Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Conversation at the Rickard dinner table last night:

Mom & Dad:
"Allison, what would you like for Christmas?"

Allison: "A Christmas Tree"

Mom: "Oh, that's sweet. We're going to do that this weekend."

Mom & Dad: "But what presents would you like there to be for you under the tree?"

Allison: "I want to go camping with my dad under the twee...outside...and put marshmallows on sticks by a fire....and dad, we could sleep on pillows and mats (nap mats)...."

Huh? Where is she coming up with this?

Mom: "Well, what about mommy? Where is mommy going to sleep?"

Allison: "In your stay here, mom."

Whew! What a relief! I'm not a camping kind of girl....unless it involves cabins with electricity!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm a little Speechless

I'm not sure that I can really write anything that adequately describes how hysterical that I thought it was when I walked into our bedroom and found my two favorite people watching cartoons looking like this:

"Hey, Mama Goose"

This is another installment of "Allison's Favorite Books". I checked this book out on Monday along with 10 others, but this is the one that she has had me read EVERY night this week. She loves it! And I think it is adorable!

Here is what the inside flap of the book says:

When the Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe runs out of room for her big family, who does she turn to? Her friendly real-estate agent, of course!

Mama Goose has the perfect house for the old woman and her children: Snow White's cottage complete with seven small beds. Snow White and the seven dwarfs take over Rapunzel's castle. Rapunzel moves in with Rumpelstiltskin, who spins her hair into gold; and so on, until all of the residents of Fairy Tale Land are bumped into a different dwelling.

Despite Mama Goose' best efforts, somehow the new abodes don't feel quite right. Will they all find their way back to Home Sweet Home?

Narrated in rollicking rhyme and illustrated with cheery, unique artwork, this house-swapping adventure is too good to pass up!

This is definitely one that may have to become part of the permanent Rickard collection!

Green Eggs and Ham

I'm just now getting around to discussing the fantastic weekend that we had this past week. It was like Thanksgiving...only early. It was one of those very rare times when my entire family was together. I'm talking Nana; Mimi; me, my brother, and my sister; each of our spouses; and all of our kids. It was fantastic!

It had been so long since we had all been together that I forgot that my brother has turned into quite the storyteller. You know, every family has one. He gets his storytelling pose going on:

And this is how he begins: "Do you remember reading Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham when you were little? Well, it wasn't just a book for us. It's what we had for breakfast." He then goes into a diatribe of the weekly specialties in our house growing up which included: Wednesday nights - fried Spam with ShowBoat Pork & Beans; Thursday nights - VegAll with biscuits on top.

Now, my sweet little mother takes Bubby's exaggerations about her cooking really well. No, my mother did not inherit the cooking gene that my grandmother and my aunt have. And yes, Spam and VegAll did make their appearance on the table in our house - although not every week. Like most working moms, she did the best she could with what she had to work with.

There is one thing that Bubby didn't exaggerate though: I would literally kiss his feet when I was little to get him to cook my eggs because I did not want "Green Eggs and Ham."

Crockpot, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

As some of you know, I love my crockpot. Let me rephrase that: I LOVE my crockpot! It makes me seem like a great cook on occasion, when I really haven't done much. You just dump stuff in it....and voila!

Case in point: dinner last night - Swiss Steak. My sweet C thought I had slaved over it. And I must say, it was delicious!

So, without further ado, let me share:

Crockpot Swiss Steak
2lb round steak
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons oil
1 can tomatoes; 16-oz chopped
1 onion; finely chopped
2 celery stalks; finely chopped
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoon wine vinegar
2 tsp beef bouillon granules
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt Pepper

Season meat with salt and pepper. Dredge meat in flour. (Note: I like to cut the meat in 1-in strips before browning). Heat oil in large skillet. Brown meat in batches. Add to crockpot with remaining ingredients. Cover pot and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

*C loves to have mashed potatoes with this. He was in some heaven last night!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tigger Broke the Cake

My friend Cindy and I took Allison to see Disney Live!'s Winnie-the-Pooh Friday night. Allison did much better than when we went to see The Backyardigans. It was a great story: It was Winnie the Pooh's birthday, and all of his friends were planning him a surprise birthday party. The story had several twists and turns, but there is only one thing that Allison is going to tell you about the whole show: "Tigger broke the cake!"

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bed Head

This just cracked me up yesterday when Annabelle went in Allison's room to wake her up. They both had some serious bed head:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

With a Heart Full of Joy

I just want to pass along that my dear friends, Christina and Josh, had a beautiful son this morning shortly after 6:30 a.m. Preston Randy Morden was 6lb 10oz and was 19in long.

Their daughter, Annabelle, spent the night with us last night. I will be taking her to the hospital shortly to see her new baby brother. I will try to post pics later this afternoon when I get back.

Thanks to all of you who prayed for her.

UPDATE: Here are some pics of the BEAUTIFUL baby and family.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Just Say "No"

I have desperately tried to stay out of politics here on my blog, and I suppose it is probably a little too late to get into it here since the polling places are open already. But, I have decided to say something about one of the initiatives on the Arkansas ballot.

Arkansas Proposed Initiative Act 1 reads:
"A proposed act providing that a minor may not be adopted or placed in a foster home if the individual seeking to adopt or to serve as a foster parent is cohabiting with a sexual partner outside of marriage which is valid under the constitution and laws of this state; stating that the foregoing prohibition applies equally to cohabiting opposite-sex and same-sex individuals;"

The original act that was proposed for this simply was trying to exclude same-sex couples from adopting or serving as a foster parent. The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the act was discriminatory, and the organization placing this act on the ballot went back and amended the act, provided the necessary signatures to have the amended one placed on the ballot, and here we are.

I am urging you to vote "no" on this initiative. I have done some serious soul-searching on this, and I am convinced that this initiative is NOT in the best interest of the children of our state. This initiative excludes same-sex couples, heterosexual couples, and singles from fostering or adopting in this state. It even excludes someone who might tragically become a widow or widower at a young age and choose to foster or adopt.

Unfortunately, this is a case where politics has hijacked christian values. We throw around words in politics like "homosexual" and "same-sex marriage" to energize an entire segment of people to vote to undermine what I believe is one of the most basic of christian values: caring for children.

I urge those who are dead-set against same-sex marriage adoptions and foster care to vote "no" on this initiative today and go back to the drawing board if that is what you so choose to do. Let Arkansans vote specifically on that issue. (And, I am in no way advocating my position one way or another on that issue here). And, if you voted "yes" and this measure passes, I would urge you to consider signing up for foster care yourselves. I can't even think too long about the number of children in this state on the foster care rolls without getting a little weepy. And if this bill passes, that number will grow exponentially.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Park It!

Allison and I ventured over to Lakewood Park this afternoon after Mother's Day Out.I experimented with my camera (I took almost 300 pictures of Allison - most of which are now in the trash bin on this computer); and true to Allison's outgoing personality, she met a new friend at the park.

And this is probably my very favorite:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"Giraffes Can't Dance"

I'm not sure what has gotten into me, but I have become obsessed with children's books. Maybe it's because Allison has become obsessed with me reading them to her - and they better be good. So, I decided to post our favorite book of the week. It is Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae.

Here is what writes about Giraffes Can't Dance: Gerald the giraffe doesn't really have delusions of grandeur. He just wants to dance. But his knees are crooked and his legs are thin, and all the other animals mock him when he approaches the dance floor at the annual Jungle Dance. But an encouraging word from an unlikely source shows this glum giraffe that those who are different "just need a different song," and soon he is prancing and sashaying and boogying to moon music (with a cricket accompanist). In the vein of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Gerald's fickle "friends" quickly decide he's worthy of their attention again.

I LOVE this book....and Allison loves it, too. It's got a great beat to it (be careful, you might find yourself sashaying along as you read it). And best of all: it's got a good lesson in it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick-or-Treat Kitty Style

Allison dressed up like a kitty for Halloween. I made a black tutu (which she loves to dance around the house in) and attached a boa tail. We made her some ear and then painted her a cute kitty cat face.....and voila.....we have the cutest kitty in town.

Our first stop was the Park Hill business district where I use to have my shop. All the businesses hand out candy in the afternoon to trick-or-treaters. Allison loved looking at all the people dressed up. This was really her first ever trick-or-treat excursion.

Our next pit stop was at daddy's office. He took some candy to be able to give her. It was so sweet, because some of the other people that he works with also had candy to put in her bucket (like she needed more). Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera into the office.

Next stop: Bine and Sasa's (Brian and Sarah's). Allison thought this was grand because the "no-no" puppy was dressed up like a pumpkin, although I didn't get a good pic of him either (I need to get on the stick with my picture-taking skills):

After a quick stop at home, we headed to Sherwood Fest where they had lots of games for the kids to play in order to get their candy:

And, last but certainly not least, was a visit to The Lewis House. Allison got all the M&M's she wanted, played unmercifully with John, and even helped him hand out candy to the rest of their trick-or-treaters: