December 2014 Fly on the Wall: The Extra Bearded Edition

Fly on the WallWelcome to the December edition of the Fly on the Wall.  If you haven’t been here before, here’s a simple explanation:  These are snippets of life from my house.  I am simultaneously posting these snippets along with other participating bloggers.  Please, please, pretty please stop by the links of the other participants at the bottom of the post or you may find reindeer poop in your stocking!!!!!

We last left our superheroes starting to get ready for Thanksgiving dinner… We hosted Thanksgiving again this year.  We had Evil Genius’s now traditional turkey in a bucket and the not so traditional turkey made of cheese, sausage, and crackers…

10620237_10203670796387356_8976289056525414897_oWords uttered the week of Thanksgiving:  “It’s Tuesday. Do you know where your turkey bucket is?”


My parents came up for Thanksgiving. Can you tell who the dog was most taken with?

Conversations held on Thanksgiving in our house:

Me to the Professor: “Are your pants on inside out?”
The Professor: “Oh.” Looks down at his pants, inspects them for a bit. “I guess they are” (Goes right back to watching tv).
Evil Genius: “Go fix them please!”

Tell me, what is wrong with this picture?

Tell me, what is wrong with this picture?

Now we are busy prepping for Christmas here at the house of nuts Almond.

There was Christmas shopping.  He bought himself an early present.  He's so good to him.

There was Christmas shopping. He bought himself an early present. He’s so good to him.

Here are the roles currently assumed by the people who occupy this place:

The Princess:  Craft Nazi
The Professor:  Christmas Expert
Evil Genius:  Evil Baker and Evil Chef
Me:  Space Occupier

The craft Nazi busy at work.  She wants to do crafts every second of every day!

The craft Nazi busy at work. She wants to do crafts every second of every day!

Me to The Princess: What are you going to make for Christmas gifts this year?
Princess: I don’t know.
Me (thinking I’m very smart and clever): Should we look on the internet for some ideas?
Princess: SURE!

I pull out my laptop and stupidly google “homemade gifts kids can make”. At search result #1, she gasps. At result #2 she squees… At result #154 she’s still ooing and ahhing.

An hour later, it’s quite apparent that she wants to make ALL the presents.
“All” as in every.single.craft on the internet. Be ready, people, be ready for all the crafts!

Evil Genius gets back from the ISU game to see me frantically trying to paint The Princess’s nails because it was bedtime and we had almost run out of time to do it.

Evil Genius: “I thought Moms enjoyed doing that with their daughters?”
Me: *Angry glare as I manage to paint my thumb holiday red*

Christmas nails.

Christmas nails.

Princess: Daddy what’s in these enchiladas?
Evil Genius: Chicken, sour cream, cheese, cumin-
Princess: Ew, HUMAN????
Evil Genius: No, CUMIN!

Rest assured that all of the cooking the Evil Genius does is 100% human free!

One thing that has recently come out of the Evil Genius's kitchen: Chocolate Peanut Butter trees!  (Yes they washed their hands but apparently not their faces!)

One thing that has recently come out of the Evil Genius’s kitchen: Chocolate Peanut Butter trees! (Yes they washed their hands but apparently not their faces!)

Speaking of holidays, today marks a special day.  After a few months of growth, my husband will finally be allowed to shave his beard.  They were not allowed to even trim them lest pay the fine of $100!  The picture below is almost three weeks old, so his beard is much scragglier even now.  There will be a lot of happy wives this weekend.  I hope to get a before and after picture that I can share!

He looks annoyed, but he loves it when she cuddles with him, because at least she's warm!

He looks annoyed, but he loves it when she cuddles with him, because at least she’s warm!

That’s all I’ve got.  Have a Happy Holiday!  And be sure to check out the links down below this picture of Christmas cuties or they just might very well tell Santa on you!

IMG_3288This month’s Fly Participants.  Give them a round of buzzzzzzzzzzzz…                          Baking In A Tornado                                Just A Little Nutty                                          The Momisodes                          Spatulas on Parade                          Follow me home                 Stacy Sews and Schools                          Menopausal Mother                            Battered Hope                                 Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                    Juicebox Confession                                     Risa Nye               The Bergham’s Life Chronicles                          Cluttered Genius


I’m Thankful for Turkey From A Bucket, Not Mansicles

It was two days of family togetherness that started with ice and ended with mansicles.

I’ve mentioned the amazing turkey recipe by Alton Brown that my husband was dying to try out on other people.  His cooking skills really go unappreciated much of the time.  And this was an awesome turkey.  The one off putting thing about this recipe may be the preparation.  The first step after removing the giblets is to put it in a bucket with ice and a lovely brine. Yes a bucket of turkey is NOT like a bucket of chicken from KFC.  I made the mistake of sharing this secret with the rest of the world.  I posted this picture on Facebook, encouraging people to guess what was in it:

There’s turkey in that thar bucket.

(Please ignore the grossness of my back porch.  It’s called a mudroom for a reason…)

This made my mother a little nervous.  She didn’t realize that this involved turkeys in buckets.  She wanted to know if it was safe.  Um… we’re all still alive after last year.  I’m not sure if this was really that reassuring to her.

They still came, despite fears of being poisoned.  Which was good considering they were the only ones who accepted our invitations.  We’re unpopular and stuff.  We don’t really have places to put sleeping people in our little house.  No beautiful guest rooms here.  Just a couch, a love seat, and a mouse contaminated air mattress.  However, if you really want to sleep in an actual bed or bedroom you can hang out with one of my kids who pee the bed.  Oh yeah, have we got a place for you!

Since the turkey was not put in the refrigerator early enough (um, forgotten in the freezer by the turkey chef) my husband had wrestled with it in a sink running cold water for over a half hour trying to get the giblets out.  This was quite humorous.  I really, really should have taken pictures.  Did you know that a wrench can get that stuff out?  POP!  Out came some sort of meshy thing.  As it turned out, he quite didn’t get it all.  What he thought were the giblets were something else, I guess?  I did not conduct an inspection, therefore I cannot offer an opinion.  After dinner my mother happened to notice the little bag of guts still in there.  I guess it’s a good thing it was in paper.  House fire avoided-you can’t make this stuff up!

Thanksgiving. Check out that beautiful green bean casserole.

I’ll be very surprised if anyone comes to my house to eat anything after reading this.

Dinner turned out quite well, despite the turkey troubles.  The turkey was delicious, as was the taters.  My loving husband forgot to make the gravy.  Therefore we decided on that yummy prepackaged chicken gravy.  That was ok with me, I hate turkey gravy.  The green bean casserole was AWESOME.  My one contribution to the meal was green bean casserole.  YEAH.  It’s famous.  I cannot divulge my secret.  If it weren’t for my taco soup and my green bean casserole, I’d have no awesome recipes.

My parents stayed over because Evil Genius had tickets to the game the next afternoon.  My husband was very excited about this because he could actually go to the game with someone who didn’t ask things like “What’s the pink upside down exclamation mark over there?” (that was me that asked that by the way).  My Dad appreciates football almost as much as Evil Genius.  I was excited about this because I could hang out with my Mom a little more.  Even with the kids along this can be fun.

When my parents arrived the weather was in the mid 60s and beautiful.  The next day it was 27 with wind chills in the teens.  My Dad wore his long johns, my husband wore his usual sweatshirt and kind of wintery coat.  Evil Genius thinks he has to laugh at the cold or something.  He has some sort of thing against wearing hats that actually protect his ears and head.   He scoffed at the convertible gloves/mittens that I told him to take.  I am so nice.  I changed my plans to take them over to the stadium so they didn’t have to walk the usual half hour over and back like we usually do (we don’t pay $20 for parking).  As it turns out, these two die hard football fans did not last the entire game.  I had to go back and get them early, like at half-time.  Weenies.  I dropped off two guys but picked up two Mansicles.  You know like icicles but human.  They were a tad bit cold.  Evil Genius had the heater in the car going full blast.  I was sweating so much that I had to take a shower after we got home.  I still don’t think he thawed completely for quite a while after we got home.

From a previous game where the temperature was pleasant. Why does my son look so scared in this picture?  My daughter does not always have a moustache.

I think they had fun, but Evil Genius was bummed that the weather didn’t cooperate so he and my dad could fully appreciate the game.  Like he controls the weather!  That’s my job-my children have actually accused me of making the weather work against them.  Next year they can go together and experience what a game is when it isn’t so darn cold.  No more mansicles, please.

Our Black Friday: Replace Defective or Missing Christmas Decorations Friday

Maybe it’s because I’m already a pretty good bargain shopper, but I’ve never really had any desire to do the Black Friday thing.   I’ve gone once in my life with my in-laws, and I wasn’t really enamored with the whole experience.  You that like that sort of thing can have it!

Each year I go out later in the day after the initial madness has died down, but not for bargains.  We try to get our tree up that day, and I’m usually going out for that one Christmas thing that we can’t live without to finish putting up the tree.  Our tree stand broke last year-we can’t exactly put the tree up without it.  We tried it-we tied the tree to the ceiling with some fishing line.  After it fell over twice, we figured it would be best to just invest in a good tree stand.  It’s always something essential.  We couldn’t find the star for our tree one year.  We looked everywhere.  It wasn’t until after we had packed the tree up and put it away that we found the old one.  Another year we couldn’t get the star to work, or the string of lights wasn’t long enough, or they just plain didn’t work. I believe it was two years ago that I couldn’t find the ornament hooks.  Important stuff.

This year we’re going out later in the morning, but not for shopping.  We’re going to get the kids hair cut.  It’s a bit of a hair emergency-it’s been a while!

There’s just nothing that I really want badly enough for my kids or myself to stand in line for hours to buy.  We’ve never been ones to have to get this year’s “it” toy or item.  I tend to wait until it gets close to Christmas and get stuff when it goes on a good sale, or on clearance.  We buy a lot of things that were never opened or second hand and in good condition at consignment and thrift stores for a fraction of the price they go for in stores.  No stress, no getting trampled, no getting up early.

I have some friends who do it every year.  They make it fun-they go out and get coffee and go out for breakfast beforehand.  I have a cousin who is a whiz at getting some of the coveted items and does it every year.  Maybe if I had a fun group of gals to go out with I might consider it.  Or if I had any money to spend.

It seems like they keep starting Black Friday sales earlier and earlier.  Some stores are now opening on Thanksgiving.  Back when I was in college, I worked at Kmart and they have been open on Thanksgiving for years.  Not so much the Black Friday hype, just a store open for people to get stuff they needed.  I’d go in and make my time and a half by working a voluntary four hour shift, then go home and eat Thanksgiving dinner.  Nowadays more and more stores are opening on Thanksgiving and opening even earlier each year.  Pretty soon Black Friday will be starting the day after Halloween and going clear through until after Thanksgiving!

This year we won’t be doing much shopping at all.  I kind of wanted to go out later this weekend, but a major snafu at the bank took care of that.  We had two car payments instead of one come out of our account.  No money until the end of the month or until they resolve the issue, one or the other… Bummer.  Oh well, no matter how we’re looking at it this Christmas will be remarkably slim for the kiddos and no gift exchanging for the grown-ups.  Look honey, a shiny penny for you!  What a great gift!  😉

If we did have some money to spend, I’d be trying to help some smaller businesses.  The Saturday after Thanksgiving is Small Business Saturday.  My Dad is a small business owner, as are many of the stores we shop at on a regular basis.  I’m hoping that other people take advantage and check them out!

So for you Black Friday shoppers-have fun and help stimulate the economy.  I’ll be home in my nice warm bed fast asleep!

This COULD possibly get me motivated to go one of these years… could be fun!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Eat lots of good food and wear loose pants so you can eat extra!  😀

The Morn Before Thanksgiving: The Messy House

The Morn Before Thanksgiving:  The Messy House

Twas the morn before Thanksgiving  and it’s I in my house

Still awake after the departure of my sweet loving spouse

The daughter and dog are both wiggling in my bed

Thus preventing my sleep tho’ I’d taken my meds

My daughter in her bed she had recently peed

She thinks no more sleep today she shall need

I gave up on slumber and came down the stairs

With daughter in tow, wild and crazy haired

I’d stayed up too late to work on my blog

Now awakened so early I am in such a fog

And then from the walls there arose such a clatter

I jumped off the couch to see what was the matter

Then what should my wondering ears should I hear

But  the noisy fan in the furnace I fear

I spend 15 minutes down there in the dark

Then the noise disappears just as quick as it starts

As I climb up the basement stairs I see

All of the things that must be cleaned up by me

The house is a mess that has gotten so deep

How will I clean it on just three hours sleep?

The dishes are piled up deep in the sink

The kitchen itself is a disaster I think.

5,000 art projects spread on the floor

From the foot of the stairs all the way to the door

Legos and bristle blocks and marbles I see

Ready for bare feet, ones I bet belong to me

Toothpaste and soap decorate the bathroom drawers

I don’t even want to know what’s on the back of the doors

Laundry, a mountain that goes to the ceiling

This day will be long, I have a bad feeling

“Who will help with this mess?” I start to cry

I turn to my daughter, who looks up at the sky

Twenty four hours I have to get this all done

I’d better at least better go and put a bra on.

So remember this as I hit “publish” and say

I hope you all have a clean house on Thanksgiving Day!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thankfulness With A Touch Of PMS

This is Gilda, the famous toilet paper roll turkey. I put this on here because I’m thankful for my kids. And toilet paper.

I tried the whole thankful thing on Facebook for awhile.  After a few days I just stopped.  It’s not that I stopped being thankful.  Does the world really need to know that I am thankful for yogurt?  It just seemed silly.  But really I AM very thankful.  I just feel weird voicing it.

Thanksgiving is in two days, and lo and behold I’m stricken with PMS.  It will make for some AWESOME holiday eating, if nothing else.  Here I wanted to write this post, and I’ve been weepy and crotchety all day.  Then again, this could be fun.  Let’s see what comes out of my little head.

What Am I Thankful For?

My Kids-We had a moment today.  All of the money crap came to a head today, and I lost it.  Sitting in the living room in the middle of what could only be described as a laundry stonehenge, I sat bawling my eyes out.  My daughter came in, concerned, and asked what was wrong.  I told her I would be ok, I was just having a hard time not being able to help out with the money right now.  She smiled, kissed me on the head and said “I know what you can do.”  I didn’t say anything.  “You can just do Mommy things.”  And she walked away.  Wow, what a smart, sweet, awesome kid she is.

My son makes sure that he lets me know on a regular basis that despite the fact that we eat things like pasta here, that he is very lucky to have me as a parent.  We struggle a lot with his ADD and other issues, but he is a really neat kid.  And you should see him dance-it’s like nothing you’re ever quite experienced.  No coordination, no control, just crazy arms and legs going everywhere and a great big grin on his face.  I love it.

My Husband-He works and works and works and works.  Occasionally he even spends time with us, and often the gears are still going in his head while he’s with me.  That’s ok.  Someday I hope maybe I can work too.

My Parents-If it weren’t for my Mom and Dad and all the help they have given us with different things throughout the years, I’d probably be laying out on the railroad tracks somewhere in my underwear.

Our House-It’s old, like 112 years old.  It’s not pretty on the outside- it needs painted, a new roof, windows replaced.  The inside isn’t much better-appliances need fixed, we could use new furniture, new everything.  But it’s a roof over our heads, and I’m good with that.

Blog People-These are not like the Pod People.  I’m talking about the gals (and some guys too) who do this thing too.  We all get each other.  I don’t really have any friends around close, so it’s nice to have someone who is there when you need it and will help you out.  Thanks!

Bill Collectors-If it weren’t for these guys, I wouldn’t know my phone worked.  I’m hoping they are happy for people like me.  After all, we’re what keeps them in business.

Mountains of Laundry-I am thankful for all of those heaps of laundry because that means we actually HAVE clothes.  I just hate washing them.  And folding them.  And putting them away.

Those Little Things-You know, that thing that happens when things seem hopeless that keeps you going a little longer.  I had one this past week.  Just when I thought it was the bottom rung, I got a letter in the mail reminding me that we still had $100 left in our food stamps from the beginning of the year that we needed to use as soon as possible.  I called and got another card.  That could not have come at a better time.  We really needed that.  This isn’t the first time this has happened.  Two years ago, our basement flooded with sewage and the furnace was ruined.  I was working but making very little money at the time, and my husband was laid off.  Insurance does not cover sewer back up.  This was it, there was no extra money to buy anything.  But miracles do happen.  Since we had people weatherizing our house, they were able to include a brand new furnace as well as a sump pump as part of the weatherization.

Food-In particular, comfort food and wine.  You know what I’m talkin about.

And everything else-I probably forgot about 3,529 things that I should probably also mention.  It’s not that I don’t feel gratitude, it’s just that I can’t write a blog post that long.  And there’s too many holes in my brain to retain them that long.  😀

I can most of the time.

Thanksgiving: Brown Paper Bags and Toilet Paper Tubes

We always made the hand turkeys for Thanksgiving art. I like these variations!

Thanksgiving.  What does the word conjure up for you?  For me it brings forth images of pilgrims, Indians, turkeys, and brown paper bags and construction paper.


Oh come on, didn’t you do the reenactment of the First Thanksgiving when you were in school?  If you were an Indian, you had a vest made of a brown paper bag, and a headband with a feather made out of construction paper.  No one wanted to be a Pilgrim.  They were so not cool that I can’t even remember what the kids that were the Pilgrims wore.  Something with a construction paper buckle somewhere on it I’m sure? The fact that I can’t remember could have something to do with the fact that I am some percentage American Indian and can’t prove it.  Or something like that.

Oh I’m sorry, they are Native Americans.  I grew up in the 70s and 80s.  Old habits die hard.

I asked my son what they were doing at school for Thanksgiving. All he could recall was that they got to eat turkey and mashed potatoes on Friday for hot lunch.  Yet today, he turned to me and announced that “In 1620, the Pilgrims came to Plymouth Rock.”  Oh good, he IS paying some attention.  Meanwhile, my daughter is making a turkey out of a toilet paper tube and a tracing of her handprints and paint.  I’m not sure if either of them really gets what it’s really all about.  All they care is that Grandma and Grandpa are coming up to eat with us.  And that they may stay over a day.

Last year my parents got the unique opportunity to visit Disneyworld on Thanksgiving weekend. I guess it’s not SO unique.  I remember visiting Disney on Thanksgiving.  It was the best day ever.  I got to ride Space Mountain with NO WAITING.  I think I rode it ten times that day.  Visiting DisneyWorld in my family is really not that unusual.  When we lived there I did go five times in a couple of years.  My Aunt Evie is the youngest of the six kids in my Mom’s family.  Somewhere along the line, she was infected with the Disney bug.  She goes at least once a year.  They were the ones that convinced my Mom and Dad that maybe they were ready for a nontraditional Thanksgiving.  I don’t blame them.  I’d blow off a turkey dinner for a trip to Mickey Land if I had it in my budget to do so!  Hell Yeah!

Our Thanksgiving dinner at our house last year.  Why is the butter right next to me? I don’t even LIKE butter.

Anyway, back from my tangent.  Thanks to this trip, my husband found out that he had found possibly the most perfect turkey recipe ever.  For the first time ever we made our own Thanksgiving turkey.  All it took was a bucket, a bunch of spices, and an oven.  It was the most amazing turkey ever.  In fact, my husband was so excited that it turned out that well that he insisted he cook dinner for everyone.  Invitations sent.  My parents, of course, were the only yesses.

So here we are hosting Thanksgiving dinner.   On a budget (thanks for finding and sending that gift card Mom, that really helped!).  The turkey isn’t as big as he hoped.  The store was out of the cheap green beans, so at his insistence we got the ones with no salt added.  Have you ever eaten canned vegetables with no salt added?  One word:  Ew.  And the store was out of fresh sage.  The more I think about it, the apple pie may be replaced with apple crisp.

The menu:

Turkey and gravy

Stuffing of some sort

Mashed Potatoes

Green Bean Casserole (it’s famous, you know)

Cranberries (Mom will make sugar free)

Pumpkin Pie (Mom will make sugar free)

Apple something or other

He’s in charge of turkey.  I’m in charge of making something edible to go with it (that’s a bit scary).  My daughter is in charge of decorating.  She wanted to make snowmen, because she saw kits to make little tube shaped snowmen in my Oriental Trading Post catalog.  I told her that a) we can paint toilet paper tubes white and it will look the same and b)  there are no snowmen at Thanksgiving (at least there had better not be).  We settled on the toilet paper tube turkey because she was determined we were going to use those rolls (we save everything because she will turn it into art at some point).  I think it will turn out pretty cute when it’s done.  Perhaps she can make placemats or something as well.

Up until last year, we usually went to Mom and Dad’s house every year.  They are hoping that eventually we’ll establish our own traditions, and I think Mom deserves a break!  Thinking back, though, I don’t really think we have any big traditions outside of the meal itself.  As kids we used to watch Charlotte’s Web every year.  I tried to pull it out last year, and Evil Genius promptly vetoed it because it might make him sad (honey you’ve seen the movie, you KNOW how it ends.)  Here at our house, our one tradition is that we put up the tree in the days following the Thanksgiving holiday, or whenever I can convince my husband to lug all of the stuff up the stairs.

So the prep is getting in to full swing.  I feel like we should sing some Turkey Carols.  What?  You say there isn’t such a thing?  Oh yes there is!  A page I follow on Facebook shared a fun post from Red Vines and Red Wine yesterday that had exactly that.  Click the link and enjoy!

What does the word Thanksgiving make you think about?  What is on your Thanksgiving menu?   Do you have any special traditions?

Actually, some of us like the legs too.

Helloooooo November!

So October….NOT the best month for our family.  I’m thinking, hoping and praying that November will be much better.  As much as I love the month of October for many reasons, this year I am very excited about November.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m ready to be done with this election!

The best thing about November:  In one week we will no longer have to listen to political ads!

Thanksgiving:  Evil Genius is cooking.  People will actually be coming to my house.  Last year he made the world’s most awesome turkey.  Thank you, Alton Brown.  I’m making green bean casserole and some sort of dessert, because I just don’t do the cooking thing so well.

I love this! HA HA!

I’m wishing for:  A WHOLE month where no one in my family gets seriously injured, appliances don’t quit completely, cars don’t need any major repairs or replacements, our bank account doesn’t go negative, all of us stay well, and perhaps good news on the job front for me (yeah, I haven’t heard back from Lowes.)  That’s not asking too much, is it?

More likely to happen:  If I can get the Halloween decorations down before December, I will consider that progress.  If I can take a walk without being injured or bleeding, I’ll take that too.  Yesterday I bled all over my purple coat from a cut I got at some point on my hand.  That stinks.  I love my purple coat!

Thus far, I have noticed one thing-now that Halloween is over, I am unpopular.  Leading up to yesterday, I was getting over 100 hits a day.  Awww… back to reality!  Halloween costumes that are cheap and thrifty attracted a lot of attention this year.  Hmmm… I wonder what I could tag my posts with this month?

Even the turkeys are feeling the pinch right now, heh heh…