The Theatre After All

I just wanted to give you an update. Adventure Man contacted the little theatre that we wanted to attend on our Date Night Flop. They got back to him and said they just had to close last minute for the night.

We were so happy to hear that they hadn't gone out of business! We love small theatre companies and want to enjoy them as much as we can. We were sad to think that they might not be there anymore after we had just found them.

They felt awful for the miscommunication and have offered to comp our family at their Christmas performance in December. I think we will have to take them up on it!

The Pooh Theory

My brother gave me the original A. A. Milne book Winnie the Pooh when I was about twelve. I read it. I had seen the Disney movies as a kid, but this was before everyone had a copy of every single Disney movie ever made in the universe. So it was from this book that I drew my knowledge and love for the stuffed bear. The book has been one of my favorites ever since.

When I met my husband, we actually had a conversation about Pooh and his friends. As it turned out, his mom had always called him Tigger. I had always likened myself to Pooh, "being a bear of very little brains." Over the years, that was something we had in common and we sort of connected with it. I sent him a copy of one of my favorite songs, House at Pooh Corner. He gave me a mug with the cast on it.

One night just before Christmas, many years ago, when he knew I would be home from school, Santa came walking up my driveway. I sat in stunned shock as my mom answered the door. Our Palo Alto house had a front atrium that lead to the front door and the walls were windows, we all had a perfect view of the strange visitor. He handed my mom a small package and headed out saying he left the sleigh running. My mom handed the gift to me. I wondered how she could be so sure it was for me? My mom said, he was looking at you the whole time!

When I opened it and found a plastic Winnie the Pooh and Tigger figure. I knew exactly who the bearded man in red was. When my mom asked me who it was, I announced simply, "the man I'm going to marry."

We even had Winnie the Pooh and Tigger on our wedding cake. The cake was awful, but that was the baker's fault. The idea, I still love. We have received many more Pooh and Friends over the years. Christmas ornaments, blankets, puzzles. We love it.

It was that first reading that started my Pooh Theory. I, as I said, have felt a kinship with Pooh. And it was this trouncey bouncy boy who helped me realize the theory to be true. We all have a bit of one or another of A. A. Milne's caricatures in us. Over the years I have seen that all the caricatures are in all of us. It's just one or two who come out as a personality. I have seen that as I have grown, some times we might get scared, as Piglet does, or more brave, like Roo. I can be more maternal, like Kanga. But mostly I am forgetful and often hungry and therefor am more Pooh than anyone else.

The last year and a half I have been more Eeyore than anyone. I have had to contend with depression brought on after the birth of my last baby. Eeyore mixed with bursts of Rabbit.

Now our littlest one is obsessed with Pooh and "Teegger" and Eeyore. She only wants to watch Pooh DVDs and if someone else has an opinion about it, she pulls rank. We now have the small portable TV permanently set up in the living room with a Pooh DVD perpetually running. We all have the songs stuck in our heads. And we hear that Santa will be offering a similar gift, as he did so many years before. Only with batteries and springs. If she's good.

Which caricature are you?


The Best Christmas Gift Ever (+Aunt Arlene's Refrigerator Rolls)

If you're looking for a gift for your family, then shop no more.

A few years ago my mom gave all her kids, me and my three brothers (or perhaps their wives), a cookbook. But not just any cookbook, this was her cookbook!

A simple binder, filled with all the family recipes we've loved all our lives. As she converted her hand written recipe cards, her Sunset Magazine clippings, her dog eared cookbooks, to new typed recipe pages, she compiled a binder for each of us. It is a treasury of family times. A legacy for my children as well.

I've been adding my own favorite dishes, the things I discover on blogs or google, favorites I pick up from my husband's family, and my own recipes I've been making since college. The binder has grown so big, I need to get myself a larger one! It would be fun to see what my sister-in-laws have added to theirs.

Now I want to share one of my mom's best! But really, it's not even hers, it's her Aunts, her Aunt Arlene's.

These are the rolls that we have had for every Thanksgiving and Christmas for as long as I can remember!

Aunt Arlene's Refrigerator Rolls

2 pkg dry yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 eggs
2 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening* (or butter)
8 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar

Soften yeast in warm water. Add shortening, sugar, eggs, four cups of flour, and salt. Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining flour and knead until it feels like a newborn babies bottom. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator until needed. When you want to use it, make your rolls and then let them rise.     You may make fresh rolls for up to a week.

If you want to use it right away, let tit rise until double in bulk. Punch down and form your rolls. Let rolls rise until double. Bake at 400 degrees fahrenheit for 25 minutes, or until done.

*My mom says she doesn't use shortening anymore because of the trans fats that are bad for you. You may substitute unsalted butter or if you only have salted butter leave out the called for salt.

I am grateful for good good and good friends to share it with. 

Do you have a recipe that's been in the family for as long as you can remember?


Cleaning Up

The crew is in the last leg of the construction
They are cleaning up. I know they want to be done by tomorrow, Thanksgiving. 

It's been quite the show for the past two months.

Meanwhile… This is what I will be cleaning up all winter long until the grass comes in again.


Date Night

Adventure Man said we should leave by noon. I was busy packing. We needed our swimsuits, PJs and something to wear the next day.

We had been planning this for a few months now and I was really excited.

We've been on dates before. I think. I can't really remember. Adventure Man says he took me out to eat once when his parents were here. Last October. As in October 2011. I know we went out for Valentine's Day in 2011, but we just went down to the Dairy Queen.

I've gone to dinner with him here at the ranch. But dinner is served Family Style and everyone eats at one large table. Well, actually 3 large tables. The last time I tried to join him we didn't even get to eat at the same table. At least I didn't have to cook dinner. But during the summer season, my husband works up to 15 hour days, not cooking wasn't the point.

So when Adventure Man said he wanted to go check out this little theatre in Big Town who has improv on Saturday nights, I was elated! The catch was that usually they have Performances before hand so the improv didn't actually start until midnight. He called the theatre and found out that one Saturday in November they would offer it at 8 pm. We were in!

We don't know anyone here. We don't have a babysitter. But we found a drop off daycare in Big Town that takes kids up until they are 12. It was now or never!

The weekend at hand was a snowy one. We had a storm that lasted for 2 days. Friday the kids had a snow day! Apparently the snowplow gets Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. We did it anyway. After all, this was a big deal! This was a DATE!

We got to the hotel and put the kids in their swimsuits. We all had a ball at the watersides. The hotel had a kiddy pool with a little slide and a big one for the rest of us to enjoy. Plus a hot tub for Dad to take the kids to when they got cold. It was perfect.

After the afternoon of water play, we took the kids to Pizza Hut. They had their pizza and bread sticks while we had our salads. Now, Pizza Hut isn't really known for their salads. I couldn't even finish mine, even though I was still hungry. But I sat through the whole meal without eating anything with gluten! I was pretty proud of myself!

After dinner we dropped the kiddos off and headed to the theatre with plenty of time to be sure and get tickets.

We drove up to the down town stage door and knew that something was a miss.

The whole building was black and there were no cars anywhere. We tried to call but only got a recording stating that that number was no longer in service.

We drove around. Trying to figure out what to do at 8pm in a town we dearly know when it is only 8 degrees outside.

We talked about doing some Christmas shopping,or going to the movies, but we never really did anything. We did drive by the theatre again, just to see if maybe we had the times wrong, but it's not like we could go at midnight, the daycare closed at midnight.

At some point my dear Adventure Man realized that I was starving. He took me to get an enchilada.
He watched me eat.

After that we had lost all momentum for the date.

So. We picked up the kids, took them back to the hotel room and put them all to bed. Six bodies in three beds in one little room.

All of a sudden, this wonderful idea we had didn't really seem like such a great one after all. In fact, it sure made Netflix by the fire sound good!

And we realized, who needs a Date Night?

Do you?

Do you have date nights? Have you ever had a well thought out night go bad?


Happiness Inside

Today I'm grateful for this. 

Seriously. This stuff is my fave right now. It reminds me of sunny beaches and crashing waves. Mangoes for breakfast and coconut water...

Which is good, 
because that's what it is. 

And when it's cold outside, pretending that the fire in the stove is the heat of summer and putting on sunscreen just to smell it. 

Well, I'll do whatever it takes! 
("some beach… Somewhere…")


She Said He Said

I said, "Bear! I'm so excited for Thanksgiving!"

He said, "Yeah."

I said, "There's so much to do! We've got to get the living room cleaned up so we could have dinner in there at the dinning room table!"

He said, "Yeah."

"Do you want to have Thanksgiving dinner at the Dinning room table?"

He said, "You mean the Laundry Room Table?"



The Japanese Onsen and Public Nudity

A men's bath ~ image source 
My first experience with public nudity was in Japan. A friend took us and his family to an Onsen. A hot spring. We lived in the mountains and the Onsen was remote, secluded.

My husband went with the host and his sons and I went with his wife and daughters.

The woman's bathhouse was the only one I had experience with, for obvious reasons. It was a spacious room lined with little showers with a stool in front of each. We showered first, sitting on our stools.

Once we were clean we went and sat in a large rock lined pool. This was the bath. While in the bath you could walk through the water to the outside courtyard, but I wasn't brave enough to venture out. It was very lavish and relaxing. I could have done that every weekend for the rest of my life. I was the only Gaijin there. The only foreigner. There were little children and old ladies and everyone in between. No one was gawking, or staring. Only to see the Gaijin woman who was an oddity in this remote part of the country. But I was used to that by then.

Photograph by Julia Baier ~ image source 
Later, while visiting friends in Tokyo, we went to another bathhouse. This was in the city. It was not an Onsen, which is a hot spring utilizing volcanic heated water. It was a Sento, a simple bathhouse. And it was much smaller and far less glamorise. But it was still so nice. To go with friends and relax and bath and be warm and clean. To be together. It was such a moment of genuine friendship. Then we all went to a karaoke house.

Both experiences we had kids with us. Adventure Man and I had not yet had kids then, but our friends had their children with them. Being together while bathing was nothing to be ashamed of. This is simply a way of life.


Snow Days

I'm grateful for snow days.

Well, today I wasn't feeling all that grateful for the snow. But it was 9:45 this morning when I headed into Little Town for my Littlest Littles music class and there was still no sign of a snowplow when I was headed back home by noon.

By 3:45 this afternoon I was worried about getting stuck in my driveway, not to mention the road. I ended up being early and I met the bus down the road. She got stuck once in our pullout and now she's scared of snow.

We are the last stop. I brought the other 2 kids who frequent our stop up to their waiting parents. We all discussed the possibility of Friday being a snow day.

Evidently the snow plow driver doesn't even work on Fridays. Things are looking good for an extra day this weekend.

The news says they expect up to 8 feet in some places. I wonder where those places are?

 I'm also glad that Adventure Man got an earlier flight today. I don't think he would have made it home at all if he had stuck with the original flight that was to land in Big Town at 5 pm. He just walked in the door after being on a business trip to Seattle for three days.


10 Things You Gotta Have If Your Kid Get's Carsick

My brother got carsickness a lot. I remember my Dad driving through the mountains on the way to the beach at a dreadfully slow speed as not make the inevitable happen. The inevitable would be having my brother loose his lunch in the car. Or out the window. We would have miles of cars lined up behind us, not being able to pass because it was a tiny mountain road.

There was also the time we were going to the city to see a play and my brother was in the front seat with his head out the window. We stupidly had the back window down too when the poor kid blew. That time it was more the laws of physics, or speed?, that sent the mess right back into the back window and all over my oldest brother. He used my blanket to clean it up. It was all pretty traumatizing and we still talk about it when we get together. I feel for the people who sat near the family who smelled like barf. That couldn't have been a good experience for anyone in the theatre that night.

My kids do pretty good in the car especially considering how much time we spend in it. But it has been brought to our attention that our littlest child must also have her uncles constitution when it comes to long car rides. Unfortunately, we live in the mountains and going anywhere results in a long car ride. It's 25 miles into Little Town and 80 miles into Big Town. That's just one way. Granted, the windiest part of that ride is the first 5 miles from, or last 5 miles to, our house.

This being said, I have come up with a survival kit for dealing with a carsick child.

First of all: Slow down. That's probably the most important thing. When we are running late and in a hurry to get somewhere on time, that is when we speed up and I usually spend my time cleaning up barf in the parking lot, instead of being even remotely on time, or going in at all.

What to keep in a Carsick Survival Kit : 

          1. A few changes of clothes (This is for the child, but while you're at it, you might want a change for you too!)

          2. Towels ~ Really you can never have enough and the first clean up is best done with a towel. I prefer the bath size.

          3. Extra wipes ~ LOTS of extra wipes. They're just nice to have around whether you need them or not.

          4. Clorox wipes ~ This is, after all throw up. We don't want someone getting into it.

          5. Febreze ~ This is by far the best thing to keep in your car if you will be going a long way. Like to California. The smell of barf that has dripped under the seat car seat can kill a person.

          6. Saltines or pretzels or what ever you prefer to help heal an upset stomach. I was once given a Hershey's bar and a coke while I was feeling ill in a car and it did the trick. For me, that combo will save me. This is funny because I hate Hershey's  and really, I would never give my kids a coke.

          7. Water Bottle ~ not just to wash out a mouth with, but doing that much scrubbing will get you dehydrated. Plus, you may wish to get the towel wet to scrub.

          8. Toothbrush and toothpaste ~ Seriously, you know YOU would want to brush after that!
          9. Trash bags ~ You're gonna need to put all those nasty towels in something. Ok, really I would say just toss the towels, but the child's clothes might be something you want to keep.

         10. A bucket, preferably with a lid ~ I like the reusable popcorn buckets you can get at disney theme parks because they have a lid that stays on and they are cute. We've used ours as car throw up buckets for years!

While I'm at it, I also keep extra diapers, and changes for the other kids. Cause really, if you aren't prepared for all, then surly, that one will need something.

And on a side note. Why has no one invented a vinyl car seat? You would not believe how often I have to take that thing apart and wash it. If I could just hose the whole thing of, it would be just lovely!


A Morning's Glory

Yesterday's sunrise was pretty breathtaking. I thought I would share. I started taking shots on Instagram, but as it went on it just kept getting better and better. This is the view from my house. 



Because I say I can make cornbread, I thought I'd share my cornbread. 

Plus I just looked at what google searches are getting people to my page and one of them was, "cornbread like you would get on a…" 

On a What? A What??? And why are you coming here??? This is NOT a cooking blog!" I don't even know how to post a recipe so it looks like a recipe! Go see Buttercream Bakehouse, I bet she's got a good cornbread recipe! And she's got a bunch of other cute ideas too! Trust me! 

But if you really want mine too, here it is. 

Oh, wait, first I gotta tell you about it. See, when we moved here on the ranch our youngest baby was 27 days old. We had just spent the last two weeks traveling to and from her grandparents houses so they could meet her, while we waited for this place to be available to move in. We had just traveled roughly 2300 miles with a baby who wasn't even a month old yet. We also had with us the rest of our offspring and our old grumpy dog. We had just fetched all our stuff out of storage along with the cat. He was at a babysitter. So I wasn't really feeling the desire to go, well, anywhere. Luckily my dear sweet Adventure Man kept having to go to the state capital to be trained on this and that. So I would give him a list. And one of the first things he came home with, that wasn't on the list, was a lot of cornmeal. 

"Why did you buy so much cornmeal?"

"I like cornbread," he says. 


After 16 and a half years of marriage, I was just now figuring that out. So I googled "cornbread."

Corn Bread

This recipe is adapted from Better Homes And Garden www.bhg.com/recipes

Makes: 8 to 10 servings
Prep: 10 mins
Bake: 400°F 15 mins

cup all-purpose flour
cup cornmeal
         1/4 cup sugar
         2 1/2
 teaspoons baking powder
 teaspoon salt
tablespoon butter
cup milk
cup oil or melted butter


1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium bowl stir together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

2.Add the 1-tablespoon butter to an 8x8x2-inch baking pan, a 9x1-1/2-inch round baking pan, or a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Place pan in oven about 3 minutes or until butter melts. Remove pan from oven; swirl butter to coat bottom and sides of pan.

3.Meanwhile, in a small bowl beat eggs with a fork; stir in milk and oil. Add egg mixture to flour mixture all at once; stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Pour batter into the hot pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

I like to add more sugar. Or I replace it with honey. It all works out some how. 

Also, just for the record, the other googler's that are finding my blog were looking for:

Pooped in the car
young rednecks in wranglers

But can I say, it is amazing that not a one was looking for "Ranch Girls in Dirty Underwear!" Which is my most regular google search keyword! I think I just had a perv free week! 


Masshole Mommy

Today I'm grateful for Masshole Mommy, Who was the only one who linked up with the 
Sunday Potluck! Bahahaha!

Mass Hole Mommy
Go check her out! She's got a recipe for a Cranberry Raspberry Flirtini up today! 


Sunday Potluck ~ Blog Hop

Welcome to the Sunday Potluck! I'm your host, Ranch Mama.
I'm a Mama who blogs about my crazy life living on a guest ranch in Montana.
I love boots.
I hate to go barefoot.
I'm a Giants fan.
I love to take pictures.
Please come and look around!
Feel free to link up your blog and if you're new around here, let us know! 

Sunday Potluck is a chance to link up your blog, visit other blogs and make new friends!
Have FUN! 

A Word From The Management:
(Order, Order!)

1. Follow me, please! 
2. Link your blog's main page, not a specific post.
3. Visit as many new blogs as you can and leave some comment love. 
Let people know if you are a new follower!
4. Be nice! We are all in the Blog World for our own reasons! But we all want support, "If you can't say something nice, don't." Be constructive! Thanks!
5. Post the badge on your blog! 


The Superhero Family

Today I'm grateful for superhero families who spend their days ridding the world of evil. Doing good to all and helping the less fortunate. 
By entertaining people at the costume party this week. 


I'm Grateful

Today, a day late, I'm going to start sharing gratitude. You know, cause it's Thanksgiving Month. That's the name of the month right? Or is it Turkey Month. Anyway.

Today I'm grateful to ALL the candy my kids brought home 2 nights ago. The joy of sugar overload triggered my four year old's toothache and reminded me that he had an appointment to have a cavity fixed but the Dentist canceled because he was sick and I forgot to reschedule. Now he can only eat crackers and warm water….

I'm even more grateful that the dentist got us in to fill it this afternoon!

It's also nice having all this candy in the house just a week after I started my new MS Mitochondria and recovery diet. What doesn't kill me only makes me stronger, right?


Owl Costume

I was going to say that this was a tutorial in the title of this post. But then I thought about it. This isn't as much of a tutorial as it is me just saying, "look what I did!"

My daughter loves owls and has an owl hat. This was the inspiration to her costume. We bought the hat on clearance last spring. I got the idea to make this from something I saw on Pinterest.

What I Did:

For the wings:

I bought about 2 yards of felt from a roll (I say "about" because I can't remember if I got 2 or 3 yards as I was also making wings for Hawk-girl)
Quilt scraps (with the same color theme)
Pinking shears
Hot glue gun
Ribbon (Enough to make ties at wrists and at neck or shoulders).

I measured my daughter from finger tip to finger tip, with her arms outstretched. Then I folded the large piece of felt in half and cut a wing shape from the fold.

I cut the "feathers" by just eyeballing them. This was the most time consuming part. I didn't even iron them! If it was a little more wrinkled, I just used more glue.

I started at the tip of the wings and worked in from the bottom. I used the hot glue and it worked so well, the only problem was after doing two sets of wings in a row, my fingers where raw!

Lastly, I glued the ribbon on at the tips of the wings and at the neck. I glued a strip of felt over the ribbon just to be sure it held. If you decide to sew this, do it first! because you wont be able to sew through the glue. I made the ribbon long enough at the neck to take the ribbon over her shoulders, and around to her back to tie it. This kept it from pulling on her neck. It made it like a backpack strap instead. It also made it long enough to go over a coat if needed. Although, none of my kids wanted to wear a coat over their costume and it was only like 40 degrees which to them, is warm enough! Considering it was in the 20s last week, I guess I can see their point. Kind of. I wore my big dawn coat. Cause I'm always cold. 

For the Tutu Skirt:

I needed 6 yards of tulle netting.
An elastic band long enough to fit waist.

I sewed the band first,  I only had white and was wishing I had picked up some black, but I was determined to use what I had on hand as much as I could. So we went with white.  I cut the tulle into strips about 5 inches wide and just tied them in a knot around the band. If you look at the next picture you can see the band and the knots. It turned out really cute and I'm thinking the girls would have fun with a pink one, or a blue one. It would also work for a witches skirt too. So many possibilities!

She loved it and so do I!