Monday, October 24, 2011

The Art of Pumpkin Carving

Hello readers,
So, it's been a very busy October.  I was going to get to this last week but it just flew by like the Wicked Witch of the West.  :)

The last post was about pumpkins.  Today, let's talk about carving these beauties.  Let's make something clear from the beginning though.  I have absolutely no talent when it comes to this hobby.  I stink at it.  For one thing, I do not have the patience.  By the time I am done cleaning out the pumpkin, I'm ready to throw it out into the garden for compost.

Luckily, my husband has a knack for this particular thing and does a beautiful job. The first years we were married he amazed me with his BYU cougar pumpkin, Garfield, Batman symbol and one of my personal favorites, The Trucker Flap Girl.  Unfortunately, most of these were carved before the digital age and I don't have readily available pictures of these.  That is one reason we have gone to carving artificial pumpkins so that I can enjoy these year after year AND the girls can take theirs when they have their own homes.   

So the first thing I would recommend when carving pumpkins is to have patience.  Of course, my husband is a very patient man.  (He is married to me after all.)  Next, it's important to pick the proper shape and size.  It really depends on your pattern.  I think all growing up the only pumpkins I ever saw were the usual smiley or angry face ones.  It wasn't until later that patterns became available and it became an art form for anybody willing to pick up a toothpick and a knife.  Over the years, it has become more complex and amazing and now there are whole sites devoted to the patterns etc.  If you want to have some fun, just check out these sites.  For a donation or small fee you can have the pattern of your choosing.

You can buy a kit which includes the scraper, toothpick and knife and also a book of patterns for less than $10.  Once you have picked a pattern and printed it, you just clean out the pumpkin and scrape whichever wall of the pumpkin you want to place your pattern as thin as possible.   I've heard this allows for a cleaner design.  You cut the sides of your pattern in order to bend it around and then tape it to the appropriate side.  You can brush some flour over the image to make it show up a little better.  Begin with the small pieces and work your way to the bigger ones.  A smooth action with more speed and less pressure while sawing up and down is best.  Holding the pumpkin in your lap is also a good idea in order to hold it steady.  Please supervise your young children and be careful if using real knives. 

You can pick up the artificial ones at your local craft store.  The same suggestions apply here except that you do not have to clean it out.  These pumpkins also tend to create more "dust".   

This Halloween tradition has been super fun and memorable for our family and I hope it will be for your family too.

Just a note,
I am donating $2 from each sale of my Breast Cancer Awareness magnets to the Susan G Komen Foundation. 

Until next time,

Crazed Momma aka Naquai

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's Pumpkin Time!

So right along with my post from last week come this week's post about something I really am crazy about too.  I really like to grow pumpkins.  They make me happy.  Of course, you have to start growing pumpkins in all its glorious forms in May or June, but now is the time that these wonderful plants come to fruition so to speak.

There are many reasons why I love to grow them.  They are easy for one thing.  It may be where I live, but growing pumpkins in Utah hasn't been that difficult.  You just place seeds in the ground and as long as you water it (and the squash bugs don't consume the plants) you should end up with some fun decorations for Halloween and maybe even Thanksgiving.  As usual, in honor of these awesome fruits (yes they are fruits) here are a few fun facts:

Pumpkin Facts

  • Pumpkins are grown primarily for processing with a small percentage grown for ornamental sales through you-pick farms, farmers' market and retail sales.
  • Around 90 to 95% of the processed pumpkins in the United States are grown in Illinois.
  • Pumpkin seeds can be roasted as a snack.
  • Pumpkins contain potassium and Vitamin A.
  • Pumpkin flowers are edible.
  • Pumpkins are used to make soups, pies and breads.
  • The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.
  • Pumpkins are members of the vine crops family called cucurbits.
  • Pumpkins originated in Central America.
  • In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
  • Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.
  • Pumpkins range in size from less than a pound to over 1,000 pounds.
  • This year's largest pumpkin weighs a whopping 1810 pounds!!  (Picture at top)
  • The name pumpkin originated from "pepon" – the Greek word for "large melon."
  • The Connecticut field variety is the traditional American pumpkin.
  • Pumpkins are 90 percent water.
  • Pumpkins are fruit.  See I told you!  :)
  • Colonists sliced off pumpkin tops; removed seeds and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. This was baked in hot ashes and is the origin of pumpkin pie.
  • Native Americans flattened strips of pumpkins, dried them and made mats.
  • Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine.

A couple of other reasons I personally love them is because they spread easily and cover a large area with beautiful green leaves.  I use them in my front flower bed for just this reason.  I also love pumpkin pie, pumpkin carving, pumpkin bread with chocolate chips, and the pumpkin spice smell.  It's a very essential part of Autumn for me.  Stay tuned for my next blog which covers one of our favorite things to do in October which is pumpkin carving.  My husband is a pro!

Until next time! 

Crazed Momma

Here's a new set of Fall magnets!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's Autumn Time!

So, it's been a few weeks since I have posted.  I don't know about you, but it seems that as soon as school starts our lives get busy, busy, busy.  I'm sure this is true of anyone who is either going to school, works at a school or has children in school.  It's just a fact of life.

Now that it is almost October, I thought I would reflect on autumn.  Fall or autumn is actually my favorite time of year.  In Texas, it meant the weather would cool off finally and marching band was in full swing.  I was a bell set player in my marching band and those memories are still to this day some of my favorites.

It's also a time for football games.  The funny thing about football is I attended every game for four years because I was in the marching band.  Did I have a clue as to what was going on?  NO!  How silly is that?  I just knew that when we scored a touchdown we played the fight song.  :)

Homecoming was always a really big deal.  It is not a tradition here in Utah that I have seen,  but in Texas at Homecoming girls would receive mums and boys would receive garters.  The mums were usually gold because my school colors were black and gold and they were HUGE.  I mostly remember the smell.  It was something to receive a live mum with an awesome smell and glitter and ribbons.  You had to make sure you wore a tight enough shirt in order to keep from exposing yourself  :) I loved getting the live mums but you could also get fake ones and hang them up to enjoy all year long.  I actually had a boyfriend who took the time with his mother to make one for me.  So wonderful.  To this day,  I still love mums and the smell. 

This weekend is Homecoming and my 20 year high school reunion.  I will not be there, but I will definitely be thinking of all those that shared that special time in my life with me.  Facebook has been a wonderful tool in enabling me to connect again with those people and not feel so isolated from my past.  It helps me to remember who I am because of who I was and how I was raised.

I love autumn here in Utah because of the colors.  There is a true turning of the leaves and the mountain that I look out my window at every day is alive with oranges, yelllows and reds.  We always try as a family to go up the canyon and enjoy nature's show once during October.  I also love the crispness in the air in the morning, the smell of wood smoke and the winding down of the garden and harvesting of goodies such as pumpkins.  It seems that it comes faster and faster each year and I guess that's just part of getting older.

As always, I have some cute autumn magnets in my Etsy store.  Do you have a favorite thing about autumn?  Please share!

Until next time,

Crazed Momma

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chihuahua Chum

Hello readers!  You may wonder why it looked like I titled this post chihuahua "fish bait".  Well, I'm not talking about that definition of the word today.  I am referring to this one.

chum n. An intimate friend or companion

This Sunday marked a sad day for my mom, dad, and little sister.  They had to say goodbye to Robbie, their little chihuahua. He was more than a dog, more than just a pet.  He was a part of the family.  For anyone who has grown close to an animal, this is a hard thing.  There are so many reasons why. 

Dogs especially are wonderful.  As Josh Billings an American humorist said, "A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself."  I am sure most parents would disagree with this statement but you get the point.  Besides, you can't snuggle with a fish.

In honor of Robbie, who by the way was a character and lots of fun to have around, here are some fun facts about these little canines.
  • Chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog in the world.
  • Aztec and Toltec tribes of Mexico considered the Chihuahua to be a sacred animal.
  • Chihuahuas make up the oldest dog breed on the American continent. They were brought to Europe at the end of the nineteenth century only.
  • In comparison to the size of its body, a Chihuahua has the largest brains amongst all the breeds of dogs.
  • Most of Chihuahuas are born with floppy ears. However, they stand up as the dog gets older.
  • The dog Chihuahua is named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
  • Chihuahuas were used as hot packs in ancient times for aches and pains  (it's true, they do love to burrow down in the covers near your back etc.)
  • They have a life span of 15+ years (this was a major surprise to my husband.)  Cheeto is my chihuahua and he is still getting around even though he is an old man at 15.
One fact that is neither fact nor fiction is that chihuahuas help people with asthma.  I mention this fact because it is the reason that we acquired chihuahuas in the first place when my baby sister was small. 

I have had the pleasure of being around six chihuahuas in my lifetime so far and these puppies can be fierce and protective and very loyal.  They may not be for everyone, but they have been a part of my life and I wouldn't trade those memories for anything.  Thanks for the love DJ, Picante, Charlie, Cheeto, Chiquita, and of course Robbie.  

I even made some magnets with these little guys!

Until next time, 

Crazed Momma

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Hello class!  Today were are going to discuss something that drives me crazy.  I know what you are thinking.  She is so calm and happy all the time how can something possibly drive her nuts.  For those of you who don't know me I am most of the time in a snit about something.  I just hide it well.  Maybe it's because of my Texan upbringing.  :)

I have noticed a trend over the last several years where the retail markets and stores in general are putting items out for a certain time or holiday earlier and earlier.  I HATE this.  Part of the reason that I enjoy living in this area is because we have true seasons.  There are only two seasons in Texas where I grew up.  Extremely hot or extremely cold with freezing winds.  This part of Utah has genuine seasons.  We have warm summers, snow in winter, rain in spring, and beautiful autumn leaves in fall.  I love to decorate my house each month with a certain theme or for the appropriate holiday.  It's something I inherited from my mother.

So anyway, back to my point.  I am tired of having the kids get out of school and the next week seeing lunch boxes and notebooks in Wal-Mart.  I am sad about the fact that my local craft store has it's Christmas stuff out.  When I was looking for things for my Christmas tree I actually found ornaments that were perfect for my tree that were meant for Easter.  Ok, maybe that was a good thing, but still. 

Having opened an Etsy store I am understanding more and more why this is important.  There is competition to get your things out there in the market first.  It is hard for me because most of the time I don't have money for the items I might like until the holiday actually rolls around and by that time everything is gone or mangled.  You can get some great deals that way if you are willing to store things.  Wait...I am trying to say this is a bad thing. 

Having thought about this a lot I made a firm decision to wait until September 1st to place Halloween things in my store.  It was difficult in the first part of August when other Etsians were lovingly  posting orange and black all over the place but I resisted and it's finally here.

Thank you dear readers for listening to my rant and if you see me out in a swimsuit and boots shoveling my walk you will know that I got the swimsuit for a great deal! 

Have a great fall! 

Crazed Momma

Here are some apples and back to school magnet sets and only one Halloween set.  I contained myself.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Sunny Sunflowers

Hello readers!  I should be talking about back to school things because it seems to have consumed me this week but I'm still in denial that it has actually started so let's talk about something else.

How about sunflowers!  I love these things.  When they come up they signify for me the end of summer and the hint that fall is around the corner.   They are also super easy to grow and drought resistant which is super convenient for me.

I was reading in one of my gardening books that sunflowers are also referred to as Texas corn which is just another reason for me to love them since I am a Texas girl born and bred.  Every year I buy several packages of these beauties in all different kinds of varieties.  I actually never get them all in the ground and have to save some for next year's garden.  They also tend to reseed themselves which is always fun.  This year I actually never got to plant any and had Mike transplant some that volunteers and just needed water.  I love that fact that the birds and bees love them and can be found buzzing among them happily.

If you are looking for something easy and fun to grown which is striking and beautiful try a sunflower.

Sunflowers are also reminding me of my girls this week.  Small at first and then tall and beautiful in such a short time.

I have magnets in my shop if you just feel like growing some on your fridge.  :)  No work required!

Have a great week!

Crazed Momma

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


There are only three things in life that matter - good friends, good chocolate and, oh dear, what was that other one?

Hello readers!  As you can probably tell from the quote above today I am crazy about chocolate.  If I am honest I can admit that it isn't just today.  I've been crazy for chocolate all my life.  Who isn't?  Actually, I have come across people who don't care for it but we won't talk about them because they are obviously delusional.  :)

To celebrate my love for the brown sweet stuff let's review some fun facts that you may or may not know. 

  • Dark chocolate has more antioxidants than green tea and just as many as blueberries.
  • White chocolate isn't really chocolate.  It is made from the cocoa butter which is produced when beans are pressed.  
  •  Chocolate does contain chemical elements that really do boost your mood and produce a euphoric feeling.
  • Eating chocolate gives you the same feeling as falling in love. 
  • Chocolate comes from the Aztec word "xocolatl" which means "bitter water".
  • Switzerland is one of the top countries for chocolate consumption. The Swiss consume about 22 lbs of chocolate, per person, per year.
  • Cocoa beans were used as currency by the Mayan and Aztec cultures.
  • Hershey is the oldest and largest chocolate company in the US.
  • The most expensive chocolate in the world is $2,600 per pound. It's called Madeleine and is made by Fritz Knipschildt, a chocolatier in Connecticut.
  • Craving chocolate when a woman is on her menstrual cycle may have more to do with the fact that chocolate is known for helping ease menstrual symptoms. (See, we do have a reason!)
  • Eating chocolate can also reduce the symptoms of stress.
  • Chocolate is beneficial for proper blood flow to the lungs and other organs.
  • The minerals in chocolate help to increase brain power and function.
These facts were found at
    I find most of these reasons to be encouraging.  Who knew chocolate could be so good for you!  Maybe I should start bathing it.  I love the smell and I have actually been known to buy shower gel and perfume that have a chocolaty aroma.

    Lately, I have been trying to decrease my consumption of sweets in order to lose all those pounds I have gained from adoring chocolate just a little too much.  When I actually had some chocolate peanut butter ice cream a couple of weekends ago I was proud of myself  for calmly enjoying my waffle cone and not losing all control and rubbing it all over my face.  Hopefully, my desire for chocolate and my consumption of it can come to some sort of compromise.

    So, how do you like chocolate?  Do you have a preference?  Do you prefer it in a drink, in bars, with nuts, baked, boiled, or fried?  Do tell!  This post is making me hungry so I think I will go and have some (you guessed it) CHOCOLATE!!

    By now you know what I'm going to say:
    Check out these cute magnets and have a great week!

    Crazed Momma

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    I love Butterflies

    Hello readers!  I will jump right into this post and let you know that one thing that I have been crazy about since I was about 12 or 13 is butterflies.  As I have contemplated the reasons, I honestly can't think of anything specific.  How weird is that?  It's just one of the things that make me happy.  Some people like smiley faces, ladybugs, rainbows, cats, dogs but for me it has always been butterflies.  Two instances come to mind when I think of my love for them. 

    One of the first memories I have of consciously picking something with butterflies was a pair of curtains.  My Granny worked very hard cleaning houses so that she could have spending money.  She often, and very generously spent this money on her grandchildren.  She would take each of us on or around our birthday and take us shopping and to lunch.  This particular birthday she had allowed me to pick some curtains and other decor for my bedroom.  I fell in love with these curtains with monarch butterflies on them.  After that, and even to this day I still am drawn to these beautiful insects.

    My next memory is going to San Francisco with my husband for the day.  We only had one child and were lucky enough to have babysitting.  We were able to go and spend the whole day on Fisherman's Wharf.  My husband surprised me by allowing me to pick a really special souvenir.  There was a whole shop filled with mounted butterflies in glass cases.  I picked one and it hung on my wall for years.

    I always enjoy seeing them float and fly by because it signals summer is here to stay for awhile and they seem so peaceful in their silent flight.  Because of my infatuation with butterflies I had to of course include them in my magnets sets.  Have a look and have a good week!

    Crazed Momma

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Beneficial Bugs

    I hope all of my readers are enjoying their summer.  One of my favorite parts of summer and one of the things I am crazy about is planting a garden.  I have kind of a love/hate relationship with this pastime.  I love to look at seed catalogs and dream of my own Garden of Eden.  Most of the time it just ends up being a Garden of Weedin' instead.

    One of the things that we have discovered as we have tended our garden is the use of ladybugs to help with aphid infestations.  We were at the greenhouse and they were selling them in a bag.  I was fascinated the first time I saw this.  You just take this cute little bag of bugs home and follow the instructions.  I have done this a couple of times and each time I followed different directions.

    The first time we read that you were supposed to put the bag in the refrigerator to help the bugs slow down a little and then at dusk place them under a bush or tree that you have sprayed with water to spread the aphids.  The instructions also recommended putting a plastic cover over this bush in order to keep the ladybugs in that specific area until daylight.  This last time that we bought and released the ladybugs we didn't do the refrigerating or the cover and I think it worked just as well.  The aphid population isn't gone but definitely diminished. 

    I have always wondered why there were called ladybugs because obviously they are not all ladies and thanks to I found an answer.

    There are different versions of how these beetles came to be known as ladybugs, but one of the most popular versions is that during the Middle Ages in Europe, the crops were being taken over by insects and dying. People were beginning to starve so the farmers decided to pray to the Virgin Mary to help them with their insect problem.

    The farmers were a little bit upset when even more insects showed up, little red beetles with black spots on them, because they thought that these new insects were going to eat the crops, too. But the beetles that came actually ate the bugs that were eating the crops, and so the beetles became known as the “beetles of Our Lady”, eventually shortened to simply ladybug.

    Here are some more fun facts:

    • A Ladybug can lay up to 1000 eggs in its lifetime.
    • Not all Ladybugs have spots.
    • Ladybugs will clean themselves after a meal.
    • Ladybugs come in many colors like pink, yellow, white, orange and black.
    • Over 300 types of Ladybugs live in North America.
    • Ladybugs make a chemical that smells and tastes bad so predators won’t eat them. 
    • Ladybugs hibernate in large groups in cold weather.
    • Many countries consider a ladybug to be a sign of good luck.
    • Ladybugs are actually beetles, so sometimes are called LadyBeetles.
    • The bright colors of Ladybugs warn birds that they don’t taste good.
    • The spots on a Ladybug fade as they get older. 

    The one important thing to remember when you invite these lovelies into the garden is not to spray the larva when you see them.  We could not figure out what these little bugs were the first time we saw them and almost sprayed them.  They definitely look nothing like their parents.  :)
    So, the next time you feel the need to eradicate some pests in your garden try these little beneficial bugs and of course I have some cute magnets you can check out too!  Good luck!

    Crazed Momma

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Launches and Flip Flops

    Hello's been awhile since I have posted.  I've been busily trying to get my Etsy store ready to launch and I can happily say that it has been accomplished.

    Officially on July 11th, I posted eight products on my store.  It was a little bit of a let down since after I hit the list button fireworks didn't explode and people weren't immediately clamoring to buy my things, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.
    In honor of this momentous occasion, I want to discuss footwear. say?  Let me explain. One of my magnet sets features those summertime essentials, flip flops.  I find it funny actually because I don't wear flip flops.  I don't like to have things between my toes.  I also have realized that there is a learning curve when it comes to wearing these things.  I bought three darling sets for my three year old and she can't keep the dang things on her feet.  She's constantly tripping over them and losing one in the process.  The up side to these shoes is that they are cheap.  I can buy them for all my girls for less than one pair of shoes at Payless.

    Now, I don't like flip flops but I am a definite lover of the distant cousin of flip flops, Birkenstocks.  I had never even seen a pair until I met my husband and his mother and sisters and my brother in law all lived in theirs.  When I had my first baby I gained two foot sizes and width and the only thing that was remotely comfortable was my mother in law's "birks".  When I found out they came in many different shapes, sizes, and patterns I was hooked.  They are an investment, but they last forever if you take care of them.

    Of course, I had a favorite pair that I finally had to get rid of because my friends threatened to break into my house and steal them during the night while I was asleep because they were so tattered and awful looking.  My husband has also drawn the line at socks and birks during the winter months.  So, I limit myself to wearing these favs during the spring and summer months.

    What is your favorite air conditioned footwear?  Are you a flip flop fanatic?  Are you graceful enough to handle the strap between your toes and walk at the same time?  I'm interested to know.  Also, be sure and stop by my store and take a look.  Thanks in advance for taking the time for reading and browsing.


    Wednesday, June 29, 2011

    How Clueless People Pick a Logo...

    So as you may be able to see, I got myself a snazzy new logo for my blog and also my soon to be open Etsy store.  This has been a process, and I have had both fun and frustration in working it out.  I knew that I wanted something unique and eye catching.  I also know for a fact that I have absolutely NO artistic ability.  I started by going to one of my girls' friends that has lots of artistic ability.  She drew me an awesome picture which I used to base the final design on.

    I then went shopping for a graphic artist who could turn my dream into reality.  Let me tell you that there are some very talented people out there.  I actually turned to Etsy to find this awesome lady.  She has made this daunting endeavor almost painless and economical to boot.  If you are in need of any graphic art needs shoot me a message or email and I will give you her name and answer any questions you may have.  In honor of this new logo I thought I would tell you four things you may not know about me but can probably tell from my logo.

    1.  I love color and especially tie dye.  My family has made them for many years and I always get excited when I think about the next tie dye adventure.  (My husband always runs the other way when I mention those two words and get that look in my eye.)

    2.  I have freckles.  I'm not a red head but you wouldn't know that if you looked at my arms and face if I'm out in the sun long enough.  I'm of Irish and American Indian descent and obviously the fair skinned and freckles side wins in that department.

    3.  I have an I.D. bracelet that I wear on my left wrist and only take off when it is absolutely necessary.  It is a gift given to me by my husband that we call my "poker" bracelet which is another blog post in itself.  :)

    4.  I'm crazy and I'm a momma of four beautiful girls.  I've already discussed the crazy part in a previous blog and being a momma is something I would never trade.

    I'm very excited to share my logo with you and look forward to also sharing my Etsy store.  Have a wonderful 4th of July!

    Crazed Momma

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Life is a Thrill a Minute...

    ....when you are on a roller coaster.

    I have usually written about things that I am crazy or passionate about because of the nature of my blog.  This post is about something that I am NOT crazy about.  Namely, roller coasters or thrill rides.  The reason this has been on my mind of course is because it's summer people and it's a time for carnivals and of course rides that you wouldn't normally put your children on or in but for some strange reason we place the little darlings in their respective seat and buckle them in and tell them to have fun!  You can imagine that they are thinking, "What in the world?  This woman won't even let me cross the street."

    My thrill ride experiences have been few and far between mostly because my parents have always been very protective of me and they aren't big thrill ride people either.  I can also get motion sickness in a car so why would I pay to intentionally feel like barfing?

      One of my memories is having the carnival come to town when I was in High School and having to be there because I was in the band and we ran a concession stand.  There was a ride called the Zipper which I wouldn't have ridden if you had a gun to my head, but there was this boy. You know how stupid you can be when a boy is involved.  I wanted to be with him and so of course I climbed into one of the cages of death and allowed myself to be hurled at the ground over and over to show that I was cool and that I liked him.  That experience didn't go too bad.  I screamed the whole time and the adrenaline rush was such that I didn't hurl.  I felt so good about it that I agreed to go on the Octopus.  It was a  ride which spun round and round while you spun round and round in a cart.  I barely made it off that ride without tossing my enchiladas all over him.  Ah...youth.

    When my husband and I were first married, we went to Dallas for our honeymoon.  My friend took us to Six Flags over Texas.  I was thrilled to be a "grownup"  and on my own and was obviously feeling full of myself because when we got in line for the log flume and the line split to go to the Texas Giant, I agreed that it was something that I needed to experience.  I figured I needed to get this over with so that I could always tell my children that Mommy had ridden the #1 wooden roller coaster in the world (in 1999) with an impressive drop of 79 degrees from 147 feet.  Now, remember I hate roller coasters AND am terrified of heights.  We ride this thing and at that time I was actually skinny and kept slipping under the bar that was supposed to keep us in.  My husband tells me that the picture they snapped of us "enjoying" the ride consisted of him smiling big and me looking close to death.  After riding it, I cried all night long.

    My final foray into these confidence killers was at Disneyland.  They had just created California Screamin and it looked like a pretty cool roller coaster.  I didn't want my second oldest to be frightened of these things just because of me and so agreed to ride it with her.  We finally get up to the cars and climb in.  We make the first hill no problem and then after we climb up to the second hill the roller coaster stops DEAD.  I'm thinking it's part of the ride and then figure out that no, we are stuck at the top of this thing.  I'm trying really hard to keep my composure and not show my daughter how scared I am, but it's not working too well.  Finally, someone climbs the stairs up to where we are and promptly clips himself to a bar and informs us that we need to climb down.  WHAT?  Where's my clippy thingy dude?  We did eventually make it down the stairs and to the ground and I can honestly say that it was the last time I've felt the desire or need to ride one of these babies.

    One of the great things about all this is that my shy daughter loves these rides and my outgoing daughter is reluctant to go on them.  You just never know.

    Do you love the thrill of the ride or are you a scaredy cat like me?

    The Texas Giant

    Crazed Momma

    Monday, June 6, 2011

    A Strange Confession

    So, I have a strange confession to make. I love to mow the lawn.  Maybe it's not so strange, but to those of you who are thinking I'm crazy, I will explain.

    I grew up in West Texas where it is HOT and unless you have the money to pay for a sprinkling system, your lawn consists of lots of dirt, some weeds, some wildflowers and a little grass.  So mowing isn't really something I did growing up.  You can mow the weeds and it looks okay, but there's no walking around barefoot because the stickers will get you and they hurt!

    When my husband and I were dating he sent me a postcard from Palm Springs with lovely green golf courses on the front. I remember telling him that if we were married I would mow the lawn. Of course, a lovely green lawn that I could walk across with my lovely painted toenails.  He thought it was a funny comment, but ultimately he has held me to it.  It may not be the prettiest lawn but it's mine and most of the time, I don't mind.

    I don't know what it is about mowing that gives me such satisfaction...

    Is it giving the grass a haircut and having it look okay even though I'm a novice?
    Is it the fact that I can make something look so organized and put together with just a little effort?
    Is it the fact that I can't hear anything that my children are yelling at me while I happily roll along?

    As I have thought about it...okay so I dwell on weird things...I have decided that it's because I pretend that the grass is my problems or concerns and I have power over them by mowing them down.  It's all symbolic I guess. I also find that I can think and ideas flow while I'm making patterns around the front yard.  I find this is true with most yard work.

    I have always been intrigued with the way people mow their lawns.  I usually go in a circle and sometimes back and forth.  It has to do with the shape of the yard more than anything else.  I have seen those lawns where someone has mowed it in a diagonal pattern. I wonder if I am missing something.  Am I not giving my grass every advantage by now mowing it in this way?  Who knows...

    There are a few things that detract from my lawn gnomeness.  I usually am working with a lawnmower that has to be prepped, coddled, and eventually prayed over just to get it to start.  Another thing is my physical shape.  I'm not talking about my shape per say- which is a lovely apple with two toothpicks sticking out shape- but rather my lack of stamina.  I used to be able to mow both the front and back yard and weed whack all in one day.  I even mowed while I was very pregnant, which got me some strange looks and some eyebrows raised at my hubby.  Now, I have to pace myself. I am hoping to remedy this situation as time goes by.

    So tell me, how do you mow your lawn?  Do you have strapping young men who mow at your request?  Do you have a hubby who suffers with his burden of cutting the grass or do you get out there and do it yourself?    Do tell!
    Just in case you were wondering, I also love to rototill and am extremely deadly with a weed whacker so if you see me out in my yard, WATCH OUT!!  :) 


    Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    Memories of You

    So I know this post is after Memorial Day but it has been on my mind as I'm sure it has been for the rest of the country.  My husband and I were discussing who and why we celebrate Memorial Day.  I know that my posts so far have been humorous  and so I hope you will forgive the seriousness of this one. 

    I know it is for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives for the freedoms that I take for granted every day.  For those people I am so grateful.  I had many relatives, including two grandfathers, who served willingly and ably during the wars that have come and gone.  This is something that can never be repaid.  Hopefully by teaching my children of the importance of remembering these unselfish men and women I am giving something back.

    Of course we also celebrate and give thanks for those who are currently serving and I also like to think about and be grateful for those families who have given up their husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, etc. who are somewhere halfway across the world endeavoring to protect those they love so dearly.  What a sacrifice this must be.  I think of a sweet friend in Idaho who is currently raising her four boys by herself because her husband is deployed.  I also think of several women in my ward who are keeping things together at home while their husbands are away.  I am amazed at their strength.

    I know we also remember those who have passed on and gone before us.  Recently, I lost a dear neighbor who has been very kind to our family over the eight years we have lived here.  She taught me wonderful things and was always aware of birthdays and ready to give hugs and loves to the girls.  She taught me how to make canned apple pie filling.  Both her and her husband loved to garden and work in the yard and many times would pass their knowledge on to me.  I still find myself looking to see if she is out puttering in her yard.  I know she has been very lonely and sad ever since her companion passed away and so I hope this Memorial Day she is happy and celebrating with her sweetheart.  I miss her.

    Lastly, I think of my parents, in-laws, and grandparents of which I am still lucky to have three of them alive.  These people who have lived their lives the best they know how and  who helped to make me the person that I am.  I hope I can continue to pass on those lessons and wisdom that they shared with my children and grandchildren.

    pic by digitalart
    Thank you all for the memories of you that I treasure.


    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Queen of Clean

    Happy Monday people!  I don't want you to get the wrong impression by the title of this post.  I am most certainly not the Queen of Clean.  It's not even a title I would want.  I also don't judge others if their house isn't spic and span so don't feel picked on by reading this post.

    One time someone asked one of my girls what my favorite thing to do was and she said, "She likes to clean."  WRONG!   However, I do like a clean house, car, room, body, etc.  I find inner peace when things are picked up and the dishes are done and the laundry folded.  I could achieve nirvana if everything in my house was organized and alphabetized A to Z.  Of course, real life happens and this is not the case.

    I come by this possible moniker through a great line of women.  My Granny was a housekeeper for years.  Not only could she make her house the epitome of Home Sweet Home, she could make her clients' homes this way as well.  When my mother was a stay at home mom, she always endeavored to have everything neat and tidy.

    My journey from Princess of Picked Up to Queen of Clean has taken many twists and turns.  I have gone in phases actually.  When I was first married with two little girls I did a pretty good job.  I cleaned the bathroom often.  I swept and mopped.  The laundry was actually folded and put away.  I was on top of the pile so to speak.  Eventually I found myself living in the same house for eight years (which makes it almost impossible to find the desire to "organize") and the mother of four girls, each of which are in different stages of growing and learning.  One day I woke up and decided that I was tired of doing the dishes and the laundry and walking around behind everyone with a trash can.  Luckily, my oldest inherited the possible Queen gene and made up the difference for me.  Both of my older girls have been assigned their own chores for years and it has kept the dirt and garbage at bay so we could at least walk through the house.  I also have to give props to my husband for doing his part in keeping the laundry going.
    Lately, my journey has taken me back around to wanting to do more than just survive.  I've been perusing a book my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas.  There are many helpful tips, tricks, and shortcuts to taking care of everything in the home.  One of my biggest reasons for hating to clean the bathroom on a regular basis is because the chemicals make me ill.  This book gave a formula for cleaning that involves baking soda and vinegar.  I'm sure many of you already know about this little trick but if not, it works pretty well.  I'm also not afraid to take a bath for a week after cleaning the tub for fear of sucking up caustic chemicals through my skin.   I tried this trick out a couple of Saturdays ago and I thought my oldest was going to fall over when she saw Mom actually "cleaning."  Here's hoping the desire to clean stays around for awhile.  :)


    These tips comes from Best Ever Home Secrets by Joan and Lydia Wilen
    *Sprinkle baking soda around the tub and then wet a washcloth with distilled white vinegar and scrub, then rinse.
    *If you have a ring, add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the running water.  This should help get rid of the ring and also softens and conditions skin too.  

    Of course you spend all that time cleaning and return to the bathroom and find this!  Precious!

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Hubby's Day Off

    If you were to ask me about my favorite day of the week I would tell you that it changes depending on the week.  I suppose this is very noncommittal and doesn't answer the question at all but actually it makes sense. 

    My husband has a rotating day off.  Depending on the week it could be Monday, Tuesday, etc.  When he first started this job 17 (wow..time flies) years ago it was a little weird.  Nothing happens during the week that would make you excited about having a Wednesday off.  Everyone knows that exciting things happen on the weekend. the years have gone by I have discovered that I actually prefer it.  Let me tell you a couple of reasons why:

    1.  The stores are not as crowded. It's nice to go to Wal-Mart on a day when everyone else on the planet is not trying to buy milk.
    2.  My children are usually in school thus we only have one at home and let's face it folks..that's a date! 
    3.  My husband is also able to attend school events which allows him to be involved.
    4.  It breaks up the week.  I no longer have to wait five long days until I can hope to accomplish things.  
    5.  Businesses are open on weekdays.  There are many items of importance that can't be taken care of on a Saturday.

    Just to be fair to my husband there is one serious drawback.

    He never really gets any rest!  

    We run around like crazy on his day off because his day off is my day off don't you know (it's in the marriage contract..go check yours if you are misinformed).  I wonder how many times I can say day off in a sentence?  

    The biggest reason I like his mini-vacation from work (that's better) is because I feel like I have adult backup for all the things that are happening, usually with the children.  I'm not alone.  I can always tag my husband when I'm down and out in the ring of insanity that is our life.   This and this alone is probably the biggest reason I love my hubby's day off. 

    So, husband dear, I'm looking forward to next week.  :)

    Crazed Momma's First Post

    Does anyone else hear the trumpets and applause?  I can hear it in my head as I take a big leap of faith and begin blogging my crazy life.  I have been terrified to do this because I honestly feel that as fun as my life can be, I really have nothing to say.  I don’t think that I am that interesting. 

    As I have thought about this, I realized that it doesn’t matter if it’s interesting to others, it is important for me.  It can be a good tool for venting my thoughts and feelings and also I can count it as creating a journal keepsake for my daughters.  They will never have to wonder what Mom thought about this or that because they can look it up!  (It sounds good in theory.) 

    So I was pondering about a name when Crazy Mom popped in my head.  My oldest has told me that I’m crazy on many, many occasions.  Crazy mom was taken as a blog name by one of the other insane women out there trying to make it one day at a time and so I decided on Crazed Momma. 

    cra·zy  [krey-zee]  

    1.mentally deranged; demented; insane. 2. senseless; impractical; totally unsound: a crazy scheme. 3. Informal . intensely enthusiastic; passionately excited: crazy about baseball.

    Yep, that’s me in a nutshell.  I can be all or just one of these definitions during the course of a day.  How scary is that?  Well today I am crazy about trying to learn how to blog and I hope you have enjoyed my first post.