Butterfly Crazies

Today we went to the Safari Park (I will forever call it the Wild Animal Park – I don’t know why they changed it) to see the butterflies.  These butterflies are a pretty big deal.  We got there early on an overcast and cold day and the parking lot was already filling up fast.  We got in and made a beeline for the butterflies.

We were Butterfly Jungle virgins, but there were some seasoned butterfly veterans there.  One lady was decked out in a very colorful butterfly wing type hat and a nice butterfly print button up blouse.  She knew what she was doing because the butterflies were landing all over her.  Apparently the butterflies also liked Ryan’s Ween Poopship Destroyer shirt.

I had promised Kamryn that we would do some kind of butterfly craft when we got home and I got a little bit of inspiration while we were getting drinks at one of the little cafes in the park.  They were selling a butterfly garland that you could hang from the ceiling or on a wall.  It was pretty cool, but it was $15 for what amounted to 5 fake butterflies on a string.  I knew I could make something similar using stuff that I already had at home.

My friend, Natalie, over at Crafting Crazy made some butterflies this week that she found here.  They are made from milk jugs and Sharpies, which I had one jug, but no Sharpies.  Every time I go to buy them, I’m at Michael’s and they are about a billion dollars.  I ordered them off of Amazon today and they’ll be here next week.

For some reason I was thinking that we had made butterflies with wax paper in elementary school so after a quick Google search, I found what I was looking for.  I love it when I find a craft that was originally intended for Kamryn to do and I end up doing the whole thing because it’s not kid friendly.  It involves sharp objects and hot irons.

I started off tracing the butterflies onto the wax paper with a pencil.  I used the templates from the Alphamom post mention above.  I cut around the butterfly – I didn’t cut it out, but cut a square around the butterfly.  I thought it would make it easier to accomplish the next step…filling up the butterfly with crayon shavings.

My camera is on it’s last leg and the autofocus only works when it wants to so I apologize for the blurry photos.  Next put another piece of wax paper on top and get that iron on there!  I used a napkin between my iron and the wax paper.

Yep, it’s a hot mess right now.  It doesn’t take long for it to harden and then you can cut out the butterfly.  You can’t see the lines in the picture, but they are actually fairly easy to see up close.  I used an X-acto knife to cut it out.

See the light colored areas around the edges?  I ironed the butterfly again to squish the wax out of the sides.  It separates a bit when you cut it.  Next I added some beads and pipe cleaners for the antennae and a butterfly was born!

Then, the pièce de résistance, the finished butterfly garland.

The minute I sat down to load all of these photos, Kamryn came out with tears in her eyes and half a butterfly in her hand.  Apparently my butterflies are almost as fragile as the real thing.



Flashback Friday

Me, The Black Angel, Sara

This picture is of me and my best friend, Sara standing on a grave.  It was taken in 1993 which would have made us either Juniors or Seniors in high school.  I’m going to say right now that I am pretty appalled that we found it appropriate to stand on someone’s grave and I am sure if I saw someone doing it today, I would shake my head in disapproval.

That being said, we were in high school and I would love to meet someone who didn’t do anything stupid or disrespectful during their high school years.  This was my one and only bad thing.

If you live in Iowa City, chances are you are more than familiar with this grave.  The Black Angel can be associated with multiple urban legends and is a popular spot to have the shit scared out of you.  The story I heard about The Black Angel was that a woman had purchased the grave marker for her husband when he was ill. The difference in the angel, however, was that it was white when she originally placed it in the cemetery (surprising since the statue is made of bronze).  She supposedly promised her husband that she would remain true to him even in death, but when he died, she fell in love with someone else and that is what turned the statue black.

Other legends claim to result in imminent death if you kiss, touch or walk around the angel at particular times or in certain conditions, ie pregnant or still carrying around your “V” card.  Basically, you’re cursed if you are anywhere near the statue.  The myths always seemed to target women instead of men, though so apparently sexism is alive and well in the world of legend!

I have touched and kissed this statue.  I didn’t die.  Sara is alive and well too.  If you want to read more about The Black Angel, you can find a lot of articles online. Here are a couple that I found to be particularly interesting.

Behind The Legends: Black Angel

City of Iowa City Article about The Black Angel

I remember the first time I went to Oakland Cemetery to find The Black Angel.  I had no idea where it was, but you can see it almost immediately once you enter the gates and look to the left.  It’s a matter of getting to it on all the curving asphalt paths that makes it creepy.  The Angel is always looming ahead and you can’t help but watch her as you make your way.  If you find yourself in the area go check it out, but please be respectful – you never know if those myths and legends are true and The Angel just took mercy on us because Sara was usually pretty good and I did good stuff every once and awhile.

My Kryptonite

I’m coming off of a blog post where I claim to have killed the Easter Bunny in my dream and did it without feeling any emotion.  I am not heartless, I’m actually kind of an emotional mess at times.  For example, I was crying during Mike’s funeral on Desperate Housewives.  I don’t even like the show anymore, but I keep telling Ryan I have to finish out the series since I have watched it from the beginning.

I won’t watch a St. Jude’s commercial or an ASPCA one for that matter.  When someone posts a video on Facebook with the status of “Get your box of tissues…”  I don’t watch it.  And don’t even get me started on the military mother or father that surprises their child at school.  I don’t watch them because it leaves me with red, swollen eyes.  Snot running out of my nose (because I don’t actually get the tissues before the video).  And that hiccuping speech where…you…can’t…get…a…full…sen..tence…out.

I know I’m not alone when it comes to my reaction to the above.  OK, maybe not everyone was crying during Desperate Housewives, but only because no one watches that show anymore.

What got me all choked up today was this face.Not exactly that face he’s making, but Rory’s cute little face.  On his 3rd birthday we tried to get rid of his binky.  I gave in after an hour because he would not got to sleep.  I haven’t tried to get rid of it since, but was adamant that the binky would only be used at night.  Soon that too was being ignored and Rory was back to having a binky a lot during the day.  Pretty much anytime he asked for it, I gave it to him.  Yesterday I decided that was going to stop.

I took his binky away in the morning and put them on top of the refrigerator since it’s the only place that he is completely incapable of reaching.  He wasn’t happy, but we made it through the day with some extra snuggling and at bedtime, he was asleep before I got through the first page of our bedtime story, with his binky, of course.

This morning, I went through the same routine and tried to get Rory overly excited about not having his binky.  He’s no dummy – he wasn’t buying what I was oh so desperately trying to sell him.  I got him to sit on the couch with a snack so I could take a quick shower and when I got out, Rory was standing there with the longest face I had ever seen.  All he said was “I miss binky.”  He said it so softly that you could actually hear my heart breaking.  NO!  I will not give in that easily.  I told him that once I got ready I would snuggle with him.  He wasn’t really patient with me and kept coming back to the bathroom to ask me if he could have binky.  Each time I told him “No, just give me a few more minutes and then we’ll snuggle.”

The next thing I heard were his despairing calls of “Binky, where are you?”  “Binky?  Is that you?”  “Binky, I can’t find you!”  He was in the living room frantically searching for Binky and his pained face was more than I could take.  He was unbelievably sad and I just can’t bear to see my kids like that.  I have seen my kids get physically hurt – falling down, bonking their heads, even by other kids, but I know they’ll be OK and I know in a few minutes, the sting of that broken skin will fade for them as well.  Seeing my child emotionally hurt, well that’s something else entirely.

I made Rory a deal.  He could have his binky as long as he was in his bed.  He didn’t have to go to sleep, but that was the only place he could have it.  He agreed to my terms, rather enthusiastically, and off he ran to his bed, awaiting his beloved binky.  I got a few things done around the house and was just about to pull him out of his bed and take his binky away when he trotted out of his room, threw his binky in my face, shouted “I’m done!” and took off down the hall.  Funny how a slimy binky hitting your cheek shakes all the sympathy you had for the small child out of your body.

And now that I have finished my post, I realized that it’s WTF Wednesday, so I have to say to Rory….WTF?

Who’s Hungry?

There is this series of books called The Hunger Games that….  Oh wait, you don’t live under a rock?  I read the 1st book in the series yesterday and it was fantastic.  I wasn’t surprised that I liked it or that it only took me 5 hours to read it.  I expected that.

What I didn’t expect was the crazy ass dream I had last night after reading it!  Hopefully you weren’t looking for a review from me.  My reviews resemble the interviews that Chris Farley used to do on SNL.

Remember the part where that one kid killed the other kid?  Yeah, that was awesome.

Without putting you through that, I’ll tell you about my Hunger Games dream.  (This may only make sense if you have read the book.)  Of course I was a tribute and the male tribute from my district was Ashton Kutcher.  We’re both from Iowa so that makes sense, right?  The arena was a swanky neighborhood in LA – all of the houses were brand new, just not furnished.  The horror!  I guess I never heard the trumpets or the announcement that the tributes from the same district can team up because I shot Ashton.  Sorry ladies.  Before I could be announced the winner, though, I had one more obstacle…the Easter Bunny.  I had to kill the Easter Bunny.  I’m not sure what is going on in my subconscious, but the Easter Bunny was a middle-aged business man who hopped around on these weird shaped legs and had rabbit ears.  It wasn’t that hard to kill him and I didn’t feel bad about it.

Rory woke me up the minute the Easter Bunny fell to the ground so I never got to celebrate my victory.  Maybe that will come tonight.

Another Birthday!

March is a big birthday month for me – it starts off with my favorite little boy in the whole world, Rory and ends with my favorite old fart, my dad.  Today is my dad’s birthday and I gave some hints about what his card was going to be this year.  I also said he was turning 66.  He is not, he is turning 65 today.  I always figure out how old people in relation to my age, but the problem is, I frequently forget how old I am.  I thought I was 36 the day I wrote that and I am not.  I am 35.  Last week I thought I was 28 – it’s a crap shoot if you ever ask me how old I am.

I called my dad this morning to wish him a happy birthday and to make sure he got his card.  Oh yes, he got it and he said he laughed until he had tears.  Mission accomplished.  I now present to you Grandpa’s Birthday Card 2.0.There was some concern, namely from my mom, about Kamryn crying during the process of making this card.  The reason she was crying was because she was having a really hard time holding up only her middle finger.  She points at stuff all the time with her “Tall Man”, but asking her to do it was apparently harder than I realized.  She kept asking why she couldn’t use her index finger instead and I told her that if she holds up her middle finger it means that Grandpa is super#1.  I really tried to get Rory to do it too, but he wasn’t even close.  That’s OK because he’ll most likely have to be my assistant next year since Kamryn is catching on to my shenanigans.

Happy Birthday Old Man!

Me? An Award?

Yesterday I was nominated by the writer of The Last Song I Heard… for a Versatile Blogger Award.  This award comes with it’s own set of rules:

  1. Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass this award on to 15 other bloggers.
  4. Contact your nominees.

First things first, thank you so much Richard!  I just figured out Richard’s name by reading some comments on his blog.  When he nominated me for the award, he said I honestly don’t know the real name of the lady who writes this…  I thought for sure I had used my name on my “About” page, but after further inspection, I see I have not.  It’s nice to meet you Richard, my name is Amy.  I highly suggest you check out Richard’s blog, The Last Song I Heard…  He writes primarily for his son, J, but his posts are so interesting, it’s hard not to get wrapped up in the story he is telling.  The best part is that each post is based on a song and what that song means to Richard or an event that he is reminded of when he hears the song.  I loved the premise of the blog immediately and kind of want to copy his idea for a few posts in the future.

Seven Things About Me

  1. I was born and raised in Iowa.  I have lived all over the state and love everything about it, but the winter.  I hate snow.  You can learn more about my feelings of my homeland in my I-O-W-A post.  I live in California now and although my heart will always be in Iowa, I kind of feel like I am more of a California girl.
  2. I have never seen any of the following movies in their entirety…The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars (any of them), The Godfather (any of them) and probably some other “key” movies that most people feel that I should have seen.  I have seen bits and pieces of all of them, but something always comes up and it ends up being more interesting than the movie.
  3. I hate the phrase “Everything happens for a reason.”  I believe we choose our own fate.  Don’t get me wrong, there are variables that will definitely interfere with your path, but eventually, you’ll right the wrongs and continue on your way.  Don’t be so quick to mistake a coincidence for a sign from above.
  4. I don’t like to do something based solely on the fact that everyone else is doing it.  I tend to fight fads and trends for as long as I can.  A good example is The Hunger Games.  I haven’t read it yet, but I will be starting it tonight.  The only reason why I’m reading it now is because I know very little about the storyline and with the movie coming out this weekend, it’s only a matter of time before that gets to be common knowledge.  I hate hearing about parts of a movie or book because then I’m always anticipating that specific part.
  5. I love, love, love college sports music montages.  I just admitted this for the first time to my husband about a month ago.  And when I say I love them, I mean the hairs on my neck stand up, I get chills and if it happens to be particularly moving, I may even get a little teary.
  6. My favorite game is Trivial Pursuit or any other similar trivia game, like Jeopardy.  I’m not exceptionally good at these games, but I do tend to carry around a lot of seemingly useless facts in my head.
  7. I have never had a bloody nose, been stung by a bee, wasp or other stingy creature, but I have ridden an elephant.

My 15 5 Nominee (I don’t read 15 blogs on a regular basis.)

  1. Mommy Huh – The whats, whys, and hows of motherhood from a working mom.  Jen has awesome stories and ideas amongst many other delights for all her readers.  She may be my Soul Blogger.
  2. Crafting Crazy – Life is crazy.  Craft it well.  Natalie has great crafting ideas for a beginner to a master DIYer as well as lots of fun things for kids.
  3. A Detailed House – For those with a refined eye…  Kearney compiles multiple ideas with one central theme, ie Sophisticated Rooms in Black and White, my personal favorite.  Tons of great pictures and ideas for you to design your home.
  4. A Girl Named Michael – The strange thoughts and adventures of a loud mouth small town girl full of contradictions.  Michael’s blog is not only hilarious, but she has an interesting story about her boyfriend.
  5. Things That Keep Me Sane -I embrace every challenge, life is good. This is my journey to find my sanity among it all.  Heather got me interested in blogging.  She has healthy recipes a I can always count on her blog to motivate me to work out.

When I first started blogging, I did it just to write something every now and again.  Now that I have committed to writing everyday and taken steps to actually improve my blog, I have discovered this huge community of fellow bloggers.  I had no idea there were linking parties, guest bloggers, awards, features, etc.  I quite enjoy my little blogging world that I live in everyday and I encourage anyone that thinks they may want to start a blog to do it and have fun with it.


I have had a busy couple of days and I only have about 15 minutes to get a post in before I’m leaving for a much needed night out on the town.  I find the best way to commit to my daily posting, but still post something that isn’t complete b.s. (although, let’s be honest, it’s about 90% b.s. on my blog) is to review or recommend a recipe.

Yesterday, I made Guinness cupcakes with Bailey’s frosting.  I’m calling them drunkcakes.  The alcohol will cook out of the cupcake, but not the frosting.  You can’t actually get drunk from these, but you can taste the Bailey’s in the frosting.  It could be because I maxed out on the recommended amount in the recipe.  The recipe called for 4-8 Tablespoons of Bailey’s so I went the full 8…or maybe 9.  I kind of lost count.

Here is the recipe for Guinness and Bailey Irish Cupcakes.  Don’t bother making the filling.  I didn’t and they were awesome.  I think the filling would be too much.  I should have taken a picture of the cupcakes, but alas I did not.



Flashback Friday Happy Birthday Edition!

I have lots of friends with a birthday today and I am really tired.  So I’m kind of taking the easy way out with my blog post.  It’s also my grandma’s birthday and for the record, I don’t send my grandma the same kind of cards that I send my dad.  His birthday is Monday…check back for his special card I made for him.

My Grandma Lee

It’s pretty obvious how I met my grandma.  My grandma is awesome.  She always has been.  Her and my grandpa were always spoiling us when we were kids and she still does to this day.  Grandma never forgets a birthday, and the woman can tell stories!  I typed up her memoirs for her a couple of years ago.  The stories were fascinating and she has told me other stories, not included in the memoirs, that are for a more mature audience.  I don’t know if she would approve of me passing those stories along on here so I’ll keep those to myself and maybe I’ll write some memoirs someday and include them there.

Janis with her two beautiful babies, Jack and Violet.

Janis and I met in Boob Group (AKA Breastfeeding Support Group) after Jack and Kamryn were born.  I had been attending Boob Group for a couple of months before Janis came in with Jack for the first time, but it wasn’t long after that first time that I knew we were meant to be friends.  Each time the group met, we went around the room and discussed any problems or questions we had.  One day Janis asked, “What do you guys do with your babies all day?  Should I be trying to teach him French?”  She also dressed Jack in a onesie that said “No hablo.”  Hilarious.  We kept in touch during the time I was living in Iowa so naturally, we picked up right where we left off once I moved back to San Diego.

Matt and his Shake Weight.

I don’t know that I really need to explain anything about Matt.  He has a Shake Weight in his hand for Christ’s sake!  I actually don’t remember the first time I met Matt.  Him and my brother were friends and it seems that my brother’s friends eventually end up being my friends.  I happened to spill Hpnotiq all over his white shirt at an Iowa Football game once and after trying to convince him to let me buy him a new shirt, I ended up buying his dog, Wrigley, a box of Milkbones instead.  I’m pretty sure Wrigley found it to be a fair deal.


Oh Espy.  Esperanza and I used to work together.  I first met her when I had to interview her for her job.  She came in my office and I think I asked her one work-related question before we got completely off topic.  We sat and talked for about an hour and she said something that always stuck with me.  She told me that she had had some hard times, but if she makes a decision that she wants something, then she’ll do whatever it takes to do it.  The reason it stuck with me is because she actual does do it.  Espy made me laugh all the time.  She told me I was the whitest girl she ever met and tried, with some success, to teach me how to roll my r’s when speaking Spanish.  She had a nickname for me, that I could never remember and for all I know, she was calling me a dirty whore, but I didn’t care because I liked how she said it.

So happy birthday to all my wonderful friends and family today!!

10 Miles!

For those of you who have been following my blog for awhile, you may remember me posting about Kamryn and her reaching her 5 Mile goal in running club at school.  It took her nearly 5 months to reach the 5 mile mark, but she’s 5 and I know I hadn’t run 5 miles in an organized fashion when I was that age. That is a lot of “5”‘s in that paragraph.

Today, only 3 months after reaching her 5 mile goal, she has earned her 10 mile ribbon!

10 Miles!!

I’m pretty impressed that she has shaved 2 months off of her time.  I’m always striving to knock off a few seconds here and there, but Kamryn is committed to this running thing.  It may or may not have something to do with me promising a trip to Legoland when she reached her 10 mile goal.

Tomorrow is the school Family Fun Run, a fundraiser where the kids get pledges and donations for the school based on how many laps they run.  Kamryn raised $100 and while she doesn’t have to run a specific number of laps, I plan on running with her.  They only have about 45 minutes and if I can keep her on my pace, we should be able to run about 5 miles.  I’m kidding, but I am looking forward to running with my little girl tomorrow.  Rory has already said he isn’t going to run, but something tells me he’s going to change his mind once he sees all the kids running tomorrow.  Not to mention, the boy doesn’twalk anywhere.  He runs every place he goes.