Sunday, August 31, 2008

We are Family... I Got All my Sistahs With Me.

Except one... more on that later. 
Some quick mini-sodes from the the Hotwheel Hacienda lately... Friday was the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and in a cruel twist of irony here we are again, with Gustav knocking on the Gulf's door as a category 5. Thankfully our Louisiana family is smart, and hightailed it outta there. We should know in a few days the extent of the damage, but they are hoping there's something still standing to come home TO. Hang in there, NOLA - we're all thinking of you. 

Every Labor Day weekend for us = Family Reunions.

This year we have two, the usual one on my side and a new one on Caleb's side. Hitting them both won't be too hard because concidentally, some genius of a person planned them within a 3 mile radius of each other.

What I'm Cooking: 
Recording this here because I forget EVERY year...

Miss Mary Bobo's Green Rice Casserole

My mom always makes this and it's the hit of the reunion, but because their kitchen is literally gutted due to renovations, I decided to give it a go. Mom discovered the recipe in Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House Cookbook in Lynchburg, TN - home of THE Jack Daniels Distillery.
(If you're ever in the neighborhood, the tour is wonderful and the distillery grounds are gorgeous.)

  • 3 cups cooked long-grain rice, prepared according to package directions (can use a brown/white combo)
  • 1 pint low-fat sour cream
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 6 oz can diced green chilies, DO NOT drain
  • 2 cans Rotel, drained
  • 8 oz. cubed Monterrey Jack cheese, divided
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 stick butter or butter substitute

- Mix cooked rice, soup, and sour cream together in large bowl.

- Turn half of rice mixture into greased round 2 quart casserole dish.

- Sprinkle chilies and Rotel on top. Layer half the cubed and shredded cheese.

- Top with remaining rice mixture, chilies, Rotel, and cheese.
- Dot with butter & cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

- Remove foil and bake additional 5 - 10 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbly.

The dessert I brought was my now-signature dish - a Triple Berry Lemon Trifle.
I like to make it just so I can lick the spoon from the lemon curd jar. God bless the English for inventing that stuff.

Reunion turnout seemed a bit on the low side this year - I can think of 5 families that couldn't make it. My sister was one of them since she had an in-law reunion to go to in Ft. Payne. Missed you Amanda!

I'll post some photos tomorrow as soon as I can get them off my phone.
For now, I'll leave you with one of my favorite Finn photos.. (ahhhh, I loves me some alliteration!)

King of the Mulch Pile...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pinch Hitting

So I'm over at Mcmommy's pad today for my very first guest post.

And in between that I'm working like a FIEND.
Only 7 days until my big fat event with Very Famous Person and I've acquired an eerie Zen-like attitude toward it all.

In other words, if you're visiting for the first time I'm usually here more.


1.) Peruse the Hotwheel Archives:

Like this one where we cook!

Or this one where we deal with toddler bullies!

Or this one where I lose my not-quite-two-year-old in a 16-story condo!

2. Leave me a Comment
But only if you want to... no pressure.

3. Peruse the Hotwheel Library
It's over there on the right. We're book and shoe ho's around here.

4. Twitter Me
Um... sounds nasty, no?

5. Pray to the Library Gods/Goddess that I Don't Screw Up this Very Important Event that Will Equal the Majority of What Our Libraries will be Able to Spend in Their Book Budgets.
Do you know any library goddesses?

Monday, August 25, 2008

These Crocodiles Rock

You're never going to believe it. Ya'll all know what a shoe-ho I am, and I saw something today that made me really excited.

But first, a little back story... This might get me into a lot of trouble, but I'm just going to go for it. Ready?

My close friends know this about me but I'm bringing you in on a pet peeve of mine.... I hate Crocs on grown people. I think adults look silly when they wear them, like giant toddlers with hobbit feet.

Now, before you get all pissy on me, please know - I am a complete hypocrite because I WEAR THEM. But not in public, only at home around the house or in the yard. I love how comfortable and convenient they are. But in my mind, they are right up there with Heelys - completely meant for children.

Or... they used to be.
Lookit!! The new line of YOU by Crocs:

High wedge boots!

T-strap patent leather heels!!

PEEP TOES!!!! Squeeeeeee!!!!

OHMommy brought it to my attention and is even giving away a pair over at Classy Chaos. (butdon'tevenTHINKofgoingovertherebecauseI'mgoingtowinthem!!)

They're a bit pricey (starting around $120) but if they are as comfortable as their hobbit-esque counterparts - not to mention as durable - that's a fantastic investment.

Can you say, "Helloooooo Fall?"

Friday, August 22, 2008

It Takes a Village

WANTED: One Village to lend advice on the following:

How to discipline a 3 year old when repeatedly caught lying and not make him feel he is being punished for telling the truth.

What to do when your 2 year old always LAUGHS at you when he is sent to Time Out. He still does the time, but somehow doesn't seem affected by the punishment. Also - how not to lose your cool when this happens.

When to start giving a 3 year old regular responsibilities/chores around the house.

Seriously folks. I need your input. How do you handle these issues at your house? Leave me a comment with your suggestions and hopefully one of you can share an idea I haven't tried yet.

And, books! Send me book titles to try! I seem to have lost my Manual to these things....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mememememe... Is This Thing On?

My girl Mamabeeotch tagged me for a meme and I'm stoked! Ready? Here goes...

1. What is your favorite quotable line from a movie?


"Ya got red on ya..."


"Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up. "

2. Who is the most famous person you’ve talked to?

I've worked with tons of authors...

Garrison Keillor... or, The Man Whose Face Was Made for Radio

I was a HUGE Tori fan and talked to her at a show in Atlanta. She gave me the set list that was on the piano that night.

But lately? THIS guy haunts my dreams... he's the one that's making me work so hard the past few months:

3. How many bags/boxes of potato chips are consumed at your house per month?

Not many since we started to eat better. I'd say we average one bag of multi-grain Tostidos each month.

4. What foreign food dish do you prepare from scratch and serve?

I like babba ghanoush but only make it once or twice a year. Hotwheels Hubs made a fantastic lasagna from scratch last week - he used tomatoes, peppers, & basil from our garden, handmade noodles, and the GOOD mozeralla!


5. What is your favorite section of the supermarket?

Produce. Especially fruit.

Or the part where the bakery gives the boys a cookie so I can fly through the store in the 15 minutes that buys me to get all our shopping done.

6. What was your high school team’s mascot and what were the school colors?

Ready for this??

We were the TROJANS. As in prophylactic. Our mascot was a big... condom. In red and silver wrappers. Or at least that's what a bystander would think at any away games from the fountain of condoms thrown at us by the home team.
And yes... I was a Trojanette.

Who to tag?? Let's see...

How about Simply Shannon. She just got a blog face lift too and she's looking HOT!

And then there's Tyne over at "The White House" who I've just discovered. She might be feeling a little green around the gills and could use a pick-me-up. Plus our husbands have the same name...

And definitely Carol over at Siswick Construction Zone. She invented the phrase getting your grump on and I love it. Plus her accent gets me every time.

TAG! You're it!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My Hot Date(s)

Saturday night I was escorted to dinner and a movie by not one, but TWO cute boys.


I was treated like a Queen. Really, the boys couldn't have behaved better for all the candy in the world. Finn held open doors, no one bolted away from me into the crowd, and Eli acted like he was on Prozac the whole time - all smiles and excitement.

Of course, the fan-girl that I am HAD to take her dates to the new animated Star Wars movie**... where Storm Troopers and Boba Fett were in attendance. Finn is just now getting into the whole Star Wars thing, and he has narrowed his Halloween costume down to Darth Vader, Shark Boy, or Indiana Jones. He told a Storm Trooper that he was going to be Darth Vader and that meant he (the Storm Trooper) was HIS soldier.

Storm trooper

Finn asks Mr. Fett if he could "touch his blaster".
The twelve-year-old in me had to snicker...

I really didn't plan on taking the boys to the actual movie, I just thought they'd get a kick out of the costumes... but they were being SO good and just fascinated by it all, so I thought "Why not?"

After the movie we had to walk around a bit - asking little boys to sit for that long and not have a wiggle session afterward is NOT smart. Luckily, a blues musician was playing so the boys held a boogie session to the glee of the other shoppers. Actually, Eli cut a rug while Finn ran around and around in circles. The night air was perfect and breezy, and there was no place I'd rather have been in the whole world.

On the drive home, Finn spotted the big full moon and sleepily serenaded:
The Moon goes UP, the Sun goes UP
An I say hello, hhheeeeelllloooooo.
An you are my BES' friend
An I llloooovvvveeee yooooouuuu...
(repeat, 18x)

** PS - about that movie: die hard SW fans will be disappointed. I went into this expecting it to be for kids and nothing more. Don't go if you want complex plot lines and flashy animation.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ta-Da! The Hacienda's New Look

So what do you think?



SUPER... awesome?

Lots of Hotwheel lovin to JudithShakes Designs for tolerating my indecisiveness. I still have smidgen of tweaking to do, so bear with me the next few days as I work out some kinks.

Oh, and Happy POW!

small POW

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Boy Briefs, the Wii Version

My newest addiction: Leggo Indiana Jones

Family fun for everyone! How else can I play video games and the boys watch raptly?


Thanks to Mammabeeotch, I have found vindication!!! Don't you love it when that happens?


We're eating dinner tonight and Finn launches into a particularly detailed and plot-twisting story:

Finn: dreamily playing with his food and talking to himself "Once upon a time there was a boy who climb and climb a big tall castle... the ttaaaalllest castle in the 'lan. And he met a giant and the giant was the Incredible Hulk and he was a nice Hulk, not a mean Hulk, and his Mommy said "don't be a mean boy at school, be a nice boy and NO SPITTIN.

Me: .....

Finn: "An the castle was broken and it CRASH to the groun' and the boy said 'Oh, no. What am I gonna do now?' And the boy and the giant clean up the castle and climbed down the beanstalk. And Incredible Hulk was his best friend."

Caleb: .....

Eli: "NYO!"

Story time at the Hotwheel Hacienda...

Monday, August 11, 2008

C-E-L-E-B-R-A-T-E good times, Come On!

BookMamma bops around the house, singing at the top of her lungs...

This weekend? Finn finally mastered the art I've been waiting for the past 1,319 days. It's every parent who has an older toddler's DREAM.

No more shall I hear from the bathroom, "Mmmmmaaaaammmmmaaa!
I all done!!"

It has made THIS mamma so:

Can you guess what it is?

Friday, August 8, 2008

I'm an Oxy Moron

WARNING: this post is full of self-gratified back-patting. Because this never happens, I simply had to record it for future reference.

There is no such thing as a Salaried Part-Time Job.
Anybody who has one knows it's an oxymoron, like "jumbo shrimp" or "soft rock"... or "family vacation". It's a myth, a fairytale.

The SPTJ I have is absolutely wonderful seven months out of the year: complete flexibility with the hours I am in the office, the whole month of December off, and another month in the spring. Plus I can work from home any of the days that I arrange ahead of time. Not to mention I love what I do and it's a big part of who I am. That's any parent's DREAM job!

But when May - September comes around those who know me are fully aware of my tendency to be... absent. Any spare time I have is willingly (and yes, guiltily) given to my family. Sometimes it gets rough, but I always have that light at the end of the tunnel, that glorious ghost of October 1st to pull me through the really bad patches. Those are the five months that I get a taste of what it's like to really juggle the professional BookMamma with the personal BookMamma. And dudes, there are times where it just about KILLS me.

But not today!

I'm supposed to be off on Fridays, but I have to bend that rule this time of year. The boys were both in a great mood and I was taking advantage of it! I had a full day planned with Finn & Eli - and was determined we were going to have FUN DAMMIT.

Lunch with fun aunts! Balloons! Bookstore with train track! Cookie snack! Playing in the Children's Fountain! Carousel rides!

Fun, fun, FUN!

Then the phone started ringing. And ringing. And ringing.
And I had to pick it up. It's the exchange I knowingly give to have this SPTJ.

But did the FUN! stop? Oh, no. No way.
BookMamma engages in (surprise!) conference call with Very Famous Person and city school board, whilst main-lining a dirty chai and playing the tragic role of Sir Topham Hat, left to die on the train tracks after a collision with Thomas.

For over 20 minutes - and neither party finding out they were not exclusive.

Act II consisted of playing until the boys got so tired they crashed in the car. I seized the opportunity to dash into the local public radio station and record a quick PSA for work. A friend works the reception desk and she kept an eye on the cool car full of sleeping beasties from her desk by the glass door. It took all of six minutes and the boys never even woke up.

This is one of the few days that it ALL worked seamlessly. If my life had a soundtrack, "Eye of the Tiger" would be blaring.

So... how long do you think I can keep this up?
Um, wait... don't answer that. I choose ignorance and bliss.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Dear Jessica Seinfield...

Have I told you lately that I love you?? (As Rod Stewart swells in the background...)
After Artist Unplugged told me about seeing you on Oprah, I had to pick up a copy of your cookbook. You had me at "Brownies (with Spinach and Carrot)".

Photo by Not Quite Nigella

Granted, I had to tweak your recipe a little bit and add some chocolate chunks, but that was all. Oh, and then I omitted some of the carrot. And maybe reduced the AMOUNT of spinach required because a whole half cup just seemed a little too... spinach-y. And then I spread a teensy bit of frosting on top.

Next I tried the "Spaghetti with Balognase Sauce (with Sweet Potato and Carrot)" and that was GREAT. I stuck with the recipe directions exactly on that one. Except I used ground turkey for the meat and canned tomatoes instead of crushed and a little red wine (okay a lot) and some sun dried tomatoes and some peppers from the garden and fresh basil. But that's all.

Your "Italian Meatloaf (with Carrot)" was a hit with the boys. Especially because I just added carrot puree to my mom's recipe and it worked. They never even knew there were hidden vegetables in it. I'm sure that's NOT because there were a total of maybe four baby carrots.

I'm looking forward to trying out the other recipes soon, and I have YOU to thank for Hotwheel Hacienda going healthy! I'm sure this is exactly what you had in mind.

Very Sincerely,

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

In Which BookMamma Is Lazy

Work's got me CRAZY busy these days and will stay that way through the end of September. It's really cramping my blog style, but I'll manage. In the meantime, some photos will help illustrate what we've been up to lately.

Anybody notice what Finn is supposed to be working on?? He moved up at school and started with a new teacher and a new classroom. He's doing great and seems to love the increase in structured activities. (Funny thing for the baby book: the boys' teachers are twin sisters. Cool, huh?)

More food porn pictures from my recent canning experience with my mom.
I loved all the colors!

Thanks to McMommy, the boys have learned how to Wii-box. Yay!! This Mommy earns some blogging time and Finn & Eli learn how to HIT each other!

Reason #4 on the short but sweet "Why I'm an Episcopalian" list. This ad ran in our local paper last week. I don't like to talk about religion much on the blog, but this was too good NOT to share.

This one's just too cute NOT to post. Behold, Hotwheel Hubs!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

100 is the Magic Number

So... Blogger is telling me that this is my 100th post to the Hotwheel Hacienda. I really wish I had been paying attention, so I could have planned on doing something wild and throw a huge party or something. Instead I'm eating a chocolate Jello pudding cup and washing it down with a glass of shiraz in way of celebration.

If I were feeling really industrious I could post "100 Things About Me", but that's kind of narcissistic and would take a really long time. And I'm lazy.

I could reflect on how this blog has made me a better person (probably not), or a better parent (probably so), or somehow changed my life in a giant way. I love that I'm creating a real record for my boys about who they are and how they came to be that way. I hope it could be a resource for them if they ever think to themselves, so THIS is how Mom totally screwed us up! Now they, and their shrink(s), can go straight to the source! I've saved them YEARS of expensive therapy.

But one of the best things about blogging is connecting with my Doogs and making friends all over the country. Where else could I get vindication of my killer parenting, writing, and shoe therapy skillz? I've really loved reading all your blogs and making you a little part of each day. I think of some of your posts that I come across and laugh (or sometimes cry) out loud.

You've given me a place to tell the stories of this guy:

And this guy:

So thank you for coming by the Hotwheel Hacienda and checking in on us from time to time. And leaving comments! And sending chocolate! And shoes!

I was serious about that comment thing... leave me one today & help celebrate my 100th in style!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sweet Dreams are Made of Flickr

made by xianjesen
Originally uploaded by boyshapedbox
Holy cow this could be addictive...

Perfect Posts in a Not-So-Perfect World

Sometimes when I'm bloghopping there are posts that I wish did not have to be written. They are so hard to read, and stick with me long after I would have liked to forget them. But I almost always force myself through, even though I'm left teary and a little bit more broken hearted.

Like Punk Rock Mommy's lost battle with cancer. I haven't been reading her long, but her last post moves me beyond any words I could type here. My heart hurts for her family, and I am glad they have her blog to keep her a little bit nearer for a little bit longer.

And then there's Heather of "A Big Boy, a Baby Girl, and a Precious Pug" fighting the Big Fight and freshly cancer-free. Seeing the blog community come together to support her and send good karma/prayers/thoughts her way in a massive wave of compassion and empathy directly counteracts the terrible things I see on the daily news.

So I am honered and surprised to be nominated (for the first time!) for a Perfect Post by S2 Do Life. I feel a little like a freshman who dares to sit with the seniors on the first day of high school, and that surely somehow S2 must have made a mistake, but there you are.

It has made me extremely...


Visit Suburban Turmoil for a complete list of Perfect Posts for July.
You'll be glad you did.
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