Thursday, April 28

Brunch Bunch: Creative Nutrition

(Ok, fine. I'm using the term "nutrition" very very loosely in this post. Whatev.)

We usually go grocery shopping just once a week. And when I say "we," I mean "Jeremy and the kids." I've kind of been banned from buying food, because I tend to buy Ranch flavored rice cakes, and organic dried banana chips and too much cream cheese.... the list really does go on.

But when the groceries run out before the paycheck comes in, it's time to get creative.

The Bees, like all other kids, have varying tastes and appetites. We don't really abide by much picky-ness around here, but we know which foods each kid genuinely doesn't like. We also know when one of them is just trying to get out of eating Brussels sprouts.
Their hunger levels fluctuate wildly from week to week, day to day, sometimes even hour by hour.... add to that the fact that we are a "routine" family, not a "schedule" family- meaning we do the same things each day, but not necessarily at the same hour. It all adds up to mass confusion when it comes 'round to feeding time.

Some weeks they don't eat anything other than apples and cereal and milk. (Or, in The Boy's case, V8 juice. Which... ew.) Other weeks they are like the time-lapsed videos of jungle ants devouring animal carcasses and everything else in their path. Only less grody.

This has been an eating week. And, always inconveniently, a bill-paying week. Which means we're down to cans of refried beans and just-add-milk muffin mixes, neither of which go over particularly well, and certainly not together.

So today, on this day-before-payday day, we got creative with breakfast brunch (because really, I can't very well call our 10:00 am meal breakfast, can I?).
We dug the last precious few waffles out of the freezer, we lined all of our condiments on the kitchen counter.
We did a little math: (8 condiment jars) minus (ketchup + mustard + pimento cheese + soy sauce) equals (butter/syrup/chocolate sauce/whipped cream). There's always time for learning!

We came up with lots of combinations for waffle toppings:
The Girl chose syrup, whipped cream, and a Cutie.

The Boy went with butter, syrup, and chocolate sauce.
I picked peanut butter, syrup, and chocolate sauce. Just call me The King, y'all.
The Baby made a mess of everything.
The Boy's brunch, round two

I feel like so often during chow time I'm hollering at the Bees to "Sit down, eat your food, get the fork out of your hair, sit down, scoot the drink back so it doesn't spill, sit down, don't lick the table, eat your food, SIT! YOUR! BOTTOM! DOWN!"

Occasionally, we all relish in a slow and easy, messy, sugar loaded, really fun meal together.
We can do baby carrots and spinach salad and grilled chicken tomorrow.


Friday, April 22

Standing Tall: Hairspray at The Rep

With so many brazen "must see!" and "can't miss!" declarations running rampant about everything from toothpaste to the new airlines these days, I hesitate to say the same. About anything.


If you are local, you MUST SEE, you absolutely CAN'T MISS, Hairspray at The Rep.

I'm serious.

I took my 4-and-three-quarter-years old daughter and my beautiful momma to see Hairspray on opening weekend.

It was fantastic. I saw Evita last fall at The Rep, and thought it couldn't be topped. But it was topped. By some swingin' tunes and really, really high hair.

Lillian Castillo plays Tracy Turnblad with such heart and enthusiasm, you're rooting for her the minute she dances onto the stage. Tommaso Antico gives Link Larkin a hunky, lovable quality. Seaweed is a charmer, Edna is amazing, and Motormouth... well, she owned the stage.

Katie Emerson blew me away. Again. Last fall, she brought me to tears during her only solo in Evita- as the nameless Mistress. She gives Penny-Lou Pingleton a comedic earnestness that can't be easy to pull off. She is hilarious and heartfelt.

The best part? The Girl didn't move a muscle the entire time. She was enraptured. Occasionally she would lean over to me, or elbow me, and I'd see the biggest grin on her sweet little face. She loved it. She and I both went around singing, "Good morning, Baltimore!..." for days after the show.

And, for as much as I like watching that cute Zac Efron in the movie version, there is something about watching the show live that makes you... feel it.

Hairspray from Arkansas Repertory Theatre on Vimeo.

The cast was so animated, so ebullient, so incredibly on it, that the audience could not help but to join in the joy.

There are only two more weeks of the show. The run ends May 8th. You still have plenty of time to buy tickets. Early Mother's Day? End of School Celebration? Because It's Tuesday? You don't really need a reason. Buy the tickets. You will be so pleased, and I will say "I told you so."

Hey, Mama. Welcome to the 60's.

*The Rep gave me 3 tickets to see Hairspray. They also allowed me to give away 2 tickets here on the blog. The rave reviews here are totally my own.

Thursday, April 14

Mom 2.0 Summit: Sisterhood of the Traveling Card Case

So, I have this ridiculously awesome friend, Audreya. She is very pretty, a great writer, and she's one of the most naturally funny people I've ever known. Her funny is all organic; pesticide-free, even.
I make fun of her for living outside the city limits, in what is now apparently the Earthquake Capital of the Universe (by my humble estimation). But she can't really help it.

Yesterday morning she sent me a text and was all, "Dude. I sent you a present. Why haven't you thanked me for it yet?" Ok, that's not exactly what she said. After a few "Who? Whaaa?" texts from me, she basically said, "Go check your front stoop." Only, she didn't say stoop because she knows where I live and she knows I don't have a stoop. But, I've always kind of wanted a stoop. Anyway.
I go check, and like magic, there on my stoop is the lightest-weight package I've ever recieved from Amazon.

Have I mentioned that two of my favorite things on. this. planet. are getting presents and getting cool stuff in the mail? Both things happened yesterday!

It was this:

It seems Audreya was simply appalled that I'd be whipping out a baggie during the conference, like I might pass out some baby carrots and sippy cups, too. Ok, she didn't say that, either. She actually said, "There are few areas of life where I must put my foot down. Carrying a Ziploc bag to any semi-professional-ish event is one of them. Also, it was cute and twitteresque."  

This is Audreya's serious face. She's giving Michelangelo a good what-for.

The case is, in fact, twitteresque. And purple. And perfect.
I knew immediately what I'd do with it. Aside from, you know, carrying cards.

It's going to be my Flat Stanley. But instead of teaching about literacy and international community, I'm just going to take pictures of it in cool/interesting/wacky settings on my trip to New Orleans!

It'll be the most fun a business card holder has ever had. Except for maybe Paris Hilton's business card holder. I bet that one's seen some things.


Wednesday, April 13

Husband Hump Day: On Stay-At-Home Moms Staying At Home

*Somehow, I managed to sweet-talk my husband into guest posting for me. Fingers crossed, every first Wednesday of the month will feature a new post from JB. Stay tuned, because there is no telling with what he'll come up.
And yes, I do realize this isn't the first Wednesday of the month. I was just... forget it. I have no excuse.*

I am about to give you a totally biased opinion, with no actual facts or statistics to back up my writing, just some observations that I have experienced in my short 32 years of life. Any views or opinions presented in this bloggy thing are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the people who might care. My “findings” are expressly required not to make defamatory statements and not to infringe or authorize any infringement of copyright or any other legal thingies. Any such communication is contrary to popular belief (it just seemed to fit). I will not accept any liability (unless it is good) in respect of such blah, blah, blah, for any damages or other liability (especially if it is bad) arising. Amen.

Now that the business part is complete (my future lawyers made me do it), onto the goods.

I love the fact that we as a family seem to be the minority in today’s society. In that aspect, I have always been in the minority. My mother was a stay-at-home mom and ruled the house better than any Fortune 500 company CEO. She cooked, cleaned, taught, nurtured, loved, encouraged, disciplined, loved some more, scheduled, dropped off, picked up… well, you get the idea. While in “society” women were fighting the good fight for equality, she stayed home and raised God-fearing children. I remember her telling my dad how people treated her when she said she stayed at home. They were not nice and acted like she was some poor, barefoot pregnant woman who had no education and was holding back the “movement.” But to me, she was everything. I am an admitted momma’s boy. Her staying home was the only thing I ever knew.

Jeremy's parents, a.k.a. The Best In-Laws Ever

The first 10 years of my life were spent in Tulsa away from all extended family. My mom raised 3 children by herself with a husband who was a salesman and a US Naval reservist. I am sure he was gone some of the time but I remember I started to get excited around dinner time, because I knew he was coming home. Which when I think about it, it is a strong character builder for stay-at-home moms- they are never the recipient of the overwhelming anticipation of walking through the door to wild-eyed and excited children. They have to deal with them all day with hardly any thanks. Because of her sacrifice (which at times was great), and the support of her husband (my awesome dad) I think she molded my views and opinions of everything.

As the years (and many tears on her part) passed, I grew older. I dated all types of girls- those with views totally opposite of my mother’s and those that resembled hers. In college I dated some women who were very headstrong and determined to “go places”. Trust me, no man was going to keep them in the kitchen, which by the way, is not what all men want to do. I was all for them following their dreams and aspirations, it was just not the direction I was going. I am a family man who wanted a family woman.
When I met my future wife, she was a working single mother to a wonderful baby boy. We got “hitched” quite quickly (when you know, you know)! Before I met her, I was working my way through life (some people say “college,” but I would phrase it as “partying”). We sat down to discuss our new life. She got a job while I worked and watched the boy (hers was a night shift gig). I loved being able to spend time with him. When we got pregnant again I asked her if she wanted to keep working, or would she like to stay home and raise our children (see I am not a chauvinist). She liked the idea of staying home, and I sure did too! So as a new family with two children, eventually to be three, and only one income, things were tight. People asked me how we did it and I would say, “we just do it” (Sorry Nike, its catchy). I don’t like to work, not that I am lazy, I just look at a job as a means to live. My real passion is my family, all of them. What will I do when the kids are all grown? Why, spend time with my best friend, of course.
With the internet and social media thingies (I am still clueless), Savannah is able to do what she is passionate about and earn some extra income. She also works a little outside the house; it gives her a break and gives me some good quality time just me and my babies. If the time ever comes that she makes more than I do (which would be awesome), then I have no problem staying home. But be warned, I run a tight ship!

Bio: Jeremy Butler is a working-because-I-have-to father of 3 totally different, brilliant children who like that their daddy would move heaven and earth for them, and that he is loud. He is an accomplished washer player (no really, he is), he grills, cooks, cleans, drinks beer (ok, he would like to anyways) and enjoys taking his BFF to someplace bluesy and rhymes with ‘emphis! He is forever indebted to his mother, a shining example of a real hardworking woman.

And he finally wrote his own bio.

Monday, April 11

Mom 2.0 Summit: A packing list. Sort of.

In three days, Jeremy and I are leaving for New Orleans. We're going alone, just the two of us. I am inordinately excited about spending a total of 18 uninterrupted hours with him in the car. He's my favorite person ever, and I do so love a captive audience.
I’m going to a blogging conference called Mom 2.0 Summit. Jeremy is my chauffer coming along for the fun. I have watched the internets light up for two years now, each time Mom 2.0 rolls around. This year, I’ll see it live and in person. So many bloggers that I love will be there, and I am looking forward to meeting new bloggy friends.

I’ve been mentally packing for weeks, though, in typical me fashion, I probably won’t pack until Wednesday night. You know, 8 hours before we leave.

Here’s a list I’ve been sorting through, rearranging, adding and subtracting from in my head.

What I’m taking to Mom 2.0 Summit:

• My sweet little netbook. In anticipation of all the tweeting, writing, blogging and photoediting I’d be doing in the next year, my ridiculously awesome hubby got me a Toshiba netbook this past Christmas.

• My beloved Canon, a full battery, and an empty CF card. I’ve seen the pictures that come out of some of those after-conference parties. I think I’ll be safer behind the lens, than in front. Plus, we’re going to NEW ORLEANS. Gorgeous town full of gorgeous food, buildings and people.

• My new BlackBerry. For instant tweeting, texting Jeremy about how much fun I’m having, finding other conferees, and taking notes on the fly.

(Sidenote... What I'm Not Taking: reading material. Because I’m pretty sure I won’t have time to pick up as much as a cereal box to read the back of. I’m reading some really good books right now (I have a terrible habit of switching books mid-chapter, therefore confusing the snot outta myself), but I’m not taking any of them. I can't read in the car, either, because I get carsickness like The Baby gets naked. Which means: easily and all the time. And on the off-chance that Jeremy and I run out of things to say to each other on the drive down there, I downloaded Tina Fey’s new book, Bossypants, in awesome audio form, and can listen to that for a bit.)

• My beat-up old BlackBerry. In case both my computer and my phone die, I’ll still have access to note-taking.

• My trusty iGo charger. Because I have a tendency to run down phone batteries when I’m out in public.

• My $1 Target bin Where the Wild Things Are notebook. In case I have to actually use a… what’s that thing called again?... a pen.

• My business calling blog pretty cards. Custom XM made them for me in a snap last fall, and they’ve served me well thus far. I’m gonna hand out a bazillion of them. Which reminds me…

• My Ziploc bag. To put other pretty cards in. Otherwise I’d stuff them all in my bag and I’d lose half of them. So. Ziploc bag.

• My rockstar fleur-de-lis t-shirt that I convinced my stepmother to buy for me when she dragged me into a bona fide Country &  Western store. Because fleur-de-lis = NOLA (Also, I have a long-standing and deep-rooted love of fleur-de-lis. That's another story.)

• My deodorant. Because? Nervous nerves + walking around New Orleans in April = smelly me.

• My ever-expanding Mom 2.0 Twitter list o’ fantasticness.

• My new favorite prep-post, from Amy Turn Sharp.

• My learning face. It’s hard to say whether I’m looking forward more to meeting new friends or hearing new ideas. In the great scope of blogtasticness, I’m a baby. I have so much to learn, and some of the brightest, funniest minds in the blogosphere will be there. Sitting on a stage, telling me how to Do. It. Right.

• My brave face. I’m actually sort of terrified to be walking into a room full of 400 people, knowing exactly one soul. (Hi, Kyran!)
But I’m so excited. I am so, so excited. I’ve “met” several fabulous women via the twitters, or a facebook group, or through their awesome blogs and etsy shops. I am thrilled to make real-life connections, even if it means I have physically remove myself from my comfort zone and superglue a smile on my face and shove my hand out and force myself to say, “Hi! I’m Savannah B!”

My life list. Totally crossing off #55.

I can’t wait. I can’t wait. I can’t wait.


Friday, April 8

And the Highest Hair Award goes to....

Congrats to Shanna S. from Conway, winner of the pair of tickets to see Hairspray at The Rep after the Mom & Me Matinee!

I'm so excited about the Mom & Me event. Little Rock Family magazine is sponsoring the whole shindig. Chick-Fil-A will be providing lunch, Covered in Cake is making a special Hairspray-themed cake, and, best of all, I'll get to do something fun with my mom and my oldest daughter.

Tickets are still available right here if you'd like to go, too! They start at $40, and are half-price for students.

Welcome to the 60's, Mama!


Monday, April 4

Important Hairspray Giveaway Announcement!

So, I told you I'd announce the Hairspray Mom & Me Matinee winner today, right?

Well. I lied.

The Dynamites

Well, I didn't so much lie, as I didn't have all the details at the time.
And these details are so much more fun!

Instead of announcing the winner here on the blog today, my friend (and favorite person and fellow giveaway-er) Sarabeth and I will be revealing the lucky gal(s) LIVE ON THE TEEVEE!!

The Rep is sending us to Today's THV (local channel 11) this Thursday morning at the unholy hour of 6:00 am. to talk about Hairspray, the Mom & Me lunch and shop, and to surprise the winner(s) by announcing it LIVE ON THE TEEVEE!! (Did I already say that part?)
On the teevee!

So sit tight, stay tuned, and get up early to see if you're the winner!
Don't even think about using that DVR. If I'm going on national television in front of millions lots of people I'll see in real life someday, you definitely want to tune in for real-time updates.

Tracy and her Teen Idol

And.... I'll leave the comments open until Wednesday night, if you promise to watch me.
Live. On the teevee.