Spend This Christmas with Matthew and Gunnar Nelson

“The music we take dead seriously, but we don’t take ourselves that seriously, we have a lot of fun,” said Matthew Nelson describing the Christmas with the Nelsons shows he will be performing in eight cities across America with his brother Gunnar.

mattheew-and-gunnar-nelson-tour-christmas

Recently I sat down with Matthew to discuss the upcoming tour and new NELSON Christmas single, featuring Carnie and Wendy Wilson. (And by sat down with, I mean I sat down in my living room in Los Angeles and he sat down in his living room in Nashville and we had a lovely conversation on the phone.)

We talked about living in Nashville vs. living in Los Angeles (Nashville: full of world class musicians and a great place to raise your family. LA: The awesome food and weather not worth the traffic and hustle-and-bustle-affected lifestyle.), the dreaded “B” word – branding (it sucks, but you’ve got to do it), and mostly Christmas.

Last year Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, along with a singer-songwriter named Alyssa Bonagura co-wrote and recorded This Christmas, an original song to include on the Nelson brother’s album of Christmas standards sharing the same name.

A second Christmas album, This Christmas Too will be coming out December 9th and they’ve re-recorded the title track with Carnie and Wendy Wilson.

“The first recording was great, it was our first hit song in twenty years, but we have been wanting to do something with the Wilson sisters for a long time and this just made sense. It is literally like the new The Mamas and The Papas. The blend is unbelievable and we had so much fun,” Matthew said, talking excitedly about re-recording last year’s hit holiday song.

In fact the two sibling groups had so much fun working together they are already talking about future projects. “We all kind of grew up as kids of the 70’s and we’re talking about possibly taking some of that music like (Dan Fogelberg’s) Leader of the Band and (The Doobie Brothers’) Listen to the Music and putting a new spin on it.”

I told him I hoped that would happen. “Oh, it will happen,” he assured me.

nelson-brothers-wilson-sisters-cr-brian-lowe-2016-billboard-1548
Photo credit: Brian Lowe

When I asked him how the Christmas shows came about he said, “It came together very organically. About three years ago, somebody called us up and said, ‘Hey we’re from a tiny place in Nebraska called Red Cloud and an author named Willa Cather was from here. That’s what we’re famous for. She left money behind for an opera house and we’d like you to come and do a Christmas show.’

“And I said, ‘What do you mean, you want us to come and do one of our normal shows?’ and he said, ‘No, I’m talking only Christmas music.’

“And Gunnar and I got together and we thought about it because we love Christmas, we always have. It’s been our favorite time of year for forever. Our dad too. No matter what he was doing he came off the road to celebrate Christmas together.”

Taking what they learned from their popular Ricky Nelson Remembered tour, a unique multi media entertainment event featuring the live music of their late father Ricky Nelson’s hit songs, they put together a live music and video program that tells the story of three eras of Nelson family Christmases, starting with Ozzie and Harriet’s era, through their dad’s era in the 70’s as a country rocker and bringing through to Christmas with their families today.

“We always say, our show at best is a combination between the Everly brothers and the Smothers brothers. The usual Christmas shows people put on have two or three Christmas songs thrown in. We flip it. We do all Christmas music except for one segment with Hello Mary Lou-Travelin’ Man-Garden Party in a medley with one or two of ours, but that takes maybe 10 minutes in a show that goes two to two-and-a-half hours. This year we’re touring with a violinist/fiddle player named Molly Cherryholmes who’s Grammy nominated 5 times for her bluegrass band. She’s only twenty-four and is like a freak of nature, as far as musicians are concerned,” Matthew said describing the show.

So if you’re looking for something a little different to do with the family this Christmas (or on a date night) check out their tour schedule below. (Don’t worry, I won’t tell your husband that Matthew and Gunnar were your secret 90’s crush.) And don’t forget to add This Christmas and This Christmas Too (available on pre-order) to your Christmas music library.

 

Nov 28           Modesto, CA                         Tickets

Dec 04           Lakeland, FL                         Tickets

Dec 06           Milwaukee, WI                     Tickets (two shows)

Dec 07           Milwaukee, WI                     Tickets (two shows)

Dec 08           Milwaukee, WI                     Tickets  (two shows)

Dec 09           Milwaukee, WI                     Tickets  (two shows)

Dec 10            Larchwood, IA                     Tickets

Dec 11            Davenport, IA                       Tickets

Dec 12            Mount Pleasant, TX            Tickets

Dec 16            Goodyear, AZ                       Tickets (two shows)

Dec 17            Tiffin, OH                              Tickets

My Grandfather’s Christmas Coffee Cake

Every year for my entire life I have had my grandfather’s Christmas Coffee Cake for breakfast on Christmas morning. Okay, maybe not this first year, when I was only six months old, but I’m sure the following year I was cramming that delicious cake into my cute little mouth by the fistfuls.

coffee-cake-recipe

I try to bake as many coffee cakes as possible right before Christmas to give away. What I desperately need is a second bundt pan so I can have batter waiting on deck and ready to go as I take a finished cake out of the oven instead of having to wait (at least) half an hour for the cake to cool and slide out of the pan so I can start another cake. Sometimes I don’t wait long enough and disaster strikes.

If I may humblebrag, I must tell you that everyone raves about my coffee cake. Raves! (Wait, that was just a regular brag, wasn’t it?) Well, it’s not really bragging, because honestly, it’s so easy anyone can make it. All you need is the recipe. And luckily for you, I’m not one of those rude recipe hoarders. I’m very generous. So this Christmas (and Hanukkah and Kwanza and Festivus) my gift to you is the recipe to my grandfather’s amazing sour cream coffee cake.

Cake Batter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1 cup of butter
2 eggs

Cinnamon Filling & Topping
4 TBS sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put cake batter ingredients together in a large bowl and beat with a mixer for 2-3 minutes until it’s thick, but fluffy.

perfect-cake-batter

Spray a bundt pan (the flat sided kind, not one of those pretty fluted ones) with cooking spray.

types-of-bundt-pans
How do you like my awesome pictorial?

 

And when I say spray, I mean spray the sh*t out of that thing. Think you’ve used enough spray? You haven’t. Spray it again. This is a thick, gooey cake and it needs to swim in cooking spray. Trust me, if you don’t use enough spray (or don’t wait long enough for it to cool), you get this:

cake-disaster
Oops!

 

Or you can do what my grandfather did and use Crisco. That probably works better than cooking spray, but I don’t have any of that crap in my house.

Take half the batter and spread it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon mixture on top.

Tip: if you are using the cinnamon mixture without the walnuts due to a nut allergy or no-nut preference you might want to double the amount of the mixture. (I think the cake is better with the walnuts, but Chandler is allergic to them so sadly our cakes are nutless.)

Now comes the semi-tricky part. I know, I said this recipe was easy, and it is, but this next part takes a tiny bit of finesse. But just a tiny bit.

Spread the rest of the cake batter on top of the cinnamon mixture. The trick is keeping the mixture in a nice line and not mixing it with the batter. I do this by dropping several blops of batter onto the cinnamon and then spreading it together.

If I was one of those popular food bloggers, I’d have a picture for you, but I’m not, so I don’t. Seriously, you should consider yourself lucky that (1) I’m giving you this recipe in the first place and that (2) I took five minutes to make the bundt pan pictorial above. Use your imagination about the blopping and the spreading and stop complaining.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, the cake. Carefully spread the rest of the batter and then top with remaining cinnamon mixture.

Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 55-65 minutes.

Once done, let cool for at least a half an hour. At least. Then take a knife and go around outer and inner edges. Place a plate on top of bundt pan and carefully turn upside-down. Listen for cake to gently plop down onto the plate. If it doesn’t drop down right away, gently tap the pan. If it still doesn’t drop down flip it back over, go around with the knife again, flip it back and tap again. If it still doesn’t drop, bang it on the table while crying and cussing and wondering how the hell it is still stuck in the pan when you used half a can of Costco-sized cooking spray. (Not that I’d know anything about that.)

Oh wait… plop.

Lift bundt pan, put another plate on the bottom of the cake and carefully flip back over.

coffee-cake-perfection
Oh yeah!

It should take an average family of four about half an hour to devour the entire thing. I hope you left your oven on. You’ll be needing a second one.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

Holiday Gift Guide for Teenagers

Shopping for teenagers this holiday season and have no idea what to get them?

You are not alone, my friend. Shopping for teenagers can be tough. Things they really want are often too pricey. (I asked Chandler what he wanted for Christmas and he told me a car. Yeah, I’m not the only hilarious one in the family.) And things that are affordable often miss the mark. (Hint: no highscooler wants a polo shirt for Christmas even if it was on sale at Old Navy for only $5 and it will really bring out the color in their eyes.)

So what do you get them that will bring smiles to their faces that are actually genuine? Luckily for you, I’ve compiled a list below.

Gift Cards

gift cards

 

I know, I know. Gift cards are boring and  seem so impersonal. But wouldn’t you rather spend your money on something that will be appreciated and used? The trick is buying the right gift card. Marley loves Hot Topic, but I wouldn’t presume to know what I-can’t-believe-my-darling-daughter-likes-that-screamo-music-from-that-tatted-up-derelict-looking-band shirt she is craving this week. And forget about me buying her something cute at Forever 21. It turns out we have very different ideas of “cute.”

And Chandler loves the privilege of going off-campus at lunch with his friends, but doesn’t have a job so he has very little money (which means a lot of PBJ lunches). He would consider a gift card to Panda Express or In-n-Out a real treat. (Hint: any teenager would love a gift card to In-n-Out. Even my vegetarian friends love In-n-Out – they make a wicked grilled cheese.)

Many people shy away from gift cards because they might not have a lot of money to spend and think that on-sale Polo shirt will look impressive. But wouldn’t you rather give a $10 gift card to Starbucks or Chipotle that will actually be used instead of a shirt that will sit in a closet unworn? (And BTW – any kid that is ungrateful for a $10 gift card is unworthy of being on your holiday shopping list.)

 

Magazine Subscriptions

mad magazine

 

This is another gift where you have to know your audience, but a magazine subscription is something that is a little bit different, and if you get the right one will definitely be appreciated. Marley really wants a subscription to Alternative Press (or what the cool kids call AP). At $15 for a two-year subscription, I’m happy to oblige. And Chandler loves Mad Magazine. Yep, that’s right, it still exists. It’s a little pricier at $20 for one year (and only six issues a year), but still pretty affordable. If you know what the teen you’re shopping for is into -whether it’s cars, video games, comics, fashion or celebrity gossip- you can probably find a magazine they’ll enjoy. Need some suggestions?  Click here.

 

Movie tickets

movie night gift basket

 

Okay, this is a bit of a cheat since a movie ticket is kind of like a gift card, but if there’s one thing teenagers like to do it’s go to the movies. And movies are crazy expensive now. I remember when I was eighteen years old I worked at a movie theater and couldn’t believe the price went from $4.50 o $5.00! (Crazy, right?) Now, depending where you go movies cost between $12 and $20 per ticket. Yikes! I say head on over to Costco and buy two tickets to your local theater for $16. If you want to make a cute presentation add some Red Vines or Jr. Mints and make a little gift basket.

 

Home T

california_home_t-shirt_f_grande
If I give Chandler this shirt for Christmas maybe it will remind where is home really is when he goes away to college.

 

Now, I know I told you that kids don’t want clothes. Well, boy kids don’t want clothes. Girl kids probably do. But I think that a boy or a girl would definitely dig this shirt. There is a shirt for every state and they come in different styles. As an added bonus a donation to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is made with every purchase. This shirt would be especially great for a kid that is going to college out-of-state. You know, so you can remind them where their home really is (and that after four years they will definitely need to come back).

 

Books

You just rolled your eyes didn’t you? I don’t blame you, but I do stand by this 100%. The trick, like the magazines, is knowing something about the teen you’re shopping for. Got a nephew who is a computer nerd and totally owns it? How about the book Geek Wisdom ?

geek wisdom

Did your granddaughter just swoon over The Fault in our Stars (and who didn’t)? Try another wonderful work by John Green about precocious teens such as Looking for Alaska or An Abundance of Katherines.

abundance of katherines

 

Is your best friend’s daughter an ivy-league-bound over-achiever? How about something to make her lighten up and LOL for five minutes when she needs a break from AP Calculus? Chandler gave a book called F This Test to an over-achiever we know at a gift exchange party and she thought it was hilarious.

F This Test
Even over-achievers need to lighten-up and laugh for five minutes before getting back to work.

 

Trust me when I say that the right book can be a definite home run.

And if none of these gifts sound like they would be a good fit for the teens on your gift list, you can always buy them a car. I suggest one that looks like this:

hot-wheels
This will be in Chandler’s stocking for sure.

 

Photo credits: gift cards, movie night gift basket, home t, Hot Wheels

Christmas Came Early This Year

I was at another cross country meet early Saturday morning when my phone rang. It was my uncle asking what I was doing and what time I’d be home.

“That was weird,” I said to Dave after hanging up. “My Uncle John said he’s coming over this afternoon to bring us something.”

“What do you think it is?” he asked. My uncle lives about an hour away from us, so it had to be something that he really wanted to get rid of. Especially since we are going to his house for Thanksgiving in less than two weeks. (Ohmygod how is it possible that Thanksgiving is in less than two weeks?!)

“I have no idea. I hope it’s a car,” I joked. “Or maybe he won Lotto and is splitting up the money.”

“I don’t think it’s either of those things,” Dave said bringing me quickly back to reality and popping the Italian-villa-vacation, new-car, new-floors, new-windows Lotto-dream thought bubble that was forming inside my head.

“Are you sure?” I joked again. I really had no idea what my uncle could be bringing us. Maybe some old Coke bottles he found at a yard sale for Chandler’s collection. Or perhaps he and my aunt got a new bed and were bringing us their old mattress. He always joked that he was going to give me a lump of coal for Christmas. Maybe it was a really big lump. I was certainly intrigued.

I called Marley to tell her to please vacuum the den and make sure the bathroom was at the very least not gross. We clean our house on Sundays so by Monday morning Saturday it’s full red alert FEMA disaster status. People dropping in on a Saturday (without giving me at least 24 hours notice) and seeing my dog-haired, dusty, two-teenagers-live-here-and-I-work-full-time mess of a house is enough to make me break out in hives.

When my uncle got to the house he had me look in the back of his truck. I could not believe my eyes. It was not a mattress or old Coke bottles or even a really big lump of coal. It was unbelievable. It was a box for a 60 inch flat screen smart TV.

“You got us a TV?! Where did you get this? Did it fall off a truck?”

He laughed. “This is the box for my new TV,” he said. “I read on your blog that you still have a box TV so I thought you might like my old one. It’s a few years old, but it’s a 50 inch flat screen.”

Uh, yeah. I was at his house about a month ago watching football on his “old TV.” Let’s just say that it’s more than just a little bit better than watching football on the twenty-year old twenty-six inch box we have sitting inside our antiquated TV cabinet.

He and Dave carried in the TV, we did a bit of furniture rearranging (and behind the furniture ohmygod-I-can’t-believe-how-much-dog-hair-there-is-back-here vacuuming) and set up the TV that brings the Ross family into the 21st century. Mostly.

We are a bit tech un-savvy (I know, shocker!) and had a little trouble getting the TV to display a picture (which it turns out is kind of important), but I figured out the problem shortly after my uncle had to go. (Hint: it helps to attach the cable box to the cable cord coming out of your wall as well as to the TV.)

I can’t tell you how blown away Dave, Chandler, Marley and I are at my uncle’s generosity. (Even though it’s painfully obvious he was just trying to find a clever way to be mentioned in my blog.)

Dave was in heaven watching the final NASCAR race of the season. Football is a lot more exciting to watch on our new flat screen. The Walking Dead is a lot gorier. According to Dave and Chandler we never need to go to the movie theater again. I think having a houseful of teenagers for a movie/video game night is in our near future. We might even host a Superbowl party next year.

Thank you Uncle John. I love you.

And to anyone reading this who’d like to be mentioned in my blog -and who wouldn’t?!- have I mentioned we drive a 2000 Honda Civic and a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer? (I’m just sayin’….)

How To Stay Skinny During the Holidays

Every year I gain weight over the holidays. I know, we all do. But I’m talking like 10 or 12 pounds. And then I spend most of the following year trying to lose it only to regain it again. I refuse to do that this year. I refuse I tell you!

I mean every time I go to the gym someone tells me how fabulous I look after losing 16 pounds on their Just Lose It program. (Well, 12 pounds on the program and 4 after.) I can’t waddle into the gym in January fat from holiday gluttony. I’ve got a reputation to uphold.

This year, for the first time ever, I’m staying skinny over the holidays. And I’ll tell you how I’m doing it and how you can do it to.

I wouldn’t exactly call these holiday weight loss tips (because losing weight during the holidays doesn’t sound like any fun and in my opinion goes against nature), so let’s call them holiday weight-maintenance tips. That sounds doable. (Even if it doesn’t sound fun.)

How to stay thin during the holidays

Run

Yeah, running sucks. I will admit that running is getting a (tiny) bit easier, but I’m not enjoying it any better. I hate every single heart-pounding, breath-stealing, body-jarring step I take, but I still aim for running a minimum of three miles three times a week. Why? Because runners are skinny. And honestly, I feel great when I’m done. (In a sore and tired and achy kind of way.)

And pu-leaze don’t tell me that you’re not a runner. Did I tell you that I hate running? I hate it! And I’m even pretty terrible at it. If anyone had told me at the beginning of the year that I would take up running I would have told them to go take another hit of their crack pipe because that’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. What kind of crazy person takes up running at the age of 48? That would be me. And as sucktastic as running is (and it is), it works.

Eat

That sounds weird, right? Why would you eat if you’re trying to maintain your weight? Because running makes you hungry. (You are running right?) Believe it or not if you’re not getting enough calories your body goes into starvation mode and stores fat. (Oh, the bitter irony.)

The trick is eating the right kinds of food. (But you already knew that right?) So (especially if you are working out) make sure you get a lot of protein – about 20 grams four times a day. I actually eat five times a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner with 20 grams of protein at each meal and a mid-morning and afternoon snack with 10 grams of protein. And are you ready for the best part? I also eat carbs. That’s right – 30 grams at each meal and 15 grams at snack time. Again, you just need to eat the right carbs – sweet potatoes, fruit (especially grapefruit), quinoa, brown rice – all good carbs. Bread, pasta and corn chips – bad carbs. BTW – I do eat the bad carbs – look what I had for dinner the other night…

Bob's-Big-Boy-Combo
If I got to choose my last meal, this would be it.

But trust me, this is the exception, not the rule. 99% of the time my dinner looks something like this:

Biggest-Loser-Style-Healthy-Dinner
Before I eat this I pull the skin off the chicken. (Sigh…)

Most days I eat very clean and I never skip meals even if I’m going to a party or a Happy Hour. Going to a party when you’re starving only makes you gorge your way through the buffet table. (As someone whose usual MO is to starve myself before a party so I can dive face first into the food table and stuff as much as humanly possible into my brie and cracker hole, I know what I’m talking about.)

So if you’re going to a dinner party, be sure to eat lunch. That way you’ll be hungry when you arrive, but not famished. If you’re heading out to an appetizer-fest (my absolute favorite), consider eating a light dinner before you go. Maybe 2-3 ounces of chicken with some green beans. That way you can still hang out by the party food table for a little bit, but you’ll be more likely to dip into it instead of swim in it.

Say No

Say no to wine. Say no to sugar. Say no to fun. Okay, that sounds a bit extreme. (And maybe even impossible.) Especially since our calendars are all a bit full this month. Why go to a cookie exchange if you can’t eat any cookies? What’s the point of Happy Hour if you can’t get happy? And what are you supposed to do at your friend’s wine tasting party? Compare the subtle differences of mineral strength in different types of bottled water?

Okay, you don’t have to say not to everything. (I certainly won’t be.) But on the nights that I am home this month I do plan on saying no. A lot. No wine with dinner (which totally sucks), no cookies after dinner (even though trust me, we have plenty), and no No NO to eggnog (I’m pretty sure that sticks to your ass faster and more permanently than anything).

Say Yes

No, I am not psychotic (much). I do realize that I just said to say no. But I’ll be saying no at home so I can say yes when I go out. Indulging is what the holidays are all about. Only this year I plan on indulging less. You’d better believe I’ll still be eating cheese. And shortbread cookies (my absolute favorite). And party drinks. Only this year I’m going to do it in (yeah, I’m gonna say it) moderation. Ugh, I know, I hate that word too. (Almost as much as I hate running.) But if moderation were fun or easy everyone would be skinny.

So, say yes, but in moderation. (And if you’re wondering what you should drink at a party, here is a great Sip It or Skip It guide from my good friends at Party Blu Prints.)

Run

Oh, did I say that already? Well, you probably know that when you’re teaching someone something new, you have to repeat yourself. So I’m repeating myself. And I totally saw you sneak that extra cheese puff in your mouth when you thought no one was looking. (Or was that me?) So suck it up an get running. Otherwise you’ll be waddling the walk of shame into the gym in January.

And you don’t want to do that do you?

The Way Way Back and the Cake Disaster

Way Way Back

Wednesday afternoon my friend Kim texted me asking if I wanted to go to a movie at 7:30. She was invited to a screening of The Way Way Back and had a plus one. It was around 4:00. I was running errands and knew I’d be home by 5:00, I had nothing planned and figured I’d have enough time to make dinner and make myself look semi-presentable, so I said sure. She told me she’d pick me up at 6:45.

At 6:15 I realized I was the worst end-of-school-year mom in the world (well maybe second worst) because I actually did have plans that night. Marley and I were supposed to bake a cake for her language arts class the next day. They were having a heritage party and everyone was supposed to bring a cultural food item. And since we are as Anglo and uninteresting as it gets culturally, Marley chose the coffee cake we have every year at Christmas.

She told her teacher it was a recipe from her great-great-great grandfather that he brought from Germany. (Uh, a recipe from her great grandfather from Pennsylvania that he probably got out of a cookbook would probably be more accurate, but Language Arts is all about spinning a creative yarn, yes?)

“Listen,” I said to Marley. “I totally spaced about the cake. I can’t cancel on Kim now, she’ll be here in half an hour. I’ll make it in the morning okay. I promise.”

She gave me that look. You know, that total look of disappointment that kids give you when you know you’ve screwed up and damn it to hell they know it too. “I’m afraid you’re going to forget, Mom.”

“I won’t forget, Marley. I swear to you. I get up at five o’clock every morning and go on my computer and I’ll tape a huge note there to remind myself. I will not disappoint you, Marley. I promise.”

computer-reminder
My high-tech way of keeping it all together

“Okay,” she said. But she wasn’t happy.

“I’ll make the cake with her,” Dave said.

“Really?” I asked. “You don’t mind?” I don’t know what’s worse – the fact that I forgot about the cake or the fact that it never occurred to me to ask Dave if he could bake it with her. (No wonder my cousin calls me a control freak!)

“No, we can do it. Just put what I need on the counter. What, is it a mix or something?”

Sigh… no, our heritage recipe from Marleys’ great-great-great German grandfather is not a mix. And it has a cinnamon swirl in the middle.

“No, it’s from scratch, but Marley’s made it with me a bunch of times. She can probably do it herself. You’ll just need to supervise.”

At 6:45 I walked out the door leaving my family with the mess of dinner to clean up and a cake to bake.

I was happy to be having a grown-up evening and share in Kim’s blogger perk of seeing a free movie. (Kim is a waaaay better connected blogger than me.)

The movie was really fantastic. The Way Way Back is a coming of age movie with an amazing cast. I love ALL of them – Steve Carell, Toni Collette (I really looooove her), Allison Janney (I really looooove her too!), Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolf, Amanda Peet, Rob Corddry, AnnaSophia Robb and a kid named Liam James in the starring role. All I can say about this movie is WOW! It’s in theaters July 5th. Do yourself a favor and go see it. (And don’t forget your Kleenex.) It’s funny and sad and heartbreaking and poignant and just… wonderful.

When we got out of the movie I turned my phone back on and saw that I had a missed call from home and a text from Dave that said, Please call home. Uh oh. What went wrong? Did Marley burn herself? Was there some vital instruction missing from the recipe? What kind of disaster ensued because I was the worst mom ever and went out to see a movie with my friend instead of staying home to bake a cake with Marley like I promised?

It turns out, this kind…

cake-disaster
Oops!

Marley didn’t let the cake cool down enough and when she tried to get it out of the bundt pan it fell to pieces. Dave asked if they should start a new one or if I wanted to make another one in the morning. Since I didn’t want to be up until eleven o’clock at night baking a cake I told him I’d do it in the morning.

When I got home the house smelled like Christmas and Dave, Chandler and Marley were devouring the broken cake. I might or might not have had a bite or two ten myself. Never in the history of class projects has a child (and her family) been so happy to see the project be a complete and total failure.

The next morning we devoured the rest of the cake had coffee cake for breakfast. And Marley took this to school…

coffee-cake-perfection
Oh yeah!

Because I’m the best mom in the world. (Obviously.)

A Weird Search Word, Dirty Dishes and Other Random Things

Random Things

I’m considering adding a Friday “Random Things” post to my blog. We’ll see how this one goes.

Random Things #1: The search word (or search words). I won’t lie – the search word (or search words) that leads people to my blog fascinate me. Here is a photo of the search terms that brought people to my website this week:

search words for blog
Uh… really?!

Not sure if I should be flattered or insulted with that last one. Some other past search words for my blog have been: diet eating of rice in breakfast (there were 2 searches for that!), remark i’m in love with a dress (huh?), is gas x yummy (well, I take it in pill form, so… no), ross thanksgiving (do I have a stalker?) , adam ant girlfriend 2012 (it’s me!), and too many cabbage soup diet variations to mention!

brown boots for fall
Everyone loves these brown boots! (Wanna buy ’em?)

These brown boots were originally posted here and are my top search by far!

Random Things #2: I thought that Marley put the dishes away the other morning without being asked. (Fantastic – right?) But she said her father told her to do it. (Well, she still did it quietly and without complaint.) The problem was the dishes were dirty. You’d think she might have noticed. (She didn’t.)

Christmas coffee mug
Does this look clean to you?

Random Things #3:  I decorated our piano for Christmas with my Santas and snowmen. After it looked perfect Marley added some vintage snowflakes, weird Christmas cows, a few extra Santas and snowmen and I did not have a control-freak-anal-attack about it (even inwardly… much). And just now when I went to place a link on a blog I wrote last year for skirt called Controlling Christmas about my anal-tree-decorating tendencies, only to find that the blog has disappeared from the web-o-sphere and only the comments remain, I didn’t freak out about that either. Though it might make me drink. (Where did my blog go?)

Christmas piano
Christmas Chaos

(BTW – this piano is for sale. Would you like to buy it?)

Random Things #4:  I love kissing Santas…

I saw mommy kissing santa claus
Love!
Santa-Mrs-Claus-kissing
Love even more!

And snowmen… (and no that does not count as Random Things #5)

Christmas snowman
Adorable!

Random Things #5: Chandler drove on the freeway for the first time this week. It was on Sunday morning when the traffic was light. Dave was in the front passenger seat and I was in the back. Thank god! I might have had a heart attack if I rode in the front. Chandler did great. I think he’s going to be a good, conscientious driver. But driving with your first-born –your baby- on the freeway… I don’t recommend it without Xanax. I think I’d rather spend the day riding roller coasters at Magic Mountain. (And I’m pretty much done with roller coasters.)

Scream roller coaster Magic Mountain
Less scary than driving on the freeway for the first time with your child behind the wheel.

I think five random things are enough random things for today. Tell me something random about your week.

*Photo of Scream roller coaster taken by Joel Rogers via http://www.coastergallery.com