Adventures in Easter Eggs

Alternate (but Considerably More Cumbersome) Title: How I’m Completely Terrible At Most Crafty Things and Will Likely Never Be Crowned Queen of Pinterest

The demands of my professional life are typically straightforward.  While my job can be mentally exhausting, it doesn’t require much creativity.

At home, though, I enjoy being more creative.  Rather, I like to THINK about being more creative.  Unfortunately, I lack the self-awareness and reasoning ability to capably follow through.

FOR EXAMPLE.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a video on Facebook of a cool way to “tie dye” Easter eggs using coffee filters, rubber bands, and medicine droppers.  I didn’t repost/share/like/high five the video, because the technique looked simple enough to remember.

My thought process:  That’s a cool idea.  We’ve already got rubber bands and coffee filters.  I’ll need to pick up some food coloring, plastic cups for the dye and 3 medicine droppers.  Simple enough. I’m sure Any Store will carry these items. 

What I should have thought:  My memory is terrible.  I should save this video in some way so that I can access it easily when needed.  Also, double-check our coffee filter and rubber band stock.  Where do you buy medicine droppers? Make a note to call some pharmacies to be sure they have them.  And do this BEFORE the weekend of Easter.

Fast forward to the current weekend.

After Trip to the Store #1, during which I bought eggs and food coloring, I checked our coffee filter stock.  We had 16.  I was planning to dye 30 eggs, more filters were needed.  Also, I started thinking about the amount of rubber bands the project might take.  If each egg required 3-5 rubber bands, I was going to need approximately more rubber bands.

Trip to the Store #2 was when I procured the coffee filters and rubber bands. Oh!  And I needed medicine droppers.

My thought process: Target has everything.  It’s on my way, they carry coffee filters and rubber bands, and I’m sure the pharmacy area will stock medicine droppers.  I’m positive they will!

What I should have thought:  (Days before) It’s probably a good idea to make sure Target carries the droppers.  Those might be a difficult to find.

Just so you know, Target doesn’t carry medicine droppers.  My choices were 1) follow the pharmacist’s advice and “check the medical supply store” or 2) try another way of gently coloring the eggs.   Since it was already Saturday afternoon, I decided I didn’t want medicine droppers badly enough to find a medical supply store, I chose Option 2.

Once I had procured All The Items (except the droppers), I started searching for the video again, just to make sure I was clear on the technique.

My thought process: Are the coffee filters supposed to be dry or wet at the start?  How long do you wait after dying the eggs to remove the coffee filter? Dang, I can’t find that video.  Let me google it.  No, I don’t want to make coffee filter Easter eggs.  No, I don’t want to tie dye eggs with Sharpies.  No, I don’t want to use silk ties on my Easter eggs.  Forget it.  We’ll wing it.

What I should have thought:  Wow, I was so smart to bookmark that video so that I can access it simply and easily right now.  My life is a breeze due to my diligent forethought and planning.   

I got the kids going on wrapping the eggs with the filters and criss-crossing the rubber bands while I poured the boiling water into the plastic cups, per the directions on the food coloring box.  Except the water was boiling and I was using PLASTIC cups.

My thought process:  These little clear cups will be perfect!  We’ll easily see the available colors, plus clean-up will be a breeze!

What I should have thought:  These cups will melt if you pour boiling water in them.

I held my breath for a minute to see if the quickly melting cups were going to hold up.  Thankfully, they did.

The children prepared 3 eggs each for the tie-dye method.  I was afraid to have them do too many in case the entire fiasco was a major flop.  And based strictly on how unsure I was of the actual process, I was confident that we were about to experience major floppage.

But you know what?

They didn’t turn out so bad.

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The process was convoluted and didn’t go at all like I imagined in my head, but I think we’ll dye the eggs like this again next year.  Now that I have all the supplies….

The Sturgfam Tie-Dye Egg Method:

Supplies-

eggs

dye (we used food coloring, but I think I’ll go back to the PAAS tabs next year)

cups

coffee filters

rubber bands

small medicine cups (or you could even use spoons)

Directions-

Cover the egg with a coffee filter.  You’ll have some “overhanging filter, so secure that part with a rubber band to hold the coffee filter over the egg.  Criss-cross rubber bands on the coffee-filter-covered egg in any pattern you like.  Using a medicine dropper/small medicine cup/spoon, drop several colors of dye onto the egg.  The dye will soak in and swirl around.  Let the egg sit for 10 minutes or so.  We removed the coffee filters while they were still wet.  I’m not sure how long they would take to dry or how it would change the depth of the color on the egg shell, but it might be an interesting experiment if your children are more patient than mine.  Enjoy your designs!

What are some interesting ways you’ve found to dye Easter eggs (besides the old-fashioned dunking method)?  Or have you ever experienced an egg dye flop?  Those waxy white crayons in the PAAS kits are pretty worthless.


Because ice days call for comfort food

Welp, Texas is closed, kids.

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We had an ice storm Sunday night and, because it happens so infrequently, the cities/counties just don’t have the equipment to make roads safely passable.  So while the rest of the US (particularly the Northeast) mocks our fragile constitution, we’re all like

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because we turned off our wake-up alarms for the second day in a row.

As if being out of school unexpectedly isn’t enough of a treat for our kids, I decided to make a special “ice day” breakfast for them.  Most weekdays, they make themselves a bowl of oatmeal/cereal or some toast.  Since we have to get up at dark:thirty and be out the door before the sun rises, a “prepared-from-scratch” breakfast (meaning anything that requires even minimal involvement from me) isn’t on the agenda.

But when I get to sleep in a bit and my day’s only goal is to stay cozy- that’s the best time for homemade breakfast.  Today, it was cinnamon rolls!

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I grew eating Pillsbury orange sweet rolls.  It was a Sunday morning tradition, and it’s really hard for me to enjoy any other cinnamon roll imposter.

Several years ago, I attempted the Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls that everyone with the internet raves about but 1) they require yeast, and therefore, waiting, 2) they made a huge mess, and 3) I thought they were too “bread-y” with not enough “gooey.  And because they were pretty time intensive with a disappointing pay-out, I was turned off from trying to make cinnamon rolls from scratch for awhile.

Disaster

Recently I saw one of those “Post this to your Facebook wall so you never lose it again” recipes and thought it sounded simple enough that I was ready to give the rolls another shot.  I whipped these up this morning, and they really are quick and delicious!

Quick and Delicious Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

DOUGH
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

4 tablespoons cold butter

FILLING

4 tablespoons butter, softened

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in the butter.  I don’t have a pastry cutter, so I use a food processor and it works beautifully.   Slowly stir in milk until mixture forms a ball.  I used my stand mixer for this part. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a square. My dough square was about 12 x 12.  Spread with softened butter.

Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Roll up jellyroll style. Cut into even slices (dental floss works awesome to cut these. Place in greased pan. Bake at 400° for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Melt remaining butter; brush over rolls. Serve warm.

To Make Icing
2 cups powdered sugar
1-3 tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or any other extract flavor you love- I might try orange next time)

Directions:
Mix together powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve a pourable icing/glaze consistency. Pour evenly over warm cinnamon rolls.

If I were a better blogger, I’d have all the pretty photos of each step and the final product.  As it is, I’m a mediocre, sporadic blogger, but feel free to check out my Instagram photo of the cinnamon roll fabulousness!  Stay warm, friends!

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What’s New

It’s officially fall, and I haven’t had a single Pumpkin Spice Latte (or any other latte, for that matter) from Starbucks.  In an effort to muster some variety of goodwill towards fall, I bought some pumpkin spice creamer for the coffee I save money on by brewing at home everyday, but I still prefer my trusty standby, hazelnut.  Hazelnut just gets me.  When the weather really cools down (in Texas, “really cools down” means “stays under 70 ALL DAY), I will put away some chai tea lattes.  Those things are like a warm cozy hug in winter.

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I didn’t intend to write all those words about coffee.  Sometimes blogging gold just happens.

Now that it’s fall, I guess I’m in the “acceptance” stage of grief over summer’s end.

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It’s taken me 6 weeks and some medication to get to this point.  Currently I’m in that trudging time of the school year where the next significant break is too far in the future to cultivate any positive feelings of anticipation, and the summer is too far in the past to to draw anyotivation from its memory. So I just keep my nose to the computer screen most of the day, and give myself a sarcastic slow clap before bed every evening.  I deserve the applause.  And the sarcasm.

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The Sturgkids are involved in all manner of extracurricular activities right now, and the level of busyness we’re experiencing is indirectly proportionate to the amount of cash in our bank account.  It is also the answer to the question, “Why do some people decide to remain childless?”

I am super proud of everything in which my babies are participating.  Really!  I Am!  And I’m generally a better time manager when I’m busy as opposed to when I have time to procrastinate.  The stress of it all, though, means that there’s always a ball I’m dropping.  That ball is named always named “Clean House” or “Laundry” so promise you won’t come over without calling first, ok?

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Catching up…

I hate to make people jealous, but life around here has been SUPER glamorous and fab-uh-less lately, so I’ll just recap a few highlights:

1) Decided not to do a “What I Wore” post this week because I didn’t think I wore anything particularly interesting.  A series of different circumstances meant that I wore jeans, tees, and athletic shoes to work a few days last week and actually even went to church in cropped athletic pants and a t-shirt on Sunday.

2) I put on a decent outfit Sunday afternoon, then got conned into walking to the neighborhood playground (of which I was completely unaware even existed until Sunday) with my children and some other kids in our ‘hood, and immediately regretted my fashion selection.  The humidity made it feel like a sauna outside.  After the playground, we still had to sit outside for M’s 7-on-7 football games, so I put on clothes appropriate for sweating at the game, then had to go straight to church.  I’m sure we smelled as delightfully fresh as we looked.

3)  Confession: I’m a terrible housekeeper.  The VERY LAST thing I want to do after work and on the weekends is THINK about cleaning.  Performing the action of cleaning doesn’t even register.  So I’ve spent a few too many days looking at the toilet bowl in our bathroom and thinking about how gross it was getting.  Is this TMI?  Sorry.  Tonight, something pushed me over the edge, though, and I sprinkled some Comet inside the bowl, swished it around with the scrub brush and had a clean toilet in less than 60 seconds.  I thought it would make me feel inspired to DO MORE THINGS because this task was so simple and not time consuming.  Instead, I just felt even worse about my housekeeping skills and the fact that I put everything off so long.  I won’t be doing that again anytime soon

(Don’t worry.  If you come over for a surprise visit, I promise I’ll at least wipe the guest bathroom down with some clorox wipes.  But I can’t guarantee that the “5 Second Rule” is a solid statute to abide by in my kitchen.)

4) Speaking of neighbors, we got some new ones a couple of days ago.  Bless Missy’s heart, with two older brothers, she hasn’t had many girls around to play with and she has recently made friends with 2 little girls on our street, one of whom belongs to our new neighbors.  About 5 minutes after she met the new neighbor, the little girl declared that she and Missy were BFFs.  Then there was some chalk drawing, prompting me to wonder how concerned I should be….

5) Is school over yet?  I know that tomorrow is May 1st, but shouldn’t we be done already?  I really need some sun, a pool, and a good book.  Because I’m always years behind the trends, I recently started reading Game of Thrones.  It’s pretty long, though, and I’m also a huge nerd and recently became addicted to this free logic puzzles app, so basically, I want to do nothing all day except read and do logic puzzles by the pool and then take a nap when I’m exhausted from all that activity.  Please, someone make that happen.  I was so close to realizing that dream this morning when J told me we won the lottery!  Turns out, it was only $2.  Vegas!


Warm Weather Woes

After what seemed like an interminable Texas winter (because a Texas winter usually lasts about two weeks, served in non-consecutive days from late December to mid February), the mercury in the thermometer is finally creeping up.

Today, the outdoor temperature got UP to a glorious 91 degrees.  In October, I’ll be saying it got DOWN to a glorious 91 degrees.

It has been an absolute blast to see my children playing outside these last few days, inventing new games with their neighborhood friends,  entertaining themselves until I break the spell by calling them in for dinner.  But as I have been enjoying the warmth outside with them, there has been a persistently bothersome notion festering in the back of my mind.  I’ve tried to ignore it, but the truth is I can no longer escape the inevitable.

It’s time to break out the self-tanner.

My genetic components do not contain the type of melanin that allows my skin to tan.  I’m not like albino or anything; I simply do not and can not tan.  My skin is so fair (see also: pale, peaked, ghostly, vampire-ish) that I rarely find foundation light enough.

And I’ve heard it ALL.

“Why don’t you go in the sun more?”

“You should try a tanning bed.”

“Hey, Casper!”

To add insult to injury, I have dark hair.  That might not seem like any big thing, until it’s YOU living with the fact that the dark hair in the follicles in your legs make it look as though you’re a perpetually poorly-skilled (or worse, NEGLIGENT) shaver.

Then there’s the cancer risk:

Family history? Check!

Fair skin? Check!

Light eyes? Check!

Light hair? I wish, but sadly, no. See shaving problems above.

So, when it’s time to break out the shorts, I know that it’s time to also break out the self-tanner.  The past few years, I’ve used a self-tanner from Bath and Body Works that was good enough.  My general motto in life is “good enough.”  Because I’m not Scrooge McDuck sliding down my piles of gold coins every evening, I don’t have a lot of time and resources to put into finding the “ultimate” or “best ever” so good enough works for me.

Recently, though, I read somewhere that another great drugstore brand to try is the Banana Boat Summer Color Self Tanning Lotion Deep Dark Color.  I usually avoid any self-tanner that uses the words “deep” and “dark” because I’m usually just going for a more subtle “just cuts down the glare a little bit” shade of color.  But because I’m crazy and spontaneous, I threw caution to the wind and decided to give this product a whirl.

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My first impression is that this product looks EXACTLY like poop when you expel it into your hand.

(Sidenote: I hate the word sq–rt, particularly in the above sentence when paired with the idea of poop.  So I googled for synonyms, but is “expel” any better?  Any suggestions how to convey the action of “sq–rt” in a more acceptable term?  Evict? Emit? My neuroses have crippled me here.)

Seriously.  Every time I emitted (???) another amount from the tube into my palm, I was filled anew with a combination of disgust and intrigue.  My old standy from BBW was a lovely, glittery, bronze lotion.  This stuff looks like the “smiling pile of poo” emoticon (minus the smile).

The MAJOR plus side so  far is that this product is almost completely absent that characteristic self-tanner smell. In the morning, I’ll have a better idea if the color is at all flattering for my skin tone, although people may not trust my “good enough” definition of flattering, because when it comes to self-tanner, my philosophy is that even fake orange-y legs look better in shorts than fish-belly white legs.  Just the fact that I applied this product tonight is a win for all humankind.  Trust me.

 

 

*I’m not being compensated in any way for this post and I have no affiliation whatsoever with Banana Boat.       


What I Wore

Welcome to another Wednesday of What I Wore!  I tried to get this post going this morning before we all had to leave the house, but that was just because I went temporarily insane and believed I had time to do anything beyond our usual harried schedule of clothes, breakfast, teeth, and backpacks.  Those are the 4 things that never change each school morning, yet it all seems so far out of reach for my children until they have probed the limits of my mental stability.

Anyway, still no full length mirror and still no real photos, but I promise I have recreated my outfits as closely as possible to what I actually wore.

Still wearing a lot of jeans around here.  That sounds misleading:  I’m actually wearing the same 2 pair repeatedly for a lot of days.  Also, most of my clothing is stuff I’ve owned for awhile or thrifted, so I just recreate the outfits as closely as possible.  None of the links below are affiliate links because who are we kidding? I’ve been writing this blog for like 5 minutes.  I’m not making a penny.

Friday:

 

Black/Gold
Black/Gold by sturgmomsays featuring steve-madden shoes

Good Friday was an errand day, including the poorly-timed tattoo laser treatment.  That evening, I went to Happy Hour with some friends, then spent the rest of the evening watching movies with the kids.

I couldn’t find anything that even resembled the Gap tee I wore on Saturday, so just pretend like you see a neon peachy-pink long tee with skinny jeans and gold Sperry knock-offs from Target.

Easter Sunday:

 

Easter 2014
Easter 2014 by sturgmomsays featuring wedge shoes

I didn’t buy anything new for Easter, so I decided it was a stroke of luck that I already owned the above blouse, and that it accidentally coordinated with my kids’ outfits.  I usually build Easter outfits around Missy’s dress.  The boys have resigned themselves to the fact that Easter is THE ONE DAY of the year that they wear what I tell them to, no questions asked, no fits thrown.  And this year, I let Missy pick her own Easter dress, which is how we ended up with the dress I affectionately call The Rainbow Sherbet Monstrosity.

Exhibit A:

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I would have never chosen this dress for her in a million years times infinity.  But, because I’m trying to allow her to make her own choices (within reason) and not be too controlling, and because my mom agreed to buy it for her, THIS is the dress she ended up with.  So I went with the blouse above and some pinkish-peach pants.  My pants were actually from Target, but they’re from last year, hence no current picture.

Monday:

Casual Monday White/Orange
Casual Monday White/Orange by sturgmomsays featuring gold tone drop earrings

Another Jeans Day at school because I supported our Relay for Life team.  My orange wedges were actually (old) from Kohl’s, but I really love the option above.  Then a friend/former colleague told me that her mom just bought that same pair in black.  While I love friend/former colleague’s mom, it sort of reminded me of the time (not so long ago) that I was feeling young and sassy while shopping at Express.   The 10 year old salesGIRL who rang up my purchase (Cardigans.  So what??) said, “Yeah, my mom just bought these same ones.”  Sassy Bubble officially burst.

Yesterday (Tuesday) I wore a flowy chiffon blouse from Kohl’s with skinny jeans and gold sandals.  It was cute; definitely take my word for it, even if some of my clothing choices are on-par with retirees.   Just call me Mrs. Roper.

TCo2005

 

 


Nothing says Easter like the tattoo shop

At this point in the school year, it’s hard to decide if a three-day weekend is a wonderful time spent recharging in order to power through the next few weeks or if it’s pure torture, teasing me about the blissfully unscheduled summer months ahead.  While part of me thinks that I’d love to just charge through the next 34 school days (No weekends! Let’s just get this over with!), the part that slept late Friday morning was all, ‘”I could not have worked one more second this week.”

J ended up heading out for a brief side gig Thursday night through Friday, which threw a slight wrench in my Friday plans.  See, I have a tattoo that’s has a um….mistake (how this happened is a blog post for another day).  Long story short, I didn’t want to reschedule my laser removal appointment because I’ve been lazy enough over the past year and only had one laser treatment when I could have potentially had six and had the entire ordeal corrected by now.  Instead, every time someone looks at my tattoo I just continue to wonder if they notice that it’s wrong and are just too polite to say anything, or if they, like me, have poor attention to important (and permanent) details. And then I think, “I really should get that fixed.”

Because the removal place is in the back of a stereotypical  tattoo shop (complete with naked lady artwork on the walls), into which I dragged my three school-age children, I can’t decide if I win Worst Mom of the Year or Kick Ass Mom of the Year.  They made sure to tell me that they heard a few inappropriate words while waiting, but nothing worse than anything that’s come out of their own mouths (<—– not a joke, unfortunately).

Since J had worked practically 36 hours straight from Thursday morning until Friday night, I made the executive decision that we would skip the church Easter Egg Hunt Saturday morning in order to give him a chance to sleep in.  When we finally got moving at about the crack of noon, we just ran a few errands.  We picked up eyeglasses for the younger two, then had to buy dog food and Easter shoes.  But not at the same place.

That evening my precious mother-in-law took care of the kids while J and I ran more errands. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to realize this life of glamour we lead is real.  We had a romantic dinner at Taco Bueno before declaring ourselves “hard core next week” regarding our eating and exercising habits. Then we shopped for Easter basket goodies.

While we were at Target buying All The Candy (it really wasn’t THAT much), I realized that I should have boiled the eggs for dyeing on Saturday afternoon rather than take that glorious nap I enjoyed. But since I’m nothing if not a chronic procrastinator (see ‘purchasing Easter shoes on Saturday’ above), we ended up boiling and dyeing eggs at 9:30 on Saturday night. With an early wake up time on Sunday. It was as peaceful and grace-filled as you can imagine.

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Sunday was a great day spent enjoying family and candy, but only once we got past the “don’t you dare spill that on your Easter clothes before I take some pictures” breakfast hour.  For breakfast, we made Resurrection Rolls together, which is one of our favorite Easter traditions.  We had an Easter Egg Hunt after lunch, then spent time chatting with family.  The evening was quiet, and I got to finish reading a book, so that totally counts that as another Easter miracle to celebrate!

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