Saturday, August 15, 2015

Last Week with our dependent, that is....

So, this will be an epic post about our last vacation week with Drew before moving him off to college. We took a long weekend to Chicago, and stayed in a Trump hotel - nice view!

He's got his hotel staff on the campaign staff as well, apparently, because they loaded the kids up with giant suckers and Trump hats - nice!

We took in the usual tourist sights, like The Bean in Millennium Park....

and a Cubs game - note the pitcher for the opposing team is from our hometown - woohoo!

Even a little rain couldn't ruin this game - they won, too!

We've also taken to doing bike tours when we travel, so we opted for Bobby's Bike Hike through Old Town and along Lakeshore Drive.

It was a gorgeous day to do it...makes it hard to come back to the Armpit of America and it's 200% humidity.

Although I guess I prefer our winters over Chicago's...

Gorgeous lakeshore view....

And the last night we got to go out on The Terrace, which is cool for seeing the city lights up close.

Then it was home for 18 hours to pack. Drew had a hard time deciding which coffee cup he wanted to take with him. He's also wearing one of his shirts purchased in Chicago, on his first "real" shopping trip in a big city. Raising them on Target and hand-me-downs makes them very appreciative of the good stuff, and we actually had a good time in Nordstrom Rack and H&M looking for clothes.

I also had my best mother of the year moment by making him some cake pops to take with him to college....and in school colors, no less!

We went up the night before move-in day and had a nice family dinner at Arricia, then noticed the sky changing colors on the way home. Remember the giant Jumbotron I mentioned in the Camp War Eagle post? They were apparently testing it, because it went from green to blue to orange to white repeatedly - cool!

So here's what we started with in the dorm:

And here's what you end up with when you're a low-maintenance boy. I'm sure you can Google girls' dorm rooms and see what a huge difference there is - not a monogrammed pillow in sight! We actually visited a couple of his female classmates' rooms one floor up, and you couldn't even walk in for all the bed skirts, custom lifts, and handmade fabric-covered headboards. One poor girl's bed was 50% pillows - no kidding. But to be fair, Drew's suitemate's dad bought "a little more TV than they need," and it took up both boys' dressers. It was the largest TV I've ever seen that wasn't mounted in a restaurant, and of course they had a sofa to go with it. It feels like a drom room today is more about "how can I impress my new friends?" than "how can I have a comfortable place to sleep and study?"

Here're our goodbye pics, and you may notice my dry eyes.

We all held it together, though everybody was betting on tears from me. Drew said I'd probably lose it when I walked in his room at home, but I told him I'd be too mad over the unmade bed he left.

Plus I was smart enough to know I'd be depressed if we came straight home, so we went to my Mom and Jim's cabin at the lake, where they very kindly toured us around on the boat. Then we went back to the beach, where it really was depressing with rain and clouds. We saw the new Vacation, but that was a bit of a letdown. There are some funny scenes, but the cursing is a bit off-putting, and it sort of drags in places. And tell me why Beverly DeAngelo took a perfectly beautiful face and shaved her chin down, or something. They only showed her full face once, I think, and that might've been on purpose.

So anyway, I did cry a little at lunch today, but it was brought on mostly by something at the lake. We went by an old family friend's cabin that's been sold, renovated, etc. I was thinking about his son, who was a daredevil back in the 80's, and was always doing dangerous stunts on skis and with some little jet boat he built (my memory's fuzzy on exact details). He died in his 20's of cancer, and I was thinking how those people who live in that cabin now probably have no idea of the fun that kid and his friends had there. I guess that's the same with all of us; you have some great times with your friends and family, but everybody grows up, moves on, gets old, and then you die, and nobody may be around to remember how special it all was. And now I think I'll sign off before this gets REALLY I still do have a school-aged kid who needs to put his books in his locker!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Alabama Chanin Thread and Skirt, and Shoes

Why am I such an idiot? I guess that mad cow is back again (the family knows he never left). Remember I needed to order more maroon thread to finish my couched skirt? I thought 4 spools should get it. What a big box they shipped it in!

And individually wrapped each spool so nicely?!

Arghhhh! Did I seriously overlook something when ordering? Yes, in the description of the thread, it says that thread is shipped in quantities of 4, thus the price of $6. How did I miss that?! So do I really want to package this thread up and return it? Maybe I'll keep it and couch the maroon wrap they gifted me at the Blackberry weekend...yes, that'll save this situation.

Speaking of Alabama Chanin skirts, I told you I'd do an Auburn skirt, didn't I?! Nothing crazy - this is the Swing Skirt from Alabama Stitch Book, and I can wear this to work, though not with these shoes, of course (or this shirt - yuck)! These are brogues from Monsoon, which I found initially on Pinterest, then through Polyvore, I think. They came lickety-split in the mail from Great Britain, but are 1/2-size too big, so I'm exchanging them because I think they're calm enough but still interesting, which is all I ask in a shoe.

Here's a better combo, and these are the delicious Ivanka Trump heels, which make me feel like a ballerina.

The skirt does too! Question for you: Can you tell one of the panels is a different shade of blue? I had 3 Boy Scout shirts and 1 other navy blue that was very close, but not quite a match. After I sewed them up, I think they're all slightly different from each other, so I'm good with it.

Okay, it's fairly noticeable, but what are you gonna do? I thought about doing a reverse applique of the orange "AU" on it to distract you, but then I couldn't wear it to work. Oh well.

Now UPS came as I was typing, and brought me the other shoe I love. This is a loafer by Born (long-time fan of Born) purchased from Nordstrom/Haute Rack or something like that. Also found on Pinterest and tracked back through Polyvore.

This is not calm at all, so can't be worn every day, but look how perfect it is with my favorite pink pants!

Jake's a fan...

Can you believe the velvety pillow they call the insole? I had to take a picture because it's so pretty.

Okay, off to sew the elastic waistband on my new skirt...or should I jump back on the couching since I have the maroon thread nice to have choices!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Cake Pops for the Birthday Boy

Lucas turned 13, and never gets to have a party since everybody's out of town usually, so I wanted to surprise him with cake pops at least. He's been asking me to make some for about a year, so instead of the usual surprise cake, I bought a cake pop pan and accoutrements in JoAnn while he was at band practice Thursday night. Stashed them in a cabinet till Saturday night, and while he was upstairs on the XBox with friends, I made my first cake pops. Of course, it might've helped to Google how to do it first, as most cake pops are a mix of baked cake and icing. Oh well, this silicone pan just said pour cake mix in, bake, and apply the sticks, so I went with it.

Too generous with the batter, so I shaved off the excess with a knife. These are flat pops according to the picture - not really like your Starbucks sphere.

So you melt some chocolate, dip the stick in it, then into the pop, and the chocolate supposedly hardens like cement, especially if you freeze them for a few minutes. I found that when I tried to cover them in chocolate with a little torqueing action, they got loose though.

So they're not real pretty in my homemade cake pop holder, which is some cardboard from the recycle bin covered in foil with holes punched in it, but I did have a nice selection of sprinkles, M&M's, and chocolate chips to put on them. I was just finishing up when I heard Lucas shutting down the XBox, so I raced around wiping sprinkles and chocolate off the counter, throwing away the candy containers, etc., and had just put them in the freezer to set when he came around the corner. Phew, thank you, God, for the timing on that one!

Here's the final product in the display stand I bought at JoAnn.

Sorry for the out of focus pics!

So here's the green innards - the Funfetti cake mix is actually really moist and tasty. Lucas and Drew both said these were better than Starbucks - I can die a happy mother!

But I was a little PO'd with the stand. We couldn't get the bottom and middle pieces to rotate away from each other, so when I squeezed some into the bottom, they rubbed the middle springs, and you obviously can't put pops in all of them, so I just used the top 2 tiers. Turns out you can unscrew each section, and it'll be a little bit wobbly, but would work.

And the big boys went to Washington, D.C. for yet another Spartan race. Lots of scrapes and scratches, and an open weeping blister - sorry I don't have pics of THAT.

OHH! One heartbreaking thing for me today was that I ran out of maroon button and craft thread for my couched skirt, and apparently Alabama Chanin is the only place that carries it. JoAnn, Michael's, and Hancock all let me down by only carrying red - AGONY! I'm halfway through the 4th panel and was hoping to wear it to Chicago next week for our last big vacation with Drew. Oh well, maybe I'll start on an Auburn-themed skirt while I wait....