Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
My dream was that these chores would become regular habits so I didn't have to spend the first three hours of my morning continually reminding them to make their beds and brush their teeth. Mainly it has just transformed to me reminding them all day that they haven't marked anything off of their chore charts.
We don't really like paying the kids for stuff they should be doing as a member of our family, and when we moved to Virginia and money was tighter, we switched what they earned to being dessert. If they did a good job with their chores all week, we'd either make a yummy dessert, or go for McDonald's dollar Sundaes. This doesn't work either because I LOVE MAKING DESSERTS. So it happens a lot. Usually more than once a week. I decided this week that we would go back to them earning money, but the money they earn will be what the other kid uses to buy a Christmas present for his/her siblings. This way, PS is bugging Buddy to do his chores because she'll get a more expensive present out of it, and vice versa. We'll see how it goes. So far Buddy has ignored his chore chart since Monday evening and when I reminded him about it today he went and crossed off everything he "remembered" doing. Including getting dressed every day this week (even the days that have yet to happen).
Here's my problem... what do I do when, on my own, without Jed, I want to take my kids to a museum in DC that doesn't allow strollers?!? We experienced it briefly at the Air and Space Museum when we were forced to park the stroller and ride an elevator up to the observation tower. But that was a very short period of time, during which Baby X was totally enthralled with airplanes coming in for landing next door at Dulles. And it wasn't a timed anything... when we were done looking, we got back in the elevator and returned to the stroller.
We want to visit the Bureau of Engraving and Printing... but it doesn't allow strollers. What to do? What to do?
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
In other news, Jed and I are in charge of organizing friendship dinners for people at church. We picked a Friday and Saturday in November and the people who wanted to participate could pick a date and whether they wanted to be a guest or a host. I finally got everything worked out, people assigned to be guests in other people's homes and now I wait and see who forgot the date and has something else planned, who the archenemies from church are who I inadvertantly assigned to each other, etc. This should be interesting.
I also baked this pumpkin chocolate chip bread today to drop off at a friend's. Taught Buddy about words and how stringing them together makes sentences. Taught PS about estimating and rounding up. Baby X stayed in his PJs all day and learned the word "home." Made the kids watch a video about Life Cycles that we checked out from the library. Made meatball sandwiches for dinner. Was tracted into by LDS missionaries who are from the Spanish congregation so they didn't know us. That was fun when they found out we were members of their church already. Tomorrow we'll make some pumpkin cookies and use the kids trunk-or-treat candy as faces transforming our pumpkin cookies into Jack-O-Lanterns. Now we're off to munch on some Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread for dessert.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I laugh now at how well I thought we knew each other then, compared to how well we know each other now. And I'll probably laugh in several years at how well I think I know him now compared to the future.
Jed and I joke about this haunted house question all the time... how apparently, knowing your significant other's opinion on haunted houses is very revealing about your relationship. But every time we bring up this haunted house question, usually this time of year, we still don't know the other's opinion. What it comes down to is... I don't have an opinion. I neither love nor hate them. But I don't seek them out, so I guess I don't like them. Aside from the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, I haven't been to one since a family home evening activity my freshman year of college when the girls seriously outnumbered the boys.
So, if you have a significant other, how does he/she feel about haunted houses?
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
watching planes land at Dulles Airport from the observation/control tower.
Not that the rest of the museum wasn't interesting (although Princess Sparkley was pretty bored), this was just so up close and cool.
Tip: the museum is free, parking is $15 per car. Jed dropped us off at the gate and I walked in with the kids. Although I wouldn't recommend this on a cold, rainy day in October.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
One of my favorite bonding memories is from my freshman year at BYU. Angela and I were brand new roommates, strangers really, and we were watching Steel Magnolias. We were both sobbing, and we looked at each other, complete strangers, and started cracking up. Then our laughs and sobs joined together to become snorts. We've been best friends ever since.
In all the research I've done on what makes me cry in movies and books, there are two things that stick out. Unrequited love. And death.
Jed and I have had a long, roller coaster relationship spanning two and a half decades. There weren't really any ups and downs at the beginning when we were just kids, but once puberty hit, there were a lot of hills. There was a point where I knew he was the one for me, that were were going to be married. Then everything fell apart (he'll let you all know this was my fault, and it was). But even during those apart years, I never stopped loving him. I don't think I really knew it at the time, I just knew how much I missed him. This is the root of my crying at unrequited love stories... I think. I'm not a psychologist or anything. But if I were to lie on a doctor's couch and be hypnotized to find out the reason for my tears, I'm pretty sure this is it.
And death. I'm not really alone on this. I think anyone who cries at a book or movie, cries when someone dies. I just can't handle it. I just finished The Time Traveler's Wife* and sobbed through the whole second half. Sobbed. Jed just kept looking at me as tears dripped onto the book and mascara smeared down my face. I can't handle the idea of dying and not being with Jed anymore. Or him dying and leaving me alone. I don't think I'd be able to go on. Or our kids being raised with only one parent. I can't handle even the thought of this. Jed of course has a much more practical view on all of this. If I die, I die. If he dies, he dies. If one of our kids dies... you get the point. We were married for eternity. When one of us dies, we're still a family forever. Of course I believe this, but I would still sob uncontrollably for days, weeks, months, years... forever. So when I'm reading a book, or watching a movie and someone dies, my heart is broken for them.
What's interesting is that I still read all the unrequited love stories, and watch the movies where a loved one dies. They are still good stories. But why is it entertaining to be sad and cry... I haven't figured that out yet.
Do you cry when you read books and watch movies??
*Good book, but if you are sensitive to language or sex, there is a LOT in this book.
Monday, October 19, 2009
a long Autumn
great fashion sense
time to sit down and finish The Time Traveler's Wife
the will to keep reading Galileo's Daughter (which is interesting, but keeps making me fall asleep)
being able to find online something I saw in an Old Navy store today
someone to come fold all my laundry
a toddler who still loved naps
the budget to go crazy buying a new wardrobe
a good movie to watch while I fold laundry
someone to sew Buddy's new blanket/quilt
something besides carpet under my kitchen table
a toddler who wasn't so cranky
a mild Winter
to appear on What Not To Wear (not really, just the fashion tips and credit card)
bags and bags of peanut butter M&Ms
someone to do my ironing
kids who did their chores
to find cute, affordable church shoes for my two boys
Saturday, October 17, 2009
If I was going to go all out, and throw a Halloween party of something... this would be the menu:
Orange Party Punch
Pumpkin Cheese Ball
Mummy Face Pizzas
Easy Halloween Truffles
Hot Dog Spaghetti Monster
Candy Corn Cookies
or these Candy Corn Sugar Cookies
Bakerella's Adorable Tiny Pumpkin Pies
My Favorite Halloween Treats from last year, including the pumpkin bar above
My mom's pumpkin cookies
Plus, I found this website with all sorts of fun Halloween foods.
Wow... I could go on and on with all the great and spooky food out there. Good thing I'm not really having a party or I'd be too warn out from all the cooking to enjoy myself.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Also found here.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I was browsing the sale items at buycostumes.com and came across some great deals on some pretty cool looking, non-sexy costumes. Here are just a few:
Queen Elizabeth for $39.99
Reyna Isabella for $26.99
Rapunzel for $29.99
Rosie the Riveter for $19.99
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Jed's reasoning for buying me this book was that I like Jane Austen, and since I like books about vampires (the Twilight series) I was sure to love a book about zombies. I'm not sure that line of thought would work under normal circumstances.
But I did really enjoy this book. It was all the fun of rereading Pride and Prejudice (but much more quickly). There was the excitement for Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth to finally figure out they love each other, but made funny and exciting by the added twist of a plague of zombies overtaking England. Grahame-Smith did a great job weaving his story of zombies into Austen's original story. I never checked word for word to see if he copied her exact text or not, but I wouldn't be surprised. And he did a great job of mimicking Austen's writing style as he added in his zombie plot. This was much more Austen than I would have expected when I first saw it.
Much to Mrs. Bennet's dismay, her daughters are fighting zombies (as their training in the Orient has taught them to do) rather than chasing husbands. Elizabeth, of course, being the best warrior of her sisters.
It was more funny than gross, but there was much discussion of beheading and some gross descriptions of the dead, brain eating, etc. This book was a little less proper than Austen intended it with some slight sexual innuendo between characters. For instance, whenever balls were mentioned, someone usually blushed due to thinking about the balls possessed by males, not the fancy dances of Austen's original novel. A few characters strayed from their spouses, but it was just mentioned in passing, not described in detail.
I would recommend this story to anyone who likes Jane Austen's original and enjoys a bit of humor. But I would also recommend this story to anyone (like my husband) who would never read Pride and Prejudice, but would find a lot of humor in this version.
Read another review here.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel
Nurk by Ursula Vernon
Pride, Predjudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Waiting to be read:
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Returned to the library before reading:
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin
1000 Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Monday, October 12, 2009
How adorable are these? And Bakerella says they are really simple. I might just have to take a swing at these this year. So cute!!
Update: I made them. Not too difficult and really yummy. I wasted them on 19 year old missionaries from our church who were not impressed with the craftiness and effort that went into making them. And I wouldn't want to make a whole lot of these. Too much work for that.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
*It's not really National Candy Month... as far as I know. But, it's Halloween month, so it should be, right?
Friday, October 09, 2009
Here's what I saw in my dream 2009 Halloween:
Buddy wearing some sort of home-fashioned elf costume out of green sweats wearing this hat and these shoes.
image from OrientalTrading Company
Princess Sparkley as a Christmas fairy wearing a green and red skirt made by her paternal grandma, similar to this one that she's wearing here, minus the sword and viking helmet. Plus a wand and some fairy wings.
Me dressed as a Christmas gift wearing a giant bow on my head and a gift tag as a necklace. Very simple and not embarrassing or awkward to wear.
Jed as Santa (I didn't really think this part through much, other than a Santa hat and maybe a pillow stuffed under a red sweatshirt).
And Baby X as a snowman, wearing this costume my sister has that her 5 year old wore several Halloweens ago.
But my kids have all vetoed these ideas now that Halloween is here. And Jed had never really signed on to the Santa idea. Buddy wants to be a fireman. Princess Sparkley has finally settled on a witch after choosing a bunch of different book characters (Clarice Bean, Fashion Kitty, Babymouse) that I told her might be a pain to dress-up as since she'll keep having to not only tell people who she is, but also who that character is. We've vetoed a witch costume in the past but now that we've read Harry Potter together, it's less heathen, I guess. Baby X I suppose will use Buddy's old dinosaur/dragon costume that should fit him this year. And, once again, Jed and I won't dress-up. Which, isn't actually the end of the world... unless you are PS, in which case, she's very disappointed in us.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
My Mom's Potato* Cinnamon Rolls
Ingredients and Directions:
2 TBSP yeast dissolved in 1 cup warm water
Add 2 TBSP sugar. Dissolve yeast and sugar in water.
Add to the yeast mixture – 1 medium cooked potato (peeled and mashed), 2 eggs, 2 cups milk (scalded**), 1 ½ cups sugar, 3 ½ tsp salt, 4 tsp baking powder and 5 cups flour.
Mix together with mixer.
Then add: 1 ½ cubes butter (melted) and the rest of the flour (about 5 more cups, or more if needed).
Knead 10 minutes. Raise twice. After second raising, divide dough in half – do not punch down the 2nd time. Let rest 10 minutes.
Roll into rectangle – spread with butter (about half a cube per rectangle off dough), brown sugar (about 1/2 - 3/4 cup per rectangle), cinnamon (about 2 tsp per rectangle) and raisins (1 cup which have been plumped*** – optional).
Roll and cut with thread or string or, as my mom and I do it, dental floss.
Bake in greased 9x13 casserole dish at 375 for 20 minutes.
2 cups powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla
3 TBSP water (or milk)
*I've always liked telling people that this recipe has a secret ingredient they'll never guess. I've come across potato roll recipes before, and seen potato bread in the store, but it seems like an ingredient in old fashioned bread recipes, and this is the only one I ever make.
**Almost every time I've made these, I've had to call my mom and ask her what scalded means.
Basically about boiling, when the milk starts to stick to the sides of the pan and the spoon.
***Soaked in hot water. I've never done this... I prefer my cinnamon rolls raisin free.
Buddy lost his first tooth the other day. He's a year ahead of PS's tooth losing schedule. Thanks to heredity, he also has two more teeth than she does (she's missing two incisors). I took a picture of his mouth the other day. But I think PS captured it all much better than I did.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Buddy's last three Halloween costumes have been very simple and all him.
ebay cost $14.99 (we already owned the hat). I bought it large (4T for a then 2 1/2 year old) and he still wears it, all the time. All the time. If it is clean and in his drawer, he'll chose it to wear that day. You can see from the picture it was shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. I bought what was new, cheapest and in his size on ebay. He wore sweatpants (which helped the too big of shorts stay up) and a long sleeved shirt under his costume.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
She's told us since she was a tiny little girl (where did that tiny little girl go??) that she wanted to be a baker when she grew up and that her little brother would be her baker's helper. But when it comes to actually spending time in the kitchen, Buddy has always stuck around for more of the baking process while PS loses interest, and, now that she can read, goes off and loses herself in a book.
I have an assortment of children's cookbooks from my own childhood. Buddy got her a fairy cookbook for her birthday. And equipped with a Barnes and Noble gift card from her aunt, she picked out a chilren's cookbook the other day. From it we made some yummy chocolate mint cookies.
When buying a children's cookbook, this is what I look for:
- it must have pictures (preferred even over drawings)
- a list (picture lists are awesome) of ingredients needed for the recipe
- a list of kitchen pans and gadgets needed for the recipe
- small recipes (cookie recipes that call for 1 1/2 cups of flour rather than 4)
- no recipes that call for food kids should have (coffee granules, etc.)
Better Homes and Gardens New Junior Cook Book
Usborne's Fairy Cooking
DK's The Baking Book (this is the version I checked out from the library, it looks like Amazon has newer versions)
Sweet Eats (the cover on mine is different)
DK's Mom and Me Cookbook (this is the one PS bought)
*Being that PS is my oldest, and she isn't easily neglected among the three kids being forced to fend for herself foodwise, when is she old enough to cook?? She makes toast and sandwiches. What else should I be letting her do?
**Check your library too. The nonfiction kid book section of your library should be well stocked with kid cookbooks. Mine is, and my library is lacking a lot.
Monday, October 05, 2009
In 1620, as the tenor of the comet debate turned nastier, the Holy Congregation of the Index raised the specter of the Edict of 1616 by announcing at last the necessary corrections that must be made to Copernicus's text, De revolutionibus, in order to have it removed from the Index of Prohibited Books. The congregation insisted on watering down some dozen statements by Copernicus affirming the Earth's motion, in order to make them sound more like hypothetical suggestions. Galileo dutifully penned the required changed into his own copy of De revolutionibus, though he took care to cross out the offending passages with very light strokes.
From Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel. Chapter 8, pages 91-92.
Saturday, October 03, 2009
Today I came across this cute recipe. Very appley. Very Fall. Very cute. I like it.
Friday, October 02, 2009
My kids are all over the board as far as their eating habits. Buddy (5) loves fruits and vegetables and is a bit more hesitant with soups and casseroles. Princess Sparkley (7) hates all fruits except the occasional bites of banana or peeled apple slices. But she's much more willing to eat what we're having for dinner, casserole or whatever. Baby X (20 months) isn't a horrible eater, but he goes through phases. He went through a phase recently where basically all I could get him to eat was macaroni and cheese. And he loves chicken nuggets. BUT, he only likes them from an actual fast food restaurant, if I make them at home from a frozen grocery store box, he won't have anything to do with them. He likes hot dogs. And he likes deli ham. That's all the meat he'll eat too. Unless I'm eating a meatball sub sandwich, in which case he wants the entire thing.
Now that Baby X has graduated from baby food, I can't get him to eat veggies. My other kids are fine with veggies. Not salad. Buddy loves them all, including carrots, zucchini and tomatoes (I know, I know, tomatoes are a fruit). Both older kids will eat broccoli and green beans, corn and asparagust. Baby X won't eat it at all. Raw. Steamed. Squished. I actually put some baby food carrot puree in his macaroni and cheese a few weeks ago and that seemed to go over okay... that's actually probably the last veggie he had.
So today while I was at the store I came across Little Blends yogurt. Baby X LOVES yogurt. And this is yogurt with hidden veggies. The company is even smart enough to only picture the strawberry on the container, not the carrot. Brilliant. There were three varieties. It's a four pack of yogurts. Target was selling it for $2.99 which is a bit in the pricey range for me, but I was figuring a veggie treat every now and then for Baby X's health should require a splurge. And you can print a coupon from their website. Baby X loved it. I made PS take a bite and she whispered that it was okay but kind of gross.
I also picked up some of V8's new juice V8 fusion. I'm a little hesitant in regards to anything with V8 in it since my sister drank the regular V8 stuff like crazy when I was a kid, and the smell alone makes me want to vomit. We'll see...
What tricks do you use to sneak in the veggies, or fruits without going all black bean brownies, or zucchini chocolate cake on me? I'm not ready to attack Jerry Seinfeld's wife's book yet.
image from here
This could all go back to about second grade when the school bus dropped me off and when I got home, Mom was nowhere. After a few minutes I discovered she was on the roof, (which at the time was wood shingles) watering it with a hose to protect it from dropping ash from a nearby wildfire.
Later I remember being able to see smoke from a few miles away from my house but knowing that right where there was smoke, was also my house. It turned out to be a house up the street from my parents' that caught on fire and burned to the ground because one of the owners was drying running shoes in the microwave... or that's the story that went around.
On a very very cold night in the winter of 2000 the duplex I was living in in Provo caught on fire. The girls next door knocked on our door to inform us that they had a fire in their fireplace and their chimney caught fire. Running through my mind was... what do I take, what do I take? I can't remember if I took anything. I had the flu and spent the next couple hours standing across the street from our home watching the firefighters spray water onto the chimney and roof. We were lucky, it only burnt part of the roof and the chimney on the other side. They had some smoke damage, but not a lot. Mainly all I suffered was a horrible flu and a really icy street once all the firehose run off froze. Hopefully a house fire never gets that close to me again.
When we were living with my parents in 2003, we could see the bright orange flames from a wildfire burning near my parents as we were leaving our church's trunk-or-treat party. Jed and I spent the next day not at church, but on the roof watering the still wood shingles. I packed important documents, photo albums, etc. in the back of our car. Like I said, I'm a bit paranoid. Some homes in a gated community near my parents burned down. So maybe I'm rightfull paranoid?
I called my dad the other night because when I logged on to check the news one of the stories was about a wildfire in California being started by cow manure spontaneously combusting. I thought the story was about a different, huge wildfire from a couple of weeks ago that was thought to be arson, but when I clicked on the article, I saw an all too familiar area on the map. The same area that has burnt near my parents' house three times in the past five years. My dad was calm and not worried. Later, when I saw that my parents' neighborhood was under voluntary evacuation I called home again. Dad was still calm. He said they weren't evacuating, the fire was no where near them. He was right, it didn't get closer than several miles away. AND, they had gotten a new roof in late 2004. No more wood shingles.
So I'm paranoid about fires and the last two places we've lived (in Kansas and now in Virginia), we live basically on the same street, or one street perpendicular, from the closest fire station. This is awesome for Buddy (and Baby X) because everytime a fire truck drives past they run to the window to see it and Baby X makes fire truck noises for the next ten minutes. This is not so awesome for me because I am of course imagining that it is my building on fire.
I have all of our important documents, copies of our family pictures (a cd of our family pictures at a secondary location), and other family memorabilia boxed up in a rubbermaid container that has since grown to two and then three boxes. The idea was that I could grab the box quickly. But two boxes quickly? Or three? Plus kids. I keep envisioning trying to get three kids and all of our stuff out of the house because of a fire and my brain freaks out. So I think I'll add one of these fire safe boxes to my Christmas list. Or two. Or three.
If you want to stay a part of our family, you need to stop having problems and costing us money. Jed doesn't want a car to begin with, and your lemon-ness isn't helping the situation. Be a nice car. Make your brakes stop squeaking. Fix your own back windshield wiper so it works again. Tell your tires to stay nice.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
And people here honk all the time. It seems like Kansas was very honk free and California was light on honking. I've gotten honked at here for turning (even though I had my blinker (that's what us Californians call a turn signal, or at least my family) on at least 100 feet in advance). It's not my fault they were going too fast to slow down at my turning. I got honked at today as the light turned green. There was about 1 second worth of time when I could have been driving, but wasn't yet and the guy behind me felt the need to honk. Argh.
Do you honk? I am not really much of a honker. Usually I'm too busy waving my arm in the air in frustration and yelling out, "ARE YOU SERIOUS!?!" to mess with the horn.