Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Some Wonderful Things...

We're back in business, folks.  September and October has flown by and I had about 8 blog post "drafts" that went unfinished for way too long.  I was incredibly busy with work that I don't think I had enough inspiration left for a blog.  So, what better place to start than with a list of wonderful things, because right now, there are so many wonderful things going on in the lives of the Talmans.

Wonderful Thing #1 - My brother is coming home! From Iraq! He's been there for about 13 months and now, he's close to being home in the next few weeks.  It's like we are all letting out a collective "breath" that we've been holding in for a year.  He's coming home.

Wonderful Thing #2 - Mia is a painting FOOL!  Wants to paint all day, every day.  See?

Wonderful Thing #3 - Huskers (football and Speech and Debate Team) have been making us proud Nebraska transplants in Texas lately.  Mia and I proudly sport our Husker gear around Plano (home of Rex Burkhead, might I add)...

Wonderful Thing #4 - This.

Wonderful Thing #5- We got a new couch! It's been WAY overdue for a long time and let me tell you, it's the best purchase I think I've ever made.  It reclines fully on both sides and it's so comfortable.  We love it.

Wonderful Thing #6 -  We had a lovely Halloween.  Mia dressed up as a cow the day before Halloween and we went to a community festival with face painting, a petting zoo, bounce houses, carnival-style food and music and dancing.  Mia loved it!  Especially the music part.  She is gonna be a diva, I can feel it already.  I have no idea where she gets it... :)

Then on Halloween, we hung out at home and handed out candy to the big kids who came trick or treating.  Well, Mia just didn't like that she had to give candy away to the big kids and not get any herself.  So, after we handed out candy, I let her pick out a piece of candy.  Not the smartest thing to do an hour before bedtime, but it WAS Halloween.  Oh, and she had to dress up again too like the big kids.  So she did.

I asked her to show me her "trick or treat" face.  And this is what she gave me.  See? Diva.

Un-Wonderful Thing #1 - Mia and I have been fighting a nasty cold for about 2 weeks.  Mia is one of those kids that gets the croup every time she gets a cold.  So after a night of sticking her head in the freezer to avoid a trip to the ER, we got some oral steriods to keep on hand at home for the future and we made a "croup tent."  It was our first one so I think we have some improving to do.  But, Mia and Elmo thought it was FUN! Croup or not. 

Wonderful Thing #7 - I wanted to save this one for last.  As I sit on the couch (My new couch.  Reclining couch.) at 8am in the morning on a Wednesday, I am happy to say that I am now a stay-at home mama.  Well, a stay at home mama with a writing contract job with my employer who works about 40 hours a month.  I am so beyond happy that I am able to do this now and I know I am right where I need to be.  Like most moms, I struggled with trying to do it (Hey! I have a Master's Degree!), be a rock star mom and keep a perfect house and it just wasn't working very well.  I am so very happy and pretty lucky, actually.  Very, very wonderful. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Monday List of Wonderful Things

Geeeeeezzzzzzzz.  I suck at blogging.  I am super duper busy at work and I don't really know where I find time to brush my teeth, much less "blog."  But anyway, here's a look at what wonderful things we've been up to. 

Wonderful Thing #1: I made a KILLER roasted chicken, with lemons and LOTS of real butter.  See? Nobody needs to know I trussed it up with sewing thread instead of butcher's twine.

Wonderful Thing #2 - Mia and I shared a red velvet cupcake at the mall.  It was dee-lightful. 

Wonderful Thing #3 - I have been preparing for Husker football.  THROW THE BONES!!!

Wonderful Thing #4 - I have discovered the best way to make sweet potatoes.  Peel them, cube them (in equal size pieces), toss them in olive oil and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Bake for about an hour at 350. Trust me. 

Wonderful Thing #5 - When I ask Mia what her name is, she says "Mimi Talman."  I think she may be called Mimi her whole life instead of Mia.  That's pretty darn cute.  Also, her new favorite thing is cowboys.  We rode the carousel at the mall and the whole time she said..." Whoo Hoo....Ride em cowboy!" 

Not everything is peachy and happy.  This summer has been BRUTAL with weather.  This winter better be worth it, Dallas...that's all I have to say. 

UN-WONDERFUL THING #1 - 109 degrees.  More than once this summer.  Really? 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday List of Wonderful Things

See that?  I switched it up.  Just when you thought you knew me....

1.  I got Lasik eye surgery on Friday morning.  My eyes are still a little bloody-looking but I CAN SEE!! With no glasses.  No contacts and it was immediate results.  Surgery took about a half hour and when they made me sit up, I could see.  Seriously, it was like a Christmas miracle.  It's a whole new world for me. Plus, I got a $200 coupon to get new Maui Jim sunglasses with my surgery.  The pair I picked out cost $235.  I feel super cool.  But seriously, there are people who pay $235 for sunglasses? I could barely feel okay to pay $35 for sunglasses. Those must be the type of people who must have been affected by the recession...cause they are stupid.

2.  I am watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey.  I like this season very much.  It was shot during Christmas time and for one hour, it makes me forget that it's been 100+ degrees for 45 days straight in Dallas with no rain.  Barf.  Also, RIP anything growing in my yard and my house foundation. 

3.  I bought a surprise gift for my sister-in-law B at Anthropologie this weekend.  If I hadn't dropped my phone in the toilet on Thursday morning, I would have texted her a picture of them.  But instead, let's see if she reads the blog...HERE is what's coming to you in the mail! THESE (except all with the letter "M")

4.  Anthropologie is my favorite store at the moment.  Us hippies are pretty particular about our overpriced "quirky" and "unique" things.  This place does it best, I think.

5.  We are going to a 2 year old birthday this Saturday with Mia's buddy Brooks.  It's a pool party and so Mia and I went shopping this weekend and got him a remote control truck.  I love shopping for boys. Although, I'm SURE Mia would also love a remote control truck. She left the store with a blue ball.

6.  I made pretty awesome bruschetta tonight. 


1.  Mia is not napping well at all anymore.  We have had 2 days in a row of her staying in her crib and refusing to nap. We have had a schedule of taking a nap right after lunch since she was about a year when we went from a two nap day, to a one nap day.  She has NEVER not taken a nap and unless she is sick, she always goes down easy.  Now, after lunch she is her usual tired self so I rock her, sing a few songs and lay her down and within 5 minutes, she is jumping up and down, yelling "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!.......", singing songs, crying, laughing, playing with her stuffed hippo, playing the "drum" on the sides of her crib, I mean, just goes CRAZY!  Then after doing this for 2 hours, I finally give up and take her out.  THEN, she falls asleep at like 6:30pm, wakes up at 7:45pm and doesn't get back to sleep until 10pm.  Not good for business, for anyone.  Let's hope this is a short phase.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Fantastic.  Watch it.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Going to the Tops"...a gardner's enemy

So, I don't pretend to be a real gardener.  Mostly because it's been 107 for the last month here and NOT ONLY is it too hot to water my garden every day, but it's too darn hot to grow anything either.  PLUS, our city put a 2 day "landscaping" watering rule now since we're in this drought mess and I want to be at least a little compliant with that.  But not really.

Anyway, I gave up on my garden and I'm not really that sad.  Well, I am sad cause I was so excited for my garden.  I'm pretty passionate about my family eating "good food", meaning food that won't sit in my cupboard for months on end and not rot.  If it doesn't "rot" when it's not frozen, then it's not real food.  So yes, that means no hamburger helper.  My garden was a manifestation of that, I think.

I pulled my carrots the other night because a) I've been randomly pulling carrots this summer to check them (I'm an antsy person) and b) It was my last hope of getting anything other than 3 tomatoes all summer.

Here is what they looked like after I pulled them. 

Beautiful, right?  Wow, those carrots are gonna big, juicy orange suckers.  I just know it.  Or...Not.  Here is what the bottom looks like:

Tiny little slivers of carrot that don't even warrant picking.  Ugh.  They don't even taste good either.  This is what my mom calls "going all to the top."  Where the tops are lush, green and beautiful but the actual "vegetable" is small and sickly looking.  Here is a textbook case of that.  I think maybe I'll try new seeds next year.  Maybe that would help.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Peach Shortcakes

First of all...The Real Housewives of New York fight way too much and the whole "blonde side v. the brunette side" isn't working for me.  I watch the show to live vicariously through very rich women who regularly get botox, buy Jimmy Choos and plan their day around lunch dates with their girlfriends.  If I wanted to see fights, I'd watch Jerry my dad.

Anyway, my mama (or nana as she's called in our house) visited us for 10 days and they went by FAST!  I can't believe she already went home.  One of the things that she made while she was here was THIS!

A beautiful, peach shortcake made out of the most delicious peaches, homemade shortcake and *ahem* 8montholdcannedwhippedcream.  There I said it.  Hey, it still tasted very good and we didn't really care.  Is it good that canned whipped cream can last that long in your fridge?  No.  Is canned whipped cream good, period?  No.  But, I'm not above it.  So on my dessert it went. 

Anyway, it's one of the things that I love about my mom and "women from the farm in the Midwest" in general, I guess.  No, Southern women do not count because they all think they're better than everyone else and I'm not gonna help feed that. Gotta be from the Midwest.  Anyway, one of the things that I love about my mom is how she can just whip this up.  It's like, oh...we have these great peaches, let's do shortcakes, we have Bisquick.  I would NEVER think to make shortcakes with Bisquick. Pancakes?  Yes.  Biscuits?  Maybe.  But shortcakes?  I would never think to do it and I'm glad my mama was around to think of it. 

In other news, RIP my garden.  I've given up and I'm not going to stress about it anymore.  We have had about 30 straight days over 100 degrees with no rain and I'm fighting to keep ANYTHING alive in my yard.  I'm not going to stress over tomato plants that aren't bearing any tomatoes, bell peppers that I never eat (not planting those next year) and baby carrots that are all "going to the top."  That's a gardening term (taught to me by my mom) when the tops of the plan get full and lush but the actual vegetable at the bottom is small and bitter.  Happens to carrots and radishes, I think.  Needless to say, my poor garden isn't getting watered anymore and I'm gonna pull all of the plants in a few days and just accept it. 

But, I'm happy.  Know why?  Cause I ate this AGAIN for dessert tonight.  Thanks mama! ( I mean Nana).

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The girly side

Mia plays in the mud.  She colors pictures of dinosaurs and trucks.  Sometimes *gasp* she wears green.  She wears blue shoes and plays with golf clubs, balls and a baseball bat.  She has a Woody from Toy Story sippy cup.

She also has a play "kitchen" in her room.  She plays with baby dolls. She has a Disney Princess sippy cup.  Although, I will say she pretends to feed her baby doll then usually sticks her in the play oven afterwards.  Who knows what that means...hmm.  Anyway, point is...we try to give her a balanced viewpoint of "girl" things and "boy" things and try to not categorize them as such.  

But, I'm here to say, that this post is not balanced.  This is all about the girly side.  The unabashed, hot pink girly side. Summer seems to bring it out in us, I guess.

Every girl needs a pink bikini.  Just ask her nana who bought it for her :)

Mia calls this her "princess" skirt.

Sometimes, it's good to be a girl. Tomorrow we play in the mud.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Teriyaki Kabobs and a New Wall

I am SO homes and gardens today.  A recipe AND a new decorating tip?!?  Wow. 

So, we all know I LOVE to cooking idol is Ina Garten and if I had my way, I'd cook all day everyday and make millions of dollars from my ingenious recipes.  But, I live in the real world and the work and kid thing means the food I make has to be very quick, easy and mostly toddler friendly.  I try very, very hard to feed Mia the same food JC and I eat every night, for two reasons:

  • It's a pain in the ass to cook a separate meal
  • I hope it will help her become a "healthy eater" mimic their parents, so if we eat good food, she'll eat good food.  And only have ice cream 3 times a week, instead of 5.
But sometimes you can't always do that.  Sometimes you just need to eat something that's spicy, has a "grown-up" sauce on it or is fish or fish-related.  None of those (in my experience) are very toddler friendly foods.  I'm here to tell you that this is one of those recipes:

Teriyaki Steak Kabobs
  •  Chop up a yellow and orange bell pepper (if they're on sale, otherwise use the gross (but cheap) green kind), one yellow onion and a piece of steak. Throw in some button mushrooms and  skewer them on kabob sticks.
  • Season with Lawry's salt and black pepper and drench them in Teriyaki marinade.

  •  Let them marinate for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator and then put them on a HOT grill.  Make sure the grill is HOT enough that it sears the meat and locks in the flavor.

DELICIOUS? Yes.  Toddler friendly?  No.  At least not for my toddler.  But no worries, we had plenty off side dishes and fruit for her.  She did not go hungry.  Here's the little bugger playing in the yard while the kabobs were and all.

In other news, I played decorator last weekend and re-did a wall in my kitchen "nook."  I have found that I am very fond of collages so I made a third one in my house.  What can I say, I like em.  Each one is special though, the one in my dining room is filled with pictures that I took in Europe, the other one in my dining room is pictures of JC and I when we were younger, pictures of my brother and I when we were younger, and just fun things that mean something.  This one, is no different.  I made this collage with framed sheet music from the 1920s that I bought at a consignment store in downtown McKinney, Texas.  How awesome is that?  Maybe one day it'll be worth enough to pay for Mia's college education.  Kidding! Kind of.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


THE MOMPETITION ROCKS!!! And here is why...

I'm not crazy. Really.'s another reason why I'm not crazy.  Someone else says it too. Someone else goes crazy at their job on a more regular basis than they like to admit.  Someone else still has a very awful pit in their stomach most of the time because they aren't with their kids all the time, aren't around when they wake up some days and ask for "mommy", and  mostly because they can't really, completely focus and be 100% present with their child because there is that awful nagging "work thing" going on in the back of their brain ALL. THE. TIME. Someone else realizes that while "Yes, women CAN have it all" it's really very very very hard to have it all.

Someone said this A FULL YEAR before I did, nonetheless.  So, I guess it is true that there are no unique ideas left.  And...this is another reason why I can never be a good blogger, because this is what we have to live up to! Read on for an excellent post...

Grass: Greener

Also, I bought Mia a car last week.  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ice CEAM!!!

No, that's not a typo.  That's what Mia calls ice cream.   ICE CEAM!  She had her very own ice cream cone for the first time tonight at Baskin Robbins.  Let me tell you, she loved it.  She just sat there with wide eyes, licking the cone very silently and then every few minutes would yell, "ICE CEAM!" then try to share with everyone in the shop.  Hilarious.  See? Those eyes are KILLER, aren't they?

JC also bought a new lens for our camera and it takes the coolest pictures.  Here are a few from this weekend.  Here she is playing with her daddy...doing who knows what.  

Also, here is one I like to call "Mia-God"...for obvious reasons. 

And NO, I wasn't watching "Keeping up with the Kardashians" either.  Kris Kardashian must have been on PBS or CNN or something...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Here's what I know.

I have many friends who blog.  Most of them have kids and use their blog as an outlet just like I do.  A way to let my creative side go to a place that doesn't have anything to do with my work and is focused on what I want my "real" life to look like.  Ha! Someday soon I promise to live my real life.  Where I do nothing but be a hippy stay at home mom with at least 2 more kids who grows her own food and never wears shoes.  Hey! You have your dream, I have mine. 

Anyway, many of my friends have shared their "things I couldn't live without as a mom or this is the best way to do things with your kids" blog posts and I think it's high time I shared mine.  Because we ALL KNOW, my opinions count the most.  Haha, just kidding, but is what I know...meaning, here is what I've learned about caring for a baby and now, raising a toddler.

#1 - Elmo is your friend.  Elmo is EVERYBODY'S friend.  He's cute, sweet and can always be counted on to send a good message to your child. Equality and love for everyone!!! Also, I credit Sesame Street TOTALLY for Mia being able to count to ten at 19 months old.

#2 - Let your kid play in the mud.  Always.  It will keep her/him occupied for so much longer than anything else and all you have to do is strip her/him down to a diaper and get out the hose once they are done.   Plus, you can totally use the pictures you take of her covered in mud as a baby at their high school graduation ceremony.

#3 - Playtex sippy cups are the ONLY sippy cups to buy.  And I'm serious.  Don't get lured in to the cutesy ones with their names on them (I'm looking at your Babys-R-Us checkout line sippy cups) or the ones with straws or anything like that.  They are the only sippy cups that I have found that don't leak and can withstand being dropped over and over...and over and over.

#4 - Take away the pacifier before 15 months.  I didn't do it and now Mia is more attached than ever.  She only has it when she sleeps but I have nightmares about the day we take it away.  2 is our absolute cut off and that'll be here before we know it.

#5 - Invest in Stride Right shoes when they are starting to walk.  They really are great for their feet and you will have less falls. Meaning less scraped knees.  Meaning less meltdowns from scraped knees in the grocery store.

#6 - Walmart Garanimals clothes are the best baby/kids clothes out there.  As much as Walmart sucks for many reasons (sexual discrimination against women being the latest reason), those $3.50 shirt and short matching sets are just TOO GOOD to pass up. 

#7 - Buy a magic bullet, make your own baby food and freeze it in ice cube trays when your baby is first starting to eat solid foods.  We saved so much money and it's good for the kid. 

#8 - Schedule, schedule, schedule.

#9 - Once Upon a Child and any other used baby store is where you should buy....everything.  After your baby shower hoard dries up, head to the nearest used store, get yourself a punch card and buy everything there.  Mia's high chair, bouncy chair, Cozy coupe car, most of her shoes, clothes and books come from there.  If you are a non-believer...take one trip to Gymboree and see how much they want you to pay for a pair of shoes or a sunhat and you'll change your mind real quickly.

#10 - The bottom line...all kids are different and what works for me, might not work for you.  And just when you think you know everything...the baby #2 proves you wrong.  Mark my words.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday List of Wonderful Things

Wonderful Thing #1 - We're going to Austin! Just for a night, but I'm SURE it will be full of debauchery and crazy.  Why? Cause that's what people do in Austin.  That and  be hippy liberals, which of course, is another plus for me. Mia has an overnight weekend with Uncle Bad (Brad) and Aunt Cici (Courtney).  I think all parties are excited.

Wonderful Thing #2 - I am now part of the Mom-SUV club.  Well, we got a "small" SUV, a Chevy Equinox to be exact.  As much as I love my little Honda Civic and it's out of this WORLD gas mileage and low carbon footprint, trying to pack Mia's stuff and our stuff just for one trip away is ridiculous. 

Wonderful Thing #3 - Mia plays hide and seek now and here is what she says everytime...

This whole conversation happens in a whisper:

Mia - "Shhhhhhhhhh" (with a finger to her lips)

Me- "Oh, yes...Shhhhhhhhh, I'll be quiet."

Mia - "Happened?"

Me- "What happened?"

Mia - "Fall off."

Me - "What fell off."

Mia - "Broke it."

Me - "What did you break?

Mia - "Shhhhhhhh." (with a finger to her lips)

Wonderful Thing #4 - Mia peed in her potty.  I think it's a total fluke because the second time we tried it, she walked away and then peed on the floor, but boy did we scream when that happened.  We bought a potty last weekend to have in the bathroom to talk about and play "potty" on with the intent of being serious about potty training early this fall or right around when she turns two.  She tells me when she goes poopy and she often goes and hides when she does which is a beginning sign she is ready.  How did the baby years go so fast?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Umpa Tem

Is the title of this blog a sign that I've finally hit my crazy stage?  You must be thinking, this poor girl with a crazy full-time job shoved into part time hours and a fuller-time toddler has finally hit her wall.  Well, no.  I mean, sometimes yes, but mostly no...not yet anyway.  When we throw a new baby in the mix (no I'm not pregnant but someday soon will be) I will definitely hit the wall, so to speak, and this delicate balance will all go to hell in a hand basket. 

So, what is Umpa Tem?  Well,'s Mia code for Uncle Tim!  My brother, of course.  He is a Captain in the US Army and Mia LOVES to point to his pictures on our refrigerator and say UMPA TEM or (Uncle Tim).  It's the cutest.  Then she says "B!" (which is what she calls her Aunt Brandi, Tim's wife).  He's in the middle of a year tour of Iraq and we couldn't be more proud of him.  We miss him and can't wait for him to come home soon.  And when he gets back he can come down here to Texas and do some babysitting and give his sister a vacation.  :)

But for now, we have this...

Balsamic Pasta with Asparagus, Tomatoes and Mushrooms

Holy cow this recipe is good.  I swear, I make the best meals when I'm throwing together what I have and don't really plan it.  I'm gonna stop buying cookbooks (except for Ina Garten's cause she's the bomb.)

Anyway, here's the recipe:

  • Chop 1 bunch of asparagus  into three sections so the spears are about 2 inches long
  • Slice one package of button mushrooms
  • Halve 1/2 carton of cherry tomatoes and 1/2 carton of sunburst tomatoes. Don't know what the heck a sunburst tomato is?  Well, good thing I had my camera handy when I chopped them. They're the yellow ones.
  •  Put about 1/4 cup of olive oil and 2 HUGE tablespoons of garlic in a saute pan and heat until aromatic and simmering but don't "fry" the garlic.  Cause burnt garlic is worse than a $2 bottle of red wine.
  • Add the mushrooms and asparagus to the simmering olive oil and cook for about 5 minutes with the lid on.  Add about 1 tsp of course sea salt and some pepper.  As much as you want, I guess.
  • In the meantime, cook 1 box of angel hair pasta (broken into halves) in some salted water, then drain and set aside.  (Do I need to make a big deal out of cooking some angel hair noodles?  No, I don't.)
  •  Make some balsamic vinaigrette.  For those not familiar, that's equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar with some salt and pepper, then whisked until mixed thoroughly.  Need a picture?  Fine. I whisk with a fork.
  •  Once the asparagus is fork tender, add the angel hair, balsamic vinaigrette and your halved tomatoes and toss.  More pepper and probably another turn around the pan of balsamic vinegar if you really like it.  I happen to love balsamic vinegar so the more the better.

 De-licious and vegetarian if you're into that.  Perfect for summer when it's so hot all you really want to ingest is cold beer and maybe some ice cream.  Is that just me?  Anyway, I had two helpings so that should tell you something.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer sure sucks for a kid...

I mean, all you do is eat popsicles...

And blow bubbles with my dad...

And then accidentally stick the bubble wand in my mouth...

And play in my pool...*sigh* (this part sucks the worst)

See? This is my sad face...

And eat fresh carrots out of the garden...

And get as many kisses as I want...

Summer life is the toughest when you are a kid.  But I guess someone has to do it.  Might as well be me!