Simple Sunday – Seahawks, Root Beer, and Cooking with a Cat

Carter decorated our house for the Seahawks game today.  You can thank us for the win.

Seahawks 12th man

Tonight is also the much anticipated First Annual Root Beer Taste Off.  The taste off is the brain child of Cody, who happens to enjoy root beer a little too much.  We have purchased four different types and have invited a couple friends who are bringing another brand as well as some vanilla ice cream to use for root beer floats.  The taste off will be a blind taste test.  Cody has labeled cups, created a key so he can keep track of them all, and made a punch card for each person to use to rate the various root beers.  He is also planning on making a bar graph with the final data.  That is so Cody.

(If you are lucky I will write a follow-up post on the root beer brands and the ultimate winner.)

Root Beer Collage

And finally, no root beer taste off is complete without being followed by a dinner of crockpot roast with veggies and Yorkshire Pudding.  I put that together this morning with the help of Princess Leia.

Cooking with Princess Leia

Never a dull moment here at Casa de Shoes on the Wrong Feet.

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Lay off the Candy, Alice Cooper!

Husband and I were having a conversation at the dinner table tonight about a band that we are going to see with some friends next month.  The band, Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers (the lead singer was in the band The Refreshments prior to this), is one we have enjoyed and seen many times prior to having kids.

Apparently this is the twentieth anniversary of The Refreshment’s rather popular album Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big & Buzzy.  Because of this, The Peacemakers are going to release one song off this album each month with a guest singer.  The first song, Banditos, will be sung with Alice Cooper, a friend of Roger’s and a local of Phoenix.  Just a short time before we left Phoenix to move to Washington, we saw The Peacemakers play a gig where Alice Cooper got up on stage and sang a couple songs with them.  From what I remember of it, it was pretty cool.  I may have had a beer or two so my memory is not clear (and it was a long time ago, just saying).

Husband made a comment that he thought it was pretty cool to see Alice perform, especially since he rather expected him not to live much longer.  What was left unsaid, since both Husband and I knew it, was that Alice Cooper partied hard and perhaps did not take as great a care of his body as he should have.

Carter did not know this.  And why should he.  So he asked Husband why he thought Alice Cooper would die soon.

Husband was busy talking with Cody about something so I told him it was because Alice Cooper did some unhealthy things when he was younger and that he did not take good care of himself.

Carter thought about this for a few seconds and then asked what exactly did he do that was unhealthy.

I was forming my words carefully before speaking when Carter piped up.

“Did he eat too much candy, momma?”

Jolly Ranchers, Snickers, Mars Bars, Payday, Skittles – mine all mine!!!

Yes, Carter, yes he did.  Among other things, I am sure.

Ahh, how naïve my sweet little boy is…

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Simple Sunday – Coffee with Zombies

Without my morning cup of coffee, I feel a bit like these two fellows.

Coffee with Zombies

No home is complete without zombies growing on ones kitchen counter…

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2015 – Shoes on the Wrong Feet Style

I tried, honest I did.  I tried to limit each month to one picture.  As you can see, I failed right away and continued to mostly fail throughout the entire thing.  I went back through the many (oh, so many!) photos I had taken in 2015.  I did this mostly randomly, although I did focus on a couple highlights such as our new critters, and I made sure to get a image from each month.  I enjoyed the process and I hope you enjoy the end result.

A very Happy New Year to you all!



The first five minutes of 2015 – proof that I was awake and celebrating (and I am pretty certain that Husband is holding an IPA, although not in a champagne flute).


In 2015 we were still living in the apartment.  Here are my three boys in their typical state (and Haley simply ignoring the goings on).  I think I took this picture to show off the boys in their new Christmas socks but the picture is really so much more than socks.



We did a lot of hiking in 2015.  Here is a great picture of Husband and Haley.



Disneyland.  Yup, my mom treated us all to a wonderful time at the happiest place on earth.  It was pretty sweet!



Our family got a membership to the Desert Botanical Gardens.  We love it there and go every month or so.


Cody created and documented his very first recipe.  Over the year he has made it several times for us, each time using his recipe card.



May was moving month for us!  I moved classrooms, moving from my very first classroom into another one on the same campus.  We also moved from our apartment into our wonderful Central Phoenix home.  A tiring but amazing month!



Summer is a time to stay hydrated, especially here!  We got new water tumblers for the occasion.


Summer is also the time for lemonade stands.  The boys got some serious business but during the down times they were prepared with reading material.


Sasha, our sweet rescue dog,  joined our family in early summer.  Cody and Sasha hit it off right away.



A visit to Washington to spend time with my mom.  Playing on the beach was a serious highlight.


July is a good month for chilling by the pool with a cold Mexican beer.



August was back to school month.  Here is a picture of one of my small group reading tables.


This was also the month in which we got Princess Leia and Chloe from the humane society.


And finally, a picture of the August setting sun from our backyard, just because.



We were thrilled when our neighbors gave us the keys to their cabin for Labor Day weekend.  We made a road trip out of it (Perry the Platypus rode super shotgun on the dashboard) and had a wonderful time getting out of the heat on the Mogollon Rim.



October is a great month for dog walking and we did plenty of it both in the desert mountains a short drive from our house and right in the park and desert in our neighborhood.  Happy dogs!


We also celebrated with family and friends our first Practice Thanksgiving in our new house.



Husband’s father died in November.  This month was filled with memories, sadness, and reflection.  We hiked the mountains near our house and on our way back had desert rain fell upon us.



December and our rosebushes continue to bloom.


The sky was also in bloom on one of our many evening walks around the park in our neighborhood.


A year of ups and downs was capped by a very nice Christmas (and a cat with a Nerf gun, of course).

I am excited to see what is in store for our little family, Shoes on the Wrong Feet, in the year 2016.

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Last night after dinner we headed out to Safeway – where all the cool kids go after dinner on a Monday night – to pick up a couple items.  (This is very atypical for us but considering it is winter break and I have no work tomorrow and the boys no school ((and Husband works from home so has a short hallway-length commute)) it was totally doable.)

We had in our cart the five items on our list plus the obligatory two or three impulse items and were heading toward the checkout when something caught my eye.

me:  Oh look, champagne!  We should get some champagne for New Years!

Husband:  But we don’t like champagne.

me:  Well, I know that – but it is what people do on New Years Eve.

Husband:  Continuing his thought as if I had not spoken, Plus when was the last time you were actually awake at midnight on New Years?

me:  Well…!  I tried to sound huffy, but I knew he was right.

Husband:  I mean, I am all for optimism but…his voice trailed off.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  We continued to the checkout sans champagne.

So if in the off chance I actually make it to midnight, we can toast each other with a nice hoppy IPA, our typical drink of choice.

Would it be wrong to use champagne flutes for our IPA?

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In One Eye Blink

Carter had great plans for his dreams last night.

In his dreams, he was going to fight and defeat Kylo Ren, a character from the new Star Wars movie we saw yesterday.

Upon awaking this morning he stumbled into Husband’s office, where Husband and I were talking.  Carter had on his warmest pajamas and was clutching to his chest his two most loved stuffed owls.

carter:  Poppa?  How did your dreams go last night?  Apparently Husband had told Carter that he too was going to dream a Star Wars dream.

husband:  I don’t remember my dreams Carter.  How about you?

carter:  Well.  I went to bed and then in one eye blink it was 7:00 and it was morning!

He sounded a little upset, cheated out of a well thought out and greatly anticipated dream.

Not one to give up, he is planning his Star Wars dream today in hopes that it follows him to bed tonight.

Star Wars Dreaming

I hope he gets his dream.

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Simple Sunday – Star Wars Sunday

How did you spend your last Sunday of 2015?  We awoke early to watch the force awaken – in 3-D at the IMAX.


After the movie, which was awesome, we went out to eat for my favorite meal – second breakfast.  On our way home we stopped by the zoo and spent an hour or two walking around and taking in the sights.  It is nice to be members so we can pop in and spend as little or as long as we like without worrying about maximizing our time and money.

The rest of the day has been spend at home puttering about.  Husband mowed the lawn.  Cody, Carter, and I cleaned and organized their room.  The boys and I still have one more glorious week of winter break off work/school ahead of us.

It has been a very fine day indeed.

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An Early Christmas (Photographically Represented Using Carter’s Stuffed Owls, Barney and Barney Jr.)

Last weekend we drove to Tucson to celebrate an early Christmas with family.  Cody and Carter’s cousins are heading out of town for the actual event, so we convened at my mother-in-law’s house for dinner and presents.

Carter, of course, brought his two favorite stuffed animals, Barney and Barney Jr.  For some reason I can not justify, I could not stop taking pictures of said owls.  Not to let the pictures go to waste I present you with an Early Owl Christmas…

The Christmas tree:


The owls were very taken by the tree and spent much of their time simply gazing at it or perched near it.


Beer, Dogs, and Phones:


While the owls stood stoically by, Haley looked out the window barking at any who dared to walk past the house.  For the record, that is not Haley’s beer.  The owls had some fun while Husband was doing important things on his phone (i.e. playing wordament).

Dinner was Served: 


Barney and Barney Jr. looked on as we all sat down at the table for dinner.

Photo Bombs and Rabbit Ears:


The subtitle says it all.

Passed Out or Napping?:


No humans passed out, but there was some human napping.  I am not sure which of the two this is in relation to Barney and Barney Jr.  I assume they are underage and therefore not partaking in libations, but then again…

The Christmas Picture:


And lastly, if I had not given up on capturing the perfect family photo years ago to make into a Christmas card, this would be the stuffed animal parallel one I would send out.

We had a wonderful time.  The cousins loved hanging out together and we adults loved watching them build amazing family centered memories.

The Cousins: 


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With Criminal Intent

Last week on my way to work – with a basket full of carefully wrapped presents resting in the passenger seat next to me – I pulled the car over fully intending to commit a crime.  I did it for the children, honest.

Last year, while living in an apartment complex and having to walk the dogs a lot, I discovered a fern-like plant that, when dipped in white paint and gently pressed upon light blue construction paper, makes lovely snowflake-like shapes.  These are the things that elementary school teachers discover during the holiday season as they try to come up with creative, artistic projects for their classes to engage in.  This fern-like plant happens to grow in the landscaping around the apartment complex we used to live in but now no longer do.

And so, on my way to work last week, I pulled over the car, looked furtively around before hopping out and absconding with several plant pieces.  The business complex directly across the street from the apartment complex where I was committing both trespassing and theft, was being landscaped, several men were busy mowing and leaf blowing.

Leaving the scene of the crime (and, yes that is a cut out of Pecos Bill riding shotgun under the basket).

Leaving the scene of the crime (and, yes that is a cut out of Pecos Bill riding shotgun under the basket).

I did not make eye contact.

I arrived at school with my basket of gifts, one for each child in my class (books, roughly at their independent reading level, with a snoopy eraser).  Inside the basket, my stolen goods.

That day we started the project they would finish in time to wrap and take home for their special someone.  We made snowflake poems:

If I was a snowflake

I would be cold as a…

Soft as a…

Small as a…

Beautiful as a…

And as special as me.

After brainstorming as a whole class and making an anchor chart, each student created a tree map listing their top three choices for each descriptive category, including any additional ideas they came up with on their own.

This means that each child’s poem was unique to them.  They wrote it on large unlined index cards in their best second grade handwriting and then glued it onto the bottom of a large light blue piece of construction paper.  On the remaining paper, they used the stolen plant pieces and/or Q-tips dipped in white paint to create a snowscape.  Each student also glued a die cut snowflake onto their paper and in the center of this, I attached a small copy of their fall school picture (the school provides these to me, I adore them).

The next day, three at a time, I called them over to the reading group table to pick out tissue paper and a gift tag.  Most of my students had never wrapped a present before.  They were beyond excited to have a gift to give.  They were more excited about the gift they had created and got to give to someone than they were about the gifts I gave to them.  I loved this about them.

The poems turned out super cute.

And totally worth my almost brush with the law.

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It was after dinner.  Cody was taking a shower and Carter was suppose to be picking out a nice Christmas card – from my ever-growing collection of leftover Christmas cards from years past –for his teacher.

I could not find Carter anywhere.  After looking in my room and in his room and calling his name, I walked by the boys bathroom and knocked on the door.  My hand hovered over the doorknob when I heard the cry.

carter:  I’m pooping!!!  Don’t come in, we are both naked in here!!!

As if I have never seen my children naked before.  Before being just this morning.

It was the first time I have been barred from entry due to their nakedness.

Husband and I stood outside the closed bathroom door, laughing.

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