Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I MUST have these

Once upon a time, I began my real world career in the shoe industry.... I was young and carefree and spent every spare $ on shoes.... (Seriously, I'd shop multiple times a wk for shoes.... bought I won't even tell you how many pairs a month!)

Fast forward to now.... it's been 6 years since I worked in shoes... I've had 2 awesome (and expensive!) kiddos.... and now it's rare that the shoe budget doesn't get eaten up by toddler sized mary janes and too expensive kicks from Stride Rite.

Therefore, I've been lusting over the idea of new boots for a few years... but haven't found anything that I just HAD to have (and that was also in that under $500 price range! I'd never spend that much, of course, it's just that the only really cool boots over the last couple yrs were insanely expensive!) ;)
Anyway, I'm currently rearranging my budget so I can afford these.... ahhhh, they make me happy!

So feast your eyes on them, while I start blogging about a semi-homemade monkey birthday party (and contemplate a part time job at Nordstrom.)

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Semi-Homemade Guide to Parenting?!?

Thanks for all the comments and concern about the health of the Semi-Homemade Family! I'm happy to report that we're all feeling well, although we got an unplanned break from work & school last week. Mr. Fix-It's grandmother passed away and we spent several days in OK, celebrating her life and spending time with family.
Meanwhile, the girl that sits by me is healthy and back at work, and The Company has sent out Flu Communication, with helpful tips, such as:
~Try to avoid close contact with people who have the flu
I already feel better......

So.... I feel like I've got lots to share with you, but I've got to get things back in order at work and home first. Until then, I'll share with you a little reading material I came across...

This is totally up my alley because:
a - I like to laugh
b - it's possible I have an unusual love of pirates
c - I'm the mom who never read any of those baby/toddler books...
I don't know how to whisper to my baby... I probably don't have the happiest baby on the block.(although mine were pretty happy, in spite of their clueless momma!)... I wouldn't know the first thing about training my kids to sleep (does that make me UNbaby wise?) I really never had time to read those books, and never really cared to (gasp!) I, ahem, like to find my own way. But.... I did read a Jenny McCarthy book or two... if it's funny and something I can relate to, I'm there! Life is serious enough as it is, right?

Therefore, The Guide to Pirate Parenting: Why You Should Raise Your Kids As Pirates and 101 Tips on How to Do It. Here's what it entails:

Never before has raising a pirate been so easy! If you're like most parents, you long to raise your children as pirates, but just don t know how. In Guide to Pirate Parenting you'll learn:
~Ten benefits of raising a pirate
~At what age your child should be able to remove a bottlecap by taking out his glass eye and using it as an opener
~The best place to maroon your disobedient child
~How to remove chewing gum or a giant octopus from your child s hair
~The difference between plundering and pillaging
~How to convert your minivan into a pirate schooner
Each information-packed section ends with, Your pirate's progress, a short quiz that shows whether your child is reaching his or her pirate development milestones.

Hee hee!! Happy Monday - and more to come soon, I'm so ready to discuss Halloween with y'all!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Swine Flu Outbreak


As of Monday, a new girl started on our team, and she so happens to sit directly facing me. As in, this close to me:

Tues morning she went home sick. And today.... yes, you guessed it.... she called in to report that she has the swine flu. Poor thing - I think she's going to be great in this job, and she's as nice as can be!

In the meantime..... I've got to make a run to Target tonight for MORE sprays, antibacterial anythings, masks, fans (you guys had some great ideas!!) And try not to go all Office Space on anyone....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Uh, would it be in poor taste?

To spray lysol directly at the woman who sits next to me... who is the LEADER of our team.... who has come into work sick today? So sick that she stayed home yesterday and saw the doctor not once, but twice today? Keep in mind my Office Space type setting here.... a sea of cubicles.... I am one cough away from something deathly, that is for certain.

And while I've got the super duper cleaning spray out... would it also be inappropriate to spray it in the general direction of the sick kiddo who was just ushered straight from the dr's office to her mom's cubicle? Okay, I'm a working mom and I totally get the challenges of having sick kiddos (I mean, how often do I come here to chat about it?) But, come on! It's almost 4:30! GO HOME and take your flu-infested kid with you!

I never was a germ-a-phobe before...... but that was before Dallas (and probably alot of other big cities, too) started reporting so many deaths of children to different strands of flu. I stayed home with G-man yesterday until he was cleared to return to school (with bronchitis... not the flu... let me be clear!) I most certainly did not bring him to the workplace to get even sicker (and oh, yeah... infect my coworkers.)

Despite the deadline I was just handed that is due tomorrow... I'm going to scoot outta here around 5:30 and run home to safety.... where at least I love and care for the germs that are waiting for me. ;)

Monday, September 21, 2009

I heart fall

And it's slowly coming to the Semi-Homemade House! With all the rain we got the weekend before last, I decided to make a big batch of chili (okay, who am I kidding? Most of you know I'll make chili in the heat of the TX summer!) and start decorating for fall. I say start because I've got several awesome semi-homemade ideas for fall.... which means I should be able to get around to 1 or 2 of them!

The only sign of fall outside so far is this:

I've got a witchy sign to add, but so far, even in the mecca of Halloween neighborhoods, no graveyards or empty coffins or witches and their cauldrons have made an appearance yet. I'm hoping to get a little something for our yard this year so we can fit in!

I love orange! My mom-in-law got me this cute berry garland and I love how it transforms our dining room. In the past, I've filled that hurricane with candy corns.... trying to decide if I'll put them somewhere else this year!

More orange, but now we're in the living room!

G-man's spider TOT tote and Big Sister's pumpkin tote are all ready for action! They're from PBK, and they run them every year - check them out here. Now we just need to decide on costumes - what are the monsters in your house dressing up as?

I'm working on something for the mantel to be ready before our Halloween party... but for now, we've got pumpkins and more pumkins. And our Countdown to the Pumpkin Patch (Big Sis is enjoying that so much!!)

See, I told you I love orange! Orange blooms and a couple little jack o lanterns and my nook has changed seasons, too!

I'm home with a sick baby today.... G-man has bronchitis! Sat night was awful, with his painful, barking cough, his restlessness, and his breathing... I had to hold him upright all.thru.the.night. Poor baby! But he was much better this morning and even played for a whole hour in his crib before finally taking a nap after lunch. Must be feeling better! And if he is.... we might run to Michael's for some supplies for a Semi-Homemade Halloween project. Boo! :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

State Fair of TEXAS

6 days, 11 hours and 47 minutes. Until Big Tex (that's him, above!) greets his first guests at the State Fair of Texas. There's nothing like it. The rides, the people, the (fried) food, the fun kid stuff! We're not going for over 3 wks, but I can't wait! We always go in the middle of the week - it's less crowded, less traffic and more kid friendly.

Last year, at 2 1/2 yrs old, Big Sis was less than 2" away from riding all those 'you must be this tall to ride this ride' signs... the 42" ones! She still had a blast on the baby rides, and something makes me think she'll choose to ride those with G-man over riding too many of the bigger kid rides.

And if you've never been, let me try to explain to you the contest that is fried food at the fair. This excerpt should do it:

In 2005, Fair organizers - determined to take the association with food to a new level - organized the first annual Big Tex Choice Awards contest.
The contest is considered a friendly food fight among Fair concessionaires. Entries must be new to the Fair, unique and taste-tempting. In mid-summer, an invitation is sent to all contracted State Fair vendors with details about the contest. Interested concessionaires submit menus to a committee for review and consideration. Often the committee will request samples for taste testing before choosing the finalists for the contest. On Labor Day, a panel of judges is on hand when the kitchen heats up for the final round of competition. Awards are presented in two categories - best taste and most creative. The competition is held prior to the opening of the Fair each year and is not open to the general public.

2005 Most Creative ~~~ Viva Las Vegas Fried Ice Cream
2005 Best Taste ~~~ Fried PB, Jelly and Banana Sandwich
2006 Most Creative ~~~Fried Coke
2006 Best Taste ~~~ Fried Praline Perfection
2007 Most Creative ~~~ Deep Fried Latte
2007 Best Taste ~~~ Texas Fried Cookie Dough
2008 Most Creative ~~~ Fried Banana Split
2008 Best Taste ~~~ Chicken Fried Bacon
2009 Most Creative ~~~ Deep Fried Butter
2009 Best Taste ~~~ Fernie's Deep Fried Peaches & Cream

All I can say is that it seems like deep fried butter is taking it to a whole new level, dontcha think?! I'm not sure I've tried any of these, but last year I tried:
Texas Tator Twisters (like homemade chips with cheese!)
Donkey tail (a hotdog wrapped in a tortilla and cheese and fried)
Fried Snickers (I know it sounds crazy and it is... but it's fried in a doughnut-type batter and covered in powdered sugar!)
Cotton Candy - I didn't have any, but Big Sis LOVED it.

Okay, I've gained weight just typing this. Jog #3 of week 4 in c25k will be happenin' tomorrow morning. I promise.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Last night, I held the season finale of True Blood hostage from Mr. Fix-It until he sat down with me and helped me decide which prints to order from our last session with Kristie. (Okay, so we couldn't do every shot in a 16x20 EVEN IF they pictures were so good they deserved to be that big. Damn recession....)

You may remember the sneak peak of G's rocker pics and both kiddos with their Texas-sized lollipops in front of the vintage candy shoppe.... but we also got this sweet picture of the 2 of them (the companion picture to this has Big Sis planting a big smooch on G-man's cheek while he grins from ear to ear - awwww!)

If you're in the area, you've seriously GOT to book a session with Kristie - she works magic. But don't say I didn't warn you if you end up wanting every.shot in a 16x20.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fall has arrived at the Semi-Homemade House!! And Halloween T-shirt sneak peek!

It rained all weekend and I actually didn't mind.... our Sat night plans cancelled Sat morning and I actually didn't mind that either. We are known for booking every spare second, cramming in more than is humanly possible... and this weekend, it was nice to just slow down, and let it rain while we played (okay, tried to corral G-man) at home. (Custom baby gate guy, we're calling you tomorrow morning. Like at 8:01am.)

Anyway, I spent a few minutes in the attic today and was pleasantly surprised that I have a few more fall/Halloween things than I remembered (which still isn't much, but)... I'll have to snap a few pics to share how fall has come to the Semi-Homemade House (even if it could likely be back in the 90s as soon as the rain moves out, but so what?)

And during a trip to Target, I got sooo excited for the Halloween costume party we're throwing next month. They had soo many cool things! I could have bought one of everything...but, thanks to this damn recession, we settled on one thing (and honestly, this was a great value!) And so... now we are the proud new owners of this:

At only $15, it scared the you-know-what outta Big Sis (of course, Mr. Fix-It was chasing her thru Target with it at the time!)
Last Halloween was our first in this neighborhood, and we realized that we were the only ones who hadn't decorated their yards/porches for the big holiday. (Everyone in the 'hood meets for pizza at the square on the big night... then splits for the TOTing.... then gets back together for an outdoor movie for the kids while the adults enjoy some BYOB - fun!)

So, to get ALL of you in the mood.... here are some of my fav Etsy finds for the little goblin you love!

This cute pumpkin shirt is from veryKIKI.... what cute stuff! If you're looking for a cute applique - owl, birdie, plane, necktie! - they've got it!

Remember My Personalized Tshirt? I told y'all about them because they did G-man's super cute 1st birthday pirate bib! They've also got cutie pie Halloween shirts for your kiddos! Love the girly skull

And this one could double as additional game day attire for my kiddos when we're watching the Pokes! (Who obviously could have used some extra cheer yesterday. Boo!) :(

I love the modern look of these shirts by Molly Caroline designs. Besides a ton of cute Halloween shirts, she also has a great selection of classic & cute gifts!

Got a monster lover? ;) Try Two Zany Zebras! They've got all the monsters covered!

This one looks like it would be sooo soft!

I love, love fall. Bring on the smells, the foods, the sports, the fun! And I'm keeping my fingers crossed that nothing comes up this week to blow my budget... because I want to head to Michael's and see what they have for the party or our yard!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where were you? 9.11.01

Wow, 8 whole years... that horrible day seems like a million years ago, yet like yesterday. Mr. Fix-It and I were living in Lawrence, KS.... we were young kiddos without many worries. But that day changed everything. For everyone.

The news traveled around the office like wild fire... TVs were set up in conference rooms, the cafeteria, the auditorium... everyone left early. I didn't have enough gas for my commute home - I waited in line for over 30 min to get gas, at what was normally a quiet, slow gas station. That day was so scary, so sad.... I couldn't - and still can't - imagine the pain those families felt. I still got choked up this morning, watching a quick recap on the news as I headed off to work...

Two weeks afterwards, Mr. Fix-It and I flew out to Vegas for a vacation. Everyone on the plane was freaked out. Probably a third of the travellers had cancelled their trips. We got to Vegas and the casino floors were quiet, the pools were half empty.

But in the midst of all the bad, came something good for our family.... in the middle of one of our favorite places (the Strip in Vegas!), Mr. Fix-It proposed (at the top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris Paris - it was sooo sweet!) With all the chaos in the world, it helped to be joined, to have that support and safety.

They did a story on the news tonight about HS seniors and how 9-11 shaped their lives. They were only 9 or 10 yrs old back then! Where were you on that day?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

C25K & New Fall TV

Seriously.... y'all know how much I've been working and how it's taking a toll on... pretty much everything. But I think the new fall tv schedule can help me get back on a regular workout routine! I've been doing The Shred 1-3 times/wk (kinda sporadic!) And I'm going to continue with that, but add back in the C25K. You may remember I was doing pretty well (before I took this job!) and even ran my 1st 5k.

Time to get back in it! I started last night with wk 3 and it was easy.... on to wk 4 starting Sun! Anyone else doing c25k right now? Or want to know more? Email me!

And what could be more perfect for recommitting yourself to the treadmill than the new lineup of fall tv!! Metroplex Baby & Kids (a great website if you live in DFW) posted this schedule, with dates of season premieres, day/time/channel info, and they even color coded it to alert you that your fav show has changed time slots!

I'm horrible at keeping up with tv, because I don't have that much time for it! I did accidentally get involved in Heroes (Mr. Fix-It loves that show.... and I'm sure it has nothing to do with the cheerleader!), although I prob miss as many episodes as I catch. (I'm confused on most of it either way, so what the hell?) ;) But looking at this list, I'm a casual viewer on these shows, at most. I randomly get inspired by Biggest Loser (I can get into it at the end, when there are less contestants!) Apparently, Dirty, Sexy, Money was cancelled and I was into that last year (apparently, I should catch up on those last few episodes on my tivo). What should I be watching? And when does Big Love come back on?!

Mmmmm..... all this fall tv makes me even more excited for fall! Good thing I just finished making a big pot of chili (I'll be working late tomorrow night, but I'll feel better knowing Mr. Fix-It and the kids are having one of their fav dinners!)

Monday, September 7, 2009


We weren't home over Labor Day weekend, so I scrapped any ideas of carrying out one of my semi-homemade ideas I've been brainstorming.... instead we turned our focus to our big passion: college football! Mr. Fix-It and I are passionate about our Oklahoma State Cowboys. Which sadly, is often heartbreaking. But win or lose, we love 'em!

And this weekend was a HUGE game! While many teams were playing the equivolent of a high school football team, the Cowboys (ranked #9!!! preseason) took on the #13 Georgia Bulldogs. And we won! Big! 24-10! Go, Pokes!!!

We weren't at the game (we were in NE Oklahoma, celebrating Mr. Fix-It's grandmother's 85th birthday), but we dressed the part! We hit up the park before gametime:

My lil linebacker loves the slide!

And Big Sis loves swings and anything that spins (I couldn't even watch her on this merry-go-round without getting dizzy!)

And G-man charmed his great-grandma by taking some steps for her! (He's so cute in that jersey! I can't wait to be a high school football mom! Okay, yes I can... he's already too grown up... but you know what I mean!)

We did head to Stillwater (home of our Cowboys) later in the weekend for Ainsley's monkey themed birthday party. I've got to get some of the pics from her momma and then I'll share her semi-homemade birthday party!

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. Wooo hoo! Go Pokes! We'll be back in Stillwater in October for one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) college homecomings! There's a walkaround on Friday night, the parade on Sat (this year's grand marshals are famous alums Barry Sanders, Robin Ventura, and Garth Brooks!), and the big game against Mizzou. OSU Homecoming is like nothing else - can't wait!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


To celebrate our 2nd annual trip to the pumpkin patch with the Everythings (and in an attempt to get more sleep!), I thought up this fun project to do with Big Sis.

See, we made the mistake of telling her we were going to the punkin patch. And, in the manner of a typical preschooler, she assumed that meant today. Or tomorrow at the latest. The next day, a Saturday, she woke us up at 5am, screaming I'm ready for the punkin patch! Get brother and let's go!
We explained to her that it was something like 42 days away..... we thought she had moved on. Then Sunday morning, she woke us up at 5:30am. (Now, let me clarify... when I say she woke us up, I mean she woke up the entire house. So no one could go back to bed. Over the last 4 yrs, I've gotten used to living on 5-6 hrs of sleep a night... but what I wouldn't do for a consistent 6+!)

We tried counting all the way to 41.... to demonstrate how FAR away it is. We told her we weren't going until it got cold outside (which is likely a lie... for Oct 3 in TX.... and she'll likely remember this... but we'll deal with that on Oct 3!)

When none of this worked, the idea for the Semi-Homemade Pumpkin Patch Countdown was born!

While I cut strips of black and orange construction paper, Big Sis worked on cutting some scrap paper with my fun scalloped scissors!

Then we began making a chain of alternating black and orange links. I just handed Big Sis a piece of tape and she did the links herself - she loved it!

I loved that Big Sis was totally capable of doing this part by herself, while I watched G-man learn how to open the bedroom door by himself (yikes!!!)
And even though we had to make 35 links, it didn't take long.....

I found a fun Halloween font (this one is Necropsy - there are lots of cool ones here) and printed our countdown on orange paper. Then I cut it into the shape of a pumpkin (and added a green stem). I took a paper hole punch to the bottom of it to make way for the tulle, which I used to fasten the chain to the pumpkin topper.

I love, love tulle.... (I know, I know, I keep promising an entire post about tulle and I haven't gotten to it! I promise I will in case anyone wants to get their big holiday tulle order in. It's about time to restock my tulle supply!) I just used it to tie the chain to the pumpkin... knotted a couple extra strips of tulle and.....

Doesn't that look fun? And festive? Big Sis gets to tear off one link of the chain every morning. She loves it and - as a bonus - it's been good motivation to get her to dress herself in a hurry. And I keep reminding her that each link equals a whole day that has to pass before we go to the pumpkin patch. I think I'm starting to get through to her... ;)

As a side note, we're still not getting any extra weekend sleep - not that this is anything new. Big Sis isn't waking up, screaming to go to the pumpkin patch, but she IS still getting up crazy early on the weekends. (She has to get up by 6:30 on weekdays, so I'm not so delusional to think that she'll actually SLEEP IN on the weekends! I'd just love her to sleep to 6:30!)

We've tried the alarm clock route... let her pick out a cute pink one that she was excited about! Told her she couldn't get up til the first number was a 7. ;) She understands the concept, but.... Then we told her she couldn't get up til the alarm went off. When it DID go off, and we'd been up with her for over an hour, we couldn't figure out what that noise was... ;)

Some of you have had other great ideas that we'll have to try.... anyone else?
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