Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sixty-three words for Mom'

Mom & Dad when they were dating.
They were high school sweethearts.
I didn't become The Luckiest Girl in the World by accident. My mom, SandiPaints , is a huge part of the reason I am that girl today. If I had access to every word in the English lexicon, they would fall desperately short of encapsulating the amazing woman that is my mother. She is the kindest, most thoughtful, genuine, loving, reliable, creative, positive, strongest person I know.

Mom and me
when we were very young.

That having been said, I'm going to give myself a limit of sixty-three words (for no particular reason whatsoever...nudge, nudge...wink, wink...) and give it a shot. It won't be enough, but a girl's gotta try, right?

Happy Birthday, Mom!  I love you.

Here's to you, Mom! Cheers!
You rock at your job!
Brilliant artist.
Strongest woman.
Defends family like a mother lion against all attackers.
I've seen it. I will never forget it! Ever.
Spent her twentieth anniversary in the hospital with me.
Wouldn't have been anywhere else.
Flew cross country with a cracked tailbone to be with Baby Sis as she birthed Baby Boy.
Wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Baby Sis, Baby Boy, and Grandma Sandi 
Check out these other birthday greetings: 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Baby Boy Is One Today

One bright Spring afternoon not so very long ago, Baby Sister called to say she thought she might have a bun in the oven, but she wasn't sure. She was nervous, and anxious to find out, but didn't want to know definitely just yet. Excited and terrified, she thought the best time to take the test would be on Mother's Day.  She thought it would make a great Mother's Day gift for our mom and Hubs' mom, too, if she was, indeed, in the family way.  I told her I thought she was certifiable.

On Mother's Day morning, I pulled into the driveway of Ragg Mountain Retreat and, as I got out of the car, heard Mom and Dad on the phone with Baby Sis saying, "Oh, Jenn, this is wonderful! You are going to do fine..." I got out of the car and knew immediately.  I yelled, "Jenn is pregnant?" I still can't believe it. Dad thought I knew already. He thought we had talked at the bottom of the mountain and timed her call. I wish we had. I would have totally taken credit for it, but it was all her. She just happened to call at the right time with the right news. And all of our lives were changed forever. For the better.

Months passed.  The Christmas holidays came. Our plan was to put Mom on a plane to Seattle and to have her out there in time to spend her own birthday , December 30th, with Baby Sis and be there whenever Baby Boy decided to grace us with his presence.

Then the call came. Early. On Christmas Day Night.  Her water had broken. She was headed to the hospital. I gave her my "Talking You Down Off the Hospital Ledge" speech, and then we set about (with the help of our dear friend, Tiger) getting Mom on an earlier flight. Success! Tiger is really good.

Mom boarded a plane in the morning and was in Seattle by the evening of the 26th. Who knew labor could take so damn long?

"Not I," says the childless one.

We waited...
   And waited...
     And waited...

Finally, on the morning of December 27th Mom called. Crying. "He's here. He's beautiful. She did so well. He's so beautiful..." More crying.

Calls to everyone. Text messages.  Facebook posts. More crying. Then the photos. More photos. More crying. So much happy crying. (Crying as I write this and remember.)

How could all of that have happened a year ago? How could Baby Boy be One today? How could he have spent three hundred sixty-five whole days actually out here in the world with us? How could Baby Sis, my Baby Sis have been a real-live mom, and an amazing one at that, for three hundred sixty-five whole days? Where did the time go?

I was just in Seattle for his three-month birthday and he was Burrito Boy, all snuggly, sleeping in my arms for hours at a time.

They were just in Tampa where he had his first swim, sat up, started crawling, and experienced his (and my) first "motorboat" to the delight of his captive audience.

Now he says, "Hi!" He feeds himself. He walks! He walks?!?!!

Baby Boy is one year old today, and Auntie Q feels like she is the one who has been given the gift. The gift of this precious, sweet, amazing little boy to love.

Thank you, Baby Sis, for making The Luckiest Girl in the World feel even more lucky than she already did. I didn't know it was possible, until you made it happen. I love you more than you will ever know.

Happy Birthday, Baby Boy! Auntie Q loves you beyond words.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tradition. Tradition...Tradition!

Fire crackling.
Cocktails tinkling.
Light twinkling.
Singing along with Mr. Hanky and the cast of South Park to the most irreverent holiday songs imaginable.
Laughing until we cry.
Christmas Eve at our house.

Ketchup With Us #8

Michele and Mel are all about tradition this time, and they wanted to hear about ours, in fifty-seven words, of course.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A baker, I am not...

Wanted to make a perfect pie.
Bought a frozen crust, not overestimating my skills.
Remove pie shell from container. 
Place on baking sheet. 
Remove from "container"? 
Perfect pizza crust.

This was my response to the folks over at Trifecta who posed this challenge.
This weekend we're asking you to write 33 words that will make us laugh or smile. Even a chuckle will do. We look forward to the communal spirit lifting. Good luck!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Betty Foolishness - El Guapo's Birthday Edition

Guess who's having a birthday today?  That's right kids our glorious El Guapo celebrates the anniversary of his entry into the earth today and this Betty is ready to celebrate with him!  It being the sixth day of the twelfth month, I have decided to honor El Guapo with seventy-two words (not including these) in celebration of his Guapy goodness! (Did you notice I did math there?  Be impressed.  Seriously.  I did multiplication for Guap's birthday.  That never happens.  I am as math-challenged as they get.  This is a big deal!  But I digress...)

Mi Amigo, El Guapo
The Tweeting Trifectan tantalizing, taunting, teasing with tidbits from his kitchen each weekend during the #SundayNightCookoff.
The audio afficionado, adapting, amplifying, availing himself of every opportunity to broaden his musical horizons and share what he has learned.
The enthusiastic energizer, encouraging, inspiring, entreating others to follow their dreams and keep going when they are ready to quit.
My adventure-seeking, mischief-making, beer-drinking, skillet-wielding, word-smithing, hooper-loving friend, Guap.

What should Guap and Betty's new cooking show be called? free polls 

That brings us to the end of this edition of Betty Foolishness.  I leave you with two of The Greats in the hope that one day, in their spirit, I might share the kitchen with The Great El Guapo, himself.  Until then, long live the #SundayNightCookoff!

Happy Birthday, Guap!  Hope you and The Most Wonderful Girl in the World have a wonderful weekend!  Thanks for making our world a better place just by being in it!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ketchup With Us #7 Drunken Cranberry Sauce




If you have seen Dad's Ketchup With Us Link, then you know about the peas that he and I  love at the holidays.  But he also reminded me of our new favorite holiday recipe: Drunken Cranberry Sauce.  The idea for this recipe is the one good thing that came out of Marriage Number Two.  There should always be something, right?  This recipe just keeps getting better every time we make it.  It is very free-form, so add or subtract anything you wish.  I change it every time.  

Drunken Cranberry Sauce - kids should eat something else
(Make two days before serving so the flavors have time to mingle)

Two bags of fresh cranberries
Two to three cups of sugar
Half the amount of water that you use of sugar *This is important because you are going to add a lot of liquid with the booze later and you don't want it to be runny.  Add more sugar, if you need to in order to thicken it while it is still on the stove.*
One or two large cans of mandarin oranges - pour off the juice (you can use fresh, if you can find them)
Apricots or peaches diced - fresh or canned without juice (if you are so inclined)

Grand Marnier or Orange Liqueur (at least one mini-bottle)

Chambord or Raspberry Liqueur (around the same amount as the Grand Marnier)
Peach Schnapps or Peach Vodka (splash to taste)
Mandarin Vodka (splash to taste)
Add whichever other flavors strike your fancy! 

Rinse the cranberries.
Mix the sugar and water in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat.  
When the sugar is dissolved, add both bags of cranberries and stir them around into the syrup.  Keep stirring and heating them into the syrup until they pop and incorporate themselves fully into the syrup.  It takes a little while. **Every year I think I will speed the process by covering the pan.  Every year I forget, and the pan boils over spilling burnt sugar onto my stove!  Much like the peas recipe this prompts the steps of : Curse and Drink... Leave your pan uncovered, even though it takes longer.  Trust me.  Or have a string of curse words and a cocktail handy.  You've been warned.**

Once all of the cranberries have busted open and you have smashed them up into the sugar syrup, move them into a storage container and add your booze to the warm cranberry syrup.  Taste it.  If it needs more booze, add it.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Taste the next day.  Need more of one flavor?  Add it.  Put it back in the fridge.  Taste it later.  Need something else?  Add it.  You get the idea.


Ketchup With Us