The Crazy Big Pink Wall


I’m up to my usual hijinks and I’m planning another event. This one is for Bug’s school. I’m kind of a passive PTA member who doesn’t go to meetings but if called upon to create some kind of fun graphic design project, my ego won’t let me say no. This gets me into all kinds of trouble. Most of the time I love this trouble.

This event is no exception.

A little back-story: Once upon a time there used to be this program with the school district called a “mother daughter tea” and it was a fun little event where a speaker came in and talked to fifth grade girls about puberty and the big P-word. Well, the year Bug was in fifth grade they didn’t do it because nobody knew what it was.  The PTA was completely clueless and when it came up in a budget meeting they decided to pass on some such foo-foo social event because who has time and money to just spend on girls and their mothers? They had no idea it was the big P-talk. Poor nurses and teachers of fifth grade girls be damned.

You know what I had to say about that. I made a big fuss. Well, amongst my friends of course. I would never go to a PTA meeting and make an actual fuss. I’m way too passive aggressive and nice to do that. I made many small fusses with my friends and decided to take it on with my best pal, Maria (the mother who never says no to any of my hair-brained ideas). And by take it on I should mention that we are going to host the fifth AND sixth grade girls because the sixth grade girls got shafted last year. This means it’s basically the size of a wedding. Budget smudget.


Instead of hosting a “tea” (because that’s way too tame for me) I decided to one-up that idea and host an *instagrammable event* (think mini color factory) and call it “Memories with Mom” because I love the idea of taking selfies with your daughter. I have been doing it will Bug after all before we even called it a “selfie.” I wanted to call the event “Selfies with Mom” and capitalize on the craze but Bug nixed that with a hard eye roll.


You know what all that means: time to make some backgrounds! I’ve made cardboard backgrounds and butcher paper backgrounds and vinyl backgrounds that we tied to pipes on the wall in the big multi-purpose room because the walls are brick and you can’t really nail or attach anything to them and tape is always out  because of their big “NO TAPE” rule, that I hate. Anyway all those backgrounds were miserable failures so I stepped it up big time and hired Payam (except without paying him) to create actual wood constructed backgrounds. Go big or go home, right? Thankfully he loves me enough to pretty much take on any wild whim I might pull out of my butt. And believe me I pull out a lot of them.


I drew up some schematics (Never underestimate a graphic artist with a vision!) and he built them exactly to spec. He is awesome. And also sore from head to toe and pretty much boycotting my project today to spend it on the couch watching soccer instead. I am completely understanding. Well, for the most part.

There is one problem with my specs. I failed to realize how big eight feet really is. It’s a big mo-fo! Like way too big. How am I going to get this in and out of my house let alone staple flowers to and transport to the school where they have given me a small 8-inch (by who knows how high) storage area next to the piano in the MPR.  I may have had a small mini panic attack this morning over this problem. Thankfully my best mom pals have come to my texting rescue and consoled me. We will figure it out, they say.

It is an awesome wall and it will be used.

But we are not done. I have to decorate this mofo (In a pink floral theme, swoon!) and I am also tasking Payam to build one more wall. Why? Because we need more than one instagrammable station at this mother-daughter event. I’m requesting the next wall will only be six feet high and hopefully it will be much more manageable. I plan to paint that one with a rainbow vortex. I’ll keep you posted.

When Life Gives You Jalapeño Jelly Rocks


I have a little pepper garden in the back of my house. It wasn’t supposed to be a pepper garden. Payam built it for me to grow herbs but I threw in a few pepper plants because I wanted to make salsa. Over the years the pepper plants have somehow taken over and the herbs have retreated. I think there is a tiny bit of rosemary that is barely hanging on.

These pepper plants produce! They are small but mighty!  Cody helps me harvest them regularly. I think he forgets he does not like them.


The other day when I got a big bag of jalapeños in my produce delivery box I decided something had to be done with all these peppers. I decided I would make jalapeño jelly, my favorite thing to put on bagels with cream cheese!

Problem is I’ve never really learned to can. I’ve watched my mom do it a thousand times and even helped her but I never really tried to can myself. So I called up my mom, got the basics down and headed for the hardware store to pick up jars. I chopped my jalapeños (With gloves on of course. At least I’ve learned that lesson over the years.) and started them boiling with all the added sugar. Which is a TON by the way. Maybe I lost track of how many cups I was supposed to put in and put in an extra…I don’t know!

I got distracted LIKE I ALWAYS DO. I am the queen of distraction. I am the absent minded professor of many creative projects going on all at the same time. Ooh, shiny thing! Next thing I know I was in the garage helping Payam with some design options for his cutting board business and when I walked back inside my jelly boiling timer had already gone off. I had no idea if it was one minute over or twenty. That is how deep into distraction I can get. Time is a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey… stuff


Also I may have added two packets of pectin instead of one but I swear the micro-printed IRS form-esque directions inside the pectin box said to. Part one said: add one packet of pectin and then follow the directions to part 2. Part two said: add one packet (total 2). I swear!!! It said “total 2.” But then I threw the directions out because they were all sticky and I couldn’t pull them out of the trash because they were buried under other gross stuff so I can’t really prove anything.

Distraction + a possible misreading directions x2 variable = ROCK HARD JELLY STUCK IN JARS!

The jelly wasn’t hard when I poured it into the jars but I do remember at one point I was on the phone with my mom and the jelly mixture was off to a royal boil and it did sort of smell like candy. That may have been a clue. My gut says the pectin is fine I just over-cooked it. But I could be wrong. Maybe too much sugar, maybe too much pectin, very probably too much time.

So what to do now? I sat on it for a few hours (while social-media-ing the hell out of it of course) and then decided to microwave a jar and see what happened.

Guess what? The sticky rock jelly turned back into liquid! It bubbled and boiled right out of the jar and onto the microwave rotating dish in a royal boil mess! That seems to be a theme with me and canning. I carefully took the bubbling jar, poured it on some wax paper and let it harden.

Some places of my splat of liquified jelly were smooth and others were sticky clumps. The smooth places peeled up like a fruit roll-up when played with, while the clumpy lumps turned into the worst kind of gooey taffy that sticks to your hands and everything else in it’s path.


Sooooooooo I decided to make little balls out of my sticky mess and roll them up in squares of wax paper. Because why not! I am like a grandmother who lived through the depression and I refuse to waste food!

The slick smooth stuff worked great, the jelly clumps not so much. It was a very sticky afternoon.


Then because I am me, I did some quick graphic design for packaging (which is so much more in my comfort zone) and wrapped them all up in little bags to take to school pick-up aka parent social hour and handed them out to all my friends.

Guess what? They were a smashing success! Everybody loved my sticky jalapeño jelly balls even if they did have to lick them off pieces of wax paper and get their hands all sticky! They were delicious and spicy! Before I knew it I had handed almost all of them out and people were asking for more.

Now if only I could figure out how I made them!!!