenagers. The food wouldn’t last 10 minutes.

The most amazing part of my shopping trip: I got all of it in 1 1/2 hours. Enough food to fill the back and the second row seats of my minivan…. in 1 1/2 hours. I should be a grocery shopping Olympian. (Do y’all remember Supermarket Sweep? I would so win that.)

In other news….

I sewed some hooded towels for my girls tonight using the on-sale bath towels and hand towels at Wal-Mart and some of my fabric. They’re $30 in the store. I made each one for about $8. Woo-hoo!

Bean has started sleeping on the floor. Not sure why. She says it’s “more comforble.” We convinced her to let us put some blankets down under her. I think the real reason she likes to sleep there: she plays with her toys until she falls asleep.

Today Bean got the markers down (She’s gotten too tall! She can reach my too-high-hidey-places!!) and she and Peanut started coloring. On each other. And somehow she found the kind that’s non-washable.

Peanut fell down a few stairs yesterday and banged up her nose. She looks like she’s been in battle. With her unruly hair and the blue marker on her face, she actually resembles someone who led people into battle…

mab and RayRay circa 2004

Today is our tenth anniversary.

Last year, we went out to the fancy schmanciest place I’ve been in my life for an anniversary dinner. It was fancy and schmancy. We had 3 waiters. One person’s sole job was to refill our drinks. It was quite lovely.

This year he’s taking me on a surprise trip. We leave tomorrow when he gets out of class. This will be the first time since Bean’s birth that I’ve been away from both of my kids. I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO THE QUIET! We will be gone on Beanie’s 3rd birthday, so we’re celebrating tonight instead.

That’s right. On our 10th anniversary, we’re going to…


Oh, the romance never ends!

The lovely lovebirds in 2007

RayRay, in my book, you will always be a 10. I love you! And, I love our family. We’re adorable, aren’t we?

(Here we all are in December 09. Look closely at Peanut’s sweater…. I had forgotten to take off the sizing sticker. Yeah, because we’re sooooo cool. And stylish.)

Yesterday when Ray Ray came home for lunch, he saw the smoke detector that we had taken down in the girls room. A few months ago at 2 a.m. it began beeping. When your smoke detector beeps, you change the batteries, right? Not at 2 a.m. when its in the room with your two sleeping toddlers. Instead, you rip it out of the wall. Seeing it on the counter, he was moved to action. He dug out a new battery and put the detector back up in their room. “I don’t know why that took me so long!” he exclaimed.

We sat down to eat.

While we were in the middle of a riveting conversation discussing potty training and Peanut’s recent boogery sniffles, we heard it.


At first I thought it was maybe just my mind playing tricks on me.


We were also confused because we couldn’t tell exactly where the sounds were coming from.


Each time we heard it, it was different.


Because we live in an apartment building, they have all of the smoke detectors hooked into a sprinkler system. If there’s a fire in any apartment, everyone’s sprinklers go off.


I am afraid that some yo-ho will burn their biscuits, set off their fire alarm, and make my sprinklers go off. That would ruin untold amounts of stuff.


But, I’ve heard that the sprinklers have to detect heat for that to happen. So, the yo-ho would have to really burn those biscuits.


Back to the story… the hub got up, went to the girls room and ripped the smoke detector out of the wall once again. Then, he had to go off to work. I got the girls ready for bed, sure in the knowledge that they would sleep peacefully, without any smoke detector diversions.


What the…..


I knew it couldn’t be coming from the girls’ room. That smoke detector was ripped from the wall. Apparently, virus-like, the beepity-beep-beep smoke detector had influenced the smoke detector in the hallway.


It was now going off. I quickly, unforgivingly, and sharply ripped it from the wall. Ahh. Silence at last. I could now go to my napping spot — the couch — and snuggle up under my new napping quilt.


Ok, final straw. Where the *#&# was this coming from? Apparently, before being ripped from the wall, the smoke detectors in the bedroom and the hallway made an alliance with the one in the living room. It was now going off.


I ripped it from the wall and threw it on the kitchen counter. Now we were completely smoke detector-less. (The one in our room has been ripped out for months. It also made the mistake of beeping in the middle of the night.) I called the hub and he said he’d contact maintenance about the problem. It must have been in the wiring in the wall. Problem solved. Reading and then nap time.


I looked around for a detector I had missed. Nowhere.


But, the sound was coming from the kitchen. There, like headless chickens still running around the yard…. like a glam band rocker past his prime still trying to perform in concert…. like the neighbor’s dog who just won’t shut up no matter what you do…. the smoke detectors were still beeping. I made sure the batteries were out and then I did the only sensible thing to do.

I put the bleepin’ beepers in the refrigerator.

me: How old are you, Bean?

Bean: Two!

me: How old is Peanut?

Bean: One!

me: How old is Mama?

Bean: (After pausing a long time….) Many!

Yes, I know it’s more of Bean’s words, but she’s really starting to talk and be her own person. It’s hilarious. Later today she was trying to calm Peanut down (who was having a fit in the car). I began to interact with her one-sided conversation with her baby sister. “Not now, Mama. I’m talking to Peanut,” she firmly replied.

We’ve begun the trip I am calling Holiday Sojourn 2009. We’re in the hub’s hometown until after Christmas. Then, it’s on to my hometown for a week. It’s been a few months since I’ve been there. Then, we’ll drive all. the. way. back. to the Big Easy. I’m sure more interesting conversations with Bean will erupt on that trip.

Well, the good news is that the crafty week went well, despite Bean throwing up all over the craft room. Yes. All over everything. She was coloring nicely at the back when the… um… eruption began. I panicked. Instead of putting a trash can in front of her while she took care of the rest of that… um… business, I picked her up and ran down the hall to the bathroom. Thereby covering myself in puke and the hallway in puke. Ok, so maybe it’s my fault that she puked all over the craft room.


Sorry you had to read that. But I’ll warn you that… um… puke will come up again in this post. But something important is coming along, too…

I came home with a sinus infection from the pit of hades. It put me out of comission. Completely. And then Peanut started to toss her cheerios. (See, I warned you.) Poor RayRay was in the midst of finals and couldn’t take care of all three of us while finishing his last projects/take home tests, so Poppy has arrived to rescue us. And in the midst of this, we have crafted. I made a lot of great gifts, but I’m not going to tell you about them now. Because some of you who read this will get said gifts for Christmas. Hah!

But, now on to the real things on my mind. Something has to change. I stink at this blog. I really really really stink at my bidniz blog. (It stinks. It stinks worse than my hastily-thrown together banner that looks like a 13 year old from the 80’s put together in print shop. The only good parts are what I ganked off of the bidniz cards Britty made me.) And, I’m struggling to find myself in my Etsy shop. It seems to be going in a direction that doesn’t fit me. It chafes like underwear that has been line-dried. Oh yeah, it looks all pretty in the laundry detergent ads and people sniff their towels and talk about the fresh air scent. But that’s crap. When you hang your stuff to dry, it smells like dirt. And, your towels, socks, and undies are as crunchy as an SOS scouring pad. Trust me. That’s how we dried our laundry during our stint overseas. I have never been so grateful for fabric softener as in any other time in my life.

But I once again digress. I’m going to take a bit of a break from my business. Not for long… just a few weeks. I’ll keep my shop open, but I won’t add anything new. I’m going to sew for myself. Finish some projects. Finally make that new purse for me. Learn to do something with the latticework smocking that I’m working on.

And, I’m going to think. Think about combining that blog and this blog. Think about changing my shop name and look. (What was I thinking in giving it a foreign name that no one can seem to pronounce…? Sigh..) I’m going to think about what kinds of projects I want to do and will keep doing in a sustainable way. I’m thinking about more craft fairs and how that could work. I’m thinking of reorganizing (well… just plain organizing) my craft space and getting it out of our over-crowded living room. I’m praying that we miraculously get moved into a 4 bedroom apartment so I’ll have a work room, room to house tables and props needed for a craft fair, and the inventory that would require.

In all of this, I welcome blunt input. From time to time I’ll ask direct questions. Some of you might get e-mails asking specific direct questions. All of you are welcome to tell me anything and everything about my business and the idea of combining these blogs. I know you all come to read the Blab because you want to know about my children puking. What if more of my craftiness comes in? (Double meaning implied and promised.) Will that alienate readers? Does it matter?

So, during this process, I’ll be blogging here and on my other blog, but not in a typical fashion. This will be my clipboard. Great items I’ve found — cool shops — stuff I wish I could make — ideas I have. Then, through the weeks, I’ll look back on everything and see what themes and ideas are forming.

I also haven’t forgotten the veggie/side-dish cook-off! I actually bought broccoli to make one of them. But, we have had one member of the family (or more) sick since the week of Thanksgiving. As primary caretaker (when I’m not sick-in-the-bed patient), I’ve been feeding my famliy whatever I could throw together that won’t stain my rug if it … um … comes back up. I’m sure the broccoli has spoiled. I am saving the recipes and once I return to my house after the Holiday Sojourn of 2009, I’ll start going through them. And, I’ll let you know how they all go. Even the ones with cabbage in them.

Now, must sleep. Thanks for letting me talk. Again, all input is welcome. I may listen or I may nod and smile.

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