Friday, December 10, 2010

Just got back from the spelling bee. I wish I had a valium.

Jane and cousin Jack were both representing their respective classes at the upper elementary spelling bee this afternoon, so my Mom and sister Jen and I showed up.

Writing about it is bringing on mild PTSD.
Please hold while I procure a paper bag into which I can breathe.

The pronouncer was from somewhere in the Midwest, and kept saying stuff all screwy. And by screwy, I mean, not like they do in Arizona, or in California, or on TV. I'm all for the great American melting pot and the German and Dutch immigrants who influenced the North Midland dialect, but not when nerdy bragging rights are on the line. Not to mention the trip to the regional bee.

What does it matter?  Why am I being so small-minded? Well, I'll tell you. The result was a who's-on-first-type-scenario that began in the practice round:

Pronouncer: The word is ADD. 
Cousin Jack: ADD?
Pronouncer: No, AaaaaDD.
Cousin Jack: Can you repeat the word?
Pronouncer: Aaaaaaaaaadddd.
Cousin Jack: ODD?
Pronouncer: Nodding... ADD.
Cousin Jack: ODD. O-D-D. ODD
Pronouncer: That is correct.

Kid behind me: She said add. That's odd.

And indeed, it was.

But the real problem? I couldn't deal with the pressure. It was a good thing Jane flubbed up CITIZEN in the 5th round, cause I might have keeled over on the bench from the unhealthful levels of cortisol jetting about my blood stream if it had gone on any longer.

Those poor kids. One slipped syllable and DING!  THAT IS INCORRECT! YER OUT!
I have to stop talking about it now because my pits are getting sweaty again.
I think I need a nap.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

I jinxed my hollow leg

by talking about it here on the internets. Either that or I filled it with pastrami and cupcakes.


Now I have to go to kids' school to watch oral report on tsunamis, then back home to write pithy, self-deprecating Christmas letter that will warm people's heart cockles and spread Christmas cheer in only one to two paragraphs so no one will be bored. Is too much pressure.

Have you written your Christmas letter yet? Can you please cut and paste it into the comments section, or send it to, so that I may become inspired by your brilliant writing (i.e. plagiarize)?

Thanks, then, in advance.

P.S. I've only gotten like three cards this year. Is it because we moved a year ago and the post office isn't forwarding anything and I didn't send anything out last year cuz I was pregnant and in a bad mood? Or have I done something to offend everyone I know?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Don't hate me for my tape worm

So, I haven't read as many books as I normally would this year, what with the infant being born and the four other children under the age of 12 living here at my house,  all wanting to be fed and clothed and helped with their oral reports on tsunamis or what have you.

But I did read stuff, I just can't remember what it all was. (Except I just finished Sex with Kings, which was non-fiction and fascinating, and not nearly as dirty as it sounds. Royal bastardry was big business.) So perhaps you can tell me some of your favorite books you've read this year, (or you know, ever), and then I'll remember, HEY, I liked that book, too? And then I can take it to book club tonight, where we will be choosing books for the new year, and eating some holiday groceries (I'm making ganache-dipped macaroons. You should come).

And there I will be in my glory, with all the books and the treats. And I shall eat more than your average book clubber, because with all this nursing of my 22 pound baby,
I have developed the coveted HOLLOW LEG, wherein I can store that oreo sundae from Sonic and then the 1.5 more bowls of ice cream I put away yesterday and still lose 3.5 pounds in one day. Yes, fer reals. I won't even mention the six Thanksgiving dinners I dominated, or that I've had pie for breakfast 10 days running. (I'm just hoping it is a hollow leg and not a tape worm. But if my tape worm is wrong, I don't want to be right. I've lost 50 pounds since April, and am on my way back to medium-foxhood.)

And in Coldplay news:

Yeeesss! Muchos gracias para the cancion de la Navidad, Chris! (And the restofya, too. Whatever.) Lovely. Keep up the good work. And by keep up the good work, I mean, don't go country like your wife (and Jewel), and grow your hair out a little tiny bit. Gracias.

Now perhaps I can entice my kids to watch something other than Don't Shoot Me Santa. Which Jake feels in not appropriate for children. And Jake is no prude. But Brandon Flowers in that sweater con las maracas? Worth a peek, I tell ya.

Now don't forget about the books, just cuz I confused you with all the talk of bastards and parasites and holiday songs that have absolutely nothing to do with the baby Jesus.

What should we read for book club in 2011?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

BASIS Chandler

Have you heard about BASIS?  This Tucson (also in Scottsdale and in Oro Valley) charter school has received national attention, was named #1 high school in America by Newsweek, and was listed in U.S. News & World Report's top 20 American high schools. They are opening a school in Chandler (at Cooper and Chandler Blvd.) next fall, and there is an information session tonight at San Tan Learning Center (my son Sam's school) at 6:30.

You might not believe me, maybe since I've never said anything about it before, but I have wasted a lot of time, energy and tears researching public, private, and charter schools here in Phoenix. Some of my kids (the super smarty, high energy, easily distracted boys; Jane seems to do well wherever she is) don't fit easily into a regular classroom, so I've had to find alternative programs (and even consider homeschool. But nobody wants that. There is a reason I changed my major from Elementary Ed to History and became a librarian). At the moment, I've got two kids in a Mesa public school Montessori, and another has just moved into a gifted classroom at a charter school.

I don't know if this BASIS school (which will start in 5th grade and go through high school) will be too intense and high pressure, and I know our public high school (Highland) is one of the best in the state, but I figure, it can't hurt to check it out!

What have you heard? Do you know anyone that attends BASIS?

Maybe I'll see you there tonight?

BASIS Info Night
Wednesday, 12/1
San Tan Learning Center
Gilbert, AZ  85296
6:30pm - 7:30pm  with Q and A to follow

Below is a trailer for a Two Million Minutes documentary about BASIS school.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Monday Bum

So, I've been shopping for more than four hours now, and what have I to show for it?
Numb buttocks.
And this album:

It is $1.99 on Amazon today, along with 4 others. 

Merry Christmas to me.

Have you found anything good out there on the interweb? Please share.

Love, Kelly

Friday, November 26, 2010

blogging from my bed, day 1

So tonight, Jake turned on the heater for the first time this season. He must have been pretty cold, because he's been a little jumpy since last year, when he turned on the heater without warning me, and I woke up in the middle of the night, yelling and accusing him of trying to kill me.

Now, I don't remember this episode at all, but still, it sounds completely rational. I don't like all the dust and accumulated crud of the summer (March to November) that blows out of the vents. Plus, I was pregnant and sick (remember the bleeding eye balls?), and it was late. A person might threaten violence and then completely forget about it. Happens all the time on The Mentalist.

That guy has really nice hair.

So anyhow, I'm sitting here filling my lungs with dust mites and probably worse, but I'm totally keeping my cool. Because this year, I'm well and even fit into two whole pairs of my pants.

I've also got some news. I've figured out why I don't blog anymore. It's the ipad. She's my mistress. I used to have to sit down at the computer in the office to check my mail or google stuff, and then I'd check over here for comments, and I'd be stuck, like a spider in a bloggy web. But now I check my mail from my bed, and I check out the new Colin Firth movie- where he plays George VI, a stutterer, so he hires Geoffrey Rush to be his Speech Therapist, but apparently Colin has no problem stumbling over the four letter words cuz it got an R rating for language, dangit- from my boudoir as well. But typing on the ipad is pretty awful, unless I leave out all the capital letters, so I only mentally post things, which isn't very interesting to the five of you who still check in on me from time to time. So tonight I broke out the wireless keyboard. I am blogging from my bed.

It is like a dream come true.

I am also eating Thanksgiving dinner numero three in my bed. It is delicious. My Mom thinks pumpkin pie is baby food but I think it tastes like a holiday in a flaky pastry crust.

Our friends the Westons left for Utah this morning. We were sad to see them go, because they are very nice and like to groan over tasty food like we do, but also because Kari kept cleaning my kitchen. Kari, when we come to visit you in May, you know, if Bono's back is healed properly, I will clean your kitchen very thoroughly.

The kitchen was very slimy with my delicious gravy, since we hosted the festivities yesterday. 53 guests, including 29 children and one small lizard, who is still on the loose in the living room. Jane took a photo. I'll add it when I get near a real computer.

How was your turkey supper? Did you shop today, or did you nap and eat turkey like me? I really want to go to Ikea to check out their Christmas wrapping paper, but I'm afraid of the crowds.

Friday, November 05, 2010

A minivan by any other name would still smell like old fries.

That's me (and my van)
And sweaty kid, cold greasy tots (from Wacky Wednesdays at Sonic), already-licked grape Tootsie pops, that ham sandwich inside the brown paper lunch sack that is lost under the starboard captain's chair, feet, and a little Johnson's Baby Shampoo, if you're lucky.

Oh. And Febreze. (Lipstick on a pig.)

Unless you are elderly (why do the snowbirds love the minivans?), or obsessive compulsive.

I love my van. I used to promise my college roommates I'd never drive one, but now I'm out and proud. I love every inch of it, even the cracked tail light, from when the lady got hit in the Costco parking lot in Las Vegas before she sold it to us on Ebay.

I have really grown to appreciate my tiny little van, because lately I've been cruising in this:

Yes, that's our school bus. A 12 passenger Ford. We share it with my sister for carpool.  It is BIG, and our kids love it. We are planning a road trip to Nebraska in it next summer. So in case you were wondering exactly how how cool the Beeswaxes really were, now you know:

not very.

And now my 1991 Acura Integra is in the car spa (Wes' Auto and Diesel), where Fred (car) got all new suspension and a new distributor, which will cost approximately two-and-a-half times what he is actually worth (which ain't much). It is his 20th birthday gift. I got him new in November 1990, back when I still wasn't cool, but looked it, cuz I had a fantastic car. It even lured my husband to me, and for this reason, we keep it, as a very large, garage-space-hogging symbol of our deep, undying love.

That smells inside like an old boat.
And the ghosts of 2,000 drive-thru In-n-Out burgers. Animal style.


Overheard at book club last night: "If you start talking about the book, then we're leaving." And then they did.

 I'd like to spend the wee hours of every Friday morning out in front of the Paradise Bakery chatting about Queen Esther. And, you know, other stuff.

I don't know why I haven't blogged in a month. I miss it. See you soon.

Love, Kelly

Friday, October 08, 2010

Making plans. (A post illustrated with photos I didn't know were on my phone)

So yesterday afternoon was pretty lazy. I skipped doing laundry and cooking a healthy dinner in favor of lying on the floor in Ross' room and harassing him while he read The Artemis Fowl Files and then book 9 of the 39 Clues. (The kid reads likes 400 pages a day. I feel like someone from the real world needs to check in with him every few hours.)

(And by check in, I mean pester. And sometimes tickle.)

I asked him who he played with at recess today (cousin Jack),
if anything new happened at school today (pizza party because Mrs. Segerson had called kids by the wrong named 40 times since school began),
and what he wanted to be when he grew up. Ross wasn't anxious to answer, but the other kids chimed in.

Tom said:
What do YOU want me to be? Maybe I can drive a plane? Maybe I can be the Home Depot paint mixer guy? Or maybe a Costco helper? Maybe you can be a Costco helper with me? Or no. You should be a motorcycle driver. You'd be good at that.

Sam decided:

Well, there are only two things I'd like to be: A dad, and a teacher of guitar. Oh, and maybe some other stringed instruments. My kids will probly be rock stars. Don't be surprised if they are. (Sam doesn't play the guitar, or has ever, to my knowledge, shown the slightest interest in playing any of the three guitars we have collecting dust in the living room, from back in the day when I was in a fake Indigo Girls style band called Mango Lassi. Which is an Indian yogurt drink.)

Jane interrupted:

A marine biologist, a veterinarian, an animal breeder, a pediatrician, an In-n-Out worker, a lawyer, or a CIA Agent. In that order. Do you want me to write this down?

Me: Yes, please. And you, Ross?

Ross won't even look up from his book:

I don't know. I'll do something, but when I retire I want to randomly blow stuff up. At random.

Me: How about a scientist? Perhaps a...geneticist? (I enjoy the human genome project. I hope someday we will all be able to do our family history with a swab of the inside of our cheeks.)

Ross: That's your dream, not mine. Why can't I have an airsoft gun?

Me: You can.
I'll buy you one when you get your PhD.

And for your viewing pleasure, even more photos from my phone:

(Legos + bendaroos = spideyvillain.)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

And the next time I end up with six other people in a two-man tent, I'm leaving my Nanette Lepore heels in the limo.

So this weekend we went on a scavenger hunt. It was to raise money for House of Refuge, a program that provides transitional housing for homeless families out at the old Williams AFB (now ASU East). It is a great program, and Jake is on the board, so we showed up.

I'm so glad we did.
It was seriously fun.

First we met Mike. He was our driver, and had been on a few of these things before. Plus he knew his way around Tempe. This was very helpful. Especially since the tint on the back windows, which keeps the deadly carcinogenic rays of our desert sun (and the paparazzi) out of the smooth, unblemished faces of the rich and famous during the day, makes it nearly impossible to see out at night.

There we are. The brain trust. The beau monde. Just another Mensa field trip with our good friends Susette and Brent (center), and Susette's brother Elijah and his new bride, Hilaree.

Right out of the gate, Hilaree wins us like 10 points for molesting this crustacean inside a Fry's grocery.
Back in the car, I used my wide, but also deep, knowledge of everything there is to know, to answer trivia questions. (Special thanks to google, and my trusty ipad.)

What? Haven't you ever seen 6 swanky-lookin' Mormons and their limo driver in a two-man tent inside an REI before?

We bought this cute ASU student some dessert and sang to him on his 'birthday'. Since it was Thai food, he had some sort of rice pudding, instead of cake.

Found some ASU fans on their way out of the big game. (5 points). And by big game, I mean, I don't have any idea who they were playing. (Was it UofA? Go Wildcats!)

And then we had to sing with a piano player at a piano (15 points), and since we don't know nearly as much as we should about the inside of bars in Tempe, we headed over to the Institute building. Where we found a nice girl to play us some Billy Joel. But wait, Jake didn't get her in the photo!
Well, he got her, but not us.
Brent flipped some burgers over to the Chuckbox on University. If you know the Chuckbox, you will not be surprised that they let random people into the kitchen to play with the food. Tasty burgers, though.
The chief let us take some photos on the fire truck, for another 10 points.
And the lady at the front desk at the ER at St. Luke's was kind enough to outfit us with gowns, masks, and gloves for another 15.
Finally, there there was some more dress-up at the Circle K at University and Rural...
Where this photo was taken by a tranny with vitiligo. I'm not lying to you.

Well, we didn't win. I'm not sure how this is possible, with the dream team we'd assembled. But we did get like 6 different kinds of chocolate dessert, which is prize enough for me.

Maybe we'll win the trip next year.

Who's in?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stop being a wuss, and eat your butter.

Did you see the time Kelly (of Regis and Kelly) dressed up as Paula Deen for Halloween? You probly didn't, because Regis and Kelly can be very annoying, and you might have turned them off, say, ten years ago. But maybe it was Kathie Lee who was around ten years ago? Well, never mind, cause she was even more annoying. (But now she's back on TV, and every time I flip past, she and Hoda are drinking wine or talking about drinking wine, at 10 o'clock in the morning, and chatting about not eating or not getting plastic surgery. Is a good argument for getting cable TV.)

Which reminds me, I almost called the cable company this week and begged them to hook me up because I just couldn't face the fall season with no CBS, but then Jake went into the attic and fiddled with the antenna, so now I'm back in the game, watching inappropriate shows that waste my life. (At least I'm self-aware).

(I really liked Running Wilde last night.)

But somehow I've gone off-topic before I even got on topic. My topic is butter.

So, it was Halloween, and the Kelly Ripa/Paula was faking a southern accent and saying something like I love me some butter kebabs. (She's waving around a cube of butter impaled on a skewer.) I like to wash down my butter kebabs with a nice cup of warm oil, or put the butter kebab between two doughnuts for a tasty treat. I'd show you the clip, but it's full of Regis cussing it up as Gordon Ramsay. And just because I watch inappropriate TV doesn't mean you do, too.

So on Sunday, when I made this cake, I was channeling Kelly-as-Paula. And as we all know, Paula makes delicious food (I don't fully trust the dishes made by skinny little Giada, who obviously spends more time on the treadmill and buying supportive cleavage-enhancing under-fashions than browning her butter.

No, that's not a figure of speech.

I asked my Mom what sort of birthday cake she wanted, and she told me coconut or chocolate with brown butter frosting. So I made a little of both. In one 9x13 pan. And if I do say so myself, the results were quite good.

Kelly's Coconut Pecan Brown Butter Cake with Brown Butter Frosting.



2 1/2 cups flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 sticks butter (unsalted), browned and cooled to nearly solid in freezer of refrigerator.
1 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk (or add 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice 1 cup plus 1 tbsp milk and let stand for 10 minutes)
4 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups chopped pecans
1.5 cups sweetened flaked coconut


1 stick unsalted butter, browned and cooled
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3-5 tbsp milk or cream
pinch salt


Melt butter (I used two separate small saucepans, one with two sticks of butter for the cake, one with one stick, for the frosting) over low to medium heat, stirring nearly constantly. The butter will foam up, and become clear, then start to turn color. Once it starts to turn (about 5 minutes, depending on heat), watch it very carefully, because it will burn quickly. When it is a light to medium brown, take it off the heat and put it in the freezer or the refrigerator to re-solidify.

After the butter is cooled, mix all cake ingredients (better if they are at room temperature) in mixer bowl (except coconut and pecans) with paddle attachment on low speed until combined. Then beat on high until well mixed. Add coconut and pecans.

Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees. Check the center with a toothpick. The cake is done when the toothpick comes out almost clean. The center will continue to cook as it cools. Don't over-bake or it will be dry!

To make frosting, beat cooled brown butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add milk or cream a little at a time, until the frosting reaches a spreadable consistency.

Frost cooled cake! Eat it!

It is even better than a butter kebab and doughnut sandwich!

Now, go make it for yourself.
I will not listen to you whine about your lactose intolerance or your vegan ways.
Butter is delicious!

Oh. And Joey is six months old today!

(He gets no cake.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


On Tuesday morning, Tom came out dressed for his third day of preschool in only his Spiderman briefs and his backpack. So I asked him: are you ready for school?

To which he replied:

No. I forgot my gun.

He has lately taken to tantrum-throwing. He was, as recently as last week, a very charming and easy-going child, but things can take a quick turn around here. Too bad my reflexes aren't what they used to be. (Plus I twisted my knee in step class. And yes, I know step class is for old people. I am old people. I recently bought eye cream, because I am 37 now, and for some reason 37 is way, way older than 36, and in my mind 37-year-olds need eye cream. Did anyone know eye cream was so expensive? Do they charge so much because they figure old people have lots of discretionary income?)

Anyhow, after he got over a real doozy of a fit this afternoon, I put my arm around him and asked:

Me: Hey, remember that kid who didn't throw tantrums?

Tom: I didn't throw anything. Well, I threw my night light yesterday. Now the bulb doesn't work.

Me: No, that's just what you say. Throw. But you don't have to actually throw anything for it to be a fit. It's just an idiom.

Tom: Pauses while he looks at me like I'm nuts.

Me: No really, do you remember him? I would ask that kid to pick up the Lincoln Logs and he wouldn't throw himself headlong onto the tile while screaming for justice and kicking the wall?

Tom: Sheepishly grins. Yeah.

Me: What happened to him? Can he come back?

I give him the strict-eye, and the serious-nod, plus a quick tight-grin, and then continue:

Do you know who that kid is, Tom? He's YOU!

Tom: Oh.

He ruminates on this for a moment. Finally, he asks:

Does that kid have a go-cart?

Me: Yes.

Tom: Does that kid wear my pants?

Well, I thought, someone ought. Cuz you don't.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Homeschool fantasies, pantlessness, and Brandon Flowers

Where have I been?


Beginning of school stuff is always stressful. Someone always refuses to do any work in school, so there are lots of long talks and weeping (mine) and I have to spend lots of time remembering who is banned from the wii, and cajoling people into doing their homework. I also have to remember what time is karate (4:30), and what time is contemporary dance (7). Plus scouts and activity day and chorus. And orchestra. Most of that is Jane's. It feels like that episode of the Brady Bunch where Marcia signs up for every club in high school and ends up covered in goo from Peter's volcano. We haven't started piano yet, so I bought some Coldplay sheet music. Maybe Chris Martin can be their music teacher? (Hey, Ross, you can't ride your go-cart until I hear Clocks ten times.)

We ended up back in the pediatric neuropsychologist's office again last week, only with boy #2 this time (only 2 to go?). This time we only got the WISC, but we might go back for executive functions! If anyone wants to talk about what to do with crazy smart boys with attention issues, email me. I'm nearly out of answers. Right now I'm fantasizing about homeschool, where the teacher won't send me any more discipline notes.

I finally decided that at some time in the future I will need to wear pants, so I stopped eating cookies. Well, not all the cookies, of course. Just most of them. So I lost a few pounds, which is great, but sometimes I get very hungry and eat an entire order of Little Caesar's cheesy bread (last night, por ejemplo), but that's just to be expected. This dearth of cookies makes me grouchy. (Sleep deprivation might also be a contributing factor.) Alas, it is necessary. Don't try to talk me out of it. (But if you want to bring me cookies, I'll eat them. Is only polite behavior!)

I'm sitting here listening to new Brandon Flowers solo album, Flamingo. Only on track 10, but so far I like Jilted lovers & Broken Hearts, Magdalena and Crossfire.

Whatcha think?

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yes, like them. Only with two Cindys. And no Tiger.

So my sister Jen really did get married! Some people here in real life thought I was kidding, but I was not kidding. It is real! And some of you might be thinking to yourselves that I never mentioned my sister was getting divorced, and isn't that weird? But you see, blogs are funny like that, because all kinds of stuff can be going on all around you that just isn't yours to write. You must know what I mean. But after more than a year and a half of rough times, Jen has found a nice fella by the name of Jason, and they decided, let's do this thing. Then they decided, if we are going to do it, why wait? And since we are going to be in beautiful San Diego, why not do it there instead of the kitty-litter-box-in-Hades that is Phoenix in July?

And so the hotel set up some chairs, flowers and a fantastic brunch. With California Benedict. It has avocados on it. It is good.

I've been holding out for the real photos, taken by the real photograher, cause I saw them online and it turns out mine don't really look like his. Go figure. But they still haven't arrived. (Oh, but some of these are good. Don't be confused. Those are the ones I stole from Facebook. They were taken by Rand LeSueur.)

The whole bunch.

Jen, Sarah, Jane

Ross, Will, Sam

Jack, Jane, Kaitlyn


Nope, Jen and Jason aren't runty. This is just what your pictures look like when your officiant used to be in the NBA.

I purposely did not put his last name in this post, so he won't google himself and find this picture I stole off the internets.
Ashlee, don't tell!

Danny, Dad, Jen

It was Carlsbad strawberry. It wasn't at all yucky.
(Once I picked off the fondant. Fondant is yucky.)



Danny, Jake and Tom

Jen's good friend Christina (Full House) made this headband and shipped it over just in time!


The cake deserves two pictures, at least.

Mom and Claire

Jen (Cricket and Pip, scroll down for more wedding photos) and Shireen (who went private, probly cuz her kid's too cute and someone would abduct her. Someone like me. )


So anyway, they are off to a good start. I'm not sure the Park Hyatt (neé Four Seasons) Aviara has ever hosted a wedding where a third of the guests were children, but there were only a few moments when we thought we were going to be kicked off the property. Most of them involved Sam.