"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lemon Cupcakes

Several years ago my siblings and I threw a series of 40th anniversary parties for my parents. One was a fancy dinner prepared by my brother-in-law with their closest friends from their Santa Barbara days (1970-1980) who they don't get to see very often and always claim are their bestest friends ever. Second was a dessert party for their close friends. (A dessert party, who could have come up with such an awesome idea??) And the third, I don't think ever happened. It was supposed to be a get together with my dad's sister and her family but those gatherings are often talked about but never executed.
About that dessert party, this is one of the desserts I made. And I wanted to make a summery dessert when I hosted my book club tonight, so I finally settled on this recipe. It's supposed to make a sheet cake but since I'm terrible at applying frosting to cakes and cupcakes are the new black, I made them into cupcakes. Here they are:

Lemon Cupcakes (original recipe from here)

1 box (18.25 oz.) lemon cake mix
4 eggs
1 can (15.75 oz.) lemon pie filling (my can was larger, so I put about a TBSP into the icing)
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla (I did about 1 tsp. lemon juice and 1/2 tsp. vanilla to make it more lemony)

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cake mix and eggs until well blended. Fold in pie filling. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full of batter. (I used a cookie dough scoop and a half to pour the batter into cupcake liners. I saw this on Paula Deen at our hotel in South Dakota for the 4 1/2 minutes of the show I watched). Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and confectioner's sugar until smooth. Stir in vanilla (and lemon juice and spoonful of pie filling). Frost cupcakes (I used this). Store in refrigerator. (Everything I've read about this recipe says that they are much better cold.)
Makes about 2 dozen standard sized cupcakes.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Small Town Connections

While on our Little House on the Prairie vacation, we stopped in Sioux City, Iowa at some friends' who used to live in Kansas. We were talking late one night and discovered that the wife and I both have relatives in the small town of Minersville, UT (more info here). In the 2000 Census, the town's population was 817. And it was settled by a relative of mine. I think we both basically said we're related to everyone in town and everyone in the town's cemetery. Hmm... we must be related, right? So she pulls out some family history she has on a guy named James Henry Rollins, who I knew right off I'm related to. His sister, Mary Elizabeth Rollins is the girl who saved the Book of Commandments back in Joseph Smith's day when the printing press in Independence, MO was about to be burned by an angry mob. So I knew right off we were somehow related. I called my mom (the family history expert in our family) when I got a chance and had her figure it out. My friend and I are 4th cousins. We share a great great great grandfather. Crazy. It's funny to be that I know who my second cousins are. But she's a fourth cousin and would be a stranger if we hadn't ended up in the same town at the same church at the same time.

New Sewing Project

Picnic Blanket with Rock Pockets

Picture and tutorial found here and here

Now that I've finished my apron it's time to add a new sewing project to my to do list. No... not that to do list. The to do list of stuff I'm actually going to do. I will. I promise. No, really, I'm going to sew this... someday, hopefully sooner than later.


39 pounds* x .69 cents/lb. = $26.91

*This weight includes the laundry basket and does not include clothes that were immediately hung up (ie: all adult shirts, fancy kid shirts, most adult pants, etc.).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Updated States I've Been To

I don't know how thoroughly I've explained this in the past, but my husband collects counties. He's a geography nut. His jobs for the past eight or so years have revolved around computer mapping. He loves maps. And he's discovered this whole world of map obsessed people like himself that collect counties, like he does. So while the average American might be keeping track of which states they've been to, my husband (and me and the kids) is keeping track of which counties he's been to. So while he also keeps track for me and the kids, my big accomplishments are always getting new states. Since my last states post, I've gotten three new ones (two over the weekend). PLUS, I'm supposed to get Arkansas next month on our round about way to St. Louis so Jed can finish off the counties he needs in south east Missouri. My current state total is 36* states... I'm 72% done.

*Although we aren't sure if I've actually been to Rhode Island or not.

Day 3, Part 2

This was all like a dream come true for Princess Sparkley. She was giddy with happiness and running around with so much energy. It was like Christmas morning waiting to open presents. She was also very brave wanting to do everything, even if it involved talking to or getting helped by the workers. Buddy also enjoyed it all, but not on the same scale as Princess Sparkley. Baby X was a trooper. He was really really great on this whole trip.

Here are pictures of Princess Sparkley and Buddy making rope. They also made a corn cob doll/corn cob superhero and twisted hay into a hay log as kindling for a fire. The pictures of them pulling on the rope is ringing the bell at school. Buddy in the straw hat, and Princess Sparkley at the desk in the pink pioneer girl outfit are at school. The bottom right corner picture is Princess Sparkley driving the wagon to school.

The sign for the city of DeSmet says "Little Town on the Prairie."
Princess Sparkley with the graves of Ma, Pa, Mary, and Carrie.
Princess Sparkley disembarking from driving the horses before the pageant.
Before the pageant started.

Our family riding the wagon to school.

Day 3 Destination: DeSmet, South Dakota aka the Little Town on the Prairie

This was by far the highlight of our trip. Walnut Grove was seriously lacking other than getting to play in Plum Creek just like Mary and Laura. Our trip would have been a bit disappointing had it not been for DeSmet, mainly the Ingalls Homestead.

First, aren't these scenes beautiful? These are pictures I took of the 160 acres that Pa homesteaded outside of DeSmet, SD.

If you've ever been to Nauvoo, this was a bit like this but instead of focusing on the pioneers of the Mormon church, it focused on Laura from Little House on the Prairie and her family, a different type of pioneer.

Here we are when we first arrived and climbed a giant "tree house" to see the prairie. And here's Princess Sparkley doing the wash with help from Buddy. And Baby X discovering grass for the first time ever in his little life.

Princess Sparkley sewing on Ma's sewing machine. Buddy playing "Mary's organ." Pumping water from a well. Visiting a 3 week old baby pony. Riding a pony. Roping a "calf." Etc. Our kids were so brave about riding the ponies, petting horses and kittens. Princess Sparkley even held the reigns and drove the wagon to the school house.

Okay, the kids are complaining that I'm neglecting them. More pictures coming soon...

Vacation Recovery

I didn't take into account recovering from vacation when I scheduled posts for while we were gone. So today while I tackle loads of laundry*, unpack, reorganize, clean, shop, sleep, shower, try to figure out why my A/C doesn't seem to be working and catch up, I'll also try to fit in a blog post here and there to tell you about the rest of our Little House on the Prairie trip.

*I came home with giant piles of laundry, of course. Who doesn't? And I'm out of Tide!! Ahh. I got in one load and then filled the Tide bottle with water and counted that as my second load's soap. So I'm in a weird spot. I don't want to shower and go to the store until my house is clean. I can't get my house clean until my laundry is done. Hmm. What to do, what to do? I guess I'll have to shower and get ready to go to the store since I just made my kids take a sample drink of milk to see if it was acceptable tasting to top their cereal. (It hasn't expired yet, it's just been opened in the fridge for several days that we haven't been here). And if i go shopping, I need to take our recycling with me since that will clean up the house a lot (and get rid of the ga-zillions of empty water bottles Jed brought in from the car when he unloaded it).

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Our Love (for Stripey)

My husband has done a lot of sweet things for me, but one of the nicest was when we were first married. We went on a trip to northern California and I of course brought my pillow, Stripey.* Stripey typically has a white pillow case on him. As do hotel pillows. We checked out of our hotel, did some more sight seeing and I realized that Stripey had been left at the hotel. My super nice husband of just a few months called the hotel, had the maids check the room, and then drove back out of our way to rescue Stripey. And at this point, I don't think he even loved Stripey like I do. He hadn't discovered how wonderful Stripey is. Needless to say, when Stripey goes on trips with us now, he wears a much brighter, non-blending pillowcase.

*You'll just have to look back a few posts, I can't figure out how to link to a post that I have scheduled to post in the future.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Day 2 Destination: Walnut Grove, MN

Walnut Grove, MN

For $4 a car some farmer allows us to drive through his field and get to the site of the dugout on Plum Creek. This was probably the most exciting part for Princess Sparkley, so well worth the $4.

Here are the kids and Jed frolicking in Plum Creek just as Laura and Mary did years ago.

Crossing Plum Creek to the Ma and Pa's dugout.

Field my the dugout site.

Princess Sparkley trying to look like a pioneer girl. She's placed her feet so it looks like she's walking.

Site of the Ingallses' dugout.

My cute family crossing back over Plum Creek.

Back in the town of Walnut Creek.

Princess Sparkley as Laura.

Walnut Grove's very own water tower. I'm sure this wasn't around in Laura's day, but it was an interesting shape so I took its picture.

Corn fields, Soy Bean Fields, Wind Turbines and Water Towers

Today we drove through Iowa, South Dakota (new state for me) and Minnesota (also a new state for me).

Day 1: Family Vacation

Friday morning Jed had finals to finish of his semester of summer school. Then we packed up the car and started on our little road trip.

Our first sort of official stop was at the Winter Quarters Temple Visitor's Center to use the bathroom and feed Baby X a bottle.

This picture is last time we were at this temple - Oct. 2005

Statue in front of the Visitor's Center - July 2008
Haven't they grown!?!

Our destination for Friday was Sioux City, Iowa to visit our good friends who moved there last year. We spent the afternoon and evening with them. They even took us to Palmer's Candy store since Sioux City is home of the Twin Bing (which I've read all about in Candyfreak). Here are some pictures from before we left this morning:

the big girls playing dress-up

the girls

the boys (not as happy)

Then in the car for hours and hours of fields of corn and soy beans and wind turbines. Oh and counties, my husband collects counties. Pictures coming soon.

Princess Sparkley's Peanut Butter M&M Bars

image from and this recipe found here

Princess Sparkley went to a baptism at church with Jed several months ago. After trying the dessert she told her daddy that they had to ask for the recipe (is this my kid or what?). They came home and dictated it to me. This is her recipe for it:

Princess Sparkley's Peanut Butter M&M Bars

Peanut butter cookie baked in a bar.

Little marshmallows sprinkled on top and baked a couple more minutes until melted.

Sprinkled with mini M&Ms.

Drizzled with chocolate.

Cut into squares.

Optional: according to Princess Sparkley, you can add cherries if you want. This is her own addition to the recipe, not what the lady told her. And she would never eat it with cherries.

I haven't toyed with this recipe nearly enough. I tried out this version. And was not pleased. The topping of marshmallow goo just peeled off. It didn't stick to the cookie at all. And the peanut butter cookie bar left a lot to be desired. A lot. When I make this again I will use my regular peanut butter cookie recipe. I might even sprinkle the marshmallows, M&Ms and chocolate on individual cookies and reheat quickly rather than trying to cut bars with gooey marshmallows on them. Let me know what you do if you try it.

Chalkboard Pots

I'm loving this idea from Martha Stewart.

6 Months Old

Baby X is 6 months old today. I can't believe it!! Here are his brother and sister when they were 6 months old. Family resemblance?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mr. Cookie Baker

I love all of these books by Monica Wellington. I'm not usually one to try the recipe that is at the end of a kid's story book (story to come later), but I'm always on the hunt for a perfect sugar cookie recipe. Let me know if you have one. This one is quite tasty and the book is fun. Check it out.


*this is an old picture - Buddy no longer has a binky, and unfortunately, my husband currently has a mustache.

I've had the same pillow since I was a kid. (Please, don't tell me how many creatures and germs are probably living within this pillow.) We call him Stripey. I'm not sure if that was the pillow's name before I was married, or if it was dubbed Stripey by Jed. I can't sleep without Stripey. Jed loves Stripey. He's always trying to talk me into scenarios where if he has a big test the next day, he's allowed to sleep on Stripey. Etc. Jed almost never gets up on the middle of the night. I do. A lot. With kids. To use the bathroom. To feed the baby. Because something went bump in the night. Etc. One night as I was laying in bed, asleep, Jed actually laid (more closely it resembled "slammed") his head on top of mine. In his sleep he'd thought, "Sweet, Stripey is empty" and like always grabs it as soon as he can. The problem was, my head was still on the pillow. Ouch.

Little House on the Prairie

I've always been an avid reader. But I was also a bit of a brat as a kid. My mom would try to get me to read the Newbury award books, or other classic kid books and I'd refuse. The two I really remember her pushing that I still to this day have never read: A Wrinkle in Time and Johnny Tremain. They may be perfectly fine books. In fact, they are probably great books. I wasn't going to read them then. And I probably won't read them now. Although I should. Anyways, so far this has nothing to do with my post title and that's what all of you are wondering.

I also never read any Anne of Green Gables books. I didn't read Little Women until a college class required it. And I never ready any of The Little House on the Prairie books. That was the tomboy in me as a child. I didn't want to read the sappy, girlie books. Plus my sister always made me watch the TV version of The Little House on the Prairie and I really truly didn't like it. But I did watch it so maybe I secretly enjoyed it but wanted everyone to think I hated it. I really don't remember. As I've said before, I have a horrible memory.

My husband has been reading The Little House on the Prairie books to Princess Sparkley for a couple of years now since after all, we live in Kansas.* They are on the second to last book, These Happy Golden Years. I've listened here and there as has Buddy. So while I've missed a lot of the story, I've heard much much more. I've been annoyed my Mary and Ma, saddened when Jack died, excited for Laura and Almanzo, etc. But I haven't read them. In huge celebration of almost being done with this massive series, we're taking a family road trip to Walnut Grove, Minnesota (On the Banks of Plum Creek) and De Smet, South Dakota (By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years and The First Four Years). Both towns have pageants and museums, etc.

And you won't even know I'm gone because through the magic of the internet and blogging, I've set up some posts to happen while I'm away. It's like an automatic light timer so no one breaks into our house and steals are pathetic TV and a commuter bike. Although the TV is worth practically nothing and the bike would be the real steal.

* They've also read The Wizard of Oz.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I heart my car

Everyone take note, I'll probably never say it again. My car has been awesome this week.

1. four new brake pads, free of charge ($4.82 at Dairy Queen while the kids and I waited)
2. nothing wrong with water pump ($1.50 bus fare to pick car up)
3. gas, filled up from almost empty for under $50 ($48.50 at $3.799/gallon)


I'm a bit concerned because in the last few days my almost six year old daughter has become obsessed with Hannah Montana. Interesting since we don't really watch TV. Don't get the Disney Channel. Don't hang out with little (or big) girls who do. Etc. Apparently she saw an episode at Grandma's house while Jed and I weren't there to oppose it. Until Miley Cyrus's recent escapades in the news, I wouldn't have really objected, just not wanted her to become such a teeny bopper so young. Now I'm concerned. Princess Sparkley has always been very intrigued by older girls. Even when she was tiny and we were shopping at Target or something, if 10-16 year old girl walked by, she had all of Princess Sparkley's attention. I'm not such a huge fan of most 10-16 year old girls these days. They all* wear string bikinis to the pool. They all have their ears pierced. They all wear make-up. They all dress immodestly.

Princess Sparkley assures me that she only likes Hannah Montana "because she's cool and she's a rockstar." Where did she find out about rockstars? Yikes. My baby is becoming a tweener and she's just turning six next month.

I have this comfort... in her drawings, when she draws Hannah Montana in immodest clothing, she draws shirts underneath to make them modest.

*Okay, okay. Not all of them. But lots.


Do you ever have one of those days when you just can't wake up? I got an okay amount of sleep. I just didn't get to wake up at my own pace, I had to wake up to feed a screaming baby. I even got to take like a twenty minute nap while holding Baby X to help him fall back to sleep a few hours after first waking up. And twenty minutes is all this book I read in college told me I needed for a pick me up. A 20 minute power nap. It didn't help. I guess it wasn't enough of a power nap. I feel like I'm walking around asleep. I just can't get all the way awake.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ugly Betty

Does anyone watch Ugly Betty? We don't watch a lot of TV. I've never been sucked in my all the reality shows (sorry sorry). I heard somewhere that the show had gotten good reviews and I like America Ferrera as an actress, so I thought I'd check season one out from the library to watch. Jed watched the first episode with me, sort of half heartedly and probably 1/3 of a later episode. I kept telling him he was really missing out. I really really enjoyed season one.

I watched the last two episodes of season one last night, and let me tell you, this show knows how to hook you for a season finale. It's categorized as a dramedy according to Wikipedia. It reminds me a little bit of Desperate Housewives season one (I only watched season one). Probably just the fact that they both are dramedies. It's just a feel the show gives off. Sort of funny, a bit of mystery and drama. A little over dramatic, actually. Especially the end of season one.


Here's the breakdown of each main character and how they are left hanging in the finale:

Betty: has finally decided to fight for Henry but his ex-girlfriend, Charlie, has shown up prego and then Betty finds out that Charlie has been dating Betty's orthodontist for two months. So the baby might not be Henry's, Charlie was cheating, and Betty's off to the airport to declare her love.

Henry: sitting innocently on an airplane back to Phoenix from New York with Charlie, leaving Betty (who he loves) behind, not knowing that Charlie's been cheating on him.

Daniel: Editor of Mode magazine. Betty's sex addict boss has switched from sex to drugs and it ends with he and his sister (formerly his brother) crashing a car into a tree on the way to rehab.

Claire: Daniel's mom is part of a prison break in order to stop her husband from divorcing her and marrying Wilhelmina. It ends with her sneaking through the woods, in the dark, chained to a fellow prisoner - Fugitive style.

Christina: Locked in a hidden room with Amanda. Admits that she's married in Scotland but ran off to America and no one knows where she is.

Amanda: Locked in hidden room, opens safe to find her baby pictures and a birth certificate saying that she's Fey Sommers's daughter. (Fey is the dead (murdered by Claire) former editor of Mode magazine).

Hilda: Betty's older sister, finds out from Betty that her fiance, the father of her teenage son, was shot and killed in a gas station robbery.

Ignacio: Betty's father is still in Mexico having been deported after 30 years of living in the US illegally. He fled Mexico after killing his soon to be wife's husband at the time. Someone in Mexico hears that he is back and is planning to seek revenge.


That's all I remember now and the baby is awake and crying...

Everything is just left so hanging. It's awesome. And those of you who watch the show (if any), know what happens because season two is over, but... not on dvd for a few more months.

Sad, Mad, Happy

Our stereo downstairs has a three disc cd changer. It's usually whichever cds are left sitting around and need to be put away. So I put them away in the cd player. Right now, and for awhile, it has been:

1. Frank Sinatra
2. Harvey Danger's "King James Version"
and, 3. Noodlebug (a kid cd)

My kids are usually the only ones to use this stereo. They just turn it on a push play when they feel like dancing. They informed me the other day that Buddy calls the cds:

1. Sad Noodlebug
2. Mad Noodlebug
and, 3. Happy Noodlebug

So funny to me. And so amazing how kids really do pick up on stuff, like the mood in music.

Taking the Kids to the Dentist

I took Princess Sparkley and Buddy to the dentist yesterday. It was Princess Sparkley's 2nd trip (she went when she was 4, then I procrastinated making another appointment, then our dentist sold her practice and went back to school, then I procrastinated some more, etc.) and Buddy's first trip. In preparation we checked out some books about teeth and dentists from the library. As I come to understand my kids more, I have to admit that they are a lot like me. It's a shame that your kids (at least mine) tend to pick up on my least favorite personality traits. I hate going into a new situation and not knowing what to expect. I want someone to walk me through it and tell me exactly how things are going to be and then I'll feel better about it all. So this is what I tried to do to prepare my kids for the dentist. And since Princess Sparkley has the world's greatest memory, she helped explain everything to Buddy.

I am proud to report that no one cried, no dentists were bitten (which my mom apparently did to her dentist when she was a little girl), and both are going back in 6 months... they are sending me reminder postcards. I will not procrastinate. I will not procrastinate. I'm just going to keep telling myself that. Princess Sparkley did wonderfully, talked her dental hygienist's ear off. All Buddy had done was the dentist looked in his mouth, he'll get a cleaning, x-rays and fluoride next time. He didn't want to sit in the chair. Freaked out when they tried to recline it. Finally he agreed to sit up and open his mouth, first just a little, finally big enough that the doctor could see his teeth. So, not completely successful, but way better than swimming lessons.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Makes You Think

My mom called me Sunday night to let me know a girl I've known since elementary school passed away. It was very sudden and unexpected. She was just a year older than me and left behind a husband and 4 adorable kids. So sad.

I haven't seen this girl in years. We were never really friends, just friendly to each other because we went to the same school, were members of the same church and we were generally nice people. I think the last time I saw her we both showed up at the Spanish language placement test at BYU. I was a sophomore among all the freshman deciding what level of Spanish our high school classes put us at, she was a junior a bit behind like me. She was always the cutest, nicest, friendliest person.

I guess this just struck me as a reminder that no one is immortal. At some point we'll die and while I hope we all live to be 95 or 100, it might probably won't happen. My husband gets frustrated with me because whenever he talks about one of us dying I end up crying. He's got this "if we die, we die and everything will be okay" attitude. I don't. I mean, I understand why I should be okay with death, I just don't want any of us to die. Especially not young. Especially not leaving a spouse or kids behind. It's so sad.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Car Troubles

I've mentioned before that I hate dealing with car stuff. In college, I cried just about every time I took my car in to have an oil change or the tires rotated because I always ended up spending a ton of money I didn't have or want to spend, and I always felt ripped off because I was a girl and totally clueless when it came to cars.

This is the list of stuff I need to get done to the car this week:

Brake Check - they squeak, even though they squeaked in March and we took them in then and spent $200+

Oil Change - I tend to go about the length of 3 normal people oil changes before we get ours done. Usually because I start worrying that I'll kill the engine when we run out of oil since it's been so long.

Water Pump looked at - my father-in-law let us know something was wrong with our car by the way it sounded last time we were there, apparently this sound has something to do with our water pump. Great.

Tires rotated and balanced.

This is ignoring a ton of other regular maintenance (ie: timing belts, tire alignment, etc.) that should probably be done, or should have been done. But other than tire rotation and oil changes, I pretty much wait for a sign that something is wrong, then get it taken care of. Or ignore it for a bit more.

I started today with the brakes. It's always a bad sign (and this happens every time I take the car in) when the mechanic calls to have me describe the problem because the car isn't doing it for him. Argh. The brakes squeak every time we stop, why won't the car replicate it for him? But this visit ended on a good note... 4 brand new break pads, free of charge because the old ones were a bit defective (my term, not the mechanic's, he showed me on the surface of a cell phone what my brake pads were supposed to be shaped like and what they weren't).

Hopefully this is a sign for all good things car related this week. It would be great, fabulous, terrific if all car related things this week were also free, but I doubt it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

New Things Baby X Is Doing

Okay, sorry for all of the baby posts all at once. But he's doing cute things and I can't think of anything else to blog about.

Baby X just started doing this flippy binky thing when
he's bored and has his binky in or when we first give it to him.

So, Baby X will be 6 months old next week. He's been up on his knees for a week or two now. And he started rocking back and forth on his knees and trying to scoot (sometimes backwards successfully) over the past few days. I'm a bit stressed over the fact that my child with a heart condition is also my first to roll over (at 3 months) and crawl (at 6 months).

Love This Cute Face

Yea For My Pathetic Garden

So far my pathetic little garden has produced two pathetic looking cucumbers, a bunch of yellow squash flowers but no squash and a bunch of tomatoes. Yea for tomatoes.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Your Face On Candy!!

I knew you could order custom colors of M&Ms, even custom messages, but this is awesome. Your picture on an M&M. Too bad it's $11.99 per 7 ounce bag, 3 bag minimum order. Understandably pricey, I may have to splurge someday. Maybe order these Boston Red Sox ones for my dad's birthday.

Celebrity Baby Names

I'm watching Ugly Betty Season 1 on dvd from my library. I had to laugh out loud last night in my quiet house while everyone else was asleep because the magazine Betty works for had been chosen to shoot the first pictures of some fictional celebrity couple's baby. The baby's name: Chutney.

Princess Sparkley's Birthday

Princess Sparkley is turning six in a few weeks. I can't even wrap my mind around that yet. She wants some sort of hand held video game for her birthday. I'm considering asking grandma and grandpa for this:

image from www.geek.com

but wanted input from anyone who has one of these or has heard good or bad about it.

Reading List

I go through huge reading spurts when I read book after book after book. Spurts when I have a whole stack of books on my side of the bed that I can't wait to read and as soon as I finish one, I immediately pick up another and dive in. Then I go through a phase where I can't find a single book that seems interesting enough to read. Guess which dilemma I'm in now.

Notice they are all library books. Yikes. That means my reading has a deadline. Two are for my book club (E=MC2 by David Bodanis is July's book and Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larsen is August's book). Queen of Babble gets hitched is a Meg Cabot book and a guilty pleasure. Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko is one that I've heard good things about and read about here. The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost is supposedly hilarious and has been recommended to me by a friend, a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law. Queen of the Road by Doreen Orion is/was a Borders Book Club book, or something. They had a flyer about it in the store and it seemed interesting. Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman was recommended by a blog reader when I talked about how many books we have and how we need more bookshelves. And Eggs, I just picked it up awhile back because I like Jerry Spinelli, I liked its cover and I was waiting for all these books I had on hold to come in. I'm about 30 pages into it and not really loving it so much. I may have to desert it for all these other books.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

i heart craigslist

About a year ago I had a yard sale. It wasn't bad, but having to garage, and no yard, really, made it not as successful as the yard sale in my dreams was. About 6 months ago I got read of a huge computer monitor through craigslist. It's awesome. I just listed that I had a computer monitor, free of charge and six different people contacted me. Finally one decided he wanted it, I gave him my address and he came and picked it up. Computer monitor gone from cluttering my house. Craigslist makes it so I get can rid of all the big items I'm not going to sell on ebay because I won't ship them.

Today we got the kids bikes out of our storage unit. (I know. I know. The summer is almost over, the snow melted months ago. . . I just didn't feel like dealing with bikes in my house (remember, we have no garage) or having to watch the kids outside on them while dealing with a baby). So today we finally got the bikes out and they are both way too small for the kid they are supposed to fit. Princess Sparkley's bike is perfect for Buddy, except for it's a Disney Princess bike. Buddy's bike would be great for Baby X in 2 years, but I'm getting tired of holding on to giant stuff and having to move it when we move (which will happen again a year from this month) and having to store it. The sad part is they can finally pedal this year. Just as they've outgrown their bikes they finally got the hang of pedaling. I guess I've learned my lesson... don't buy them a bike until they are old enough to pedal it. But with Baby X trying to crawl already, he might be ready for a bike in a few more months!! So, I'm on the hunt for new, cheap bikes from craigslist and garage sales and hoping someone else out there is as well.

So here's what I'm getting rid of:

picture from 2006

It feels great to get rid of this stuff. Spring cleaning. Liberating. If only I could be brave like a college roommate of mine whose family is moving from California to Virginia and they decided to sell everything except a small trailer worth of stuff that has sentimental value. I don't think I'm a pack rat, but then I hear her story and I almost cry thinking about what I'd have to sell or leave behind.

Kid Cookbook Review

While I'm ripping up one cookbook, I might as well voice all negative opinions about cookbooks. My mom bought this cookbook for Princess Sparkley. It's super cute, has super cute cupcakes inside. The recipes are all simple and make cupcakes any kid would love to make, look at and eat. So what's the problem?? It's a board book, which says to me, this is for kids. There are only maybe 12 recipes in here and at least 5 of them involve coffee, mocha, expresso, etc. Now, I don't drink coffee. But I think even among coffee drinkers, it's looked down upon to feed your kids coffee. Maybe I'm getting my knowledge of this from the movie Clueless when Cher explains to her teacher, Mr. Hall, that she doesn't drink coffee because "Duh, it might stunt my growth. I wanna be 5'10" like Cindy Crawford."
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