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Life as Lou

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I Hate the DMV

  • December 30, 2011 11:44 pm

A few days ago I realized that my drivers license had expired without my knowledge.  This means that for an undisclosed number of days weeks I had actually been breaking the law every single time I got behind the wheel of my car.  I was horrified.  I stopped driving immediately.

Most people who I spoke to about this thought I was crazy.  “Carry on,” they said. “Deal with it when you get the chance.  Just don’t get caught”.  Right.  This frame of thinking doesn’t work with me.  You see, I am not the type of person to risk any minor lawbreaking because I just assume I will end up cuffed and dragged off while my children are taken into child protective custody and I end up in an interrogation room somewhere confessing to the murders of Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy.  Some people call this being neurotic; I call it having a healthy respect for the law and try to leave out the part about my overachieving guilty conscience.

Anyway. I gathered up the documents the DMV website said I would require to fix my little problem.  I had a momentary panic about not being able to locate my social security card, but realized that I could bring in my W-2 and be all squared away.  I begged convinced a friend to be my chauffeur and hired one of my favorite teenagers to watch my unruly mob, and headed out the door with my bag full of documents, twenty bucks cash, and a prayer in my heart that I wouldn’t need to take the drivers exam (like I did in Utah, California and North Dakota, thank you very much). Why all this driver’s license upheaval?  I’m a military spouse, and every time we move, I have to change everything out and it involved re-testing in many states.

So my trip to the DMV was squared away.  I felt together. I felt like this was going to be one smooth trip.  I filled out my application and gave the guy all my papers.  He filled in every single thing and then asked why I had a few different last names.  I explained that I had legally changed it when I was eighteen.  Now, it should be noted that this man had my birth certificate, my marriage license, my last two tax returns and W-2 forms, multiple pieces of mail, two expired drivers licenses and a military identification card.  I had ample proof of being who I said I was.  But, it wasn’t enough.  He wanted legal documentation of that name change from twelve years ago, even though I had proof that multiple other government agencies believed I was who I said I was.  Really?!!  Does the DMV really think they know more than the military ID issuing system?  Do they think I’ve committed fraud by paying some random person’s taxes for the past several years? UGH!

Thankfully, I do keep files.  I drove (excuse me, was driven) home where I grabbed the file that had every bit of information having to do with that issue.  Upon returning I handed him the three papers all verifying that I had, indeed, had my name changed and that I was (wait for it) who I said I was.  Well, apparently, that just wasn’t enough.  I needed the one that was notarized and more official than the official ones I had, which I did not have, and did not know the location of.

ARGHH.  I called my mother in a panic then went home and tried to find the number to the Cass County Clerk’s office (good a place as any to start looking, I supposed).  At this point, I’m assuming that getting a copy of this is going to cost me fees upon fees as well as take three to four months.  The last legal document I requested (birth certificates) took nearly two weeks- and that was expedited!  I wasn’t going to be able to drive for WEEKS!  Of course, I thanked my friend who had been so kind to ferry me back and forth, and sent her on her merry way.

It was in this panic that I suddenly felt I should go through my files again.  I pawed through my college letters of recommendation, eons old taxes, birth certificates and social security cards and there, smack dab in the middle of my frequent flyer miles was the paper I needed.

At this point the poor gal who was babysitting got told she was still stuck at my house, and I called her mother, who happens to be my dear friend and begged for a ride.  Third trip to the DMV was successful, and I am now legal.

People, I know why driver’s license photos are always so bad.  It is really hard to look cute when you’ve been at that level of stressed and just plain pissed off for three consecutive trips to the DMV.

 

Is Bird Dog

  • December 28, 2011 1:27 am

Bird dog. Angry bird dog, that is.

Now, Who Were Those Christmas Winners?

  • December 25, 2011 3:55 pm

A favorite Christmas layout from days gone by

I woke up this morning and thought- I’d better go pick some winners for the Nook kit give-a-way, so here I am on Christmas morning hoping to give two lucky ladies an extra Christmas surprise!

For the runner up, who wins one beautiful kit:

Congrats to Sherri Vavra!

And for our grand prize, three month subscription, and extra Merry Christmas to. . .

Jennifer of Jennifer’s Crafty Creations!

If both of you would shoot me your contact info, I’ll get the ball rolling on those kits!

 

Thank you to all who played along and I hope you can all try out the kits at My Scrapbook Nook this year!  Here’s to a crafty 2012!

Poinsettia Magic Box

  • December 21, 2011 7:04 pm

This pretty poinsettia box can hold lots of goodies.  The paper is Basic Grey, and the flower is a Lifestyle Crafts die.

 

The Magic? Four more little boxes, great for earrins, chocolates, gift cards. . .the possibilities are endless! For full instructions (of course I have them for you!)  See my blog right here.

Like this project?  Leave me a little Christmas love by sharing on Facebook, Pinning to Pinterest or Suggesting a Stumble on Stumble Upon!  Share the creativity!  If you get a chance to make one of these, I’d love to see what you did! Thanks for looking!

Christmas Vacation! No School! Panic! Mayhem! Depression! Tears!

  • December 19, 2011 5:42 pm

Jonas' Christmas Piano Recital

 

Actually, total stress and unhappiness is what I am trying to avoid over the next two weeks.  Sixteen days, to be precise. So I have made a list of things to do.  In case you need ideas, I’m sharing them with you.

1- Bake.  Then bake some more.  We will be making lots of Christmas goodies.

2- Deliver said baked goods to friends.

3- Visit the Jolly Lane Greenhouse and use their free Christmas photo backdrop and snap some shots of the kids.

4- Waste all the copy paper in the house making snowflakes- then hang them all over.

5- Watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  And “White Christmas”.  And “Rudolph”. And “Charlie Brown”.

6- Take the dog for walks.

7- Bundle up and go to the park.

8- Teach the kids how to make Magic Boxes.

9- Design Thank You cards for after gifts are opened.

10- Shop for Angel tree kids.

11- Pray for snow.

12- Read the Christmas Story.  Act it out with the Nativity Sets.

13- Watch the Living Scriptures Christmas Story (they are giving away free copies on their Facebook page).

14- Think of something nice we can do for someone else.

15- Wrap the Sibling Gifts.

16- Clean and de-junk bedrooms.

17- Open the gifts and play with them!

18- Play games.

19- Read all the books in our Christmas book collection (all 47).

20- Finish reading the Book of Mormon as a family so we can start fresh in 2012!

That’s all I have on the list so far.

Puppy Puddles And The Hot, Hot Dryer

  • December 16, 2011 4:03 pm

(Is that not the cutest little dog toy ever?  Christmas bulbs on a rope!)

We have a new puppy.  We also have three feisty children. It adds up to a ridiculous amount of chaos and I am clearly beginning to lose. my. mind.

You see, the puppy is not housebroken, and I am having to beg, plead and whine to get a little help in this area.  To top it off, every time I do get help, or opt to just take him out myself, little Watson gets so excited at the prospect that he piddles (usually just a teensy bit, but sometimes it’s a full blown flood).  This all ends up in the bottom of his kennel, messes his snuggly blankie and his squishy-squashy bed, and everything stinks.

It should be noted here that I HATE the smell of urine.  Icky, cloying, gag-worthy pee is not something I want my house to smell like anytime, let alone Christmas time when a constant stream of visitors are arriving.  Because of this, I have been diligently scrubbing out every single puddle, every single time it happens which is at least six times a day.

Knowing the intense level of repetition and sheer exhaustion involved here, it is no wonder that this afternoon, shortly before company arrived, I made a fool of myself.

I took the kennel apart and threw it in the bathtub for deep cleaning with lots of bleach spray and hot water.  The bedding that Watson had so graciously christened a few minutes earlier had been moved to the laundry room.  Now, when I came back to deal with the laundry, I found the bed half-dry in the dryer and the blanket all spun out and ready to take out of the washer.  Awesome, I thought.  I might actually have this handled BEFORE company arrives!  I put them both together into the dryer and set it on high.

I went around the house getting my clean on.  Occasionally I would come into the laundry room with something that needed putting away, and every time I did, I was met with the most rank urine odor ever!  I searched the room.  Had I missed something?  Was there a puddle I was unaware of?  A towel a kid had used to sop up pee and then crammed into a corner?

I walked in and out of this room for a good thirty minutes, stopping each time to sniff the rug, the random pieces of laundry- perplexed and thoroughly grossed out.  To top it off, the smell was getting worse!  This was no longer at diaper level- this was steaming hot urine, and the smell was beginning to travel OUT of the laundry room and I had COMPANY COMING!  ACK!

Suddenly I was struck with a possibility.  That blanket that I thought had been so amazingly well wrung out when I added it to the dryer. . . could that have been only slightly damp because I never actually RAN the washer, but in fact threw about a cup of feces into my dryer and proceeded to fluff, tumble and heat it up for the past thirty minutes? OH GAG!

Yes, there has been bleach in my life today.  Lots of it.

 

 

 

 

Sacked Out

  • December 14, 2011 3:37 pm

Watson is growing.

We have been careful to keep his kennel at a comfortable, but not too large size so it would help with potty training by exploiting the instinct not to soil the den.  So far, it has worked well.  He only tinkles a bit from excitement and not from, “Oh gee, this looks like a great place to relieve myself”.  For such a young pup (15 weeks) he is actually doing pretty well with the housebreaking. (I have to keep telling myself this because I loathe potty training humans and dogs and want it over with yesterday).

We realized he might need a little more space yesterday, so when I cleaned out the kennel, I removed the divider, figuring I could just put it back in if it became an issue.

I don’t think we have a problem.

I walked into the room earlier today and found Watson completely sacked out, ears flopping out of one end and puppy toes pressed against the other.  He was so relaxed that he hardly budged when I grabbed the camera and got in his face to take photos. Dude was comfortable and staying that way.

I think he likes his little den.

Christmas Baking With Augason Farms

  • December 13, 2011 7:00 pm

 

It is Christmas baking time here at my house, and the goodies just keep coming! I decided to learn how to better use some of my Augason Farm’s food storage to help with the holidays.  Sometimes people look at a food storage list and can’t fathom why there would be cookie mix and brownies and hot cocoa.  These, while not nutritionally sound, are actually important parts of a food storage because of the psychological benefits that are had by having access to comfort foods during times of turmoil.  Everything might be falling apart around you, but eating a brownie usually makes a person feel like she can carry on.  It is also important to keep these items on hand to help you celebrate birthdays and holidays with a feeling of normalcy.  This isn’t just me talking- there is actual scientific proof behind that!

So, without further ado, bring on the sweeties!

Today we have thumbprint cookies, brownie mix cookies and mint brownies!  The base of each of these recipes is an Augason Farms mix, either the gluten free cookie mix (yum!) or the fudge brownie mix (also, yum).

Brownie Cookies

1 pkg. Augason Farms fudge brownie mix
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. vegetable oil
3 tbsp. water
2 eggs

optional add ins:
1/2 c. chopped nuts
1 c. chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips or M&M’S®

Combine all ingredients. Bake until just set at 350 degrees about 9-10 minutes. Let cool and then ice with your favorite icing.  Sprinkles are a MUST!

Thumbprint Cookies

These are usually called raspberry thumbprint cookies or apricot or strawberry.  The thing is, you can use any type of jam or fruit you have on hand.

1 pkg Augason Farms gluten free cookie mix

1 cup of flour (gluten free works)

chopped pecans

1/2 tsp almond extract

jam

or

Augason Farms fruit of your choice plus 1 cup sugar.

Mix up your cookie mix per directions on the can, add the flour and extract, then roll into balls.  They should be sticky, but not gloopy.  If you need to add a bit more flour based on altitude, go ahead.

Once your balls are made, lay them on a cookie sheet and firmly press your thumb into the center of each cookie.

Here is the tricky part.  If you have jam, you can scoop it into the indentations you have made.  If you have fruit and sugar, boil it down in a pot, stirring continually until it is runny.  I use a table spoon to scoop the mixture into the prints.  Hint: even if you are using pre-made jam, heating it up so it is runny makes it ten times easier to put it into the thumbprints.

I love these with chopped pecans, my kids don’t.  So I make a few of both.  Sometimes you feel like a nut.  Sometimes you don’t.  You can have it both ways with these.

These need to bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes or until a light golden brown.

Layered Mint Brownies

Brownie layer

Prep brownie mix and bake as directed on your package.

Let it cool then make the rest of the layers

Mint layer

2 tbsp softened butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1-1/2 tbsp heavy cream

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

green food coloring optional (I opt out because I don’t think we need any more food coloring than we are already ingesting, but that’s just me being a killjoy).

Frost the brownies with this layer and let it set for about a half an hour.

Chocolate Layer

semisweet chcolate chips or baking bar (about 3 oz)

1 tbsp butter

Melt these ingredients in a double boiler and pour over the top.  You can drizzle or make a complete chocolatey layer.  I do both.  If you are loathe to double boil, you may also skip the butter and chop the chocolate as fine as you are able and just put it right on the top. All three ways are excellent- we are talking about chocolate here.

Now you are ready to take a beautiful basket of treats to your friends and neighbors!

Augason Farms is also a great Christmas gift option, and can provide security for college students, newlyweds, aging parents and families who need a jump start on stocking their pantries and becoming more secure.  This year I am giving Augason Farms cocoa as well as some of their great kits and packs.  Chris and I love trying out new cocoas and the large variety of flavors Augason farms offers is great!  Chris fancies the hazelnut best, and I love the mint and the cinnamon.  There are also orange, raspberry, candy can, marshmallow and plain varieties.  Snag yourself a few to keep you warm this winter and a few more to keep that pantry stocked!

Merry Christmas and Happy Baking to all!

 

Going Out Of My Way

  • December 12, 2011 6:11 pm

 

“Alice. . . explained, as well as she could, that she had lost her way.

‘I don’t know what you mean by your way,’ said the Queen: ‘all the ways about here belong to me — but why did you come out here at all?’ she added in a kinder tone. ‘Curtsey while you’re thinking what to say, it saves time.’” – Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carrol  

I have been blessed with many opportunities to be of service lately.  I haven’t done anything grand.  I’ve watched friends children, shared baked goods and meals, given Christmas gifts, listened when someone needed to be heard, ironed a shirt and washed tiny, grubby hands, to name a few.  Some of these things are a part of my every day, but many have required going out of my way.

These opportunities have come while I have been pondering how a person can consecrate her life to Christ, and about what that really means.  “To consecrate” something is to make it holy, to dedicate it specifically for a purpose.  Many of us would like our lives to have more meaning; we want to see the sacred beauty in life with clarity.  But the spiritually pure is hard to see, even if we know it is there, and especially when we feel at the mercy of the threatening, all consuming minutia that can fill our days and so easily blind us to anything but the next worldly triumph or catastrophe.

Yesterday, in Sunday School our teacher mentioned good works.  We read in James that ‘faith without works is dead’(James 2:26). We demonstrate our faith through our works, and in so doing, draw nearer to Christ in action and in heart. I couldn’t help but consider that we are also commanded to become like the Savior, who spent His entire, perfect life in unheralded service.  His good works had great meaning, and if there is anything that we could do to ‘be ye therefore perfect,’ (Matt 5:48) it would have to begin with service.  Our acts of service are so much smaller than His, and yet can have significant meaning, particularly when we consecrate those moments to God.  When, in the right spirit, we wash a dish for our family, change a diaper or take a little extra time to bring a meal to someone in need we are taking the time to go out of our way- and into His way.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (scripture: Isaiah 55:8-9; KJV).

Unlike the queen in Alice and Wonderland, all ways are not the Lord’s ways.  He gives us the incredible gift of choice, and we are free to choose liberty or captivity by how we use the time He has given us (2 Nephi 2:27).  I was struck by the thought yesterday that I was happiest when I was going out of my way, and that perhaps the whole point is to go out of our way and into His better, holier, more perfect way.  Most of the time when we feel like we have lost our way, we have actually forsaken God’s way, and the disconnect that follows is profound.

With this new year approaching, I am taking time to ‘consider my ways’ (Haggai 1:5-6) and recommitting to walk always in His way, especially when that means going out of mine.

Snow Pup

  • December 8, 2011 6:59 pm

This is Watson.  He’s a hunk-a hunk-a puppy love.

He looks adorable in this photo.

 

This is what he usually looks like.  A liver and white blur.

A very enthusiastic, bouncing, running, curly ears flapping in the wind kind of wild pup.

Also, he has a cold nose.  With snowflakes.  And people eyes.

They are beautiful.

How do you not love a squishy-face like that?