Oct 22, 2014

The Great iPhone PHONE Challenge

I hate to tell you this, but my post on all of your hideous iPhone home screens has been delayed yet another day.

BUT. That is because reviewing all of them -- NAY, BEING SCARRED FOR LIFE BY ALL OF THEM -- brought me to a startling revelation.

There are many, MANY among you who claim that you never use the phone. That you ONLY text. That you jump three inches anytime your phone actually rings.

And yet. AND YET, INTERNET. Of all the home screens that were sent in to me -- and there were a lot of them -- only one person had moved his Phone icon from a perma-spot to a different location on his home screen.

Yes, of course it was a man.

So I am issuing my first-ever Grass Stains Challenge:

Today, all of you who swear you never use the phone -- or even if you only use it once or twice a day -- move your Phone icon out of its perma-spot at the bottom, into another spot on your home screen. And choose an app you open MULTIPLE times a day -- be it Twitter, Spotify, Words with Friends, Feedly, {...shudder...} Facebook -- and move that app into a perma-spot.

Give it a week, and come back and tell me how it's going. We'll talk about whether you miss the phone, if it's a move you wish you'd made years ago, and if you actually owe me cold, hard cash for changing your life. Tell your parents, tell your friends, tell your minister. LET'S DO THIS, Internet.

After all, if you REALLY don't use the phone to call people, and you really only use it to answer calls, you don't need the Phone icon in a perma-spot. When you receive a call and your phone is sleeping, the screen wakes up like this:

And when you receive a call while you're in the middle of a task on your phone, the screen reverts to this:

So. What are you waiting for?

Challenge accepted? Who's in? Who's out?

Let me know in the Comments. I'm dying to know.

Oct 20, 2014

Seasonal reminders from Grass Stains

Your GHASTLY collection of iPhone home screens is coming, Internet.

Never fear. It's coming.

But first, I wanted to be sure to post my Seasonal Reminders to you. I'm a little late this year, so hopefully you've already scheduled -- and maybe already TAKEN -- your family photos for your holiday cards. But if you haven't, GET ON THAT.

And if it's been more than a year since you've had a good head shot taken, have that photographer get a couple of you and your spouse individually that day. It'll probably be better than your latest selfie, and it'll certainly be more appropriate for your LinkedIn profile or, at the very least, it'll help you out the next time somebody asks you if you have a picture of yourself and you have to try to crop a kid or a dog out of it.

Also about this time every year, I'm supposed to remind you that it's time to order your 2014 Christmas ornaments before Pottery Barn runs out of them. I'm so selfish that I never remind you to order yours until I've ordered my own, which I just did last night.

(If you're new here, I order a photo frame Christmas ornament for each of my kids every Fall with the year engraved on it. My Christmas tree is chock full of them. It's my favorite tradition and our kids love their ornaments.)

This year Pottery Barn has the rectangular one that I always order AND a round one that's really cute. But that seems like it would be circle-times as hard to cut a photo out to go in it. Don't say I didn't warn you. 

I AM really bummed that they're not offering a customizable version of this frame this year, though (at least, not that I saw). In the past, you could choose any date to engrave on it, and this year you can only get 2014 ... so if you're trying to "fill in the blanks" on your tree, you're going to have to find a different ornament frame.

I am not affiliated with Pottery Barn in any way and don't get anything for mentioning them every. stinking. year. Anyone who does is clearly LIVING THE DREAM.

But speaking of affiliates {nice segue, Grass}, if you haven't set your Amazon.com home page to my Affiliate home page, this would be an EXCELLENT time to do that.

Since I asked you to, at least two of you must have done it. Because I checked, and I have earned $4.63 since then. That is a full one-third more than I'd earned in the preceding two years. So, you know, I'm RAKING IT IN.

But seriously. As I mentioned in my original Ask, if you would like to support my blog at no cost to you, you could change your Amazon bookmark to (copy and paste it): 


That is my personal Amazon Affiliate home page link. It would be a "passive" way to support my work here, because a small portion of your eligible purchases would be paid to me as a commission each time you shop there.

 I won't know who does and who doesn't, so there's no pressure on you one way or another. With holiday shopping right around the corner, I figure I MIGHT be able to break $10! Thanks for considering it.

Oct 16, 2014

iPhone home screens, because I'm a glutton for punishment

Okay, Internet.

It's been a year since we've done this. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?

Yes, a year since I first LOST MY EVER-LOVING MIND over the state of your iPhone home screens. It was purely accidental, and I can't believe I'm about to do this to myself -- and to you -- again on purpose.

But I am. And as I look back on my own home screen from a mere year ago, I'm surprised to see how much it's changed in that time.


And now:

If you weren't around a year ago, what happened was that my friend Rachel innocently texted me a screenshot of her home screen in the process of asking me a question about something related to her phone. And I don't think I was even able to answer her question, SO DISTRACTED WAS I BY THE STATE OF HER HOME SCREEN.

I was so undone that I knew I had to investigate to see if others were living in similar states of chaos -- hundreds (or thousands!) of unread emails, screens upon screens of apps just piled upon one another, horrid background images flying in the face of all that's good and holy -- and SURE ENOUGH.

You were.

You provided enough fodder for two posts. The original, and then a follow-up. Truth be told, there were even stragglers beyond that, but I was worn slap out. I couldn't bring myself to post any more screens. My eyes were nearly seared out of my head by the ugliness of it all.

But I'm ready. Bring it, Internet. BRING IT.

Send your home screen screenshots to stainsofgrass at yahoo dot com. (I assume you all know how to take a screenshot. If you don't, email me and ask.) (I probably won't tell anyone you had to email me and ask.) (PROBABLY won't.)

I'm VERY interested to see if anyone has finally moved the Phone out of a perma-spot.

Oct 14, 2014

Around the house

I'm working on posts that cover trips to two waterparks over the summer. They're picture-heavy -- SURPRISE -- so in the meantime, I thought I'd share with you a couple of small projects that have gone on around the house lately.

(While perusing my Our Home page a minute ago looking for an old picture of our bedroom, I realized I've never updated our den pictures, either. GEEZ. Good thing I'm not a home blogger.)

Anyway, I recently bought some cute paper balls to hang in a corner of Amelia's room. (Here's a picture of her room in natural light, but taken with my phone. Sorry for the graininess.)

Here's a picture taken with the overhead light on. The pinks in the balls don't match her curtains exactly, although they're not as far off as they look in these pictures.

Her curtains have raspberry and soft pink in them, and of course her walls are grey ... the balls coordinate okay. The most important thing is, Amelia loves them!

One of the other little changes in the house is that I hung a turquoise quatrefoil shelf above our toilet to hold toilet paper. It holds four rolls. Do I wish I had put four rolls in it for these pictures? Yes, yes I do. Also, there is a picture in that frame now.

Sometimes I get ahead of myself. Sorry.

And I also recently painted our bedroom a deep grey. It's not quite charcoal, but it's pretty dramatic. I LOVE IT.

As a reminder, it was a light khaki before:

And I was happy with that for a long time ... but I was ready for a change, and I felt like with the bright-white board-and-batten all the way around, the room could handle a darker color now.

I've ended up liking it so much that I've used it to paint the inside of our front door, our back door, the inside and outside of our basement door that goes out to the garage, and our laundry doors. Forgot to take pictures of any of those, of course.

You're just gonna have to take my word for the fact that I love it.

Have you made any changes to your home lately?

Oct 10, 2014

Sorry I disappeared

I didn't mean to write a couple of posts this week and then disappear on you, but I guess that's what happened, huh?

Grayson's been sick and my mom came into town unexpectedly, so the week kind of turned around in a hurry. Also? The posts I have in draft? They all involve a LOT of work.

And we all know how much I hate that.

I mean, some of them will require going through 200 pictures to narrow it down to the mere 149 that I will share with you. Even though we're now into fall, I'm assuming you still want to see pictures of some of our summer adventures.

Because EASTER.

Until I get around to those -- maybe next week? YOU KNOW BETTER THAN TO HOLD YOUR BREATH -- enjoy these pictures of Nick, Jake and Amelia with my friend Lisa's new Maltipoo puppy, Rocky.

They're in love.

Two items of particular note in these pictures. First, when Jake wears a collared shirt (he's the only one of the boys who still does -- he CHOOSES to, sometimes), he pops the collar.

Second, if I get near Amelia with so much as a hair clip -- not even a barrette, but just a little CLIP -- she yells "NO!" and pushes me away. But Miss Joycelyn at daycare managed to put not one, not two, but THREE pigtails in her hair yesterday. WITH ELASTIC BANDS.


Oct 7, 2014

Nick's 10th birthday party

Nick's been a smidge unhappy about the circumstances surrounding his 10th birthday.

And by "a smidge," I mean MIGHTILY.

I had to fly to Houston the day before his birthday, then work there all day ON his birthday, returning home that night. The fact that I was going to the trouble to get home that night meant nothing to him ... he was so focused on the fact that I would be gone all day that he refused to cut me a break for the entire preceding 45 days.

Not that I'm holding a grudge about it or anything. I mean, what parent DOESN'T enjoy being alternately frozen out and then blessed out by a child due to circumstances beyond her control? Repeatedly. For over a month.


For his cake, Nick requested a Pekka design. That's a character from the video game Clash of Clans, in case you're not intimately familiar with it. As we are.

Our poor cake lady Vickie. She never knows what she's gonna get with us.

As usual, she did a great job with the design she was asked to recreate ... but that thing sure is ugly.

Nick was THRILLED with it, though. As was his friend Drake, his spend-the-night guest.

By the time I arrived home from the airport, Drake had been there for an hour and they'd devoured a lot of pizza. It was time to light the candles and sing Happy Birthday.

Amelia wanted to help blow the candles out, and she totally surprised Nick by blowing out more than half of them herself!

So Nick asked me to light them again so he could have a turn of his own.

He'd chosen his very favorite combination ... strawberry cake with buttercream icing. It's got to be Vickie's best! So delicious.

Nick's gift from us was two sets of Bumper Boppers, which I thought looked like a lot of fun. (That's an Amazon Affiliate Link to the Bumper Boppers, you guys.)

Let me just tell you about these things. The kids played on the trampoline with them for an hour on Friday night, four hours on Saturday and four hours on Sunday.

EASILY. Might have been longer than that.

They had more fun playing with these things than I've ever seen them have with anything, really.

It's a lot like Sumo wrestling, but instead of an entire suit to bounce against, it's just an innertube.

I laughed so hard while I was watching them play, and Nick had to, um, go change his shorts at one point because he was laughing so hard he soiled them.

I MEAN, REALLY, is there any better advertisement for a product than THAT?

Or THAT combined with this photo? I THINK NOT.

I'd get your Bumper Boppers while there are still some to be had.

Anyway. In my opinion, Nick was all bent out of shape over nothing. I think his birthday turned out PRITTY WELL all things considered.

Well, except for Sunday afternoon, when his brother cut a piece of cake like this:

WHO DOES THAT? Psychopaths, that's who.

Utterly ridiculous.

Ima leave you with that mental picture for the rest of the day. You're welcome.

Oct 4, 2014


*Backposting to Saturday.*


Today you turn 10. Double digits, as you put it. Or, more accurately, “It’s the most important birthday of my entire LIFE. Double Digits, Mommy. I mean, I MIGHT NOT MAKE IT TO TRIPLE DIGITS, SO THIS IS IT.”

Yes, finding the drama in any situation has always been your greatest strength, honey.

Well, it’s second only to your intelligence. You’re almost startlingly bright … every teacher you’ve ever had has said that about you, although you see absolutely no reason whatsoever to apply yourself academically. You blaze your own trail, you do. When I’m not busy finding it downright maddening, I find it positively admirable.

I’ve always been more of a follower, but you’re a leader. That’s great, too, except you ALSO want to be the leader – not the follower – in the parent/child relationship. You’re quite bossy, you know. Daddy and I have worked really hard over the past 10 years to find our footing with you, and I’ll be honest: we’re not there yet. You’re making us WORK FOR IT.

Did you know we’re not, like, professionals at this? We may have a whole slew of kids, but it’s not like we know what we’re DOING. Sometimes we look at each other and go, “WHAT DO WE DO NOW?” Basically the four of you are just products of Our Best Guesses.

And you can see how well THAT’S going.

What I’m trying to say is, we’re doing the best we can. I love you with all of my heart, and you’re helping me grow as a mom in ways I never knew existed. You challenge me, you make me laugh, you make me proud, you keep me honest, you make me look forward to the future.

You’re worth it. You’re worth all the work, and more. 

I love you,

Oct 3, 2014

Easy Ice Cream Cake

As I think I mentioned before, when the 2012 Beach Trip recipes didn't generate a big response, I decided not to go to all the trouble of posting the 2013 recipes. LITTLE DID I KNOW.

So this year when the emails came in before we left for the beach asking me to PLEASE post the recipes when we got back, I dug into last year's pictures to see if I had anything from last year and -- lo and behold -- I did.

I'd taken a picture of something that was so simple but was probably my favorite surprise of the week: Easy Ice Cream Cake, as prepared by Tiffany.


(Look. I didn't know I'd be posting it.) (I just took it so I could look at it later, maybe as I drifted off to sleep that night. Or whatever.)

So I found it, and then I completely forgot to post it. And now I've had a HECK OF A WEEK with very little time for original thought, so I'm pulling it out of the bullpen to share with you today. Enjoy.

Easy Ice Cream Cake

1 large package Oreo cookies
8 oz. package Cool Whip
16 oz. jar Hershey's chocolate fudge sauce
1 can Planter's salted peanuts (optional)
half-gallon vanilla ice cream*
1 stick butter

Crush cookies and spread in a 9x12 dish. Drizzle melted butter over cookies. Slice frozen ice cream and layer over cookies. Press it down firmly. Spoon chocolate fudge sauce over ice cream. (You can microwave the sauce a little if you need to thin it out.) Chop peanuts and sprinkle over chocolate sauce. Spread Cool Whip over the top and freeze.

SO GOOD, Y'ALL. *If I remember correctly, Tiff used mint chocolate chip ice cream instead of vanilla. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

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