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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Daddy's Home.

We are so happy to have Matt home.

I'll let these pictures speak for themselves. Belle is with her b/f/f at the Razorback game tonight, so just Jeb and Estella Dru and I went to get him at the airport.

It was a happy day.

And I can breathe again.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Have you seen Matt?

I did not want to broadcast the fact that I have been alone for a little over a week. But I have. Matt has been in Budapest, Hungary, with a group of Shiloh students and two other sponsors for a mission trip.

I won't go into the ooey gooeyness of how I can barely breathe when I am not with him. I'll spare you those details. But I will say that we have all missed him desperately and could not be happier or more relieved that he will be home with us very soon.

We have skyped every day, which is awesome. We've also emailed and texted, and he has told me a lot about the city and its history. On Wednesday, I called him, and after we hung up he sent me this picture with the following caption.

"This is what I was seeing when you called."

My response back immediately...

"That's awesome. This is what I was seeing when I called." Just bein' real. Absolutely no resentment.

Matt requested that I send him several videos of the kids. My first few attempts with Jeb went something like this...

But then I caught this sweet little prayer from Belle.

I have a feeling he's going to have a hard time prying us off of him when he finally gets here. Although I may be too busy with Halloween costumes for hugs. Sigh. I can't wait for the big reveal, though. They are going to be super cute. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jeb, Me, and Caramel Apples.

Today Jeb and I made caramel apples. (Well... Jeb watched and sampled everything in sight while I made caramel apples. But he definitely inserted himself into the process.)

I know the easiest way to do caramel apples is melting down caramel candies. But I really wanted to go homemade with our apples. Grandma did everything homemade. She taught me well.

So, I found a recipe that looked good (aka, a recipe that contained sweet and condensed milk), and we got started. The recipe is great as given (just click the link). The only thing I might suggest is to wait just a bit before coating the apples. The caramel seemed to thicken up a little as it sat.

We made plain caramel, caramel pecan, and caramel pecan with chocolate drizzle. For the chocolate drizzle, I just melted down some chocolate chips in the microwave and drizzled it on top of a few.

We are planning on giving some away as little fall gifts tomorrow, so I found these neat little bags in the wedding section at Wal-Mart. We split open the sides of the bags about half way down, then stuck the apples inside and tied with a bow. (This will ONLY WORK if your apples are pretty small. Otherwise, you might try some of the little candy bags that can be found in the Trick or Treat aisles.) Just make sure your caramel and chocolate have set up before you put into the bags.

I have to admit, I did sample one... simply for blogging purposes, of course. And it was good. Really good.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Randomness

1.) We made more pancakes last weekend. Estella Dru requested a princess and a crab. Belle wanted a princess that "looks like me."

2.) While looking for old Halloween pictures on my computer, I ran across this picture of me holding the girls. Estella Dru was not yet one.

I love this picture. And not because it's flattering of me. (That hair is way too flat.) But I love the expression on my face. It is so indicative of that time in my life. I was exhausted most of the time, but so happy. I had my hands full both literally and figuratively, but just... happy. I miss that time when my girls were so little. Mommies, don't they get big in the blink of an eye?

3.) I haven't started on the kids' costumes yet. What in the heck am I thinking? Tomorrow I will be in full panic mode. I do this every single year. Can I not learn a lesson? Seriously?

4.) I ran across the strangest thing on Twitter today. PERFECT timing for Halloween! This dude found footage in a 1920's Charlie Chaplin film of what he claims is a woman talking on a cell phone. His only explanation is that it must be a time traveler. Stupid, right? And then I watched the video, and it's just weird, y'all. Do I believe in time travel? No. Then what the heck is it? I have no stinkin' idea.

5.) I entitled this post Wednesday Randomness for a reason. Does it get more random?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Homemade Halloween Necklaces

The girls are very into homemade jewelry at the moment. They make it for their friends. Their friends make it for them. Paper bracelets. Rubber band rings. You name it... they bring it home and, also, dole it out. And for them, it's a big deal. Once Estella Dru ripped a bracelet Belle's b/f/f made for her, and let me tell you... the. fight. was. on. I thought for a moment I was going to have to call in the National Guard to restore order. Luckily, Matt was home and somehow subdued the violent unrest. But be sure, before it was over, it got ugly.

So last night I told them we would make some fun Halloween necklaces for their friends. I got the idea from my friend, Meredith's, blog, and she got it from Ms. Martha Stewart herself.

I sort of put my own spin on it, of course. (I think my Native American name might have been She Who Does Not Follow Instructions.) I just used a thick card stock for the ghosts, a sharpie-drawn face, and ribbons for the necklace and ties around the ghosts' necks.

It was such an easy little project for the girls, and they are looking forward to giving them out to a few friends at school today. In fact the only glitch was when Belle said, "I love 'em, Mama, but next time, let's do something a little spookier. I'm in second grade, you know?"

Little does she know, cute little ghosts are just about as "spooky" as her Mama gets.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

If you could dress up...

After much deliberation, I have finally decided on Halloween costumes for the Slaughter kids. I know. It's about time. While I can't reveal, nor confirm, their secret Halloween identities until the 31st, I will give you a hint. Any guesses?

As I was working on the costumes last night, Jeb looked at me and asked ever so thoughtfully, "Mama? What you be Hall-ween?"

I tried to remember the last time I actually dressed up for Halloween. Belle was just a little thing, and our church back home had a fall festival. We all dressed up as farm folks--for lack of a better word. I borrowed the overalls from Grandpa--size 44, I believe.

But Jeb's question made me think. If I WERE to dress up for Halloween, assuming I had a place to go like a rockin' party, what/who would I want to be?

I didn't have to think long. I have ALWAYS dreamed of having a reason to dress up like Scarlett O'Hara at the Twelve Oaks picnic.

Sigh. Is that not the most beautiful thing you've ever seen? The dress. The hat. The face. Vivien Leigh, I adore you.

So what about you? If you had somewhere to go and could be anything you wanted, what/who would it be? C'mon. Spill it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bad Pronunciation Back by Popular Demand

{I have been asked about this post many times over the past couple of months, so I decided to re-post it for anyone who missed it. In case you are wondering if there have been any pronunciation improvements, the answer is a definitive 'no'.}

Originally posted August 3, 2010

In the last few months, my husband has changed his normal restaurant drink of choice from Diet Coke to half sweet tea and half lemonade. This drink, as you probably know, is referred to as an Arnold Palmer.

The problem is... bless his sweet heart, Matt can. not. say, "Arnold Palmer." Each time the waitress/waiter asks him, "Can I get you something to drink?" I cringe. In my mind I'm silently begging, "Please just say half tea, half lemonade. Please! Don't try to say it. Don't try--. Oh, he tried. And now he has to say it again because they didn't understand a word of it. No one could! Pretend to text, Ang. Just pretend to text."

But instead of trying to explain, cue the YouTube video.

See!! I'm so glad he is such a good sport. We laugh a LOT in this house, but tonight, it was the roll-on-the-floor kind of laughing. In fact, it got so bad that the kids came in to see what we were doing. I pointed the camera at Estella Dru, and was shocked at the result. I'm afraid genetics may play a role.

Turns out, the two-year-old can say it better than anyone in the house.

If you're wondering about Belle's attempt, she was having none of it. The girl is still traumatized over her "gift certificate" attempts and ultimate failures. Click here for that blast from the past of Slaughter history. Makes me smile every time... and sort of cringe.

Candy Corn Cake

If you read this blog often, you might think this family goes crazy on sweets.

It's true.... in the summer we do enjoy our homemade ice cream. But much of the other sweet stuff I blog about gets sent out and about.... Matt's office, neighbors, family, various friends, or anywhere I can get rid of it!

But today's creation... it's not going anywhere. Today's creation is for my sweet Estella Dru who has a sad little heart today. (I'll explain why at a later date.) So the other day, she asked if she could make something with me. I asked her what she would like to make, and she replied, "Ummmm? How about a candy corn cake?" Ever since, I've been brainstorming how in the world I could make a candy corn cake.

Then I remembered our rainbow cake, and the answer clicked. I used the same concept as the rainbow cake, except instead of rainbow colors, I used candy corn colors. I used two packages of white cake mix, coloring three round layers orange, two yellow, and one white.

This time I made my icing instead of using store bought, and it tastes so much better. I used this recipe but added more sugar than called for.

I decorated by coloring some of the frosting and free-handing a candy corn on top, using some frosting in a ziploc bag with a hole in the corner. I finished by sticking candy corn pieces all around.

I can't wait to see that little girl's face when she gets home from school. Hopefully it will make her day a little sweeter.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Countdown to Halloween... tick, tick, tick

Eleven more days until Halloween, and I have no idea what my kids are going to be.

Belle wants to be a hippie. Estella Dru wants to be an angel... or a puma. (No, I'm not kidding.) And Jeb could care less.

I know I don't have many years left to dress them up how I want, and this distresses me.

Last year my girls were cats. E Dru was a white cat and Belle was a black cat. Of course, they were extremely fancy cats, complete with bedazzled collars and mouse hair pieces.

And Mr. Jeb was a rock star with tattooed arms, piercings, nails painted black, and a killer mohawk.

I have a few ideas but nothing that screams perfection. I do believe it is time to panic.

What are your kids going to be for Halloween?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The other day (probably my bum day) I was flipping channels and landed on the Rachel Ray show. They were doing a segment on this guy who is an artist and does these amazing pancake creations for his little girl. I was hooked. The dude (whose name is Jim, by the way) was crazy good, and it actually looked like something I could do here with my girls.

And well... you know I had to try.

I went out and bought the condiment bottles he used ($1.50 at Wal-Mart), my favorite pancake mix, some food coloring, and I was good to go. (By the way, Jim uses more natural elements to color his batter, such as cocoa powder, jams, and berries. But #1) My crew wouldn't touch a pancake if it was flavored, and #2) the food coloring is so much more vibrant.) You just need to make sure the batter isn't lumpy or too thick to come out of the little nozzles.

Belle and I decided to do Halloween pancakes and began with a pumpkin. We did the pumpkin outline, including the stem, first, and then we came back inside and did the face. Once the face set up a little, we filled in our pumpkin with more orange. (By the way, you can sign up for Jim's newsletter to get much better tips than I can give. Sign up and check out his blog here.)

Once we flipped this little guy, this is what we got. Belle actually gasped out loud when she saw it. I thought for our first attempt ever, he turned out pretty cute.

Estella Dru decided she wanted a black cat--I did the same thing with that one. I drew the outline, including the ears, first. Then I added the face, and once that set up, I filled in the back (you can go over the top of everything) with more black to fill in our black cat. I decided to make separate whiskers so E Dru could add them herself.

And Jeb chose the ghost! I made letters that spelled "Boo" to go along with it. Remember, if you do letters, make them backward because you'll be flipping them.

They added a little syrup and chowed down. The kids thought it was so neat and are already brainstorming about what we can do next. I have a feeling we'll be making lots and lots of pancakes in the very near future. Thanks, Jim the Pancake Man. We had a great time. There's nothing better.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Locket

I have a very special locket.

My Grandma gave it to me for my wedding. The chain was lost long ago, so I pinned it underneath the layers of my dress. It had to be part of that day, chain or no chain.

Estella Dru loves going through my jewelry. (It's not an extensive collection, let me assure you.) But she always fixates on that locket. I even had to hide it from her because she would sneak it off in her room to look at it. She loves that locket.

This weekend while at Grandpa's, I had the opportunity to not only tell her but show her why the locket is so special for us.

This is a picture of Grandma's parents that hangs on the wall at Grandpa's. Her mother's name was Lillie Ann. I believe Grandma told me she was 13 when she got married and raised 12 or 13 children. (How sad I can't remember the correct number.) She died long before I was born, but Grandma told me stories about "Mama" all my life, so I feel like we're old friends. Notice the locket hanging around her neck.

And this is Grandma not long after she and Grandpa got married. She is wearing the same locket.

This is my mom (Grandma 'Nita to my children) in her wedding dress at age 18. So pretty. She is also wearing the locket.

Even though I didn't wear it around my neck, there was no doubt the locket had to be part of my wedding. Just holding it in my hands makes me feel stronger. The women in my family are tough. Much tougher than me. The obstacles my Great-Grandmother Lillie overcame... the loss of three baby boys, the loss of an adult daughter, living through the hardest of times when she had no idea what she would feed her family from day to day... I could only hope to be as courageous and strong.

The locket is special.

Estella Dru was absolutely amazed to see the locket in pictures. She made me promise over and over that it was the same one. I told her one day it could be part of one of her special days if she wanted. She was beside her self excited. Here it is in her little hand.

I know I've been ending several of my posts with questions, but I am so interested to know.... Do you have a special treasure in your family that has been passed from generation to generation?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thomas Obsession

I think I've mentioned before that Jeb is obsessed with trains, specifically Thomas the Tank Engine.

If you love Thomas, too, please do not be offended by my next statement. Here it comes.... I would rather watch The Wiggles than Thomas. Oh yeah. I just said that. There's just something about how the trains' and people's mouths don't move when they talk. It's unnatural. And that theme song. Honest to goodness, every time I hear it, I shudder. Again, I apologize if you are a Thomas lover. It's nothing personal.

But for now, I have a boy who loves trains. In fact, when I took him to school this morning, he had one stuffed in each pocket. So, a few weekends ago, Matt and I decided to take him for a ride on a real train. The little guy was absolutely beside himself. I think the facial expressions say it all.

The boy LOVED it and talks about his train ride every day. I'm so glad to have been able to take him but am afraid it has only intensified his train fixation. Sigh.

I remember my girls really liking Dora the Explorer, but their fanaticism never reached the heights Jeb has with his Thomas. What about you? Are your kids obsessed with anything at the moment?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I was lazy today. Not just a little lazy. Like... slob on the couch in a sweat shirt and pajama pants lazy watching Diego and Thomas the Tank Engine with Jeb lazy.

I did not write. I did not read. I sat in a near coma-like trance and thought about nothing. Except Diego and those darn red-eyed tree frogs that were in danger.

Around 3:00 pm, I took a bath and put on make up just to try and make me like myself. It didn't work. I was a slob. A bum. There was no masking it with make-up. Or Bath and Body coconut body spray.

After picking the girls up from school, I did force myself to make my children dinner. Afterwards, I went into the garage to retrieve Jeb's train from the car and slipped in a puddle of green fluid that had leaked from Matt's Danger Ranger. And I fell. Not just a little fall. Like... feet fly up in the air, land flat on my back in the green fluid fall. As I lay there, with Jeb saying, "Oh. My. Gosh. Mama, you fall down," I couldn't help but think... "This is what you get for being a bum, Ang. This is what you get."

In all seriousness... I think we all deserve a day like today with no guilt involved. But how hard is that? I find that guilt sneaks up on me at every corner. And the thing is... if we are seeking His face and His will, there's no need for guilt. He took care of that a long time ago.

Were you lazy today? Or did you solve world issues while I watched Thomas? Do tell.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fun Pumpkins and Candy Corn Kisses

I decided to do something different with our pumpkins this year and deviate from tradition. I've done traditional. I'm tired of traditional.

So I pulled from my new wreath for inspiration and am sort of proud of the results.

My favorite is the beaded one. Just hot glue, cheap-o beads, a sharpie, and a free-handed design. Love it.

On a separate fall note...

The Hershey's Candy Corn Kisses are now on shelves. If you read this blog at all, you know this family is candy corn crazy, so we snatched up a bag on sight at Target.

I have never baked with them but thought surely there had to be some recipes out there. And there are. A lot of them actually. This one looked especially yummy. Candy Corn Kisses Cheesecake Squares. You can find the recipe here.

I knew, however, NO ONE in my family would even try them, much less like them. They don't do cheesecake. (I challenge anyone to find a pickier group than mine.) Then I found this recipe from Tasty Kitchen and knew it was way more up the Slaughter alley.

Instead of doing a kiss on each one, I melted down a handful of kisses and drizzled them on top of a few. Everyone likes a little variety.

The Slaughter girls are going to be so excited when they get home from school and see this little surprise. Jeb probably won't be able to try one. I'm pretty sure he ate half the cookie dough all by himself. (I know... some mom out there just gasped and grabbed her heart. Deep breath. One of my favorite memories of baking with Grandma was licking the batter off the spoon. He'll be ok.)