Monthly Archives: September 2012

Five on Friday

1.  Yesterday I had to attend a fancy lunch with Craig downtown. (For most people, it would just be called a business lunch but in Susie world  if it requires wearing pantyhose on a Thursday and eating salad comprised of something other than iceberg/romaine, it’s FANCY.)   My inner introvert was a little uncomfortable at the prospect of a room full of strangers so I took a friend with me.

My friend K gave me this bangle for my birthday last year and since I admire her ability to be at ease and make friends in any situation (or at least fake it beautifully), I took her along for moral support.

And at the meal I was fortunately seated next to a lovely older woman who had a gorgeous vintage mirrored box  purse so it wasn’t hard at all to find a way to strike up a conversation.

2.  Speaking of vintage, my parents will be amused by my latest find at the North Raleigh Mission Thrift Shoppe, a Samsonite Sherbrooke train case.

My mom had one (in gray if I’m remembering correctly) that she used for her makeup and jewelry when we traveled back in the day and when I saw this orange one on the shelf, I just HAD to have it.  It was only $8, in perfect condition – just needs a little airing out after having been stored in a closet for who knows how long-  and I can’t wait to take it on my next trip.

3.  I have GOT to devise a better strategy for keeping up with keys.  I am getting a *little* better about keeping up with my car keys but temporarily misplace the back door keys at an alarming rate and last night’s twenty-minute hunt officially sent my better half over the edge.

This may call for hightailin’ it to the nearest gas station to steal one of those wooden boards they use for the restroom keys.  Surely I couldn’t lose that, right?

4.  I’m skipping 4 today because I want to end on 5.

5.  I finally got the nerve to serve the family some of the green beans that I canned earlier in the summer and everyone woke up this morning not dead from botulism so that makes me happy.

Have a nice day.

In which I channel my inner Martha

My friend Adrienne Who Lives In The Comments pinned a cute art project on her craft board the other day and I immediately began obsessing.

photo snagged from southern belle/mountain bride

Craig says, “Wake up, little Susie!” most mornings as I’m fumbling for the handle on the coffee pot so I thought this would be a perfect little something to hang in the kitchen to bring a little cheer.

After a flat tire, three false starts/trips to Michael’s in vain search of vinyl cling letters which are NOT the same as stickers which I had to return because they STICK, a trip to Staples for said letters, and $38 in unrelated purchases at both stores, I was ready to start.

Side note: Before I married my husband, I changed my own oil and tires.  Then I got married and it’s the last time I touched my car.  He was out of town yesterday so I had to rally and figure out how to use the air compressor. 

Felt like Rosie the Riveter

While the kids were having their after school meals snacks of Ramen noodles and chicken linguine (apparently I didn’t pack enough lunch), I set up camp with my supplies.

I ripped this sheet of music out of a very old book and felt Don Victoriano, my 6th grade piano teacher, roll over in his grave.  I trimmed it to fit an 8×10 canvas and applied a layer of Mod Podge to the back to affix it.

Ranger Rick Crafty Tip:  Use the glue sparingly.  If it’s too thick, it will soak your paper and when you try to pull the vinyl letters up at the end of the project, it may tear the paper a bit.  Don’t ask me how I know this.

Next came the tricky part for those of us who aren’t, how shall I say it, DETAIL ORIENTED.  I had to place the individual letters to the canvas and while the staff lines certainly helped, the letters were super sticky and I had a hard time getting them off my fingers and aligning them properly so for about 10 minutes I looked like the cat whose foot got stuck on the masking tape and couldn’t shake it off.

Ranger Rick Crafty Tip:  Use tweezers.

Then came the easy part – I slapped on one coat of Cherry acrylic paint (50 cents, 30 if I had remembered my coupon) and then lifted up the letters while it was still wet (not sure if I should have let it dry or not – I was afraid the cling letters wouldn’t lift but next time I might let it dry to see if it helps with not lifting up the print) and, voila!

And in a perfect world/once I find a nail, this is where it will go.

But my house is rarely the perfect world hence this picture which is what my new art looked like sitting on the counter after I fixed an “easy, no-mess” supper of soup and sandwiches.

Just keepin’ it real.

Martha would be proud.

Have a nice day.

P.S. Tutorial for project is here.

Chatty McChatimus

I’m on my third cup of coffee, zippy with the adrenaline that comes from getting the kids to the bus stop with seconds to spare, and hopped up on sugar from this morning’s cinnamon toast so there’s no telling where this post will go.

Hang on.

We had a good weekend.  Craig told me we had a dinner engagement with some of his co-workers so I spent most of Friday afternoon flat-ironing unruly hair layers into submission and just as I was about to squeeze myself into the one pair of dress jeans that fit (see “cinnamon toast for breakfast” x many mornings), he walked in and said he had the date wrong and we were supposed to go out on Saturday night.  Not one to waste lipstick, I made him take me out anyway because SOMEONE was going to see the hair I spent thirty minutes fixing.

We took the boys for haircuts Saturday afternoon and then went to the park to hang out with Heather and her kiddos and by “hang out” I mean Heather and I chatted and were only vaguely aware of where our children were at any given time.

I just realized this picture makes us look like it’s rec time at the state pen.

The kids played on the jungle gym which technically was for kids up to the age of twelve but my boys are just barely thirteen so I was letting it slide.  The crazy lady who came and fussed at them for no reason must have thought Tommy was a little bit older than that.  I can’t imagine why.

Then we went home and showered and got ready AGAIN for the work dinner and met up with our party at Midtown Grill and don’t you know it KILLED ME to not whip out my camera and take pictures of my food for the blog but I had to act mature for Craig’s sake so I declined but if all those other people wouldn’t have been there, I’d have been all OVER the Berkshire pork chop with chipotle grits and summer vegetable ragout from about six different angles.

This week looks to be fairly manageable which is a welcome change.  I have a couple of school parent/teacher conferences, some physical therapy sessions, and Thursday the stitches get taken out of my shoulder. The kids track out at the end of the week which means that I need to start stocking the pantry for the 24 hour a day grazing which will immediately commence.

Those little urchins cleaned me out of an ENTIRE batch of snickerdoodles yesterday when they got off the bus.

This means war.

And now my coffee cup is empty which either means it’s time for a refill or I need to summon the wherewithal to say a quart is enough.  Thanks for stopping in to chat with me this morning.

Have a nice day.


Five on Friday

1.  Travis’ cast is completely off.

I would show you a picture of the momentous occasion but my phone went on the fritz while I was in the doctor’s office and let me tell you, two hours of sitting in a waiting room without access to the Internets taught me all I need to know about my little problem with “iPhone Addiction Syndrome”.  Horror of horrors, I had to resort to reading this thing called a “magazine” made of this other thing called “paper” and you had to manually turn the pages with your hand.

I ’bout came unglued.

Oh, wait, this story was about T’s cast coming off, wasn’t it?  Focus, Susan, focus.

So the cast came off and we came straight home by way of the AT&T store to get my phone fixed and I plopped him into the jacuzzi where he soaked for about an hour until his skin was good and pruney and then I started washing his leg that hadn’t seen the light of day for two months and it was, um, how shall I say it delicately, DISGUSTING AND I GAGGED.  We’ve lotioned daily since then and his skin is now pink and healthy and not gross any more and we are just left with a few scars here and there which brings me to my second point.

2.  In the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” category, I have a new scar.

Earlier in the summer I noticed a spot on my shoulder that looked a little funny and, of course, did nothing about it because I live in denial most days  figured it would have to be taken off and I don’t like doctors just didn’t have time for that with T’s surgery and recovery so I ignored it like an idiot and it got worse. Craig made me get it checked as soon as T went back to school and sure enough, the PA said it needed to come off because it was basal cell cancer which of all the kinds to have is the best.  She said it would be a minor procedure and I’d have a couple of stitches and life would go on.

She lied.

NINE STITCHES later during which I could hear them SNIP MY SKIN WITH SCISSORS and I had to dig deep so as not to WIG OUT, I’m left looking a bit Bride of Frankenstein-ish.

Ranger Rick Suzie tip: Wear sunscreen.

3.  My parents came for a visit.

We washed clothes took Dad out for his birthday, washed clothes decorated for fall, washed clothes made chocolate pie, washed clothes and drove thirty minutes to Historic Hillborough to spend the day sight-seeing only to discover that Hillsborough is historically CLOSED on Monday.

So we came home and washed clothes.

4.  Mom and I were crafty.

She helped me make these pumpkin decorations for the front porch.  They are a hybrid of a couple of Pinterest ideas and I’m generally happy with how they turned out.  So that I wouldn’t have to worry about ants or rotting pumpkin goo dripping all over the place, I used craft pumpkins from Michael’s (I think they are half-off now) and wrapped bittersweet garland around them.  To give them some height,  I set them on top of a grapevine wreath covered in Spanish moss.

And the best thing?  No watering.


We also made a monogrammed wreath using instructions found in this tutorial 


The instructions said the wreath would be full and fluffy and I can attest to that because I have to adjust the leaves just so I can close the door but I’m happy with how it looks and don’t want to jinx anything by rearranging so we’re just going to live with it like that until November when everything comes down in order to decorate for Christmas.

5. My parents left.

I have been very a little bit sad about that the last couple of days but have consoled myself with the special container of chicken salad and the last piece of chocolate pie that Mom tucked in the fridge before pulling out of the driveway.

I know I say it every time they leave but will say it again:  I love North Carolina but I hate living so far away from my people.  I wish we lived even a day’s drive closer so that we could be together more often but until Craig’s company opens another office in Tennessee or Texas, it’s not going to happen.  I guess that means I’ll keep the interstate hotels and gas stations in business for another year.

And do my own laundry.

Have a nice day.

My mom is here

We are busy!


In which Google is my friend

I was cleaning the kitchen Sunday night around 8:30 and asked my oldest what he wanted for breakfast in the morning.

I’ve found that this particular conversation goes a little more smoothly when he’s awake than when he’s not.  And by “smoothly” I mean I don’t get my head bitten off.

He takes after his mother. 

Morning is not his friend.

He suggested that pancakes might be a good option and I was happy about that because I had a pack of frozen Eggo minis so I thought we were good to go.  “Not those.  The real kind.”

Panic might have set in.  I’m not the breakfast person around here because I can’t be trusted to operate any heavy machinery or sharp objects without at least two cups of coffee under my belt.  Craig typically handles meal prep while I get the non-communicative tasks of the morning routine like flipping on light switches and shaking kids awake but he was out of town so it was all going to be on me.

“We can do this!” I cried.

And went to the pantry to look for Bisquick. And we were out.

No problem, I know where Google is.  I typed in “overnight pancake recipe” and found one that looked tasty and went to the fridge for the first ingredient (buttermilk) and saw that we were out.  No problem, I googled “how to make your own buttermilk” and then went to grab the two cups of milk I would need.

And we were out.


So I went to the grocery store for buttermilk and regular milk and why didn’t I just grab a box of Bisquick???? and got back home and proceeded to  make my recipe.  I was doing fine until I got to the fourth ingredient, baking powder.

And we were out.

The Google tab was still open so I typed in “substitute for baking powder” and discovered you can make your own baking powder with 2 parts cream of tartar and 1 part baking soda.  I always have cream of tartar  because you never know when the mood to make Snickerdoodles will strike  so I made a batch of alternative baking powder and proceeded with the recipe and was feeling pretty sporty about my ingenuity.  I put everything in the fridge, cleaned up the mess, and went to turn out the lights to go to bed.

And then I thought I should probably take two minutes and set the table for the morning so it would be one less thing I had to do. I put out the plates and silverware and went to grab the peanut butter (if you don’t eat peanut butter on your pancakes, we can’t be friends) and searched the pantry for the syrup, but guess what?

We were out.

It was at this point that sacrificing a chicken to appease the angry kitchen gods started to look like a good option but I went back to the computer to find out  “how to make your own pancake syrup” and at 10:00 at night I was standing over the cooktop stirring sugar at a full rolling boil for two minutes and adding vanilla and four-year old maple flavoring from a previous ill-fated attempt at fudge.

And then the kids woke up Monday morning and said they wanted eggs.

Have a nice day.


Five on Friday

1. After 16 years of marriage, the husband has made a polite request to no longer see steamed broccoli on the table. I am frantically searching for new methods of preparation because broccoli is one of the few vegetables upon which ALL the Carpool Kids agree. Ack!

2. I got a new oven and am no longer burning biscuits, cookies, casseroles and basically everything that went in the door. My family is happy.

3. It’s quite possible that my head will explode before the elections take place. I enjoy partisan politics tremendously and for the past two weeks have yelled at the television with the enthusiasm and volume most often reserved for team sports or a battle cry. It either needs to be November 6 or a Xanax at this point.

4. Cold front coming through tomorrow to drop us out of the 90s. Time for fall decorating!

5. As I type this at 5:45 on a Friday afternoon, there is no active or willful movement towards a supper plan. Sadly, I used my pizza chit earlier in the week. I’m hoping a cheerful, cheesy grin when C walks in the door earns us a trip to the neighborhood Mexican joint.

If that doesn’t work, I’ll pull out some broccoli.

Have a nice day.