Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Jake...time to take 'em out"

These were Mike's words to Jake this morning as he came in from the deck. They were quickly followed by: "They've pooped on my grill."

Rewind: Lately our backyard airspace has been infested with swallows. Mean birds and there are tons of them swooping around declaring their space to any and all invaders. They line up on our deck in groups of four or five and just sit there daring anything to come into their territory.

About a week ago they were met by Mike who pulled out his only line of defense:

A few days later I heard a smack against the window and saw this stuck there:

This leads me to believe that not only are these birds mean, but kinda dumb. Our windows are not nearly clean enough that this bird should have mistaken it for a clear passage.

But today was the final straw. They pooped on Mike's grill.

As Jake said, "They're going down now."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Baseball Season

Baseball season is coming to an end for the Murphy family. This is Jake's last year playing Nearball. I'm not really sure what the next years will bring but we've enjoyed attending his games. We were reminiscing how he went from playing in the dirt last year to actually making some great catches and hit this year and actually paying attention for the entire game.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mithter Toothleth

On Thursday night I got home from church. The kids were getting ready for bed and Mike told me Jake had finally pulled out his tooth after eating the cake...

Initially my reaction wasn't "Jake's tooth??" it was "Cake?!? Where did we get cake???"

Mother of the year. That's me.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sweet Party!

Okay - to finish up the posts regarding Maddie's birthday party....

She had eight girls spend the night a couple weekends ago. We had talked and decided that we would go with a theme this year just to see what that process was like. After brainstorming with Tracy (who is becoming addicted to planning parties) we decided on M&Ms. Fun colors to work with and hello?? "M"adison "M"urphy. These were the invites sent to friends:
Tracy found some very cute little M&M tins at Michael's that we purchased for the girls to take home and we started brainstorming other ideas from there.

I have to say...I was pretty excited about the actual decorated ledge we came up with. I really didn't want anyone to touch anything on was too fun looking!

First off was the games. We tried to come up with things that involved the colors or actual M&Ms. The first game involved guessing how many M&Ms were in the beautiful glass. Unexpectedly two girls guessed the exact same number and ended up being the winners. Unfortunately we didn't foresee that to have prizes on the side. So, one girl ended up with the actual prize and the other girl ended up with all the M&Ms. I think both were satisfied.

Next Tracy came over to help us out. For a project we decided to make t-shirts. These turned out SUPER cute and SO easy to do. Each girl traced her initial (pre-printed and cut out) onto iron-on interfacing. They picked out which color t-shirt they wanted (all choices were, of course, M&M colors). Tracy and I took turns ironing on the actual initials as the girls finished up their tracing and cutting. I do have an afterward picture that is so cute of them all, but I hate to post that on the Internet when I didn't ask their parents for permission. Throughout these posts you'll see a couple shirts that will give you the general idea.

Next up was balloon popping. Initially these balloons were going to be filled with a piece of paper that had an M&M color written on it and the first team to pop balloons and collect all six colors won. However, I found out the night before that I was going to be attending a memorial service the day of the party and we ran out of time. Instead the teams had to just pop 10 balloons. They had such a blast (ha!) doing this! The rules were they could use their butt, back or bellies to pop the balloons, but that was it. A few of the girls were going to town, and a couple (Maddie's team) could barely get any popped. Afterward Elizabeth and Maddie even hopped up and down on a couple balloons and still couldn't get them to pop.

The last game involved each girl receiving one package of M&Ms and they had to come up with a picture using only what they were given inside the package. I was actually quite impressed with how serious they all were and the very creative images they all came up with. The winner was voted on by the girls.

The cake was super easy...hard to go wrong with a circle. Tracy and Stacey suggested using M&Ms in between the cake layers which was a fun surprise. Note though: M&Ms almost seem to get soggy or stale tasting when placed inside frosting in a cake.

The only other bad part about this cake was the creepy smile everyone was left with. No dentist would have been proud of this...

After all that they decided to swim. It was about 70 degrees (if!) outside. I thought they were crazy. After 45 minutes they finally decided to be done. Thank goodness because I was about to have icicles hanging off my nose from sitting outside in the cool weather and crazy wind.

Afterward was movie watching and normal slumber party stuff. I was left with what I assume to be "normal slumber party stuff" for the parents.

Mike and I thought it was odd that they were heading to bed at 12:30am, but we were happy about that. Until 4am when I heard a noise downstairs. Being that I had just woken up from a nightmare I made Mike go downstairs because I wasn't going down there alone. He came back up saying the girls were wide awake and he wasn't going down to scare them. I headed down at 4:15am and there they were...playing Pictionary on the drawing wall we have. WIDE awake. I suggested they actually go to sleep and thankfully they did. I got back upstairs and as I was trying to drift off Mike said, "There is just NOTHING good about slumber parties."

I think in the end we ended up having tons of fun with this theme and coming up with ideas; especially the games. This was the first year we've ever tried something like this. If we do it again I think a goal will be to plan things a little earlier along than that last week.

And I'll be sure we all take naps several days prior to the event so we are more prepared for the crazy hours.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Date DAY

My parents are taking our kids for the afternoon and night. Yippee! I mean...I'll miss them terribly but...YIPPEE!!

When Jake heard my mom make this offer he turned to me and we had this conversation:

Jake: " you can have a date DAY with dad instead of a date NIGHT."

Me: "But Jake, dad works in the day. What should I do then?"

Jake: (squints his eyes and thinks) "I guess you could just give him some little hugs and kisses on his cheeks."

I stopped there. I didn't want to ask him what he thinks we do on a date NIGHT.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Test Results

Mike has allergies. We've known this for awhile and for many years I have begged him to see an allergist. Not to confirm what we already know, but so that they could possibly give him very powerful drugs to help alleviate frustration levels his misery when these allergies act up. If/when his allergies hit just right he can be knocked out for days. I mean this literally and figuratively. The Benadryl literally knocks him out. When he isn't actually sleeping he's a zombie and is usually just on the couch staring at whatever happens to be in front of him. At night the allergies result in one of us ending up on the couch because either he can't sleep from breathing problems or I can't sleep from his snoring that I can't stop because Benadryl has knocked him unconscious and unresponsive to my repeated kicks.

Well, today was the day! He visited the allergist where they loaded his back up with several shots or whatever they do. The results were mostly as we expected with a couple surprises:

1. They couldn't test him for Penicillin; they didn't have that test. They are hoping to get it next year. I thought that was odd. Wouldn't this be a fairly common thing to be tested for? What kind of allergist doesn't have one of these tests sitting around?
2. Mike is allergic to cockroaches.

That's right. Cockroaches. Why did they test him for cockroaches, I asked? It isn't as if we have them crawling all over our home. Trust me, if we did Mike's allergies would not be the problem forefront in my mind.

So, we don't know why they tested him for that. But thank goodness they did. Now I won't have to feel so guilty next time I see one in the garage and stomp it's lights out. I'll be saving my husband's life.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Two Hands

Maddie is 10 years old!

She's had quite the week of celebrations. First was the actual day. She couldn't wait to open her presents from Mike and I and one from Jake. Jake gave her High School Musical 2 - she was excited because she was one away from having the WHOLE TRILOGY. Mike's very excited about this as you can imagine.

For our gift to her we got her gold earrings. Gold earrings for her golden birthday. She wasn't too sure about these and when I explained what they signified she gave us this look and said:

"What about a golden retriever????"

Moving on.

As per last year's request we visited Petland. I told Mike about our destination for leaving and his comments were:

1. "Glad it's you and not me"
2. "Do NOT come home with a dog"

This is not one of my favorite stores, but it wasn't really my day. On my day I'll think about dragging them all to Archiver's. Anyway - no shortage of puppies to hold - I think they held three or four. I'm not even going to try naming them all. Samantha and Amanda were with and all four kids were having a ball getting to hold the puppies and spend a little time playing.

We left. Jake started crying because we weren't taking home a puppy. In Jake's World (a legitimate place in this house) he heard me say we were taking one home. Even Amanda chimed in and said, "No Jake, she said you wereN'T taking home a dog." Aaahhh...gotta love witnesses.

We ended the evening at Dairy Queen where we all dined on a sundae outside. I'd even thought to bring candles AND matches so that we could sing to her and embarrass her. However, living in Shakopee leaves us no shortage of wind ever. After three unsuccessful attempts at keeping a match lit long enough to light one candle we just sang to her and she pretended to blow out the candle. It was enough just to get to embarrass her.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


We recently purchased a new blender. Thank you, Kohl's. Oddly enough they were having a sale.

Our previous blender was a wedding gift. 13 years using it every few months apparently was too much for it to handle. So we purchased not only a machine that could blend, but also a food processor!! I'm kind of excited about that. Apparently not excited enough to actually try it out yet - but when that next recipe calls for it, I'm ready to crunch ingredients.

Anyway - we decided that we would try making smoothies for breakfast last week while the girls were here. I've been searching for recipes to try out so that maybe during the school year we could have Friday mornings be smoothie mornings. Something different, fun, and yet still some bit of healthiness.
Our first batch involved bananas and strawberries, some orange juice and 3 ice cubes. This was met with shrugs mostly. I don't think anyone was ready to drop the Cocoa Puffs for these. We took a poll, including a taste-test from Mike in the basement for what we thought was missing.

And when I say "we" I mean "they". I thought smoothies would be something I could like. I don't like fruit, but I like grape juice and grape jelly and apple juice, so I thought maybe it would all blend together and I wouldn't really taste anything. Not true. Bananas are fairly potent so unless I'm being served a chocolate smoothie, there's little chance I'll be partaking of this concoction. (Don't feel bad for me - a chocolate smoothie recipe was one of the first recipes I looked for found...those will be for the really special Fridays. Health-Shmealth)

Anyway - they choked down the first batch and we started over. This time we threw caution to the wind and added whatever we thought it needed. The new variation included a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream flavored protein powder, a spoonful of sugar, OJ, more strawberries, less bananas, milk and more ice. Lots more ice, actually.

And they were all pleasantly surprised with the results.

It wasn't the perfect results, but a good start so we stopped. We also happened to run out of strawberries. We'll keep looking for new recipes and hopefully we'll find that favorite before too long. Maybe even before school starts.

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's Official...

We bored them so much we turned them into little old ladies....

Actually, Amanda came downstairs one day last week and just sat and watched me empty the dishwasher. I asked if there was anything she wanted to do and she shrugged and said no. I closed the dishwasher and randomly said, "would you like to learn to knit?" Another shrug with a quiet, "sure."

So, she and I sat down and she caught on fairly quick. We found a pattern for a dishcloth on the Internet and she got to work. The next day I came downstairs and found the girls deep into their own projects. Samantha started work crocheting and was teaching Maddie how to turn on her own crochet project.

I prefer to think we aren't boring. We are just the hosts of the fabulous new "teen-knit-crochet bees" that will be sweeping the nation shortly.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


This week our nieces, Amanda and Samantha, are staying with us. They are 15 and 13 years old. Normally when we go to Iowa to visit, these girls along with Madison, don't stop giggling.

But, on Sunday when they got in the car to come up with Mike and the kids, they turned almost mute. They are so quiet - it's almost frightening. We've decided that we must be incredibly scary to live with. Or we are incredibly dull and they are bored out of their minds.

But, we have heard the occasional squeaks from them - mostly poolside.

A couple nights ago we had a bonfire and Mike found another visitor. Maddie named him Cocoa.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

They're A-L-I-V-E!!

I think I've mentioned on more than one occasion how we do not claim to have green thumbs. We don't have any real plants in our home. We have one fake one. We don't even take care of that very well...I finally realized that I was supposed to dust it. Yuck.

Anyway - when we look to our west we see this growing in our neighbor's backyard:

It's a bit intimidating, let me reassure you.

About a month ago Mike and I were over visiting our neighbors. They are Chinese and have been in the U.S. for around 10 years. Super nice couple. They were showing us their garden and explaining all the different vegetation they have growing all around their home. So Mike - thinking he's going to get in on some ancient Chinese growing secret - said, "So...did you learn all this growing up in China?" They looked at Mike with a blank or slightly confused stare and said with their thick accents, "No....we read how to grow gardens in the Star and Tribune."

Anyway - at that point we were offered tomato plants. They had some growing in containers and didn't need them all. Mike just looked at me with a smile on his face that said, "Go ahead...I dare you." Truthfully - we really aren't tomato-loving people. But, how could I refuse? So, we walked home with three tomato plants.

Somewhere in my genes there is plant growing ability. Tracy and Rob grow tons of stuff in a garden. My grandpa had a garden at least as big as our neighbors, if not bigger. I remember helping him dig up potatoes - a job I LOVED - and helping pick raspberries each summer.

So, I talked to Tracy about the containers I would need and was informed I really just needed to plant them in the ground. We don't really have many places to plant anything. So, I cleared some rock away from the fence and placed these little plants in there with a light pat of the soil and a small, "Good luck, guys" said under my breath.

I even remembered to water them. This is no small feat; I have dehydrated many a plant.

In the meantime the kids and I went and purchased three hanging potted plants to go in the new plant hanger that Mike and I decided to purchase. Because really...why not??? If this biology experiment worked, then we have nice colors in our backyard. If not - it's just one more thing to add to the garage sale at the end of the summer.

To add to this mix, we received a plant from a local Boy Scout. "Received" may be a loose term - we bought it. It was purely a guilt purchase because how do you turn away the Boy Scouts? I bought a Columbine because out of the 35 plants in the pictures it said, "full sun" and had a lot of flowers. How do you kill a plant that thrives in full sun I should be used to no water.

A couple weeks ago high school friends were over and I mentioned the tomato plants. I told them that even though we weren't getting actual tomatoes, the plants were growing little yellow flowers so I would be satisfied with this mild progress; at least they weren't dead. My friends informed me that those flowers would turn into the tomatoes and not to pick them off. I have to say, that bit of information almost made me hyperventilate. Could it be??? Would I really be able to grow something?

Tonight I yelled across the street to Kristy to ask about her tomato plants. She said she had little green ones. I drove away pouting because I checked a couple days ago and didn't see anything on our plants. When I got home, Mike was out working on the yard and casually said, "You've got some tomatoes growing."

I stared at him wide-eyed and bolted to the backyard where Lo.And.Be.Hold!! I think I counted 10 tomatoes!!! We put the wire cages around them that Tracy advised us to put up weeks ago (lesson learned on that one...wire cages are hard to put around big tomato plants - just like she said they would be).

I ran in the house where Maddie, Samantha and Amanda were sitting and yelled, "I HAVE TOMATOES! I need to take a picture!" I believe Maddie rolled her eyes and said, "Why does she always need to take a picture?!?"

I'm a farmer!!!

Here's the proof:

The rest of the plants are still doing well.

Here's our Petunia. I'm not a fan of pink, but it's all that Lowe's had. We grew these in North Carolina and I loved going out everyday and picking the dead buds off. Very relaxing to me after a yucky day at work. Turns out I still like to go and pick off the old buds. I throw them in the fire pit we have. This slightly surprised Mike last night when he went to make a fire and saw all this old vegetation. He said for a second he thought we had a mouse nest started. He was happy it was just his lazy wife not wanting to walk up front to the garbage.

This is some type of geranium, I believe. I'm supposed to be able to pick the flowers from it (like the petunia) so that new buds will sprout. I haven't figured out what exactly to pick - the actual flowers or the stems they sprout from. I do a little of each - basically whatever falls off in my hand.

This one...I have no idea. I accidentally threw away the spike thing that tells about the plants when you buy them. Really...kind of an ugly plant up close - it looks kind of vicious in real life - I managed to successfully blur out the ugly parts. But, again...slim pickings at Lowe's.

This is the Columbine. In the brochure it has a gazillion flowers. Miracle Grow's best efforts have not produced a single petal of any shape or size. But again...still living.

This is weedis-maximus.

We actually have a hard time NOT growing these.