Ellis & Barnes: Serious Mothers!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


As you know, we had a baby. Obviously, the big question was "how is this going to affect Stefan's birthday?" The parties are kind of a big deal. There has been the surf party with the surf band, sexy farm party with the jug band, the shitty costume party where everyone had to make their costumes and we had karaoke, the tiki party with Blood of the Kapu Tiki (the floor was red for a long time) and last year's "prom in space." People tend to dress up, logos are made, drinks are themed and neighbors are warned, but now we have a baby. She sleeps here you know. A party in the backyard just isn't gonna work with her bedtime no matter how "cool" our 11 month old is. 

Solution? Afternoon party! While baby can't have a messed up bedtime, baby can certainly have one nap screwed up. 

I present to you EPICgarten! 


Dear Katy Belle, today is the first day of the rest of your life being "themed" by us for our parties. We accept that you may file this away into your "why I hate you" column when you are 14 years old. Love, your Mama and Papa

Beer Garden is a great afternoon party theme...even if there is a heat advisory. Just make sure there is plenty of water to wash down the beer and dehydration...oh and sausage.

All you need are steins...

construction paper flags...

(flags and steins brought to you by Kathy and Spoons)

a long table...

a keg of beer...

and most importantly, people who will drink that beer...and dress up!

What do you think Monica? Is this gonna be a good party?

(Monica says "yes!")

Stefan and I are big believers in costumes. They are fun and I think make for a good party. You don't have to spend tons on them! (unless you are the host and have no time to sew a dirndl)

Here you can see the beauty of suspenders, cardboard, construction paper and a marker.

You can hardly tell the difference between Spoons' paper whatever that is called and Stefan's leather thingy. It's like one is Suave and one is the leading professional brand. They can't tell the difference, can you?

Monica? Can you tell the difference?


J made a hat! While I have no full length pictures of his whole get up, he looked like a stein! Creative and hilarious and well themed. (J and Jaime always have amazing costumes)

Here is they are in the middle of a move, buying a house, currently homeless, stressed with dog and cat know what...even when you have got all that on your plate, you can still put up some pigtails! Hot damn! I approve! You can also raid the closet of the person who is letting you crash at their home till you get settled. Nicely done.

Now this is excellent...Angela took a tank top and just cut it down in the front and added some ribbon. BRILLIANT!

And that is just a white cloth napkin with some bric-a-brac stuck on with double sided tape. 

Now check out Mary in the red dirndl. See the white shirt? Its a HANES shirt that she just cut and stitched up! Awesome! If you think you can do the same thing, you can't. Mary is some sort of costuming, crafting genius. She once made me a banana costume...nuff said.

Of course if you are a baby, all you have to do to fit in at a beer garden is DRINK!
(almost got it there Penny. Keep trying)

Hey Monica, how's the party so far?

(you are starting to creep me out a little)

Now look at these two. Jeesh!
STOP LOOKING SO MISERABLE! So you didn't dress up, god, you are bringing everyone down!

But Biz, what if you didn't bring a costume or some people felt your costume needed work?

That's the spirit!

hmmmmm....where have I seen this face before?

Hang in there Katy Belle. At least we didn't pierce your ears, we are just going to force you to dress up for our parties in costumes. Of course we won't make you do that for your parties. It's like you think we are going to put the same amount of effort in or something. Jeesh. 

(Kidding perfect baby girl! You shall have crummy magicians and smelly pony rides if you want!)

Christina is also a crafting genius even if she has keg issues. See that head piece? Dollar store flowers and a headband. Inspiring!

Monica, what do you think of Christina's head gear?

(I keep doing this because she looks so happy. Such a good picture. I appoint her the physical embodiment of the spirit of the party!)


Until tomorrow my friends, when I shall be back and post more pictures!
xoxo, Biz

P.S. of course that is not my real hair. Clip ons people!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Beware of all Would Be Attackers, Including Breast Cancer

I kid you not PPPAers. Help fight breast cancer with maximum strength pepper in breast cancer pink!

Let me start with saying that I am all about fighting breast cancer and I am a HUGE advocate of pepper spray.

Hilarious side story. I was living in Atlanta and I had my pepper spray and I had a male friend over helping me move. He was not the brightest bulb in the box and at one point he picked up the pepper spray and said (I kid you not) "how does this work" and while pointing it at himself to get a better look, he sprayed his face. FYI pepper spray works.

Ok, back to the post...while I love fighting breast cancer and love spraying bad guys in the face, I am a little amused by the uniting of the two.

Let's start with the description:
"The Quick Release with detachable keychain allows immediate access to your defense spray when unlocking a door or driving an automobile."

Look I know they mean if someone attacks you while you are opening you door, but it sounds more like they are suggesting you spray down the car.

And here are the features (yes, they say "features"):

  • Help fight breast cancer
  • Sabre Red Formula - Maximum strength pepper spray
  • Detachable keyring with quick release
  • .54 oz Key Ring
  • Projects 8 to 10 Feet
  • Ballistic Stream Delivery - Reduces Wind Blow-Back
  • Contains Approximately 25 Shots
I really only want to focus on the first bullet point. It makes me smile to think that every time I gas some asshole in the face I am kicking breast cancers ass.

I really wish it said something like "Debilitate your attacker just like Breast Cancer debilitates thousands of women each day!"

In fine print on the packaging it says: 
"State laws prohibit us from shipping this pepper spray model to AK, HI, MA, or NY"
"however, State laws do not prohibit Breast Cancer from AK, HI, MA, or NY."(no, it didn't say that.)

This of course reminds me of my good friends, Kasper Hauser, who wrote SkyMaul a few years back which included this little beauty.

I love those guys.

The great news, is if you are looking for a way to support the fight against breast cancer, you can buy this pink pepper spray and SABRE (whose motto is "making grown men cry since 1975") will make a donation to NBCF.

Ok, here is the link, you know you want to check it out...and please don't miss the "Home Defense Pepper Spray Fogger for Family, Property, Home Protection" at the bottom of the page. (There are a lot of things wrong with that concept.)

I love this website and I love Martha for sending me this. I am not even going to question why you were on the site to begin with...I am going to make it my home page now.

xoxo, Biz

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Sister and a postcard

Hello PPPAers,

As you may or may not know, my sister has joined the online community and has been quite the tweeting and blogging queen...and with such style and grace. One can have manners in the digital age.

I thought I would take a moment to point all five of you toward her site, where she talks about the joys of being a luddite, her new book, writing what you know and much more...the much more being her wonderful videos.

I am posting her newest one here and it may be my favorite. My Sister!

Xoxo, Biz

Monday, July 12, 2010

An Open Letter to Bravo

Dear Bravo, 
Stop fucking up your reality shows. 

I hate most reality shows. I don't have the stomach to watch people be horrible to each other or to themselves. I don't like slowing down to look at accidents, I don't like seeing people get punked, and I don't like turning on my TV and seeing people half naked, drunk, slutting it out for the affections of an aging duche bag or getting jammed in the nuts for money. 

Then you came along Bravo. You gave me Project Runway. A group of skilled people participating in a reality show where the winner was rewarded for their abilities! ABILITIES! I loved it. My friends loved it. Even if the person was a jerk, it didn't affect if they won or not, it only mattered that they made a pair of pants out of groceries. And you threw in Tim Gunn, a reality show anomaly. There aren't nice people in reality shows! Nice people who are there to help you succeed with no other motive than to help you succeed? JOY! He was pure joy. 

My friends and I loved it. Never once did I hear anyone utter the words "couldn't they sex it up?" or "I wish people were nastier to each other or at least making out" in reference to this show. Fine, you lost it to Lifetime and no, it hasn't quite been the same, but let's just move on because the point is that you created this perfect mold and used it to give us…Top Chef!

If Project Runway was an adorable kitten given to me on my 6th birthday, then Top Chef is a pony who speaks english and grants wishes. Each season, without fail, you have given us great chefs (except the obvious 1 or 2 expendable extras that fall off the 1st two weeks…come on, that one guy didn't know what amuse bouche was. This was season 4, he didn't have a chance.) No one talked too much about the game, they just cooked. There was that Elan guy who was pretty crafty, but overall, everyone played nice, not wanting to be beaten because someone didn't have a potato, but because their food was superior.

Then last season…sigh…you gave us a Luck Dragon! Everyone was so good and even your shifty editing in the first episode "I got beat by a girl" couldn't make me hate Michael Isabella…do you know why? HE COULD COOK!

"Ok children, go to bed. Santa Bravo will be here tonight to bring you presents."

"Oh Mom! I can't wait to see what Santa Bravo brings us for Season 7! I have been such a good girl!"

(the next morning)

"Mom? Why did Santa Bravo take a crap in my stocking?"

Who the heck are these contestants? I can't seem to decide which is worse, their cooking or their attitude. I think their attitude. What a nasty group of people. The conniving, the game talk…I mean does anyone like anyone on that show? Also, double elimination? I was just starting to see glimpses of humanity in Arnold and then he gets kicked off over that woman and her "I know how to cook pasta." (by the way, it was obvious that was coming. You guys really need a new editor.) Speaking of editing, what makes this all worse, is that you, my dear friend Bravo, who gave me a kitten, a pony and a luck dragon, are responsible for making everyone look like jerks. Shame on you. You are better than that.

You are you know. You are better than that. You still have time to turn it around. 

When you do, I will be here. 

xoxo, Biz 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I Can't Stop Screaming Inside


Is this at all necessary? I mean couldn't we have put the money to better use? I'd like to see  diaper that doesn't allow "number 2" to shoot up the back. Can we put the bucks there?

I am not sure I could even allow these in my house ironically. I saw a women on YouTube reviewing these diapers (why the heck a diaper needs a review is beyond me) and she says "with these you don't get diaper lines when your little one is wearing jeans."


WHAT? Diaper lines? I am not sure I can even wrap my head around diaper lines being cause for concern. Diaper lines? Is she scared her baby is going to be mistaken for an extra in 9 to 5? (panty lines people.)

I am no cloth diaper subscriber. I am filling up the landfills with the best of them, however, I am so embarrassed for us when the aliens or archaeologist lizards from 3030 dig these up and try to figure out their purpose.

Are we this lost as a culture? Dare I say it....go to a park, go see a concert, go read a book...made of paper. I don't know, do something, but don't give me a crap catcher and call it couture.

If I lost you as a follower over this, then its probably better for both of us if you just go.

xoxo, Biz


This morning, Katy Belle had her first pancakes.

This shall be the first of many moving, photo recaps...both emotionally and actually moving. I have been inspired by my sister.

Ken Burns has nothing on me...he shouldn't, because he is an expert and I am a 2nd time i-Movie user. Ken Burns could have me killed and make millions off the documentary of my murder.


pancakes from Epic Family on Vimeo.

(I had this to go up last night but had some video difficulties)


Friday, July 09, 2010

I like it spicy

So I am back from the offsite and I must say I enjoyed some television. We cut our cable a few months back as a way to save money and I haven't missed it. I get any shows I want to see via iTunes or Hulu or the like and watch them when I can. However, there is something to be said for chilling out and watching some tv. In doing so, I saw this. I am in love for so many reasons. I will let you count the ways...

PS. Now that I am back home I will have the proper time and tools to live up to my sub-par blogging that you have come to know and love.

xoxo, Biz

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Where in the world is Biz?

In the lap of luxury.

Try to not be jealous. Try.

I must say I feel very at home in 5 star surroundings. If only I could afford to enjoy them while not working.

But the great news is the group actually retired early and I would have written sooner but I had to soak in the marble soaking tub.

Life is not always so hard. I am happy that I am in a place in my life where i can enjoy something as fine as this and not spend the rest of my life pouting that I can't all the time.

Its all about enjoying what you can, when you can...and moving on to what may come next.

I can't wait to get home tomorrow night to see Stefan and my amazing baby girl, who are both better than a soaking tub any day of the week...except Thursdays.


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

My sister on the Huffington post

Hello PPPAers,

While I am off in Watch Hill, RI at the most amazing resort for a company offsite I am organizing, preparing to play croquet in my khakis and whites (ahoy paloy), I give you the link to my sister's blog posting on the Huffington Post. Diary of a poker-playing, novelist, housewife.

I am so proud!


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Elderly May Be Trying To Kill You

So this week I am up in RI for and offsite. I got here via train. On the train i overheard the following conversation:

Young woman on cell phone: yeah, I cant wait to see you either Mama! Don't talk to strangers! Byeeeeeeyeeeee.

Old woman next to her: well that is a role reversal.

Young woman no longer on cell phone: hmmmm?

Old woman: you telling your mother to not talk to strangers.

Young woman: oh, thats not my mom. Thats my friend who I always call Mama! Ha hahahahahahaha!

Old woman: (pause) well it is good advice.I

(me to myself: stranger danger! Stranger danger! Hello, old lady is a stranger no matter how much she looks like your grandma.)

Young woman: umhmmmmm!

Old woman: would you like a grape?

(me to myself: POISON! POISON! POISON! Don't eat the grapes!)

Young woman: no thank you.

Old woman: (under her breath) your going to die.

The end

Ok, that last line is not true. Of course the train was pretty loud.

See you tomorrow!


Monday, July 05, 2010

We Be Jamming

So in another attempt at domestic bliss and supermomming I have made jam.

After my first attempt at jam (strawberry) last week that was so successful and easy...holy cow people...strawberry jam was EASY...I decided to jam something else.

Actually, let me first give you the strawberry jam recipe. Don't be afraid.

1 lb of strawberries
1 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice

Bam! Jam! That is it.

Take off the ends of the strawberries, dump them in a sauce pan, mash them up, pour in the other two ingredients, and mix it up over medium heat till the sugar dissolves. This is about 5 minutes give or take, then turn up the heat to medium high and get it going at a good simmer and don't stop mixing. Just keep going till it makes a little mound when you drop a spoonful of it on a cold dish.

By mound I mean it doesn't pour off the plate when you tip it and after it cools its a little goopy to the touch. My tip is let it cook about 2 minutes past when you think it should be done because you are probably like me and over eager. This only takes about 15 to 20 minutes and is a great thing to do with your child if they are old enough to stir or while you have friends over and hanging out in the kitchen.

Put it in a jar and you have jam. Oh, in case you don't usually save your bacon grease, you may not realize you should put a metal knife in the glass jar before pouring hot anything into it. Otherwise you may get more glass in your jam than you might like.

Ok, on to this week's jams.

The first jam was black currant. I got over excited by the strawberry jam and thought all jams would be as fast. Not the case.

Here are the cute little berries in their hair nets.


Then I realized I had to cut off all the little flower butts. (Not the technical term)

Suddenly 2 pints of adorable currants became a million pains in the flowering butt.

This recipe was water and sugar. You boil till it becomes jam. 

Sadly, I added 5 minutes over the two recommended above and it is a bit thick, but I don't like currents so I am not eating it. Stefan loves currants and says he can gladly choke it down. 

Onto Raspberry Jam!

Same recipe as Strawberry jam!

1 pound is roughly 5 of these little guys.

(Are you admiring the monster bush of dill there behind the berries. Might there be a pickling post to come?)

Mash, mix, simmer.

Pour into adorable glass jars. (don't forget your knife)

Feel really proud of yourself, shout your mantra (I am better than Martha Stewart and Kelly Ripa) even though you don't have any bows or crocheted lids and your jam doesn't quite fill up the jars.

In terms of canning, I tried to actually boil, and seal two of these. I am not at all confident that I have done it correctly despite the little bump in the center of the lid going POP! I guess we will have to wait for my post on botulism.

I say stick with a small batch of jam and put everything in the fridge and just eat it right away. 

I know you are asking, "Biz, how do you find the time?"

I ignore my baby and husband.


Sunday, July 04, 2010

Its Curtains for Katy Belle

Get it? I killed my baby. ahhhhhh haaaaaaa.


Please don't called child services.

I think we all know that if a hair on my baby's head was hurt I would rip the heart out of whoever did it like a wild bear.


ummmm....on to adorable curtains?

Several months ago I had this brilliant idea to make curtains for Katy Belle's room to help take the glare out from the sun that makes it through the blinds for her afternoon naps. So I measured and headed off to the fabric store, only to come home and not have enough fabric.

I believe I have mentioned that I am not great at crafting. I tend to rush and I have no idea how I could be so off in terms of measurements, but I was and so I and the fabric sat around for a long time.

Then I realized I could take some of the other mis-measured fabric I had laying around and sew it to the curtain fabric...I know...why am I not doing this professionally...and wind up with the correct length for curtains.

I am not going to give you a tutorial on sewing curtains because they really are easy...if you have a sewing machine. If you are planning on doing it by hand, you have more time than I do.

Curtains are basically:
Press the edges about 1/4th of an inch twice to make a nice edge.
Sew that down.
Then make a fold where you want the top of your curtains to be, wide enough to get a curtain rod through and sew that along the edge.

Bam! Curtains! If you do what I did and need to sew two pieces together to make them longer or just to be cute....just put the pieces face to face (the fronts) and sew along that edge then press that down.

Tadaaaaaa. I know, I should teach...or not....but it is really common sense. Go look at some basic curtains and then make curtains.

Now, are you ready to be dazzled?

"Hey Biz, one of those is shorter than the other."

I know, we want it to be able to block light but not air, so I pinned it up with safety pins. Once summer is over and we take out the AC it will unfurl in all its glory.

Look, I am not saying that Laura Ashley is going to call and ask for her curtains back, but I think they are super sweet and they make it darker for nap times and it cost me less than $20.

Now for a reminder about my superior craftsmenship...aka...I stink at crafts and that's ok....


I am sure one of you is wondering about that print hanging on the wall. Who can tell me where it is from? (probably all of you can seeing as only my friends and family really read this and you have all been told what that is a print of, but lets pretend millions read this.)

Till tomorrow and the recap of my jamming project,

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Guess who came back?

The Possum.

The possum came back.

It was about three weeks after the first KNOWN visit and I hadn't seen it so I assumed it had moved on to someplace else, like the Mexican restaurant's back patio, or Jackie's Fifth Amendment (skeevy bar next door), or ninth street or wherever possums like to go in Brooklyn. 

I was all tucked into bed, reading, and the window was open because the cats were still I had the lights on. What self-preserving possum was going to walk past cats into a well lit room with a person in it.

This possum.

(I swear I am going to be sick, blarf)

I had heard a scuttle, assumed it was the cats coming in, looked over and sitting in the middle of the room was this gigantic rat with human hands.

I got up, left the room, closed the door (cats be damned this time) and said in a terse voice, "Stefan?"

Stefan: (with toothbrush in mouth) Yeah?

Me: (controlled hysterical voice) The possum is back. 

Stefan: Yeah?

Me: Yes. You need to get rid of it....but first get the camera.

We had just had too many people ask for pictures and I am not sure what I thought Stefan was going to do to "get rid of it" so why not try to paparazzi it back out the window?

Stefan came back and announced that it was gone. "It was so cute. It was crawling up the chair and trying to get out the window but I startled it so it slid down the's little possum butt in the air. Adorable!"

Me: (blink) (Icy stare)

Look at this...

(no really, I am going to vomit)

...what the fuck? Now I apologize for dropping the F word, but you look behind your Crate and Barrel chair and see this, I don't care if you have a room set aside for the second coming of Christ, you are probably going to let out a 
"what the fuck?"

Speaking of Crate and Barrel chairs...GET OUT FROM UNDER MY CRATE AND BARREL CHAIR!

(look at it. It's tiny, fleshy hands. It's long, fleshy nose...I need a bag because vomit is about to come out of my mouth.)

Let me take a moment to answer the obvious question you must be asking: Biz, why have you not called animal control?

Because of him:

My husband.

When I say to Stefan, "Ok, we need to call animal control to get rid of this thing," his response is "why? It is so cute. Its not hurting anything."

Sure, its just spreading rabies and probably pissing all over our record collection. 

While when I think of this possum I see this:

Stefan sees this:

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah! Do you see a bow on this?

Me either. If Mr. Bluebird is on your shoulder, he's probably pecking your eyes out and pissing down your back. If this possum is in your house it isn't singing about your laughing place, it's probably laying babies in your Crate and Barrel chair.


It has been almost a month since we have seen the possum, but every night as it gets dark, I make sure the screen is down.  If it comes back I am going to shoot it...and not with a camera. 

The end?

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