Monday, December 7, 2015

Lights Camera Car Keys

We have a lot to discuss, but first: a story. I got up early this morning (or really, on time, but for a Monday, that's early) and was ready to go WITH my hair blow-dried and straightened at 7:45 a.m. only to hear James yell "just get in mom's car!" from outside. I peeked out the window to see my car flying down our driveway, presumably on its way to take the big kids to school. He returned a few minutes later, noting he couldn't find his keys. I couldn't leave him without a car because he has to get to lessons midday, so I helped him look. And look. And look. Noting a HEROICALLY minimal number of times that there is a set of hooks RIGHT BY THE BACK DOOR specifically for this purpose. He loses his keys a lot. The hooks have been suggested with some frequency.

8:45 rolls around and I'm about to strangle him but suggest that he just take me to work and CONTINUE LOOKING when he gets back and then we can switch cars at lunch. This happens and two hours later he calls to say he does not have his keys, but the Chevy dealership can make him a new one for only $70, he just has to bring his title or registration, and it only takes 15 minutes. Okay, fine. Then he realizes he doesn't have a title (because the bank does) or registration (because he THREW IT AWAY after putting his registration sticker on the car). So he has to go to the DMV to get another copy. Except he gets there and realizes his insurance card is expired. So I email him a copy of our new one and he gets his registration, and then gets to the dealer and gets a new key, and then picks me up on the way back at 2:00 so I can have a car to pick up Cora later on.

The key needs to go through a 30 minute "learning" process that involves lots of turning off and on the car, but he doesn't have time before his first lesson, so I get to do that while he rushes around gathering his swim lesson stuff and some food because he hasn't eaten anything yet. I'm sitting in his car in the driveway, on step 5 of 12 with the new key, and turn to see him flying out of the house, holding his swim lesson binder and a large tub of opened hummus,with a whole bagel stuffed in his mouth. As he turns away from the door the hummus goes flying only to land upside down, splattered across the driveway. His curses mingled with his tears, all caught by the bagel, and I was like, okay karma, he's now been sufficiently punished.

So now we have a beautiful new key, a shiny new copy of his registration AND insurance, and I can add "successful pairing of a car ignition to a key" to my resume. And I ordered James one of these TrackR tags for his stocking. He can put it on his key ring and track his keys from his phone (or, conversely, make his phone ring by pressing the button on his keys), which sounds awesome. Not that he'll have to use it because that key will be on the key hook EVERY DAY for all the days forever or I'll tell karma to kick it back up to level Flying Hummus and I won't even feel bad.

So that's been today.

The weekend was nice. On Saturday James swam, then I taught barre, and then friends from Austin stopped by on their way through town which was super fun, and then we went to see Frosty the Snowman with our Casa Manana children's play season tickets. Cora stayed home with a sitter and did great (last time it was reported that she woke up from her nap and then spent an hour tearfully looking for us all over the house, which was just heartbreaking) and then James and I put the kids to bed and ordered thai food and ate it on the couch while watching Elf and everything was pretty much perfect in the world.

Sunday dawned bright and beautiful and I grocery shopped while James worked on Christmas lights. We decided on a new approach to our gigantic tree- he is obsessed with wrapping it in lights and I just don't feel like there's enough payoff for the enormous amount of work and lights involved just to wrap a trunk (20 strands of lights, just to get near the first branch), so this year he started with the branches and did a bunch of dangling lights. I love it.

I did not love him on top of our super tall ladder. I REALLY did not love his seriously mistaken belief that I could do something if the ladder decided to move. He kept saying, "do you have it?" and I kept responding with a version of "I mean, I'm touching it, but to be clear, if it decides to fall backwards it will laugh at me when I try to stop it."

It's a SUPER heavy ladder (I can't move it, at all, when it's folded up) with a fairly wide base, and it never moved or wobbled at all while I was holding it, so I think it was decently sturdy, but still, next year I'm going to have to insist on a harness system. But while I was wearing my concerned face and secretly enjoying the view of James's legs way above my head, he was in his happiest place, with all of his family outside while he put lights on his tree. It's one of his favorite things he does all year.

And it does look great!

We ended the day with James's swim school dinner he hosts each year for all his instructors. This year our table was up to 12, which is a testament to the growth of the school plus the two alumni who asked to come, which is a testament to James as a boss and the close knit bond he builds in a job with a normally high turnover rate. We left the kids with a sitter and Cora lost her mind when she realized we were leaving. Landon was able to calm her down and then they all had a great night, and James and I had a great time eating and drinking with his instructors, but I've never had a kid who cried at the sight of sitters and oy it is much harder to leave.

Moving on to dinners we'll eat all together in our house. I haven't posted a menu in forever. I just realized that this one is made up almost entirely of hearty crock pot stews, so I must have been cold while meal planning, but I love a good one pot meal and it all sounds delicious to me!

Monday: White chicken chili, tortillas chips
Tuesday: Beef barley stew (from the Betty Crocker Slow Cooker cook book), french bread.
Wednesday: Meaty spaghetti (modified from this crock pot recipe; I just cook the pasta separately), garlic bread.
Thursday: Split Pea Soup (also crock pot); corn bread.
Friday: Tamales, scrambled eggs, refried black beans, diced tomato, tortillas

I have my Urban Yoga teacher party on Friday night, for which I need an appetizer, and my PTA Board holiday party on Saturday night, for which I need a appetizer or a dessert, so if you have any suggestions, let me know! We're doing the sugar cookies this weekend, so I'm leaning towards making two appetizers, but I still welcome non-sugar-cookie dessert suggestions. Simplicity is a plus since everything is at the end of the week and I'll be sugar-cookie-ing, but I'm willing to put in some effort for something tried and true and wonderful!


  1. Dang girl...Wednesday's menu entry...go change it! Or not and we'll all have a great laugh! (Lights look great!!!!)

    1. Lol, I don't know what you're talking about Desimom... what do YOU see when you read Wednesday's menu?

  2. That Trackr is a great idea. I just ordered one for my other half! Thanks!

    1. Yay! I did some research between that and the Tile (similar idea) and the Trackr has replaceable batteries you can get on Amazon for a dollar or two, where the Tile is just meant to be replaced in entirety every year, so hopefully it's as great as Gizmodo promised me!

      (Also, if you used the link I posted, I think you might end up getting a free one in addition to what you ordered? They were running a referral promotion that sounds almost too good to be true, but if you get notified of that, let me know!)

  3. Longhorn Blonde12/7/15, 9:24 PM

    easy appetizers from my go-to file:

    Cooking Light's pumpkin dip. possibly past this being seasonally appropriate but I love it year round. Great served with sliced apples, pears or Asian pears (my fave) as well as ginger snaps or graham crackers. (I use the full block of cream cheese, up the pumpkin to about 2/3 c. and keep the sugar the same/slightly lower and maple syrup the same. whip the cream cheese for a fluffy texture)

    Goat cheese lollipops (or you could make this as a log/ball). You take goat cheese and blend in some herbs and seasonings. then take some of the same herbs and seasonings and an equal part bacon and pecans. pulse in a food processor to make it crumbly. with damp hands roll the goat cheese into bite-size balls then roll in the herb/bacon/pecan coating. put a stick in it to serve (I usually put crackers or those little bread toasts out along side). this is the showstopper presentation. but for five minutes of prep, you can just take a goat cheese log, slice and do the same. or roll the log in the coating and serve at room temp, with a knife and crackers to spread it on. it's flexible. I haven't followed the original recipe since I saw it on Pinterest but I did find it:

    I know I have some others, but those were the first two that came to mind. I know you've mentioned food like/dislikes before but can't remember any of them at the moment...

    1. Thank you!! Those both sound amazing and delicious! The pumpkin dip with pears sounds like something I need in my mouth right now. (But I have a Trader Joe's dark chocolate peppermint oreo instead, so I'm still winning a little bit.)

    2. Longhorn Blonde12/8/15, 12:08 PM

      Yes, I was glad to have leftovers from the party I just threw for my new one-year-old.

      Remembered another easy one -- caprese skewers. Cherry tomatoes, basil leaf and piece of marinated mozzarella on a skewer. (buy the boccocini if you're feeling fancy or cut up a block of the fresh stuff. Buy marinated or marinate yourself). Drizzle with good olive oil and cracked black pepper on a platter. You can also add on marinated tortellini or another small stuffed pasta.

      Finally, another make ahead that's easy is a bite of frittata. Just make your favorite, or keep it really simple and make a spanish tortilla (basically egg and potato) and then cut into bite-size squares when cool. this is good served cold, room temp or warm, which makes it nice for a take-along appetizer.

      I'm a not-picky picky eater (don't like mayo or mustard, anise/fennel, or beets but am open to almost everything else). So I really hate when I can't tell what something is, or what ingredients are included. when my taster (aka husband) is along, he gives me a heads up on anything. (he shares my distaste for beets and fennel too.)

      have fun! I'm between jobs and the husband is leaving his at EOY with hopes of starting something soon back in Austin so I have no holiday parties and am enjoying the vicarious thinking of what you might make.

  4. These two have always been big hits when I've taken them to parties. Both are super easy to make and are great served with crackers or veggies and chips for the Green Chile Jalapeno Dip. =)

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  6. Hi LagLiv, been following your blog for several years via Paragon2Pieces. I'm a bit worried about your ladder post though as
    1: your are not holding the ladder as your feet are on the rungs. You should really have your feet to either side of the ladder, legs locked against the ladder and your hands on the ladder slightly below should height. It would also be a good idea to have large block against the ladder to stop it slipping

    1. Hi there! Yeah, I am definitely not holding the ladder properly, mostly because the ladder itself weighs about 60 lbs., James weighs 210 lbs., and was extended to 24 ft. over my head. If the ladder decided to fall over, there is nothing I could do about it, so I was there for show and to tell James his lights look pretty. It would probably be better if I had my hands on the sides, but truly, I can't budge the ladder even if if's all folded up, so after 45 mins. or so, I got tired of pretending I could stop it from moving if it chose to do so. Luckily it has a wide base and is super sturdy, not that I don't think he should be in a harness system next year...