Tea Time

Time for tea.... and whale crackers!

A few for you...

A few for me...

And a big smile!


Valentine's Day the BK way...

Brett & I don't have the best luck when we go out to eat for valentine's day.
A few years ago, we got the worst service from a waitress at a local steak house. She apparently thought we were just "little kids" out for dinner, because she made a really snotty remark when we asked about wine with our dinner. After showing her our ID's, she reluctantly served our meal, treating us like trash the whole time. Suck-fest.
This year, we decided to go out to eat on Saturday night, and wanted to take Madigan with us. We were super excited to try this new Thai place in town that we've heard great things about. I heart pad thai, so we were pumped. When we roll up we see it's totally dark and as we pull closer we see a sign saying there was kitchen equipment issues and they're closed. Bummer!
We decided to go to a local restaurant that's a bit nicer than we usually eat at with a kiddo in tow. We don't exactly have a great track record at this place: the first time we tried to eat there was Easter Sunday when I was pregnant, and the hostess was really snobby and rude to us. We left without being seated, and have only returned once since then (the food is yummy!). For some reason I think the staff is convinced they're in some fancy Manhattan restaurant, because they instantly make you feel like you're not worthy to be there. (PS- it's attached to a Holiday Inn in Western Nebraska- not quite what you'd call five star quality!) When we walked in this Saturday, with our toddler with us, they looked around and said the wouldn't be able to seat us for an hour. We looked around at the twelve open tables and were instantly disgusted with them as well.
Back out the door we went, in search of something more familiar to us where we knew we could get good service. Back in the car, with a hungrier-by-the-minute 19 month old, and down the street to the local Chinese food restaurant. We were seated in 3 minutes, and then sat there for another ten, unable to get anyone's attention or help. Each server (at least 5 different ones) walked past our table as quickly as possible, avoiding eye contact and not stopping when we tried to attract anyone to take our order. Brett was super frustrated at this point and Madigan was screaming, so we (for the first time in my life!) got up and left without ever once being acknowledged by any employee there.
At this point Madigan was DONE dealing. She was hungry and she had been packed into and out of the car several times without any food (despite her cries for "eat! food! bite!"). It didn't take long for Brett and I to decide to pass on the sit-down family meal, and hit the drive through.
Back at home, we devoured our Burger King burgers and our deliriously tired toddler downed her chicken fries and grapes. I swear, Brett & I are not high maintenance diners. But for some reason, Valentine's day is not our day to eat out.
Better luck next year? Maybe we will just cook it ourselves!



When I was a little girl, my mom worked as a nurse on the 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift. My dad, being a minister with a bit more flexibility in his hours, was responsible for getting my two brothers and I up and off to school. Every morning, he had breakfast ready for us, and most mornings, it was a hot breakfast. We took turns picking what would be for breakfast, and my personal favorite was pancakes.
My dad is the kind of guy who doesn't just do something to get it done. If he's going to be doing anything, then he's going to make sure that it's not just right, but fun. Pancake mornings were no exception.

The morning he found all my mom's cooking flavors was a true "Randy" moment. He divvied up the batter into many small bowls and we had samplings of pancakes flavored with vanilla, maple, coconut, peppermint and even anise.

If we wanted a topping for our pancakes, he allowed it. Powdered sugar, maple syrup, peanut butter, canned fruit or even chocolate chips were many of the several options we tried.
Where he got really creative was the delivery. I remember sitting at our dining room table, and being able to call out exactly how I wanted my pancake shaped.
"Make me an 'S' one, daddy!" or "I want a Mickey Mouse. No, a pig! NO, a star! Can you make me a star, dad?" and he would just laugh and pour and flip and within a few minutes I would have a star shaped pancake hot and ready on my plate.
Indeed, pancake mornings are atop my list of awesome childhood memories.
So it's with great fondness and nostalgia that I whip out my mother's old griddle and fire it up for a version of "pancake morning" in our house.

I must admit, with great humility, how much harder it is to be the maker of the awesome pancakes. This morning, I managed a batch of plain round pancakes with a touch of maple syrup on top, and that plants me firmly in the "novice pancaker" group. Madigan isn't even old enough to care what flavor they are and she definitely only gets simple toppings and I feel overwhelmed at the mixing, flipping and serving!! I can't imagine what it will be like when she's calling out shapes for me to make her.
However, when it was all said and done, watching her polish off her tiny little silver dollar pancakes and hold her plate up to me to ask "Mo?" (more) was all I needed to be inspired to continue a pancake tradition with her in hopes of honing my own skills of pancakery panache.
Maybe, if we're lucky, we can get Papa Randy to come visit and give me a few tips to help me on my way to fantastic pancake memories for Madigan.
If nothing else, maybe I can talk him into making a batch of the maple pancakes for me, and serving it up shaped like a star....


Another Before & After post...

So I had a lot of fun last week doing the blog jump for "before & after" pictures that Monica hosted. I had a friend tell me she had just the picture for me to "make over" this week! :)
Here is the "Before" picture. My friend Janae said that she loved this pic of her daughter with her great-grandma, but she didn't love that her bottom was in the background, changing a diaper!

The first thing I took care of was exactly what she asked, I just "rubber stamped" her booty out of the picture. However, I feel that even when I cropped the image in and left it in full color, it was pretty obvious that something had been tweaked. See:

So next I played with tweaking some color saturation and levels. Here's a faded, antique tone:

And I also faded it out to look aged:

Finally I just played around with some layers and textures. Here's a floral pattern:

Here's an old love letter, and black/white:

And finally, one that just makes it look cracked and old:
I think that a few of them have a nice touch to them. Janae, if you want to save them I think you can just right click and save, but if you need better quality ones I can e-mail.
Again, I had fun tweaking them! If anyone has any snapshots at home they want tweaked for another week, let me know!