Monday, August 27, 2012

Fall Fever

Finally! School started...

I thought I'd be super happy but I'm not sure what's worse.

Summer or school.

Even the costs is debatable.

We are so busy. All the dang time. I feel like I'm just barely squeezing in the fun stuff.

And I may die if my kids ask me to sign one more binder or piece of paper for school.

Or bring home one more t-shirt, book order or fundraiser form to beg and plead me to buy.

Keeping up with Natalie's food stock at daycare and school plus lunches and cheer is wearing me out. Feel like I need to constantly just bring Costco everywhere with me.

Trust me I would to.

I know it's not easy for her. Like at all. I never paid attention to how everything in life is rewarded or revolved with or around food before. It's like a sickness really.

I dread class parties and everything and anything classroom related that deals with food. There are certain things I just can't or haven't found replacements for her yet.

I long for Thanksgiving break. Cooler weather and our trip to one of my favorite places to see some of my favorite people!

And you bet your ass I'll be stocking up on some Abita root beer!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


The past few weeks I have been carpooling with my dear husband. His commute is awful like an hour each way and horrible traffic. And conveniently I'm on his route to and from. This isn’t new for us at times we have been a one vehicle family and well you just gotta make it work.

We have 3 cars at the moment and all are working fine. So that's not it at all.

Well until I sell my 2001 Tahoe. Anyone? Anyone?

It's just that I can save an extra $140 a week in gas by not driving. That's a whopping $480 a month or $5,760 annually. I don't know about you but that's a nice vaca...

And I love vacationing. It's essential, otherwise I may kill a certain someone I married almost 9 years ago.


He gets to work at the ass crack of dawn and well I'm more of a banker's hours kinda of gal. To be honest I don't mind working 8AM-6PM, I LOVE my job and get tons done. I mean I can walk to some pretty fabulous lunch spots or ride the trolley if I need to run an errand. The trolley is completely free and air conditioned too. Of course you should always tip the cute little old senior conductors a buck or two. Well, at least I do. 

Here's the kicker. My girl has cheer practice at 6PM twice a week. In a far, far away remote small town in East Texas. It's a sickness really. Texas and small towns and their crazy football and cheer traditions. But we do it. Cause well we are Texans and that's what we do. So I have to drive those days.

Today is one of those days.

I accidentally overslept. Something about a cuddly 7 year old girl snuggling on a rainy summer morning had me hitting the snooze.

I had lunches to make. Kid's to get dressed, fed and a bajillion daily meds and vitamins to be dispersed. A dog to feed and water.

I was also referee for all the bickering and fighting between my offspring this am.

I couldn't find anything cute to wear. I was hot too. Seriously, need a ceiling fan installed in my closet.

I had to get gas for I was way past the you have 20 miles till' you run out mark.

Didn't have time to make coffee. So I ran by Starbuck's it was across the street from the gas station.

The new kid made my triple tall non-fat no whip white chocolate mocha into a mocha. And it sucked. And he spilled it on me as he handed it to me through the drive thru. His arm was shaking like he had like 10 too many espresso shots.

He was cute though and his first day, apparently. So I was nice.

Dropped off my kiddo's and of course there was a crap ton of construction and traffic, unusual for my commute.

I had to stop and pick up a 12 pack of Diet Coke for the office. I didn't want to be the one who's fault it was to be out. Trust me. We all have a major Diet Coke addiction at the office. I’m guilty.

And… it hit me! I missed carpooling. Even though it seemed so awful at first. Really it wasn’t. I did all these things and more all by my lonesome before with no problem.

I needed him. It was like I had help, a clone of myself. And I could read and complain about his driving like always on the way. And I missed it today, I missed him. Yes! I missed him!

Thankful tomorrow is Wednesday and I get to ride with my guy. And hear all his smart ass funny as hell jokes. Be victim to his road rage and occasional boob grabs. Because, I love him.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Not So Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's late and me and my boy are up and in the kitchen baking.

Baking a chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe that is safe for the Nat monster. No egg or wheat flour. I was so hopeful.

He even poured me a glass of milk.

Love my boy. Just wish I had loved the cookies. They had so much promise. I mean look at that batter.

But... They were awful. Imagine a hard sandy greasy sweet brittle um yep.

Awful. I felt like I was 10 again baking that same chocolate chip cookie recipe out of my very cherished cookbook for the first time. A gift from my parents.

They did smell wonderful at least.

He ate one and didn't complain.

See, that's love.

It's our last week of sweet summer. Meet the teacher night is in a few days too. The boy could care less. But Natalie is wearing me out asking about it! Wish it was Thursday already...

We saw Madagascar 3 tonight too in 3D. Cutest movie eva! We met our friends Danny, Nicole and their sweet girl Jayla. Today was her 10th birthday!

Happy Birthday Jayla!

Another reminder that my son will be 10 in just 5 months, yikes!

We'll find a chocolate chip cookie recipe and get it right soon enough. I hope.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Beachy Beach

I'm homesick. And a tad hungover from too much cheap Chardonnay at the beach and hot!

So here I am bloggy blogging at 1:30 in the freaking am.

No matter the ac is set on 70 it's sweltering in my room even with the fan on.

Direct quote from my half awake husband, "Just take your shirt off"! Ha! So not falling for that one honey, gosh I love him.

I love Texas. But Galveston beaches are well how do I say this politely.


I say this every time, yet I always forget how awful and gross and keep coming back.

It's like childbirth. How soon you forget...

There is dead fish littering the beaches here, something about low oxygen levels ummmmm... See I told you!


My kids are happy though. And that's all that matters. Hell they are happy going to the "beach" at Cedar Creek Lake thank goodness I have a few more years until they will know the difference or even care!

We haven't been back since 2009, check out these pics from the past-y past!

The Mr. and I were so hungover in that family pic too. That was smart, hey let's go partying right before a road trip and not even sleep! Thank god my Dad drove that trip.

We are crazies! Lesson learned.

It's not so fun touring battleships in 106 humid Texas summer heat hungover ha!

And a certain someone can suck it!

Since when is it anyone's business how or what I spend my hard earned cash on? Oh that's right, no one ever!

I'm so thankful for parents who put up with my crazy brood and agreed to come on another fun trip with us! It wouldn't be near as much fun with anyone else!

And a shout out to my bestie for taking such good care of my Gusser's! I miss him and her!

Did I mention I was homesick?

Saturday, August 11, 2012


So, not to brag or anything. But... My name Abra, is pretty unique and unforgettable. And sometimes when I go places I lie and say my name is Amber. Or sometimes even April at restaurants or even Starbucks on occasion. I don't like repeating myself or spelling it out blah blah blah! And if I have to hear one more abracadabra joke I might whip out a white bunny and top hat, seriously. Don't get me wrong I LOVE my name. My Dad did an awesome job picking it that's for sure. But days like today I wish I'd of been an Amber or anything but Abra!

It started off as a very unusual morning. I was up cleaning and doing laundry at 5:30 AM on a freaking Saturday. I just couldn't sleep. Then me and the fam went running errands together in Mesquite. Went by Harbor Freight my least favorite store in the entire universe and they were sold out of what we needed. F! They had plenty in Richardson so off we went.

And a few other errands.

We had to hit up the bank. Ok not a big deal I'll wait in the car. But the Mr. forgot his wallet. I went in grabbed what little cash I had in our account since we are all cash now thanks to Dave Ramsey, yay!  I turned to leave and noticed him chatting up the customer service rep. Pretty little blonde thing she was and Brad's chatty with everyone, not unusual at all. He is one of those people who can strike up a convo with anyone and seem genuinely sincere and interested. He's so charismatic, well most of the time. So I go over. Then I get chatted up. Like she knew me. I felt very welcome and at ease in a bank which is odd. Normally everyone is all pissed off long lines whatever super quiet and all that jazz.

Again, very unusual. Something was awry I just couldn't pin point it just yet.

She asks for my ID. Because he forgot his wallet; again. We order some cute new Disney debit cards for discounts at the park when we go in December. It was free so why not.

Then. It happened.

She holds my ID. Like for a whole minute examining it. Never good.

And asks me where I'm from.

Mesquite of course I tell her.

I figure we went to the same high school or something and yet again I forgot another pretty face.

She asks who I dated in a nearby small town.

Oh shit!

For real? My stomach dropped.

Then the Mr. who's so charismatic busts out with. "Who didn't she date"! With a smirk the size of Texas on his handsome face!

What a jerk throwing me under the bus. I still love him anyways and feel awful for what's about to come next. I am thinking the worst.

So, I say the name I'm pretty much tagged with, with everyone from a certain small town not far from where I grew up. And yep. That's how she knows of me. Again with the unique unforgettable name. Damn it! I can't get away with anything.

I looked at her name tag and I knew exactly who she was. One of my ex fiances "ex's" before I earned that name tag. From like 12 years ago. Yep.


We chatted a few more minutes ok gossiped and I admitted how I duck and run on occasion and that I haven't spoken to a certain someone we had in common since well 12 plus years ago. I tried to sound as cheery as possible but to be honest I really just wanted to grab my kids and run! She was extremely nice and pleasant at least.

See this happens more than I'd like to admit. Running into ex girlfriends or whomever from my past. And the Mr. is usually always with me. And he takes everything with a grain of salt and teases me about it. But I know it gets to him. And I hate that.

I need to move far far away...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Awesome Fluffy Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Any recipe with the name "Awesome" in the title is well ok in my book. And...

They are vegan.

Don't let the word "vegan" fool you. These are not to be categorized as a "healthy" recipe by any means and I am gonna go ahead and put this out there. Sugar is a food group in my house. Yep, guilty.

And we aren't vegan, in fact tonight we had bacon with our muffins. Yumo! And did you know it's only 1 point for a slice of bacon, yay! But when it comes to most things like baking or processed items like say ice cream vegan and gluten free is easiest to identify with. I'm still very new to all of this food allergy stuff. So gimme a break...

See the girl has food allergies. I have eliminated Corn, Wheat, Eggs, Nuts and Shrimp from our diets. I'm a southern girl and I'm pretty set in my ways of cooking. I learned from the best. So this was a complete shock to me. It has been a lifestyle change for sure. I mean how in the heck am I gonna make biscuits and gravy with rice flour, yikes! I failed miserably at pancakes a few weeks ago. I cried. I was defeated. I felt like a complete failure. I mean pancakes?! How the fuck can you mess up a fried piece of batter covered in syrup.

See I have been cooking and experimenting in the kitchen since I was maybe 7. My dear cousin Lisa taught me how to fry an egg. That was the first cooking lesson I can remember. Oh how I miss her. And my parents bought me my first cook book. I cannot tell you how many times I made that brownie and chocolate chip cookie recipe, the pages are covered in remnants of dough and batter. I still have that cook book too, 20 plus years later.

Tonight I made my first recipe from The Allergy-Free Cook Book for Kids. My awesome brother-in-law Josh picked it up for me from half priced books. I've had it a day and well I just couldn't wait to bake my girl something delish! She has flagged more than half the book of recipes she wants to try.

I feel awful and I can't begin to tell you how many tears I have shed for her. Or dropped the f bomb at Whole Foods reading labels to find a cracker that's gluten free to be made with corn or sesame seeds, another allergy. All of the foods and things she's grown to love well she had to say goodbye to. I'm doing my best to find and recreate the simple things she loved so dearly. And I'm dreading her starting school and feeling so left out when it comes to a classmates birthday or a special project that is food related in class.

I remember the day I told her. First thing out of her wailing tear filled eyes and mouth was "What? No more peanut butter? That means no more Reese's Pieces or PB Cups." It was pretty life shattering, I couldn't imagine life without Reese's PB Cups either!

Check out the recipe for the Awesome Fluffy Lemon Blueberry Muffins I made tonight.

1 1/2 cups lemonade ( I used Santa Cruz Organic Lemonade, my all time fave lemonade ever.)
1 cups sugar
1/4 vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups white rice flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries or frozen

Preheat oven to 350, Mix all ingredients until smooth. Then stir in blueberries gently. Lightly grease your muffin tins or use liners, fill half way. Bake for 20 minutes or until firm.

Makes 2 dozen.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Say Cheese.

Yep, we had family pictures taken. By a professional. Finally.

It's been 4 years. I have missed some really great "growing up" shots this I know. Unless you count the family pics in between with my fabulous in laws and husband's family, where I had the swine flu. I looked awful and cringe everytime I see them. For my boy is almost a 10 year old and well nearing that stage of tween, ugh. Double digits, YIKES! So, I'm still very thankful to have those swine flu pics... Well the ones that I'm not in. Like at all.

Check out Melissa's blog here for a sneak peek. She posted a mini session special on FB. And well I jumped on it. We went to high school together and I have admired her work for going on 2 years now. I had tried to schedule another session back in early spring with another photographer. Just couldn't ever get the Mr. to make a commitment. Or something always got in the way, weather, front teeth (long story, another entry type of long story) you know the important stuff to make outdoor pictures happen. Just full of excuses I tell ya, as usual. Us Hamlin's put the pro in procrastinate that's for sure.

I had a little over a week to put together some outfits for the fam. I'm supa cheap and well didn't want to spend a crap ton of money, when we have perfectly cute stuff already. I thought I had it all figured out as I laid everything out and texted a pic to my bestie. Then, the genious that I am decided to go shopping a few hours before the shoot for all new outfits. Like I said, procrasinators! It was awful and stressful. I may or may not have even shed a few tears, I then realized why I hadn't done family pics in forevs, yep.

Thank goodness for awesome reassuring friends! And Bonnie Jean who did mine and Nat's hair. One thing I didn't have to worry about. Like at all. She is magical and Miss Natalie LOVED it. See, she hates it when I do her hair it always involves yelling and crying. I chose not to have a puffy red eyed girl that day. Again, so thankful for awesome friends.

I LOVE the smiles Melissa captured so much. She did a wonderful job. I'm a happy girl! And the location was pretty awesome too. Better believe this fall we will be seeing her again.

Not so Fun Fact: I forgot to wear my wedding ring. I kept telling myself grab your rings before leaving and I forgot. Damn it. Realized it as I arrived, the Mr. was pissed. He graciously hit my left hand as much as possible bless his heart.

I won wife of the year award for that alright.

Love this one...

And this one too.
Pucker Up.
And my all time fave photo of me and the Mr. Yep. Love his squishy face against mine.