The things we do for love

My mom usually makes the kids Halloween costumes, but with her being on the mend, I took her off that duty to focus on her resting and recouping.  (i.e… Mom is getting better.  She’s allowed to drive again, so she has broken free of the house.  Additional good news, all the tests came back clear.   Mom’s cancer is all gone!)

Mom’s incredible with costumes.  A real genius.  You throw an idea at her and she can make it.  Sleeping Beauty, easy.  Dorothy, done.  Buzz Lightyear, yup.  Luke Skywalker, no problem!  So with mom on the injured reserves, it’s off to the store we go to hunt for costumes.

My son knew what he wanted before we even went.  Scream.  Really boy?  1996 called, they want their costume idea back.  No amount of cajoling or pleading would get him to change his mind.  So scream it was.

My daughter, on the other hand, couldn’t make up her 12-year-old mind.  First, was the whole debate whether to trick or treat or not.  I’m a huge supporter of going.  You’re only a kid once.  Enjoy the kid things while you can.  I trick or treated all through high school.  Of course, I’m 5’3 and 3/4″ inches (yes the 3/4″ matters), so I could get away with it.  Finally, by last Saturday, she was on the trick or treat bandwagon and we were off to the store.

Just as we were entering the costume shop, a mini wind tunnel was created and the store door slammed shut… on my pinky finger.

AAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!  That #*(%&$@ hurt!!  When I say it hurt, it hurt.  Did I mention it hurt?

I looked down, saw blood, felt the throbbing heartbeat of my finger and did what any decent mom would do, I threw on a band-aid, took a deep breath, and turned towards the racks to find this girl a costume.

I was instantly reminded of why I love that my mom usually makes costumes.  Did you know that every costume made for females is a sexy _____.  Why do you think that my 12-year-old needs to be a sexy Alice in Wonderland???

Luckily, my girl has a good head on her shoulders and was able to come sensible choice.

The 80s ruled the first time and again tonight!  How did my little babies get to be soooo big?

Oh, in case you were wondering….My fingers looked like this the following day.


And this later on.

I did have it checked out, no break.  Bad bruise.  Lots of pain.  The things I’ll do for that sweet baby girl.


Rolling out the memories

Every year, every season, every holiday, our family would make cut out sugar cookies.  My mom has her own, and in my humble opinion, the absolute best recipe.  So many childhood memories are wrapped around making the dough, cutting the cookies, and creating a decorated mess of goodness.  During this process, became very adept at sneaking pieces of cookie dough.  (Mom always insisted that eating raw dough would give me worms.  I think she thought that would make me stop.  I was never fazed.)

About the time my brother and I moved out, my mom presented us with one of the best Christmas presents every…a link to the past and an invitation to future memory making.

To ensure that the family tradition would get passed along, for years my mom secretly bought cookie cutters and squirreled them away so my brother and I would have our own sets ready for our future families…AND guarantee we wouldn’t swipe any of hers on the way out the door!

I have gladly passed on the tradition to my own.  I smile widely every time I open the box to pull out the cookie cutters for that holiday or event.  In the kitchen, I pull out Peggy’s Cut-Out Sugar Cookie recipe…the flour flies and the memories flood my brain.

Yummy dough…can’t wait to swipe a piece behind her back.  Yes, I have told her cookie dough is HORRIBLE for her.  I can’t have her eating all my goods!


Roll baby roll, but don’t over roll…I don’t like them too thin!

Remember to flour those cutters, so the cookies don’t stick!

Cut the cookies as close to eat other as possible to get as many cookies as you can per roll!

Don’t place to cookies too close…you don’t want the cookies into each other.  Be careful with the sprinkles!

Rise baby, rise!

Time to clean up… guess that little bit of left over dough not big enough for a cookie will just need to go into my tummy… It wouldn’t be right to throw it away!

Time to dig in and enjoy!  They think they are just making yummy cookies….I know what we are really making!





I’m guessing that’s not good anymore….

I love Spinach Artichoke dip.  I usually like to try to make things fresh, but this is one thing that I haven’t attempted to make from scratch yet.  The artichoke scares me, so I buy the pre made stuff.  Sometimes from the deli, which looks more freshly homemade, and sometimes  I buy this one.

I know, I know.  It is chalked full of preservatives and things I can’t pronounce, but it tastes so darn good!

Last Saturday, the 20th, I went to a Halloween bash/birthday party.  I was looking good!

(That’s me in blonde afro and shades.  The clothes came from mom’s closet.  Thanks Mom! )

Anyway.  I took a bowl of chips and my quick, go to spinach dip.  In an attempt to make it look less store bought, I transferred it to my own dish and jetted off to party.

The next day, I opened the fridge to have a little pre NFL, gearing up for the games, snack, but I couldn’t find the dip.  I know the whole jar didn’t  fit into the party platter, so where was the dip???  Oh well, guacamole will have to do.  (Yes, the guacamole is homemade and the absolute best in the whole world.  I made the recipe myself and it’s to die for.)

Fast forward to this Saturday.  I was putting away a few dishes and, as I opened the cabinet, I saw this.

So that’s where it went.


Dead Meat

Thanks to the joys of the iCloud, when we purchase or download something, it shows up on all of our devices then I have to delete it from things I didn’t want it on.  It’s great if I buy a song on my phone and it automatically shows up on my iPad, but in a family of four, you end up with tons of random stuff.

I try to keep my apps in stacks, so as not to clutter things up.  Yes I have OCD, deal.   So when I turn on my device and there’s been a new purchase, it sticks out.   Say like this…

(Yes the Words with Friends and Draw Something apps are mine.  Yes I have a lot of anger friends who want me to take my turn.  I played last night.  You’re welcome.)

Now my daughter started Spanish this year, and I like the Learn Spanish app.  It has been fun to play with.  I don’t know if it’s really helping her grade.  I like hearing the man pronounce the words with his Spanish accent.

Jet Pack Joyride was my son’s add and has become my husband’s newest obsession.  Some men read on the potty.  Mine plays jet pack joyride.  I have to admit.  After trying it, I did not delete it and have put it in my games stack.

But did you see the little one at the bottom.  One Direction, or 1D if you’re hip to them.  I’m not.  My daughter is obsessed.  So when I saw this app, I wasn’t really shocked that she had wanted it, I just didn’t know where it had come from since I hadn’t logged in our secret password for her to get it.  No biggie, I just assumed Peter had.  Then I opened an iTunes email and found this.

(Chambers, if you’re reading this.  Peter bought the Nickelback.  He still likes them.)

$4.99!  Now, I know, $4.99 isn’t a big deal, but I only let the kids get free apps.  If they really want a $ app, they have to cough up the few dollars for it.  I’m sure the kids think I’m mean.  That’s ok, they’ll be responsible adults one day.

Before approaching the girl, I went to hubby.

“Did you buy a $5 One Direction app for Paige?”

“Um, no.  Why?”

“Well someone purchased a One Direction Photo Booth app and it was $5.”

“Wasn’t me.”

Now I”m mad.  I approached my sweet and soon to be not-so-innocent daughter.

“Did you get this One Direction app?’

“Yes.  It was free.”

“No it wasn’t.”

“Well it was free at first….”

(One of those free on the surface apps, then you have to pay after you’ve used it to keep access to it.)

“Did I put in the password for you?”


“So how did you get it the app without the iTunes password?”

“I watched dad put in the password before, so I figured it out.”

Picture me with my jaw on the floor.

Who are these people?

So I’m strolling leisurely through the grocery store the other day.  Scratch that, I barreling through the aisles, throwing things into my cart, attempting to beat a land speed record because I LOATHE being at the grocery store.  It is a horrible place.  You move the same item at least six times just to get it home.  It’s a waste of time and so flipping expensive.  I wish I could do an I Dream of Jeannie head bob and have my shelves restocked, but, alas, no one has created that technology yet…

Anyway, I’m cruising down the aisle, navigating around the sale items and Halloween displays when I am stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of this.


Now I understand being an animal lover.  I love my puppy and my old-decrepid cats.  I consider them family members.  But subjecting your pet to this seems like cruel and unusual punishment.


He’s definitely not my father.  Heck, he’s probably not anyone’s father.  He’s most likely neutered.

I get the cut necker-chiefs and even the fancy beds, but this just seems over the top!

Plus, without opposable thumbs, Fido, I mean Yoda, could never hold his light saber.

I mean, really, who are these ridiculous people who would waste their hard earned money on silly get-ups for their pet?!?!?


Um…. Wait.  Nevermind.  Disregard.


Let the games begin!

I love Christmas.  I love the music, the movies, the cookie baking.  I also love the deal hunting. 

I know, Christmas shopping is a drag to some people, but I see it as an ultimate fighting competition where you are engaged in battle to find the best deal.  I want to find a present that the recipient will actually like, at a steal of a price, but I also want to find it early, so I’m not out fighting the man crowds the week before the holiday.  Nope, my goal is always to be done shopping by the first week of December, that way I can spend time wrapping at my leisure, make cookies and praying for more snow.  (Yes I said praying for snow.  I love snow on the holidays.  I love snow days.  I work in a school with behavior disordered kids.  A day I get paid to stay in my jammies and not got to work?  I LIVE for snow day.)  In contrast, my husband begins his Christmas shopping on December 23, goes to one store, maybe two, and I get interesting presents. 

From September on, I save store gift cards, coupons, and have my eyes peeled for the deals.  

I scored my first present a few weeks ago for $2.  Yep, $2!  I had a $20 gift certificate to a local sporting goods store.  I popped in one day to see if could find an item my son was looking for.  That’s when I saw it.  A $35 item on sale for $22.  The perfect item for a certain someone on my Christmas list who shall remain nameless.  I snatched it out and hit the checkout.  Cross that name off and record my victory.  One person down and only $2 spent. 

Then I wait.  Patience is the key to the deal.  Once I get the Christmas shopping bug, I have to control myself from running full steam ahead in an attempt to annihilate the list.  That is how over spending and bad gift choices are made.  Wait Kerry, wait.  Let the deals come to you….

Today, I hit the motherload of deals. 

We have credit cards, who doesn’t these days.  We use them of online purchases, etc, but we always pay off the card.  (I have a problem with carrying debt.  It’s my issue.  I deal with it.)  Well for 15 years, we have been using the card and acquiring points in their rewards program….a lot of points.  I’ve only spent them one other time.  I wasn’t impressed with the items in the rewards store, so I haven’t been back browse since.  Well I logged on today, and was shocked by the incredible items that were all available for free at my fingertips. 

After a moment to contemplate shopping for myself, the visions of perfectly wrapped, no-expense out of my pocket presents flashed in my mind and the hunt was on.  Within minutes, I hit the motherload, the things a few certain someones were already hinting about wanted…in stock…available….and for me…free! 

Click, confirm, send. 

Running total:

Number of Christmas presents purchased to date:  3

Number of dollars spent out-of-pocket:   $2

Score another victory for team Kerry! 

Bring on the Christmas carols, ginger snaps and the snow days!

Who wears the pants

No one could ever accuse me of not caring about fashion.  I keep myself abreast of the latest trends, picking up a few new things each season to try to stay on trend, always mindful to keep my  fashion statements age appropriate.  Nothing is fashionably sadder than a middle-aged, or *cough, cough* nearly middle-aged woman dressing from the teenager’s section.

A fashion faux-pas can easily be avoided by following a few simple rules…  If you are over 12, leggings are not pants.  If you are over 25, your ass should not be bedazzled.  If you are any age, DO NOT PUT WORDS ON YOUR CABOOSE.  Of course, there are the other standard rules about prints on prints and colors that clash, but these are really the most important.

A current fashion trend that I cannot wrap my head around is the colored jean phase.  I don’t care how many magazine covers or supermodels put them on display, I’m not adding this fad to my closet.  My daughter, on the other hand, seems to want to jump in with both feet.  Being the open-minded mother that I am, knowing there are worse things she could like, and remembering that my own mother suffered through my neon stage in the 80s, I opened my wallet and gave her thumbs up.  Plus Old Navy put them on sale online, so I couldn’t really use the “too expensive for something you’ll only like for a season” line.

My trendsetting daughter went on and on about how she was DYING for a pair of bright yellow jeans.  She also liked red, but yellow was her first choice.  So I did what any sensible person would do, I figured I shoot for bonus points and ordered her both.

The day the package came, I was so excited to surprise her.  I ripped open the bag and pulled out a pair of red jeans and a pair of purple jeans???  Purple?!?!  I checked the invoice.  Tobiko (Red) and Sunkissed (Yellow).  (Who names these?  And what would have been so wrong with Red and Yellow?)  I double checked online to make sure I ordered the right color, then called Old Navy to get to the bottom of this.  The very nice man apologized profusely, reordered the correct jeans and shipped them out while I was on the phone.  “You’ll get them in a few days.  Ship back the wrong ones.  Sorry, sorry, sorry!”

Today was Jean-Day #2.  Today the yellow pants were to arrive.  I waved the package in front of Paige.  “There here!”  I opened the package and pulled out….another pair of purple jeans.  WHAT!!!

Back on the phone with Old Navy.  This time, the lovely lady on the other end apologized repeatedly and issued a factory alert (hey, it sounds official) to get to the bottom of this.  I could have saved her the paperwork.  I figured out the problem.  The pants tag has the bar code for purple…the plastic bag they are sealed in has the bar code for yellow.  Mystery solved.  Your factory packaging department messed up.

So I did what I should have done in the first place, I called the Old Navy store a few miles from my house and asked if they had yellow pants, opps…sunkissed pants, in her size.  As luck would have it, they had one pair returned to the store from an online order that was wrong.  I bet I know what color they were trying to order…..

One quick run to the mall later, and I know exactly who wears the bright yellow, sunkissed pants in this family.


I got nothing

You know those times when you talking with someone and they make a statement that just dumbfounds you, so much so, you’ve got nothing left to say in reply?  Yup, that was my day….

As a reminder, I work with behaviorally disordered kids.  Craziness, stress, and chaos are like air, lights, and water at my work.

These are two of my conversations from today.

Student 1 – “I’m going to drop kick you from here to New York!”  (Yes, I was threatened with physical harm today at work.  Repeatedly.  It’s normal.  It happens all the time.)

Me – “What direction is New York from here?” (We are in Nebraska)

Notice my sly distraction to get off the topic of assaulting me?  I’m tricky like that!

Student 1 – “East.”

Me – “Correct!”

Student 2 – “Oh yeah!  What direction is Florida from here?”

Me – “I know.  Do you?”

Student 2 – “Yes.  North!”

Me – (Shaking my head)

Then, within minutes…

Student 1 – “Can I go to the bathroom?”

Me – “You just went 15 minutes ago!?!”

Student 1 – “Yeah, but I only went Number 1”

Me – “Great…”  (A few minutes later)  “Ready to go Number 2

Student 1 – “I don’t have to go Number 2!”

Me – “But you said you already went Number 1, so there’s only Number 2 left.”

Student 1 – “Umm, NO!  There are numbers 3, 4, and 5!”

Me – “What are Numbers 3, 4, and 5?  Nevermind…I don’t want to know.”

You think I would have figured out by now to stop asking them questions….

The Conditioner Fairy

As your children get older, they become more self-sufficient.  They start doing things for themselves without being reminded or told to do so.  You have these silent little celebrations when they finish the food on their plates, stand up, and take them to the sink.

‘Hey!  I didn’t have to say anything and the dirty plate ended up in the sink.  And the coat got hung up on the coat hook!  Wow!’

And just when you have taken two steps forward, you take one a giant leap backwards.

My beautiful daughter comes out of the bathroom, having taken her bath early, beating the rush to the tub and ensuring she gets a full load of hot water, and says, “We’re out of conditioner!”

Me – “Um no Paige.  We are not out of conditioner.”

Paige – “Yes we are!  There is none in our bathroom!”

Side Note:  The benefits of having two full bathrooms in your house are 1.  You can have one bathroom you and the hubby use and one the kids mess up, arguing in, and battle over.  2.  You can buy the expensive shampoo and conditioner for use in your bathroom and stock pile the crappy sale shampoo and conditioner in the kids bathroom.   Let’s face it.  They’re just going to squeeze half of it down the drain and then refill the bottle with water.  They don’t get the good stuff.  3.  You don’t have to walk into a toilet bowl surprise.  Scratch that.  I have a husband.  Rule three is only guaranteed if you are single.

Me – “No we are not out of conditioner!  There’s extra conditioner in the hall closet.”

Paige – “Oh….”

Me – “When you use it up, you have to get a new bottle.  There is no Conditioner Fairy who will restock it for you!”

And another childhood illusion is burst in the Soby household.

Don’t make me laugh

So we all went over to Mom and Dad‘s this weekend to help out and see how they were getting by.  Mom went home on Friday afternoon and, although Dad can design you one heck of a building, but he’s new to being a nurse maid, chef, and housekeeper.

When I arrived, my dad and brother had pulled out the old dishwasher to install a new dishwasher, making an in prompt to water fountain under the kitchen sink in the process.  While they were knee-deep in their water works, I set about cleaning my parents bathroom and getting some laundry started.

I was talking to my mom while I cleaned her bathroom when I came upon this.

No big deal.  I’ll just take it downstair and put in the dishwasher……if there is a dishwasher to put it in yet.

I walked out of the bathroom holding up the cup.

Me – “Um, mom…What’s up with this?”

Mom – “Oh, that just needs a little vinegar in it, but it’s ok.”

Me – “What?!?!”

Mom – “We have hard water.  That’s my cup.”

Me – “You DRINK out of this?!?!”

Mom – “Yes.”

She barely gets the reply out before I burst out laughing, which makes Mom start laughing and clutching her stomach.

Me – “I thought this was like a toothbrush holder!”

Mom – “No.  I use that to have a drink of water in the morning.  Don’t make me laugh!  It hurts too much!”

Ok Mom, I won’t make you laugh, if you stop trying to give yourself botulism by drinking out of this nasty cup!