Saturday, November 29, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
image from igourmet.com
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
*My kids are currently obsessed with Junie B. Jones, Katie Kazoo Switcheroo, Clementine, and Judy Moody books read aloud on cd. Junie B. Jones, hilarious, but a bit naughty. Jed and I have found that all of us, kids and adults, have started phrasing words and emphasizing sentences like we're Junie B. Jones, PEOPLE. (Except I'm not actually supposed to go there anymore!" - direct Junie B. Jones quote I heard from the other room as I was about to hit "Publish Post.")
Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffins
adjusted from a Country Living (Sept. 2004) recipe
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
3 ½ cups sugar
3 ½ cups flour
¼ cup pecans (roughly chopped)
3 TBSP butter (melted)
3 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
2 ¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin
1/3 + 1/6 cup vegetable oil
¾ tsp. vanilla
Heat oven to 375. Lightly coat 2 – 12 cup muffin tins with oil (or line with muffin liners). Mix the cream cheese, 1 egg, and 3 TBSP. sugar in a small bowl; set aside. Toss 5 TBSP. sugar, ½ cup flour, pecans, butter and ½ tsp. cinnamon together in a medium bowl; set aside. Combine the remaining 3 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, 3 tsp. cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl. Lightly beat 3 eggs, pumpkin, oil and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour the pumpkin mixture in and mix with a fork until moistened. Evenly divide batter in half. Fill muffin cups with about 2 TBSP. batter. Place about 2 tsp. of cream cheese fillling in center of each cup and fill with remaining batter. Sprinkle some of pecan mixture on top and bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean; about 20-25 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
Makes 2 dozen muffins.
Monday, November 24, 2008
*It's sort of funny how huge Twilight has gotten. I read it when it first came out because Stephenie Meyer is LDS and went to BYU and I'm up on all those writers because I wish I was them. Of course I was skeptical about a book dealing with a teenage/vampire love story, but I read it, enjoyed it and tried to pass the word along. Mostly everyone thought I was nuts. At the time my book club was talking about possibly reading Dracula, I mentioned Twilight as a fun book about vampires. They all thought I was nuts. Now they've all read the whole series are are more obsessed than me. Funny.
Next July we will make move number one. Here are the high contender cities/states in no particular order:
St. Louis, MO
Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois
image from stepheniemeyer.com
This all being said, I was pleasantly surprised by the movie. I went with a group of friends and we were all surprised by how funny it was. Bella's clumsiness. The awkwardness between Bella and Edward when they first meet. The theater filled with laughter a lot more than any of us expected. And the characters of Edward and Bella really grew on me. Emmett was hilarious as was Rosalie. Alice didn't have as big a role in this movie but was cute. Jasper was funny and a bit weird. James and Victoria were wonderfully cast. As was Bella's dad, Charlie. I loved Bella's dad.
I thought the cameo of Stephenie Meyer was a bit cheesey and over the top obvious, but when I mentioned this to two of my friends on the ride home, they hadn't even noticed it, so I guess not.
Overall, I was very happy with this movie. It was good. I suppose it was worth the $8.75 I spent, although when I figured it out before the movie, this is only the third movie I've seen in a movie theater since we moved to Kansas over three years ago. And one of the other two was Cars. So I guess I was overdue for a little splurge in the movie going department. And I'll watch this again, especially since I just read that the second book just got picked up by the same movie company, so I'll have to watch Twilight again to prepare for the release of the new movie. I'm not crazy enough to read the books again, I'm too busy for that.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I just want to crawl back into my warm bed and hibernate until April or so.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
As Jed and my families have grown, we've become more and more creative about how to do family gift exchanges. For awhile we drew names out of an adult name hat and a kid name hat with my family. The past couple years we've just had cousins draw cousins, so only a kid hat.
With Jed's family we bought a Christmas ornament for each family one year. And last year we started buying a Christmas book for each family. We all liked this tradition and plan on continuing it for a few years.
Back to my family, what should we do this year? They are leaning towards each family buys one gift for each other family (I only have two siblings, so this isn't so big of a deal). And we'd pick some sort of theme. For example, the theme could be "outdoors" and someone could buy our family a sled or something. I don't know. These were the ideas handed down to me.
What does your family do? Do you have any good theme suggestions like the "outdoors" one above? Any other marvelous ideas for Christmas gift exchanges?
*My kids keep asking why houses and stores aren't decorated for THanksgiving since everyone decorates for Halloween and Christmas. I just keep telling them people are so excited about Christmas decorating they just skip right over Thanksgiving. Hopefully it's not that no one is giving thanks.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Jed and I are constantly amazed by how out there people are with their life goals, dreams and aspirations. I think I've always been private about these things. As has he. So I don't think we've influenced each other, but I'm sure we haven't helped the other be more open or vocal either. He fears telling people where he really wants to go for grad school, along with all sorts of other things. I try to avoid mentioning that I like to write. So when we come across people who boldly put out there the fact that they are writing a novel, we're a bit embarrassed for them. (Forgive me if you are one of these people.)
For instance, (do you like how I threw this new paragraph in there just to make this post look shorter since the paragraphs are all basically brief?) the other day we were shopping at the totally awesome toy store in our town's fun downtown area. As we were leaving, a man named James with a "Y," or more truthfully, Jaymes, stopped us. He'd had a class with Jed a few semesters ago, hence me knowing who "James with a Y" was when we were introduced. In the 1 1/2 minute conversation we had, he mentioned that he's writing a novel. Maybe he felt comfortable telling me because really, what are the chances that we'll see each other again (although I do love that toy store... if only I had a million dollars to spend there) and he wasn't worried about the embarrassment when he failed at said novel writing. Or maybe that's just how some people are. I guess maybe he doesn't even think failure is an option. Novel concept. I am not that way. So while I secretly still desire to write the next great American novel, keep it under your hat. Thanks. :)
On another note, Jed, who is a cartographer/mapmaker by profession, but not as a student, recently had some maps he made published in this book* that a former professor of his just published. Yea for Jed!
*The description says three maps, there are actually four... all Jed's. And he gets an acknowledgement at the book's start as well.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
According to my husband, they are kind of weird and taste better the second day.
Princess Sparkley loves loves loves them. But I'm not sure her taste in food is really trustworthy.
Buddy likes them okay, but again, he didn't inherit the sweet tooth the rest of us have.
1/2 cup shortening
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 14 oz can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup nuts (optional)
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp nutmeg
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
3/4 cup applesauce
1 bag chocolate chips
Cream shortening, sugar and egg. Combine dry ingredients. Add half of dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture. Add applesauce. Add remainder of dry mix. Mix well. Add chocolate chips. It will be sticky. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes.
For our first anniversary, I bought Jed a watch because 1) a watch is a nice one year anniversary gift, and 2) the main reason, I couldn't understand how a person could function without a watch. It was unfathomable to me.
More recently, I had a friend who didn't own a watch, a cell phone, and had no working clock in her car. She could tell whether or now she was on-time or running late based on the bank time and temperature signs she drove past. Luckily our town has an over abundance of banks, many of which have a time and temperature sign, so she was never too far from a clock. But still? I nearly bought her a watch just to give me a peace of mind.
Last Thursday my watch broke. I've had the battery die many times and have been without a watch for a day or two until I could get a new battery put in. But the clasp came detached from the face of the watch. I'm hoping it can be fixed. I could handle a new watch... but no watch. Yikes.
For the past few days, thanks to Princess Sparkley's generosity, I've been sporting this lovely watch:
Monday, November 17, 2008
Along with his troublemakerness, I can't get anything done with him around. Homeschooling has become difficult because every two seconds I have to jump up and retrieve something else from his mouth. A screw. A piece of paper. A rubberband. Etc. And stuff like filing away paid bills and other little household tasks that just keep the house in relative order, have become impossible. The dishwasher... his best friend.
So today I put baby locks on all of our kitchen cupboards. This is something that we only did on medicine cupboards and under the sink in the past. When we moved to our current home Buddy was 17 months old, yet I never had to baby proof the cupboards, just the stairs.
As I type, Baby X is napping and I have the two big kids doing my dirty work. They are sorting through this enormous box, from my side of the bed (that was starting to threaten tripping me over in the middle of the night), of their artwork (with other things scattered into the mix- ie: Baby X's blessing certificate, Baby X's 6 month pictures, etc.) so I can file the good stuff away in each of the file folders I keep for their milestone artwork (which has turned into everything we can't convince them to throw away). That was a long, probably grammatically incorrect sentence. Oh well. Baby X only sleeps so long. I've got a lot to do.
Today Buddy spilled his milk. As I cleaned it up, I thought, "we haven't spilt milk in quite awhile, we should have a reward or something for going so long without spilling milk." But then I don't want to punish them for spilling their milk. As frustrating as it is (we have carpet under our table), I have to remind myself that, according to my own mother, I spilt my milk at one meal every day for about a year of my life when I was three years old. So every time I get angry and frustrated at my kids for this, I follow it up by telling them about me as a three year old to help make them laugh and soften my angry response.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
When she was a newborn I was terrified of her being kidnapped. I'm guessing it had something to do with the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping that happened just a couple months before Princess Sparkley was born. I would just worry and worry. I can remember thinking "there's no way I went through all of that [labor, birthing, etc.] to have someone kidnap her. " This was very soon after she was born and I was still recovering from an enormously long and painful labor and delivery.
When Buddy was born, I wasn't as concerned about him being kidnapped. I know I worried, but not about anything specific. Probably I just worried that I was going to lose my mind with two kids so close in age (Princess Sparkley and Buddy are 20 1/2 months apart). At one point, Jed called from work to see how I was doing and I'd just changed the 7th poopie diaper in a row, alternating between the two kids. Ahhh.
With Baby X, Jed and I both worry that he'll die. Not because of his heart... well, yes because of his heart, that is a worry. But mostly we worry that he'll have survived his heart problem, had this procedure to fix it, be doing so well, and then die of something totally avoidable like choking on a Cheerio or suffocating under a blanket. I woke up this morning panicked because it was 6:30 AM and I hadn't heard from him since I'd put him in bed at 8 or 8:30 PM. He was fine, of course. But I lay in bed for a minute convincing myself that when I got up to look in his crib he'd be cold and unmoving. Does any other mom do this to herself??
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
The other night we watched Wait Until Dark - a great suspense movie. It was going to be our Halloween movie, but I didn't think of that in time and it was checked out, so we watched it a week late. As movie watching in our house goes, we also looked up all sorts of stuff about the movie and the actors on Wikipedia. Alan Arkin was married three times. He was old enough to be his second wife's father and his third wife's grandfather.** That's just too big of an age difference for me.
Here's why I'm thinking about it. I've been working on this story idea for... well... years now. Sad, but true. It's a girl falls in love with the boy next door sort of story, and the boy next door is her older brother's best friend. I think I finally decided that he's about 4 years older than she is. Not a big deal when she's 20 and he's 24 or she's 30 and he's 34, right? But how does it play out when they are younger, when she's 10 and in love with him and he's 14? Not so bad for her... but a 14 year old in love with a 10 year old? Ick, you know? That's where I'm stuck.
I read Love Walked In recently and it dealt with an age difference sort of like my story. The man solves it by saying something along the lines of, "I won't keep many things from you, but that's my secret" referring to how and when he fell in love with her. Sweet. But I still kept thinking... he's a few years older than her, did he fall in love when they were kids? When he was a teen and she was a kid? That's sort of gross.
So what do you think? How big of an age difference is too big? And any other thoughts.
*In almost every instance, by "dated," I mean, went on a date with... possibly more than one date, but very rarely in a long (or even short) relationship.
**I went back to Wikipedia to check my facts and the age differences between he and his last two wives had been removed.
a piece of turquoise cardstock
a tiny piece of black construction paper
a small piece of thread
several blue pieces of cardstock (all tiny)
a pink hair rubberband
bits of newspaper that he actually bit off of the entire, folded paper
What I've pulled from his mouth in the past:
tape- three times
thread - too many times to count
bits of paper - too many times to count
tiny construction cone - twice
a finger positioner for Buddy's pencil - once
...the list goes on and on...
Friday, November 07, 2008
I just paid my 4 year old a quarter for Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. I let each of the kids pick their 20 top candies to keep and the rest of their Halloween loot went into a community bucket (or eventually the trash when we've eaten all the good stuff). The community bucket is down to Tootsie Rolls and lollipops. Yuck.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
- You show up and give them a last name. Mine is pretty unique, but all I did was tell the woman my last name and she said, "Nancy?" Umm, yeah. Shouldn't I have to supply the first name too? Or verify my address? Or something? I turned 18 the day I left California for college in Utah and voted absentee for the 4 1/2 years that I was living there. So I didn't vote in person until I moved back to California. I was shocked that they had a list of voter's names and addresses hanging outside the polling place door and that I didn't have to show ID. I didn't have to show ID! No one does! I'm still so surprised by this.
- Today I colored in bubbles on a sheet. I know there was a lot of problems with the punch out ballots in the 2000 election, but I colored in bubbles... like I was in high school and taking a scantron test. AND... it wasn't with a number two pencil. I used a pen. Ahh.
- When I was done with my ballot the woman had me feed it into a printer/copier looking machine's feed slot. She informed me that it didn't matter which way I fed it in. So basically, it was an electronic version of a wooden block with a slot in it. Interesting.
- Our kids are big John McCain supporters. We're not sure why. We're Republicans, but we're not really big fans of McCain. At one point, we were both planning on voting for Obama. But our kids, maybe due to his grandfatherly look, have latched on to McCain and are big supporters. Jed is worried that people are going to think that our kids support McCain because we've been pushing it at home. We haven't been. Not at all. Jed can't stand the man.
The good things about voting:
- I got a sticker.
- My kids got to vote at their own voting booth section of our polling place.
- We got free ice cream from Ben and Jerry's.
Oh, and don't forget this.*
*Sorry... I can't get my computer to let me post photos and images right now. :(
Monday, November 03, 2008
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008
2. I can never get the right amount of candy. Usually I buy a ton of my favorites and we end up giving every last piece away. This year I bought a bunch of kid favorites (ie: Dum Dums, Starbursts, Smarties, etc.) and we have a ton leftover.
3. My kids insist that the trunk-or-treat is not enough, that we need to go door to door as well. To be fair, while all the other kids circle the parking lot 3+ times, we only allow our kids one trip around. But they still get a TON of candy.
4. Gory costumes. Especially gory costumes on little kids, or adults at parties where little kids are present.
5. The fact that women use Halloween as an excuse to dress like a tramp.
6. That the majority of adult women Halloween costumes are "sexy" costumes.
7. Carving billions of pumpkins.
But I realized last night after pushing the stroller up a hill and walking door to door with my kids that I really like Halloween. I'm not going to claim it as my favorite holiday. I will very rarely dress up. But I enjoy it. It's fun and exciting and I like dressing the kids up.
Here's some of the cool stuff I saw this Halloween that I want to remember for next year:
- Sawing a pumpkin in half and placing a taper candle in each half.
- Gutting a pumpkin and then carving polka dots in it.
- Carving pumpkins in a nontraditional fashion (ie: sideways so the stem is a nose, etc.).
- A spiral pumpin (like how you peel an orange with one long piece of peel, I saw one like this with toothpicks holding up each level).
- A bubble blower that was blowing dry ice bubbles or something. Very cool. Like this.